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An Up Close Look at Stanford

If Notre Dame is going to pull of an upset of Stanford this weekend, the Irish will have to generate pressure on Heisman hopeful Andrew Luck. (Photo - Ric Tapia/Icon SMI)

Notre Dame heads to the west coast this week to take on the 4th ranked Cardinal from Stanford.  In preparation for this year’s huge season finale, we exchanged Q&A’s with the Stanford blog Rule of Tree.

1. Andrew Luck is completing over 70% of his passes and has thrown at least 2 TDs in every game this season. What can the Notre Dame defense do to slow him down?

The key to slowing down Luck is getting pressure on him. He’s had the luxury of throwing behind one of the best offensive lines in college football over the last three years, but he’s faced more pressure than he’s accustomed to over the last few weeks. That’s led to a couple of interceptions returned for touchdowns against USC and Oregon. His interception last week against Cal was at least partly due to the fact that his receiver slipped, but he misfired on several other passes in an ugly first half. When Luck is pressured, he sometimes attempts to do too much. Rather than throwing the ball away or taking a sack for a short loss, he’ll make an ill-advised throw.

2. Notre Dame has seen defenses drop 8 or 9 defenders into coverage with great success slowing down the Irish offense. Do you expect Stanford to employ a similar defensive scheme this weekend?

Stanford’s defense has been most effective this season when it’s managed to generate a good pass rush. That said, the Cardinal defense was burned repeatedly by the screen pass against Oregon and has had issues tackling all season. If Notre Dame employs the short passing game that it did against Boston College, it’s imperative that the Cardinal doesn’t allow the short passes to turn into big gains. Dropping more guys into coverage might be a good strategy.

3. With Jonas Gray out this weekend, what can the Notre Dame rushing offense do to have success against Stanford’s stout rushing defense?

I think Cierre Wood could have a tough time getting going against the Stanford defense, unless the Irish’s passing game is clicking early on. The Cardinal is much more vulnerable against the pass than it is against the run, but it does give up the occasional big play on the ground.

4. After almost a full season without Jim Harbaugh, how do Stanford fans feel about David Shaw and his ability to maintain the current success next year without Andrew Luck?

I think most Stanford plans are very pleased with David Shaw’s first season at the helm. It’s helped that he’s had Andrew Luck as his quarterback, but his rookie year hasn’t come without adversity. The Cardinal lost its best defensive player, Shayne Skov, in the third game of the season and has dealt with injuries to other key contributors throughout the year.

All things considered, including the pressure of following in the footsteps of Jim Harbaugh and the heightened expectations for the team, Shaw has done an excellent job. I think he earned a little extra respect from some fans when the normally mild-mannered coach criticized the BCS system and defended Luck against anyone who questioned whether he was still Heisman-worthy during this week’s Pac-12 coaches teleconference.

As for the Cardinal’s future without Luck, Shaw’s first recruiting class was impressive. Stanford seems poised to continue to compete for Pac-12 championships in the near future, even if BCS bowls are no longer regular occurrences.

5. Assuming both LSU and Alabama finish the season with 1 loss, do you think Stanford has a legit chance to make the BCS title game if they get past Notre Dame this weekend?

I think the only way that Stanford plays for the BCS title is if it beats Notre Dame, LSU beats Arkansas, Auburn beats Alabama, Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech loses another game. In other words, it’s probably not happening. I outlined this scenario here. Short of making the NCG or the Rose Bowl, which would require Oregon getting upset by Oregon State, there’s a good chance that Stanford winds up in the Fiesta Bowl against the loser of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State showdown.

6. Stanford’s never won 3 games in a row against Notre Dame and until last season had never won two in a row over the Irish. How big of an accomplishment would you consider that for Stanford and has it been discussed by Stanford fans this week?

Wow, I wasn’t aware of that. That potential accomplishment may have gotten lost among the fans in all the fretting about BCS possibilities, but it would be an impressive feat. Notre Dame seems to give Stanford fits every season, no matter how good the Cardinal is. Last year’s win in South Bend was a rare exception. Notre Dame may not be the dominant program that it once was, but Brian Kelly seems to have the Irish headed in the right direction and I’d bet Stanford takes great pride in competing against a program with that much tradition.

7. How do you see Saturday’s game playing out?

Stanford’s been prone to slow starts and I think that trend continues, but I think the Cardinal eventually finds its rhythm and pulls away for a 38-21 win. I don’t think the Irish will have much success running the ball, and while Michael Floyd should have a big day, I don’t think the Notre Dame defense will be able to slow Stanford enough for that to matter. It may sound simplistic, but I just don’t see Andrew Luck losing what is most likely the final home game of his career. (If Oregon State shocks Oregon, Stanford would host the Pac-12 Championship next week.)


  1. Best wishes Dayne, you deserve a better HC. Sounds like Wisconsin?
    Hope he ends up at Standford. Prediction: More transfers coming!

    TR starting Champs Sports Bowl? The obvious panacea for apposing defenses. A well known dilemma.

    In the inevitable world of compromises BK will be forced to develope a #2 QB!

    Mandatory Requirements: 20 yard DOMAFLICKY passes, quick release style and atleast 2 turnovers per game for BK fascination purposes. The rest need not apply. Caveat Emptor: Transfers accepted.

  2. Here are some quotes from a Chicago Tribune article that just posted.

    “Sophomore Tommy Rees will start the Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State, Kelly stated unequivocally during a teleconference.

    Sophomore Andrew Hendrix, who played the entire second half of the season finale at Stanford, “will get an opportunity to play as well,” per Kelly.”

    As such, Crist may not be part of the Irish’s bowl preparation or travel party.

