October 24, 2011 // Notre Dame Football

Another Golden Opportunity Lost

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The stage was set for Notre Dame to make a statement on Saturday night. Unfortunately the statement they made was that they aren't quite ready for prime time. (Photo / IconSMI)

All weekend long I had this seeping suspicion we were going to be in for a letdown and the reason I felt this way was simple.  Every time over the last decade or so when it has appeared as though Notre Dame was about to turn the corner and get this program back on track, they squander a golden opportunity to do so and Saturday’s crushing loss was no different.

The stars had aligned for Notre Dame this weekend.  First night game in Notre Dame Stadium in 20+ years. Check.  Brand new helmets that looked amazing from the stands.  Yup.  Largest recruiting weekend possibly ever with almost 50 juniors and seniors on campus.  You betcha.  Being a 9.5 point favorite over arch rival USC for the first time in 15 years.  Yes sir.  Music over the sound system for the first time?  Yup, we had that too.

Everything was aligned for Notre Dame this weekend and just as has become the case over the last 10-15 years, Lucy pulled the football away just as we ran up to kick it.

Ugh.

As everything played out last night, I sat in the stands and questioned why I was surprised, and why I let myself believe I was just being paranoid all week and that we would come out and take care of business, collect a number of verbal commitments, and call it a weekend.

We’ve all seen this story before.  Charlie Weis had a number of opportunities where it looked like he was about to turn it all around.  The last of which came two years ago – the last time USC came to town.  In Pete Carroll’s final season in charge of the Trojans, USC came to town and faced a 4-1 Notre Dame team coming off of a bye with a lot of top recruits in town.  A win that weekend would have ended USC’s then 7 game winning streak and pushed the Irish into the top 25 in front of a lot of talent recruits.

That Saturday we came up a few yards and few seconds too short and were left wondering what if as the clock read 0:00 while the scoreboard still showed we had one timeout remaining.

This was the first such game for Brian Kelly so it’s still too early to know if he will suffer the same fate as Weis or if he will indeed turn it around.  In 2009, Notre Dame didn’t respond well after losing to USC and would only win two more games the entire season resulting in the firing of Weis and the hiring of Kelly.

Should Notre Dame head down that same path again, then it might not be too early to know if Kelly will follow in Weis’s footsteps or finally be the coach that puts Notre Dame back amongst the nation’s elite programs.

While Kelly and Notre Dame squandered a golden opportunity, they can’t worry about it anymore because next weekend now becomes the first must win game of the Brian Kelly Era.  Last year Navy embarrassed Notre Dame in the Meadowlands.  A similar outcome this year is one that Kelly just might be able to recover from.  Simply put, Notre Dame has to win next weekend and has to do so comfortably.

Notre Dame will have more opportunities to turn this thing around – maybe even this year if the offense can reduce the turnovers over the next few weeks and head into Palo Alto without losing another game in between.  Based on the performance Stanford put together on Saturday compared to what Kelly and Notre Dame were able to produce the notion of even being competitive in that contest might sound far fetched right now, but at this time last year who would have ever thought Notre Dame would ended the season with wins over Utah, USC, and Miami?

Until Notre Dame finds itself in another situation like Saturday where they have a chance for a signature win though, the Irish and Brian Kelly will be left just answering a bunch of what ifs.  What if they had played like the 9.5 point favorite they were on Saturday?  What if Dayne Crist cleanly handled the snap at the goal-line and the Irish punched it into the end zone at the end of the 3rd quarter?  What if Cierre Wood cleanly handled Tommy Rees’s lateral pass in the 4th?

Unfortunately this is a situation Notre Dame has found itself in far too many times in recent memory.  Kelly and the Irish will have four more weeks to clean things up and based on what we saw against USC, they will need every minute of practice in those four weeks to put themselves in a position for that Stanford game to have be another opportunity to make a statement – the type of statement they want to make anyway.

