Lessons Learned – Notre Dame at Michigan

Week two taught us a lot about the 2009 Fighting Irish and despite what most people might think – it wasn’t all bad. The 38-34 loss to Michigan stung and is very disheartening since it was a game Notre Dame could have easily won. But, there were still plenty of good things we learned about this team.

Our weekly installment of Lessons Learned takes a look at what we learned about Notre Dame in the week 2 loss to Michigan.
Our weekly installment of Lessons Learned takes a look at what we learned about Notre Dame in the week 2 loss to Michigan.

This Team Will Fight – In the past couple of years this team would have folded early in this game. Notre Dame trailed by 11 or more points twice in this game (14-3 and 31-20) and twice fought back and took the lead. That’s something this team wouldn’t have done. Actually, the offense wasn’t efficient enough to making coming back from 11 points in the fourth quarter possible.  This is a very good sign that this team still very much believes in their coaches and won’t give up.

We Found a Running Game – Notre Dame ran the ball pretty well against Michigan with Armando Allen toting the rock 21 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. Allen also had some tough between the tackles runs. That’s something we hadn’t seen a lot of out of Allen. He broke his career long run of 21 yards with a 24 yarder on the first offensive drive of the game. The backup running back position looks a little shakier than it looked last week though. Jonas Gray wasn’t a factor and his third quarter fumble was a major momentum swing.

Floyd and Tate Are Going to Dominate All Season – Michael Floyd simply owned Michigan’s Boubacar Cissoko all game long with Cissoko’s best defensive plays being errant throws from Clausen. Tate could have had a monster game, but displayed some very uncharacteristic shaky hands. Over the last two years I’ve commented many times that Tate might have the best hands of any wide receiver to pass through Notre Dame, but Tate twice dropped sure touchdowns – one of which would have been a 70 yarder.

This Offense Could Be Prolific – Notre Dame will end this season with one of the best offenses in the country. With Floyd and Tate, opposing defenses will have to pick their position. Notre Dame actually left a lot of points on the field Saturday and still managed to put up 34 points. The only defense left on the schedule that should be able to slow this offense down is USC.
Mobile Quarterbacks Give the Notre Dame Defense Fits – The Washington game is starting to look tougher and tougher with Jake Locker under center for the Huskies. Tate Foricer made the Notre Dame defense look pretty bad at times with his ability to avoid tackles, move in the pocket, and make plays down field.

Tenuta Needs to adjust for Spread Teams – The defensive game plan on Saturday was very ineffective. The blitz came off the edge most of the time with little pressure up the middle allowing for Foricer to step up in the pocket and extend plays without anyone spying him in the middle of the field. This game plan allowed Forcier to feast on Notre Dame’s aggressiveness. Tenuta is going to have to make some major adjustments to his defensive gameplans for any teams using a spread offense moving forward because the blueprint for tearing up this defense has been delivered by Michigan.

Tackling is Still a Big Issue – For the second week in a row, tackling was very shaky for Notre Dame. The Irish defense missed several tackles and couldn’t wrap up effectively all game. Brandon Minor was getting a couple extra yards on most of his carries because the defense wasn’t finishing it’s tackle. Notre Dame needs to spend a lot of time in practice this week on tackling. The defensive has been undisciplined the past two weeks and Michigan was able to make Notre Dame pay.

Notre Dame is Very Susceptible to the Run – Michigan was able to run on Notre Dame when they wanted to just as Nevada was able to last week. I think a lot of this may have had to do with the defensive alignment Notre Dame was using to defend Nevada and Michigan. Notre Dame went small on the defensive line the past two weeks and both opponents attacked Notre Dame on the ground. With a bigger, power running team in Michigan State coming in this weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ethan Johnson was playing more defensive end with either Hafis Williams or Sean Cwynar starting on the inside next to Ian Williams.

Weis Still Out-thinks Himself Sometimes – Weis has shown some very good play calling in the first two weeks. He’s also shown some maddening play calling in the past two weeks. The QB draw with Clausen is a prime example. Notre Dame was moving the ball at will and he called a draw with for a quarterback not known for his speed. I still think passing on 2nd and 10 on the final drive wasn’t a bad idea, but think the play call wasn’t smart. I would have liked to see a play action pass to Kyle Rudolph or a safer pass. Weis said Sunday that the play called for a short pass if the corner gave a cushion or a long pass if the corner pressed. Still, Clausen should have had a safe dump off option there so that the clock would have continued to tick. During the third quarter Weis tried to get a little too cute with his play calling as well. Notre Dame was burning Michigan down the field yet the Irish didn’t work the ball deep to Floyd much in the third even though Michigan couldn’t cover him.

Tony Alford and Frank Verducci Were Great Hires – Both of the new offensive coaches look to have done a great job in reshaping the Notre Dame running game. The offense hasn’t gotten a great test from a great run defense yet, but the early returns from these two hires are looking really good. Armando Allen is running harder and tougher than we’ve seen and the line is getting a good push and is playing tougher than we’ve seen in a while. Rome wasn’t built in a day though and there’s still a lot of work to do before the running game is ready to do some damage against defenses like USC’s, but it’s still encouraging to see the semblance of running game.

