Initial Impressions – Washington at Notre Dame

Jimmy Clausen engineered another fourth quarter comeback on Saturday as the Irish improved to 4-1 with a 37-30 overtime win over Washington.

After making the long trip home from South Bend and rewatching the game, here are my initial impressions from Notre Dame’s latest last minute victory.

  • All three of the goal line stands were remarkable.  The double goal line stand was unbelievable.  After the roughing the snapper penalty it would have been pretty easy for them to go back out on the field deflated, but they rallied and saved the game.
  • Not sure what superlatives to use for Jimmy Clausen anymore.  He’s the real deal and has reached the point where everyone just expects him to lead the team for the go ahead score with the game on the line.  Four fourth quarter go ahead drives in four straight weeks is pretty incredible.
  • Robert Hughes ran very well again this weekend.  With Allen banged up, Hughes filled in great with 70 carries on 8 carries to go along with the critical two point conversion and then go ahead score.   Hughes was a nice weapon out of the backfield too.
  • Weis did a great job moving Golden Tate around.  Tate was all over the field so that Washington couldn’t just key on him like defenses did last year when Michael Floyd was hurt.
  • Speaking of Tate, I think the best way to describe his play is WOW.  Tate really stepped up his game this week and set a career high with 244 yards and a touchdown.  Tate got the ball in space more often than he has in the past and he made a lot happen after the catch.
  • It was nice to see Shaquelle Evans getting worked into the offense.  He only had 4 catches, but it looks like the staff is working him into the #2 receiver roll.
  • It was even nicer to see a kicker connect on all 5 of his field goal attempts.  Only one attempt was from 40 yards or more, but every one was right between the uprights and it wasn’t ad adventure to watch Nick Tausch kick.  Throw in a sloppy field because of all of the rain and it was an even more impressive performance from a true freshman.
  • Kickoffs were a little bit disappointing this week though.  After really improving last week, Tausch’s kicks didn’t get too deep this week.
  • Ethan Johnson, Kerry Neal, and Kapron Lewis-Moore all came to play Saturday.  All three continued the improvement we’ve been seeing out of them the past few weeks.  The defensive line was seen as a liability at the start of the season, but this unit is really progressing.
  • Tackling was really poor.  Tenuta, Brown, and Hart need to come up with some way to improve tackling during the bye week because USC’s running backs are a lot better than Washington’s.
  • The secondary was really disappointing.  The corners had a lot of chances for picks on passes that Locker just floated up to his receivers but they never looked for the ball and let Washington convert third and long after third and long.   It wasn’t surprising to see Gary Gray and Raeshon McNeil getting more reps in the second half.  It also wouldn’t be surprising if some starters got seriously pushed in practice over the next two weeks.
  • The pass rush was improved and got to Locker three times – Kapron Lewis-Moore, Ethan Johnson, and Kerry Neal.
  • Zeke Motta looks great on kick/punt coverage.  He only had one tackle, but it might have been one of the nicest tackles in the game.
  • Manti Te’o was all over the field.  The freshman linebacker had 10 tackles and was in the mix on almost every play it seemed.  He still needs work in pass coverage, but he looks like the real deal.
  • It was nice to see Steve Filer get some playing time with Darius Fleming out.  Filer looked good filling and turned in 4 tackles.
  • The middle of the field was WIDE open all day.  If Clausen had a little more time to pass throughout the game, his numbers could have been better (which is a scary thought since he threw for 422 yards).
  • Red zone offense was disappointing to say the least.  If tackling is the one thing for the defense to work on during the bye week, red zone offense should be the one thing the offense works on this week.  This game could have been over much sooner than overtime if the offense could have converted some of the red zone attempts into touchdowns.
  • Kyle Rudolph should be a major part of the plan to improve the red zone offense.  He’s a huge target, but needs to be given the ball more than on just a fade route.   His go ahead touchdown was an excellent play, but the Irish won’t be able to live on that play all season in the red zone.
  • I was glad, however, to see Weis take the field goal each time the offense couldn’t reach the end zone.  Having a kicker capable of going 5 for 5 probably made the decision easier for him.
  • This team fights till the end and doesn’t give up.
  • There were a lot of mistakes out there again this week, but those mistakes are much easier to take after escaping with the win.
  • Did Notre Dame beat the team that beat USC and fought LSU or the team that got run over by Stanford?  No one knows and likely won’t until we see how the Irish play against the Trojans in two weeks.
  • Bottom line is this team still has a long way to go before it reaches its full potential, but there are a lot of other teams that would like to be sitting at 4-1 heading into their bye week with two weeks to prepare for their toughest game of the season.

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  1. Bob C,
    It never ceases to amaze me how gay one must be to perform a “talk smack and then run” routine on someone else’s blog/thread. Priorities and common sense are elusive to you. USC may win Saturday; they may lose. Either way, I’ll be comforted by the fact that I have never / will never surf other teams’ sites to throw rocks and then run. Mark May and Pat Forde hold eachother, crying in the dark. A knock on their door from you would make their night complete. Just wow.

    1. JDH,
      You are one streight up fan who enjoys sharing game facts and stratigies with anyone. But it never fails when some no class team comes calling so do their low life fans. Believe it or not Pete Carroll is under fire from these same fans for continully loosing year after year to teams that he is supposed to beat by 4 TD’s.
      When he isn’t lying to his recruits, he is sticking his head in the sand when they get in trouble. Ever notice the guy always has something to say about everything, until one of his player gets caught cheating, then it’s “no comment” or calls placed to his office were “not returned.”
      Not only is USC going to loose this Saturday. They are going to loose to Oregon and Stanford as well!

      1. I hear you man. Coaches should not cover for their players wrongdoing at all costs. Tressel does the exact same thing at Ohio State.

        People who ding-dong-ditch other fan sites amaze me. (such as BobC)

        It’s gonna be cold in South Bend on Saturday! Bring your UnderArmor, Trojans!

        Catholics vs. Condoms 2009.

  2. Jack… the USC Florida game is what everyone in the country would like to see, including me. We are trying to schedule SEC schools but it is not as easy as it seems. Most don’t want to travel to the W. coast and seem to like the patsy out of conference games they play now. We played Auburn a few years ago and won a couple but no one else seems interested. So they play Ohio State and Virginia Tech and Florida State… all strong programs. We trying to get Texas set up for 2016 as we speak.

    And of course were cursed by playing in a conference that is not as good across the board as the SEC, so the voters and computers don’t always give us the love and votes we need to get to play these SEC teams.

    I guess we will just have to let Boise State continue to beat up on your all powerful Alabama’s until we get the votes. Oh, that UF/LSU game last night was like watching grass grow… yawn! Were is the offense? LSU was rated number 3 and could not score a TD… That’s pathetic.
    Have some catfish and chill out!

