October 19, 2012 // Opponents

Behind Enemy Lines: BYU ’12

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Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson (13) looks to pass against the Oregon State Beavers during the first quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Photo: Douglas C. Pizac / US PRESSWIRE)

For the sixth straight week we have exchanged scouting reports with a blog from the week’s opponent.  With BYU in town for the first time since 2005, we swapped insights with Blue Cougar Football.

BYU Offense

The BYU offense good off to a good start in 2012. In back-to-back wins, BYU passed for over 300 yards each game and averaged 479 yards per game. Quarterback Riley Nelson was injured during game 2. He fought through the pain for games three and four, but could not finish game four. As would be expected, the offense struggled in those games. Not only was Nelson less than 100 percent, but the defenses for Utah and Boise State were better than those for Washington State and Weber State.

The best defenses, statistically, that BYU has faced were in the last two games against Utah State and Oregon State. In those games, the BYU offense was far more productive than each defenses’ averages. However, mistakes have prevented BYU from scoring more points in each of these games.

Going into the game against Notre Dame, the BYU is averaging 396.6 yards per game (173.6 rushing, 223 passing). The Cougars are converting 43 percent of their third downs (43/119) and 71 percent of fourth downs (10/14). BYU has turned the ball over 14 times (10 interceptions, 4 fumbles).

Senior Riley Nelson will be the starting quarterback (92-160, 1059 yards, 6 TD, 8 Int.). He is good on his feet, which helps to make up for his average arm strength. Typically, he is a good game manager, but when under pressure he can easily be forced into making mistakes.

At running back is true freshman Jamaal Williams. He is just 17-years old since he skipped second grade, but he plays like a 20-year old. He is the teams leading rusher with 65 carries for 345 yards (5.3) and 5 touchdowns. He almost always goes forward. He has only lost 5 yards all season. Williams can be a weapon in the passing game out of the backfield as well. He has 10 receptions for 130 yards.

The only wide receiver who has been productive this year is Cody Hoffman (41 receptions, 534 yards, 2 TD). He has had 100 yards receiving in four of the seven games this season. He is Nelson’s favorite target, and will catch almost anything thrown at him. Many have tried to stop Hoffman, and many have failed. He is both a possession receiver and a big play receiver.

The rest of the receivers have struggled to be involved in the passing game. Ross Apo is big (6-foot-3), but has failed to establish any kind of rapport with Nelson. JD Falslev finished 2011 strong playing in the slot, but has just 16 receptions for only 124 yards this year.

BYU saw Kaneakua Friel emerge as the top tight end in the season opener. He had 6 receptions for 101 yards, and 2 touchdowns. For the season, his totals are now 23 receptions, 266 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Richard Wilson (5 receptions, 85 yards) and Devin Mahina (5 receptions, 61 yards, 2 TD) can also come in at any time and make big grabs.

The offensive line has struggled all year. False start, holding, and illegal blocking penalties have ruined several drives this season, and probably were the biggest reason why BYU lost to Utah. Run blocking is bad. BYU has resorted to running quarterback draws when running on the interior, and the option to be able to effectively run outside. Pass protection has been spotty. The line has given up 18 sacks this season.

BYU Defense

During the first half of the season, BYU fans learned to fall in love with defense. After six games, the Cougar D was best in the nation in rush defense. BYU was near the top in the nation in almost every major statistical category. No one could pass or run on BYU. Teams were lucky just to score. Twice, the opposing offense has not scored a single point. Four times, the BYU defense did not allow a touchdown.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah were making headlines. ESPN commentators were gushing about their NFL potential. The rest of the players were filling their roles nicely. This edition of the Cougar D appeared destined to be the best in school history.

BYU came crashing back to reality when No. 10 Oregon State came to town in game seven. Oregon State found a way to pass for over 300 yards and rush for over 100. Was BYU overconfident, or is Oregon State that good? Was this an aberration, or was the defense truly exposed?

The weakest link in BYU’s defense, both last Saturday and always, is the defensive secondary. BYU has been getting better in recent seasons, but the way Oregon State threw the ball, it was obvious that cornerbacks Jordan Johnson and Preston Hadley aren’t quite there yet. The safeties Joe Sampson and Daniel Sorensen are hard hitters and pretty athletic.

The strength of the BYU defense is the linebackers. Van Noy is a playmaker. He has 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 8 quarterback hurries, and 3 forced fumbles. He is fast and very athletic. His trademark had become chasing down quarterbacks from the blindside and drilling them, which usually results in a fumble. Opposite Van Noy is Spencer Hadley. He flies under the radar with Van Noy getting all the headlines, but Hadley is pretty good in his own right. He is third on the team in tackles and has 7.5 TFL, and 3.5 sacks.

