October 2, 2013 // Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame at Critical Juncture

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Brian Kelly - Notre Dame Head Coach

Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly talks with referee Randy Christal in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners at Notre Dame Stadium. Oklahoma won 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Rees trotted off the field after Oklahoma safety Zack Sanchez forced a punt by knocking down a pass intended for Notre Dame sophomore Chris Brown to a rolling hymn of boos.  With less than six minutes to go in the game and its outcome solidified, Rees, had he looked toward the crowd, may have noticed its impending dilution as throngs of green shirts poured out of Notre Dame Stadium.  The incident was enough to spark a Twitter war between Notre Dame fans and former Irish defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, with Moore tweeting the Irish faithful needed to “check themselves” as well as proposing the ND football team reserve the post-game playing of the alma mater for the locker room rather than the fans.

If the Michigan State game provided inconclusive results as to what kind of season Notre Dame had in its future, Oklahoma supplied a dosage of reality and forced it down the Fighting Irish’s throats.

As the cliché goes, what a difference a year makes.

Notre Dame’s offense has descended from a potential concern to an outright problem.  In the past two weeks Irish quarterback Tommy Rees has completed 23 passes on 58 attempts for a completion percentage of 38.9.  He’s netted 246 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for a rancid quarterback rating of 48.5.  Despite the poor performance, pointing all fingers of blame toward Rees would be too simplistic, and Notre Dame’s offensive issues reside beyond the mere purview of the quarterback position.

On the third play of the game Irish All-American left tackle Zach Martin opted to double-team an Oklahoma defender with left guard Chris Watt, leaving a blitzing Sooner unaccounted for on Rees’ blindside and ultimately resulting in Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson returning an interception for a touchdown.  On the very next offensive play Rees threw a clean pass on a slant route to senior wide receiver and captain, T.J. Jones, who bobbled the ball into Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon’s waiting hands for yet another interception.  Three plays later, and three minutes into the contest, the score was 14-0 Oklahoma, a deficit the Fighting Irish would never erase.

The biggest issue with Notre Dame’s offense isn’t the turnovers, mistakes or inconsistent play – it’s the strong likelihood the offense is running at maximum capability.  Five games into the 2013 season, enough of a baseline has been established to get an accurate reading on where the offense’s performance level resides, and it simply isn’t good enough.  Notre Dame ranks 85th nationally in offensive scoring with 25.4 points per game, one spot below a USC squad that fired its head coach a few short days ago.  Total offensive production is even worse, with ND ranking 88th and averaging a mere 380 yards per game.

The problems afflicting Notre Dame’s offense aren’t new to Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly or offensive coordinator Church Martin.  The appearance of junior redshirt quarterback Andrew Hendrix in special packages is a testament to the coaching’s staff search for answers after Michigan State, one week prior, crowded rushing lanes against Notre Dame and forced a one-dimensional offense that simply could not be effectively countered without mobility and a strong arm at the quarterback position.

Hendrix played valiantly and chipped in a critical first down with his legs, but his presence has disadvantages.  At the start of the 2nd quarter and down 14-7, the Fighting Irish faced an important 3rd-and-2 opportunity.  A first down would be the difference between chipping away at Oklahoma’s lead or being forced to punt.  Notre Dame approached the line of scrimmage in the pistol formation with Hendrix at quarterback.  Running the read-option, Hendrix made the correct decision to keep the ball but was ultimately tackled when the optioned defensive end abandoned the halfback and targeted Hendrix.

The issue?  If the read-option is to be run effectively the quarterback needs to be a legitimate passing threat as well as a rushing risk.  Plugging in Rees to pass the ball and spelling him with Andrew Hendrix whenever a rushing play is needed is too predictable and serves as nothing more than a band-aid on a pestering wound.

The presence of Andrew Hendrix against Oklahoma on Saturday serves as evidence Kelly and Martin understand the status quo is not sustainable and that something must be done.  The defining moment moving forward is what that “something” will ultimately be.  How can Notre Dame win with a quarterback who, through no fault of his own, is limited physically in his ability to counter certain defensive schemes?  What can be done to rectify the situation when the second quarterback on the team depth chart has never been able to best Rees in a quarterback competition?  And finally, is it truly wise to throw a talented but unproven true freshman quarterback like Malik Zaire into the fire so soon into his collegiate career?

These are the questions Kelly and staff will have to answer while preparing for an Arizona State program fresh from hammering USC with 62-points, causing Trojan athletic director Pat Haden to fire head coach Lane Kiffin mid-season.

The answer they choose may be the difference between a season of success or one of survival.

Scott Janssen is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has authored several nationally-featured articles as well as co-founded a nationally-featured non-profit organization. In his spare time he takes his NCAA Football ’13 online dynasty way too seriously and alienates those around him by discussing football 24 hours a day. Scott can be reached at scottjanssenhp@gmail.com.

Comments to this Article

  • Rich commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Let me tell you something. I’ve been a ND fan forever and yes give Zaire a chance, freshman or not. He cannot possibly do as bad as Rees and Hendrix is not the answer. ND has long been reluctant to put freshman on the field, so why not start now? This could be the ideal time to give him a look. Arizona’s defense is not the best, far from it. Let the kid play, it’s obvious Rees is not capable of doing the job, right now. You have nothing to lose and what if Golson doesn’t make it back. Then next year you have to start a soph with no experience. How does that sound…not good I’ll tell you. Go Irish!

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    ChrisJ replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Dead on, Rich. Although if Golson does come back, and Zaire can get a Medical redshirt this year and another for not playing next year, it would be nice to have him for at least two years after Golson is gone.