  3. By the way your great coach lost another came to an inferior PAC 10 member. Your league is weak that is why you should not loose in it.

  4. Hey Bob C if you are living in the present and rate your program by national championships how many do you have in the past decade. Thats right just one. Now I am not saying that ND is the best and should be winning NC, but if you are going to talk trash beat Florida or an SEC school in the national championship game. By the way why are you on this site, don’t you have a life.

  5. Um, what about PENALTIES? Your 59 had 3 moments where he should have had personal fouls called against him, and this whole seasons stupid penalties have killed you. You would’ve beat Michigan ifnot for them. And sergio sucks

  6. Fantasy Football lives Here!
    ND goes down for the 8th year in a row. Hope Jimmy (“4 national titles” promise) Clausen loves to eat grass because the two USC defense ends will be chasing him all day.
    I can hear the deafening silence now as the faithful leave the stadium at the end of the third quarter and go back to their blogs and spill their collective venom and talk about the echos and the rest of the historic crap of last century… yes, last century. Life is lived in the present domers and the present belongs to the Trojans. You know it, Mark May knows it, and the college football world knows it.

    Worse yet, you will have to deal with Matt Barkley for a minimum of two more years… just imagine how good he will be next year.

    Pete ownes Charlie

    1. Was Matt Barkely born to play in the game?

      Hey is that Todd Marinovich I see running from the ATF Cops. Last I heard he used his USC education to score heroin along the beaches of Santa Monica. Bou if that doesn’t make you proud I don’t what will.

  7. I was just able to watch last weeks game it replayed tonight. I think our d-line and linebackers did not look that bad in the first half, but we need a different nickel corner than Sergio Brown. He got beat in that final drive twice to set up the field goal. Also I saw one play where Washington completed a great pick play on Darrin Walls. This defense is close. I would like to see some Slaughter, Mcneil, Walls and Blanton on the field in a nickel or dime situation. I don’t think Tenuta’s scheme sucks I just think we need to try some more d-backs like putting Manti in the game. Lets open up the competition and see how deep they are at d-back.

  8. It will be a different story if the defense decides to tackle people and the and the DBS want to cover (because they should have a few chances for an INT)

    1. Dan, thank you for that simple but meaningful comment. After reading the crap comments by so many “fans” I was wondering if the game I watched last Saturday was a failure resulting in a loss.

  9. We need to play to win…USC is beatable! I think we compete– our boyz will step up and play like a champion…and IF we lose we will hold our heads up high becuase our kids will have given it all…lets all stand behind our IRISH!

    ND 24 USC 17

  10. I see ND defenders chasing down Barkley like the cops chasing down OJ!!

    Against USC —- Play like a Vice Cop Today!

      1. It’s the end result that counts. If we have to run all the way to his house, well then goddamn we better do it

      2. Yeah, not only did he out run the cops all the way to his house. He was able to change, pack his luggage, and still get to the airport with time to kill.

    1. C-Dog,

      Speaking of the most famous of USC alumni, OJ. Whatever became of HIS Heisman trophy?
      I had heard that he tried to sell it on E-BAY to pay his attorney fee’s but no one wanted it.
      Of course if he hadn’t lost his temper and took that 9 iron and wacked the guys head off it might have fetched a fair price?

  11. Set this program back??? You have to get somewhere first in order to be set back.
    Your right, last year ND didn’t belong on the same field as USC.
    THAT WAS LAST YEAR. LAST YEAR.We are not playing last year’s team agian this year.
    The talent level was miles apart. I couldn’t agree more. But does that make it automaticlly the same thing this year? I don’t think so.
    OK, we lost Floyd. And they just lost their top scoring running back in Johnson. Are their fans aren’t crying that the Sky is falling?
    “Not asking for a win”. “Just make it competitive” ??? With fans like you who needs enemys. Maybe you should change your name from “Joe” To the Grim reaper. Could you be any more negitive.
    I know it’s a free country and we are all allowed to speak our minds, but damn, wouldn’t you be happier pulling for San Jose St, Western Kentucky, or the Akron Zips where absolutly nothing is exspected?

    1. What did he say ?:

      Silencing the crowd
      By Ben Malcolmson on October 5, 2009 3:47 PM
      For the second time this season, USC quieted a raucous away crowd en route to a strong win on the road.

      Wins like Saturday’s 30-3 victory go a long way in developing confidence and a strut about the Trojans as they head toward the midpoint of the 2008 season, one that includes three more challenging road games.

      “We are in charge of the energy and noise in a stadium,” Coach Carroll said during this afternoon’s team meeting. “We own it.”

      I wish someone would print this off on 80 thousand fliers and hand one to every fan entering the stadium for the ND vs USC game!
      Hey Pete… This is ND! Not Cal!

      1. Yeah, I finally read his quote. He’s really baiting ND. He’s basically asking for a punch. I hope the team sees what you see and gets mad and focused. That chip they used to stay motivated to improve? Here’s the payoff.

  12. Last year ND didn’t belong on the same field as USC. It was a complete joke. The talent level between the two teams was miles apart. I’m not asking for a win on 10/17, since without Floyd I don’t think ND can do it (with Floyd ND would at least have a shot to outscore USC in a shootout, since USC will put points on the board against this defense). Just make it competitive, please. Another blowout will set this program back big time.

  13. As a UW football fan following a team that has now played both USC and Notre Dame I think that Notre Dame can win the game if they follow UW’s formula:
    1) They play at home right? The UW stadium when it’s FULL is something to behold and the noise level is off the charts. Notre Dame needs to AMP up the volume (in a natural way of course).
    2) Do something to stop the running game. The first two possessions by USC against UW, there were holes that your mother could have run through but UW did something to stop it on subsequent possessions including substituting out the big fella defensive linemen for smaller, faster players.
    3)On offense, establish a running game, even if it isn’t such a good running game. Against USC, Chris Polk ran as hard as he did against Notre Dame (even harder) and ended up with 76 yards on 25 carries, nothing to write home about, right? But those tough 3 yards he kept getting kept the clock moving and kept the USC offense off the field and off balance for the whole game. UW is a better passing team than running team (so is Notre Dame I think) so I wasn’t sure why the UW kept running against USC, but afterwards you sorta could see why and you had to tip your hat to the coaching staff for sticking with it.
    4)Third down conversion — for some reason, probably having to do with Jake Locker, UW has been good on third down. Against USC, they were an astounding 7-15. Against Notre Dame, UW was 7-17. Third down conversions keep drives going, something very important against USC. Notre Dame’s third down conversion against UW was 2-10 which isn’t so hot. You could say that Notre Dame’s percentage wasn’t good on third down because they were moving the ball so well and so never even got to third down which is probably true. However, against USC, Notre Dame isn’t gonna be moving the ball quite so well, you can count on it, and so third down conversions will be key.
    5) Prevent third down conversion — UW held USC to 0-10 on third down conversions.
    6) Get key turnovers. That really really helps.
    7)Play as HARD as possible for the entire game. After the game against USC, that’s the one thing that Steve Sarkisian could say was the difference, was how hard his team played, they didn’t let up.
    8)Be lucky, hope it hasn’t run out on you!

