As I finish watching the end of Purdue game I could not be more satisfied with the effort our team showed today. As individuals we are defined by how we respond to the adversity we face in our lives. Last week our young Irish team was dealt a big blow in the loss in East Lansing to the Michigan State Spartans. After the MSU game there were only two choices that our team could have made; take it as call to have a gut check or bury their heads, quit on the season, and let Purdue have their way with us.
In true Notre Dame fashion our team not only passed the gut check test, they decided to also wake up the echoes as they took the challenge head on. It says a lot about the character and resolve of our team, especially when you consider how young we are overall, to already have mastered the art of transforming adversity into opportunities to grow as a team. I stress the word Team because the performance we saw today vs. Purdue was a total team effort.
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After getting off to a slow start the defense played solid for the remainder of the day. I am old school from the standpoint that I do not measure the success of a defensive unit by merely looking at the stats. To me a good defense is one the bends, but does not break. Their job is to create opportunities for the offense, and to make the necessary plays during the game that are pivotal to the outcome. It may be the interception for a score that Robert Blanton provided or stopping the other team when they go for it on fourth down twice, which gives the momentum back to our offense. I think it is only fair to say our defense more than did their job today.
Our offense unit was the rising stars of this game. I feel privileged to have been able to witness our offense make the adjustment from being a group of individuals with so much potential to maturing into a unit that played very well together all day. It starts with Jimmy Clausen at the QB. He showed a lot of poise, leadership, intelligence and arm strength as he took command of the game from the second series until the end. When ever you have stability at the QB position it allows all the other guys to play their game to the highest level. I would say it is very safe to say they did just that. Whether it was Michael Floyd, David Grimes, Armando Allen, Golden Tate, Kyle Rudolph, or the entire offensive line they consistently made plays all day long. It was very encouraging to see them take the first steps to defining their identity as an offensive unit.
For the special teams, which have been our most consistent unit all year, it was business as usual. Led by the sensational Mike Anello, they provided solid kick coverage all day long, as well as creating some running room for return man Armando Allen, which allowed our offense to enjoy some good field position.
Well with the Purdue game in the books our Irish are now 3-1 on the season. The lessons learned from the last two weeks should serve as the solid foundation that winning seasons and lives are built upon. When I reflect back on the many lessons I learned from playing the game of football and the invaluable experiences that were made possible by attending the University Of Notre Dame; I realize what an honor it is to be apart of the Notre Dame Family. Coach Lou Holtz used to say, “The University of Notre Dame is a place where good people come to become their best.” He could not have been more right with that statement, and I am confident that the best is yet to come for our Irish team this season and for years to come as these young men set out to do bigger and better things. After all WE ARE ND!!
Please join us next week as we celebrate the win over Stanford.