Initial Impressions – Notre Dame 23, Purdue 12

The Brian Kelly Era started off on the right foot with an 11 point victory over instate rival Purdue Saturday afternoon.  Many positives can be taken away from the 2010 season opener, but it was also very evident that the Irish have a lot to work on this weekend.

We’ll start on the defensive side of the ball.

  • First off, tackling was, for the most, much better than it was last year.  The defensive backs especially were improved in their tackling and it made a huge difference.  There were multiple instances where the defensive backs made stops to force 3rd and short situations instead of allowing first downs as they did more often than not a year ago.
  • Gary Gray and Darrin Walls really stood out to me.  They provided solid coverage and Walls specifically was more physical than he’s been in the past.  I felt like Gray was the best corner on the team last year so it’s tough to call him the most improved player on defense, but he had a heck of a game.  His deflection set up Ian Williams’ interception when Purdue was knocking at the door following Michael Floyd’s fumble.   Walls also made a great play on his second quarter interception.   Chuck Martin has done a pretty good job with the corners in a short time.
  • Manti Te’o and Carlo Calabrese both had 9 tackles from the inside linebacker positions, but Te’o was actually the sloppiest tackler on the field for the Irish.  He over pursued on a number of occasions and could have actually had quite a few more tackles than he ended up with.  When Te’o did make contact, whatever he did went down quickly.  He’ll need to be more consistent, however, as Notre Dame plays tougher teams.
  • The front 3 got a nice push at times, but were pretty inconsistent.  Ian Williams did a nice job collapsing the pocket at times, but outside of the first drive of the second half, the push just wasn’t there from the front 3 most of the time.
  • I thought both safeties played pretty well.
  • Lots of players got into the game for the defense – especially on the defensive line.  Emeka Nwankwo, Hafis Williams, Tyler Stockton, and Sean Cwynar all played quite a bit throughout the game in relief of the starting front three.
  • Notre Dame has major problems defending the perimeter which should be a big concern with Michigan and Denard Robinson coming to town next weekend.   Look for Notre Dame to play a lot of nickel next week to get more speed on the field.
  • I had bad flashbacks of Tate Forcier’s touchdown run when Marve took the option run into the end zone.  That was really not a good call there from Diaco.  Overall though, Diaco called a pretty good game and when he dialed up blitzes there were effective a good percentage of the time.
  • Overall, a pretty solid effort from the defense – especially considering how the defense performed last year.  Consistency could be an issue with this unit until the backups get more reps and experience because of how much the defense will be on the field each week.

Now, onto the offensive side of the ball.

  • The offense had its moments, but was very inconsistent.
  • Dayne Crist had a solid effort for his first career start, but he will have to throw the ball down field more next week if Notre Dame is going to have much success against Michigan.  On the positive side, he completed a high percentage of his passes, limited his mistakes, and didn’t force the ball.  On the negative side, he threw underneath too often and had trouble putting touch on his passes down the field.  He had Floyd open for touchdowns twice in the 4th quarter but over threw him.  He needs to just keep the ball in play there and let Floyd get it.   Crist also had Rudolph open for a touchdown in the second, but air mailed it forcing Notre Dame to settle for field goals both times.
  • The best part of Crist’s performance was he didn’t do anything wrong outside of the normal mistakes a first time starter makes.  He played conservative and didn’t take many risks.  As his confidence level rises, he’ll trust throwing the ball up to his receivers more and more.
  • Really liked what I saw out of Cierre Wood.  He just looked like he was running with an extra gear.  He was a little cavalier with the ball at times – especially on his kick return – but it’s pretty clear that he has the skill to be special.
  • Armando Allen ran hard and was solid, but I was expecting more out of him.  He finished with 93 yards in 18 carries and had a nice 22 yard touchdown run, but he looked a tad slower than Wood.
  • The offensive line is still a work in progress.  Both new tackles – Zack Martin and Taylor Dever – struggled at times both with their assignments and their blocking when they did get their assignments right.  It’s tough to start two tackles with such little experience so this much is to be expected.  Both will benefit the most among the offensive line from film study.
  • The interior offensive line was much more consistent and Braxston Cave was impressive in his first start.
  • Would have liked to see more of Theo Riddick this week, but something tells me we’ll see more of him next weekend.
  • Surprised we didn’t see any of Jonas Gray.  He had a strong camp, but didn’t get on the field.
  • The offense left a lot of points on the field today and did more to slow themselves down than Purdue did.  The Floyd fumble inside the 5 really hurt because it would have put the Irish up 27-3.  The safety given up was just a bad play by the offensive line.  Martin and Rudolph double teamed a Purdue defender and Allen never had a chance.  If Notre Dame can eliminate some of the mental mistakes next week the offense should look a lot better.

