Finding Some Positives From the UNC Game

Today’s loss was very tough to watch because for the first time in a while the Irish lost a game that they could have and most likely should have won.  Whenever you lose a game by less than a touchdown whiling turning the ball over five times, it’s safe to say that you had a pretty good chance of winning the game if you just took better care of the ball.  Unfortunately the Irish did turn the ball over all of those times though and did lose the game.  While the loss is indeed tough to swallow, there were some positives out of the game.

  • Duval Kamara. Kamara was MIA the past couple weeks after a very tough start to the season.  Saturday he had a bit of a resurgence with 5 catches for 58 yards and made a great play on a tipped pass to prevent an interception.  Now, contrast that to the beginning of the season when Kamara was involved in a couple plays where he helped contribute to an interception and it’s nice to see him getting back on track.
  • Armando Allen and James Aldridge. Both Notre Dame running backs averaged more than 5 yards per carry by combining for 83 yards on 15 carries.  The success both backs had running the football makes it even more curious as to Weis and Haywood abondoned the run in the second half even though UNC never led by more than one possession.
  • Brandon Walker. Walker only got one field goal attempt, but he connected on it from 42 yards out.  Walker came into the game just 1 for 7 on the season so making a 40+ yarder on the road is a good sign that he may be able to get back on track this year.
  • Third Down Offense. Notre Dame was 10 of 16 on third downs Saturday for a conversion rate of  62.5%.  Converting third downs at a rate that high will generally lead to a victory.
  • Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. Both standout wide receivers were at the top of the their games this weekend.  Tate went over 100 yards for the third time this year and is on pace for a 1,000 yard season.  Floyd just missed out on his third straight 100 yard game with 93 yards on 6 catches, but he did reach the end zone for the fourth time this season.  Floyd is on pace for just over 850 yards and 8 touchdowns this season.  After a slow start the first two games though, Tate has had at least 86 yards each of the last four weeks and those projections could very well prove to be conservative.
  • Youth is being served. This offense has the ability to be scary good by the end of the season and if not then by the start of next season.  In looking at the starting lineup, LT Michael Turkovich is the only starter the Irish will lose this off-season and after Floyd and Tate scored two of the three Irish touchdown to give underclassmen 18 of 21 touchdowns this year.  In fact, James Aldridge’s touchdown run was the first touchdown scored by a junior this season.
  • QB sneaks are working again. Remember last year when we couldn’t execute a QB sneak to save our life?  Well, that seems to be something else we left back in 2007 since Clausen was extremely effective on the sneak again this week.

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15 Comments

  1. Other than turnovers, the coaches helped ND lose this game. We abandoned the run way too early. Dissapointing loss, and we all have to sit on it for 2 weeks before they get a chance to redeem themselves

  2. one more point – the defeat hurt more knowing this was a 3rd string QB for NC doing the job on the lax Irish D. You got 2 weeks to rest after this game – leave it all on the field boys! What a shame.

  3. Boy – I am most disappointed that with a bye week coming the Irish D would leave it all on the field. It was clear they went to a prevent late in the 2nd quarter – keeping the receivers in front of them which unfortunately let NC back in the gaem and allowed them to march relentlessly down the field on almost every drive.

    I was sickened to my stomach watching this. The turnovers ultimately sank the Irish but the defensive scheme allowed the canvas to be painted by NC for the win. That SHOULD have been the signature win for ND this year – the stage was set – the actors failed to show for the performance.

  4. This game has me wondering. Had to watch the middle part of it after the game was over as I went to Mass, yes, there is something bigger than football. 😉

    The running game was there, it just wasn’t used. I would have thought the way the field was spread, they could have busted some good gainers. Then switch back to the pass. The turnovers would kill most teams.

    The defense, yeah, they didn’t allow too many points as the reality was the turnovers really contributed, but they didn’t stop UNC moving the ball downfield. I didn’t see any adjustment to Nicks, either double coverage or a blitzing back on his side of the ball to make Sexton look away. This defense is good, but needs to be better.

    Finally, let me just say, I’m positive on ND’s potential. I am not sure about Charlie Weis as coach, only because I hear him equivocate on schemes, strategies, tactics. I don’t hear him articulating what a coach who is a leader would say in terms of motivation, desire, and taking care of fundamental details. The psychology of leadership may or may not be missing with Weis. That’s an intangible that is still in question with this coach. That intangible is what will either get Notre Dame another national championship or not.

  5. Our running game was manufactured by the spread offense early in the first half. Production decreased after the half when UNC adjusted.

  6. I agree with valpodoc regarding the 5 turnovers and problems with the defense not rising to the occasion.

    However, 95 yards rushing on 19 carries doesn’t reflect a lack of a running game.

  7. Reasons we didn’t win: 5 turnovers, soft as butter defense, lack of running game, youth unable to play four quarters. Reasons for hope: youth playing well for a quarter or two, emergence of emotion, talent. Go Irish!

  8. Frankie V, I really like your analysis. I will refrain from pointing a finger, but some posters need to get a life about Irish football.

    Wake up people!

    This is an emerging team coming of a terrible season, and they are still learning. We don’t have that much depth, but that is coming quickly.

    Check out the present Freshmen class and the number who haven’t played. Check out the current recruiting class. CW and his staff are filling the needed positions with more verbals coming.

    If that isn’t enough to get you excited, they have offered at least 15 top players in the current Junior class across the nation.

    Why compare our Irish to certain players on certain teams. Afterall, ND isn’t the same either.

  9. DRob, the defense didn’t play well… but it played well enough to keep this a 5 point game with the offense turning the ball over 5 times.

    There’s no way this team loses 6 games. The only game that looks questionable other than USC is Pitt. None of the other teams on the schedule have a defense capable of slowing down our offense enough to make stopping the run much of an issue.

  10. Someone please tell me why our defense is so soft? It is sickening to see us dominated at the line of scrimmage AND unable to cover anyone considered a decent receiver.

    Our tackling is terrible. 15 yard cushions accomplish nothing when you can’t make a tackle in the open field anyway. I am so discouraged seeing our linebackers get locked up and moved backward by a fullback or a tight end on running plays, much less not being able to stand up a lineman or at least shed a lineman.

    With all the turnovers, we could have won that game yesterday if we could have gotten off the field on mid-to-long 3rd down situations. No timely pash rush, no strength at the point of attack, and no ability to shut down a key receiver.

    Someone please explain to me why our defense is so weak.

    Pittsburgh has a star back (McCoy) and we saw what a star back will do to this defense with J. Ringer, BC usually always has a big, dominant O-line, Navy typically gains a ton of yards on the ground against ND, and USC has a dominant offense and defense. If the defense doesn’t change scheme or get a heck of a lot tougher, a 5 or 6-loss season looks to be very probable.

  11. No running game…..no win. When you play a good team without a running game, you will lose. UNC is not a great team and they were playing with a 3rd string QB. ND should have won this game. I am sorry to say this, but we are not there yet.

    I am worries about Navy because of their running attack. We can’t stop the run against mediocure teams and Navy is a great running team. Hope their defense is terrible.

    No way we beat USC with our defense and their defense.

  12. If the Notre Dame players are as mad about the loss as the fans are, then look out Washington. Nothing is as dangerous as a team coming off a close loss like this. Hopefully this will spark a fire for the rest of the season.

  13. I am very encouraged by our play. Obviously minus the TO’s. This team is preparing to make a run over the next two years.

    Great article!

  14. The scoreboard may have read 29-24, but the Tar Heels won this one 5-0. That being said, what I’m most excited about is that we’re finally back to the point where we can say, “We really should have won that one.”

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