Notre Dame Can Run a Good Screen – The screen play was a staple of the Weis offenses in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 and 2008 screens were rarely executed well and were often painful to watch. The screen looks like it is going to be a weapon for the Irish again though with several very nice screen plays run by Notre Dame Saturday. The nicest being Tate’s long touchdown that was ruled a touchdown and then inexplicably overturned even though the sideline camera showed that Allen’s foot never went out of bounds. That play was the nicest looking screen Notre Dame has run since Darius Walkers long touchdown in the 2005 Pitt game.

Barry Gallup is a Good Returnman – A lot of people groaned when Weis put Barry Gallup back on the kick return team with Theo Riddick, but the seldom used senior responded with two very nice returns. After his performance Saturday he might have earned himself some more playing time on the return team.

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  1. The Big 10 should be investigated and heavily fined for this. Anyone who does not agree is biased. There were obvious bad calls last week and this week. This is incredibly unfair to ND football and all of college football.

  2. Good analysis. But, as far as the called back screen to Allen, go to MGoBlog for indisputable proof that he stepped on the line.

    1. Want proof, read this from today’s sports (9-16-09)

      Around the Big Ten: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez agreed with Weis that the Big Ten officiating crew was fallible Saturday — but not in the way Weis believes. “From our biased standpoint,” Rodriguez said, “we think some more calls could have … gone our way.” Weis said the crew “left a lot to be desired.” …
      “More Calls” The only call that was left to give to Michigan was on the coin toss.

      1. Michigan had 2 penalties (10 yards each) on one drive in the 1st half and still scored a TD. Does that sound like the refs were helping them? To believe that the refs cost the game you have to have a selective memory. If you TIVOed it, go back and watch again. Here’s a couple of reasons the Irish actually lost – 1. On 4th and 3, the Irish D has NO ONE in the secondary in the middle of the field (31 yard Forcier TD). 2. Clausen’s accuracy goes way down when there’s even a little pressure. 3. Tate runs across the field instead of getting down and lets the clock expire.

      2. Your comment is hardly all-inclusive. It mentions only a few factors from a long game. While the things you mentioned most certainly affected the outcome of the game (the 31 yard Forcier TD being a big one), there were many other factors. As I have said all along, ND beat themselves with horrible lack of concentration at the line (penalties), Weis not getting plays on the field (penalties), lack of defense and crappy special teams. But some very key bad calls or non-calls hurt ND severely too.

        Allen’s TD getting overruled without any evidence to the contrary, holding and interference against Floyd and Tate in the 2nd half, Olsen getting punched in the face, Michigan getting warnings about unsportsmanlike conduct/taunting after scores but ND getting no warnings etc.

        The “blame” for this loss goes to ND coaches and players. But these Big 10 officials clearly have some ‘splaining’ to do. I just don’t agree w/ blaming the refs for the loss or engaging in conspiracy theories. These refs sucked, but it could have been overcome.

        Michigan got the job done and I give them ample credit, especially to the undersized and freshman QB. He has ice in his veins and everybody should respect that.

  3. I just had a flashback of Lou Holtz putting an official into a wrestling hold to demonstrate what was going on during a game. Lou was always jawing at the officials. Maybe in his wisdom, Lou knows what the talent on this team is capable of, but also knows that ND is always going to be playing against the refs as well. Charlie needs to get more verbal on the sidelines.

  4. Crybaby losers. Nobody gets calls like ND. NBC contract caries way more weight with the refs than any other consideration. You wonder why everyone in the country hates Notre Dame? Read your posts.

    1. Why are you here? Yes, you got the W in a battle. There are many, not just ND fans, who think the officiating was subpar. Of course you don’t feel that way which is fine. Michigan got the job done and ultimately we beat ourselves. By any measure, there were some very controversial calls.

      But doing a gay “internet hit and run” showing your false bravado with nothing to back it up, is the epitome of pathetic. I’m hoping that you’re 15 years old or under and your balls haven’t dropped yet. If not, consider a different path.

      No one cares what you think.

    2. Hey, Goblew yourself,
      Shouldn’t you be spending your time flexing your muscles
      on some Eastern Michigan blog.
      Don’t forget what Toledo did to your team last year. And by the way, nobody is a bigger crybaby than RichRod. We all saw him cry us river just a couple weeks back on national TV.I guess because he got caught cheating agian.
      People hate us because we practice and play within the rules cheater.

      1. And this jackass is spamming every thread with this taunts and douchebaggery. I wonder:
        What kind of person goes to an opponent’s website, under the comfortable anonymity of the internet, and starts namecalling?

        MGOBLUE, go back to the playground in the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor. You just don’t seem to understand that none of us care why you hate ND. We are just amazed at your sophmoric behavior and rants.

        Shazamrock, like I said before, I’ll bet you anything he’s a teenaged dork with popped collars driving a riceburner. How much you want to bet me?