    So anyway, I think it’s entirely possible that Notre Dame could win the game but I don’t know that I would put money on it. When UW played USC, they didn’t have Matt Barkley, and Taylor Mays, their great safety was hurt which I think made a huge difference. They both are back and loaded for bear.

    Good luck!

  14. Our defence has taken a lot of heat, starting with the Michigan game. I’ve seen what a John Tenuta defence can do. Watching the first month of football it seems to me that what ND has shown on defence has been fairly “vanilla” and simple in Tenuta standards. I thought he would of had more for the freshmen QB at Michigan. The difference there was that kid can run! Not a bad passer, especially when he scrambles. Tenuta has been around college football for quite a while. He suddenly didn’t forget how to dial up defence. I think he has held a little back in preperation of the USC game. Matt Barkley is a fine QB, but he is a pocket passer. He can run, but not like Forcier. And he is a freshmen. I think Tenuta has a special welcome in store for the young QB’s from USC. Look for Barkley to be out of the game by the third quarter. Not because USC is so far ahead, but because slippery Pete has to insure his survival.

  15. Don’t get me wrong(and I didn’t mean to upset people), I am all for constructive critisism. But I just dont like the relentless dogging of a coach or a team, and yet they are still winning. There will always be room for improvement with anything you do. I guess I just like to see more positive when everyone can tell that the Irish are our passion. I dont think our boys need to hear how horrible they are doing, instead lets get behind them(which I have seen a lot more of) and get the win against SC that I know we are more then capable of doing! GO IRISH!!

    Mark May still sucks!

  16. With all the issues, we’d like to see resolved including more confidence. If the team is ready and the crowd fired up, I am VERY hopeful for a win. The crowd in the 4th quarter definitely affected the game. Washington couldn;t audible, had several false starts and ND’s D-line got penetration due to shifting. The crowd noise helped those shifts.

    If ND’s defense puts USC in a passing situation, corwd noise and a shifting defense will have Barkley eating South Bend sod.

    GO IRISH!!!

    1. C-Dog,
      Scroll down to my reply to your entry “The Boy’s are Great” Titled: What did he say?
      Doesn’t he (Carroll) know that you never polk an angry bear with a short stick!

  17. I think Charlie is in way over his head. But this team doesn’t quit and is amazing, so they are making him look good. However, not sure if Tenuta’s the right guy either. Horrible tackling and pass coverage all game. But it was an exciting, good win. One last thing: I don’t know why ND doesn’t use neutral conference crews as officials. The Pac-10 guys were awful. I have never heard of a “roughing the snapper” penalty. Has anyone?

  18. Good point on waiting with criticism until after the season. If they decide to make a coaching change the AD won’t do it until the entire season is over. Good point on Holtz.

  19. Some points.

    1. Holtz was forced out, he did not quit at the end of his tenure. He was nudged out the door by folks unsatisfied by his performance. Some armchair folks always know better than the coach. Please hold your fire until the end of the season regarding job stability, it is not helpful to the program.

    2. Does anyone think Barkley is in the same league as Clausen at this point. I would take our guy anytime.

    3. Stadium noise is coming along, for USC it should be a REAL FACTOR. Keep the freshman QBs ears ringing.

    4. Our DBs are very talented. I was not surprised to see them playing a little softer coverage earlier in the year when we blitzed every down. I was expecting tighter coverage with the more conservative blitz package and was quite disappointed this week. I expect more against USC.

    5. Good containment on Locker this week, his wheels were really not a factor all game.

    6. USC has a good defense but I expect our offense to be up to the challenge. Their offense has been very unspectacular. If we can tackle and do not make big mistakes on special teams we will win at home.

    7. ND is playing the most entertaining football in the nation. Reminds me of 1986 or the Jarius Jackson days. Very fun stuff.

    8. If USC loses to us will they immediately be downgraded by the talking heads minimizing the impact of our victory…. of course. But at least we will be ranked.

    1. Everyone is comparing Clausen to Barkley, which I can’t seem to figure out. I hope Clausen is better than Barkley as Clausen is a Junior now and been starting since his Freshman year. Now, if you’re comparing the 2 as Freshman, I’m not sure how you can put Clausen ahead of Barkley. For no other reason than ND went 3-9 in Jimmy’s Freshman year. USC is NOT going to go 3-9 (they’re already 4-1).

      Jimmy is playing lights out right now and to compare him to Barkley is absurd. When Barkley is a Junior we can address the “who’s better” topic. I obviously take Jimmy if you’re comparing the Jr. Jimmy Clausen and the Fr. Matt Barkley because there is no comparison.

      As for the game on Oct. 17…I bleed Blue & Gold, and sometimes Green, but I also try to be a realist and it comes down to this…If we don’t beat USC this year, I’m not sure when it will happen. I agree with Kevin’s #8: “If USC loses to us will they immediately be downgraded by the talking heads minimizing the impact of our victory…. of course. But at least we will be ranked.” USC is not quite as strong this year, but they are STILL one of the top teams in the country and we NEED to beat them this year. This will easily be our best opportunity with the offense clicking like they are. It’s going to come down to how many stops the defense can make because you can score 50 points, but if you can’t stop the other team, it’s a bit challenging.

      I believe we WILL win this game because Jimmy, along with any other Juniors and Seniors, have lost a combined 76-3 the last 2 meetings against USC and they realize how important this game is to their season, especially with the talent and potential this team has going forward.

      1. There’s no doubt that when we win, all we will hear about is USC’s injury list, their Freasmen QB’s, and all the talent that they lost to the NFL… YADA, YADA, YADA.
        That’s OK. It should be their turn to deal with some negativity for a change.
        And they better get used to it, because I think that Stanford will beat them too, AND win the PACK-10.

    2. Thank you for pointing out the truth about Lou Holtz. Arm chair quarterbacks dominate. And, when they realize they made a mistake in pushing out Lou Holtz — because Davie, Willingham and Weis are inferior — they come back and say, “when Lou was around this never would have happened.” It’s crazy.

      Coaching Notre Dame is the hardest job in sports. The reason is simple: our fans expect a national title every year. And, coaches that go 8-3 just aren’t good enough for the zealous alumni and ND Nation.

      It’s great to be intense and to expect to win. It’s ridiculous to expect a national title every year. It forces good coaches — like Urban and Stoops — to other programs.

