November 29, 2008 // Notre Dame Football

Blanton, Fleming, & Kuntz Among Few Bright Spots

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While tonight’s game will go down as one of the more embarassing of the Weis Era, a few young and one old defender showed some heart and played really good games despite the lopsided loss.  Robert Blanton, Darius Fleming, and Pat Kuntz played their hearts out as far as I could tell and did what they could to keep Notre Dame in the game early.

Blanton started the game off right for the defense with an interception on Mark Sanchez’s first pass attempts of the game.  Blanton nearly intercepted another pass and made what should have been a tackle for loss on a reverse in the first quarter (the officials gave USC a ridiculous forward progress spot – not that it mattered much).  The future certainly looks bright for Blanton who filled in for Terrail Lambert again this week.  It is going to be very interesting to see what happens when Darrin Walls returns next year.  Walls was clearly the best corner on the team before being dismissed this semester and Raeshon McNeil has become a pretty good starting corner himself this year.  Throw in Gary Gray who got his second pick of the season tonight and corner will be one position where we have a lot of depth in 2009.

Fleming lost his helmet on one play in the second quarter but kept pursuing the play.  He was all over the field before getting hurt and like Blanton, he appears to have a very bright future.  It will be interesting to see where he ends up playing next year – whether it be at OLB or DE if the Irish play more 4-3 defense next season.

Kuntz meanwhile was a warrior yet again.  He isn’t the most talented kid and probably wouldn’t start on most top defenses, but the kid flat out leaves everything on the field and plays with more heart than anyone else out on the field.  He was disruptive early on and sniffed out a couple screens in the first half.  Give me 11 defenders with the heart of Pat Kuntz and I’ll show you one heck of a defense.

A couple other young defenders played tough as well such as Kerry Neal and Ethan Johnson.  Junior Toryan Smith also made another case for a starting role in next year’s defense once Maurice Crum graduates with a strong effort.

Comments to this Article

  • robert t. gilleran commented on November 30th, 2008 at 1:19 am

    1. we had over 500 relatives in los angeles for a family reunion and we all went to the game at the mausoleum, as we went to the 2007 ucla game at the rose bowl to cheer on a notre dame team that arrived in los angeles with no wins and left with their 1st.
    2. we cheered on notre dame before, during, and after the game.
    3. those few extremely rude and obnoxious usc fans who came anywhere near our section left very quickly, although we had to brace a few of them and let them imagine what would happen to them if they stayed around and kept their mouths open.
    4. we left the game even more proud of charlie and his staff and every member of notre dame’s 2008 team than we had been before we saw the usc game.
    5.this was the only game in 2008 in which notre dame was not really ever in a position to win, despite some crooked officiating.
    6. the only differentiating factor in the usc game was the number of 3rd, 4th, and 5th year usc full time athletes with lots of experience vs the number of notre dame student athletes with similar experience.
    7. the nd pass defense was just outstanding, picking off sanchez 2 times and mustain once.
    8. in the freshman and sophomore classes, the talent gap is in favor of notre dame and, but for the constant harassment of charlie and his staff and their families and the notre dame student athletes and their families by the hansenites and others who have no business claiming to be notre dame fans or claiming to speak for notre dame fans or for the notre dame administration, that talent gap in the younger classes would be even more in favor of notre dame.
    9. while the hansenites and the other phony notre dame fans will never get charlie or any of his staff fired, they have already driven away from notre dame numbers of recruits and student athletes who would otherwise have chosen notre dame, but for the vicious personal attacks on charlie and his family, on charlie’s staff and their families and on notre dame student athletes and their families. after all, what recruits and their families would want to step into the viper pit atmosphere that has been created around the notree dame football program by the hansenies and those like them when they can choose other schools and not be subjected to this vicious garbage? but for charlie and his staff and the courageous student athletes already at notre dame, no recruit would pick notre dame and no recruit’s family would send their sons into the viper pit that these hansenite jerks have tried to create at notre dame.
    10. these hansenites and their allies have been intentionally and, with specific intent, trying, without success, to kill of notre dame’s football progam for many years.the payoffs that they have been taking from notre dame’s enemies for these services will come out during the offseason and they will all be far away from south bend, with no assets and no futures, as they should have been years ago.
    11. crooked officiating and the selective rules enforcement and payoff and coverup scams that permit renegade programs like usc to break the rules constantly and get away with doing so will no longer be factors well in advance of the 2009 season.
    12. the hansenites and their allies will also not be around notre dame for the 2009 and future seasons.
    13. after all, with all of the evidence collected and with our shares of that $700 million in fees finally approved by the us district court in the enron civil rico cases and in quite a few other big cases, we can turn our full attention and resouces towards driving the hyenas and jackels and vultures away from the notre dame which we have always loved and been so proud of.
    14. then , we will all see what we know that charlie and his staff and notre dame’s fine student athletes are really capable of, which we already know from the miracles accomplished in 2005 and 2006 when charlie and his staff took a much thinner green line of talent who had been beaten up for 2 years and gained the experience which they needed to apply on the playing field what they had learned from charlie and his staff.
    15. with honest officiating and honest rules enforcement and the vicious hansenite hyenas and jackels and vutures driven far away from notre dame,charlie and his staff will be bringing in no 1 recruiting classes every single season and notre dame football and other sports will be contending for national championships every single year.
    16. we will have made notre dame the fine and unique place that notre dame has been in the past to send our sons and daughters to for their college educations and athletic careers.
    17. after the damage done to notre dame by the hansenites and their allies in the past,by 2005, there was only one person out there willing and able to take on the task of rebuilding a near dead notre dame football program and reversing the extremely toxic recruiting environment all over the us creted by the hansenites and their allies.
    18. that person was and still is charlie weis, who came to notre dame out of love for notre dame, not for money. and assembled the fine staff that he has and the fine young student athletes whom charlie and his staff brought to notre dame despite the toxic environment created by the hansenites and their allies who profit both from notre dame’s enemies and from ripping off some notre dame fans who are not well informed enough to see through the hansenites’ con operations.
    19. we do not have to imagine what charlie and his staff and the fine young student athletes can do when the 3 millstones under which they have had to operate are removed- the crooked reffing and tech reviewing, the corrupt rules enforcement which allows renegade programs like usc to break the rules every season and get away with it, and the toxic envirnment at notre dame created by the hansenites and their greedy allies.
    20. we already know what charlie and his fine staff and the fine student athletes that they have and will continue to bring to notre dame.
    21. putting the notre dame/ usc game into perspective, what was the score in the ohio state/ usc game on 2008?
    22. remember, with the buckeyes, we are talking about a team with depth and experience at every position and with great coaching stability, 2 consecutive shots at a cs championship and no hansenites allowed around columbus, ohio.
    23. and just where is eric hansen from? the anseer is columbus, ohio. we understand that he was driven away from colombus and that they do not want him back.
    24. some good honest real work on the north slope in alaska or on the alaskan fishing boats might just be the only option for the hansenites and their allies after they are driven far away from notre dame.