Now, for perhaps the most encouraging unit, special teams.

  • Special teams was easily the most improved unit on the team.
  • Kick coverage was excellent on both kicks and punts.  Freshman Bennett Jackson made a name for himself today with his hustle and big plays on kick coverage.
  • Great game by David Ruffer.  3 for 3 with a 46 yarder made a huge difference.  All 3 of his kicks just looked smooth too.
  • Only negative was a rather pedestrian 31.7 average from Ben Turk.

All and all this was a solid win, but showed that there are plenty of areas for Notre Dame to improve on.  The Irish will get a tough test next week too with Michigan coming to town on the heels of a 30-10 win over UConn to start their season Saturday.

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  1. Shazam,
    You are correct on the rule. I was very confused myself. I THINK, MAYBE that they did not negate the TD because he DOVE IN THE ENDZONE as opposed to “CELEBRATING BEFORE THE PLAYER REACHES THE ENDZONE”, which is what the actual rule says. Granted, this is a stretch and if that is accurate, then the rule is even dumber than it appears.

    I think the truth is that the officials didn’t know what they were doing and the announcers followed suit. The screen showed no flag being thrown and it was hardly talked about. Anyone?

    1. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice….
      I may be biased, but from my view, ND has been on the short end of too many bad, one-sided,or missed calls the past few years. I watch these refs like a hawk. It seemed like they screwed up here and tried to sweep it under the rug.
      I could see if Marve was
      being chased and diving head first might be his only way to score on a close play.
      But he was in the open field.
      No ND defender was within 20 yards of him. It was a clear case of showboating.
      Now you have players on both sides, besides anyone who watches the play, say “if he can get away with it, why can I”
      This sets a presidence for disaster.
      If I’m a ref, I make it clear to both coaches and their players, before the game starts, that no taunting will be allowed.
      I might even verbally remind a player who is on his way for a easy score to “keep it classy”
      It’s one call I wouldn’t want to have to make.

      1. JDH,

        Thanks for the link. It states that the rule HAS BEEN CHANGED, but there is a 1 year grace period, and will not take affect until the 2011 season.
        Seeing Marve summersault into the endzone really wasn’t taunting to me. I thought it was kind of funny as he made a fool of himself on prime time TV. Bush league stuff normally associated with a team like Miami.
        I’m just a bit touchy when it comes to the officiating and ND football. You have a rule. You have a situation for the rule to be used, and the officials choose not to.
        Next week our young running back breaks off a 60 yarder agianst Michigan, summersaults into the endzone, and all of a sudden the play is called back.
        Sorry, that’s how it works around here.

      2. Shazam,
        Bingo- It says 2011. I wish I could read! 🙂
        Man, I’m not looking forward to that rule going into effect. It is a pandora’s box of future injustice and anger. HORRIBLE decision by the NCAA, among many.

        I can understand your sensitivity when it comes to officiating. Need we talk about last year’s Michigan game? Ugh. Let’s hope that we at least see a fairly-called game next Saturday, so both teams can just play the game…

  2. I remember reading that the NCAA was going to change the rules regarding “taunting”
    Then we have Purdue QB Robert Marve running for a TD and doing a summersault as he enters the endzone. If I understand the rule,
    a flag should have been thrown, the TD negated, and a fifteen yarder walked off agianst the boilers.
    Did the NCAA NOT make this a score removing foul? I know there was a lot of talk about it last winter.

    1. I’d like to know that too. Strange it wasn’t talked about during or after the game. In fact I didn’t hear the officials make the call on TV.

    2. Coach Kelly was asked this very question in a phone press conference. He replied that the rule on negating TDs will go into effect next year.

  3. Nice game by the Irish in the win against Purdue. Just what I expected from a team with a young QB and learning new systems both offensively and defensively.

    Keys to beating Michigan:
    1) Defensive needs to play steady and tackle solid. Robinson broke a lot of arm tackles. UConn broke down and allowed him to run free. Brian Smith HAS to do a better job on outside contain. Robinson will run if his 1st passing option isn’t open.
    2) Open the offense up. Michigan was able to crowd the line of scrimmage and shut down the run. No one can cover Floyd and Rudolph one on one. Against Purdue, the game plan was conservative. I think it was to not show Michigan much.
    3) Need a better average from the punter. Field position against Michigan is important. Special teams needs to sustain from last week.
    Go Irish!