    “That’s yet to be determined,” Kelly said. “We’re not really sure. We’ve given him a release. He’s going to have to pursue some of those things. Right now it’s pretty much up in the air and I’ve got to focus on the guys that are going to be here.”

    Speaking more about the role Hendrix will have, Kelly didn’t sound an optimistic tone about Crist’s participation.

    “(Hendrix) is going to have to get a lot more (work), because there’s only two,” Kelly said. “Dayne and will I have further conversations, but the way we left it, he’s got a lot of work left to do to work on his transfer. Andrew is going to have to get a lot of that work because he’s got to go in there and play. His role definitely will increase in practice.”

    Defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who missed the last two games while battling mononucleosis, was cleared to return and began working with strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo last week. Kelly said Tuitt will practice Tuesday… Theo Riddick will continue to play running back in the bowl game, Kelly said.

  3. Dayne Crist is transferring and this decision might finally push ND in the direction of commiting to a spread QB. As it stands, ND has one drop back and 2 spread QB’s on the roster. If Dayne would have applied for a fifth year, I think they would have given it to him and we would have the same issues going that we had this year.

    This frees up a scholarship to recruit another QB. I think ND will have a great shot a Keil now. It would also give ND a balance in eligibility. Tommy will have 2 years left, Andrew will have 3 years left, Golsen would have 4 years, and Keil could come in and sit out a year.

    I wish Dayne the best of luck and I hope he finds a place where he can develop his game.

    • Yeah, I hope he (Dayne) can go somewhere that his skill set is better matched. I get concerned if EG will stick around if committment to the offensive scheme he was recruited for doesn’t pan out by BK sticking with the fair haired wonder boy (TR)and the piss poor hodge podge offensive scheme that is used with him. The Stanford game showed that giving AH some extended playing time and he might do all right. I’ve got a feeling the fair haired wonder boy is going to get the start. FSU has a pretty good defense, which a good mobile QB might negate. We do have one of those on the team. Too bad he probably won’t start.

      Go Irish
      Do some Seminole Stomping

  4. Ok St deserves a shot. Bama had theirs. Bama only beat 2 teams with a winning record. Perception of the SEC is the only reason Bama will be #2.

    • Yep, I can appreciate that position. However, since Div 1 FBS purports itself (officially) not to engage in a “playoff” type determining format, it makes little sense (to me, anyway) of trying to justify Bama had their shot earlier in a conference game and losing to LSU so they should not get the chance for a rematch & Okie State should. Heck, even Stanford could make a case they deserve an opportunity (though I think Okie St is better than Stanford). If there were a playoff like determining format,I think that would ring true. Since FBS BCS NC game though is picked, and team rankings are picked by subjective decision, picking the 2 teams to play for the NC is, at least, staying consisten in its “formula” so, yeah, I think Bama will remain at number 2 in the BCS standings to play LSU. Big 12 teams historically can play good offense but not as good on the defensive side of the ball. Bama wasted missing (I think) 3 fg’s and another fg attempt blocked in that game against LSU. I thought BAMA was still the better team but ended up scoring less than LSU. What it really boils down too though, is, there should be a Div 1 playoff. All other classes have it and at least it goes to a more level of objectivity to determine a winner/champion. Those conferences that have championship games could have even more relevance if their champions went to seedings in a playoff format. Oh well, it will never happen unless the BCS organizes into a somewhat quasi-playoff in the future through the bowls.

      Well, just waiting to see what the Irish have to look forward to as to what bowl & opponent they draw.

  5. Well, since at the time I write this, a bowl & opponent hasn’t been yet determined with certainty for ND (hence no upcoming game yet to blog about), what are people’s thoughts about game results from last night & BCS championship game scenario. LSU taking on either Alabama or Okie State. I’ve read a lot of “hub-bub” about who LSU should end up playing. To me, I think Alabama is the stronger team between them and Okie State. I guess if Okie St hadn’t lost to Iowa St, this wouldn’t even be a “controversy.” I wish we had a bona fide playoff system, but, I know that won’t happen. Too bad.

    Hope Hendrix starts in the bowl game.

    Go Irish!!!

  6. Good luck Dayne! You will always be one of us.

  7. Just saw an interview with Nick Saban and he was talking about how important it is for teams to win the SEC Championship. Again, at ND, we do not have that to play for. As I was thinking about it, when you are in a conference, you control your own destiny because the results on the field determine how you fare in the season. ND’s fate rest on the opinion of others. Where they end up depends strictly on polls, there is nothing to win to give them the right to a BCS Bowl. With this love them or hate them attitude that people have against ND, I thinks it hurts at times in the polls. Remember in 2007 when ND beat UCLA in the closing seconds, they actually fell in the polls to a team that didn’t even play that week. I just feel that with the changing landscape in college football and the fact that others schools have caught up to ND in what they can offer, ND may be at a point where they need to make a move or get left behind.

  8. look at ucla they are what 6-6 and have a chane at a bcs, although a small one..i know its because usc is on sanctions just trying to show a piont. i love ND being independent but there are times it is a disadvantage . like an earlier post by shaz, ND plays a 12 team conf. schedule that change s from year to year and we dont play fcs schools.its harder for ND , but when/if we win it all it will be that much sweeter. GO IRISH!

  9. Since Holtz left, ND is on it’s 5th coach. The problem with all the “Big-Time” coaches is that they do not want to come to South Bend. It’s all about the SEC, the Pac 12, the Big 10, and whatever other conference you want to throw out there. They can recruit whoever they want, in most places it’s better weather, and it is easier to qualify for the BCS. ND’s BCS bowl aspirations were shot down in October after the USC game. Even if they would have beaten Stanford, they probably wouldn’t have qualified for a BCS game.

