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Training camp at Culver Academies wraps up for Notre Dame football on Tuesday. I went down for most of the day on Friday and Saturday to check out the grounds and get a glimpse of camp life at Culver.



Brian Kelly is the second Notre Dame coach to kick off training camp at Culver, Lou Holtz being the first. Running Backs Coach Autry Denson and Director of Player Development Ron Powlus were at Culver as players under Lou Holtz and we caught up with them to see what, if anything, has changed since they were at Culver in the 90′s.

One thing that has remained the same: no AC in the dorms. When Ron and Autry were at camp, it was brutally hot. Ron told us that the upperclassmen would bring their pillows into the hockey rink at night to sleep on the cement bleachers, a slightly cooler option than the dorms. Apparently they didn't tell the underclassmen, which included Autry. In fact, Autry only found out the upperclassmen did this just last week.

Another notable anecdote from Holtz's time at Culver was when he burned a small boat on the lake. Here's the story told by former linebacker Kory Minor ('99):

"There are so many memorable stories that I can share about my time at Culver, but I think the funniest and most enjoyable would be when coach Holtz burned a small boat on the lake. It reminded me of something General Patton would do to ensure his men were in the battle for the long run. I don't recall if it was the first night we arrived in Culver or a day or two later, but it was a sight I have never seen and the inspirational and motivational message was on point, accurate and precisely delivered.

Imagine coach Holtz and his less than large stature standing in front of each and every player and coach and basically gave his sermon on the mount.  He talked about the mission and what it would take to be successful that season. Coach shared stories of past seasons, the successes and failures and what that team needed to do to win. I remember him scanning the audience with his eyes as though he was looking and talking to each one of us directly, giving you the official guidelines and strategies that we needed to hear as a team so we could unleash our true greatness.

When coach lit the boat on fire and pushed it out to sea the underlying message was clear, there would be no retreating. If you were on that team you must totally by into the message and the philosophy that coach Holtz envisioned. There would be no middle ground. Coach knew how to win and he was very proficient at that. His job was now to fundamentally transform our minds, hearts and beliefs and to have us all on the same page. I must admit Coach did an excellent job conveying his message. I have never been in awe of anything in my life, but to see the boat on fire behind coach Holtz set against the starry night was the most breathtaking sight I have ever seen. That moment was when I knew I had arrived at the University of Notre Dame and there would be no turning back now."

The Culver campus is a busy place during the summer, and not just because of Notre Dame football. On Saturday, there was a triathlon in the morning and three weddings throughout the day. Then, once Notre Dame was done on the field, Culver Academies had their own football team that had to practice in the afternoon.

Luckily, the grounds are huge and there's plenty of space for everyone.

After lunch, the players have some free time before meetings. They can go boating, horseback riding, or fishing but, as you might expect, most choose to just sleep... Or, if you're Romeo Okwara and Corey Robinson, play the ukulele.


Once the team gets back to Notre Dame, training camp continues right here under the dome.

A New Home

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While our student-athletes have been working hard in preparation for the start of the fall season, we've also made a few improvements in anticipation of the new school year.

From this point forward, Irish UNDerground will be utilizing the Wordpress platform powered by NBC Sports.

Here's a look at our three new blog websites:

UNDerground: Notre Dame Athletics

Strong and True: Notre Dame Football

Irish United: Notre Dame Men's and Women's Soccer

Go ahead and bookmark these now. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the athletic department, we are committed to bringing you coverage of Notre Dame athletics unlike any you can find elsewhere.

Get ready. 2012-13 is going to be an exciting year to be Irish.

Mic'd Up: Coach Kelly

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The latest Fighting Irish Digital Media video looks back at spring ball and features Coach Kelly mic'd up during one of his team's practices in the Loftus Sports Center.

Watch the video to get a closer look at the quarterback competition, which resumes on Aug. 4, when the Irish begin fall training camp.

There Are Over 360 Species of Sharks ...