Comments to this Article

  • ED commented on October 24th, 2011 at 12:20 am

    A U.S.C. player after the game said,” they just quit.”Our opponents don’t even respect us. This is on Kelly and his staff-and let’s not forget the guy who hired him,the all knowing Mr.Swarbrick.

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    ballgame3cc replied on October 24th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Yea lets not forget that USC player one fumbled snap on the 1 yd line away from losing that game. And can you explain how USC has lost any scholarships they have a top 10 recruiting class every year unless they are taking scholarships away when kids are seniors they haven’t been penalized at all.

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    qb replied on October 25th, 2011 at 12:53 am

    thats true scholarship penalties start next year

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    Shazamrock replied on October 25th, 2011 at 8:37 am

    “At the end there, when they didn’t call those timeouts, they just quit,” USC linebacker Chris Galippo said Saturday. “And that’s what Notre Dame football’s about. They’re not anything like USC.”

    (This from a guy who is the leader of a defense that ranks outside of the top 50 in every statistical category. What a douche nozzle!)

    I saw Louis Nix bust through near the end of the game and dump their running back for a 3 yard loss. Didn’t appear like nix was quitting to me.

    But ol Lippo is right about one thing… ND , thank God, are not anything like USC.

    None of our coaches, administration, or players have ever disgraced the university, or our history and tradition.

    Remember, USC gets to sit home for the holidays and watch the bowl games. (But the LIP won’t mention that.)

    They get to pay the price for their fellow Trojans and their long list of transgressions.

    They make up fake classes so the dummies on the team are almost assured to play.

    And they are taught that it is acceptable to sell your integrity in the name of football wins, and to sell out on your team
    mates for your own personal gain.

    And if the cheaters should get caught, well, just play stupid and say you had no idea what was going on. Only USC would think
    the rest of us are as stupid as them, and we might actually believe it if they say it enough times, because as we all know, academics and what is in
    the best interests of the student athlete, never is very high on their agenda anyway.

    That, my friends, is what USC football is all about!

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    BobR replied on October 27th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Well, we did just quit. Not the defense, they never quit. The offense quit. As soon as we were about to pull even and Crist started hearing steps and dropped the ball, we quit. The way we quit, the way we always quit, is to find a way to lose the ball. We don’t believe in ourselves. We believe that when the rubber hits the road, we’re going to find a way to lose. Until we change that, we’re going to find a way to lose.

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  • JC commented on October 24th, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Frank,

    Your absoulty right, practice time should be a high priority for this team in the next four weeks. The bye week was certainly squandered!

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  • Shazamrock commented on October 24th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Every team has it’s own personality.

    This team doesn’t seem like it wants to be favored in a game.
    They seem to play their best football when their backs are (unfortunetly) agianst the wall.

    I agreed with Kelly’s decision, at the time, to give his players a week off following the Air Force game. Given the difficulty of the early schedule, along with the academic demands at this time of year of a ND student athelete, I thought the time off was a smart move.

    Now it appears that the coaches must continously work with the players everyday, or risk a let up in intensity.

    In last years USC game, ND was more physical at the point of attack on both sides of the ball. We did it last year. We know that we can be the more physical of the two teams. Yet we failed to meet USC’s physicalness and intensity to start the game.

    I like coach Kelly. He is a real college football coach who has been in the business for 20 years.(something we haven’t had here in a long time) He is only half way through his second sseason. Still too early for me to start making any snap juddgments.

    But I do find myself scratching my head for time to time on some of the coaching decisions being made.
    Rees has taken the majority of the snaps at QB. Hendrix saw significant playing time in our previous game agianst Air Force, and was in on a number of plays Saturday night agianst USC.

    He has played well with the time given to him.
    So, in a second half, goal line situation, where your freshmen QB came very close to scoring the tying TD on the previous play, you pull him for a QB who hasn’t played since the Purdue game???

    I just don’t get it. Line up, run the option with Hendrix, push USC off the line, score, and get the growd into it.