      Until we find a conference, we’ll have this struggle because winning a national title is, truthfully, the only thing that will satisfy a substantial portion of our fans.

      1. Teo,
        No armchair quarterback pushed Lou out. Dick Rosenthal retired. He was a great AD. Bill Wadsworth came in and took an immediate dislike to Lou. In fact, insiders know Wadsworth put Lou on notice during their first meeting. Only a National Championship could have saved him. Total politics from the new AD. And on Wadworth’s watch, ND had probationary measures taken on it. Don’t blame the fans. No one wanted Lou gone. Only Wadsworth.

      2. Couldn’t agree more about Lou being forced out; and yet, he was not pulling in the recruits either. Those 3 years with Powlus were tough on Lou.

      3. Teo,

        If anything, this board makes clear that “ND Nation” has so lowered its expectations that just being competitive against SC seems like the best we can hope for. Long gone are the days ND fans expected a national championship. When was the last time any of us realistically expected to compete for a title? CW’s second year? I can’t recall another year post-Holtz I expected much from ND football.

      4. Expecting and wishing are very different. In my opinion, Weis is building a program where we should expect to be in the hunt every year. Whether Weis is here long enough to realize his goal is up to him and his progression as a head coach.

  20. I am starting to like this team. Yes, I agree with many of you that we should have won that game by more than a touchdown. But, the goal line stands were impressive and Jimmy was ferocious. I think he’s got to be one of the nation’s best QB (albeit belatedly). When he has time, he can really be dominant. When we needed TDs, he found a way to lead us to the house. That’s what a leader does.

    So, on to SC. I am not sure — yet — how we will do. If the defense learns to tackle better, we should handle SC. I’d love a 37-17 rout. Somehow, though, SC is better than this. Is their defense that tough? They looked good against Cal, but NDs offense is really clicking right now. Assuming we stay healthy for the next two weeks I think we beat SC.

  21. David I disagree with your analysis on good teams not having rebuilding years. Lets take a look at five programs that are considered elite in their history:
    USC: didn’t do anything through out the 80’s and 90’s until Carrol arrive in 2001. This team was over rated through out those years and lost in the
    Rose Bowl and to big teams
    Florida: I don’t believe that Florida was dynasty before Spurrier and after Spurrier they has some rough years under Zook.
    Texas: Really wasn’t a power house and national title contender in the 80’s and 90’s. Lot of talent never could win.
    Oklahoma: After Switzer left they did nothing until 2000.
    Miami: They did nothing after the early 90’s until Butch Davis. After Davis left they had one more good year and that was it.

    The one thing these programs have in common in changing coaches every 3-5 years. Is Charlie the right man, only the next two years will tell. If you fire him to hire another hot shot who can’t cut it or the guy you go after goes to another program this program is in trouble. I can bet that through out Charlie’s tenure at ND he will have a good offense and a defense that is bend don’t break. He is an offensive mind, plus his first two years at ND he did not recruit great talent on the defensive side of the ball. The defensive side of the ball is ND’s weakness, specifically the secondary. The front seven is coming along nicely, the DB’s need a foot in their. I just disagree on the thought that every year ND will be National Championship team. Charlie in my eyes has a two year window to make something happen. If he doesn’t than yes I agree he should be fired. I don’t agree with canning him after this year and I think Jack will see it that way also.

  22. I agree with alot of what is being said, but ND having “nothing to lose” is not a true statement at all. We have plenty to lose. If we go out and get embarrased by USC (30-0) or something of that nature, then are exactly what the Nation thinks we are, a poorly coached crap team with some talent at the skill positions. Good teams dont have rebuilding years, and they especially dont have rebuilding years 3x in a row (more realistically since 93 though)

    1. I don’t think this team will get embarrassed. I think we will see the same kind of team we saw in 2005 against USC.

      2005 was the only year that I can remember since Pete has been there where ND didn’t seem intimidated by USC and I really don’t think this USC team is as good as everyone says. Who on that team really scares anyone besides McKight?

      I will take Jimmy over Barkely any day of the week. This USC team has not been that great on the road this year averaging just over 20 per game. They are averaging 41.5 at home. ND is averaging 35 per game at home and 29 on the road. You also need to take in that Barkely has never been part of the USC/ND rivalry. I think the crowd will cause him problems.

      I’m hoping this will be the “Signature” win everyone has been waiting for.

  23. Has anyone else noticed that Charlie doesn’t seem so full of himself like in the past. Is he finally starting to figure out that it isn’t about him but these kids?

    After last weeks game, Jimmy is now the #1 rated passer in the nation. Now I know that people are going to say that he hasn’t played against a great defense and USC will stop him. However, ND put up 37 points on a Washington defense that held the great USC to 13 points.

    Also, like Charlie or not as a head coach, we have one of the best offensive coordinators in college football. When Charlie was hired, he was know as a coach you could not game plan for because of all the different things he would throw at you. Think of what USC has to game plan for:

    -Allen, Hughes, and Tate out of the backfield
    -Allen and Tate out of the wildcat
    -Tate out of the slot, split wide, and motion from the backfield
    -Rudolph as a wide receiver
    -No huddle 5 wide sets

    And let’s not forget that a big part of pre-season practice went to having Aldridge at full back and all the things they can do with that formation. James was dressed for the Washington game, but I think that Charlie didn’t want to show anything because this may be the ace up his sleeve. They worked on this all training camp and only were able to run a few plays before James got hurt. How does USC prepare for something they have not seen?

    This is the first game that ND is not favored, so they have nothing to lose. This is not a make or break game for Charlie because this team is starting to play with something that has been missing for the last few years, which is heart and passion. I believe this team will rise to the occasion against USC and I believe they will play with a chip on their shoulder. Charlie has already made mention that they are not ranked and I’m pretty sure he will use the disrespect card for this game.

    It is nice to see some positive energy back in South Bend.

  24. Dont term good observations in the past as negative. We know what we see on TV each week. A true ND fan doesnt need to read a blog to develope an opinion. Again – I do not understand the renewed optimism after an honest critical review of the way the defense played against Washington other than the goal line stands which again admittedly were a very positive thing. Again some questionable play calls by Weis that left a lot of us here shaking our heads once more. USC is hurting with some injuries but they execute every game. Their defense is consistant and rock solid. The failure for the Irish to really get a secondary receiver focused on and up to speed after Floyd went down is crucial! Kyle is good for sure but the lack of another wide out threat is going to sevevely hamper ND on 10-17. USC will first and foremost focus on shutting down the run. A one dimensional Irish offense without a compliment to Tate is not good. I also thing USC has the same bye week – they will be ready to play. The Irish not only have to be more ready they have to eliminate shooting themselves in the foot on offense – something they have struggled with all season. It will indeed have to be an enormous effort and they must play all 60 minutes. A review of this season thus far shows a nagging habit of going soft when up by very litte. Red zone play against Washington also does not help me in getting overly excited when I look at the overall play of the Irish this year. I dont think that is negative but rather a pretty fair assessment on what they have done.