    I know I’m going to get thrown under the bus, but I believe it is remaining an Independant in football that is causing ND to remain irrelevant in college football. If ND loses one of it’s first couple of games, they are almost never going to qualify for a BCS game. However, most of the other schools can stumble early in the season and still have a chance to end up in a BCS game. I know people will say that being independent will help with national recruiting, but when I look at the kids ND is recruiting, they are also being recruited by teams like Alabama, Florida, USC, LSU, and Michigan. All those teams are in a conference and they recruit nationally as well. It is not being an independent that will get kids to come to ND, it’s winning…period.

    Now as far as Brian Kelly goes, I’m thankful that he was even willing to come here. He was a proven winner at his other schools, was going to BCS games at Cincy, and could have waited for other opportunities. However, he wanted to coach at ND and even though this job is a pressure cooker, he is still developing this team into something we haven’t seen in awhile.

    I’m also convinced that even though he toes the company line on remaining independent, he would probably prefer being in a conference because it gives the team more to play for. There is no longer just a single goal of getting to the BCS, there is winning your division, winning your conference championship, and then winning your bowl game. It just makes me wonder if the pressure to win the USC game made the team play so tight because they knew if they lost one more game, they were probably out of the BCS.

    I’m all about the traditions of ND, but I would rather see them win. I would rather have a team that can stumble early in the season and still have something worthwhile to play for. Think of Ohio State for a moment, this is the first time in I think 6 years that they didn’t win the Big 10 conference championship and people were making a big deal out of it. Don’t you think one of the first things Urban Legend is going to use to motivate this team is getting back to winning the Big Ten conference championship? He is not even going to talk BCS because he knows that if they win the conference championship, they are in the BCS.

    Kelly will succeed at ND, it’s just going to take time. However, if he was in a BCS conference, it wouldn’t take nearly as long.

    OK traditionalists, let me have it.

    • scav,

      You do a good job pointing towards the salient features and benefits of belonging to a conference.

      I view conference play simular to grading papers.

      If you win your:

      Division, you get a “B”
      Conference, you get a “B+”
      BCS Bowl, you get a “A”
      National Title, you get a “A+”

      So you have the opportunity to win three/four motivational trophies for your accomplishments.

      Further, TV revenues are shared with the conference coupled with compliance standards in addition to the NCAA.

      However, as an independent you can only achieve an “A+” for a National Title.

      And, only have NCAA rules to contend with. But here’s the good news, as a non-for-profit entity you get to keep all the TV revenues. And control of your scheduling. Not to mention your destiny.

      That’s the short version, but it is a conversation for the 21st century considering all the recent landscape changes in college football. As a traditionalist, I do have my eyes wideopen.

      So it really comes down to revenue in my view. I believe as long as ND is making more revenue as an independent there is no real reason to change; unless that dynamic changes. Unfortunately, it is all about the money.

      • I’m with you. It’s kind of like the Chicago Cubs, as long as Wrigley is selling out regardless of the product on the field, what’s the incentive to change?

        My fear is that these “Super Conferences” are going to form and ND is going to be on the outside looking in when it comes to bowl options. It’s already starting to feel that way as it is.

      • scav,

        You hit the nail on the head!

        When “Super Conferences” can pull a old-fashion squeeze play: We got more money than you and you have to join, or you will only being playing 4 games a year! And no bowl!

        Sounds ugly, but it could slowly but surely be headed in that direction?

        Kind of reminds me when investment sharks say: “Contracts are made to be broken!” And what they are really telling you: “I’ve got more money than you and if you don’t do as I want I will crush you!

        I also found it interesting when the Uconn Coach said: “Well lets just force ND football to join the Big East! Laughable today, maybe not down the road?

        On the other hand, I really think the Uconn Coach was pissy he did not get BK’s position.

      • If there IS a super conference I have said ( and others ) that Notre Dame could be in the Drivers seat with the likes of much of the big 12 , big East and the Jesuits of Boston and throw in a service Academy or two. It wouldn’t be totally regional but it would and could be Great Conference USA!
        Oklahoma, Okla State, Kansas, Kan. State, Texas, T.Tech, Baylor, Iowa State, Louisville, Cincinnati, W. Va? Rutgers, U Conn BC, navy < Army–think of that in football ANd basketball –the business backbone of these could be powers to contend with–why not??? It the NCAA and the BCS are heading this way, why not? We could be in the thick of it with divisions and conference titles and still keep USC for a non-conference game and Mich. or Mich . St too and one SEC –it could work–it really could work—why not? I like ND as Independet but "outside " looking in is just where some folks want us—we have moved so poorly in so many ways since bob Davie was hired—why not move on something???

      • One of the reasons I like ND as an independent in football is the diversity in scheduling.

        Look at the SEC. The leading football conference in the country, and has been for a number of years now.
        But the kids in that conference never leave the south to play a game. Ever.

        ND has played in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Winston-Salem, Miami, Chicago,
        Southern California, Hawaii, Washington State, Colorado Springs, the Midwest, and soon, in Dallas and then Ireland to play Navy.

        I think that is a really cool thing for the players, many of whom might otherwise not get to see and experience such places.
        It also holds true to the values that ND uses football as a teaching tool for it’s players.

        ND’s life long tradition of playing all over the country has earned them the title of America’s Team.

        Joining a conference would take that all away. That’s a price that seems a bit steep to me.

  10. Can we please stop with BK bashing? Its getting old.
    How can some seriously entertain firing him after 2 years? Were you also the ones praising CW after 2 yrs.
    Let’s just let it play out and see what happens. Nobody goes undefeated every year. Bobby Bowden went undefeated exactly 1 time.
    After 5 years lets evaluate and see what happens. Personally I think the program is in the best overall shape its been in since the mid 90’s.

