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Notre Dame Football: Coach Lea Ploys, Elk Comet and Iceman Josh

First, some red zone data. Then, some silliness.

Mike Miller/One Foot Down

It’s 35 days until the Notre Dame Fighting Irish kickoff their 2019 season against the Louisville Cardinals, and there seems like no better time to talk about...“sexy vizir ankle”*?

Three years ago, I discovered that former Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer’s name could be rearranged to spell “red zone hikes.” Was the universe trying to tell me something?

Red Zone Plays by QB, 2010-2018

Rushing RZ plays 55 46 100 111 145 68 20
Rushing RZ TDs 16 6 30 30 31 21 7
% of running plays/tds 29.1% 13.0% 30.0% 27.0% 21.4% 30.9% 35.0%
Fumbles lost in RZ 0 3 4 3 0 0 0
Running plays by QB in RZ 17 19 47 65 11 37 13
Rushing TDs by QB in RZ 2 4 13 16 1 12 2
% of running plays by QBs/TDs 11.8% 21.1% 27.7% 24.6% 9.1% 32.4% 15.4%
Pass plays in RZ 42 47 78 78 139 37 10
Passing TDs in RZ 15 9 25 26 35 11 4
Interceptions in RZ 2 1 5 7 7 0 0
% of pass plays/TDs 35.7% 19.1% 32.1% 33.3% 25.2% 29.7% 40.0%
% of pass plays/INTs 4.8% 2.1% 6.4% 9.0% 5.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Total plays in RZ 97 93 178 189 284 105 30
Total RZ TDs 31 15 55 56 66 32 11
% touchdowns per RZ play 31.96% 16.13% 30.90% 29.63% 23.24% 30.48% 36.67%
@ndjrs / Twitter

After consulting this table, I don’t believe there was anything more significant about Kizer’s “red zone hikes” than, say, Everett Golson’s or Ian Book’s.

Undaunted, I decided to re-arrange the names of all players on the 2019 roster to see what the future may portend. Here’s what I found:


  • Senior wide receiver Chase Claypool: “Coach Lea ploys” or “Aloha, cyclopes!”

The first rearrangement is a tip of the cap to the persistent rumor early in Claypool’s career that Brian Kelly was going to move the Canadian standout to defense.

  • Freshman linebacker Jack Kiser: “I sack jerk.”
  • Senior safety Christopher Schilling may describe the upcoming camp at Culver Academy as a “scorching hellish trip.”
  • Sophomore defensive back Marcus Thorne: “Romance hurts.”
  • Senior defensive end Daelin Hayes and senior offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg are divulging plot points of recently remade Disney movies from the 1990s: “Hyaenas lied” and “blame rich genie,” respectively.
  • Junior running back Cameron Ekanayake: “Anyone a cake maker?”
  • Freshman defensive lineman Nana Ofaso-Mensah: “A means of hosanna.”
  • Senior defensive lineman Khalid Kareem: “He liked karma.”


  • Junior quarterback J.D. Carney’s name doesn’t change into anything, but sophomore wide receiver Lawrence Keys III translates to “I likewise, Carney.” (If Keys gains additional yards after catching the ball, can we say he “reels new YACk?”)
  • Freshman punter Jay Bramblett may be heard later in life in a boxing gym with his young son or daughter: “Let my brat jab!” Perhaps sophomore defensive lineman Jayson Ademilola will be able to give us a more honest assessment of Bramblett’s offspring, because “Jay, a denial looms.”
  • I also envision some jawing between senior cornerback Troy Pride Jr. and senior offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer. Pride may say in practice, “Dirt rep, yo,” while Kraemer claps back, “Make me, Mr. Troy.”
  • When sophomore wide receiver Braden Lenzy is dogging it in practice, his coaches may call him “Brenden Lazy” instead. But the minute he jets past a cornerback, he’ll be “Denny Blazer.” (Lenzy’s name can also be turned into “nerdy Zen lab.”)
  • Junior tight end Jack Henige: Hijack Gene
  • Junior linebacker Reed Gregory: Greedy Roger
  • Sophomore linebacker Bo Bauer: Beau Rob
  • Graduate wide receiver Chris Finke: Chief Rinks
  • Sophomore wide receiver Micah Jones: Iceman Josh, but he should also be aware of hucksters since his name can also be rearranged to “he join scam.”
  • Any Jims, Jimmys and Jameses playing on defense against the Irish better worry about sophomore running back Jahmir Smith, whose name can be reordered to say, “Harm Jim? Shit.”
  • Junior wide receiver Michael Young: “Oh, ugly iceman!” “Hi, young camel!” or “Lame chino guy”


  • Junior tight end Cole Kmet may be in for a big season if he can run as fast as a “elk comet.”
  • Will freshman running back Kyren Williams earn his JD and become a reputable attorney? “Lawyer inks mil, lawyer skim nil.”
  • Sophomore linebacker Shayne Simon: “Hey, mansions!”
  • Sophomore offensive lineman John Dirksen: “Redskin John.” If the job with Washington’s NFL franchise doesn’t pan out, there’s always “John, ski nerd.”
  • Sophomore tight end George Takacs may start a niche business: A “gag cake store.”