    1. Bill R,

      How about a fourth Key.
      ND blocking assignments. Michigan runs an unorthodox 3-3-5 defense. It’s not much different from a 3-4 but does allow for better deep coverage, and disguises the blitz better. Dane Crist will need to get plenty of looks in practice this week.
      As with most obscure defenses, a good running game will cure all.

      1. Shazam,
        Your comments about the line blocking assignments are definitely to be considered. what do you think about the 3-3-5? What if Michigan blitzes out of it? Do we see more of Hughes to tenderize them a bit?

        On Defense, what if Teo shadows Robinson? It might keep him at home more. ( That was my only complaint about his play, otherwise he was a force ). What do you think?

      2. C-Dog,

        The 3-3-5 is nothing more than a modified or glorified 3-4. Instead of a fourth backer, you have a extra DB.
        The key for them is their run support. Hughes and Rudolph could do a lot of damage.
        (Remember the corner for Purdue? Number 15? By games end he was plum tired of taking on Kyle Rudolph.)
        A good running game is a young QB’s best friend. Run the ball. Staying out of second and third and long is a good start.
        Robinson left the game for a few plays after taking a shot to his hip. I’d be surprised if he ran as much agianst us if for no other reason that he might be a bit tender this week. If we can get a couple of good shots on him, he might start looking for some turf instead of down field.
        Then there are the intangables.
        ND started off the Brian Kelly era in fine fashion. The team played relaxed, confedent football. There were very few mistakes, missed assignments or penilties. These are things we can continue to build on this week. Remember, ND is not ranked. We aren’t supposed to be in the BCS mix this year. After 3-9, 6-6, & 6-6, there is a optimistic view right now. That allows Kelly to take some well calculated risks with this vetran team. The pressure is low. Forgiveness High.
        On the other side, Rodreguez is on the hot seat. Every game brings new pressure.
        And as WE know, pressure on the coach, transends to the players, and on the field.
        Hope to see Kelly exploit this. I still remember 38-0.
        We owe some payback!

  4. I think you guys have covered pretty much everything- I don’t think I have too much to add. This team was well-prepared and excited to play. And they remained in control when the game got tight. That was impressive for a first game and coming off the heels of another dismal season.

    I see Crist developing nicely. This offense has ALOT of weapons- lots of versatility. I think Manti’s over-pursuit was first game excitement. He’ll settle in just fine and be a beast. Can’t wait until next Saturday! GO IRISH

  5. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
    Manti Teo. He might have missed some plays, but that kid finishes a play with a flurry. He can really close in a hurry.
    Defense only gave up 10 points. Can’t argue with that number.
    I blame the saftey on the play calling. Starting inside your own 5 yard line, you should be in a short yardage formation. Lineing up your running 10 yards deep in the endzone is a fundemental mistake.
    I thought ND kept their offense very basic. This should help agianst Michigan.
    Armando Allen really read his blocking well. Great improvement and it showed.
    Checking out some of the other games from around the country, there was a lot of slopyness. Bad snaps, fumbles, poor tackleing, penilties.
    It was so refreshing to not be a part of all that.
    Last year if we fumble inside our own 5 yard line, and give up a saftey, we probably end up loseing this game. This team, didn’t panic. They hung in there and got the job done.
    I thought UCONN played Michigan very physical. They hit really hard. I would guess there are some very sore bodies up in Ann Arbor this morning.

  6. Rick,
    I agree with you if Purdue had been a good, expiernced team I think they would have won the game in a close battle. I liked the attitude from the Irish but the play was sloppy at times.This was a perfect game to get ready for Michigan though, Kelly will address a lot of the mental errors. It also gave Crist confidence that he can run the offense. Kelly will have a good game plan for Michiagn next week, I’m sure he’s looking at some old West Virginia film like 2007 vs. Pitt. Pitt held a Pat White led offense to 9 pionts(and also cost WVU a shot at national championship):) Kelly will have this team ready. GO IRISH!!

  7. My biggest concern was…if Purdue had been good….Irish would have got their tail kicked. You saw a really good coach make due with what he had against an average team with a lot of young starters. Michigan will be a real test for the Irish this week. I really like Kelly and the Irish and in two years he will have the Irish back where they need to be as he gets the players he wants. That QB for Purdue was a transfer and he did well but if he had been an experience QB that Purdue has had in the past, the score would have been different. My Irish seem to have some holes as they are the left overs from a bad coaching staff. GO Irish…KEEP IMPROVING.