    we thank for for your inspiration and eloquence, frank, and for your courage.

    if anyone comes along and theatens to pull your sponsors, you know how to contact us and we will double whatever any sponsor thereyening to pull out finanicial support for your fine website offers,

    robert thomas patrick gilleran

    [Reply]

  • Fight On commented on November 30th, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Hey Robert T. Gilleran,

    Do you sniff a lot of paint thinner?

    [Reply]

  • Don commented on November 30th, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Great blog. You are absolutely right about Kuntz. That guy is all heart.

    I knew we would get nothing but this kids best even back in high school when Weis added him to the recruiting class. He played most of his senior year with a cast on broken arm and led his team to a state title.

    I honestly will miss seeing him on the field next year much like I missed Zorich as a guy that would go out every Saturday and lay it all out on the field for 4 quarters never letting up for one second. My favorite game of his will always be this year’s Stanford game.

    Good luck PK we will miss you, your attitude, and most of all your heart.

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on November 30th, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Yeah right, just like you and your team bought the South Bend Tribune and Fired Jeff Caroll.

    Could you please write a book with a hundred chapters, so we might have a wonderful vaporous opportunity to understand your position?

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on November 30th, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Frankie, your right, the defense again carried the day, or the game could have been 60 to Zip.

    [Reply]

  • Castine commented on November 30th, 2008 at 8:49 am

    Notre Dame has its coach. This program, more than anything, needs stability. It’s obvious the talent in the first- and second-year players is pretty impressive. What’s very evident is this team does not have the upperclassmen to compete at the highest level. When you have true freshmen playing the lines, secondary, linebacker, and tight end how can you expect to compete? All the coaching in the world cannot make up for the inexperience and lack of physical development.

    GO IRISH!

    [Reply]

  • Joe commented on November 30th, 2008 at 10:05 am

    I vote for Mr. Gilleran as ND’s next head coach. If we can’t scare teams like USC with our quality of play, then maybe they’ll think we’re batshit crazy. They say that’s how Ali (then Cassius Clay) got to Liston.

    [Reply]

  • irishspartan commented on November 30th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    After more thinking, I agree that there were some positives from that game. Robert Blanton is REALLY showing himself to be a great cornerback. Not only the pick, but a couple of open field tackles he made were fantastic. AND, he’s a freshman! The defense could only do so much with the offense giving USC great field position most of the possessions. They definitely put it all out on the field. Hats off to USC though…they are incredibly good. I’d LOVE to see them play Florida.

    Frankie, perhaps I’ve missed it in one of your postings, but I would like to hear YOUR personal thoughts on the Weis situation, and where you would like the program to go.

    Personally, I wish the media would shut up about this all, let the man coach, and keep Weis at the helm. I love Weis, despite the record, despite the second half season meltdown, and despite the critics. However, i also really like Ty Willingham, so my opinion doesn’t matter.

    [Reply]

  • cv commented on November 30th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Who the he88 is gilleran? The guy is a nut! CW is a fraud as a head coach there is no debating this fact!

    [Reply]

  • irishspartan commented on November 30th, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    A fraud? You’re talking about the coach that took ND to two BCS games his first two years, and coached, without a doubt in my mind, THE biggest comeback (ND vs. MSU 2006), and the best game i’ve ever seen (ND vs USC 2005). Charlie Weis, is by NO means, a fraud. Coaches get fired for consistent failures. As pissed as i am about this year, we’re at 6 and 6, which is three wins more than last year. Even people as DENSE as you, CV, can interpret that as an improvement. THAT’S what the AD is looking for.

    Yes, the year has had some disappointments, but i really think this season is far from being a disaster.

    True ND fans will hang on for the long run, stick it out, and believe our players, AND coaches, will rise above the gossip, the criticism, and the expectations, and truly bring ND back to glory.

    [Reply]

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