    I really hate to say this, but give Lou Holtz and extra week to prepare for a big game, and you will see a new wrinkle or two in the game.

    ND was way too predictiable on both sides of the ball, and lacked big game intensity.

    The one area that I thought we would struggle in was special teams play, and we actually did pretty well, so I will give them that.

    Better work on the run defense this week because you know Navy was watching and licking their chops.

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    BobR replied on October 27th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Our backs were against the wall when we were on the 2 yard line, and the quarterback fumbled the snap in such a way as to give up an easy touchdown the other way. So sorry, Shazamrock, but it looks to me that we seem to play our WORST football when our backs are against the wall, so long as the offense is on the field.

    We started with South Florida. We had something to prove, so our backs were against the wall. Started a nice drive against a weaker team, fumbled the ball on the 4 yard line for a touchdown the other way. With a little more work, we proved that we could find a way to lose to an inferior team. Then we played Michigan. They showed for the second year in a row what they could do when their backs were against the wall. Then we got ahead against a very good MSU team, and never looked back. No back against the wall there; we played like the good team we are. Nor at Pitt; we managed to (barely) hang onto a lead with good management. The next two games, same thing.

    Now comes USC. Our backs are against the wall, down 2 td’s. Defense has played great, special teams have scored one, offense has driven to the 2 yard line. We’re about to tie up the game, we collapse. That’s Notre Dame right now; the team that folds under pressure. The offense folds, and everyone else may as well go home.

    I hate to admit it, but the USC guy is right. Once we decided that we couldn’t handle the pressure, we quit. However, he’s wrong when he says that’s what Notre Dame football is all about. At least, it didn’t use to be.

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  • Bj commented on October 24th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Its become a pathetic joke. Fire swarbrick, fire kelly, fire diaco-who gives up 25 to 30 pts a game, and while you are at it fire father jenkins, gold chains around their necks, tattoos, lou holtz must cry himself to sleep.

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  • C-Dog commented on October 24th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    As Kirk Cousins says, it is a priviledge to play college football. And Notre Dame is THE place. However, once there it’s time to get down to work. Players should consider wanting to play at their peek week in and week out. That should be the case EVEN if all Notre Dame had was a weed infested vacant lot. Players should not consider the awe of playing in front of the crowds, unless that fuels focus and determination.

    On that field you and your 10 teamates are defending HER honor. That’s it. That’s all you need. Be prepated. Be focused. Play at your peak. Play like a Champion.

    Saturday night’s team reminded me of 1985. They looked like a talented Jerry Faust team that you knew should have played better. Maybe that’s the step forward this season. We’ve finally turned the corner and circled back around to having a fully loaded team that needs more discipline and leadership. At least the destruction of the program caused by Davie/Willingham is finally at an end. And perhaps it took till now because Weis didn’t know about linemen or defense.

    So Kelly has to live with a team in it’s last Faustlike year. He has to be in Holtz’s shoes with that team and get them to keep their feet on the floor and eyes on him.

    USC insulted us, but the challenge is set. As pissed off by those comments as I am, there was a lot of truth in them. The Irish let themselves down Saturday night. So now it’s up to the team to respond. Until there is a commitment to excellence everyday as a culture, there will be no significant win streaks. They need to understand that the winning is a by product of the commitment to excellence.

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  • Pete commented on October 24th, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I see 2 big problems with this team. 1- Kelly just does not have an expierenced dual threat big talented quarterback to effectively run this spread attack. I also think he has compounded the problem the way he has handled these quarterbacks. Switching all the time just doesn’t work. Neither does naming and changing who is the backup, third stringer. Problem number 2 – Bob Diaco- Defensive coordinator. Way too passive, no in game or halftime adjustments, poor scheme- no press coverages, no blitz packages. Michigan State has a much better defense than Notre Dame with in my opinion less talent. Its just their d coordinator is much better than Diaco.

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    Sean replied on October 25th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Nailed it. Everything else is secondary.

