As I watch the end of the BC I can not help but think that I guess we decided to schedule another bye week because we definitely did not come to play today. At least last week vs. Pitt we were competitive. I mean we gave up a late game lead to lose in four over times, but at least we were in the game. Tonight against BC is was as if we did not even bother to show up. I mean from start to finish we look like sheep being led to the slaughter, without an ounce of fight in us.
Nothing we did today even resembled the team that we have been seeing this year. I unfortunately heard a commentator tonight break the news to me and all the Irish faithful in one statement when he said, “The Irish are a much improved team from last year, but still not a very good team.” After tonight’s performance it is clear that we still have a long way to go reach our full potential as a team.
We can get started with our defensive unit. I’ve been saying all year that we can not judge our defense by the amount of yards we give up, but on the entire body of work that they put forth in a game. Bend but don’t break has been our battle cry all year long. Today we not only bent to the max, we were broken several times. Although the BC offense did not just run away from us on the scoreboard, they did however control the clock, the game, and the momentum pretty much all day. It is a fair conclusion that our defense is not going to line up hit you in the mouth and stuff you all day long. Instead they strive on making the big play at the right time, which leads to turnovers and a chance for them to get off the field. Today like last week, this aspect of their game has been missing and if we plan to win another game this year, we have to find away to get back to playing opportunistic defense which creates opportunities for our offense. The best friend of a bend but don’t bread defense is an offense that can score some points.
This leads to the offensive unit’s performance today. I feel for us to continue to grow as an offensive unit there are a few things that need to be addressed. First, we need to play with an attitude. Nice guys finish last and we have to realize that the only way to play offense is to attack, attack, and attack. Next, we have to find an identity. It is clear to me that we are a pass first team that uses the running game as a change of pace. When we are able to pass the ball successfully it opens up everything else in our play book. We have 3 unbelievable threats in the passing game in Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, and Kyle Rudolph there is no reason why we do not take at least 6 or more shots a game vertically to stretch the defense. All season long we have used these guys presence on the outside to make big plays and to open up running lanes that has put points on the board. Finally, we need to commit to our identity. By realizing who we are as a unit and focusing on what we do well, this will allow our players to have a clear direction by which their roles will be defined. Therefore allowing them to just go out and use their talent to make plays.
Last, but not least is our special teams unit, which has been steady all year long until the last couple of weeks. Well the old saying that if we do not learn from history it is bound to repeat itself could not have been truer as for the second week in a row we had a punt blocked. Mike Anello and the rest of the special team warriors rarely got a chance to cover any kicks, due to our inability to get the ball in the end zone on offense. However they did have several chances in the return game, and on every return their was a penalty, which further contributed too many blunders on the day.
Well with another game in the books and our Irish sitting at 5-4, I am confident that we will use last weeks game as yet another opportunity to learn and continue to grow as a team. Please join me next week as we discuss our victory over the Naval Academy, and our Irish get back on the winning track. We are ND!!!!!!!!!!!!