First Impressions from Purdue Game

Sorry for the late comments this week.  I had a wedding to attend right after yesterday’s game so I didn’t have time to get anything posted till today.


  • Both quarterbacks played very well.  Clausen’s final stats were 18 of 26 for 169 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.  Sharpley’s were 18 of 26 for 208 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.  Clausen and the offense couldn’t sustain any offense in the first half despite moving the ball at times.  Clausen got hurt just as he was starting to warm up and then Sharpley came in and did a great job.
  • The main difference between the two that I saw were the types of errors they made and the trust each had in the wide receivers.  Clausen’s INT was a freshman mistake where he just tried to do too much.  Sharpley’s INT was just a bad throw to a receiver with two guys on him.  The play before, Sharpley had Kamara for another touchdown and overthrew him.  What I thought Sharpley did a better job of though was letting his receivers make plays.  Sharpley threw a couple deep throws to Golden Tate where he just threw it up and let him make a play.
  • If Clausen is healthy, I think he is still the  starter despite Sharpley’s strong play and Andre Ware’s constant calls for him to start next week.  Ware made it seem like the offense didn’t respond to Clausen at all when he had just started to get going.
  • Golden Tate is going to be a big time player, and his role should expand week to week.  I don’t think we’ll see him starting anytime soon though because it seems as though there are only a few routes he has been running.  Still, 104 yards on 3 catches is very impressive for a freshman.  Even more impressive were the hands he showed making those catches.  At the least, he should be a deep threat for this offense and see a few deep plays called for him every game.  Teams will  definitely key on this and that should help open up some underneath routes for the other receivers if they commit a safety on deep coverage.  If they don’t roll a safety over, he’ll see plenty more deep throws.
  • Duval Kamara is also going to be a big time player and I think we will see his role increase even quicker than Tate’s because he is further along in his development.  He looked great running the quick slant and is a big physical receiver.  He ended up with 6 catches for 68 yards.
  • Overall at receiver, I was very impressed with Parris, Kamara, Tate, and West.  I think West could be a very, very productive #3 wide receiver but either Parris or Kamara are going to have to be able to start to give Clausen or Sharpley bigger targets in two wide receiver sets.
  • I was very disappointed we couldn’t run the ball better, but I think Weis made up his mind that he was going to work on the pass this week to see what this offense can and can’t do.
  • Pass protection was excellent this week and the best I’ve seen out of a Notre Dame offensive line since mid last season.  Purdue sacked Notre Dame QBs just twice, which was by far the least allowed by the line all season.
  • Still waiting to see a 4th and 1 be converted on the ground.  Weis needs to work on his 4th and sort play calling because the same plays have not been working here all season.
  • Without the turnovers and penalties on offense, Notre Dame may have pulled this one out.  As is, the Irish offense outgained the Boilermakers 426 to 371.


  • Third down defense was horrible this week.  Purdue converted a third and 29 when Walls got beat one on one.  Not sure I agreed with the play call there since Walls was on an island with a very talented receiver on third and long.
  • In the first half, Purdue converted 4 of 8 third downs and just two of 7 in the second.
  • Brian Smith got some more playing time this week and looked like a freshman quite a few times.  His late hit on Curtis Painter ended up sustaining a Purdue drive that should have been over which resulted in three points.
  • Kyle McCarthy saw some extended action and looked very sharp.  He had an interception at the end of the first half and made some sound tackles.  He had the best fundamentals I’ve seen this year.
  • As every week, Trevor Laws was a beast.  3 tackles for loss for a loss of 20 yards.
  • If John Ryan can play more consistently, he could be a pretty good football player.  He had some nice plays like his two tackles for loss, but at other times he just gets blown up on outside runs and can’t hold contain.

Special Teams

  • I don’t even know what to say here.  At least we didn’t fumble a punt or kickoff?
  • Kick coverage remains to be a major liability due in large part to not having a kicker who can either put the ball in the end zone or get enough hang time to let the coverage get down field.
  • There is really no excuse for missing two extra points after getting a makable field goal blocked.  I would hope Weis devotes a lot of time to place kicking in practice this week.

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  1. frank,
    1. another fine game analysis.

    2. so many of these nd players were playing their 1st college games, unlike the opponents that they have faced, including purdue, that winning the second half against purdue bodes extremely well well for the rest of this season and for a win at ucla to start, to say nothing about the future when the class of 2008 arrives.

    3.these nd players and the coaching staff have shown great composure during this difficult period and they are not going to quit. they are now battle tested and the problems that you recite in the purdue game are fixable and a lot fewer that the problems that we all saw at the gtech game.

    4.winning out is no longer an impossible dream. usc looked very beatable at washington and washington did not even have a qb who could throw a decent pass.neither does usc, which is riddled with injuries.

    5.having proved that they could run against michigan state, nd forced the purdue d to sell out to stop the run and got burned through the air by both clausen and sharpley., this nd team and the coming opponents know that nd can both pass and run and that opens up both facets for the remaining 7 or 8 games.

    7. there is other great news, chris stewart is back after spending the weekend with his family and will not be transferring after all. reuland is attending a jr college out here in california and he may be back also. he is a great talent.
    double d turns out to be the big loser for his career and for his life. who knows? he may apologize and come back to nd also, now that he can see what he is missing and that whoever the idiots were that spooked him were not trustworthy.
    8. and last, but not least, it turns out( courtesy of yahoo sports, ncaa football section on 10/2) that michigan was playing with an ineligible player by the name of artis chambers at the penn state game and 2 other games, one of which was the nd game, if you check the player participation stats at
    9. the penalty is forfeiture of the win and allocating the win to the opposing team.
    10. we know what would happen if nd were caught doing this and the same should happen to michigan.
    11. unlike usc with bush, michigan has admitted the violation and since the player is a freshman, they cannot hide him in the nfl as usc did with bush.
    12. this is not the most elegant way for nd to pick up another win for 2007. however, the rules are the rules.
    13. for the 1st time since the last years of the holtz era, when lou’s wife was very ill, nd has both talent and depth and a great coaching staff who will never let that talent and depth gap problem happen again and who will have the depth necessary to hold those really physical practices to prepare nd players for the season.
    14. as for the 2008 recruits, they will not find another school that will offer them the real education that nd does and the opportunity to play right away and to win national championships with integrity.

    keep up the great work,

    bob gilleran

  2. As much as I would like to say the O-line has improved in pass protection, the Purdue front seven doesn’t exactly have anybody shaking in their boots. We’ll see how far along the O-line has come against the talented front four of UCLA. If the O-line can truly hold their own against them, and pick up on the under-sized but speedy linebackers of UCLA, I’ll give them credit where it is due.

    I agree that inexperience is definitely holding this team down. A few more breaks in ND’s favor, and this game could have definitely been won.

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