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  • C-Dog commented on October 24th, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Diaco is a quistion mark in my book. He’s still learning a lot for D-1 ball.

    But the greater problem is leadership. They need to develop it. This year is now for entertainment for us fans and now a building block for the players. It will show only if the team plays sharp next September.

    I do think they can finish out with 4 more wins. Showing their best against Stanford, win or lose would go a long way. These kids need to reach their potential, both physically and mentally. Let’s see a great performance against a good to great team. Actually let’s make great performances a standard rather than a surprise.

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  • Evan commented on October 24th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    maybe urban meyer gets his ‘dream job’ this winter ?

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    storespook replied on October 24th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Very doubtful. His diss back in 2005 when he had an opportunity to come to ND but went to FU pissed off a lot of “influential” folks and I don’t think he would want to come ND because he can’t win like he did at previous stints. Would love to see him as a coach, but, doubtful it will be at ND. Just my opinion.

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  • Shazamrock commented on October 24th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Diaco.. we will find out this Saturday just how much he has learned.

    His defensive game plan for Navy last year was just so far off base I had a hard time believing it. He also had no answers at half time, so no adjustments were made that I could see.

    He has had a whole year to think about it.
    There is plenty of film on Navy. We play them every year. All you have to do is watch film to figure out what works and what doesn’t. (like a 3 man defensive line)

    On the plus side, he now has Cwynar and Nix in the middle to stop fullback Alexander Teich (Last year at this time I could not have told you the name of the Navy fullback!)

    On the minus side, it looks like our starting Senior defensive ends (KLM & Ethan Johnson) could very well both be out for this game.
    That leaves containing the option to our freshmen Lynch and Tuitt.
    (Diaco better find some help for those guys or they will be out of gas by the third quarter.)

    On the plus side, Lynch got a lot of playing time agianst Air Force.

    On the minus side, he didn’t have a very good first game defending the option.

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    storespook replied on October 24th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    And, Navy’s option version is executed better than AF or Army’s version, in my opinion, so yeah Diaco better be prepared. He regressed against AF as compared to the Army game last year in defending the flexbone/triple option. Losing to Navy again would be soooooooo woefullll.

    Go ND

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    C-Dog replied on October 24th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Diaco better dial up the 4-4. That’s what buttoned up Army last year. They never tried to gameplan a defense for Air Force, so I don’t think that game is a good indicator. However, it would be stupid and arrogant for the Irish not to put in the 4-4 defense for Navy.

    I am more worried about the leadership of this team. The coaching leadership and the player leadership. Frankly it looked like the team was more concerned about the look of the new golden helmets than focused on playing the game.

    Coaches and player captains remind the team to stay focused. None of that happened and that is a deep concern to me.

    The Notre Dame campus atmosphere seems pretty tame these days. Almost to PC, or feminized. I can’t imagine being allowed to yell some of the stuff we yelled from the stands these days. I hope that limp wristed, milk and cookies culture hasn’t rubbed off on the team. They need to be disciplined, but darn it, go out a slug somebody. A fifteen yard penalty because you drilled a receiveer while trying to time a hit is a good way to put fear into the mind of your opponent. Barry Alvarez’s defenses used to do that.

    Well, I’ll check in on the Navy game in the 2nd half for a few minutes, maybe longer if it looks worth it. This team needs to prove to itself that it’s worth any press clippings or viewership. They can only measure themselves as men by taking care of every game up to Stanford and by playing Stanford competitively.

    Leadership and excellence are proving everyday and every play.

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  • Chris commented on October 24th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Other than not calling hardly any run plays, this one is on the players. They were so poorly disciplined and in my opinion, too hyped up for the game. Twice we had what appeared to be a sack on Barkley for losses of 15 yards each time, he gives a little pump fake, our linebacker leaves his feet and Barkley scrambles for first downs…are you kidding me!? This kind of crap drives me insane. Calobrese after the 3rd down stop getting that stupid unsportsmanlike conduct play…what was that!? Crist fumbling a snap at the 1 leading to ANOTHER 99 TD return by our oppenent. I feel like it’s some sort of curse or something. Our players CAN’T be this bad. So many bad things happening this year, I just don’t understand it.