In the middle, BYU has Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga. Ogletree is a tackling machine, but very poor in pass coverage. Kaveinga quietly has a good game week in and week out.

In the past, BYU’s philosophy for the defensive line has been to plug up holes and try to draw double teams. In other words, make it as easy as possible for the linebackers to stop the ball carrier or get to the quarterback. That philosophy has changed with the emergence of Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah. A native of Ghana, Africa, Ansah had never played football before 2010, but with all the physical gifts necessary to thrive, he has delivered this year on the potential coaches have been promising. Ansah didn’t become the starter until Eathyn Manumaleuna was lost for the season against Boise State (game 4). To go along with 30 tackles, Ansah has 9 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 pass breakups, and 5 quarterback hurries. Two other seniors join Ansah on the line. Both of them have played in over 40 games during their careers.

BYU Special Teams

The punting has been exceptional. Riley Stephenson is one of the nation’s top punters averaging 46.5 yards per punt. He is very good at pinning opponents down near the goal line. It is no longer a big deal for BYU fans to see a punt downed inside the 10-yard line. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall uses this to his advantage and doesn’t hesitate to play the field position game.

The rest of BYU’s special teams have been unsatisfactory. Placekicking, both field goals and extra points, are unreliable. Placekicker Justin Sorensen needed to have a bone spur fixed in his back during the offseason. It was assumed that he would be ready when fall camp came around. When he wasn’t, BYU scrambled to come up with a contingency plan. That plan has resulted in 5-9 field goal kicking and 3 missed extra points.

BYU has given up some big punt returns this season. The most notable were in the Utah game. Both offensive touchdowns Utah scored were set up by punt returns.

A combination of BYU’s great scoring defense and the new kickoff rules have resulted in BYU having very few kickoff returns this season. JD Falslev has had a few nice punt returns. He isn’t super fast, but he is elusive.

Final Thoughts

For all of the big games this year, Bronco Mendenhall has been repeating the same thing: If we don’t turn the ball over, we have a pretty good shot. Avoiding turnovers will be key for BYU in this game. Turnovers have been the Cougars’ Achilles heel in big games going all the way back to 2008.

I think it will take more than just avoiding turnovers. Riley Nelson will have to play the best game of his career. The offensive line will have to play their best game of the season. Two or three other players will have to step up and have big days. It could be in the form of a turnover on defense, or one of the wide receivers not named Hoffman getting 100 yards, or a huge momentum changing special teams play.

BYU is a quality team, but the way Brian Kelly has Notre Dame playing, it is going to take more than just executing and playing assignment sound football. BYU needs to take the crowd out of the game, and find a way to shake Notre Dame’s confidence. It will also take a complete game—60 minutes. BYU can’t play well for three quarters, or even 55 minutes. If that is the case, what was a winnable game will end up looking like a blowout.

Comments to this Article

  • JC commented on October 19th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Hopefully, this will be a great game for EG to display his skills and IMPROVE. Elite defenses will give any freshman QB trouble so we know EG is on a game by game learning curve. BK definately has the best of both worlds now, with EG as the starting rookie QB in training and TR as the closer. Only unusual circumstances like we have will allow for this QB paradox. But believe me, it’s definately a nice luxury right now.

    Our defense on the other hand, will be BYU’s worse nightmare as Frank has implied. Amazingly enough, the defense is improving in lighting speed fashion. We need the offense to make great progress against BYU.

    7-0 is the only goal this week.

    Here come the Irish!

    [Reply]

    storespook replied on October 20th, 2012 at 11:23 am

    You said it, JC. Those cougers will leave with Gold & Blue bruises.

    Irish Tsunami will roll, Go Iriish

    [Reply]

  • Ballgame3cc commented on October 19th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Can we get a Wake up the Echoes, I’ve been waiting all day here!

    [Reply]

  • Chuckie commented on October 19th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Wake up the echoes!
    Shake down the thunder!
    Win over all!
    March onward to Victory!

    [Reply]

  • storespook commented on October 20th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Well, while taking a break from watching Sesame Street (the little one fell asleep) I turn it over to ESPN gameday to watch the blowhards. So they are talking about whether the fair haired wonder boy (AKA Tommy R) or EG should be starting today. Then the topic of ND’s defense comes up. Yep you know it, it is implied that the D’s achievement so far this year came against teams that just aren’t real good offensively and that sooner or later (read Oklahoma) a real team will come up that will score the lights out of the D. At least one thing is consistent with these know-it-alls, continued lack of respect for the boys in blue & gold. Today it’s the cougers in town. Knock the snot of out of them,both O and D lines. I’m wearing green and I also decided to go back to watching Sesame Street.