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    cousinnap replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Just asking – has Hendrix ever been given a real chance to show what he can or cannot do – what goes on in practice to keep BK from giving him a serious try? – May have to go to Zaire – is he healthy enough – the effects of mono can hang on for a long time. It is evident all of TR’s limitations are showing – The Irish will not be able to defeat decent teams – this may include BYU – May need to go to the true freshman and live with it- at least he would be ready for next year. TR plays within his abilities but his limitations are showing more and more

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Has Luke Massa been given a fair chance?? Why not him??

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    jeff replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Why not Charlie Fiessinger. He has certainly paid his dues carrying the clip board.

    jeff replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Rich, It is very possible that Zaire can do worse than Rees and actually highly probable in my opinion. If we were to lose say 2 out of our next 3 and see our record fall to 4-4 due mostly to poor QB play than I would be on board with Hendrix and Zaire sharing the load the rest of the way. Actually Hendrix deserves it more than Zaire. Right now I just want to stay optimistic and hope for a big win against a very good ASU team. A win this Saturday would be a huge lift for this team a ease the frustration a bit on us fans.

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    Mary replied on October 4th, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Totally agree. Bring in Zaire.

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    KEVIN HURLEY replied on October 4th, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Agree 1,000%. Do not try and make something out of this year. Learn from mistakes: let Martin call the O; let Malik develop his freak; create next year’s bonds. PLAY IT FORWARD.

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  • Toulmin H. Brown commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Always play the talent you have available to you. Brian Kelly has a gift recruiting great athletic talent where ever he may roam. ND’s athletes/team should be undefeated even with Tommy Rees immobile style. Rees is accurate normally and hell even NFL quarterbacks make mistakes. aka B

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  • JDH commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:59 am

    THB your post is just a tad cray-cray. Just wow.

    Anyway, I did not know ND “fans” were booing Rees. They did the same thing last year in the Purdue game. VERY uncool. Talking about/criticizing him as a player on blogs is one thing. Booing and/or hurling obscenities (which according to one blog also occurred after the game) is not acceptable.

    If this is the case, then I STAND CORRECTED and withdraw my thoughts on continuing the Alma Mater and/or raising of the helmets.

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    Toulmin H. Brown replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I was unaware of the booing. I do fault the opening strategy vs OU on the staff not the execution. Why? Kids get nervous before a big game, the ND fan-base is relentless in pressuring these kids to excel, national TV coverage with future NFL careers hanging in the balance & BSC Bowl implications all hanging in the balance……translation: Establish team momentum then throw the ball. In fairness to OU’s coaches the insertion of Mike Stoops appears to have reinvigorated OU as a team of BCS caliber possibilities. I apologize if “cray-cray” is another slang expression for boring, unimaginative or repetitive.

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    Pachuco replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    No, the fans were booing Kelly and Co. for ending the game the way they did. The fans were NOT booing Rees.

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  • Jack commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    First of all, how many true freshman QB’s are successful, not many. Quinn and Clausen were horrible as freshman. Johnny football was a redshirt freshman.

    Second, no one ever allows Hendrix to get into a groove throwiing the football. He has a stronger arm than Reese but is inaccurate. He can extend plays with his legs better than Reese and add the dimension needed to run the full playbook. I am not a fan of a two QB system, it usually never works. If you are going to go to Hendrix in packages go to him all the time. The kid is a senior and if Golson comes back, with Ziare and the recruit there is no reason to keep him on scholarship for a fifth year. Regardless if you run the table this year I do not see any BCS game so put Hendrix in and see what you get.

    Third, let all hang out. Get to the line of scrimmage and run a play. Instead of Tommy audibling for 15 seconds get up run a play, go face tempo and see if teams can handle it.

    Either way we are not going to see solely Hendrix. It fascinates me that we always here how people are trying to learn Bk’s complicated offense. He claims Hendrix, a pre-med major can’t pick it up. After a while a good coach can translate his system. Look at Saben, no one runs a more complicated defense than him. I never hear how the players don’t understand. It is time for Kelly to realize teams have figured out Tommy and the offense and let it all hang out.

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  • JC commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Outstanding Post Scott,

    Fair and balanced as some would say here (just kidding Shaz). I am worried this is going to turn into another CW train wreck. BK has done some great things and not so great. You are 100% correct this is definitely a critical juncture for BK and the program. Zaire is my 1st choice, however, I will definitely yield to BK’s choice. Shaz is certainly right, it is without question BK’s choice to make. Yet, BK’s future does indeed depend on his choices. I hope we dominate ASU! Again, great post!

    GooooooIrish!

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  • Green Day commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Attention 4 and 5 Star QB recruits. Do not enroll early at ND and expect to play period your freshman year. In fact, you should probably enroll in a different program all together. ND’s QB situation is a mess under Kelly. Actually everything is a mess right now. I get it, it’s just not Rees. There are many other factors on both sides of the ball. But what a waste of receivers and running backs. So why not start grooming Zaire now?? Yeah he is not the savior right now and it may not improve anything team wise, but get him some reps and start developing the future. Hell there is no guarantee Golson even comes back especially with Kelly’ s track record with QB’s. Oh yeah, Hendrix, leave on the bench. Doesn’t take a genius to figure he is going to run when he gets in there. Maybe he should try a throw and we get lucky. Defenses sure wouldn’t expect a throw with his track record!

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Would you want a team with a bunch of Freshmen playing? Must mean your previous recruiting classes were no good. If you want to play as a Freshmen either be exceptionally good or go to the MAC.

    But then again, as you say it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

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    Shazamrock replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Actually defenses zero in on Kelly’s nipples for a tip-off(no pun intended) on run or pass.

    If lefty is peakin’, it a pass, Mr.Right… a run.

    Scratch is ass… a fake… or his shorts are ridding up.