    Our coaches are getting the job done. I really don’t feel like any of this season’s losses are on the coaches whatsoever.

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  • marcos kriegeros commented on October 24th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    all the tatoos are naueseating…ND should set a great example to the NCAA by barring all tatoos.In the meantime, ND football has been a huge disappointment the last two decades, and fans are way past due for nothing less than a national championship. What is wrong with this program?

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    djl236 replied on October 25th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Really? This is probably the dumbest and most unproductive comment on the board. Tattoos are not the biggest problem this team has. Who cares if the players have ink? Its 2011, not 1955.

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  • marcos kriegeros commented on October 24th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    two 99 yard fumble recoveries in one season ran back for TD’s against ND? That alone equates to a swing of 28 points..has that ever happened before? it is almost like this team is cursed. This team has had no breaks this year, only very very bad luck..we would be undefeated if our turnover differential were reversed.

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    BobR replied on October 27th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I don’t see that as bad luck. Crist lost his nerve and started to run before he had the ball.

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  • Irishjokes commented on October 24th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I am flat out p(#*sed. This is all on Kelly. From the week off to game day decisions. His philosophy on how to game should be played does not fit into the team he has, or the schedules notre dame plays in general. Its simple numbers. 44 pass attempts and 14 run attempts. Match that to the time of possession and your going to LOSE EVERY GAME againts even barely decent opponents. 14 run attempts and your only touchdown is on a run. Get a clue. To top it off, Reese isn’t a spread QB as we saw saturday, he hurt his knee simply moving 2 feet left and right in the pocket. Kelly doesn’t get it and I have a feeling this is gonna be Notre Dames fate for the next few years. Looking back at his reign in Cinci, this all should have been obvious.

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  • jack commented on October 24th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I sit and look at the posts on this site and remember the posts the last same time two years ago when CW was the coach. All I heard was we need to get Kelly. Kelly will turn around the program. Kelly is a proven winner. Now, two years later all I hear is how horrible Kelly is, how he can’t call a game, and how the team is not prepared. The fan base needs to realize this isn’t the 70′s and Ara isn’t the coach. You can’t sell a kid that he will be on TV every week when Boise State is on just as much. Brian Kelly needs to at least last out his contract to see if he can turn it around. Rome was not built in a day and this program has been crap for over ten years. A good year here and there but nothing like 88 – 93. ND has to let a coach figure out the culture of ND and how to win at ND. Urban Meyer is not the answer, BK is the right guy we have to give him a shot and two years isn’t enough body of work to make a decision on canning him.

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    Irishjokes replied on October 24th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I dont say can him. The guy is not a complete idiot. He has to change is mindset on how football is played. He believes the ball is to be thrown. All and dandy if you are still willing to run the ball. This concept hasn’t changed in the lifetime of football. He deserves this critisism with 4 seniors on the offensive line and 2 up and coming running backs. Come around the corner and put a pro style offensive around tommy reese. Under center. Able to hand the ball off rather than draw plays. Becuase he cant run and kelly should adapt to what he has and stop playing a mix and match game. CW was a genius on the offensive side of the ball but was fire for not completing the package. Notre dame had young players and no defense.
    And wouldnt you know it, when Kelly was forced to run the ball at the end of last year bc christe was hurt, they won. Kelly is standing in this TEAMS way

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    fxm replied on October 24th, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Ok, but why does he run the ball 9 times and pass it 43? He has won 1 game since arriving when we threw it over 35 times. He runs the spread and has the mummy playing QB. I was real hopeful but I like the way his predecessor at Cincy coached a lot better than he does.

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    Jack replied on October 26th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Exactly Right! Time is the answer. Kelly still doesn’t have the players he needs. Our corners and safeties are just adequate although Smith is a decent player, our other safties are totally inadequate. The front seven will be awesome next year…keep in mind this is only the second year of the 3-4 defense.