        Oh also, Lloyd Carr was the biggest whiner of any college coach. While he didn’t cry actual tears like R.R., he pissed and moaned constantly when things didn’t go his way. Please…

      2. JDH,
        You know all he does is sit there and pop his zits and pull his skid-marked underware out his ass.
        And for that he gets a degree form the U of Mich. Go Figure.
        Maybe when Ohio ST hands Michigan their ass agian this year, you ,me ,C-DOG, and the rest, log onto that Michigan cesspool of a web-site, and pile on some turds along with the buckeye fans.
        I know, I know, we here are all bigger than that,and we all want to move on. But if it keeps up I’m sure I can come up with an catchy anonymous names that won’t tarnish our Lady’s reputation.

    3. NBC doesn’t have anything to do with the refs. This game wasn’t even televised on NBC.

      If you didn’t find a number of those calls and no-calls questionable, you weren’t paying much attention to the game.

    4. Everyone else slamm dunked you. Good thing you said this garbage on a blog. In person you would have stuffed in a trash barrel.

      How stupid is the comment about NBC. NBC’s coverage of ND sucks. There’s no build up and there’s no affiliation with any refereee crew. MGOBLOW, I hope you don’t work for the car companies in Detroit. IF so, they need to fire you and all the other, Legends in Their own Minds, so they can compete.

      Converse to the lack of affliliation of ND to any ref crew, Michigan is part of the Big Ten. This is a politically powerful conference with BCS rights over a highly successful Mountain West Conference. Also, this conference has IT’s OWN Network, The Big Ten Network, and is shamelessly promoted by ESPN which has a near monopoly on college football. Prior to 1999 or so, using the NBC contract as an argument against ND had some kernal of truth. Now the contract is a boat anchor putting us at a distinct disadvantage.
      Unless the strangle hold of more influential “BCS” conferences is broken and unless the monopoly of ESPN is broken, anyone outside that umbrella is at a disadvantage. Rather than healthy cross section of opponents, most conferences don’t challenge themselves to prove it year in and year otu. They rely on the politics of clout. ND stays in the picture despite politics and because of a highly loyal and idealistic fan base.
      someone show me REAL evidence that ND even has anything close to an affiliation with REfs that could skew a game.

      MGOBLOW – your stupid comments make me wonder if I should ever hire a Michgian grad. I hope you are the exception.

  5. The National Championship talk before this team even took the field was just silly. Nothing indicated that this team was prepared to do that or had the talent on defense to go 12-1 or go undefeated. Anything better than 8-4 or 9-3 would be terrific and realistic.

    If you stop the Charlie bashing for one minute and enjoy the wide-open offense and ridiculous talent at the skill positions and a defense that will continue to get better with some silly talent, you will see a team that’s very close to being awesome.

    For years we have yearned for an offense like the one CW has put together…enjoy it!!!

    The defense is young and aggresive!

    Charlie stays!

  6. I still say that Notre Dame should have and COULD have kept the ball late in the fourth with the final drive at 3:29 and what not.
    That said, WHY did we pass and not grind out the clock???
    WHY? We still have an offensive line that could wear down Michigan and could have and should have!!! All ND needed was a first down or two and to take the sweet time to do it would have been a WIN for sure.
    34-31 looks a lot and feels a lot better than 34-38!! Uggghh.
    Friends of mine next door are avid Buckeye Fans of Ohio State and even THEY noticed questionable calls be the ref!!
    Michigan pushed an ND receiver out of bounds and it was not called.
    Furthermore, ND also had “holding” and I saw Michigan do the same damn thing and not a thing was called. Hmm. That said, Michigan got their win but Notre Dame was at times its worst enemy. I still question the Coach as to why ND did not keep the ball in bounds and the clock running late.
    Screw ego’s and possible 10 point wins. A 3 point win ( which was the spread btw) would have been sweet.
    Running game–running game running game –it is what has established ND for years!!! WIN with good special teams and running game and when one is ahead late in the game with the ball—grind it out and force them to take time outs!!! UGGGGHHHHH!!! ( one pass is OK –but each and every time??)
    I have posted this before but we were so close on this—and should have done it!!!
    As for Rodriguez and his second year “magic” time will tell.
    All I know is that I gagged after seeing that for the 10th time on the screen.
    Michigan State will have a chip on their shoulder after a senseless loss.
    Who will be the better coach? Who will have better returning teams?
    Who will have an offensive line and wear out the defense??
    ND losing to BOTH Michigan Teams in one year –especially this year–
    is NOT acceptable!!

  7. I can’t get over the holding call against Sam Young that brought back Rudolph’s 72 yard catch and run. A freshman DE gets double teamed and knocked around like a ragdoll and they call holding on a 4 year starting tackle for escorting his noob ass into the ground. What a joke.

    1. That was the 2nd most obvious hold the Irish committed and an easy call for the ref. You can knock a player down but you can’t throw them to the ground. The 1st most obvious wasn’t even called. It was when an Irish lineman tried to rip off Brandon Graham’s head. Check out the nice photo at Dr. Saturday. Those stinking refs were trying to give the game to ND!

