Initial Impressions – Notre Dame 20, USC 16

THE STREAK IS OVER.  Despite losing the turnover battle 4-1 and playing half of the game in a driving rain storm, Notre Dame ended USC’s 8 year winning streak over the Irish and capped off a roller coaster regular season on a high note.

I’ll get into my normal post game comments in a bit, but want to give everyone a second to savor this victory and appreciate just how far the Irish have come in a month.  On October 30 Notre Dame lost a heart breaker Tulsa a week after being dominated by Navy.  A month later Notre Dame is on a three game winning streak with victories over Utah, Army, USC.

That’s what I call a remarkable turn around.

Now, on to some observations from the game.

  • Tommy Rees came back down to earth in the second half against USC after throwing 2 touchdowns in the first half to build Notre Dame’s 13-3 halftime lead.  His 4 turnovers led to all 16 of USC’s points and he struggled to make any down field throws.   Rees will have 15 more practices to prepare for the bowl game and he’ll need to use each one.
  • What a performance by Robert Hughes.  Is there a better story from tonight’s win than Hughes game?  Hughes hasn’t been used much this year, but when his number was called Saturday night he ran like the big, bruising back that we’ve all been waiting to see since 2007.   Without Hughes, Notre Dame simply doesn’t win this game tonight.
  • USC did a great job of getting their hands up and closing the passing lanes down for Rees.  Kelly is going to need to get Rees out of the pocket more for the Irish to continue this winning streak in bowl season.
  • On Rees’s first interception of the second half, he had Cierre Wood wide open down the sideline for a big gain and on his last interception of the game he had Riddick one on one with a safety but threw the ball into triple coverage.  He’s going to be busy in the film room over the next month but should learn a lot from this game.
  • Great job by the offensive line today.  They got a nice push throughout the game and kept Rees upright for most of the night.  They didn’t get a single holding call against a very good defensive line either.
  • Riddick and TJ Jones weren’t featured much in the offense tonight.  Given their lack of practice time with Rees over the last month that isn’t too shocking, but given Rees’s limitations both will need to have a bigger role in the bowl game.
  • Tyler Eifert made the heads up play of the game when he recovered Cierre Wood’s fumble on Notre Dame’s last drive.  Eifert was a match-up problem for USC as well but Rees had trouble getting him the ball.
  • Duval Kamara gets props for his heads up play to reach the ball out over the goal line on his second quarter touchdown.  He had not secured the ball while breaking the plane until he reached the ball out before stepping out of bounds.
  • With a more experienced quarterback, Michael Floyd would have had a monster game.  He was the glue that kept the Irish passing game in tact throughout the game, but he could have dominated the USC secondary if given the chance.  Floyd was a beast of a blocker in the run game as well.
  • The offense is still very much a work in progress, and given all of the injuries it would be a tall order for it to be much more than that at this point.  With Jones and Riddick healthy and able to practice for the bowl game, the Irish passing attack should be able to develop some consistency.


  • USC fans will say that the only reason Notre Dame was because of Ronald Johnson’s drop on their final drive, but in reality, the only reason USC was in the game was because of Notre Dame’s turnovers.  USC was given the ball inside the Notre Dame 40 four times on turnovers and could only muster three field goals and a touchdown.  Even their lone touchdown came on a 4th and goal after they started the drive on the 2 yard line.
  • Bottom line, the Irish defense was flat out dominant against USC.  The only reason the touchdown-less streak was broken tonight was because USC started with the ball at the 2 yard line.
  • USC averaged just 2.7 yards per carry and 4.8 yards per pass attempt.
  • Brian Smith played the best game of his career.  He was all over the field from start to finish and came up with a huge pass deflection on the USC 4th down attempt that set up Notre Dame’s last second first half touchdown.   His career has been a roller coaster ride, but he’s saved his best football for the stretch run this season.  Hopefully he’s got one more game like tonight left in him.
  • The defensive backs did a hell of a job tackling in the first half, but missed a few tackles in the second half once the rain started coming down.
  • Gary Gray, Robert Blanton, and Darrin Walls were very solid in coverage other than Blanton’s blunder on USC’s final drive that could have cost Notre Dame dearly.  Blanton went for the ball but whiffed.  Luckily the ball was dropped.
  • Harrison Smith nearly had an interception on the first play of the game, but ended up with an important one to seal the victory.  A few plays earlier Smith fell down leaving Ronald Johnson all alone with nothing but green in front of him – excellent response by Smith.
  • Great job by the defensive line clogging the running lanes and stuffing the USC running game.
  • It’s amazing to think that this is the same defense that got shredded by Navy just a month ago.  Not sure what happened, but I certainly hope Bob Diaco, Chuck Martin, Kerry Cooks, and Mike Elston keep doing whatever it is they’re doing.
  • Additional tip of the cap to Diaco for his defensive game plans the last three weeks.  He took the brunt of the criticism for the loss to Navy – especially after his interviews following the loss – but he’s responded with some excellent coaching.

