June 30, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After dinner and opening ceremonies Wednesday night in Notre Dame’s storied Monogram Room, the 2005 Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp hit the ground running Thursday for a full slate of activities.
The 51 participants ate breakfast on a rainy South Bend morning before walking to Notre Dame Stadium to dress for practice. Following a team meeting and a short walk from the stadium to Cartier Field, the campers were put through a full stretching routine by former Irish flanker Kris Haines.
The morning practice featured a defensive focus, with the campers breaking up into groups by position. Current Notre Dame offensive coordinator and former Irish defensive back Mike Haywood ran the secondary with the help of former Irish safety Pat Eilers, and Irish defensive line coach Jappy Oliver teamed with current assistant athletic director and former Notre Dame coach Brian Boulac to put the down linemen through their paces. Tony Yelovich, also a current assistant athletic director and former Irish coach, took charge of the linebackers, with the help of former Irish standout Tim Grunhard.
After the morning workout, the players returned to the stadium’s meeting room and were given a talk on the Notre Dame experience by director of personnel development Ron Powlus, a former star quarterback for the Irish.
“The University of Notre Dame, and Notre Dame football, are so special to me, as an alumnus and former player, and it’s nice to see others get the chance to have the same experience,” Powlus said. “When I was playing, I wished more people that I knew could experience some of the things I did.”
After a quick lunch in Notre Dame’s South Dining Hall and another team meeting, the camp’s participants hit the field again for a mid-afternoon workout as an offensive unit. Powlus took charge of the signal callers, while Haines and former Irish tight end Robin Weber oversaw the receivers and ends, on the northern portion of Cartier Field. To the south, Grunhard, Boulac and former Irish lineman Tom Freeman tutored the linemen, and former Notre Dame great Bob Gladieux worked with the running backs.
“The emotions that I’ve seen the last two years are here at a greater level this year,” Patrick Steenberge, president of Global Football and former Irish quarterback, said. “The practices today were spirited, and the guys are loving it because the coaches are treating them like real players.”
At the conclusion of the afternoon session, the camp’s coaches met and split the participants into two teams, Blue and Gold, for Saturday’s flag football game in Notre Dame Stadium.
The College Football Hall of Fame will host the players this evening for a tour and tailgate-style dinner. Haines and former Notre Dame linebacker Gary Potempa are scheduled to be the keynote speakers.