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO NOTRE DAMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    [Reply]

    joey d replied on October 20th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I was watching the same show and was waiting for Mark May to ride on set riding a unicycle and throwing glitter all over the place. How bout some respect!

    Mark May is an f’n toolbag! I hate that guy!!

    [Reply]

  • joey d commented on October 20th, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I’m a HUGE Aggie fan today and an even bigger fan of the Gamecocks. Florida is so overrated!!

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    No Golson today per ESPN.

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I would play AH before TR but, fat chance of that happening. If TR is the so called “closer,” he should remain the closer.

    Oh well, here comes the rush, hope TR is not throwing sponge-bob passes today!

    Here come the Irish!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Golick sucks big time!

    This O line isn’t BCS caliber.

    We may well need a shutout today to win.

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Game on!

    Let’s look at that series. Starts with minus yards on the punt return for us, backing us up. Then a stupid PF penalty backs us up again. Blown TO yet again. TR misses an open receiver. Bad Turk punt. Poor tackling on O. Another PF penalty. Broekn pass coverage assignment.

    End result: 7-7!

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Ya know, I realize Riddick does all the non-running aspects better than Cierre, but the position is called “running back.”

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Hey, this feels like deja vu all over again.

    [Reply]

  • jonny commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    watching games that TR starts makes me drink…..more than usual

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Better hold BYU to 3!

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Why cant’ BK just keep running the ball until they can stop us?

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Wow! I am speechless.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    fxm, 2011 de ja vu, indeed!

    Worse redzone O I’v ever seen!

    [Reply]

    storespook replied on October 20th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Agree

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    You gash them with the run all the way down the field and get cute with our worse passer on the 2nd and 3rd and goal. Maddening. Look at how many rushing yards we have!!

    [Reply]

  • Jack commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    This is the worst half of football they have played all year. Can Golic stop jumping offsides. Can Tommy make the right reads and can the Kicker hit hit a dam field goal. This is horse shit, they need to get their head out of their ass.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    OK.

    Enough of the legendary D stuff. Back to reality. BYU isn’t Oregon. 2 TDs is too much to give up given our pathetic O. The D better not give up any points in the 2nd half or we’re in big, big trouble.

    Reality is that this is perhaps the most important second half of football at ND in 20 years. This isn’t a top 20 team we’re losing to at home. This isn’t Stanford. Don’t come back this week and ND will become once more the laughing stock of college football.

    Do we have a STs coach?!

    BK needs to fire himself as O Coordinator. It’s not working.

    [Reply]

  • storespook commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    A pretty damn uninspiring half of ball. 2 missed FG’s, TR being TR-nothing new there, let’s run the ball more, hell, that seemed to be working when used. Blue & Gold are looking ahead to Norman and instead, they better be looking right here or these cougers are going to to put a damper on things. Hope the 2nd half is better and why didn’t they defer to the 2nd half to get the ball?

    Go hit’em hard Irish.

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    It’s time to yank TR and put in EG NOW! TR has already missed three wide open receivers. We will lose the second half with TR. Rainbow passes to Tyler triple teamed will result in turnovers! 6-1 here we come if we don’t put in EG!!!!!

    [Reply]

  • Jack commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    GET REESE OUT OF THE GAME HE IS HORRIBLE

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    WORSE REDZONE O!

    BK needs to go as the OC.

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on October 20th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Classic BK – TR offensive full game love affair. Look familiar running out the time with no change insight. Yeah, Rob, BK needs to fire himself as QB circus coach. However, not goining to happen in our life time. Yeah BK, start TR the rest of the year for no reason at all, boring.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    JC, can’t wait for TR to graduate so BK loses his security blanket!

    Baby want blanky, blanky, BK!

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Man Rob,

    Your going to get us tar and feathered hahaha! OK were 7-0 ugly. Atleast BK announced EG as starter next week.

    Further, the stellar ESPN guy’s now agree BK’s system of dizzy-mary-go-round QB’s may be working out?

    However, we may very well lose our “blanky guy” after this year. I just don’t see him playing second fiddle again next year.

    Not to mention, we have superior QB talent in the wings that will even challenge EG next year.

    EG definately needs a big game in Norman to seal the deal for this year! I believe he can do it!

    Here comes EG!

    [Reply]

  • Jack commented on October 20th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    BK needs to realize that you win with Golson you lose with Golson. TR and Hendrix are not that good, he needs to make the switch now.

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Amen Jack, Amen!!!!

    WE WERE ONLY LUCKY TODAY GUY’s, JACK IS DEFINATELY RIGHT!

    We are NOT going to win by 4 in Norman! Wishful thinking!

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Funny isn’t it, we can’t score and can’t figure out what to do at QB and if LSU had secured our 4th string QB they would still be undefeated and ranked number 2. Go figure.

