Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Blessed Trinity and Joe Montana: Demetrius Jones Has Your Number

Now that the heroic Notre Dame hockey team is finally going home, and the temperature in South Bend today is in the 70's, it must mean it's spring. And at Notre Dame, in the spring young men's (and women's) thoughts turn to love—and of course, spring football.

While I'm not sure how the campus romances are progressing, in the latter category, sophomore quarterback and Chicago Public League product Demetrius Jones has already made a splash in his attempt to win the four player quarterback competition now open with the NFL bound Brady Quinn's graduation by changing from the #4 to the heralded #3. For the uninitiated, #3 was worn by several Notre Dame legends—most notably the "Comeback Kid" himself, Joe Montana.

"I know the history behind the number," said the legend-savvy Mr. Jones," but instead of running from that tradition, I wanted to embrace it. I have high expectations—and nobody who wore that number ever sat on the bench."

Demetrius, a threat to run or pass, also is not running from the spring competition with the much more heralded freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen. So far, neither quarterback coach Ron Powlus (who also wore #3 while playing at Notre Dame) or head coach Charlie Weis, is saying much about who has the edge. But the spring season is young and Weis, whose slogan this year is "Tradition Never Graduates," not only must like Demetrius' history-mindedness, but must love Jones' "athleticism" as well.

Still, notwithstanding the many great Notre Dame football blogs such as The Blue-Gray Sky and Rakes of Mallow, at Fighting Irish Thomas, Notre Dame football means more than Irish bragging rights—and the #3 symbolizes more than just quarterbacks. At our blog, Notre Dame football is not merely a sport, but an apostolate, a mission by Our Lady (and her team) to bring all men to Her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. And #3 signifies not only Powlus, Mirer and Montana, but the blessed trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit. And if Charlie Weis, in his third season (the same year in their careers that Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian and Holtz won their first National Championships) is going to follow in his predecessors' footsteps, he will need near miraculous performances and true Catholic witnesses by many of his young players. Does Demetrius, who counts his three chief characteristics as confidence, character and consistency, hold one of the keys to this season? I don't know if Jones is the quarterback answer—but he certainly has the number.

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