Revisiting the Final Three Minutes

The final three minutes of Saturday’s 27-21 win over Navy turned a 20 point Notre Dame lead into a 6 point Notre Dame escape.  A lot went wrong in that final three minute span so I figured I’d take a closer look at just how much went wrong for the Irish.

1. Failed 4th Down Conversion
With a 4th and 3 at the Navy 44 yard line and just over two minutes remaining Weis decided to go for it instead of punt.  I don’t mind the decision at all.  If we convert for the first down, the game is over and we win by 20.  Three yards isn’t exactly a lot to ask for out of the running game the way we were running the football all day.  The problem is that we weren’t able to convert and Navy got the ball back against the Notre Dame reserves.

2. Navy Scores 24 yard Rushing Touchdown
Shun White, who was held in check most of the day, took an option pitch 24 yards against a bunch of Notre Dame reserve defenders and galloped into the end zone.

3. Robbie Parris Bats Onside Kick Forward Out of Bounds
After Navy scored what should have been a meaningless touchdown, they attempted an onside kick which Robbie Parris batted forward out of bounds.  This, of course, is not allowed so Navy was given a chance to rekick.

4. Navy Recovers the Rekick
Given a second chance to perform and onside kick, Navy successfully recovered after the Irish hands team waited for the ball instead of attacking the ball and recovering it when given the chance.  This kick should have been recovered by the Irish and the game should have ended here.

5. Navy completes a 40 yard pass to Tyree Barnes
One play after recovering the onside kick, Ricky Dobbs connected with Tyree Barnes for a 40 yard pass to the Navy 1 yard line.  The play was reviewed and it was ruled that Barnes got his toe in bounds with possession of the ball before his heel clearly landed out of bounds.  It was a close play, but I still can’t fgure out how it was a catch.  Navy punched the ball in from a yard out two plays later.

6. Roughing the Kicker on Extra Point
After Navy cut the Notre Dame lead to 6, David Bruton was called for the roughing the kicker which gave Navy excellent field position for another onside kick attempt.

7. Navy Recovers Another Onside Kick
Notre Dame’s onside kick return team looked out of place on another onside kick and a very fortuitous bounce allowed Navy to recover a second onside kick inside of two minutes and the Midshipmen has the ball yet again.

After completely shutting down and dominating the Navy defense for 58 minutes, the Midshipmen had a chance to win the game thanks to a number of errors by the Irish.  Luckily we held on for the win, but the game become much closer than it needed to be and nearly ended in devastating manner for Notre Dame.

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  1. Compare ND special teams coverage on expected onside kicks versus Florida’s against Georgia. Early in the game UGA attempts the onside kick but a UF player — ready for anything — gets the ball. UF’s special teams coach? Urban Meyer.

  2. I think we should probably give Charlie another year. We’ll see how the rest of this year goes. I’m just not sure that firing coach after coach is the answer either. But, he has to get closer to the play-calling on offense and on defense and on special teams. He is running the show! If we are missing simple plays (how many felt nauseated after the first onside kick, nevermind the second?), it’s because there is a lack of commitment and communication from the coaches. And, Weis has to make up for that. He has to get closer.

    I know he’s a good coach. He’s got a history of winning at a high level. He just needs to micromanage a bit more.

  3. firing charlie is not the answer give him next year then make a decision you cant just keep firing coaches. Why start all over again at least charlie is building a program. If you are an nd fan act like one thru good times and bad.

  4. poor coaching..

    poor coaching..

    poor coaching..

    someone ban me from this site because I feel like im the only one who sees the problem with coaching..

    people keep blaming the retarded officials on the field and in the replay booth, but this comes down to poor coaching..

    fire charlie

  5. at this point i am shocked at how far we’ve fallen. 2 onside kicks? on successive special teams plays? awful. how did barnes get behind our corner? how did we miss so many tackles in the last two minutes? the coaches are doing a bad job. that’s why the players and team are where we are today.

    i don’t know that we need to fire Weis, but i think he has to get closer to special teams and to the coordinators. this is nuts. reserves or not, this is ND.

  6. The fact that this is being discussed points to bad game management. After everything they’ve gone through in the past two years, to allow a game to get that close is truly irresponsible of the coaching staff. Yes, the kids play, but too many different things have happened to lay it all on the players’ shoulders. I would expect that a competent staff could have this team prepared to take care of Syracuse, and focus on prepping for USC. If the Irish only use a week, then they are doomed when they visit the colleseum.

  7. It’s a good thing for Polian that he’s doing a great job recruiting. After spending time with Beamer you would think ND would have a pretty decent special teams unit. I realize the kick coverage has been excellent, however the players looked like they didn’t know what an onside kick was or what they were supposed to do with one.

    If I’m Greg Robinson (heading out the door regardless) I would try an onside kick every time Syracuse kicked off until ND showed it could recover one. And even after one recovery….I’d try another in case the last was an accident.

    However, it would be nice to see Syracuse only have ONE kickoff the entire game.

  8. 1. Failed 4th Down Conversion

    I liked this play also. ND punter takes to long to get rid of the ball.

    3. Robbie Parris Bats Onside Kick Forward Out of Bounds.
    This was actually a pretty smart play, he just needs to get the ball going backwards.

    4. Navy Recovers the Rekick
    Another sign of week coaching. Although, the navy kicker did get off some good onside kicks.

    5. Navy completes a 40 yard pass to Tyree Barnes
    His foot came down out of bounce. SHould have never been a catch, but the receiver should have never gotten behind the DB. Why they werent running a Cover 3 is beyond me.

    6. Roughing the Kicker on Extra Point
    This was a stupid penalty. Angle your body so your trajectory doesnt hit the kicker.

    7. Navy Recovers Another Onside Kick
    This one was worse than the first. Poor coaching all around. Are floyd and golden tate even on the hands team?

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