    Go Irish!

    • Irish,

      Excuse me, this losing thing is getting way old. Can we please stop losing?

      Let’s see, back in 1972 when I was at ND, winning was the culture at ND with no exceptions. This new losing culture back to Bob Davie is really old. So I don’t need a lecture on what is getting old.

      I like Irisheye62 have lived through Championship Football when it wasn’t just a wishful conversation. So I don’t need to be reminded of what is getting old.

      Moreover, the iphone/ipad preppies are clueless what it takes to win a National Championship.

      It seems the RahRah people think it is more fashionable to be talking about new toys and more time. Well for me, two decades of losing has been enough period.

      By the way, if you go back prior to CW and BK read my posts. I was for hiring an experienced and proven National Championship Coach.
      I still am because we are still going nowhere fast.

      Boy, you just had to mention “Bobby Bowden” who received his one and only POLITICAL NC title at our expense! We beat them straight up during the season and finished with identical one lose records. But, the poor Bobby AP crowd decided to give him his 1st title at the expense of Lou’s second!
      And would have been ND’s 12th!

      So what is really getting old my friend?

      The ND football adminstration that is suffering from a severe case of ACATALEPSIA!

      • Easy big fella. Don’t know what you took so personally. I wasn’t speaking to you directly. We are all on the same team here and want the same thing. I am tired of the losing as well but firing coaches every 10 minutes is not the solution. BK has won at every level and we can assume he can get it done here bit he needs more than 2 years to prove it. That’s all I am saying.

        The Bowden reference was just to show that winning is tough. For as great as Spurrier is he has never gone undefeated. Heck Urban never went undefeated at UF. Winning is tough and it takes time when our program was clearly broke.

        Also, what does an IPad have to do with anything?

        Cheer up, enjoy the holidays!

        Go Irish!

      • Irish,

        Fair enough, however, BK has not won at a National Championship level. Nor would we be firing coaches every 10 minutes if we would have spent the right money to get what we needed in the 1st place.

        Urban, Saban, Stoops and Miles don’t come at BK prices.

        In closing, the IPad/Iphone crowd at the home opener where more interested in their toys than cheering.

        I hope you and your family have a great holiday season too!

        For me, I’ll go back to my gruppy old men movie!


      • A couple things to note. Before Urban, Saban, Stoops, and Miles won National Championships they where not proven National Championship coaches. They were not born with a clip board in one hand and the crystal ball in the other hand. Unless someone else can prove to me of this phenomenon than I will stick to that statement. Second those coaches would not have the balls to come to ND, where they would have to have strict academic standards, ethical standards and a constant bias from the media. And to top it off, even when you have a two winning seasons after showing obvious improvement over the years prior your rabid fan base is after you because you haven’t opened up the heavens and bestowed the cystal ball upon the masses.

      • Another thing is that times have changed, no longer is ND the only team on the TV nationally, or able to recruit nationally. They are not the only team that can get players to the NFL, or the only team that can get their players so much coverage they will have bias for voting and drafting. Those are the days of the past, so to think that all you are going to do is win for ever is crazy. There will be down years and we have experienced enough your right. But I tell you that those days are changing, we are getting better and we will be crashing the BCS in the next two years depending on the success of Golson/ Hendrix out of the gates.

        Don’t loose hope, or give in to despair, because the Fighting Irish are marching, and soon National Championships will be there! Go Irish!

        Notre Dame 31 Florida State 24 ( The Florida State the ESPN worshipped) and we beat them straight on –and the game was not as close as the score indicated. yeah, FSU had some good moments in the 4rth quarter but ND had a cushion because of a running game. I MISS THOSE DAYS. WE have NOT been the same since. While I have been accused of not “being a real Notre Dame FaN’ or briing “bad karma” as Shaz suggested ( BTW, Karma is not exactly Christian is it? but I digressed) I too like you JC am tired of this half way effort on the part of many. ( and yes, I applaud and laud the players–but something is WRONG somewhere) nad has been for a long time –wait until next year–that was before CLINTON’s Second term as President! Those of us who REALLY know and have a legacy with ND-Have been waiting–and JC is right. I hope we are both wrong–but I fear we are not. This is NOT a personal slam on anybody -and one need take it that way-it is a keen observation and a correct one. Go Irish –and I mean that! go and do SOMETHING! JC is right folks!!

      • Eyes62

        Thought you said that you wanted to bury the hatchet?

        I should have figured it would be in my back.

        Never said you weren’t a REAL ND fan. Just said that you were a real whiny one.

        But that’s not a personal slam on you or anyone else.

        I do understand how you feel about waiting and how long it’s been since our last National Championship.

        I have read your full page synopsis and family history on the subject…. over, and over, and over, and over, agian.

        Been waiting since the Clinton administration…

        Long Time….

        Very long time….

        Got it!

  11. SteelFanRob,

    I am not yearning to be critized anew for jumping off the BK Train. But more than likely your right about Hendrix. You know very well I was for BK in year one. However, this year has indeed been a strange and ambiguous year to say the least. Remarkably, this year BK has found about every imaginable way to implode progess with his narcissistic mouth and attitude for starters. I really could engage in a serious diatribe on 100 ways to fire BK, Swarbrick and Jenkins. But I won’t. Sorry if I have over stated my position, for I am extremely unhappy with this years results period.

    Hopefully, next year there will be some kind of recognizable positive result concerning the QB position. But believe me, I am not going to hold my breath. It does not look promising for next year with this unique BK approach.

  12. JC,

    With all due respects to Shaz, I’m not sure about the AH pulled hamstring hypothesis. Here’s why. AH actually took a few snaps after that in the AF game (without any visible signs of a limp or injury) and then made another appearance in the SC game (again without any apparent health problems). If he had pulled his hamstring after the long run against AF, he wouldn’t have stayed on the field, unless it was a minor injury, which means that it shouldn’t have kept him out of the lineup at all the following weeks.