      1. The Michigan cornerbacks mauled the ND receivers all day. I like the pic of Cissoko(?) with his helmet buried in Tate’s chest, and his arms wrapped around his body before the ball even arrives. Getting in on an early tackle I see. Or how about the no call when Riddick was facemask’ed to the ground. Special thanks to the Big Ten there.

      2. On the 2nd and 10 play on ND’s last possession, Donovan Warren had a play on the ball. I saw a reverse angle of the play on College Football Live last night, and Tate clearly had his right arm wrapped around Warren’s waist. That should’ve been offensive pass interference. We can go on like this forever. There were calls that went both ways. It was a frustrating loss for the Irish, but it wasn’t the refs that cost the game.

      3. If you play for Michigan and are at home you know what else you can do? You can cheat shot(that wasn’t really a punch) an opposing player while he’s down on the ground then run away and hide. ESPN speaks of that ugily episode in this morning sports. There is a video making the rounds that shows that very thing. I saw it yesterday.
        I guess they learned that from their coach. Just ask the folks in West Virgina. Thaking cheap shots then running away to hide. Oh yeah, That’s RR through and through.
        Maybe he should call a press conference and cry about how he’s misunderstood and even though he’s a cheater he loves his players, yada,yada, yada.
        ND and Mich. played 5 days ago and still, everyday since, more and more comes out about the cheating, classless, wolverine’s.
        I find it quite amusing.

  8. Totally agree with you Shazamrock. It is truly now or never for CW. If the Irish win out, hopefully the voters will look back and only see one very tough loss, at the beginning of the season, amidst some very controversial officiating.

  9. Shazamrock,
    Believe me, I can understand where you’re coming from. And the “conspiracy” comments were not directed right at you. There have been some comments on this site about the refs getting paid off. Sorry, I just don’t buy it. Call me naive if you want or that I’m sticking my head in the sand.

    For the record, I am in agreement that some terrible calls were made, some at critical times, as I said. I was/am furious at some of the calls or lackthereof. And I did see, after my first post, that Weis is sending the tapes into the Big 10, as he should! Of course he/we are going to be labeled as whiners by Michigan fans, but who cares? But I still maintain that the BIGGER factor in our loss was OUR COACHES AND OUR PLAYERS, mainly on defense and special teams, NOT the officials.

    We will see how the season plays out and I think that will give us an idea of who is “right” or at least on the right track. If ND ends up w/ 1 or 2 losses, than I will rethink my feelings and concede that you were probably right! And believe me, I hope that the tone of this team changes, and they get squared away, eliminating the sloppy play and “feel” that starts with Weis.

    1. 99% of the games under CW have been pretty fairly called by the Ref’s. But this one was a real stinker that came at the worst possiable time. The stats, the score, and the calls, just don’t add up.
      But I do agree with you on our coaches and players. I’m torn on Charlie Weis. He is an outstanding Recruiter. He puts his players Academic and physical health first. He takes the heat for his coaches and players. But where is his signature win? Beating someone big and agianst long odds?
      We are still waiting.
      And I don’t think it’s easy to get any top coaches to come here. There are a lot of restrictions and “baggage” to deal with. But if he can’t win on a consistant basis you have to face some hard choices.
      For one, I think that if you don’t see significant improvement and soon a coaching change is required. There is just too much talent to just let it get wasted next year. It’s hard to find a coach who loves ND as much as Charlie. But he worked for years under Bill Parcells who always said “you are what your record is”. Which is barely above 500 with no big wins or upsets.
      Urban Meyer took Florida to the next level.
      Nick Saban has returned Alabama to the top in just 2 years.
      Pete Carroll turned in a winning season in his second year and hasn’t looked back since.
      Lou Holtz won here, so it is possiable. There’s still plenty of oppertunities for success, but time is now working against us. He can still win out and then this game will just be an after thought. But it has to start NOW.

  10. As far as I can tell, we gave Michigan 17 points (7 points for the run-back; 3 points for the missed field goal; 7 points for the TD at the end of the game). With respect to the run-back, the coverage was awful. Yes, Michigan put on a good return, but we have to be able to stop these types of big plays. The missed field goal was aggravating. Yes it was just three points but at the beginning of the game, it would have been nice to have scored some points after moving the football. On the last TD, we gave that to Michigan for at least two reasons: the shanked punt; the coverage in the end zone. If our punter merely kicks an average punt, we would have forced Michigan to go around 70 yards. More than that, though, when Michigan lined up at the 42 to start the drive, they were thinking, “we have to go thirty yards to get to OT.” If they were at their own twenty or twenty-five, the attitude would have been much different.

    Finally, the coverage: I said this earlier. Matthews caught the pass exactly where the other guy dropped it — wide open in the front corner of the end zone. How does this happen on two plays in a row? It was awful to watch.

    One more point, to reiterate: why were we throwing on 2nd and 10 on our last offensive possession? We had the ball, up three and we had three minutes to burn. If the play was not to someone wide open — down the middle — we should not have thrown it. A side-line pass to someone 25 yards down field made no sense. Even if he catches it — which would have made our weekend — he gets run out of bounds and the clock stops. It was a stupid play. The next play was worse, where the receiver turned in and Claussen threw out. That guy was wide open, too, on third and ten.

