Not All Doom and Gloom After Fiesta Fallout

( — After an amazing performance against USC, posts about Notre Dame not losing for three years were abundant. Now, a few days after a tough loss to Ohio State, there’s posts questioning Weis’ abilities, posts calling for defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s head, and posts questioning just how good the Irish will be in 2006.

Well, just how good will the Irish be? At this point, who knows? The bottom line is that the 2005 Irish were leaps and bounds better than the 2004 Irish. A post Fiesta Bowl article said something along the lines of all Notre Dame did was beat the teams they should have beat.

How quickly have we all forgotten that the last few years Notre Dame has NOT beat the teams they should have beat. The fact that Notre Dame came out this year and did win the games they should win and they were competitive in every contest — something else we have not been able to say in years.

Was Notre Dame’s defense exposed by Ohio State? Most certainly, but let’s not forget a couple weeks ago everyone was praising defensive backs coach Bill Lewis work with Mike Richardson and Ambrose Wooden. Lewis took two corners that had been burned by every quarterback they faced and turned them into solid corners this year. The fact that they got burned by a couple of future first round draft picks in the Fiesta Bowl doesn’t change that.

There will also be a lot of work to do along a defensive line that got no push in the Fiesta Bowl. There is room for some optimism here with youngsters Ronald Talley and Justin Brown getting a lot of playing time this year. The Irish should also be able to count on this year’s freshman interior linemen, Pat Kuntz and Derrell Hand, to contribute more time with a full year under their belts.

I can go on and on with more areas that will need to be addressed, but we have a long off-season for that. The bottom line is that last season Notre Dame lost 6 games by a combined 80 points while the ’05 Irish lost three games by just 20 total points. That’s

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