  8. One thing no one has commented on is fumbles. Floyd lost one but there were at least 2 other drops. I thought holding onto the ball was one of Kelly’s main pet peeves.63

  9. Awesome game, glad to see us win. However, almost EVERY ND coach has won their debut game. I like Kelly and I think he will get us to the top (EVENTUALLY). Denard Robinson coming to town scares me to death though. The guy has some serious wheels, and the ND defanse looked OK this week against Purdue. I saw them leaving alot of Purdue recievers open. fortunately, Marve is inexperienced and did not see or throw to those guys. Teo needs some serious work on his tackling. He was always around the ball, but he missed some tackles which could have put Purdue in 3rd and longs, instead of 3rd and short or 1st and 10. that needs to get better this week. We need better control of the perimeter and the front three need MUCH better penetration this week.
    On the offensive side of the ball, I really do think Kelly was saving some stuff for Michigan. There many times, particularly in the first half, where Crist was throwing underneath with no pressure and Floyd was wide open down the sideline. Allen looked faster and stronger, but still lacked the vision to be a breakaway back. Wood looked very impressive. I really hope the two OT’s grow up alot this week in practice because Michigan has a tendancy to really get after our QB and we need some better blocking out of those two if we excect to get the W. GO IRISH!

  10. Michael,

    Good to hear from another Stillers fan old enough to remember present and past glory days! You make some solid points. The Irish could and should be more aggressive. However, I don’t think it’s fair to the Irish D to compare it to the Steelers D. Like I said, Mike,the Stillers are loaded at all levels of the D (well, maybe not CB). The Irish have some very good players, like Manti, but not enough of them yet. Give BK and BD a season or two more of recruiting on that side of the ball and I believe we’ll see better talent translate into more consistent pressure. But I agree with you that the Irish D can be more aggressive — even if that means picking its spots.

    1. hey there steelfanrob, i wasnt comparing.. only stating that with what the irish have, they could flush out the pocket more and often. with the steelers, they have been doing this for a long time, and making somebodies out of any who have dressed for the D.. gildon, loyd,porter,etc. you get the idea.. what makes the steelers great is the blitz.. without it, they are sub par.. same will be the case with the irish.. they already showed what they can do with a blitz, now they need to continue and do it often.. blitz’s confuse oponents offense, and keeps the QB from setting into a comfort zone.. and i would not be supprised to see kelly make this point also.. i think the irish will be blitzs a lot more against michigan, as well as keeping a better eye on the QB.. either way, lets go steelers!! and GO! IRISH!! :O)

  11. i actually think mike mayock did a really good job. He has a great knowledge of the game and makes it seem as if he is actually rooting for ND. It was also pretty funny on one of the false starts when he said the tight end got a good jump off the line. hahaha

    cant wait for the michigan game. i’m happy with the win, but im worried our linebackers wont contain denard robinson. (mainly brian smith..still dont know why he plays) I was very satisfied with our secondary play, but disappointed with teo. he is a great athlete and one of my favorites, but he missed so many tackles he could of had. Yes he had 8 or 9 tackles but easily could’ve had 15

  12. Frank,
    Great breakdown. Were you at the game, because your write up is that good. I only saw the second half, ( kid’s soccer match ), so I only heard the first half. I’d like to add a few comments:


    Tackling – Frank you got that one right on. This defense will be better….much better….simply because they tackle better. They’ll get off the field quicker becuase they’ll stop the drives that were running them down last year.

    Footwork – The defensive line were great on their feet. They applied pressure with 3 that Tenuta’s defense could apply with 7 last year. 3 down linemen were collapsing the pocket and still getting to a very mobile quarterback.
    Armando Allen’s footwork was much better and he stayed on his feet during the punt return in a situation where he’d have fallen down last year. The footwork of the offensive line was so much better.

    Calabrese – Carlo looked solid out there. Actually the outside linebacking corps looked good. Not great, but good. They were in position and didn’t miss tackles.

    Crist – Showed command. Wasn’t spectacular but was solid. If he gets timing and rhythm one his downfield throws, that offense will really spread the field.

    Allen/Wood – I was actually impressed with Allen. Wood too, but Allen can break tackles where as Wood is going to have to use his speed and quickness. Either way, I’d like to see them both used more. I would have like to have seen a few power running calls with Hughes in there.

    Defense – Corners and the Line are great right now. They need to improve of course but I was totally impressed because they were tested directly and passed with flying colors.

