Notre Dame beat Navy on Saturday, to no one's surprise. As usual, the Middies played hard for 60 minutes. Unusually -- until this season, that is -- Notre Dame played hard for 60 minutes as well. And that's really been the biggest difference from last year to this: every guy on the field gives his all on every play. That's been the second most pleasant change from the previous regime.
The most pleasant change has been the emergence of Maurice Stovall as the wide receiver everyone thought he could be. The past three years, he'd show a flash of brilliance, then disappear for games at a stretch. This year, he has performed at a high level in every single game. With dramatically improved hands and a leaner frame (Coach Weis reportedly told Maurice to lose weight, saying "I want to be the only fat guy."), Maurice has 50 catches for 796 yards and 9 TDs. He can score in the red zone, like he did against BYU on the short hitch-'n-go. He can score long, like he did against Tennessee on the skinny post. He can run short outs, hitches and screens to move the chains. The guy blocks like a demon downfield. Finally, he's young: Maurice won't turn 21 years old until after the season (and, notably, after he graduates -- I think Maurice is on track to graduate in December). Maurice is a complete receiver now, and I hope NFL scouts have noticed.