    Purple face…. no pudding for anyone!

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    EJS replied on October 5th, 2013 at 12:43 am

    What does this mean? I think it’s supposed to be a joke, but aren’t jokes supposed to be funny?

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    Jack replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Greenday,

    Name one five star QB starting his true freshman year and I will show you a team that is 8-4.

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    TColin replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I’ll take a freshman at 8-4 over the 7-5 that this years team will likely end up with…

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Ask TJ Jones how’d he feel about that.

    Jack replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    If Zaire starts this team will be 6-6 or 5-7. Get a clue and listen to yourself. He’s not ready or he would be starting. Are you guys at practice. After watching the Blue Gold game I don’t think the kid is ready yet. Do you guys remember Clausen or Quinn’s first game. I do and it wasn’t pretty

  • JC commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  • Green Day commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Spot on there Shaz no pun intended

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  • Jack commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I did some research on two coaching legends
    1. Lou Holtz
    2. Nick Saban

    Both had about a 5 year run where they were either undefeated or had one loss at the school in which they won the most NC’s. Lou Holtz had a run from 1988 to 1990 where ND was dominate, after that he is littered with 8-3 regular seasons. Nick Saban has been dominant at Alabama and there is no doubt about that, however look at his record at the two previous schools he was a head coach MSU and LSU. His record’s were in the are of 8-4 and 9-3. The reason for this post is I believe that Saban’s run at Alabama is one of the best at a school since the late 70′s. We are comparing BK to that coach. There is only one Saban and Meyer left Florida because he saw the writing on the wall. With that being said, lets take a look at what this program has endured in 2013.

    1. NC game
    2. Manti Teo issue
    3. Transfers Gunner Keil because he doesn’t like want to fight for a position
    4. Injuries to Springman, Hounseal and the early retirement of Spond
    5. Golson getting suspended for something that is a vilation of team rules at Alabama

    The players that transferred to me have not set the world on fire since leaving. Shaq Evans is finally producing at UCLA and wasn’t a fit at ND. Other really have not produced at the schools they went to after ND.

    Take all of this into consideration when reaving Brian Kelly. As I have said all along we would see what kind of team this was when they played their first two games. After the first two games I saw an 8-4 team. The defense is young at key positions, the offense can’t use 1/3 of it’s playbook. Remember the offense didn’t start procducing until BK allowed Golson to run. This is going to be a hard ceiling because we will be watching Freshman at key positions making mistakes and learning, but if I see improvement through out the year, growth and player development than all is not loss. As I examined Saban and Lou’s record there were several years after a 12-0 or 12-1 season with a losing record or a 6-5 record. I am reserving judgement on BK for another year.

    I expect this team to fight in every game they are in and I expect them to at least be in every game minus Standford. They will go to some crap bowl against some crap team. I also am not expecting to much from them this weekend when they play ASU. I am fearful this will be a beat down, but maybe it opens BK’s eyes to make some changes at the QB position whether it is Ziare or Hendrix, to me the Tommy years should be over and I thank him for all he has done.
    2.

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    JC replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you Jack,

    This also confirms BK has peaked too early with ‘some’ bad luck and it is going to be a difficult long climb back. Nice assessment, I am still not convinced he will stick around for round two. History says he moves on before a NC. Spot on with the 8-4 prediction, good job! Do you remember how disappointed we were with CW’s mediocre 8 win seasons?

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Jack
    That kind of smart straight forward thinking won’t get you anywhere on this site with the fanatics who believe Lou never lost a game.

    Bobby Bowden, the winningest (sorry JoePa) head coach in history went undefeated exactly one time in over 30 years.

    As unbelievable a coach as Saban is, his teams lost a game each of the past 2 years at home. As dominant as Bama is and all the talent they have, they still lose a game from time to time. They have also needed some pretty good fortune and timely losses by others to win those NC’s as well.

    I’ll admit that I am disappointed with how ND looks this year as I thought they would be a bit better. But nobody wins with a backup QB.

    In BK I trust and believe.

    I don’t think it can be underestimated how devasting it was to get an a$$ beating in the title game. Has to be tough to come that far and think you’ve arrived only to realize that you still have miles to go. You see in the NFL every year that teams who lose the SB very often struggle to make the playoffs the next year. There was a streak of about 8-10 years where that was the case.

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    SteelfanRob replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Ron, the SB curse is still on, ask the Steelers and Giants.

    Now, if you don’t want people to compare BK to the coaching greats, then perhaps you shouldn’t do so either. After all, what’s more important? That Saban’s lost 2 games at home the last 2 seasons or that he’s won 2 NCs in that same span?

    Ron, let’s not go from the sublime to the ridiculous in your attempt to stand up for BK. I thought you were making some progress with you reasoning skills.

    Having said that, Ron, you do make a good point about selective memory. A lot of people forget that Lou’s teams had some real bad losses at home that may well have cost them title shots.

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Duly noted but didn’t mean to imply I was comparing BK to anybody. But rather that even the greats are gonna lose games.

    Agree on Saban that the ring is the thing but it is hard to believe that as good as they are they can even lose at home.

    duranko replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Ron, there is an intriguing point about losing to Alabama by that margin. By the way, go back and look at what Les Miles said after the Tide beat his LSU team 21-0 for the 2011 championship.

    I thought two things. It was the BEST thing that could have happened to Notre Dame. A win over Kansas State would have been cheesy but more importantly, we found out where we were as a team.

    And I thought both the coaching staff and the team responded appropriately.

    So I think the game against Alabama was the best thing to happen. That is where we learned how good we are and how lacking we still are.

    What is lost in all this is what Kelly told the playerss
    in the offseason: If we play as well as we did in 2012, we will go 8-5.