Special Teams

  • Little bit on an inconsistent night from Ben Turk.  He had a couple nice punts in the game but ended up averaging only 37.5 yards per punt.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyle Brindza gave Turk some competition for the punting duties next year – especially if he ends up enrolling early.
  • It was surprising to see David Ruffer miss an extra point after not missing a field goal this season.  Hopefully this is just an anomaly.
  • Pretty solid coverage today on kicks and punts against some dangerous returnmen.
  • The Notre Dame return game, however, remains to be a disappointment.  Hopefully Kelly and special teams coach Mike Elston spend some extra time with the bowl practices to work on the return game.

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  1. I think Brian Kelly is doin’ just fine. At least he won a bowl game last year, even if it wasn’t the BSC Championship, take it as a victory. Ya, Crist sucks, and Reese needs ALOT of improvement, but the program is headin’ in the right direction. We need a top QB and this train can really get rollin’. The glory days are over, but the spirit is there. GO IRISH!!

  2. Stop already with all the negativity towards BK, its his first year. Last time I checked Notre Dame wasn’t that great last year with a better QB and more threats at WR. He is making this team better, and it has already shown this season in the way the team plays the game. As far as recruits he also has shown that he doesn’t need 5 star recruits, he made many great QB’s at all his stops and I am pretty sure that none of them where 5 stars. As a matter of fact he never had a class better than 60 in the rankings, yet went undefeated. I wouldn’t worry about getting the 5 star player, I would be more interested in the RKG.
    Golsen is going to fit in perfect into Kelly’s system, he is mobile, has a cannon, and is a pass first QB.
    Crist was recruited as a pro style QB, he doesn’t fit the spread.
    Tommy Rees is a true freshman, and is already playing pretty well.
    And as far as recruiting goes it probably isn’t easy when your team hasn’t been good in many years. When he starts winning they will come. With his win loss, I would say getting Golsen and the other recruits he has is pretty impressive.

  3. crist is a bust. enough already. why can’t kelly recruit a top quarterback? golsen looks good, but if he doesn’t pan out and kelly can’t make anything out of rees, i’d have to question the guy. his recruiting already has me worried because he’s not getting top 5 stars, and he’s settling for a lot of mediocre 3 stars, and where is the speed? add all of these questions to the fact that this year we saw stupid playcalling yet again, and i’d say ‘how are we any better off than with weis?’ i’m hopeful with b.k. but if the bad losses continue on to next year, i’ll have to start yelling again for chris petterson to come to south bend. if kelly wants to avoid another bad year he needs to blitz way more often on defense and on predictable pass plays and open up the offense to get his fast players the ball in space.

  4. Hughes was always a north and south runner and this was the first time he was given an opportunity under Coach Kelly..

    Cierre could learn something from Hughes and I hope he does because of Cierre’s Potential.. RIght now cierre stops his feet to much and looks around for something else instead of just attacking… Coach Kelly doesn’t call a straight ahead running game and on a typical Kelly run play the back has to take 5 steps east and west before he can even turn up field. Coach Kelly was doing a nice job with calling runs/ playaction/ and quick looks to floyd in the first half of the usc game.. The 2nd half he got away from the run game and we got ourselves in a hole but fortunately he went back to the run game and went back with a vengence called ND o-line and Rob Hughes and we pounded the rock right down the field….

    One thing I do like about coach kelly is I feel that he doesn’t have a doghouse as weis did and he is not afraid to get multiple backs into the game which is the best way to evaluate talent which ND needs to do at the running back position because some question just weren’t answered under Weis…

    I still haven’t totally given up on Jonas but his last showing was a little unimpressive. Hughes was very impressive and I remember a big calling for him in the past when I was promoting Jonas…. SO nice job to u guys who promoted Hughes and I am sorry I don’t know who you are or were.

    Cierre does look like the most talented back on the team, but He is struggling with being a consistent back and trying to do to much on each run… He always looks better when he comes in after another running back has a nice run…. Competition appears to fuel him which is good..

    Shout Out to JDH JDH
    who i remember reading the comment on Coach Kelly saying that u thought he would change but would not own up to it publicly….