    I saw Lamarr Woodley of the Steelers pull his hamstring and it looked like he had been shot by a gun point blank, that’s how fast and how hard he hit the deck on the play that he was injured on. I didn’t see that at all with AH on the long run against AF or on any subsequent snap he took.

    Sorry, I don’t buy the AH was hurt hypothesis at all. I think BK simply wanted to stick with TR. Bottom line. Why else then not play anyone else in the blowouts after AF. Let’s say AH was hurt, was DC also injured? No. BK just stuck with TR hoping to get him as many reps as possible, all at the expense of AH getting game-time experience. Bad job, BK, plain and simple.

    • Yeah and also the facts don’t back that theory up- with all respect to Shaz. AH reported that, when he walked to the sideline after that play against AF, Cierre Wood sat him down. CW said, “Nice Run Andrew. You slowed down a bit to look behind you. DON’T EVER DO THAT AGAIN.” It was a “rookie mistake”. And no jumbotron to see pursuers. That little bit of slowing down caused him to get tackled right before the endzone. Lesson learned.

  13. just some news from irish sports daly. they called taylor decker about ohio st trying to sway him, ohio st came to his highschool and Decker wouldnt even talk to them and he has no plans of taking other visits. now thats a fighting irish football player. he is a kid that i think could dominate… here is what superprep say about him…

    STRENGTHS Aggresiveness / Tenacity  Flexibility  Size . AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT Power And Strength
    What puts him here is not just his frame or athleticism, but the strength and intensity he plays with. He was strong when he played at 260 and now that he’s continuing to add bulk, he’ll only get stronger. He plays mean in addition to that. Those are the types of things that stand out in addition to his physical tools. – Allen Trieu
    he is 6-8 288

  14. http://notredame.247sports.com/Article/2011-NDs-Tale-Of-The-Turnover-51044

    I think this is an excellent article about how costly the TO ratio was this year. And it points out that our “points allowed” stats really aren’t that bad- average, but not bad. Some have claimed that our defense has allowed too many points, but I would say “not really”. Not that there isn’t plenty of room for improvement. But, if you make the argument that our defense was bad and allowed too many points, you must take into account the amount of times our offense has handed opponents the ball. How many times? 27 times this year. That is going to significantly affect “points allowed” and “yardage allowed”, and it did.

    Everyone knows how costly TOs can be, but this article really puts it into perspective. It is almost certain that ND would have 1 (maybe 2) losses instead of 4 losses, if the discipline to hold onto the ball had been present.

  15. Shaz,
    You highlight that Michigan has been given a gift season and much promotion by the “Don King” of promotors Brent “Big Ten” Pussberger. Herbstreet is also promoting and caving to the ESPN scumbag no ethics mentality. But if they do play Houston, don’t count Houston out. I believe Houston can pick apart the UofM defense. I also think Houston will not concentrate on Robinson, but on everyone else. You see defenses freak out when Robinson gets a big gainer. He’s one hit away from the injured list.

    • C-Dog,

      You make a good point about Houston having a excellent chance vs. the Wolverines.

      I like to call it the Appalachian St. syndrome.

      You remember… a few years back… when Michigan scheduled a home only game agianst App. St.?

      It was what Michigan assumed would be an easy win over a little 1-AA creampuff that turned out to be their most humiliating defeat at home of all time.

      Of course the powers to be at Michigan remedied that problem by replacing App.State with the (softer than the field at Stanford) Fighting Lake Loons of Western Michigan.

      Now that’s what Kirky and old Pussball would call Michigan being “Shreeeewd”

      • Shaz:
        the hatchet was buried. I simply referred to the past and what was and what could be –and what is lacking. That HARDLY makes me whiney. I do think Shaz you have good points but it is obvious that you take issue with people disagreeing with you. My allegiance to this University is in tact. ( read my family history above and the connection.) I –like many have been waiting for something —and the rotation of coaches and mediocre calls and plays is enough to make one stir crazy. This is becoming common place–and almost acceptable. “We will be better next year” etc.–and still on and on. BTW, Shaz, I was NOT one of the many ND fans booing the Irish at the half of the Southern Florida game. I would NEVER do that even when down 42-3 like we were aginst Mich. St years ago at halftime. That is hardly whiney. It’s calling it like it is. There is “no hatchet in your back” as you say. NOne whatsoever. Neither of us knows all of it. I do agree with you on Hendrix and am perplexed. In the future, avoid terms like mangina ( we are not in 7th grade) and telling people to go to a Justin Biebler concert to wait some more and NOT expect them to react. We can disagree and agree to do that. Enough said. Subject is closed.

      • Irisheyes62,

        This all started because I reponded to a post made by “Chris” from the previous week. Got that? C-H-R-I-S.

        I told “chris” to go to a Justin Bieber concert in responce to a Grandpa remark
        that he made my way. Got that?
        He refered to me as grandpa, and I told him to go to a Justin Beiber concert.
        Him and I traded jabs. That’s it. He fine with it as am I.

        Until you came along.

        You, for some reason, interpeted that I was talking to you. I wasn’t.
        Then you went all 7th grade telling me to kiss off numerous times. Remember?

        Then I tried to ignore it, tried to turn the other cheek,(just ask JDH) but you just couldn’t vent, then let it go. You had to go on and on.

        If you want to refer to the past I suggest you leave my name out of it. In fact, it would be best if you left my name out of any of your future posts.

        You made a mistake. You stuck your nose in a conversation that wasn’t yours to begin with. It happends.

