Shenanigans

Coach Layden and famous comedian Will Rodgers.

Shenanigans will feature a couple of humorous stories about the “Cliffhanger Coach.”

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Elmer Layden, after looking over the statistics for the 1935 season: “The fumble was our best play.”

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One Monday when Coach Layden was showing the team the movies from that week’s game, he gave the regulars hell for their spiritless play. At the point where Bob Dove's missed tackles were about to be shown, Layden said, "I want you to watch this next play." Dove, knowing what was coming, sank as low in his seat as he could. Layden went on, "I want you to watch this next play. Put it on slow and I want you to see something. There is a sophomore out there playing and I want you to notice something. Who was the first man to come downfield and miss Johnny Bosch? I want you to notice on the five-yard line-who was the last man to miss him? The same sophomore." Layden looked at Dove and said, "Dove, when we go out on the field this afternoon, you start on the first team."

The following week the South Bend Tribune reported that Dove was the first sophomore to start a game for a Notre Dame team in 11 years. Dove smiles when he recalls that he made the first team by missing two tackles on the same play. Dove started the rest of the games that year.

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At the 1936 Army – Notre Dame game:

When the Notre Dame team was dashing through the tunnels in the catacombs of Yankee Stadium for the pre-game warm-up, Captain Johnny Lautar led the way. Suddenly, Lautar banged his head against an overhanging steel beam and was knocked cold!

Larry Danbom was right at Johnny's heels and the big fullback had to step over his prone teammate to get through the dugout. The whole team had to step over him, and "Scrapiron" Young, the trainer, rushed up to work on the unconscious captain.

(As a precautionary measure, ever after that accident the Irish wore their helmets leaving the locker room at the Stadium, and guards were posted to remind the players to duck their heads as they trooped out into the arena.)

Fully conscious but still a little wobbly, Johnny Lautar greeted Woody Stromberg, the West Point captain. The Soldier called and won the toss and elected to receive with the wind at his back.

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