    1. I’m glad blogging wasn’t around during the Faust years. Many of the assessments are predicated on error free football; how often does that happen? Rarely. Now you want to complain about the red zone offense. Yea, we stumbled but has this been an issue this year? Not sure it has.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not the “Initial Impressions – Washington at Notre Dame” discussion board. Nobody is talking about the redzone offense for the year but the game. Four field goals isn’t going to work against USC. This is a DICUSSION board. WE TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES.

      2. Nonsense. As a former D1 athlete, there is a big difference between negativity and as Chris wrote, “good observations”. I am not implying there isn’t/has not been any negativity on these boards, because frustration will breed that, which you must always fight to overcome. When you are a serious athlete, you strive for, as you called it, “error-free” performance. It’s a paradox: you know that you are not going to play perfect, but you don’t accept anything less. It’s also kind of like a combat mission in the military: You must plan and plan that mission, all the while knowing that, when the first shot is fired, your plan goes to sh*t! But you still have to plan anyway.

        ND fans are not asking for “error-free” football. We have been discussing, for the most part, GLARING PROBLEMS which have not improved in years. Now, some of this is starting to change, thankfully. Progress on the field is giving us some hope. Constructive criticism where appropriate and credit where it is due.

      3. If you don;t like blogging don’t participate. I stopped going to ESPN or FOX because of the idiotic and hateful comments that permeate. This site is great because we are ND and we care about our team. Also the folks here bring up very good analysis points.

        But if that bothers you, then stop reading and stop blogging yourself. Do you go to a party, have a beer and criticize everyone else for drinking?

      4. Just want some more intelligent blogging. “If I were a CB, I’d throw him to the ground”. If you played football, you wouldn’t be making such moronic comments.

      5. @tednict,
        I did play highschool ball. And during running plays I did throw a few Receivers to the ground. Moronic? Have you ever played football? Flag football doesn’t count.

  25. I am so glad to see the attitude change in here. Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like everyone had nothing but negative things to say about ND. Now there is a very nice scent of “Hope” in the air. We can do it! We can shut the Mark Mays of the world up. GO IRISH!!!

  26. Great Points by many here especially C-Dog and Shazamrock with his stats.
    Lou Holtz was right ( and arrogant Mark May was speechless for a second)
    Lou was right in saying that this USC team is NOT the Trojans of the past.
    Not at all. They do not have the offensive power.
    That said, I think they will improve week by week.
    I think a bye will help the Irish as far as Clausen’s toe is concerned ANd I think the bye will help ND as far as shaking out the cobwebs of week after week after week after week ( 4 weeks now) of last minute thrillers.
    Now is the time to fix the missed tackels, fix the execution on offense–ND should have had MORE TD’s in this Washington Game–and for heaven’s sake -prevent the man from being wide open and defend against the pass!!!
    Secondary improvement, clock domination–ND has a chance indeed.

    It’s time to give SC a sad trip home to Pasadena.
    Another thing—ND travels to SC in November in even numbered years
    Is it true SC requested that ND switch the home game for the Irish to October because of the “cold” that SC could not bear? Or was that for travel reasons at the time? If so, I think we need to keep the game IN November–and let the beach boys freeze their delicates off.
    ( If this IS true, I would like to know)
    Go Irish–it is TIME!

    1. We can forget about SC coming to South Bend in November ever again. And yeah, it’s because of the cold.

      I’m ok with that, but I don’t think we should head to LA in November either. I think playing in 60/70 degree temps is just as much of a shock for our guys as the cold used to be for theirs. It’s not like a bowl game where the team has a week to acclimate.

      1. I think the last time ND beat USC at home, it was a cold rainy October day. By half time they (USC) had enough and packed it in.
        Maybe 8 years ago.
        I don’t think these sunshine boys fully understand or appreciate the term “Gridiron”. Everything with them is rainbows, unicorns, and surfboards. Pretty boring stuff when it comes to football.
        There’s no place like ND. You will always get at least a game or two where the snow flies, you can see the player’s breath, the ball gets hard and slippery. And when Kyle McCarthy puts a hit on a opposing player he feels it for a week. Real football, the way it was ment to be played. Playing in games like that always built toughness and charater. We’ll keep our “Gridiron” while they can worry about their tan lines.

      2. I’m totally with you there. Indoor stadiums for football should be banned. Mud and blood are part of the game. Teams not willing to play in bad weather should be disqualified from BCS contention. Is it football or womens field hockey?

  27. If these two weeks are spent properly, ND can and should win. But after watching the game, the whole field, and the difference on the sidelines, ND needs to get two to three steps better in all aspects. USC will exploit the mistakes that Washington couldn’t. Stats are meaningless now. This matchup relies on ND executing on every play for 60 mins.

    1. Blocking – good but too many mistakes. Poor blocking forced a field goal when a touchdown should have been scored. Tate’s long run on the first series didn’t end in a touchdown because the ND blocker allowed the Washington guy to maintain a good angle. Any disruption and Tate is by the guy. Hughes was awesome in spite of missed blocks. What happens if USC injures him? What happens if Weis abandons a punishing meat tenderizing running game because of one or two plays that don’t work. I call your memory to the 1992 Sugar Bowl – Jerome Bettis. ( took 1/2 of meager output unitl he becamee unstoppable ). Our first effort blocking is great. Our second effort blocking still isn’t happening. Keep hitting until the whistle.

    Blocking still needs improvement.

    2. Corners – corners got beat every 3rd play. Watching the field you could see this because on several of those Locker didn’t look to the reciever. Our number 12 – ( no name to me ), is fast but was out of position often. The last long pass play in regulation, he was there but didn’t stop for the ball and kept back pedalling. The Washington guy cut underneath him to get the ball. Coaches need to teach these guys better body control. McCarthy can’t cover the field. the corners need to play smarter.

    3. Linebackers – Teo will be ready. Not sure about anyone else.

    4. D-Line – please play fired up all game long.

    5. substitutions – The defense should know that subs are coming in often. they should be told that if they don’t want to be put on the scout team, they need to play each play like it’s the last. No need to pace yourself guys, you’ll have plenty of rest.

    6. Running backs – the coaches need to stick with the run more. Put Hughes and Allen in at the same time. Also, cycle them in and out so it isn’t obvious when they will be used on a play.

    7. Get Evans and Parris ready. They looked OK but inconsistent.

    8. Tackling – gotta improve. Hands on and never let go. Wrap and gang tackle

    9 leave no stone unturned. USC will be ready this week and get doubly ready next week. Gauranteed Pete wants to bury us 38-0 again. This time the score will reflect preparation. There is no talent gap. Not if Washington can beat them. Notre Dame can only beat ourselves. USC can’t beat us. Get them ready Charlie and the Irish will win.