    Again, though, if we had run Allen up the gut twice and compelled Michigan to use two timeouts, we probably would have won the game.

    Weis is always doubting our ability to close out a game. I don’t recall, in a close game, Charlie running the ball to run out the clock. It just seems crazy — the way that last series went down. I’m not a Weis hater. I think he’s done wonders on the recruitment side. But his play-calling at the game’s end was pretty bad.

    1. Well, I predict nothing because who knows who will show up. But I’ve seen both MSU games and of course both ND games.
      MSU’s running attack is not good. Our defense SHOULD match up to our advantage.
      Unless MSU’s defensive front is much better than Michigan’s our offense should have no trouble.
      All that said, the jury’s still out on whether these guys take care of business.
      ND needs a blow out here. No stepping off the gas pedal. Any sloppy practices and the ones coasting need to be replaced in the lineup.
      This next game is about leadership. I have all the respect for Dantonio and this Spartan team. Both quarterbacks are like our own Reggie Ho, and Ken McAffee in that one wants to be a doctor and one a dentist. But ND has the better collectino of talent and the better matchup.
      Anything but a convincing win at ROCK’S HOUSE, will point to lack of leadership.

      1. Dan, Last week we should have known better and been prepared knowning that it would be Big Ten Ref’s.
        If, after this week’s game you don’t see marked improvement, you can go right to the top with any greiveance.(For whatever good it might do)

        Check out these two web-sites, if anything, they might be good for a laugh!

        Bill Corollo: Big Ten Coordinator of football Officials


  11. we also learned we have a kicker. i was impressed with his accuracy and poise after missing the initial field goal attempt, and with the coaches for not bailing on him at the first sign of trouble.

    1. And did you see the one where Brandon Graham was having his head ripped off by an Irish lineman and no flag was thrown? Go check it out at Dr. Saturday.

  12. I agree 110% that we got jobbed on the screen where the refs took the term “indisputable” and wiped their @$$ with it. It’s pretty bad when the video/proof is supposed to be “indisputable”, yet the announcers are disputing it. There were some other calls that could’ve gone either way but wouldn’t ya know that the Allen play cost us 4 points. Well, gee, that’s what we lost by. How convenient that is for Michigan fans. ok, I’ve addressed that issue…

    As I sit here and gripe about the Allen play because we lost, I should not be griping at all because this should have been a W. Weis screwed us as much as the replay officials. Why on God’s green earth are we throwing “hail mary’s” (best way to describe this play) on 2nd and 10 when the goal should be to simply keep the clock moving. Even if we gain 0 yards on 2nd and 3rd downs, Michigan has 2 choices…burn 30 seconds between both plays, leaving less than a minute for them to do something; or use their 2 final timeouts and have about 2 minutes, but no timeouts. Either way you look at it, there would not have been 11 seconds for them to win the game. Now, I do not blame Weis/Clausen/Evans on the 3rd down play because it was executed well, we just ran into the issue of a Freshman receiver not completely in sync with Clausen. We should be 2-0 and Weis needs to use this as a “LESSON LEARNED”.

  13. This is the first time in my life that I can remember feeling like the officials were actually paid off.

    The mysterious overturning of allen’s TD. The “holding” call on a 76 yard pass play, when the o-lineman clearly through a great pancake block. The amount of times Golden Tate was had his arms held by a michigan DB before the ball got to him.

    At the end of the 1st half, I rewatched the pass interference call on Walls that negated the holding on Michigan, frame by frame. The flag was in the air while Walls was still 3 yards away from the receiver. He didn’t touch the receiver until the ball was already in his hands and the flag was already on the ground.

    It was so obviously biased. There is no arguing that the calls took points off of the board for ND, enough to lose them the game. The worst part is that there is no way to measure the impact all of these calls had on the momentum of the game.

    I actually think the team and coaches did a great job of keeping their heads and continuing to fight when the refs were penalizing them for playing good football.

  14. “But when the officiating is BLATENTLY OBVIOUS towards one sided biasness, that you think that you are watching something out of the WWF. Something is seriously wrong. Whomever is pulling the strings on this deal is clearly insulting our intelligents’. The backlash for this game is exceptionally large. I double that ALL these people are wrong….But when do you get to the point where there is just so much cheating, dirty dealling, and poor sportsmanship that the game looses any remining credibility, what then?”

    What exceptionally large backlash? I don’t see any. You doubt (I assume that’s the word you were going for) that ALL what people are wrong? Fans on this site? I haven’t seen any official questioning of the Michigan game officiating by anybody at Notre Dame. Like I explained, I thought some of the calls, notably the foot out of bonds and the taunting calls, were BS. But I do not for a second believe that ND lost because of some kind of conspiracy. And to suggest that Big 10 officials are actually being paid under the table to influence the outcomes of games is so ridiculous, without any evidence whatsoever to back up your claims, that it doesn’t even warrant attention. It’s on par with the “We did not land on the moon” or “9/11 was an inside job” crowd.