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    When you rush for as many yards as we do, you should not be in nail biters. BK has got to resolve his red zone issues. Going on three years now.

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Amen fxm,

    Further, We repeat this in Norman we are going to get creamed. BYU had #6′s number all day.

    [Reply]

    jonny replied on October 20th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    i dont feel #6 played all that poorly

    i know mayok was all over him …….and the cougars were most definitely targeting him, but for a freshman more or less learning on the job, I’m pretty excited from what i’ve seen overall.

    –any word on B jackson? i saw him go out towards the end

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    jonny,

    Yes I agree, he’s a great freshman to his credit. I’m just worried about more coverage help for him in Norman. Unfortunately, they will target him also.

    Most definately his speed keeps him in the game. But again, he will need coverage help next week.

    I have not heard on Jackson yet.

  • Duffy57 commented on October 20th, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I don’t know how bad Russell played the only passed for 177yds

    [Reply]

  • Portugoose commented on October 20th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Well, if Brindza made those FGs the Irish would’ve won by a larger margin. Anyway, unlike the Oregon Ducks, who run to score, the Irish run to eat clock with scoring and wearing down opponents at the end of games as added bonuses.

    The only reason the game was so close was because the defense was uncharacteristically undisciplined. Otherwise, the score probably would’ve been 17-3 or 17-0.

    Plus, how nice to see the bandwagon Rees fans back to piling on him! Forget those four games he helped the team win!

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 20th, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    If, If, If.

    If Miami hits those early pass plays perhaps they make a game of it.

    If Stanford doesn’t commit a late PF, perhaps they win.

    Losers play the waht if game!

    [Reply]

    fxm replied on October 20th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Ask BK if he runs the ball for that purpose. When he was hired he said “time of possession is over-rated.” I will paraphrase, he has also stated that every play is designed to go for six. So, I don’t think he is actually happy grinding down the feel to kick a field goal.

    [Reply]

  • bC commented on October 20th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Ugly but I’ll take it. Sorry to say but unless kstate goes down tonight nd is going down in rank. I sure hope they were looking on to next week because that s*** is not going to cut it in Norman. Irish D … Worst game of the year. O line gets the glory this game. D line looked good at points

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 20th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    bC

    Given what 1-4 in the BCS did to their rivals versus ND’s pitiful performance, there’s no way we move up. In fact, ND may lose ground to LSU in the BCS,

    [Reply]

    bC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Yea they may even drop a few spots to 7 or 8 in bcs maybe even behide than Oklahoma

    [Reply]

    jeff replied on October 21st, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Who cares about the BCS rankings and whether or not we move up or down after this week. We won ugly and thats all that matters. If we win out we will be in the title game. Worst case scenario we finish season 10-2 or 9-3 and that was a pipe dream at the beginning of the season. So far BK is making the correct decisions at QB. You cant argue against 7-0.

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Portugoose,

    TR most definitely didn’t win this game. This game was won by the running game and second half D.

    Only an apologist for mediocrity would argue otherwise.

    I love these post-game apologists. Where were your in-game comments, Portugoose. Way to man up and play the result.

    Others here are man enough to call things like we see them, when we see them, and not post-facto.

    Bottom line is TR is a mediocre QB who can’t win without great help from his RBs, OL, and D.

    Perhaps mediocrity stands up for mediocrity.

    Speaking of mediocrity, our STs and redzone O are going to cost us at some point.

    I’m also tired of burning TOs beacuse of O confusion. That too will come back to haunt us.

    No way we beat OU or USC with this weak O and QB play.

    [Reply]

    Portugoose replied on October 21st, 2012 at 4:01 am

    I don’t see anything in my post that said TR won the game. Trust me — I was metaphorically yelling at the TV, too.

    There is no doubt that TR is a mediocre QB; he can’t run, and he has a pea-shooter arm, hence the two-star Rivals rating. It’s too bad, because if he had even half of Crist’s physical abilities TR could’ve been the next Ken Dorsey.

    Was there really any better alternative than TR? Hendrix’s late reads give BK heart attacks, Gunner is obviously being stashed, and BK isn’t comfortable with the risk of turning EG into a vegetable before he gets his degree. TR is currently the best QB on the team at reading opposing defenses, though this game was not a good example.

    Finally, way to state the obvious. However, considering ND’s very recent history of past “big” games, do you really think the team will be sleepwalking against OU and USC the same way they did against BYU in the second quarter?

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on October 20th, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Yeah, let’s be ever so thankful for the TR project that put his team 1st this year by being arrested. TR definately deserves to be the hero of the team vs loyal team players. Suuuuure!

    But it’s OK for you to play the blame game elsewhere in defense of TR. Brindza? Defense? Without question, they ALL have contributed more than TR this year!