    I am happy he did…. Atleast against USC and I don’t apologize about being critical about Coach Kelly and ND because that is why I comment on this site and I believe my criticism are justified and right and when I wrong I happily acknowledge…

    ND should be minimum – 9 and 3 right now… but o well atleast we are showing positive signs…GO ND!

    1. i’m not being condescending, but the last i remember of jonas was the 30 yard scamper against utah…has he seen more than 1-2 plays a game since?

      someone else might have mentioned this, but hughes would not have been in the final drive if cierre didn’t fumble…luck of the irish you might say

      1. I am Jonas biggest advocate and against UTah he did have that big play but then didn’t get another chance…

        Against Army he got a few carries but didn’t look to great. Army was the game for him to shine and he didn’t make the most of his little opportunity…
        During the Bowl game I feel unless Jonas really shows something in practice u have to go with Hughes spelled by Wood due to the regular season.

    2. Thanks for the shout-out PRTB. I’m glad that it appears Coach K is learning from his mistakes.

      But I won’t get too cocky, considering I thought ND would lose at least 2 out of 3 of their last games. 🙂

  5. WOW. Finally beating SCum is paying off quite nicely. So, Golson is likely to enroll early? Damn, Crist (the 5 star pro-style recruit that was this years starter), Rees (The “just win” kid that enorlled early and went undefeated in his three starts), Hendrix (the supposed epitome of a Kelly QB), Massa (a highly recruited soread style QB), and Golson. Throw in a legacy Montana. That is one hell of a stable of QBs. Sure 1 or 2 wil transfer, but if we get our pick of the best 3 or 4….Our Lady is gonna come out quite beautiful.

  6. I wonder if Kelly is going up to the NY,NJ area to talk to Ishaq Williams and Savon Huggins.I’m hoping on both, but I think we have a better chance on landing Ishaq.He has visited only ND and Syracuse this is usually a good indication of the schools that a kid will go to.I think he might be an OLB in the 3-4 and also put his hand in the dirt on passing downs, Ishaq is an amazing athlete.Imagine, the Linebacking corp of Ishaq,Teo,Carlo,and Shembo, that is as talented of a linebacking corp as anyone in the country imo.I have a feeling Savon won’t sign as his father has told him to go to a more pro-running offense.Unfortunately fathers sometimes steer their kids away from what they really want.Savon has said he feels real comfortable at ND and likes coach Kelly, but I have a feeling dad will win.Let’s hop for both.GO ND!!

  7. Also, I don’t think that Crist has that great of an understanding of coverages or defenseive schemes. Although I dont think that Kelly has made all the greatest calls, watching Crist was often frustrating. He seems to throw to his check downs to much, and then the ball wouldn’t be placed well. He also couldn’t even figure out a simple drop eight defensive scheme. As soon as the defenses realized that it rattled him more than a 300 pounder in his face, defenses started shutting him down. I think that he has all the tools, but his understanding is lacking. Also Coach Kelly did say when Rees was starting that it was nice to finally have a QB that gets it. He claimed that it wasn’t a nock on Crist, but what else could it mean.
    I really believe that Rees has a better understanding of the game. He just needs to get used to the speed. Remember he is fresh out of high school.

    1. your statement is a contradiction. you said that crist both threw to the checkdown too much and didn’t know what to do when the d dropped 8. however, what is he supposed to do when the defense drops 8? throw to the checkdown!

      1. You are correct, but the throws where often off target. And they where at the wrong times it seemed.

  8. Golson looks like a QB that will fit in perfectly into Kelly’s system. Not only can he make plays with his feet; more importantly in his video, he looks very comfortable in the pocket, like he is a pass first QB. I think that had Kelly had the chance to have a kid like this run his offense in the past they would have been that much more effective.

  9. Give Kelly a few days to go and talk to recruits and see what he does, first Cam Mcdaniel, now Everett Golson.Kelly can really sell a program, I think all questions about can he recruit are being answered.

  10. I remember Kelly said he wasn’t going to sign a QB in this class unless he could get somebody special, I think he did just that.He’s been starting since his freshman year.I don’t worry about height as much with a spread qb, they stand behind the line and can scan the field and see the field easier then a pro style qb.There has been many qb’s who were short in the spread ,but very successful,Colt McCoy,Drew Brees,Chase Daniels.Watching his highlight tape he reminds me of Tyrod Taylor, but a better passer then Tyrod at the highscool level.This presents a very intresting qb competition in the spring and summer.I think somebody will transfer, it might be Dayne Crist as he might be the odd man out we shall see.This is a good problem as long as a clear starter is named before the season, you can’t have controversy in season.All these great qbs should push eachother to get better, that’s how you get to be a great team competition, competition, competition.I hope we get some more pieces to this team and build for a championship, for the first time since D.R Lou was here I can see us building towards one the right way.Welcome Everett.GO IRISH!!

