Autry’s Den: Keeping the Momentum

I think I can speak for every Notre Dame alumni or fan to say it felt great to head into the Stanford game with the confidence that we should and would win this game. It has been a long time since we have had something to look forward to other than question marks. Last week in the second half of the Purdue game we got a much needed pep in our step back. Our young team practically grew up right before our eyes. The challenge for this week was whether we would continue to build upon the foundation that was laid last week or would we take two steps backwards. With the wisdom of a team mature beyond their years, our Irish decided to use the lessons learned to continue to show we are back and ready to compete.

About Autry’s Foundation

THE RUN FOR YOUR GOAL FOUNDATION assumes the responsibility to provide financial assistance to families that are in need, as well as focus on the development and advancement of opportunities for our children. Since its inception in 1999, The Run For Your Goal Foundation, a 501 (C) (3) organization has subscribed to the motto,” Giving back a little so we can build a lot,” which is the driving force behind their mission. Through their LEGAC*s program they have been very active in the South Florida community, by creating programs such as Boys II Men School Mentoring, sponsoring and hosting pre/post FCAT pep rallies, Reach Out & Read with the North Broward Hospital District, Thanksgiving food drives, Christmas toy drives and several other youth focused initiatives.

*For more infomation please visit

I shared with you last week that I do not judge a defensive unit on stats alone, but instead on they respond to those key situations throughout the game that determine the outcome, as well as creating opportunities for the offense. From the beginning of the game we got off to a solid start. Our “bend but don’t break” defense did just that causing two turnovers in the first two possessions for the Cardinal. Kyle McCarthy proved to be this week’s difference maker as he racked up a 14 tackles and accounted for one interception on the day. We gave up a few late scores in the fourth quarter, but still our defense found a way to bend but not break and get the job done.

Now speaking of getting the job done, our offense continued to take significant strides toward shaping their identity as a unit. Led by the great play of Jimmy Clausen our guys looked explosive as they found numerous ways to move the ball and score points. I take great pleasure in seeing Clausen perform well because I personally was one of his biggest critics. I thought he was a bunch of hype that was a beneficiary of playing on a high school team that was just a powerhouse. Boy was I wrong and I would like to be the first to thank Jimmy for making me eat my own words, and it has never tasted so good to be wrong.

I am also enjoying seeing the running game has finally got their shot of adrenaline and are being led by another Florida boy like myself; Armando Allen. His ability to break tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield, and his consistent play is helping Jimmy and the Receiving corp. exploit 1 on 1 coverage’s at will. It is becoming routine to see Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, David Grimes, or Kyle Rudolph contribute several big plays throughout the game that usually translate into points. Last but definitely not least, none of this could be possible if the big uglies up front, also led by some more Florida boys in Big Sam Young and Dan Wenger, were not opening hole in the running games as well as keeping Mr. Clausen standing upright so he can complete passes. Jimmy’s uniform at the end of the game is beginning to be as clean as Tom Brady’s of the New England Patriots, and I know that is a welcome sight for all the Irish faithful.

Special teams continued their solid play, and once again Mike Anello showed what an asset he is, as he prevented a Stanford punt returner from seeing pay dirt. Minus some kicking woes, that I am confident will be corrected in due time, it appears that the time Coach Weis and his staff spent with Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer is paying big dividends.

Well with another game in the history books and our young Irish team being 4-1. We are traveling out to Chapel Hill to take on a very tough North Carolina team led by Butch Davis. Coach Lou Holtz used to say “Men when you go to play on the road there are a few things you have to pack and they are; your defense, special teams, focus, attention to detail, a will to win, and most importantly the attitude to win.” Once again it feels good to go into the North Carolina game confident that we are not under packed for the trip. Please join us next week as we celebrate being 5-1, Go Irish beat the Tar Heels!

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