    I would rather lose with Golson than win with TR. Golson is definately our best investment for the future that represents real ND values!!!

    Here comes EG!!!

    [Reply]

    ND Southy replied on October 20th, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    You would rather lose with Golson than win with Rees?

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Amazingly enough, we won and lost with Rees for the last two years. You can not train a starting QB on the bench when the game is in doubt.

    If BK does not have faith in Golson then go ahead and start Rees. It does not mean we love it. However, Rees has had way more turnovers than Golson at this juncture.

    So yeah, continue with the mirage that will catch up with us in the big games, like next week. Unless, Golson has a great game that I hope he does.

    [Reply]

    jeff replied on October 21st, 2012 at 12:33 am

    until we get some receivers that can get some separation I dont think it matters who plays QB. We dont have a Michael Floyd on this team and it shows. Teams are doubling up on T. eifert and no one else can get open. T. Rees’ only turnover went right through the hands of D. Daniels and hit him in the face. Not TRs fault. Lets face it this offense is not good regardless of who starts at QB.

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    JC,

    Seeing what OU and USC are doing?

    If some of the lemmings here don’t realize that we’ll need 100% improvement on O, esp. in the redzone, to even stay close to either OU or USC, then they are delusional.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ST play for a change?

    [Reply]

    JC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Amen Rob,

    Not only that, it’s about time BK makes a 100% commitment to Golson.

    This Rees thing is delusional also. Where else does this crude paradox exist??

    So did we really see major improvement by Rees? It appears BK has blindless hope he will magically transform into a Payton Manning?

    BK can recruit all kinds of great talent but is definately mesmerized by TR.

    You may be right, TR will probably be here till graduation.

    What’s next? A five QB derby next year? BK may be forced to seek QB selection therapy.

    [Reply]

  • Drew commented on October 20th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Reading these comments its like you guys dont realize Golson is a young kid with A DAMNED CONCUSSION. BK didn’t stick rees in there because he wanted to. He did it because he had no choice

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 20th, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Agreed, just too bad BK hasn’t done a better job of developing another QB besides TR. That’s on BK, who’s supposed to be a QB guru.

    [Reply]

    bC replied on October 20th, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I think he sat golson so he will be 100% for next week. I feel much more comfortable with EG in the game even if he turns the ball over. I just feel like he is in control of the O as a QB should be. He is also much more enthusiastic and wants to and tries to win TR (not saying he don’t want to win) I just don’t feel he puts forth the effort

    [Reply]

  • jack commented on October 20th, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Take each game at face value. Do I think ND can beat OU, yes but Golson better Golson better bring his A game. The games SC and OU played were against horrible teams. BYU has a top ranked defense and top three rush defense. We should wait and see

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 20th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Did Alabama, UF, Oregon, and KSU dominate bad teams?! BTW: 3 of the 4 played on the road and 2 of 4 beat top 20 teams.

    People that’s the standard. We need to dominate and not just win.

    Enough of excuses and what ifs.

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    The only positive thing I feel is that maybe we are like that Ohio State team that beat Miami. I feel like every victory for those guys was an ugly nail-biter. We will find out next week if we have that kind of grit. I hope so, but field goals and turnovers are not going to get it done. This was not Stanford, these guys we played today got shellacked by Oregon State (Not Oregon) last week.

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 20th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    By the way, Sooners had a 90 yard punt return and 100 yard kick return today, better play some special teams next week.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 20th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    fxm,

    Spot on!

    I sure hope I’m wrong, but I find it hard to believe we can play like we played the last 2 weeks and beat OU.

    Like I said, I hope I’m wrong.

    [Reply]

  • cousinnap commented on October 20th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I think we all see the true picture – we saw today why nerlay everyone was down on TR last year – his shortcomings really showed today- lack of mobility, some questionable decisions, not the strong arm. EG bgings a lot more to the game – and if you even want to think about beating OU and USC there has to be a lot better QB play – UNless the offense stpes it up the Irish wil not be able to handle either one of those teams. Special teams and QB play have to really pick it up.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 1:14 am

    jeff,

    Who’s to blame that the O is so bad? You can blame the WRs. I agree in part. But I blame the supposed O genius BK.

    [Reply]

    jeff replied on October 21st, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Rob, We will really get a chance to see where ND is offensively next week in Norman. EG should be 100% and he will need to be sharp against that team. I dont agree with alot of things BK does with this offense but at the end of the day its hard to argue with 7-0. Did any of us really believe we would be 7-0 heading to Norman at the beginning of the year.