    Team conditioning – This team was not gassed at the end. ND will play 60 minutes of football from September through November and the bowl game.


    Teo – I too was disappointed with his play. That might not be fair to him because he played tough and made some great tackles. But mentally he did not look prepared. He did over pursue and then wasn’t in position to stuff the cut back. I’m hoping the coaches teach him to trust his fellow players. He needs not to be the free roaming Stonebreaker, but must first learn to stay at home. He’ll get there.

    Offensive line assignments – from the mid 3rd quarter to mid 4th quarter, the offensive line missed way too many reads. Whatever Purdue did to adjust, the ND coaches better make sure they, the QB, and the center fix, because other teams are going to look at that. At first I thought, here we go again, but it wasn’t a matter of poor footwork or lack of physicality. They were nailing the guys they engaged. They just simply missed blocking assignments. Kelly commented on that with the safety but it was happening to some degree during 4 of the last 5 series.

    Mental lapses – Floyd’s fumble for sure was stupid, but that wasn’t all that needs to be tightened up. I repeat my desire to see Teo stay at home more. The offensive line needs to know their assignments when the defense adjusts or changes.

    The coaches played this a little too close to the vest. Unless they think they have something they don’t want Michigan to see, I’d have put more in against Purdue so that Michigan has more to prepare for. But we’ll just see next week.

    Overall I’m glad at what I see for the future. I’m more anxious about the next 4 weeks. We’ll see as Michigan looks more dangerous than expected. MSU, a little sloppier than expected. We’ll see. The IRish look good but they’re not out of the woods yet.

  13. nd forever,

    I’ve always thought Mike Mayock was a first-rate analyst. You can tell he really knows and likes the college game (he’s the NFL Network’s draft guru). I thought he was excited about being at ND and it reflected in his voice. I didn’t discern anything anti-ND. When he pointed out ND kept Purdue in the game, I’m sure we were all saying the same thing. Over all, kudos to Mike Mayock and NBC for hiring him. (We should also thank USC for hiring Pat Hayden as AD and thus not giving NBC a choice of re-hiring him, which I think they would’ve sadly done.)

  14. the transition from a group of INDIVIDUALS to a TEAM was refreshing.

    gang tackling in the first half was something i haven’t seen in a long time. offense played great, especially the o-line. it didn’t matter who we put in the backfield, they were going to get chunks of yards. pass protection was solid too. we will score a lot of points this year.

    however, if we played mich yesterday instead of purdue, we would have lost. i’m not as excited as others from what i saw in the defense. purdue only scored 12 points, but it could have been a lot more.

    the only time they got after the quarterback was when we blitzed. we should be able to rush 3 or 4 and get a rush, nevertheless, it is frustrating to watch the opposing quarterback have all day to throw the ball. walls had a great game but was almost beat deep twice. at the end of the day, after seeing purdue get 100+ on the ground and 200+ in the air, we will have to win games in spite of our defense and not because of our defense. while the d is definitely better than last year, i’m not convinced they have turned a corner.

    i can’t help but look at a team like florida that had no offense to speak of and yet puts up 34 points. the dominant teams in college football year in and year out have nasty defenses. bama, florida, texas, and ohio state…we just aren’t there yet. don’t get me wrong, we will win a lot of games this year, but to take this program to the next level the defense needs to improve.

    prediction – robinson goes off for 300+ total yards but falls short – nd 34, mich 30


    1. Ted,
      Overall I agree. I think Michigan would win this past weekend. But Kelly might have prepared differently too.
      I do think our D-line played well and they did get to the QB even when only 3 rushed.

      Let’s hope your prediction for next week is right. Can’t take anything for granted.

  15. I was wondering what people thought of Mike Mayock? I though he did a pretty good job breaking things down. I know he is a BC grad but he didn’t put down the irish as much as that last guy from USC, man I hated him.

    1. i actually thought mayock was pretty bad. he is not an entertaining color guy. one of the clips that frank posted on friday had collinsworth calling the game, he would be awesome!

      1. Mayock was OK. NBC just puts on a pretty poor broadcast. I’d really like to see a home game split between CBS and ESPN/ABC. You’d see a lot more love from the two networks that actually own college football.

      2. Mayock was 10x more knowledgeable of the game on Saturday than Haden ever was. Mayock could break down plays on the fly and explain what was actually happening – that’s exactly what the color commentator should do.

    2. I liked MM. He does a good job of quickly breaking down plays for us. He’s relatively funny and excitable and that’s refreshing, too. Compared to Pat Hayden, I thought he did a fine job in his first game.

