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Initial Impressions – Boston College at Notre Dame

Notre Dame improved to 5-2 on the season with another last minute minute this weekend topping Boston College 20-16.  Brian Smith sealed the Irish victory with his first interception of the season in the final minute.  Here are some notes on the game.

  • A win is a win.  Notre Dame probably should have won this game a little more comfortably, but Boston College always plays Notre Dame tough.  At the end of the day, it’s nice to have ended BC’s 6 game winning streak – even if it came down to the very end yet again.
  • Armando Allen continues to run hard but still seems to be just one broken tackle away from busting a really long run each week.  This week the turf monster grabbed him on a run in the first quarter that looked like it was going to be a huge play.
  • Sergio Brown played pretty well at free safety considering this was his first start there after being the nickel back the last two seasons.
  • Harrison Smith was better back at linebacker, but he was still targeted for several big plays by the Boston College offense.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Steve Filer get a little playing time at SAM next week.  He played some against Washington and did well.
  • Nick Tuasch looks like he is going to be a great kicker for the next four years.  Tausch was 2 for 2 against Boston College and has connected on 12 straight field goals now.
  • Unfortunately, Tausch’s fellow special teams classmate Ben Turk had a really rough outing.  Turk averaged just 32.7 yards on 6 punts with a long of just 38 yards.  Look for Maust to get back in the mix at punter next week.
  • Would have liked to see Notre Dame challenge the Boston College defense somewhat instead of keeping everything underneath just as Boston College wanted.  I realize that BC’s defensive philosophy is to get quarterbacks to force the ball into coverage downfield, but I would have liked to see Weis figure out a way to challenge the BC defense downfield without putting Clausen in tough spots.
  • Was very surprised to see Roby Toma in the game over Deion Walker and Shaquelle Evans. Toma looked quick, but did have a drop on a pass that hit him right in the numbers.
  • It was nice to see Duval Kamara come up with a career high 7 catches for 60 yards.  He was sure handed all game and made some nice grabs.
  • No idea why Kyle Rudolph was not more a part of the game plan.  The talented tight end caught just 1 pass for 11 yards and has just 4 catches for 20 yards the past two weeks combined.
  • I like the call to go for it on 4th and goal from the 1, but hated the play call.  The only reason I hated it was because Notre Dame came out with Hughes in the wildcat even after Boston College called a timeout to make an adjustment to the formation.  For an important play like that, I want the ball in the hands of my best player – Clausen.
  • Kyle McCarthy was huge for the Irish again today with two interceptions.
  • While the defense was a little better, there were still way too many big plays.  The defense surrendered 10 passes of 20 or more yards to a true freshman quarterback, Dave Shinskie, who just a few weeks ago was 1 for 12 for 4 yards with 2 interceptions against Virginia Tech.
  • The defense also allowed one wide receiver to do most of the damage.  Rich Gunnell caught 10 passes for 179 yards against the Irish after coming into the game with just 22 catches for 260 yards in the previous 7 games this season.
  • The defensive line is improving week to week.  Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson have gotten better each week and were very good again this week.   The line still isn’t generating enough of a pass rush though even when the Irish blitz.  Without a legit pass rusher o hold down the weakside defensive end spot, this will probably be an issue all season long.
  • Manti Te’o might be the best player on defense already.  Te’o completely blew up a screen pass that looked like it could have been a big play had he not knifed through the blockers and stuffed it.  Te’o led the Irish in tackles with 9 – 2.5 of which went for a loss.
  • Linebackers and defensive linemen were the top 4 tacklers for Notre Dame – a nice change after defensive backs toped the tackles chart most of the season.
  • Notre Dame bottled up Montel Harris for just 38 yards on 22 carries.  As a team, Boston College was able to run for just 70 yards on 29 carries.
  • Golden Tate had another great game.  Tate set a career high with 11 catches and gained 128 yards with two more touchdowns – including the game winner.
  • I thought it was a very nice touch for Notre Dame to give Mark Herzlich a framed #94 Notre Dame jersey to start the game.
  • Overall this was a very weird game.  It felt like Notre Dame was in control for most of the game.  The Irish held a five minute edge in time of possession and were +5 in the turnover battle, but only won by 4 points and needed a late interception to seal the deal.

81 comments

  1. Someone get Shaq some tutoring. Have his parents visit more often or at least send him a lot of care packages. We cannot loose a WR of his caliber!!!

    • Charlie Weis is a good and understanding coach. It wasn’t but maybe a year or two ago we had the same problem with another player.
      I can’t remember his name, but he was a freshmen, first time away from home. Overwhelmed by the demands of school work and football. Homesick. CW let the kid take some time. Go back home for a while. Get his priorities in order. The kid got his act together and made up his time in summer school and played the following season. Does this sound familar to anyone. Remember his name? I seem to remember that he turned out to be a pretty good player.

  2. Lots of talk about why this receiver was in and that one was wasn’t. Or why did we go with Hughes instead of Allen? I for one like the fact the Charlie Weis is useing his entire roster. We have seen 2 QB’s, 6 running backs, maybe 8 WR’s, 3 tight ends. A couple of kickers, and who knows how many different D-linemen, linebackers, and secondary players. Useing this many players and being 5-2 I think bodes well for our future. I know you like to have continuity,but having this many players with good playing time will give our coaching staff lots of options and flexability. The confedence will be there is someone goes down with a injury, and opposing teams will have that much more to prepare for. I think it also builds team chemistry and unity. Everyone gets a chance to contribute. Incoming recruites have got to like the fact that chances are good that with hard work, that they could see the field as well.

    • I have to agree with Shazamrock. At first glance, my initial reaction was, what the hell?!? Why are we playing so many receivers and mixing up our offense evrey play, but after seeing Shazamrock’s point of view, I can see how this is a good thing. While some may say that ND could be 1-6 just as easily as we could be 7-0, but the fact is we are 5-2 and playing everyone on our roster. I agree, this bodes very well for our future because if we can get these kids out there, even just a little bit, they won’t completely have the “deer in the headlights” look when they have to start opening day having never stepped on the field. I like that we are winning and getting everyone some experience because experience is how you build depth on the roster and for the future.

      As well, I also agree that it looks good to recruits because if they know they can play as a Freshman providing they do their part, they will want to come here and work that much harder. It’s not as bad as we’re making it out to be. This could be a great thing for the future of our team and Charlie.

  3. Coaching adjustments … I don’t see us making many. On defense, if one guy from BC is killing you, how about double teaming him and forcing an opponent to try something else. The same for USC’s TE not getting checked on the line all afternoon and making one catch after another. On offense, there’s not a player on BC’s team that could cover Golden Tate and he doesn’t touch the ball on the last 2 ND offensive series. We were just asking BC to beat us (the same as Mich, MSU, Purdue & Wash), they just couldn’t execute. My view is that we’re getting outcoached on both sides of the ball (especially on defense).

  4. Sagarin has ND 17th. NCAA has ND 31st. In both, ND is lower (tougher) than OSU.

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