    Kelly knows what he is doing and where he is taking the team.

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    JC replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    So duranko, why is Kelly’s 8-5 prediction relevant today vs your 10-2 prediction after two games into the season?

    C-Dog replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Ron,
    I was a student during Faust’s last year thru Lou’s NC run in 88/89. Actually Lou had issues during the first two years and then in the last two. But in between he figured out how to prepare and win. They won games they should have lost. They over achieved often.
    Since Lou no one has seen the Irish truly over achieve until last year. There were under Davies, Willingham and weis, heroic moments by a few individuals even in losses. But the team never over achieved.
    Unfortunately I don’t think Kelly run squads are allowed to over achieve. The script is too tight.
    Blaming Rees is not the answer although I do think they should try Zaire, as long as they protect him. The offensive line is shoddy. The running game is out of sync even thought the backs are great. And the defense has little behind the front 3.
    So this team will struggle to win more than 7 or 8 this year. Maybe the coaches should experiment with themselves to see if they can learn how to adjust during a game.
    I put the downward trend specifically on the backs of the coaching staff.
    Holtz was a bit looney in his belief in his mission from God. But Kelly thinks he has too much to lose. We need a coach that remembers why ND always used to have a chip. When they hate us for being Irish or Catholic or any other minority, the coach should have our boys ready for a street fight. You play to win. Nothing more nothing less

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    Toulmin H. Brown replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 10:45 am

    “His record’s were in the are of 8-4 and 9-3. The reason for this post is I believe that Saban’s run at Alabama is one of the best at a school since the late 70′s. We are comparing BK to that coach.”
    You are quite correct sir! We are comparing them.

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  • pete commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Its time to play Zaire. Most likely Tommy and Hendrix are both gone after this year. Playing Zaire now in meaningful games gives him valuable experience heading into 2014. Also, giving Golson a battle for the starting job will make him better when he returns. Also, Notre Dame needs to go fast tempo and be less predictable. Look at Oregon, Ohio State, Texas a&m, Clemson, Louisville. They all play super fast and make the defense adjust to them not the other way around.

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    JC replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Amen pete,

    We can’t expect to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result! If it is not working it is time to change. Yes indeed, we can waste another game but ultimately we will see Zaire sooner than later.
    Otherwise, the noise will get too vicious and the adults in the room will pee their pants. We have lived through this numerous times.

    We already know what happens if we end up 6-6! Especially after we have just signed a new contract. For the non-believers ND recently received another 100m dollar donation, so money is never an issue when they decide when to change! Hope and Change Happens! Hahaha! I could not resist!

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    brent nowostawski replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Pete are you at practice every day ? Do you know what goes on in practice? Do you know where every player’s head is at ? Do you think about every player 24/7 , are you with them and working with them every day? Have you been coaching kids this age for almost 30 years with great success? Have you considered (or even care) what would happen if you put a freshman out there before he’s ready? Have you ever thrown a kid out to the wolves only to see his confidence shattered because you put him out to early? What exactly is your experience? Watching on tv or from the bleachers for 3 hours a week on your casual weekend before you go back to your job on Monday? Exactly how often did you see Zaire play? What do you base your thoughts on,that you think you know Zaire , and you think he is ready to be thrown out there? Because of things you hear on the internet ?? Or is it just thought of why not ?? Do you make decisions like that at your job? “Lets do this , why not” ? After a loss , you watch another game,enjoy your weekend go to work through the week , go out on friday night ,then show up again at kick-off in front of the tv telling BK all the things he should be doing and who should be playing. Simple minds actually believe things are so simple. I wish all fans could walk in BK’s shoes (or any coache’s) for one day. 24 hours would kill most people,you have no clue….yeah , its time BK , its time to play Zaire,Pete and some other fans say so. No , they aren’t major college coaches and have no experience coaching in the NCAA. They just know more than you. Sooo maybe you should abandon all your experience and what you’ve learned through that experience BK….I don’t know , why not ???

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  • brent nowostawski commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Some fans are so funny !! “I’ve been a fan for — years” !!! That makes me an expert !! Look at Joe Blow at So-n-so University , he does this and they do that and look at Alabama and they do this at Oregon……Why do fans compare our players to other players and our coaches to other coaches ??? LOOK at OUR roster,these are the players we have. These are student/athletes. These are our coaches and THIS is how we do things HERE !! This is Notre Dame! We are 3-2. Suuure , lets throw in a freshman qb that is not yet ready. Put the pressure on him and if his confidence is crushed ,and ruins his career,who cares,right ?? Thats how they do it at Alabama. We have nothing to lose right ?? NO , the small group of idiot fans have nothing to lose. Every coach and every student/athlete have alot to lose. THEY are the ones doing all the work all year long. These student/athletes spend 18-20 hours a day studying ,doing homework ,going to classes and going to practice EVERY day. Yes,they have something to lose. YOU have fun being a Notre Dame fan…this is their life. NOBODY , NOBODY wants to win more than the coaches,student/athletes and students,you can believe that.

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Count me in the Brent fan club.

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    JC replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Rob, I’ll turn him over to Irish.9.er…Burgundy…have at it Burgundy you’re on Brent’s team!

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Did I catch a 9er in there? Were you calling from a walkie talkie?