    [Reply]

  • Drew commented on October 21st, 2012 at 2:07 am

    It’s Brian Kelly’s 3rd year. He hasn’t even been here for a full recruiting cycle, and he’s already got the team playing at a BCS level pace. The difference between he and Charlie Weis is that we KNOW Kelly can coach.

    Quit sounding like a spoiled punk, and enjoy the ride SteelFan – because ND right now is better than any of us thought they would be at this point.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Drew,

    Did I resort to calling you names? Name calling is a sure sign of mental weakness and lack of solid points.

    If it means demanding the best of ND football, then call me whatever you want. At least I want the best and won’t settle, If that makes me spolied better that than an excuse-making, mediocrity accepting so-called ND fan, but really an ND hater who wants to see ND settle for less.

    Drew must be a Cubs fan!

    Now, you say BK is in his 3rd year. Muschamp at UF is in his 2nd. Muschamp also inherited a Charlie Weis mess. (I’m assuming Drew knows that Weis was the OC at Florida last year; that might be assuming too much of Drew!). Guess what, Drew, Muschamp’s Gators are #2. Guess what, Drew, I know plenty of UF fans who are critical of their team because they atrive for more than just winning games.

    You might be happy with winning games. I can’t blame you if you’re young. You don’y know what it’s like to have ND football #1. Some of us here don’t have the luxury of only knowing mediocrity in ND football. Thus we’ll never settle for just winning ugly.

    I’ll enjoy the process, Drew, when we look like Alabama. Until then, you enjoy the process of settling, while the rest of us continue to expect ND to excell.

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  • Drew commented on October 21st, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Great job at using Florida, a team that’s won 2 NCs in recent years, as your primary example.

    These things don’t happen over night. Brian Kelly has them well on their way. Well on their way. If you can’t see that, you need a new hobby because college football clearly isn’t for you.

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  • Drew commented on October 21st, 2012 at 2:33 am

    The cupboard was far more bare for Brian Kelly coming to ND than it was Muschamp at Florida, and Kelly has us at #5 with a pretty damned good shot at a BCS game.

    Reality check, dude, this isn’t NCAA Football 2013, and there are no AI sliders making it easy to build a program, almost from scratch.

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  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 2:47 am

    UF was hardly dominant at the end of Meyer’s tenure. Gator fans will tell you that Weis set back the UF O.

    What I see is an O that is terrible in the redzone. A team that is terrible on STs. That wastes too many TOs beacuse they can’t get plays in on time. That commits too many penalties. That’s been going on for 3 years and counting, Drew.

    That’s what a realistic fan sees. The excuse makers I guess see excellence in these areas.

    How long did it take Saban to turn things around at LSU or Alabama? These were hardly dominant programs when he took them over. How long did it take Chip Kelley at Oregon? He’s been to a BCS bowl every year he’s been there. Or Urban Meyer at UF?

    I see vast improvements on D at ND. That’s important. Hopefully the O and STs will catch up to the D.

    Until, then, forgive me if I continue to point out weaknesses.

    I’ll leave the hobbies for those who aren’t serious about wanting ND to return to greatness and will settle for another decade of not winning a NC. (And another decade after that… And another decade after that…. One thing about excuses is that they are endless!)

    The rest of us who don’t think of ND football as a hobby, Drew, will continue to be critical and look forward to ND football being great again!

    GO IRISH! DON’T SETTLE FOR EXCUSES AND MEDIOCRITY!!!

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  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Fat Charlie Weis recruited plenty of top recruits. So ND wasn’t bereft of talent when BK came in. How many of our top players weren’t in fact CW recruits?! Manti, KLM, Eifert, etc.

    Keep the rationalizations, excuses, justifications, etc., coming.

    ND will never return to greatness if we continously make excuses. Some people here would probably still be making excuses for CW if he were at S. Bend. We would look like Kansas and some here would be making some kind of excuse and saying Weis needs more time.

    Look, I agree that BK is headed in the right direction. I’ve never called for BK to be fired (although I think he might be better served not being the OC). But let’s not overlook the problems and bury our heads in the sand. There are areas to work on and I’m sure we all want BK to fix them.

    The question is will he?

    Time will tell, but making excuses year after year isn’t the way to go.

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    Portugoose replied on October 21st, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Why would a bunch of fans making excuses on an unofficial Notre Dame football fan site prevent the team from reaching greatness? Wouldn’t bad coaching, bad recruiting, and poor player execution do that?

    I believe a valid excuse for the “slow” buildup in the BK era is the massive overhaul on both sides of the ball.

    Going from pro-style to pass-spread isn’t too drastic, except the QBs recruited under Weis (Crist, Rees) are virtually statues. Last year should’ve been Hendrix’s team, but his brain still hasn’t grasped the offense.

    Next year should be when we see a well-oiled offense with either a wiser Golson or Kiel at the helm.