  28. Its always good to come out with a win but that was an ugly one. I have seen better tackling in pop warner games than the Irish have displayed. I have yet to see any improvement in defensive tackling (in fact i think they get worse every week) which will likely lead to a USC rout.

    However, I am stunned that the Irish still arent ranked in the top 25 despite being 4-1.

  29. Redzone offense was bad. Clausen needs to stop trying to get it into the inzone in one shot and instead he needs to concentrate on working the ball with the run and more of the short pass. I was impressed by the ND crowd. It was load on tv. I coudn’t imagine how load it was in the stands.

  30. I dont know how anyone after watching that game came out afterwards and thought ND had a chance against USC. The Irish goal line stands were indeed impressive – however the defensive secondary is almost non existent! USC will shred it big time and I was hoping to temper that feeling expecting to see some improvement against Washington but it was not to be. I will definitely take the win but in all honesty it felt like a loss – much like the MSU game. I simply do not see how you go from what we got or lack their of in the secondary to a much needed stingy defense against USC. The Irish are making some strides this season and are gaining a lot of confidence w/ Jimmy finally taking charge but there is a big reality check looming 10-17-09.

    1. there’s a couple of things worth pointing out about the USC matchup.

      1. For all the big #’s Washington put up, their offense was only able to put the ball in the end-zone twice. In fact, between 10:10 left in the first quarter and 3:27 in the second, their Offense accomplished basically Nothing. In this timespan however, They put 7 pts on the board (via fumble td) while ND put 16 on the board. Make no mistake, the D got gashed by their running game at times. This is cause for concern.

      2. USC is not the passing juggernaut people seem to make them out to be. They have a freshman quarterback. Case and point: last game he was 20/35 for 283 yards, 0 TD’s 1 INT. He’s not stupid, but he’s not there yet either. ND’s secondary played poorly against Washington, but if they have a decent game against USC the Irish won’t be overmatched.

      3. Special Teams: This is where ND needs to play GREAT. I am slowly but surely coming to believe that this is a difference maker. ND’s only loss came in a game when they gave up a return TD. USC has this ability both on punts and kicks, ND has to handle this battle well.

      4. USC Running game: Joe Mcknight is for real. They are playing without their #2 RB, so that helps a little. But they’re still USC, and they still have a ton of talent. If ND doesn’t tackle, they will roll ND.

      more in depth analysis to follow (that’s a joke, I got a little carried away)

      1. ND is ranked 10th in overall offence (USC = 25TH) ND is a plus (+)4 in turn overs. USC is a minus(-)1. ND ranks 61st in thrid down conversions. Doesn’t sound too good? Except USC ranks 111th. USC does rank 5th in team defence.
        But that is agianst San Jose ST, Ohio ST., Washington, Wash.ST, & Cal. Those teams are not exactly known for lighting up the score board.
        They should have lost to Ohio ST. The did loose to Washington.
        Nobody in America plays with more resilliancy or determination than ND. ND has the talent on defence. Although it hasn’t exactly shown up yet this year, I wouldn’t underestimate them espicially when Tenuda is calling the shots. They are faster on defence than they have been in a long time.
        Clean up the tackling and they will be darn good.
        This time it’s ND who has the most explosive player on the field (Tate). ND has better WR’s & Tight ends. Our offensive line has more experience. We have a power runner in Hughes. They just lost their’s(Johnson) to injury. We may have the better field goal kicker.
        ND is unranked and hungry. We have nothing to loose and everything to gain in this game. We can play fast and loose. We are at home. And judging by last Saturday’s game in South Bend, I exspect those home town fans to have a big impact. What’s the weather going to be? Cold and rainy. Wouldn’t bother us.
        With an extra week to prepare I think ND is going to be a very dangerous team.
        We are going to pop their bubble. We are going to shake up the college football world.
        We are going to send them packing.
        Roll Irish Roll!

      2. Sham –

        Got to tackle to begin with before cleaning up missed tackles… We have not played fast and loose since Charlie came on board – dont expect it to happen against SC. I would like to think along your lines but simply put the Irish have proven more dangerous to themselves then to opposing teams. Needed to see much more progress from the defense at this point to remotely think ND can pull off an upset.

      3. Well it just my “gut” feeling but I think ND is going to play a great game.
        Don’t forget this isn’t the NFL. Things can change in a hurry in college football. Ever since Brady Quinn & Co left, CW has been building toward this moment. He has the talent, the Depth, and now the experience. This isn’t the same USC team from seasons past. I think they are RIPE for the picking.
        The ND defence has played a lot of different players. That normally means it takes more time to build some continuety. I see progress.
        College football is about upsets. The winds of change are blowing through SouthBend.
        It’s OK to stick your neck out. Could you get burned? Absoultly. But I say, not this time. I just have that feeling. WE’RE GONNA WIN.
        Just try saying that out loud. Just one time. WE’RE GONNA WIN! Admit it. It feels good doesn’t it? It feels right.
        WE’RE GONNA WIN!
        I BELIEVE!

      4. Shazamrock –

        You are assuming the ND offense is going to continue in its ways however the defense of SC is going to focus on shutting down Allen and leaving only Tate as the proven wide out to beat them. This is the best team we will come up against this year on both sides of the ball…

      5. Chris,
        Don’t underestimate Kyle Rudolph though. He is a huge target and threat to opponents….

  31. Announcers kept commenting on how strong of a runner Polk was. I couldn’t tell if we just faced a guy having the best game of his college career (first game over 100 yards rushing) or if our constant high arm tackles cost us many yards (or both!). The week before we faced a QB having the game of his life, most likely because we focused on stopping the run. I’m afraid we are going to have to be solid in both aspects to have a chance against USC.

  32. Player of the Game should be Tausch. With out him, we would’ve went for some of those fourth downs and it would’ve been a whole different ballgame. Great drives by the offense, just need to figure out how to finish them in the endzone with Floyd gone. Can’t say enough about the goalline stands by the defense. Bend but don’t break attitude, I guess. Looking forward so some players getting fully healthy with the off week (Clausen, Allen, Aldridge) and then a big week for USC. That will be my first ND game attended. I am super excited.

  33. As a strong critic of Weis, I must give him credit for what he has lacked the most over the years. PREPARATION AND LEADERSHIP are coming from somewhere. He must be finding ways to instill some inspiration in this team, which he had no clue how to do for years. I give most of the credit to the players of course, especially the captains. But you don’t come from behind 3 weeks in a row and pull games out in this fashion, with a banged up team. Claussen is acting like an Elway or Favre, walking onto the field with ice in his veins, thriving on pressure.