        But then you flew off the handle and pissed me off.

        I don’t have an issue with people disagreeing with me.

        I just have an issue with you.

        Leave me be, and I’ll leave you be. Simple enough.

      • Sorry JDH, meant to say SFR.

    • I disagree with you about Herbstreit. I think he is as objective and fair as they come and the best in the business these days.

      Just my opinion…

  16. Next year will be awesome, wait and see. The defense hasn’t looked this good in forever, and Kelly knows he needs the best QB to start games for him next season. It’s gonna happen.

  17. I personally don’t care who starts the bowl game whether it be Rees, Hendrix, or Uncle Fester. I just want to WIN. I think we put too much emphasis on “playing time” as a criteria for experience. I’m assuming coach Kelly knows how to develop his quarterbacks and does this very well within practice. I’m sure Hendrix wouldn’t have played any better in the Stanford game if he had played a few more snaps during the year. I don’t think we should jeopardize a bowl win just to play younger players. If Tommy gives us the best chance to win, then play him. If Hendrix gives us the best chance to win, then play him. Fortunately or unfortunately, coach Kelly knows a lot more than we do and he has an important decision to make. I hope he makes the right one.

    • If you don’t consider “playing time” the same thing as “experience”, what do you consider “experience”? A player MUST play in games, and face THAT dynamic, to prove his worth.

      “I’m sure Hendrix wouldn’t have played any better in the Stanford game if he had played a few more snaps during the year.” – You are sure of that why? Hendrix came in and the spark/emotion he created on both sides of the ball was palpable and obvious.

      There is NO way to groom a player for proper game-play like well, game-play.

      • I agree with you 100% JDH. Nothing in practice can take the place of live action. I’d be willing to bet that’s where Crist couldn’t cut it. Great in practice but once he stepped on the field he was like a deer in the headlights.

      • JDH:

        Great call!

        I don’t know what some people are thinking when they post. After all, I’m sure that if AH had been given as many game reps as TR he would’ve looked just the same against Stanford. Who cares that the Stanford game was his first significant playint time since AF. That makes total sense to me. NOT!

      • JDH:

        Spot on observation and rebuttal of “Ping7Fe”!

        I don’t know what some people are thinking when they post on here. How can someone seriously argue that AH wouldn’t have performed better with more game reps under his belt. Many of these people are the same TR apologists who insist that he’ll get better with, wait for the punchline, more live repetitions. I have no doubts AH plays better if BK hadn’t rotted him on the bench after the AF game. I don’t know if he leads ND all the way back against Stanford. But AH probably makes a few more plays with his arms and legs. Something TR won’t ever be able to do, no matter how many reps he gets!

      • Hendrix proved what he brings to the offense in the AF game, so why didn’t he play more after that?

        If you remember, late in the AF game, he broke off a long run only to get caught from behind just short of the goal line.

        My guess (and thats all it is) is he pull his hamstring.

        It takes about 4-5 weeks to get over a hamstring injury. Which puts him right on target for a return agianst Stanford.

        A college coach can’t come out and say “My backup QB will be reasting for 5 weeks, or he has a bad hamstring”

        That would only be doing your opposing defences a favor.

        I don’t know this to be fact, but it is the only logical reason that I can come up with for why Hendrix did not get more playing time.

        I mean, for the first half of the season they groom Hendrix (a true duel threat QB for Kelly’s system) for his first appearence agianst AF, then we don’t see him agian until the season’s final game. Why?

        Whatever the reason, I would like to hear it from someone at ND.

      • Unsurprisingly Shaz, you make a great point on Hendrix.

        I have been completely perplexed with Hendrix’s almost non-existance presence on the field?

        You may very well have the best hypothesis on the matter.

      • Lads,
        We’ve all heard and seen the term “practice players”. My guess is that Crist is/was a great one. But come gametime, things changed. Hell I’ve experienced that personally! Any athlete has. In college, I remember having a great practice week and then sucking in the game. Happens. But if it’s a habit, there’s a problem- that’s Crist IMHO.

        Rees probably practices alot like he plays in games. Gets the job done with little fanfare or emotion. And it has “worked” much of the time. TR’s record under center is very respectable, especially with the 15 years of turmoil and mismanagement at this program. But again, if we are going to build a top-5 “elite” squad, we must have an elite qb.

        Hendrix MAY be that guy- I don’t know.

        Hendrix’s body motion, “killer instinct” look, and performance against Stanford was very impressive to me. Doesn’t mean I’m anointing him, just that IMHO he deserves ALOT more PT. And an almost “meaningless” Champps Bowl Game would be a great place to give him that.

      • Yep, can’t disagree with ya, SFR. Hendrix should have had a lot more reps during the season.

  18. Good Morning Shaz,

    An impecable analysis on an imperfect BCS system. Our self-imposed standards are certainly not for the light-hearted. The “E”go “S”ports “P”undit “N”etwork certainly loves to denigrate ND’s position without remorse. Again, an outstanding analysis.

  19. ND, at 8-4, is probably going the the Champs bowl.

    I realize a lot of us have a issue with that.

    But let me run a few things by you first.

    It is said that ND does not belong to a conference, when in fact, they belong to the “Independent” conference. This conference is a full 12 games long, not 8, and changes from year to year. And there is no “Automatic” bid given for playing an independent schedule, although ND can make it if they meet certain criteria.

    According to NCAA strenth of schedule rankings, ND is tied for 6th with Iowa St. Ahead of us are Clemson, Baylor, Kansas, Washington, and LSU.
    That’s pretty good company.

    In comparison, Michigan’s schedule is ranked 32nd. They started the season with 5 streight home games. They didn’t have to give up home field advantage until the second week of October. And even then, it was against lowly Minnesota. In those first 5 games, 4 of those opponents were true cupcakes.