    Going from 4-3 to 3-4, however, is a HUGE change — one that, history shows, takes at least one year before the right personnel are in the system, maybe even two years due to the new personnel usually being true freshman.

    We’re starting to see that transformation coming to fruition now, and I’m hoping to see Ishaq Williams and Jaylon Smith becoming the next Clay Matthews and Manti Te’o next season. With Nix hopefully returning, next year’s defense may be even better than this year’s.

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    SteelFanRob replied on October 21st, 2012 at 11:37 am

    It’s not just about fans on this site. It’s about fans everywhere, including in the stadium expecting to lose and making no noise during games. It’s about ND Stadium becoming like Wrigley Field, full of fans settling for less, expecting mediocrity, making excuses for mediocrity, and always waiting for next year.

    Fans make a difference, whether on blogs, in the street, or in the stadium. ND knows that better than most in light of its history and subway alumni.

    Plus, you’re on this site. If you don’t want your points challenged go elsewhere.

    Having said that, I agree that there are exciting things to look forward to. Add a few key recruits at DB to this class plus another playmaker on O and I agree the future looks bright. But we’ve been saying that for a long time now.

    Why wouldn’t “Irish Chocolate” be back next season?

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  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 3:03 am

    I don’t think name-calling is the way to go when making a point.

    We all want the same thing here. We just see things differently. That’s OK so long as we respect each other.

    No need for name-calling. Also saracsm is acceptable. I take Drew’s hobby comment in good spirits.

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  • Drew commented on October 21st, 2012 at 3:13 am

    The point is we are not those teams, but we are clearly on our way there. Brian Kelly has been great since he got here. There’s no real argument against that.

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  • Drew commented on October 21st, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Every team has down periods like this. Every team. In the NFL, in college. In basketball. In baseball.

    For such a “great” recruiter, Charlie Weis couldn’t do a damned thing once he got the players to South Bend. He couldnt develop talent, and he never had speed on the defense. Or the offense for that matter.

    This team is better than any team we have had since 93, without question. Better than any of Weis’ teams, better than Ty’s 2002 team – and we are only getting better.

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 21st, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Drew, I think we fundamentally agree. CW was lousy at player development. Agreed. He ignored the D. Agreed. BK has the team headed in the right direction. Agreed.

    Having said all that, we can also agree that there are areas that need improvement after 3 seasons. Off the top of my head 2 big areas are redzone O and STs.

    Against OU and USC we’ll need to get TDs in the redzone not FGs. It would also help with field position if we could do something on returns.

    That’s what those of us here who want to see ND great again realize. I don’t think we’re being unreasonable or disloyal to ND football pointing out that after almost 3 seasons, BK’s teams are still undisciplined at times (e.g., penalties and burning TOs) and don’t score enough on O in big games.

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    ND Southy replied on October 21st, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Here’s to hoping Drew and SFR can have a beer and hug it out.

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on October 21st, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I respect Drew’s passion and insights.

    Hopefully we can toast an ND victory on Sat. night!with a nice cold one!

    Go Irish!

  • Dave Melville commented on October 21st, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Good Lord. ND plays one bad half of football and some fans just can’t wait to jump on the “here we go again” bandwagon.Get a grip. ND is 7-0 and is a top 5 team with a schedule that is simply brutal.

    I will speak real slow for those who don’t get understand. G o l s o n
    d i d n o t p l a y b e c a u s e h e h a d a c o n c u s s i o n.

    It is amazing to me that we are undefeated and yet, and yet, fans complain. I hope the attitude in the locker room is better than some of the fans on this site. This is just BK 3rd year and he has the Irish back in the hunt for a top BCS game and maybe the NC. Good Lord.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    No one is complaining about being 7-0!

    What some of us here are pointing out are the REAL weaknesses of this team.

    Last time I checked, ND was far from a complete team. Until the time ND becomes a complete team, in all 3 phases of the game, those of us here who want to see ND great again will be objective and rightfully critical.

    If you want to settle for squeaking by, going 9-3 or 8-4, and playing in the Sun Bowl year in and year out, go cheer for somebody else! God with settling for less fans like this who needs “Angry Eagle” or “Billy Buckeye”!

    If we get blown out by OU next week you’ll see ND made a laughing stock nationally. It will seem to us who really love ND football and want to play for national titles like the sky IS falling.Of course, for the excuse makers we won’t hear from them or we’ll just hear more about enoying the never-ending process.

    I want those apologists to man up next week during the game if the breaks are beating the boys and make your rose-colored comments in-game.
    Speak up during the game if things aren’t going well and tell us how great ND is then. Don’t be cowards and play the result after the game and make excuses for not scoring TDs in the redzone.