    If the calls were that “blatantly obvious”, then Swarbrick, Weis and Co. should file official complaints- maybe this will occur. But they better do it quick and then get back to the work at hand ON THE FIELD, i.e. things they can help control.

    I could be wrong- maybe this backlash you speak of is true. But other than some disappointed fans (me included), I haven’t seen anything. The “bad officiating” needs to be seen in the context of the entire game and kept in perspective. And the majority of ND’s problems were things they should have, could have controlled better.

    Maybe without those “bad calls”, ND would have pulled it out and won that game. But if the sloppiness and lack of focus continues unabated, it will just translate into another loss on a different Saturday. Yes, bad officiating can and does lose games, but it is rare. And like I explained, if ND was up to standard, the bad calls would have made little difference.

    1. JDH,
      Come on brother, I know you are a smart guy. If it looks like a rat, moves like a rat, and smells like a rat,… its a rat!
      You have a big time football program in Michigan, that stuggled big time last year,in turmoil this year, playing a rival at home, in a must win game, and is officiated by it’s own big Ten Ref’s. Now stating that they are paid off under the table IS WRONG. They are paid OVER the table. The Big Ten conference IS their employeer.
      If you don’t think that in the BIG, BIG, money world that is today’s college football, that there isn’t over zealous loyalties, intimidation, dirty deals, and misused infuence, Ive got some swamp land in Florida that you are going to love.
      I read this morning that Coach Weis is sending game tape to the Big Ten showing several Michigan players throwing punches during the game. (no calls)CW also went on to say that he wasn’t going to make a big deal of the officiating because he has another Big Ten team and officiating crew visiting South Bend this coming weekend.
      Here are some examples:
      In the first half Michigan gets flagged for pass interferance. RR storms the field waving his hand over his head stating that the ball was over the reciever’s head and therefore uncatchable. His secondary was clearly over matched agianst our wide Recievers all day. I saw them grabbing, hooking, and impeding our recieves on almost every pass play. In the second half Claussen throws deep to Floyd who got pushed out of bounds by the Michigan Corner. That’s a penalty. Only the ref’s say the ball was over his head (just like RichRod preached in the 1st half)Of course the ball was over his head, he got pushed 3 yards out of bounds. Another “no call”
      Late in the game ND is trying to run out the clock. He has Claussen throw deep to Tate. Look at the corner covering Tate. He has his arm wrapped around Tate’s waist well before the ball gets there.The ball hits him in the hands and he drops it. Can’t call that one over his head, so it just becomes another “no call”.
      Tate gets a celebration penalty after scoring the go ahead TD.(which you said was BS) ND has to kick-Off from their own 25. Michigan immediatly gets a real short field very late in the game. Give them credit for not screwing it up and scoring. If you watch the Michigan players start their wild celebration(a lot more than Tate did) There is a Ref standing in the end zone near the goal post. You can see him tell the Michigan player who has the ball and just scored to “cool it”. The player calms down and hands the ball to the ref. Another no call.
      I can go on if you want more.
      Just because we can loose with class, it shouldn’t make us a bunch of Charlie Brown’s.
      To me there is no shame in loosing to a better team. But in my opion that’s not the case here. If you want to call their play sloppy that’s fine but ND won in almost every stat. That should mean that Michigan was sloppy too, but that’s not what they say in the media. It was like their greatest game ever.
      The players work too hard to get screwed over by the Ref’s.I watch everything, the players, coaches, Ref’s, the spot, the sidlines, who’s talking, the game clock, everything. If you want to stick your head in the sand that’s your choice, and I’m not going to say that you are wrong. But I know what I saw, and nobody is going to tell me different. I saw a big nasty RAT dressed in black and white strips who ran away when CW came looking for answers.

      1. “Tate gets a celebration penalty after scoring the go ahead TD.”
        No he didn’t. He got an USC for taunting the crowd.

        I’ve never read so much whining about officiating in my life. Are all ND fans a bunch of 12 year old crybabies?

      2. Maybe the reason you have never read so much about the officiating, is because the real world see’s what you are blind to.
        Everyone knows that when you go into Michigan to play that the ref’s will have some impact on the game favoring Michigan. Happens every time. But that crew wasn’t even close at being convincing.
        It will be interesting to watch Michigan’s remaining home games and the scruitiny under which the ref’s have to work and the approch of visiting coaches. You know, the coaches of the teams who have yet to play at Michigan are reviewing this game as well. Their approch to the ref’s who work the games there might just settle some of these diffrences of opinion.
        I’ll take my shots at being called a crybaby if it raises enough attension to an ongoing home field ref advantage that Michigan has milked for far to many years.
        Michigan normally gets away with it, as do a lot of home teams (ND included) but these guys went just a little too far and got exposed.
        Hell, I’ll be happy with the loss if it means that every remaining team that has to go into Michigan Stadium, gets a fair and level playing field on which to compete.

