- Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuughes. Robert Hughes is going to be a heck of a running back for the next couple of years. Hughes doesn’t go down on first contact and shows some great vision and quickness. He needs to work on turning a 44 yard run like the one he had in the 4th quarter into a touchdown this off-season to elevate his game. On the long run all that separated him from the end zone was a defensive back and he got pushed out of bounds. Once he adds the ability to cut back in and make a defender like that miss he’s going to be a very tough back to handle for any defense.
- Back to back 100+ yard games with under 20 carries both times is very impressive for a freshman no matter what defense.
- Jimmy Clausen took a little of a step back today. I’ve been singing his praises for weeks, but today he made some mistakes he wasn’t making the past couple weeks. None really concern me because they were all freshman mistakes, but after the last couple weeks I thought we had seen the end of those kind of mistakes for Jimmy. The interception he threw was pretty bad – he’s got to take the sack there. On the flip side, he ran out of bounds a couple times for big losses when he should have thrown the ball away.
- Clausen needs to work on his timing on the deep ball this off-season. If some of the jump balls were thrown on a line instead of behind the receiver, he would have had over 300 yards passing. There were some big plays to be made downfield, but Clausen’s accuracy on the deep ball was suspect. He still completed over 60% of his passes and on the short routes he was dead on. In the down field passing game, however, Clausen struggled and that is something he will need to work on this off-season.
- Liked seeing more downfield passing today even if it wasn’t overly effective. We haven’t seen much downfield passing this year so it was a nice change. My only problem with it was the fact that Grimes was thrown a couple jump balls and that clearly isn’t his game. Duval Kamara still needs some work on those same jump ball type passes where the QB just hangs the ball in the air and lets the receiver go get it, but he is improving. Once he learns to use all 6 feet 5 inches of his frame, he will be a tough receiver to defend against.
- Despite the five sacks, I actually thought the line looked good at times – especially in the second half. Some of the sacks were a result of Clausen holding onto the ball too long or rolling out of the pocket too early. Chris Stewart lined up at right guard a number of times and I would be surprised if he wasn’t the full time starter at the position next year.
- Grimes touchdown was indeed a catch and there wasn’t a single bit of evidence I have seen that would make me think otherwise. Had the officials called it an incomplete pass on the field, I guess I could live with the replay booth not overturning it, but considering that it was a called a touchdown, I just can’t imagine what the hell they saw to overturn it. The explanation given by the official sounded like a lame excuse you told in 5th grade for why your homework wasn’t finished.
- Would have liked to see more of Armando Allen.
- Only play calling complaint I have is that Weis called almost the same screen on 2 consecutive 3rd and 20 plays. The first time it worked for a 40+ yard gain. The second time it was blown up for a big loss.
- I think the field conditions limited what Weis would call after seeing Hughes and Allen both lose their footing in the backfield a couple times. In a perfect world, I think we would have seen Notre Dame run the ball more.
- Fumbles. Fumbles. Fumbles. Too many turnovers. Two fumbles inside the redzone kept this game much closer than it should have been. Combine those blown scoring attempts with the two rob jobs on the Grimes TD and the INT return and this game should have been over by the start of the 4th quarter.
- Trevor Laws went out in style. 8 tackles was enough to give him the record for tackles in a season by a defensive lineman at Notre Dame and he recorded a sack. His “personal foul” penalty on the last play of the half ended up negating an amazing touchdown, but it was ticky tack and probably wouldn’t have been called if it wasn’t the last play of a half that the refs probably felt was meaningless.
- Speaking of that interception return, I was a bit surprised to see Bruton pitch it to Zibby, but it was a down right shame that it was brought back because of a stupid ticky tack penalty that like I said, probably wouldn’t have been called if the Refs didn’t think it was a meaningless play.
- Zibby went out with a nice game as well. Led the team with 9 tackles, had a pick, and a nice return. Would have been great if he could have kept his footing and took the interception into the end zone, but none of the Notre Dame players could keep their footing all night.
- Raeshon McNeil got his first career sack and looked good on the corner blitz. Next year’s secondary is going to be fun to watch with McNeil, a healthy Gary Gray, and a couple of talented frosh in Blanton and Slaughter to go along with Darrin Walls.
- Speaking of Walls, he really improved as the season progressed and played well again today. He still needs to be more aggressive against the run in fighting off blocks, but he’s played well.
- The young outside linebackers are also going to be a lot of fun to watch next year. Between Smith, Neal, and Richardson, the Irish have some real play makers on the edge.
- Ian Williams held his own again which as I’ve said over the last weeks is a pretty big accomplishment for a freshman trying to play the NT position in a 3-4 defense.
- David Bruton will be an All American next year.
- Right now, my only concern for next year’s defense is replacing Trevor Laws. Across the board the defense should be faster, more experienced, and more talented at every position except Laws vacated defensive end position and that could pose a problem.
- Considering the offense put them in some poor positions and turned the ball over 4 times, it was a pretty good performance by the defense to only give up 14 points.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the contain on the outside runs – it was a vast improvement over what we were seeing only a few weeks ago. The defense is still very much susceptible for runs up the middle, however, and that should be on the top of Corwin Brown’s to do list this off-season.
- Hopefully going more physical in practice from the start of Spring ball will improve the tackling on this defense because there were still a lot of missed tackles out there today.
- It goes without saying that this area of the game should be Weis’s top priority this off-season.
- Stanford and Notre Dame combined to miss 5 field goals with only 1 coming from Brandon Walker. Walker missed a 44 yarder wide right after Grimes touchdown catch was overturned. Considering Stanford also missed 4 field goals, field conditions may have been a factor, but we haven’t been kicking field goals on good fields this year either.
- Kick return game is still not much of a weapon. There just simply isn’t a wedge being formed at any time. Weis and staff need to either bring in someone to fix the special teams or stop the special teams by committee approach.
- Zibby had a nice return and had another one called back but his returns are more of his ability and not the blocking schemes.
- Note to Charlie – please take some proactive steps to fix the special teams this off-season.
- Stanford’s grounds crew should be fired. That field was in TERRIBLE condition. I have never seen players slip and fall that many times in a game played under sunny skies. Why the hell was the field wet down at 5am??
- What the hell is the point of a replay booth if they are going to make judgement calls on what they think happened instead of what they actually see on the video tape replays?? Unless there was some sort of angle that the replay booth had that we did not see on the ESPN telecast, there was NO reason whatsoever for Grimes touchdown to be overturned.