    And I have never even heard of a defense stopping 3 goal line stands, with 2 back to back! Unreal. Shorten up the field and our defense looks alot better.

    Yes, the D still has alot of work to do, but all around an amazing effort. THIS IRISH TEAM HAS SERIOUS HEART AND SWAGGER!

    Great win Irish! Charlie, whatever you’re doing, keep it up.

    1. I’m not ready to give Weis all the credit because I saw many errors that Lou would have already corrected.

      But I will say, the players are showing leadership. Maybe some assistants are showing it.

      I can say, many close to ND want an excuse to get rid of Charlie. Not saying I’m there, but you ask and he doesn’t have ND employees believing in him, ( that means staff, profs, administrators, others with influence ).

      There were many things that point back to a coach still learning. Too many details over looked. This game should have been a blow out.

      1. C-Dog. I know for a fact that you are correct. I know an assistant coach for another ND sport. He has told me on several occasions that the staff, faculty and athletic dept. absolutely hate CW. His reputation is one of extreme arrogance and incompetence.

        I am only giving him credit for having perhaps improved in the categories of motivation and preparedness. He is still very suspect.

      2. Bull. Love Lou, but, enough with the Lou Holtz this, Lou Holtz that. He’s not coming back but you can watch him every week on ESPN if you want, along with your buddy Mark May. Those people with influence most likely will fade away with a 10 win season.

      3. Bull. A 10 win season will take care of the silent minority. Love Lou but, he’s not coming back.

      4. @MMA83d,
        No one says Lou is coming back. But ND needs an inspirational coach like Lou. Or Ara, or Leahy, or Rockne.
        ND with a jerk for a coach makes us no better than anyone else, therefore it takes away the reason to pull for ND in the first place.
        If Weis truly is arrogant, etc. he won’t get a 10 win season. The level of play so far won’t get a win against USC. BC is a problem, and so are Pitt and Stanford. ND can win all these games, but to do so everything needs to be turned up a notch. AND this team needs to realize they aren’t just playing football. They represent The University of the Mother Of God! They play for anyone who is weak and persecuted.

        It’s not about football wins. It’s about much more. Any coach at Notre Dame and any fan needs to know that.
        ND is only as good as those who represent it. Calling yourself Catholic doesn’t give you a free pass. You have to earn it. Calling yourself ND’s coach doesn’t give you a free pass, nor do 10 wins, your actions in total earn you the title.

  34. Notre Dame should’ve won by quite a few in this contest. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t capitalize inside the Red Zone, but we certainly learned that we have a kicker for the next 4 years. I hate getting so stressed out for the 4th week in a row, but if it’s at the expense of finding out we have a damn good kicker, I’ll take it. It was raining, he’s a True Freshman, so many things could’ve gone wrong, but he was solid.

    I believe this win was a true TEAM effort.
    -Jimmy was money, which is becoming the norm (I’m excusing his screwy backwards pass);
    -Armando and Hughes ran very well (thanks to great blocking the O-line);
    -Golden, Robby, Shaq, and Kyle all made key catches;
    -Tausch was perfect;
    -Defense could’ve been better, but THREE goal line stands says a lot.

    You need Offense, Defense and Special Teams to win football games and Notre Dame definitely exhibited all those facets in the win against Washington. I feel good with USC coming to town in 2 weeks, but I will say that we need to make our Red Zone visits count because USC will make US pay if we don’t make THEM pay. But if it comes down to a final drive, a game-winning FG attempt, our goal line defense…we got this one. GO IRISH!

  35. I like winning ugly.
    USC has a great safty in Taylor Mays. But I wouldn’t trade Kyle McCarthy for 10 Taylor Mays.
    Man is it nice to have a dependable kicker.
    Can anyone explain what the heck “roughing the snapper” is? Best I could tell, you are not allowed to touch the snapper in any way, shape, or form. Is that a real penality, or one of those phantom BigTen calls?
    I could have sworn I saw the ghost of Chris Zorich on those goalline stands.
    Jimmy Claussen passes for over 400 yards in the pouring rain, Golden Tate had 9 catches for 244 yards. Can you imagine if Micheal Floyd were still on the field.
    USC’s defence has been susceptiable to the “speed back”. We are going to need Armando Allen to get healthy and be at his best in two weeks.
    If we would have had another 60 seconds at the end of the Michigan game we would have won!
    I think all the pieces are starting to fall into place for this team, Still have work to do no doubt. Great time for a off week.
    This team has great intangables. Heart, desire, toughness, determination, faith,& team unity.
    I thought the home fans were really great. Keep it up!
    I’m going to buy a big fat cigar. I’m going to be smoking it on Saturday evening, October 17th….. We’re gonna WIN!

    1. I agree, a win is a win and I’ll take it. To answer your question…”Roughing the Snapper” is a real penalty although I don’t think Ian Williams did anything to warrant the call. I don’t know the exact definition, but I do know you can not line up directly in front of the deep snapper and touch him in any way while his head is down. Ian Williams was NOT lined up in front of him and he hit him AFTER he snapped the ball and came up. I’m just glad that ridiculousness didn’t cost us the game.

      1. I watched the game, and heard the ref say “roughing the Snapper”. Later that night, ESPN was showing game highlights and they changed it to roughing the kicker. That’s why I was wondering if roughing the snapper was real.
        I guess ESPN doesn’t want the rest of the college football world knowing what kind of garbage ND faces week after week.

      2. Roughing the kicker or was it roughing ther snapper? The kicker was not roughed. It looked like maybe Williams’ first move was up to the helmet. Regardless, a very weak call!

  36. Clausen’s toe plus the sloppy field really hurt the Irish, because without those things I think this should have been a blow-out. I mean, Clausen couldn’t plant to take off and try to run with it and that cost us some drives (not to mention that boneheaded backwards pass) – but he came through at the end and made up for it.

    The playcalling also kept this from being a blowout. Kicker shouldn’t have to kick 5 field goals. I think bad playcalling resulted in some points left on the field…and again ND had a TD taken off the board by a penalty and had to settle for a FG there.

    ND caught a break with the 2-pt conversion, though…Hughes’ knee was down before he scored. But after the ridiculous roughing the passer call early on, and the insane roughing the snapper call later in the game (not to mention the bad calls that have gone against them in other games), ND was due to ahve one go in their favor.