  11. F**k yea!!!

    golson looks like a beast! he was planning on enrolling early at north carolina so you gotta think he will be at spring ball.

    looks like november saved/rejuvinated this recruiting class. there is still plenty of room on the band-wagon, all aboard!

  12. Player Evaluation:
    Arm Strength
    Running Ability / Mobility
    Field Vision

    Golson is a quarterback that can pick defenses apart when given time and lanes to throw through. His size hurts him because he is not quite 6-feet tall, but he can make each throw top quarterbacks have to make. He has a very quick release, he throws a tight spiral, and he has excellent mobility. He can lock in on receivers at times, so he needs to work on that, but other than that and his size, he does all at a high level. – Chad Simmons – 2/3/10

    1. OK, the more I read about this kid the more I hope he signs…

      “With Brissett, his upside is impressive and he’s such a great athlete that he could be a poor man’s Terrelle Pryor or Cameron Newton in the right offense,” said Farrell of the uncommitted signal-caller. “He’s a pass-first guy but he can make things happen when the pocket breaks down and he is a threat to run. Whatever team gets him will be getting someone who has barely scratched the surface of his potential.”

  13. If we had recognized the advantages that Robert Hughes can provide, we win 9 games….not 7. We finally had a bruising back that can punish the d-line and force the secondary to make tough stops. This opens the door for the scat backs. For so many games we could not get through the line….even tiny lines like Navy. Let’s use all the reources!

    1. Kelly recently said in an interview that it was just recently that Hughes realized he was a “North/South” runner instead of a “Make them miss” like Cierre.

      I think Kelly wanted this from Hughes all along, Hughes just had to make the decision to run this way.

  14. Great points everyone. I can’t wait to see the competition for this position next year. Cav also ND should have 3 QB’s, possibly 4 that can play. I can’t wait for next year.

  15. I’ve been reading a lot of these posts about who should start, Rees or Crist. I think we are all missing the point…when was the last time ND had 2 qb’s that could play? This is a great problem to have. We have 2 kids that both have their pros and cons, but they both showed that they can play. Also, we have another, Hendrix, who might be better than both of them.

    Since Brady Quinn took his first snap, ND was one play away from disaster because we never had 2 experienced QB’s that were capable of leading this team. Think about it, how did we all feel when we saw Crist with his knee wrapped against Tulsa? Now we have Crist and Rees, who are more than capable. This allows Kelly to groom Hendrix and Massa as well.

    All this does is create competiton and competition creates better players. ND is going to have a dynamic offense because the QB position is the engine. Competition is going to drive this engine. We really don’t know who will be the guy next year, but we do know this..he will have earned the job and he will have to perform because there will be someone breathing down his neck if he is not.

    I’m pretty excited about how this season played out and if everything works out, ND will have 19 out of the 22 starters back next year according to Kelly. Next year could be the start of something special because I do believe that this team has bought in to Kelly and his vision.

  16. I wish all the best to Crist also, I really do. He just did not look real comfortable running the spread. Factor in the two injuries to the knees w/ little to no contact and the seemingly innocent hit he took during the Michigan game that knocked him into next week tells me he isnt real durable. The spread ultilizes the QB as a 10 back and running plays are part of the scheme. The kid – based on the injuries he has sustained – doesnt fit real well in my opinion. Crist also has the Clausen tendency to not move his helmet and ends up staring down his receiver. I saw way way too many telegraphed pass plays for my liking out of Crist. Rees on the other hand already looks off the defenders much better and he is a freshman. The kid has the tools and my overall point is build around this guy who is 3-0 as a starter just learning the system. The offense needs to get on track ASAP so to go w/ Crist and then re-transition the following year to another QB makes no sense ESPECIALLY in light of the upcoming schedules. The IRISH offensive train needs to get rolling, and fast! What is most needed is consistancy at the helm. It also seems the players are impressed with his command and coolness in the huddle and on the field. Sound similar to anybody of someone else who played QB at ND?

    1. reese has 1 pic per every 16 attempts. that means if he was asked to do what crist was doing before crist went out, he would have had 18 ints in just over 7 games…

      he also had 3 pics and a fumble in a game where his name was called sparingly and he only threw the ball down field once…if our defense didn’t play other-worldly and/or if usc had barkley, we lose by 20 points.

      im just sayin, usc was a TEAM win, army and utah scored a combined 6 points, and say what you will about kelly’s retarded play call, rees’ 3 ints cost us the game.

      crist did not look very comfortable hucking it 50 times a game, i agree. and maybe rees would have looked more comfortable, but he would have thrown a bunch of pics and lost his share of games too.

      comparing body’s of work and not simply w’s and l’s, it’s crist’s job.