  • SteelfanRob commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    We compare, brent, because college football isn’t the NFL. How do you think teams are ranked in college football, by good looks? No, they’re compared, one to the other, and then ranked. Don’t like the system, do you, brent? Well, tough, that’s the way it works. Is it fair to a university like ND that demands that their athletes also be real students (just ask EG)? No! But then nothing in life, not even death or taxes, is fair. Perhaps your little screed is your way of trying to argue, brent. Try making an argument instead of internet, blog BS moralizing. And fans have a right to say whatever we want, how we want, when we want, brent. This is America after all! It seems brent is one in a long line of would-be Nazis who want to tell the rest of us how and what to think. You’ve been on this site how long now, brent? All of 30 seconds and you want to dictate what we should believe and feel and how to express ourselves? Who died and made you overlord of this manor, brent? Go tell it to someone who cares! You want to have a sane discussion, go ahead, we welcome it. But your yelling and little cry-baby bithching isn’t going to work on here, brent.

    The question isn’t if the team wants to win, brent? That’s a strawman. The question is are they being put in the best position to do so. Get the difference, tough guy? No one here is arguing this team is throwing games or losing on purpose. Show me one example of someone who said that! What many of us are indeed saying, brent, is that after 4 years this team is still making the same mistakes. Why is that, Mr. Expert? Why don’t you fill this site with your brilliance and tell us why after 4 years this team still has red zone issues and often looks like a Chinese fire drill on O?

    So, brent, shout at your imaginary boogey men all you want. But don’t expect any of us here to give a damn about your opinions if you insist on playing at being the UHND thought police!

    Now, I turn you over to JC. Good luck!

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    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Nazi’s? Wow, that gotta out of hand quickly.

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  • SteelfanRob commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    brent,

    Are you at practice everyday? Are you in the filmroom with the team? Do you know what’s in every players’ or coaches’ head? I bet not! Now, that doesn’t stop you from opining and talking, does it? So, why should it stop anybody else on here from doing the same thing and giving their opinion? Because baby brent doesn’t like it? Because mean words hurt little brent’s feelings?

    See, brent, I can also play the “ask a rhetorical question game”. In the end, it’s just that. A game with you. It’s not a real discussion starter since you don’t want to hear the answers to your own questions. You just want to keep making shit up, blustering away in self-righteous indignation, and asking rhetorical questions rather than have an actual discussion.

    So, brent, one more time, what’s your secret access to the team? What gives you special insights? It’s certainly not your debating skills, that’s for damn sure.

    At least you have Ron Burgundy on your side. Congrats on that one!

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

  • SteelfanRob commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    When people try to dictate terms and how one should think and act, then, yes, they’re acting like the Nazis, Ron. As someone who very often invokes irony and sarcasm, Ron, you shouldn’t be offended by another little figure of speech called hyperbole. But then I guess only you should be allowed to say what you like, how you like. Free speech for Ron’s OK. But don’t say things he’s offended by or use metaphors or analogies he doesn’t agree with or you’ll get a cryptic reply.

    [Reply]

  • SteelfanRob commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Ron,

    Why not point out the hypocrisy of brent asking a bunch of non-sense questions to pete all the while knowing perfectly well he doesn’t know anymore or less (well, perhaps less) about the insides of ND football than the rest of us. No. That would actually take analysis. You’ll stick with your one-liners. But thankfully you can say what you like, how you like. Right, Ron?

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Yes, I guess. I’m actually confused.
    What….wait…what are we talking about?.

    [Reply]

    steelfanrob replied on October 4th, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    We’re talking about your alleged support of brent. Of course, who knows what you actually think about brent. That’s one of the problems with being consistently ironic or sarcastic. At some point people have no idea what it is you’re actually saying, Ron. So I guess we’re as confused as you are about you, Ron.

    But, hey, perhaps you really agree with cry-baby brent’s hissy fit.

    [Reply]

  • Storespook commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Play Like A Champion

    [Reply]

  • Ron commented on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I read where Alabama’s free safety got suspended today. We’ll see if their defense goes down the crapper like the irish would.

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on October 2nd, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    They are favored by 55.5 this week so I’m guessing they’ll be ok.

    [Reply]

    jeff replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Takes a lot for an SEC player to get suspended indefinetly. Wonder what felony he committed.

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on October 4th, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Ha Ha Clinton Dix suspended. Wait a minute…..didn’t Monica say that.

    [Reply]

  • Jack commented on October 3rd, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Just to make a comment on what Brent said we are not at practice but we are entitled to our opinions. That is the reason this board exists. I may not agree with people on this board but I engage in debate. We are all not NCAA football coaches, nor do we watch a lot of film. My arguement about Ziare is you don’t want a true freshman starting at QB. Show me a team with a freshman starting at QB and you will find a team with a losing record. Another phrase that I think applies right now is this, show me two starting QB’s and I’ll show you a team without a starting QB. The loss of Golson was more than we thought. I think an atheletic playmaker at QB makes the team more confident.

    [Reply]

    ChrisJ replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Jack,

    Didn’t Tommy Rees go 4-0 as a starter for ND when he was a true freshmen, beating Utah, USC, and Miami in the Sun Bowl????

    For all of you that don’t think a true freshmen should play, you’re all crazy! Most coaches don’t give them a chance, but some of these true freshmen QBs are more than capable of succeeding as Rees did in his four starts. I watched Zaire at Alter. The kid can play and he can run with the best of them. Put him in if we lose one more game!!

    [Reply]

  • Jack commented on October 3rd, 2013 at 8:00 am

    One last thing concerning this University. I did not go to Notre Dame, to Quote Rudy’s Dad “Notre Dame is for great athletes and smart people” and I just wasn’t a great athlete nor was I very smart. But what most people who go to the University of Notre Damae, graduated or are in the administration don’t understand is that people like me are the reason that Notre Dame is what it is. We buy the merchandise, go to the games and support the University. We are passionate fans and we have opinions, this board allows me to talk ND football and save my family from hearing it everyday. So, Brent if I could be at practice breaking down film I would, but unfourtunately I wasn’t blessed with great athletic ability or smarts so I am a fan that is entitled to my opinion.