“[The] letters Q, Z, X, and J severely limit the number of anagrams,” the Internet Anagram Server reminds us. Some names, like John Shannon, don’t produce anything usable.

Some J-names give us “jerk” phrases.

  • Junior linebacker Jordan Genmark Heath: “Jerk throng ahead, man.”
  • Sophomore wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr.: “A jerk nun visit,” “vain jerk units” or “Sir Native Junk.”


  • Junior running back Jafar Armstrong: “Major farts rang.”
  • Senior running back Tony Jones Jr.: “Enjoy snot” or, if you’re really into Shakespeare, “sonnet joy.”
  • Senior safety Jalen Elliott: “Lite lane jolt” or “ate Jell-O lint”
  • Sophomore wide receiver Joe Wilkins: “We join silk.”
  • Sophomore defensive lineman Justin Ademilola: “Adult jasmine oil,” “a jollied tsunami” or “joint salami duel.”
  • Junior defensive back John Mahoney: “Ah, money John,” “hah, enjoy mon,” or “enjoy ham, hon.”
  • Freshman punter Jake Rittman: “Take mint jar.”
  • Sophomore linebacker Jack Lamb: “Black jam.”
  • Senior running back James Warren: “Jean warmers.”
  • Sophomore kicker Jonathan Doerer: “Ornate jade horn” or, if you prefer a comment on his basketball skills, “No Jordan reheat.”
  • Senior defensive end Julian Okwara: “Ruin koala jaw.”
  • Senior defensive lineman Jamir Jones: “Jam joiners”
  • Senior wide receiver Javon McKinley: “Envy on jam lick”
  • Sophomore center Jarrett Patterson: “Transporter at jet”
  • Freshman offensive lineman John Olmstead: “Handsome jolt” or, if he wants to blame his GPS, “made John lost.”


  • Did you know that Kofi Wardlow loves Chinese food? Yes, the junior defensive lineman is “wild for a wok.”
  • I feel for junior offensive lineman Robert Hainsey’s roommate. He has to put up with a “noisy breather.” (Hainsey’s name can also be scrambled into “honey rarebits,” a nonsense phrase that makes me giggle.)
  • Does junior nose tackle Kurt Hinish have tattoos? Because I’m pretty sure “his ink hurt.”
  • If you see senior safety Alohi Gilman walking past your classroom, you may want to say hi to your “amigo in hall.”
  • You don’t want sophomore wide receiver Greg Mailey to speak at your funeral because he will give “a grim elegy.”
  • If you accept a ride from Max Siegel, the sophomore offensive lineman will likely subject you to his “Eagles mix.” If football doesn’t work out, perhaps orthopaedics will. “I exam legs.”
  • If sophomore defensive back TaRiq Bracy toured the Middle East, he’d surely do “Iraq by cart.”
  • Junior safety Patrick Pelini was the first of three children. So, for a while, he was the “principal tike.”
  • If you take Shaun Crawford apple picking, the graduate defensive back is likely to tell you, “Orchard was fun.” He may also educate you about illegal despots — “Fraud has crown” — or warn you about that used car you’re buying: “Car fraud shown.”
  • They didn’t let junior linebacker Drew White play quarterback after a while. Why? Too many times, he “threw wide.”
  • If Michael Vinson orders a potato with sour cream, don’t be surprised if the sophomore long snapper requests “nominal chives.”
  • If your local financial institution burns down, Aaron Banks may be a suspect. The junior offensive lineman can rearrange his name to “a bank arson.”
  • Sophomore defensive back Houston Griffith: “Fishing foot hurt” or “shifting hut roof”
  • Junior defensive back Avery Davis: “A savvy ride.”
  • Sophomore defensive back Derrik Allen: “A nerd killer.”
  • Senior cornerback Donte Vaughn: “Handgun veto,” “handgun vote” or “nude Goth van”
  • Junior wide receiver Isaiah Robertson: “A historian’s bore” or “Boo, raisin haters!”
  • Sophomore running back C’Bo Flemister: “Climbs to reef,” “becomes flirt”
  • Graduate linebacker Asmar Bilal: “Arm is a ball.”
  • Senior cornerback Temitope Agoro: “Irate poem to go.”
  • Sophomore wide receiver Matt Salerno: “Alas! Torment.” or “Alarm not set.”
  • Senior cornerback/wide receiver Brandon Garcia: “An adoring crab.”
  • Junior offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons: “A blinding slob.”
  • Sophomore offensive lineman Cole Mabry: “Creamy lob.”
  • Freshman offensive lineman Andrew Kristofic: “If cowards tinker...”

And finally, senior defensive lineman Ade Ogundeji: “Judge no idea.”

Leave your favorites in the comments below or suggest a good one I missed.

(*Xavier Lezynski)