    I honestly don’t think that Rees is the answer…he makes soooooo many mistakes, but I keep reminding myself that he’s played in about 10 games, so after this year, he’ll be awesome.

    One thing I was surprised in is that we totally abondoned the run game. Where was Gray?

    I predict either next year on the year after that ND will be playing in the BCS championship game. WRITE IT DOWN!!!

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  • jamie commented on October 24th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I hate to say this. I personally do not see this team ever doing anything again until they join some kind of a conference. If they joined a conference the could get 4 east wins to start the season. Build there confidence. Work out all of there problems against easier teams. Right now the problem in my opioin is. 1. NOTRE DAME DOES NOT HAVE ANY SPEED. especially on defense. But let’s face it when michael floyd graduates, what do we have at wr? riddick that kid is a clown. T.J. JONES? sure glad the great savior of this football program let. shaq evens go . by the way where is deion walker at? Time for kelly to realize that rees is a joke. crist hast to left feet and a thumb. Play hendrex and golston there are only hope.We have no qb. can’t win with those 2 clowns as are qb’s!

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    John1985 replied on October 25th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    The shots at Crist are really stupid. The kid hasn’t been given much more than 1/2 of a game to play and he’s a clown. I say give him the ball for the rest of the season. Play a balanced offense and pound the ball more. If he plays great, bring him back. If he doesn’t, let him go, but give him at least the same chance as Rees has had. Hendrix isn’t ready or he’d be starting. Golson isn’t ready either or he’d be playing.

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    BobR replied on October 27th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I’ve heard the conference thing before. ND can play anyone they want, pretty much. So what’s the advantage of joining a conference?

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  • Chuck commented on October 24th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    The rebuilding is more complex than putting players in place and developing their physical talents. It includes thet psyche that’s been handed down from player to player through the years. This is the losing psyche, which takes very long to replace with a winning psyche. It’s done in the practice field AND in genuine game situations…that’s why it takes so long.

    Brian Kelly is the correct coach for ND at this time. Things are developing in the right direction, and we will have glitches like the one with USC two days ago.
    Back to the practice field it is, and to work for next weekend’s game.

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  • Ron commented on October 24th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    The offense, we all know centers around the QB. We need help in that area. What bothers me the most is our defense. All off season we were told how the quality and depth is on the defensive line. We have talent AND experience. Wow! USC shoves the ball right down our throat in the first quarter and game was over. I thought Teo was supposed to be an all american. Where’s Fleming who some said was going to have the year of his life. Where’s Harrison Smith! We have no impact players.

    I agree with C-Dog Diaco is very shakey. Our two corners were supposed to be on the verge of all american. Gary Gray cannot even find his own feet. Who can strip the ball! Who can come up with interceptions! Who can create turnovers?

    Our two corners play 10 yards off the ball. C-mon. Who can make some jarring tackles? No one.

    I can already hear the excuses for next year when we have a few people graduate or move on. That’s all this is now. Excuses, excuses,excuses. The schedule gets tougher next year so more excuses.

    I think BK is ok for now but I believe he better seriously look at a few of his assistants mainly Diaco.

    How many years must this go on?

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  • Josh commented on October 25th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    anyone that says “go get urban meyer” doesnt have a damn clue about anything

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  • cm commented on October 25th, 2011 at 1:57 am

    ’88 – ’93, one of the best runs ever in college football
    Only a phantom clip here and a couple plays there prevented three titles

    They’ll come back but they have to play smash mouth, you have to be the more physical team. You can win doing dive right, dive left that way.

    Next year’s schedule is brutal so Kelly better get it together. Don’t rant at players on the sidelines. You could feel the intensity USC had. Let ‘em play loose.

