3 tidbits about the Crusaders
1. Welcome … : Notre Dame will have several newcomers who coach Chuck Muller expects to have a major impact this season.
Senior Kyle Arrington, who played last year at Bethlehem Catholic, should complement returners Trey Watson and Mitch Daniels at running back. Senior Nick Brotzman, formerly at Pius X, and junior Nick Basenese, from Nazareth, are in a battle with sophomore Drew Harris to succeed Kordell Theadford at quarterback.
Another incoming senior, wide receiver Mike Peapos Jr., is the son of former Central Catholic and Penn State basketball star Mike Peapos. The family has moved back into the area from Indiana.
A fifth addition is junior Trevon Jordan, a cyber school student from the Bethlehem School District who Muller said will see action at fullback and linebacker.
Muller is eager to see what Arrington, Watson (a three-year starter who averaged six yards a carry last year) and Daniels, a sophomore, will complement each other.
"They all have a different style, but each one of them can touch the ball and go," he said. "Arrington can fly. Trey Watson is one of the best running backs, one of the best football players, in the area. And Mitch Daniels started as a freshman. They're like a three-headed monster."
2. Seeking a leader: Muller is hoping one of the three quarterbacks separates himself during the two scrimmages.
Brotzman is more of a throw-back quarterback who stands in the pocket and reads defenses. Basenese "will take off and has wheels, but he's not the type to dance," Muller said. "He'll make his cut and then lower his shoulder."
The youngster, Harris, has a strong arm and is very smart, Muller said. "That's what gives him a tremendous upside," he added.
3. Split duty: It's been a hectic camp for Muller, who through the first week at least was only able to attend the morning sessions.
A retired New Jersey correctional officer, Muller is one of several defendants in a civil lawsuit brought by an inmate stemming from a 2006 incident; the case finally got to court last month in Elizabeth, N.J.
"I've been at this [coaching] for almost 29 years, so for me, I feel I'm letting my kids down," he said of his absence. "It's unfortunate that the courts can entertain something nine years after it took place, and I feel bad for not being here. But I come out here and the kids are smiling — "We're good coach, we've got it.' And I'm fortunate to have real good assistant coaches that allow me to step away and not worry about things getting done."
Muller was hoping the jury would be charged last Friday after hearing closing arguments.
Coach: Chuck Muller (6th season, 13-37)
2013 record: 5-5 overall, 5-5 Colonial
Who's new: Besides the new players, Craig Waters, son-in-law of legendary Berwick coach George Curry, joins the staff as new offensive coordinator. Also coming aboard is Mike Kaulius as quarterbacks coach and Tommy Cooper as defensive backs coach.
Jeff's first thoughts
Since back-to-back winless seasons in 2008-2009, Notre Dame has gone from one to three to four to five wins. Many coaches are wary of the Crusaders; I'd say that's a smart move. They bang heads with Northwestern right out of the chute, and if the new parts have meshed in camp it could say a lot about how good the Crusaders could be this year.