    We won’t be playing for a NC if BK expects of his team the mediocrity some here seem to think is OK. I’m glad BK is the coach and not Dave or others who look at life with rose-colored lenses and will always be ready to tell us to wait til next year.

    GO IRISH!!!

    BE GREAT!!!

    [Reply]

  • JTRAIN commented on October 21st, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Maybe I can help un-blur the lines here as I have been reading steelfanrob’s comments for several years now. Steelfanrob loves his as much as any of us here and just demands the best out of them. What some here are mistaking for bitching and complaining from my friend SFR is just him looking at this team big picture. And you know what? He’s dead on. We are inconsistent on O to say the least. Flashes of brilliance followed by head scratching error/decisions. But also when the game has been on the line we have been able to make the play we need whether pass or run. There is something to be said about that. There are certainly areas of improvement.

    That being said I think we could all pause more and enjoy this season. We are 7-0 and it’s been a long time since we could say that and be semi comfortable saying it. I know I wasn’t in 02. So both sides are correct here but the lines seem blurred. It’s hard to decipher intent in print. As I said I have been reading SFR’s comments for awhile now and I have a grasp of where he is coming from with his comments. I went through much of the same with my friend JC a while back ago and it took us a bit to realize that we want the same things but we just have different ways of articulating. Hope this helps cool things down!! Haha

    Oh.. And as always
    GO IRISH!!!!

    [Reply]

  • JTRAIN commented on October 21st, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Steelfanrob loves his team* oops sorry

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    That’s it, JTRAIN! Thanks for helping me make my points. I truly appreciate the support from my fellow diehards.

    Look, if we were consistently beating teams by 20 and 30 points, scoring in the 40s game in and game out, then I can be accused of bitching. But that’s not ND. We’re far from flawless. I resent those who make excuses for flawed play. We’ve been doing that forever and haven’t won anything in what seems like forever.

    Yes, let’s enjoy the 7-0 start. It’s not like I wasn’t jumping up and down last week after STOPPING Stanford on 4th down. It’s not like I wasn’t fist-pumping everytime our O line opened up wholes for our RBs to kill the clock this week. But I’d love to beat teams like we beat Miami. BTW: Did anyone here read me criticize the Irish after that game? No, because that was the kind of beatdown we should make our standard.

    I actually think Drew and I hugged it out already and found common ground. True Irish fans always find common ground in our love for and of the Irish!

    Now it’s time for me to turn my bitching on/to the Stillers, who truly deserve any criticism that comes their way! (Talk about a fan base in denial who doesn’t like to hear the truth about a mediocre football team. I keep it as real as I can on Steelers boards as I do here, except here people are more rational and respectful. Imagine that!)

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  • brandon commented on October 21st, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Considering ND is 7-0 there is so much negativity on here. Just be happy they are playing better than ANYONE expected. If you said ND would be 7-0 right now then you are crazy. I’m also happy with our future outlook. A lot of young guys playing great ball. Especially on the defensive side of the ball.

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  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    brandon,

    The thing about expectations is that they either go up or go down.

    I’m on record as having said I expected ND to go at least 9-3. So at 7-0 my prediction is in good shape.

    The problem is that if we finish 9-3 given our 7-0 start and victories over MSU, Michigan, and Stanford, that would be a disappointment. Because going 9-3 means we not only lose to OU and USC, which is within expectations (we’ll be underdogs in both games), but will also mean losing to Pitt, BC, or Wake. That’s not acceptable, brandon!

    So yes enjoy 7-0 and don’t settle for less than 10-2.

    No excuses!

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Here’s aqn example of excuses.

    Stillers fans will talk about the team having injuries, adjusting to a new O, etc.

    Well, those are just excuses. Mike Wallce drops a pass that would’ve given Pittsburgh a first and goal and they settle for a FG.

    Larry Foote drops an INT and Cincy goes down and scores a TD.

    If Pittsburgh loses the excuse makers will continue to make excuses and not point out that this Stillers team just doesn’t make plays. Am I wrong to bitch about Wallace and Foote not making plays? Does that make me a punk? NO! It makes me realistic.

    I’m using this as an example from another context to hopefully illustrate my points about the distinction between excuse making and valid criticism.

    [Reply]

  • fxm commented on October 21st, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Wow Rob, Being recently departed from Pittsburgh, I know it sounds like I died, pretty close actually, I moved to Dallas, it must be like a Karma thing for us to have to pull for two teams that play great defense and zip down the field to kick field goals.

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  • SteelFanRob commented on October 21st, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    fxm,

    I wish the Stillers had the D the Irih have this year.

    My sincerest condolences for moving to Dallas.

    Let’s hope we can hold on tonight and not blow 4th quarter lead.

    Go Stillers!

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

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