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  • Fred M commented on October 25th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    It’s the same old crap! If we beat Navy it will be a bigger miracle than Fatima! I look for the same for the rest of the season, Kelly says after every game “We are a better team than that” “Any time you beat a team like air force your fortunate”. I say pack it up and give Hendrix a chance Not this changing QB’s crap! Tommy Turnover stinks, he can’t throw a fade. I cant figure out why they even call one. I mean how many times do they have to call it before they find out what everyubody eles knows. He runs around back there like he sees somthing and tries to change the play I haven’t seen it work yet. There is no consistency at all. Keeping the red shirt on the other QB, I can’t even remember his name is BS Kellys job should be limited to developing a QB or next year it will be the same old crap!

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  • fxm commented on October 25th, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that if Dayne doesn’t fumble the outcome is different. They had the ball for 40 minutes to our 20, they had 443 yards to our 267, 0 turnovers to our 3, we had twice as many penalties, all on our home field. If we won that game it would’ve been a theft, this is not like Michigan, we were manhandled. And even if we tied it they were going to waltz down the field all night, 5 yards per rush and 6 per pass attempt. Even though we beat them, I am jealous of the ball that Sparty plays.

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    storespook replied on October 26th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Yeah, FXM, I agree. As much as I hate to acknowledge it, ND got it’s ass handed to them by SC. It could have been worse. Now, it’s time to prepare for Navy and not let a repeat from last year occur.

    Go Irish.

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  • jack commented on October 26th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    FXM,
    I agree with your analysis, but as bad as those stats were they were still in the game. They played the worst game of the year against SC and still were only down 7 in the 3rd. That says something about how much better this team us. BK needs to understand this team doesn’t perform well under the glare. He needs to not make big deals out of games and get them to relax. They play to tight in games like this.

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  • Shazamrock commented on October 26th, 2011 at 8:51 am

    ND vs NAVY

    Just A few interesting items
    Make what you will of them

    Navy, after opening the season with 2 wins and putting up 40 points on both Delaware and W.Kentucky, havelost their next 5 in a row.

    In that stretch they lost to So.Carolina by 3, Air Force by 1, and Rutgers by 1.

    Southern Miss. Put up 63 on Navy and opened the scoring by blocking a field goal attempt and returning it 79 yards for a TD

    Air Force closed out Navy’s scoring in their overtime game by blocking the extra point and winning by 1.

    The Navy fullback (Alexander Teich) who gashed us last year, has 1, 47 yard pass completion to his credit.

    Navy has 1 player that weighs at least 300lbs. Notre Dame has 13.

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  • jack commented on October 26th, 2011 at 10:47 am

    One other thing I think we are all missing on this site, is the fact that players lose and win games. These players need to step up. You can prepare them all week long, have the greatest game plan of all time, but if the players don’t execute it’s not the coaches fault. The problem here is BK’s go as the QB goes. I see no leadership on offense and none on Defense. Look at the great teams under Holtz. The 88 championship team had Zorich on defense and Rice on offense. Zorich wouldn’t put up with the BS that went on in the first quarter. He would have gotten in peoples faces and pushed the envelope. I don’t see a leader on this team. Teo is not that type of guy, neither is Smith. The only one I see with the fire to push this defense is Calabrese. I need to see some emotion from this team. I need to see some fight from this team. BK can preach it but these players need to live and breath it. Robert Hughes and Brian Smith stepped up last year and led this team. Who will it be this year. Talent is there they just look like they are looking for a leader from the players.

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    T replied on October 26th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Calabrese might have fire but he is far from a leader. His taunting penalty might rank up there with one of the most pathetic displays I’ve seen from an ND player. He acted a fool despite not even being remotely responsible for the incomplete pass. Kelly should bench his butt for the entire Navy game. Holtz would have drug him off the field by his facemask and made him earn his spot back on the field. I hope Kelly does the same. Leadership can be a learned skill and ND needs to start teaching it.