  15. Someone please tell me what Allen did to get the “excessive celebration” penalty. All that I saw was a small fist pump to his side. I didn’t even think it was much of a celebration.

      1. I don’t like that call myself, but it’s technically against the rules. The players are coached about what’s not allowed for celebrations (at least they are supposed to be). Bottom line, he knew better.

  16. Ahh c’mon guys. I agree that there were a couple very bad calls by the officials, and they came at critical times. But if ND had the FOCUS and the DISCIPLINE (coaches included) to avoid 75 YARDS of penalties (let’s say 45 or 50 legit penalty yards), it would have been a W. If Tate catches those 2 balls in the 4th quarter for an extra 14 points, it would have been a W. The crappy calls by the officials would have been moot. Although I disagree with the doublestandard shown with the “taunting” calls/warnings, Allen should not have done that. Period. Why take the chance in a game like that? Lack of focus is the answer.

    For 3/4 quarters Michigan had no answers whatsoever for our offense. We ran and passed all over them. Our defense could not stop a very young offense that’s cutting their teeth. Tenuta, you listening?

    The head coach “sets the tone” and stimulates the “killer instinct”. I used those 2 terms all year last year, finding myself saying them again and again, as Weis failed to hold on to half-time leads and add 4 more losses to their schedule. This loss was about sloppiness. Sloppy penalties, sloppy tackling, sloppy coaching defensively, sloppy time management.

    And this is the reason Weis will continue to have a huge bullseye on his back and question mark tatooed on his forehead.

    ND can go 2 ways after this. Continue down the road of mediocrity and lose to Michigan State, USC, and one more “take your pick”. Or they can learn from their weaknesses and win out. And it IS possible for them to beat USC, given the offense that we have this year. We’ve all seen USC lose focus each year and lose to unranked teams.

    This one HURT BAD, but we could have alot to look forward to. Only time will tell. Go Irish!

    1. JDH,
      I’ve been watching this game, between these two teams, for the better part of fourty years. When Mich plays at ND stadium, ND will get a call or two. And when we play in the Big House, you understand that a few calls for them, comes with the territory. As a visiting team you need to understand that you will need to overcome their team, coaches, fans, and some calls. And it’s not uncommon for A FEW fans from the loosing side to cry foul on the officiating. But when the officiating is BLATENTLY OBVIOUS towards one sided biasness, that you think that you are watching something out of the WWF. Something is seriously wrong. Whomever is pulling the strings on this deal is clearly insulting our intelligents’. The backlash for this game is exceptionally large. I double that ALL these people are wrong. There are also many who say that we just didn’t do enough to win. And I can’t argue with that. Michigan made the most of every oppertunity. That’s what good teams do.
      But when do you get to the point where there is just so much cheating, dirty dealling, and poor sportsmanship that the game looses any remining credibility, what then?
      These ND players are not professionals. They have a lot on their plate between classroom work, studies, football practice, and game day. I believe they are giving they’er very best effort. I also believe our coaches are giving a full account of themselves towards the success of this team.
      I will continue to support them because they do things the right way and represent all that is good in college football. That’s what sets us apart from other programs. Of course, doing things the right way AND winning is what put ND on the map.
      Excellance in all we do!

  17. Officiating terrible!No hoding on Michigan………look at the film.Holding on Young look at the film….BS…Weis only had to get Michigan out of time outs.ND did not need points they needed to stop Michigan from getting any more.This is on Weis and the damn Head Coach EGO!So many of these Head Coaches think it is about them.Yeah !Yeah!If the play works and ND scores he is a Genius!!And all that…Blah Blah..Play the game.If they were sloppy in practice for this game and one O lineman says they were then THAT GUY ought to raise HOLY hell with those not preparing properly…This team will score a lot of points and win 8/9 games but they will not reach their potential till Coaches stop buddying up with them and hold all players accountable for giving their absolute best on every play in every game and that includes the celebration crap as well.The only celebration that matters is the one for the WIN!!!

  18. Here’s what I learned: If you are an “Independant” football team, and not affiliated with a conferance, and don’t have your own officiating crew, you are going to get screwed. Especially on the road at Michigan!
    I didn’t hear who the Refs were or what conference they are associated with, but my first guess would be the BigTen.

    How does a team win almost every stat and still loose?

    Total yardage ND= 72plays for 490yrds, MICH= 71 for 430
    Passing yards ND= 25-42-0 / 336yrds ave=8.0
    MICH = 23-33-1 / 240yrds ave=7.3
    Rushing yards ND= 30rushes for 154yrds ave=5.1per carry
    MICH= 38———–190yrds ave=5.0
    First downs ND= 27 MICH. 21
    3rd down conv. ND= 6/14 43%
    MICH= 5/14 36%
    Turn overs ND 1 fumble lost
    MICH. 1 interception
    Time of Poss. ND = 31:25
    MICH = 28:35

    Here are the only STATS that ND lost:Return yardage ND=125, MICH=202
    Penalties: ND 9-75, MICH 6-59
    Both teams missed a field-goal