      NBC better watch the commercials this year or no one will be watching NBC’s ND coverage.

  16. Why? Why intercept the ball on 4th down? Walls did it last year against Purdue and cost the team 15 yards of field position. I. Williams only cost ’em 2 yards, but it was the difference in the safety. Yes, the o-line messed it up, but it should not have come to that. Come on coaches!!!

    1. That ball was bouncing around a lot. Williams did the right thing picking it off before a Purdue receiver ended up with the ball. When the ball is bouncing around like it was there I’d much rather the defense pick it off. If it was a clear shot INT then I could them knocking it down, but better safe than sorry there.

  17. I thought Calobresse did a good job for his first start.I think he ia a perfect 3-4 mlb.He will be very good against the run just needs work on his zone coverage, that will come with expierence.The attitude on defense looks completly different from last year now the execution needs to be a little better.Next week will be a huge test for the defense, they need better gap discipline against the spread option.

  18. Anyone have any info on FLier… Out of all the linebacker play yesterday i was most impressed with FLiers lone play… I thought it was darius flemming at first and i cheered that he finally made decent open field play until i realized it was flier.

    Teo appears to want to make every tackle himself and doesn’t use his teammates to coralle the runner.. awesome on wr screens though.

    Brian Smith> looks like an awesome talent but giving up that td was mind boggling

    Calobresse> got a satisfactory (it was his first game)

    Flemming just doesn’t make enough plays… too many times he is unblock and run right past the runner with even slowing them down..

    #56 —- not sure yet

    How many times are you going to let a back cut block u and let QB get outside???

    Scary to think about Michigans QB and overall offense…

    I do believe the coaches made the proper adjustments but now the players have to step up…

    VERY EXCITED FOR MICHIGAN… it will be tough

  19. The Marve carry for the td was reminiscent of forcier last yr. brian smith repeatedly lost outside containment. he needs to pick it up. the d did what they were supposed to, played zone and reacted. if manti cleans up his tackling and if there is more of neal and fleming being on the field, that will help against UM.

  20. Cierre Wood was ab fab yesterday. ND hasn’t had a home run threat like Wood in a long time in the run game. I do notice he was slow to get up on the kickoff run, but it looked like he just got the wind knocked out of him. I have a feeling he is going to light up every opponent this year.

    I love the linebackers on this team. Te’o and Calabrese (that is my mom’s maiden name) were brickwalls in the middle of the defense yesterday. Darius Fleming was all over the field. In the secondary, I think all of us noticed how well Darrin Walls and Gary Gray played. Purdue tried to bounce a lot of their plays to the outside and Gray and Walls were too physical to block. I also believe Zeke Motta is a big-time player on this team. He will see a big increase in minutes as the year goes along. My hope is that the d-line continues to be solid. Nothing special, just good football and let the linebackers take over the game.

    The offense is high pace. I love it because ND has the players to run that style. My only worry is the offensive line, especially at the tackle position. There was too much disruption from the defensive ends in that game. If that continues, this offense will not grow to become one of the finest in the nation.

    1. Spicy:
      Dont get too down on the o-line. The defensive ends for Purdue are two of the best in the country. Both are likely NFL bound. ND will not have to deal with D-Ends that good the rest of the season. All and All I think the tackles held their own against those guys considering how good they are. I will say it does scare me what a scrambling QB can do to the defense. Michigan scares me more while Stanford scares me less now witnessing the play of our CBs

    2. I want to just put a little note about the O line. I feel that the safety was a mind flub that was a product of to much excitement and over thinking the fact that your heels are on your end zone. But I am not to worried about the play of the tackles. Ryan Kerrigan is a best of a man and will do great things both here and in the pros. It gave our guys good practice and the coaches a lot to work with this week.

  21. I know I’m going to get some flack for this, but I have my reasons to believe that ND fixed that game yesterday. The spread ended up being 11 1/2 (maybe 11 or 12 in some other parts).

    Game was at 20-3 and ND look like they were in line for a giant route. Then Floyd weakly holds on to the ball and takes a good hit (he has been hit harder) and coughs up the ball

    The safety was caused by the ND line not blocking a single soul. Then Purdue marches easily on a tired, but not gamed ND defense.

    The last scoring drive should of been a TD drive, if they would of ran the ball and done more curl and comebac routes. Instead there were two low percentage passes in the corner and ND settled for a field goal.