    The only real team they faced was ND in the first ever night game at the big house, and they were very fortunet to win that.

    But here we sit at seasons end, with Michigan getting an at-large bid to play Houston(who’s strenth of schedule just happends to be 110th) in the BCS Sugar bowl.

    Does anyone else see a problem with this?

    There has been a bit of talk about “ND not lowering the bar” but does anyone think that ND could get away with a schedule like Michigan or Houston has and not get completely blasted in the media or by the pin heads at ESPN?

    For ND to be in the BCS I think ND has to have at least 9 wins and be ranked in the top 14. If we played a schedule like Michigan or Houston we would be. But then, the media would never let us live it down!

    We didn’t make the BCS, But then, we didn’t lower the bar to get there either.

    • It is getting to the point where no one will want to watch that crap .. who wants to watch any bcs talent massacre poor lil Houston .. I’m sure everyone loved the thriller of Cincinnati and UF .. just after Brian Kelly “The Great” hightailed it

  20. power run the ball

    Jc i agree totally with Crist…. I feel bad for him and I hope he lands on his feet.. Hey Crist, things don’t go the way they should and things sometimes have a funny way of working out… good luck..

  21. Hey Irish,

    Excellent point, although my “sometimers” must have kicked in again. I did not even think of CW at Florida. I’ll bet your right, CW would probably love to have Crist again.

  22. Yeah the whole Crist thing was strange. I hope he gets a chance to play somewhere next year. Maybe FL

    • I have a question, we all know we will have a qb controversy next year again, and we have young skill guys. should kelly announce right in fall camp that hey we are starting a new qb and younger players to build depth and build for the future and we may regress in wins and losses, but its for the good of the program. in my opinion ND needs to take a few lumps with the younger more talented kids. maybe we lose 1 or 2 more so we finish 7-5 but know what we have. also as a coach i would bring the us against the world mentality , ND always plays better like that vs being favored. so do you go 9-3 with upper classmen or 7-5 or maybe better with the young guns? just wondering what uguys would do. next year will be intresting

      • ndforever,

        That is a tall diagnostic question at this point. If we start Hendrix in our bowl game we would have more material to assess.

        By only seeing one half of football this year, it appears he has excellent talent for the spread offense.

        But what else does Hendrix have in his armamentarium?
        I would like to see him start and win the bowl game.

        Another QB derby will delay progress. Pick a QB at the end of spring practice and live with it. Otherwise precious fall reps with the 1st team will be negated 50% less for the eventual starter. Not a good thought for our opener with basically inexperianced QB’s other than Rees next year.

        Unfortunately, and I say this with great conviction that BK missed a great opportunity to develope his younger QB’s by not utilizing Crist for two years. His impatience may very well cost him his job next year.

        Now the Achilles Heel,’ BK will likely start Rees in the bowl. However, I again would like to see Hendrix start and mop-up with Golson, to get a real handle on what we really have for next season.

        At this juncture, I would indeed like to call it a “test-bowl” for next year. But I don’t get paid millions.

  23. scav,

    More than likely BK deserves more time under normal circumstances, however, there are some serious character flaws presented by him and the administration. Birds of feather flock together per say.

    When CW was basically fired in the media I posted “no one deserves that kind of treament.” Not only is it classless and disrespectful it represents pure management ignorance.

    As I recently posted, the same applies to addressing select members of your team negatively in the media. There is no motivational asset in being a jackass boss. Morale has suffered!!

    Further, Crist was not given a second chance unlike multiple turnover chances for Rees. It would be one thing if Dayne was given a second chance to start and failed again. However, we will never know since the QB derby has proven to be only a facade. Dayne was available this year and next, so to discard senior leadership so effortlessly for a cryptic personal agenda is quite amazing to say the least. Dayne certainly has running ability and an arm which certainly qualifies for a spread offense. I hope Dayne is playing for Standford in a BCS bowl next year.

    Kelly has already shot himself in the foot with the Crist issue, just one more nail in the coffin concerning BCS bowl participation period. I would like to share your exuberance for BK’s offense but just not at the expense of another 2-3 years of building the program due to CW player bias. Blame game HC’s are a joke. We need an adult HC now without question.

    I have a BCS Bowl X-mas list, sorry it’s not your fault it just does not included BK.

    • Unfortunatly, Rees going 4-0 last year became a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because I think it helped recruiting last year. But it was a curse because it made Tommy look like a hero and it set up some unfair expectations on this team for this year.

      Had Tommy lost some games last year, I think we would have seen more of Dayne and his lease would have been a lot longer. I agree that Dayne may have been a better fit, but he was not developed as a true spread QB because Kelly didn’t have enough faith in the back-ups to let him run loose.

      I know you talk of not wanting to wait another 2-3 years, but that is exactly what would happen if they hired a new coach. Kelly has done some things wrong, but he has also done some things right. A lot of people were singing Kelly’s praise when he mentioned his “RKG”s when he was hired. But now that it is appearant that he meant it, no one likes it. He is with these players 6-7 days a week and he has a lot more coaching experience than most of us posting on this site. Dayne didn’t play for a reason that we will probably never know. Rees played over Hendrix for a reason and Hendrix will start in the bowl game if Kelly thinks it will help this team.

      Also, people are talking about how Kelly called out CW’s players, but if you remember last year, he called out Michael Floyd. All Floyd did was become the standard of what it meant to “coming to work” everyday according to Kelly.

      So, we will not get to see ND in a BCS Bowl this year, but at least we get to see them one more time. Everyone has already written this team off because of next years schedule, so the expectations will be low. Kinda feels like the end of the 1987 season and we all know what happened in 1988.