    It was painfully obvious that the refs were determined to keep Michigan in the game, and keep the game close. Both teams got penalties. But the timing coinsided with big plays for ND. The spotting of the football for ND was questionable. As was the game clock. I saw extra time added to the clock for Michigan, and then some game time removed for ND.
    Did anyone see what was the grounds for the “Taunting” penalty agianst ND?
    After Michigan scored the go ahead touchtown and started their excessive celebration, I saw the Ref in the endzone issue a warning to the Michigan players. No flag though.
    I saw Allen score a TD on a screen. The Ref was standing right there and signalled touchdown. Then came the review. On one angle it appeard that he stepped out of bounds. On the other angle it appeard that he was in bounds.
    I would think that it would be inconclusive and you go with the call on the field. Not at Michigan. I bet the part time insurance salesmen who were selected to ref this game each made an extra grand on this one.
    I’m not taking anything away from Michigan. They played very well.
    But I watched every play. I know what I saw. Just because the media sweeps it under the rug doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.
    Then, at the end of the game and CW goes to talk to these so called Refs, they run away and hide in the tunnel.

    It’s too bad. The ND football staff, and players out worked and out played Michigan. They deserve better. We all know it’s about the money.The crappy BigTen can’t sell their new TV network with the way their teams play, so they cook up a bunch of ways to keep Michigan in the game and up the tv ratings and intrest.

    1. I totally agree about the Allen screen pass that was called back. With the replays it is hard to say whether he stayed in bounds or not. However, if the play was ruled a touchdown on the field, unless the officials are 110% sure that he stepped out of bounds, you have to stick with the ruling on the field. There has to be indisputable evidence that he stepped out to overturn. I haven’t seen that yet.

    2. Shazamrock,
      I agree. I heard a friend is very much impartial to calling out refs, basically say he thinks, the conferences stick it to ND. I find it strange that the Big Ten does so with Michigan, but not so with Michigan State or Purdue. It’s almost as if Michigan, ( maybe OSU and PSU too ) are their version of Michael Jordan. Perhaps it’s college football’s version of giving three steps to see if the outcome will bring more revenue.

      I can’t understand the disparity in what Michigan was allowed to do in terms of holding versus Notre Dame. Nor could I understand why the Michigan corners were allowed more grabbing than our corners.
      But a good coach works that in a way that let’s the ref know it’s not right without getting upset. Carroll works the refs in those situation very much to his advantage.

    3. I agree with most of C-Dog & the previous blogger had to say. I’ve watched almost every ND game for the past 50 years. They do get a break now & then, but the bad calls or bad no-calls far outnumber thoses breaks.
      I have a friend in Indiana who golfed with a Big Ten Football official a few years back, and the official made the comment that he was going to stick it to ND every chance he gets.
      Why in the world would ND continue to hire Big Ten officials when they in fact get to do the hiring. Big Ten officials have screwed ND more that any other conference’s officials.
      Charlie did a terrible job of game clock management, but ND still beats Michigan in the official makes the crucial pass interference call that we all saw and the TV commentators even said “Michigan may have gotten away with one there”.
      That no call (even with Charlie’s poor play calling and poor clock management) was absolutely crucial, and may very well have decided the game.

  19. QB draw was not a bad call. Noone could say they expected it. Our left tackle simply completely missed his block. and the defender cleaned up Claussen. Once again, the coaches call a good play and the players fail to execute.

    1. noone expected it because it is the last play he should have called considering how well our running game was doing. let the damn running backs do what their best at and leave a pocket passer to do what he does best. i dont even think clausen expected it and you cant tell me this is a play they practice so dont blame the players for not executing.

      1. Look-I’m not ‘calling out the players”or anything. I’m just pointing out that it was a good call. Look at the tape, you dope. If the Left tackle makes his block it’s an easy first down. He failed to execute on that play. There may be other plays that could have been called that may not have worked but this is the play called. I’m sure they’ve practiced the play a few times in practice. It’s not rocket science.
        All game long the coaches put players in the position to make a play. Most of the time they did, sometimes they didn’t.

      2. Didn’t like the call, regardless. Clausen isn’t very fleet footed. It may have been unexpected, but a lot has to go right for him to scramble for a 5 yard first down. Either way, that by itself didn’t lose the game.

    2. That was a horrible play call. You drive the ball down field, putting the ball in the hands of your play makers and you call a QB draw to be executed by a slow drop back QB? There is no excuse for trying to be cute and trying to out smart your opponent when all you have to do is over power them and out play them with what you do best. Don’t pull stuff out of the back of the playbook when you have already executed your normal stuff almost to perfection. Weis is his own downfall sometimes and calling a QB draw on 3rd an 5 is just stupid. All he did is set up his players to fail. End of story.

  20. what about manti t’eo??? first play of the game was a tackle for a loss and then he disappeared. after the qb draw called by weis, i statred hitting the beers hard cause i knew what was in store for us. so needless to say, i wasn’t paying attention to who was on the field. was he just not used or did he have a quiet day?? he just seems like he could have been better used especially as a qb spy. please enlighten me someone.

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