    ND wins 23-12, but Purdue covers. I know most of you if not all will heavily disagree with me. Let me say, I have my reasons and I didn’t flat-out say that ND fixed the game yesterday.

  22. Solid game. Frank hits the nail on the head. ND could have performed better on offense but they’re a work in progress. It looked to me that in the running game, we finally moved people around allowing Wood and Allen to see some holes. To me, that is essential. As I’ve said before, it’s critical to be able to control the line of scrimmage. On offense, I just want some regular 4-6 yard first down gains and to do that you have to take over the line. It looked like the offensive line did this at times.

    Defensively, there is room for improvement. I would have liked to have seen the front get to the quarterback more often and the tackling wasn’t stellar but to these Irish eyes, it looked like this defense was much better than last year.

    College football is often about change. Michigan will look at the tape very closely. We have to be less predictable on both sides of the ball than we were last year. We’ll have to change next week because we’re playing a decent Michigan team. But it looks like we have some very talented athletes who are learning a new, and effective, system. I’m guardedly optimistic.

    One final point: great special teams performance. Best I’ve seen in a long time.

  23. Someone needs to hide Brian Smith’s helmet next week!! Mayock is all gitty about him compressing the fullback, and on the next play he blows coverage and gives up a first down. He sucks!!!! Put Danny Spond in!!

  24. Many of the mistakes were 1st game mistakes. WOuld have liked to see the perfect game but this is a perfect scenario. It gives confidence but keeps the team hungry. Kelly will focus on the same problems all have outlined here and we should be sharper and keep UM QB in check. I liked the overall defensive speed, part of the problem on the perimeter was missed assignments that is coachable but there was a swarm of blue shirts on nearly every tackle.

    1. defensively, i liked the three plays for a loss that the irish conducted.. and wished they would continue that agressive stance. i feel that the defensive coach needs to pull a steeler style D, and blitz almost every down. they seemed to throw the QB off and had him running for his life in that session. when the irish blitzed, they were perfect! it’s when they were passive that problems arised.. the secondary was perfect! far cry from last year.. i hope that the irish can make the changes needed to keep the wolverines at bay next week..

      1. Michael,

        The Irish don’t have the personnel for a Steelers’-type D. Here’s what I mean. The Steelers have a dominant D-line. esp. at NT w/”Big Snack” C. Hampton and at one DE spot with A. Smith. Also, they have not one, not two, but three terrific pass-rushing LBs in Harrison, Woodley, and Timmons. And last, needless to say, the Irish don’t have anyone like “Head and Shoulders” Troy Polamalu in the secondary. Plus, I think Dick LeBeau has a few years of experience on Bob Diaco. We’ll have to live with a bend-but-don’t break type of 3-4 D for a while before we get the kinds of studs to run a Pittsburgh-type 3-4 Zone-Blitz scheme.

      2. steel fanrob, i know what the steelers have, been a fan since i was 11.. i am 40 now.. what i was getting at is this.. if you remember the play where the irish got to marve three times in three downs. blitzing him for a 4th and 32 with his endzone right behind him. the irish used blitz packages very well in that game, but wasnt consistant. with the steelers of “08”, they blitzed almost every down.. they havent done that since.. which makes me wonder what dick is doing.. but if the irish can adopt a full blitz type D then they would be explosive and unstoppable. they showed that in most of that game against purdue.. when they didnt blitz or rush the QB, they lost ground and the offense moved on them.. needless to say, they have the players to do this, because they did it! they just didnt do it on a consistant basis..

  25. Impressed with the D. MUCH better tackling, d-backs came up faster. D-line is better, but still average, need to get all those new d-line recruits up to speed quick next year.
    Always knew Robert Hughes and Brian Smith were overrated, we just didn’t have anyone better at their position,which is not the case this year. I personally think Cierre and Jonas (really wanted to see him, think he could be an excellent counter to Cierre)should be playing more.
    Nervous about Michigan, Dennard’s is a stud, and Crist looked very pedestrian.

  26. i would have to agree on all points that you made about the irish in this game.. i thought that crist needed to throw more to floyd in the begining, when they had the ball in there first two drives, and both stalled.. you could clearly see floyd open and ready to take it to the house on both killed drives, when crist chose to throw short of the first down marker.. i feel that confidence and learning to convey the whole field, will help crist spot open WR’s in the games to come.. as for the deffence, i was quite pleased to see for the most part, a potent D.. they kept purdue to only 3 points for most of the game, then lost there barrings when alan was tackled in his own end zone. they followed that offensive misque by flubbing coverage on marve as he ran for the end zone. yet would have to say, they picked it up to keep from bleeding more points.

    i would have to say, for a brand new system, i was quite impressed.. i just hope that kelly prepares them well for michigan.. there gonna need it.