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Jack Stop,

    We love your character, intellegence and you are definitely the essence of a true ND fan, end of story.

    [Reply]

    Jack replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks JC, but it annoyed me when people take personal shots. I have my differences but we are all ND fans and need to be treated with some respect. I may at times be a little stinging in my responses, but ultimately we all want ND as the measuring stick of college football. Things are cyclical and I have all o the faith that ND will be back again.

    [Reply]

  • Toulmin H. Brown commented on October 3rd, 2013 at 10:42 am

    “His record’s were in the are of 8-4 and 9-3. The reason for this post is I believe that Saban’s run at Alabama is one of the best at a school since the late 70′s. We are comparing BK to that coach.”
    You are quite correct sir! We are comparing them.

    [Reply]

    Jack replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Toulmin,

    Notre Dame could have had Saban or Meyer, but neither coach is coming to Notre Dame because they would not be able to get the players that Holtz got during his run. Meyer even brought it up in his interview and was told that by no means would ND change their philosphy.

    Now lets look at some players that played at ND that would not get in today:

    Rice, Zorich, Waters and possibly Ismail. Also, when Stonebreaker got his DUI his junior year he may have been booted from the University.

    Also, ND up until Weis never paid coaches. The reason why these coaches go to the SEC schools or Ohio State is because they can pretty much do whatever they want. Remember Saban is the same guy on was told he had to stop grey shirting.

    Some of you people don’t get it. I like the way ND does things it’s honorable, but if you want a consistent winner in college football today you have to break the rules. Look at the teams on probation now, they all were consistent winners by breaking the rules.

    ND needs to understand that if you want a coach to be successful you need to give kids a chance that would normally not get into your school. When they are at ND you are able to introduce them to your culture.

    Now Toulmin and every other person on this board, WHO SHOULD BE THE NEXT COACH!

    Would you want to the be the next coach the way I spelled it out. What established coach is leaving LSU, FSU, Alabama, Ohio State, or Gruden who basically has the life to coach in this environment, GOOD LUCK!

    [Reply]

    Patrick replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    What? Have you not been paying attention to ND has recruited and who they are recruiting now? They aren’t suffering from a lack of support from the Administration. They are consistently a Top 15/Top 10 recruiting program. So that argument is out the door.

    What has happened this year is:

    1) Senior leadership graduated or left early
    2) Cupboard was “bare” so to speak to simply reload like Alabama, FSU, with elite Junior/Senior talent. We have the Freshman and Sophomore talent – it just lacks experience.
    3) We have an average QB trying to run an offense geared for another style
    4) We have a young team
    5) Defense lacks experience outside of a handful of players

    That is why we’re 3-2 and will be playing in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Plain and simple. Is it right? No. But those are the facts.

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    The Go Daddy Bowl features teams from the MAC and Sun Belt. Those are the facts.

    Jack replied on October 4th, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Alabama and other schools can filter in recruiting busts with Junior college talent. Also, the SEC grey shirts and pulls scholarships of non productive players. Look at ND’s classes they are consistently around 19-22. Look at other schools, Sabah one year took 29 and Texas A&M took close to 30 last year. Thats how you build the depth you are talkinf about. It’s not right but its not technically breaking the rules. SEC teams routinely get rid of non producing talent, they look at players like employees not student athletes

    duranko replied on October 4th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    First, Patrick, it’s a fine post.

    Second, check your hole card on Watters’ academics. Foley belongs on the list, Watters probably not.

    Third, for some of us the following applies:

    “What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

    Similarly, for Notre Dame:

    “What price victory?”

    That is not Jimmy the Greek or Gordon Gecko up there on the Golden Dome, it is Jesus’ Mommy. That has implications.

    Now there are over 100 D-1 schools that do not puport to conform to Christian ethics. It’s only us and Boston College. (I regard SMU, TCU and Baylor as largely having let their initial identifications atrophy).

    Now we can either support that or mock it. Each of us, individually, makes our own choice.

    But Notre Dame is not changing.

    Notre Dame changes and forms its people in the Christian tradition and ethical principles. Not vice versa.

    ‘Tis not unlike the Alamo.

    There’s a line in the dirt.

    You have to choose, delay just won’t do.

    I made my choice decades ago.

    And I am with Notre Dame, regardless of the behavior of the vulgus.

    [Reply]

    SteelfanRob replied on October 4th, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Give one example, duranko, of someone on here who says ND should sell its soul for wins?

    Here’s another verse for you, brother: Don’t bear false witness!

    At one time ND didn’t admit women. Now it does. Did it sell its soul then?

    At one time ND didn’t play bowl games. Then it adjusted its academic calendar. Did it sell its soul then?

    At one time ND didn’t have early admits or red shirt players. It does so now. Did it sell its soul then?

    At one time ND didn’t have an official training table. It does have one now. Did ND sell its soul?

    What some of us have suggested is that in light of the above, ND can look at re-evaluating its policies on border line cases. That’s it. No soul-selling involved or invoked.

    duranko, for someone who knows ND football as well as you do, you would be better off sticking to your estimable knowledge of the game and drop the self-righteous moral aggrandizing. It doesn’t become you, frankly.

    Shazamrock replied on October 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I looked up the word of the day “Vulgus” (for those of you who might be interested)

    -It could mean “common people”

    -Or a scrolling video game relased by Capcom in 1984 as the company’s first ever arcade game.

    -Or a aging biker gang that operates just outside of Tijuana

    [Reply]

    duranko replied on October 4th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    well, for those of us stuck in high school Latin,
    we learned that the original meaning of “vulgar” (its denotation) differs from its more modern connotation.

    And I won’t bore you with the visual on “egregious.”