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  • Michael Merritt commented on October 26th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Despite the terrible turnovers by Notre Dame, this game was won and lost by both team’s running games. USC’s offensive line dominated Notre Dame’s defensive line. This is the second straight terrible outing by Notre Dame’s defensive line. Notre Dame’s linebackers were awful as well. The Notre Dame fans are fooling themselves by thinking this is a good run defense. It is not. Air Force rushed for 363 yards against Notre Dame. According to my statistics, Notre Dame’s defense allowed 7 rushing first downs in the 1st half, and 7 rushing first downs in the second half against USC. That is the ball game!

    Over the last four games, I finally thought Brian Kelly learned what Nick Saban and Les Miles already know, effectively rush the football, and win football games. Unfortunately, I was wrong about Brian Kelly. Notre Dame won their four previous games demonstrating a very good rushing offense. Brian Kelly completely abandoned the running game against USC. Notre Dame’s offensive line won the battle with USC’s defensive line, but Brian Kelly’s play calling took the running game completely out of the game plan. That is why the SEC continues to win National Championships. Teams do not win championships with pass happy offenses, they win championships by winning the line of scrimmage, and running the football. Look at what has turned Stanford into a formidable team. They are not loaded with great talent, but they win the line of scrimmage and rush the football. The same formula is winning championships now that won championships 20, 30, 40 years ago, winning the line of scrimmage and rushing the football. This Notre Dame loss is disappointing on so many levels that I just cannot articulate it.

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  • IrishChan commented on October 27th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    In my eyes there are many many problems with this team.

    1. QB – Reese is a bandaid & getting the job done (somwhat) to the best of his athletic abilities. I love the kid because of his willingness to go in and give it his best. However, he is NOT the qb of ND’s Spread Offenseive future. Hendricks is close but still not what we need. He’s not a Teabow, Vince Young, Terrel Pryor elite QB that we need.

    2. Elite Talent – Yes, we have some highly recruitid talent on the team. Teo, Flyod, Lynch and that’s great. But I agree with Kirk Herbstreet that we need to see that kind of talent at nearly EVERY position. We may not need that kind of talent two and three deep but we need to get more big time kids on campus. The SEC school recognize this and it’s evident when watching their games. Their defenseive players look like NFL players. YES that makes a difference in the game. I understand that Kelly is trying his hardest to bring them in because we need more of them. We see the difference when we play teams like USC who have that kind of talent.

    3. Defensive front seven (depth) – We started the year with some elite depth but we are now bone dry. We’ll have freshman defending the most productive option football team in the country. I’m aware Kelly has only had two recruiting classes and he’s working on the problem. He has his eyes on bringing more of these elite bodies into South Bend. It can’t happen soon enough. The Linebacking Corp needs to find more players like Teo (who plays far too many snaps because of lack of depth) and spread them around. We have some young talent who will develop into great players (Shembo, Williams) but we many, many more of the same time of kids.

    3. defensive back field talent – My word I was really excited at the beginning of the season about these guys. Kelly is building a great DB class… pray, saccrifice, wish, & cross your fingers for an elite safety in this group. (Forgetting the kids name out of Cali who is considering)

    4. abandoning the run – This is really a two part problem. One because we never attack the field vertically the defense is going to creep up to take away the short passing attempts. Thus also hurting the run game because the D is closer to the ball at the start of the play. That being said…. Kelly hasn’t given the offensive line and backs the chance to take over the game by attacking the defensive front seven. Give them the chance to build some “swagga”! Running the ball 14 times in a game is NUTS!

    For all the problems I still feel we are better as a unit at this point this years as opposed to this time last year! The athletes need more time and the coaching staff MUST bring in more elite talent and fill the rest of the spots with good talent. We are trending up but we still have a way to go before we are a 1-2 loss team. Forget about championships for the time being. Lets get the talent to at least compete with the SEC schools. Even if we manage to get to a BCS Championship in the next 2 years does anyone really think we can compete with Bama? I do not! If we get the talent to start looking our way we will be able to at some point.

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    storespook replied on October 27th, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Nice observations

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