    1. Christ is not supposed to convey the whole field. He is supposed to make his reads and throw where those tell him to throw. He made a few judgement errors, but not throwing to Floyd early was not one of them. The safetys were playing deep, and he was supposed to to hit the short routes. Short routes and effective running game will change these reads and open up the long pass. Kelly was probably calling conservative and limiting the deep pass also and saving it for the future.

      1. Tex.

        Dayne spelles his last name Crist. And while some fans consider him our savior, he shouldn’t be confused with the original “Savior” (even though his 73% completion ratio, and 159 passer rating might suggest otherwise.)
        Now if the game comes down to one final “Hail Mary” pass and he pulls it off, I guess you can call him whatever you want!

  27. Looks like we found a replacement for Mike Anello on special teams. Kick coverage looked good. And no silly penalties to negate good plays. They look much more disciplined on defense and tackling MUCH improved

  28. Good to get the W, Crist is going to have to be a lot sharper and confident next week. He has to learn to let that ball go with some air under it, Floyd and Rudolph will get it. Good to see the corners perform that well. UCONN does not suck, so that Denard Robinson looks a little scary.

  29. I think the biggest disappiontment was Teo. He showed his athletic abilty and the ability to read the play but he would go into tackles out of control.He needs to breakdown and make the tackle.Special teams was great! when was the last time a notre dame team could say that.I really was impressed with Braxton Cave. I don’t know if people understand how hard it is to snap the ball and pull in a spread.It takes a very athletic kid to do that.The offense just needs more consistency for next week. I would like to see some bubble screens to Theo Riddick and let him make people miss. This offense has a lot of options, something tells me Kelly was saving a lot for Michigan.I think he called a conservative game to give Christ some confidence.

    1. nd forever,

      Just ask Florida’s new starting center how hard it is to snap the ball and pull in a spread offense! I believe the Gators had something like 14 mishandled or bad snaps between the QB and the Center against Miami (OH) this Sat. Cave was awesome! Go IRISH!!!

  30. Brian Smith’s responsibility is to keep outside contain on the TD run, he failed, and it cost them. Not the first time it’s happened in his career, and it’s not the last. Heck of an athlete, just has tons of lapses out on the field.

    I have to say how happy I am with the tackling….my poor family had to listen to me complain about that all year….they were overjoyed not to hear me say it this time (let’s hope it continues).

    1. That TD Run annoyed me for this very reason.

      I’m actually looking at the replay right now, and it’s pretty clear. KLM & Smith are unblocked on the right side of the play (from the defensive side). it’s KLM’s responsibility there to collapse down on the back and take him out, Smith has to hold the edge and not let the QB pull the ball just like he did.

      It’s unfortunate, but it’s also a very correctable mistake.

      This was my one big disagreement with Frank’s assessment, as I thought the perfect defensive call was made, but poor execution allowed the TD.

  31. i bad-mouthed the Irish all off-season using this board and you sissy’s never allowed one of my posts, i am eating crow now though, the Irish looked solid, tackled very well and were well disciplined. A lot of nice changes and i think the Irish are back to stay. i doubt that you will post anything of mine ever but congrats to the Irish.

    1. This isn’t a blogsite for haters. This is for Irish fans. ESPN has blogsites for anyone to spew their hate. We’re here to focus on our team.

  32. I am very impressed with Frank Vitovitch breakdown. He hit some major points right on the head and stole my thunder….
    Defensively> DB’s were the biggest bright spot of the game with Wall and Gray really making there presence felt tackling… Zeke motta was impressive the little we saw him…..

    I saw 1 good angle of pursuit all game and it was By FLier #46 which seems to be a controversial player. I would love to see more of him…

    Otherwise i felt the d was slow and if this QB morse got outside so easily then i am very afraid of Michigan QB 197 yrds rushing….

    How does Brian Smith get beat on the zone read??????? I would love to hear the explanation for that.. He look like he was trying to tackle the de on the play….

    I wanted to see JONAS Gray>>>>>> A Allen is a very reliable back and that is it.

    I felt that Notre Dame played like a well coached team.. Claussen and tate made a huge mistake But i love Crist

  33. One of the things that stuck out to me was it was a very clean game. No flags really to speak of? It seamed like last year the Irish has a lot of mental mistakes that put them in holes and killed momentum.

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