    But Shaz, I “gots to know”

    Does the Tijuana biker gang play “vulgus” when they hit the arcade?

    [Reply]

    Shazamrock replied on October 4th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    “And I won’t bore you with the visual on “egregious”

    Don’t make promises that you can’t keep!

    duranko replied on October 4th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    now, now, Shaz, don’t bait me!

    It’s too easy, you rise to bigger challenges…..

    Shazamrock replied on October 4th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    As surprising as it might seem I’ve never been to Tijuana or was ever a member of a biker gang.

    But I did play Vulgus once.

    You are the space pilot of an intergalatic battle cruiser who’s mission it is to mash martiians around Mars, pulverize pleclazons around pluto, and wipe out clingons around Uranus.

    (insert laughter here)

  • Jerry Seppanen commented on October 3rd, 2013 at 11:52 am

    The Zaire situation is really a tough one. You cant wait until the end of
    the season and waste his red shirt year. Dont play him in garbage time.
    I lean towards not playing him as our defense is so porous it wont equate
    to more wins. However, it is a tough call. If the projections have him
    leaving for pro ball early play him.

    [Reply]

    Toulmin H. Brown replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Agreed why waste talent. Rees & Hendrix have talent enough to succeed and will.

    [Reply]

    cousinnap replied on October 4th, 2013 at 10:25 am

    what games have you been watching

    [Reply]

  • cousinnap commented on October 3rd, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    This is all moot until Hendricks gets some kind of shot – we don’t know what the coaches see in practice with him – I have said that before – this week will tell a lot as to what needs to be done – TR cannot win the game against good teams especially if the D lets the game get away early. May have to bite the bullet and go with Zaire – and let it be on the job training for him – 3-4 more losses not unreasonable at this time especially if the defense does not come around -

    [Reply]

  • George commented on October 3rd, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Has anyone considered the possibility that the defense is actually WORSE than the offense? Granted TR is very mediocre, but vs. OK two of those INT’s weren’t really his fault, especially not the first one. Plus ND ran the ball very well. The offense did a respectable job trying to dig the team out of that 14-0 hole, but EVERY TIME momentum starting to swing in ND’s favor, the defense crumbled and allowed OK more points. And OK’s TD right before halftime was just tragic. I mean let’s be honest here. We cant expect to go a full season with no INT’s. It’s going to happen. And again, I recognize TR is no superstar, but our D is pretty darn bad IMO.

    [Reply]

    Patrick replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    George, you’re spot on. The defense this year is just down right below average/mediocre AT BEST. All the glaring issues highlighted against Alabama have now become consistent – poor tackling, poor angles, poor schemes, poor ball play.

    With last year’s defense, we’d more than likey be 5-0. But you can’t give up 30+ points per game and expect to be very good.

    [Reply]

    George replied on October 3rd, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Exactly. You can’t say that TR cost us a TD because he threw an INT, and then overlook how badly Jarrett Grace got TOASTED for a score or how poorly Bennett Jackson defended the TD pass before halftime.

    [Reply]

  • Ron Burgundy commented on October 4th, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Looks like GB is done for the year and Haden is on the selection committee.
    I sent in a nomination for Toul but I guess it was rejected.

    Stay classy.

    [Reply]

  • bj commented on October 4th, 2013 at 11:30 am

    its time for a new offensive coordinator

    Notre Dame ranks 85th nationally in offensive scoring with 25.4 points per game, one spot below a USC squad that fired its head coach a few short days ago. Total offensive production is even worse, with ND ranking 88th and averaging a mere 380 yards per game.

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on October 4th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    bj, would you be kind enough to update this data both after the break after the Pitt game, and then after the Stanford game?

    Did you notice any shift in offensive and point productivity after the first six games last year? (Not that any of the authbors on the site documented it………..

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 4th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    OK duranko,

    Validate yourself and give us a prediction on ASU…skip the non productive jibberish for once and stop hidding behind the stats. We don’t play flash card football.

    You’re already on the hook for a 10-2 season, chicken little. Not to mention, you flip flopped on your past prediction rant, live with it.

    The other authors? Hahaha? Just how big is your ego? Nah..there’s no stat large enough for that is there?

    Stop blaming everyone one on this board for your doctor prescribing ‘sand’ for your hemorrhoids!

    By the way, your no Frank! Frank is #1 author on this site with class beyond your wildest comprehension! You can’t hold a candle to him with your drivel.

    GooooooooIrish!

    [Reply]

  • JS commented on October 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I agree with bj, if we want to get to elite status BK needs to make some changes.

    1. BK’s offense is not working or fooling anyone. It seems to me that the playbook is about 20 plays deep. I have not seen a new wrinkle or play in years. We need an identity on offense…… if u want to run the ball, go get a staffer from Stanford. If you want to spread it out and sling it, grab someone from the Baylor staff.

    2. Can we get an experienced Special Teams coach!!!!! Our special teams are pathetic. We are so scared that teams are going to fake a punt that pal punt safe- don’t rush the punter and don’t block anybody as they run down the field.

    3. I love Bob Diaco but we run the most vanilla Defense in the nation. It seems like our D-line just runs into the O-line and holds on. We don’t run stunts upfront to try and confuse the offense. What happened to our fierce pass rush? Big Lou is getting doubled on every play and we still can’t get to the QB!!
    Our DB’s look so scared to play man coverage and we make average receivers look like All-Americans!

    I am a huge ND fan and I love what BK is doing but it makes me mad when we lose to teams (Michigan) that we are better than and have more talent!!!

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on October 4th, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    “I agree with bj.”

    What are 4 words that have never been spoken in the English language.

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 4th, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Ron Burgundy Road Scholar!

