Shenanigans

Larry (Moon) Mullins, fullback. (Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Archives)

Larry (Moon) Mullins, fullback. (Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Archives)

 

Shenanigans will feature more humorous stories of the ’28 Army and season.

 

Knute Rockne called his 1928 team the “Minutemen.” “They’ll be in the game for one minute,” he said, “and the other team will score.”

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Army always dispatched scouts to the Irish games before their annual date. And after one Notre Dame game at South Bend two Cadet scouts came up to Rock and complimented him on his victory but admitted there'd been one play the Irish had unfolded which they didn't understand. To their amazement he hustled them to a blackboard in the dressing room, grabbed a piece of chalk and went into a furious X and O routine.

"This is the one," he said, "a spinner off our shift, ending in a wide sweep or a pass." Rapidly he explained the maneuver and then said: "Any questions?"

They stared at each other, with slack jaws. They couldn't believe it. They asked him about several points and he filled them in completely.

"Rock," said one, "you're sure you aren't giving us a variation of your play? After all ...we ARE Army..."

Rockne clapped him on the shoulder. "I've given it to you straight, mister. That's the real Notre Dame play I've just given you. I'll just add this: it's not the play itself which is so successful. It's the execution."

The Army scouts went back and reported to Cadet head coach Biff Jones.

"He's got to be tricking us, Biff," said one of the scouts.

Jones shook his head. "No, that's just the way it works, and we'll prepare for it just that way."

It didn't help much. The year was 1928. The score was Notre Dame 12, Army 6.

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Moon Mullins, on playing for Rockne in 1928: "You'd practice 'till your fingernails sweat."

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