      • scav,

        It is OK to call out your players privately in the locker room and even better in the coaches office one on one! Most people do not like their perfomance review in the media. Nor is it acceptable even by contemporary standards. Would you like to be reprimanded in the media or infront of your peers at work? Grandstanding in the media clearly demonstrates poor judgement of character and promotes ill-will period.

        Kelly needs to exclusively practice what he preaches: “We’re a family and it stays in the family!”
        And adherence after the fact does not cut it by any standard.

        As for Michael, one would expect a public corrective action plan for someone who had to address a DUI problem.

        Hopefully, we did not hire a HC with less coaching experiance than those and myself posting on this board. Keep in mind, even your personal interpretation is just that without facts.

        Not to be contrary, but in a mindful way, the results on the field and in the media speak volumes about BK without internal surgery awareness of each player.

        Interesingly enough, are you the only one entitled to a prediction for next year? Seems like you are implying a possible NC next year? If you are right then great.

        I have no problems with a proven National Championship Head Coach resetting the table of expectations for 2-3 years and doing it the ND way.

        Holtz and Holtz would be a great start for a new long term future the ND way! So I agree 1988 was a great year! Remember, your paycheck is based on results not wishful thinking. Especially, when millions are involved.

        So as the infamous BK puts it: “There are Head Football Coaches, then there is the Head Football Coach at Notre Dame!” Interesting how that promotes a superior to all others mentality?

  24. We have seen these rough patches before. Ara left and Dan Devine took over and won. What we did not see were the changes taking place in college football. Weight lifting and speed put ND, its antiquated facilities, and Gerry Faust well behind other programs. Some would say steroids also played a part in this as many schools struggled with this problem (i.e. Oklahoma, Miami..). ND struggled several years (1986) before regaining its place in college football; thankfully, it did not sacrifice its beliefs and standards so it could compete with programs that have eventually imploded over time(i.e. Miami). There are others that will fall.

    If Notre Dame has lost its way then it’s in the win/loss record only. I would not want any National Championship if our school, program and coach would eventually be disgraced.

    I agree with others on the point of letting players into Notre Dame who may be borderline. The Notre Dame experience is unique and belongs to those who understand what that commitment means. Maybe the gift, I do mean gift, of playing for Notre Dame is not clearly explained or understood by an 18 year old. Chris Zorich and Tony Rice clearly understood.

    I for one like the new helmet, uniforms, music, stadium, etc; and yet, protecting what is “the spirit of Notre Dame” is what has to come first.

    Personally, it would not matter if Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, Charlie Weise, Bryan Kelly, or Fred Flintstone was coaching Notre Dame, I would expect her players to be giving 100%, 24/7.

    Looking forward to the bowl. GO IRISH!!

  25. yeah you could tell that Kelly was trying to play to Reese’s strengths. I have been wondering if we didnt see Hendrix more often is so he could work on mechanics and accuracy. i dont think he wanted to trot him out there as a glorified wildcat and have the d just stack the box. i hope AH starts the bowl for experience i think that is more important then a crappy bowl game, however i believe it will be split between him and reese

    • You’re probably right that Rees and Hendrix will play. I just hope they alternate series, not plays. Would like to see as much of Hendrix as possible.

  26. I think Brian Kelly is at a crossroads at ND. I know he was under a lot of pressure to win right away and I don’t think he had that pressure at his other stops. But he also took over a program that is elite in name only. I’ve been following ND for over 20 years and this program was broken. For years ND was the cream of the crop, but unfortunatly, college football has passed ND by.

    When Kelly was first hired, all the rage was about his fast-paced offense. Well, he took over a program that did not have a single QB that could have fit the mold, so he tried to fit a square peg in a round hole with Crist. He toned it down with Rees, but it has been clear that we are not running the type of offense that Kelly prefers. Therefore, the jury is out until he commits to a spread QB. Now, if he gets Hendrix and Golson in the mix and ND continues to have 8-4 seasons, then it is time to let Kelly go.

    I think if everyone will relax and let Kelly “build the program”, he will become successful. I mentioned in an earlier post that there are signs of improvement. This was the first season in A LONG TIME that ND was competitive in EVERY game. Kelly is the first coach in A LONG TIME to address the defensive issues and I think this defense will be one of the best in years to come.

    The real issue here is that the pressure to win right away and the lack of a mobile QB has stunted the growth of this team. The last 2 games showed the world that Rees can be defended and it’s time for Kelly to develop a QB that can run his type of offense. I will take another 8-4 year next year as long as Kelly is building the program the way he wants to. I think all of us are frustrated because we know Rees or Crist is not the answer, so if we are going to take our lumps, at least let us do it while we are developing a spread QB. I want to see this high tempo offense that has defenses grasping for breath. I want to see this offense that is last in time of possession, but averages 40 points/game. Who cares about a jumbotron, jc transfers, or if the whole adminstration gets fired. I just a QB that can do what Hendrix did playing all the time.

    • I agree with you 100%. I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t a game or two where ND was completely blown out of the water. Even the losses to USC and Stanford this year were by 14 points, not 30 or 40 like some games in year’s past. None of us are happy with 8-4 or 9-3 or even 10-2. But we must accept, as you said, college football passed ND by. And you don’t make up that ground in 2 years, or 2 plays or 2 games.

      I am not sure how quickly Kelly will get ND to consistent top 10 status, but I know it will happen. And I know that by the foundation we’ve already seen put in place – excellent defensive recruits, ability to alter game plans based on personnel, ability to score points, etc.

      There’s still a long ways to go with eliminating turnovers and building the offense and defense to elite status. But as an ND follower for 15 years, I can tell you I feel more confident in our position now, than I ever was with Davie, Willingham or Weis.

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