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 4th, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    RB,

    Do I win a prize? Hahahaha!

  • JC commented on October 4th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    New JC’s uhnd.com
    2013 Annual Author’s rankings…

    All ND alum/fans welcome to express your own ratings, this is my personal assessment only! (5-star ranking system)

    5-stars Frank & Kyle
    4-1/2 stars Bob
    4-stars Scott
    4-stars Pierce
    4-stars Tyler
    _____________________

    0-stars! Chicken Little Agitator duranko! Imagine that!

    Time for a recall vote guys?

    [Reply]

  • steelfanrob commented on October 4th, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    JC,

    I actually think “duranko” is OK when he sticks to football related matters. I don’t blame him for his optimistic predictions since I think all of us on here thought this was a BCS caliber team.

    Where I think “duranko” goes off the reservation is when he gets on his moral high-horse and starts spouting off self-righteous, self-aggrandizing dicta. He’ll give us what he thinks is a well-timed Bible dig, then move on to moralize about this or that.

    I’m not opposed to the Bible or the invocation of other cultural sources for the sake of making an argument. But if you do that then realize some of us here can handle our Scripture just as well as brother “duranko” can. So if you don’t mind doing unto others, then don’t be offended when it’s done unto you. See what I just did? I just used the negative version of the Lord’s “Golden Rule,” as the early rabbis often did (Rabbis Hillel, Akiba, etc.)

    So, JC, I often like “Duranko’s Digest” and complimented him on his efforts. He’s chosen of late to turn me into an imaginary foe. Perhaps some people need to constantly be dueling fictional giants and tilting at windmills.

    Now we’ll wait for Ron Burgundy to say something witty about “Man of La Mancha.”

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on October 4th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Ah Man of La Mancha……one of my personal faves.

    All right, you’re a squire. How does a squire squire?

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 5th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Like the set up for that one, Ron? ;)

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 4th, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Rob Stop,

    Your in the land of Oz! Let me help you out here.
    Recalibrate that brilliant mind of yours. Know this: Die Hard Conformity and Control Progressives will never allow you to have a ‘real’ dialectical discussion with them. They will only allow you to drink the ‘Pickle Juice’ to support their cause at all costs.

    Capishe?

    ps: You’ll feel better in the morning!

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 5th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Rob,

    I don’t blame him for his 10-2 optimistic prediction either, I took mine of the table! It was his earlier rant on ‘not giving a prediction at all’ – “makes for disappointment.” Mr. pefectionist needs to live by his perfectionism. So hey, duranko want’s to “sweat the small stuff” Amen brother, I’ll indeed sweat the small stuff, I can knit-pic with the best of them.

    I did not see a sign 10 years ago on this site where we are required to sing duranko’s version of Kumbaya!

    Not to mention, when I was in school, I don’t recall The Brothers of the Holy Cross sounding anything like duranko!

    Rob, I know you love playing peacemaker…don’t bother on this one. Just don’t allow the pickle juice fool you!

    Peace!

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 5th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Yeah, JC, I hear you. Last week I just about choked on the pickle juice!

    I don’t know why “duranko” has decided to go off. I thought he was a reasonable person in spite of his anti-Mormon views. I happen to agree with “duranko” that Mormonism isn’t a Christian denomination. I disagree with his vitriol against all Mormons, however.

    I try to be peacemaker because that’s what all Christians are called to be, even imperfectly. But I can’t cajole anyone to go along with me on this one.

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 5th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Well Rob,

    There are those who have a chip on their shoulder that will not disappear under any circumstances, you know it, and I know it. Unfortunately,
    duranko does not accept forgiveness…I tried to apologize on an early issue to no avail. Nor have I claimed to be the perfect christian either on the other hand! Can you imagine what our international students think? It’s about respect, for those who choose to come to Notre Dame! Every one has a dark side to keep in check.
    However, advertising on this forum what religion I disagree with is without question not the Notre Dame way period. International students deserve the best of Notre Dame. It is indubitably, what makes the world tick whether we like it or not.

    GooooooIrish!

  • steelfanrob commented on October 4th, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    For the sake of intellectual integrity and clarity, the early rabbis after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD often used a so-called negative version of the “Golden Rule.” That is, they would teach what you do not want done to you, then do not do this to others. Of course, this is in effect saying the same thing Jesus did, but some morally dubious people interpreted it as a license to avoid doing right by those Jesus called the least of these, my brothers.

    So if “duranko” would not like to be caricatured, then he shouldn’t caricature the ideas of those he disagrees with.

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 4th, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Robby,

    If it walks like a ‘pickle’ and talks like a ‘pickle’, it is definitely decades of BS pickle juice! Hahahaha!

    GoooooooooIrish!

    [Reply]

  • EJS commented on October 5th, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Why can’t Hendrix throw the ball, too? He has a much stronger arm that Rees and can’t be any less accurate. Notre Dame also has to figure out a way to run the ball effectively, even when the defense is loading up against the run. Other teams do it. The ND offensive play calling has left very much to be desired, relying too much on Rees, our offensive weak link. Let’s also get that 5-star freshman running back into the game and let him run.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 5th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Just saw FSU put up 63 on a ranked Maryland team. Could ND put 63 up on a FCS team right now? I doubt it. ND needs to look more like FSU and less like Michigan, which is again in a death struggle against an inferior opponent.

    Hopefully BK turns things around and becomes the second coming of Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Devine, and Holtz rolled into one. I really hope for that. But in case he fails, one coach I’d keep an eye on is Al Golden at Miami. This guy took Temple to two bowl games. Has rebuilt the Hurricanes despite the specter of sanctions. I think he’s a great recruiter and has shown he can develop talent. He’s young and looks the part of a ND man.

    [Reply]

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