  37. October 17th will obviously be the biggest game in Charlie’s tenure! (least since the ’05 so called ‘bush push’.) 11 recruits come to town including two verbal commits. Studying SC on film over the past few weeks it’s no secret they have an NFL caliber defensive line. Gotta pick up blitz packages. They do a lot of things on defense during blitz pkgs to get guys one on one with running backs. On offense, they like to run the tight end in motion then weakside block him to spring #4 for cutback runs. He’s not a student body right type runner. They then spread it out on the next play to not expose his cut back ability. Studying SC…that’s exactly what Carroll does. Dink and Dunk..Motion then to spread…This game’s no different…Just can’t forget it during the game. UW calls shows exactly that. So…Heavy lifting for the next couple of days…Especially the dline…Then build up the cardio vascular cause it’s gonna be a long physical game…
    Game plan…5 sacks..1 int..1 fumble recovery…protect the qb…Run angry up the middle….gap contain…db’s press up (I don’t think Barkley has the long ball arm right now)…Don’t turn the ball over…
    get it done
    Slogan: ‘Streak’s over at 7 with angels singing n Heaven’

  38. great points, frank. i will admit that i didn’t watch teo every play, probably 90% because i really wanted to see why he wasn’t playing. i thought he had a monster game and the 1 thing that stuck in my head was when he was in zone coverage the one time, he hit the wr/te coming thru his zone off the line. locker threw to him and missed because he was off his route.

  39. Was at the game. First of all, Wow, what great entertainment. It was really fun when everyone got over the frustration of goofy play calling and times when the Irish seemed to shoot themselves in the foot. Then we all just got real loud like in the old days. Yeah, baby!!

    Washington is for real and Sarkisian is the Pac-10 coach who may send Carrol someplace else. It’s obvious that he was a major part of USC’s success. I still wonder how a mediocre NFL coach could be so good in college, without cheating. You’ve got to respect how Sarkisian kept them pumped all game. ND should look to that as an example. The Irish looked great then flat, then great for a very inconsistent 60 mins ( plus OT ).

    Absolutely the kids are gritty. The players won this game.

    I hope they enjoy it. I also hope that collectively the players commit to eliminating the many mistakes that made what could easily have been a 24 point blowout for ND, a close game. 5 field goals on drives that all
    should have ended in TDs if not for missed blocks or other mental errors. Tate’s first end around would have gone for a TD if the 3 blockers had locked up the Washington player.

    Offense: More running with Hughes and with a two back set. Bring on the Wishbone. When is Aldrige back?
    Skill players are all great, with Parris and Evans needing to be a little more reliable.

    Defense: Better tackling. Yes, Teo looked a little confused, but I bet he’s not in two week. I think he was the only defender to succesfully tackle Huskies’ number 1, Bolton? He was very solid out there. McKarthy, wow.
    The rest of the cornerbacks got faked or burnt on just about every other play they needed to make. 50% success rate will get you 2005 all over again. This defense needs to wake up and get to a higher level. They showed they can late in the game.

    Coaching: Coverage was sloppy. Shore up Special teams. Defense – better get them ready. There are still way too many holes. Offense – don’t waste drives trying to get cut. See what works and create a game set around it. Don’t give up on it for cute plays that let everyone know you’d be the best Madden football Gamecube player. No drives can be wasted against USC.

    Realize this: Pete CarroLl is not the best coach in close games. He’s worse if you hammer him. If ND can get a lead, we can hold it. But ND must play error free ball.

    Two weeks – Let’s go IRish!!!

      1. Near the goal line, yes we do. Put Aldridge, Hughes, and the either Allen or Gray in there and you’ve got options for inside or outside depending on the defensive alignment. The triple option that everyone runs isn’t that different.

        Until ND can score in the red zone, yes we do need it. Do you think 5 field goals after being inside the 20 is effective?

      2. The wishbone or option is nearly impossiable to stop for less than 5 yards. It’s always been a red zone staple in college football. The catch is, you need a QB that can run and demand respect from the opposing defence. When Tim Tebow was a freshmen for Florida, he would come in in goalline situations after Chris Leake, the better passer, moved the team down field. He was an outstanding runnner (and still is) who forced defences to respect his run. If he did have to pass, it was useally a simple little 5 yard dunk pass where accuracy became much less of an issue. Does ND have someone who can fit that description? I’m not sure. But the option is very effective in goalline situations if you have the personnel.

  40. I agree with every thing said above except I’m disappointed that you left out Harrison Smiths performance he had an awful game excluding the final play of the game we really need to find a better safety cause he inst getting the job done i don’t no who we could stick back there but if Dan McCarthy is half as good as is brother Kyle McCarthy i think we should try and get him out there even on special teams

      1. Blanton is the Brian Smith of the secondary. A lot of talk but not much to back it up. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gray get some more PT as I think he is our best pure cover corner. I think Walls will get better as the season progresses.

      2. Gray is playing the best of anyone in the secondary. Charlie has to put him on Williams or Ronald Johnson. If Te’o and Gray are playing full-time over Blanton and Brian Smith ND would be better on D. I think Toryan is getting screwed.

      3. I couldn’t agree more with Jason. Someone needs to tell them both they played better last year. Brian Smith misses more tackles than anyone on the team well maybe not Sergio Brown.

      4. I watched the second half again on and Brian Smith got absolutely worked in the third quarter on 3 straight screen passes that he couldn’t make the play on.

    1. Yep,
      Just checked his number. #12. I saw the whole field with him. The kid is very athletic. Unfortunately, he didn’t show much football intelligence. He got turned and twisted the wrong almost every other play. Truly he looked confused out there.

      #31 also looked confused at times, but that seemed more of miscommunication with the coaches. They sent him in late a few times and he seemed to be looking for a playcall that never came.

      Aside from poor tackling, the corners couldn’t shed a block and that’s why a lot of screens went for yardaage.

      The corners seems to allow themselves to get locked up with a blocking receiver. I’d throw the guy to the ground and go hit the guy with the ball. Saw a lot of patty cake between corners and blockers. That’s got to stop against USC.

  41. One more point….and a question
    The short yardage back is Robert Hughes, not Armando Allen. The short yardage back is Robert Hughes, not Armando Allen (repeated on purpose). 200 lbs vs 240 lbs. 200 lbs vs 240 lbs (yup)! In the first half, in the second half, whenever. Does anyone think Allen carries half the Washington team into the end zone on a two point try? Also, when you establish the running game in the first 15 plays against a team that is weak against the run why do you suddenly stop pounding them?

    1. I wish you were the head coach Saturday because he probably would’ve been in if you were. I just don’t get Weis a lot of the times. Exactly what you said how with the ball on the 2 and 1st and goal do you not just run Hughes straight up the gut??????? Weis has to become a better play caller inside the 5. He is lacking big time.

      GO IRISH

  42. Great analysis. The secondary needs to come to play. That was thought to be the best unit on the defense and it is the worst. Walls and Blanton have been huge disappointments and need to step it up. The linebackers and d-line are looking better each week. Why can’t these d-backs cover someone on 3rd and whatever. It always seems that a d-back is no where to be seen on these downs that are picked up to sustain long drives. Corwin needs to challenge this group in the next two weeks.

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