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... but here are two of our favorites!

The Other "Mike and Mike"

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There Is No Offseason

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Class Is In Session

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Before There Was Mike and Mike ...

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... there was, well, Mike and Mike.

Lezynski Joins Holy Cross Coaching Staff

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The "president emeritus" of the Walk-on Players' Union has got a new gig.

Former Irish cornerback Nick Lezynski ('11) was named today as the assistant secondary coach at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

A friend and classmate of mine, Lezynski earned his bachelor's degree in marketing last year, before returning to ND as a fifth-year student-athlete for the 2011 season.

Read more about his new position on the Crusaders' website.

WOPU Nation, continuing to do big things. Congrats, Nick.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Tuck Pens Children's Book

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Former Irish football standout and Super Bowl ring bearer Justin Tuck recently released his first book, "Home-Field Advantage."

The All-Pro has spent the last several days sharing the book with schoolchildren across New York. The book is based on Tuck's own childhood in Alabama, where he grew up with five older sisters.

The Giants star discussed the book on "The Dan Patrick Show."

"Growing up in rural Alabama I got a lot of stories that I felt would be both funny and in some ways educational to the demographic that I love the most, kids. Me and my wife are very passionate about kids and education. The book was a way of hopefully getting kids excited about reading. I love reading it to my son. Hopefully a lot of other parents out there will appreciate it and the kids will enjoy it and get a laugh out of it. Hopefully it's a turn on to get the kids starting reading."

Tuck has read the book for schoolchildren as part of his R.U.S.H. For Literacy foundation. He and his wife, Lauran, founded the charity in 2008 to "read, understand, succeed and hope." They are committed to raising funds for books and other reading materials to support children in the New York City and Central Alabama communities.

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Event Calendar

January 24
W, 80-41
Virginia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)
RECAP

WatchND
ESPN3
January 24
L, 4-0
Arizona State
Stillwater, Okla. (Greenwood Tennis Center)
RECAP
January 24
All Day
NYU Invitational
Queens, N.Y. (St. John's Arena)
January 28
7:00 PM
Syracuse
Carrier Dome

ESPN/ESPN2
WatchND
January 28
7:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (McCamish Pavilion)

ACC-Regional Sports Networks package
Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND
WatchND
January 29
5:00 PM
Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Rolfs Aquatic Center)

Livestats
January 29
5:00 PM
Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Rolfs Aquatic Center)

Livestats
January 29
7:00 PM
Northwestern
Evanston, Illinois (Combe Tennis Center)
January 29
7:35 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Compton Family Ice Arena)

WatchND
January 29
TBA
Indiana University Relays
Bloomington, Ind.
January 30
TBA
Air Force
Notre Dame, Ind. (Loftus)
January 30
TBA
Indiana University Relays
Bloomington, Ind.
January 30
All Day
Alumni Match
Orlando, Fla. (Walt Disney World Resort)
January 30
All Day
Northwestern Duals
Notre Dame, IN (Castellan Family Fencing Center)
January 30
All Day
Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Rolfs Aquatic Center)

Livestats
January 30
All Day
Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame, Ind. (Rolfs Aquatic Center)

Livestats
January 31
1:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
WatchND
HALFTIME PERFORMANCE: Christian Stoinev & Scooby
January 31
11:00 AM
Illinois
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)

WatchND Tennis
Live Stats
January 31
5:00 PM
Bowling Green
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)

WatchND Tennis
Live Stats
January 31
All Day
Alumni Match
Orlando, Fla. (Walt Disney World Resort)
January 31
All Day
Northwestern Duals
Notre Dame, IN (Castellan Family Fencing Center)
February 1
6:00 PM
Duke
Durham, N.C. (Cameron Indoor Stadium)

ESPN2 - Big Monday
Pulse FM (96.9/92.1)/WatchND
WatchND

St. Joseph Health System Medifast Delta Canon Visit South Bend Mishawaka