Here’s some random thoughts coming off the bye week.
- Looking back at the UNC game for a minute… Was the first half of that game the best coached half of football under Weis since the 2005 USC game or was it just me? The game plan coming into the game and the play calling in the first half was perfect. We came out firing and spreading the field out and when UNC adjusted, we had a counter. Wish we would have continued to run the ball more in the second half though.
- Cierre Wood is going to be an absolute perfect fit for this offense. As I watched the UNC game a second time and saw the four wide receiver sets with a lone back in Armando Allen behind Jimmy Clausen I couldn’t help but think about how nice a fit Wood is for this offense. Wood has him run speed and can catch the ball very well out of the backfield.
- Michigan is bad. Really bad. I don’t think that they will continue to be this bad under Rodriquez if he can get the athletes he needs in Ann Arbor. Michigan simply doesn’t have the personnel for either the offense or the defense Rodriquez has installed and he hasn’t adapted his systems. In the long term that will turn out to be a good thing, but in the short term they are staring at a 3 win season.
- We really need to close strong recruiting on the defensive side of the ball. Getting Manti Te’o or Jelani Jenkins would be ideal. Getting a Chris Bonds would be pretty darn nice as well. One thing that stuck out to be watching the UNC game was that we’re still smaller and slower on defense than elite teams. There’s plenty of reinforcements in the freshmen and sophomore classes, but it’s going to take another couple very good defensive classes to get this defense to the elite level.
- Jimmy Clause is scary accurate. If he can cut down on the interceptions in the second half of the season his stats at the end of the year are going to be better than any Notre Dame quarterback’s whose name is not Brady Quinn.
- James Aldridge has looked much, much better than he did last year. He’s running harder and with more authority than we’ve seen out of him. He is reminding me a lot of the Green Bay Packers version of Ryan Grant right now. He attacks a hole, but doesn’t have the laterally mobility to something out of nothing. It’s a shame that Aldridge hasn’t been able to regain his full agility after his knee injury his senior year of high school, but as we’ve seen with Grant in Green Bay, that type of runner can be very successful with a good offense line.
- Hats off to john Latina. I don’t care who we’ve played, the offensive line was a nightmare last year and has been vastly improved this year. Pass blocking has been night and day this year compared to last year. If the line’s run blocking continues to improve, the only defense we’ll face capable of slowing this offense down will be USC.
- Players I’d like to see more of on offense in the second half of the season (excluding starters) – Trevor Robinson, James Aldridge, Matt Romine, Jonas Gray, Evan Sharpley.
- Players I’d like to see more of on defense in the second half of the season (excluding starters) – Mo Richardson, Ethan Johnson, Kerry Neal, Darius Fleming, Steve Filer, Emeka Nwankwo, and Robert Blanton.
You are right, the defense needs to fill some holes up front and in the linebacking corp. I’d like to see what they could do with a fully stocked defense. things like stunts, better double coverage, using linbackers in coverage more effectively….
Defense hasnt done as well with the blitz in terms of sacks, but have forced the opposing QB to pass quicker. Once Tenuta puts his input in on recruiting, he should be able to attact more players that fit his scheme. QB-hungry linebackers will eventually commit to ND due to its blitzing percentage being so high.
You’re right about Clausen’s accuracy. Even that pick to open the second half against UNC, which basically destroyed the game for us, was right on the money. It’s a shame he couldn’t have bounced that one….
frankieV/Cdog: fair enough, i agree w/that for the most part, but the pick to open the 2nd half was BRUTAL. if you wanna put most of the blame on the play call i concur, but hopefully Jimmy remembers this going forward & makes a better read. that one play pretty much changed the dynamic/momentum of the game & we never got it back. also, jimmy’s looked pretty good running the QB draw (not particularly fast, but tough atleast) would like to see a little more of that, particularly on 3rd & shorts…
how about a story about all the transfers since weis arrived and how they did (or didn’t do) with their new teams. also what about ty’s old staff and what they are doing….
I agree with Frankie V, on Clausen. The interception in the 3rd quarter was totally a bad read, but more of a bad coaching call. You come out with a decent lead, you’ve been moving the ball reasonable well on the ground. Always always always, the defense will have adjusted. Make your first series a little conservative. Almost never do you allow the QB to look into the flat because you want to see if the defensive coverage has asdjusted. Clausen has threaded needles as well as any of the best. That was not a good time to call that play. Weis didn’t want him to check down, but then he should have said something about it just before sending him in. I’m still hopeful, gametime play calling will get better.
Just wondering..what recruits (particularly D-Line)have come to N.D. because Jappy Oliver recruited them? We’re weak on the D-Line this year, and except for Ethan Johnson and Stockton, no difference makers appear on the horizon. Does this mean we continue to transform some of our depth at LB to DE’s?
What do you believe should be done to improve the defense of the Irish?
I am disappointed in the highly touted blitzing we thought would be prevalent in the Irish defense this season. Your thoughts please.
His interceptions haven’t been due to lack of accuracy, but have been because of bad reads/decisions in most cases. Against UNC he didn’t see the UNC LB on his first pick and n his second there was a miscommuncation between he and Floyd. He’s not throwing picks because he’s missing receivers – he’s making them because of bad reads and decisions right now.
“jimmy clausen is scary acurate. if he can cut down on the interceptions…..” uuhhh what?? although i agree with him having an accurate arm, i found this statement a little strange.
Ha, that is funny because I was thinking the same thing at first when you said you wanted to see more of Evan Sharpley…..
I’d like to see more of Evan Sharpley because it means we are winning big and have taken the starters out of the game.
What do you mean that you would like to see more of Evan Sharpley? Do you want him to take Clausen’s spot, or can he play another position?