  17. JDH & Chris,

    I don’t think Rees is a bad player. I don’t want to bash the kid, but I don’t think he is better than Crist. I think a lot of people are reading alot into the last three games offensively. I also think people expected Crist to walk in and be as good as Jimmy was last year and I definately don’t think that is the case. Rees will start the bowl game and will be the starter in the spring. I want both of you to understand I don’t care who starts, I just want the best player out there and right now I think it is Dayne Crist. We will see next year.

    1. I hear ya Jack. I HOPE Crist can come back and is the man for the job. And I know you were not bashing Rees. I just wanted to make sure I qualified my statements about Rees- that I thought he did great for a freshman w/ a pretty tough schedule. I think Dayne could be a very good QB with hard work AND some luck with his healing…

  18. Over the last few months a few people (including myself) have been very critical of Kelly play calling. We didn’t understand why our back weren’t being used more allowing us to eat up clock and allow our QB’s to come along at a steady pace, instead of needing them to win the game.

    “Kelly was fairly balanced against USC (run/pass split of 48.5/51.5), but has been decidedly in favor of the run over the last three outings. The Irish play-caller has dialed up a run on 57.2 percent of plays in the last four games compared to throwing the ball on 67.3 percent of snaps in the other nine contests”.

    The first 9 games Kelly was calling for Crist to pass the ball 70% of the time. Crist was still learning a very complicated system. Some say he wasn’t “coming along” well enough. Statistically he looked ok. However, he was being asked to win the game with an offense that was completely one sided!

    Tommy comes in and Kelly doesn’t want to overwhelm the young kid so he dials up the run plays to 57%! And we WIN every ball game!

    I hate to think what we could have done early in the season had Kelly realized that he had a stable of capable backs in the backfield who could have carried this team to victory. And allow Crist a fair chance to learn the system as Tommy got.

    Keep pounding the Football KELLY and draw the defense close to the line of scrimmage then let your wizard offense loose over the top of them…


    1. I for one will not apologize for being critical of Kelly and his playcalling/decisionmaking. While I NEVER called for Kelly to be fired (assinine) I called into question his decisions many times. We’ve been through those ad nauseum.
      I also said that Kelly would probably learn from his mistakes, although it would be very unlikely that he’d talk about that publicly.

      I was a broken record most of the year, asking why in the hell Hughes wasn’t utilized more. Finally, FINALLY Kelly started running the ball more and stopped being pass happy. That, coupled with a vastly improved defense, won the day. You can’t argue with results.

      Crist: I personally don’t think Crist is going to be our starter. He’s got 2 serious injuries that he’s had to come back from. He played 1/2 a season with very mixed results, albeit in a new system he was learning. Is he going to come back, re-learn what he’s learned, and be able to thrive in this system? I just don’t know. He’s clearly the better “athlete” vs. Rees. But, IMO, Rees seems to perform better under pressure.

      Kelly will most certainly try to rapidly develop Rees and Hendrix…

    2. Irish Chan and JDH,

      I disagree with how Rees performs under pressure. His mistakes cost ND the Tulsa game, he has thrown two redzone picks, and USC made adjustments at half time that caused him to go into a shell. Crist did not look clueless in the games he played. He missed throws but I have seen Rees do the same thing. If I am Kelly I am talking to Crist about next season at the same time keeping the spirit of competition. Like Chan said they threw the ball 70% of the time when Crist was in there. Lets see how this shakes out next year and I would rather have 3 QB’s than one. Pluse everyone thought Levechio was so great until the Oregon State game.

      1. Jack,

        I’m not sure if the overall point of my post was misunderstood. I completely agree with your point of Reese.

        But the original post was was intended to bring the Run VS Pass percentages at different times of the year, the result, as well as how each of the two QB’s responded to the percentages to light.

        It seemed to me that Kelly expected Crist to play football as if he had been playing in this system for years and it would allow for him (Kelly) to call a pass happy game.

        I find it intriguing that we started dominating games as soon as Kelly started getting defenses to “respect” our run game. At that point our QB’s could make high percentage passes to our wide outs and tight ends.

        Granted the teams that showed up the last 4 games seemed to have a energy and fight that was missing the first several games. As well as our Defense began playing fantastic football.

        But I still say that our ground game & Defense was the key to success for the last 4 games. Rees was simply asked to not loose the game for us.

        Early in Kelly’s career as a coach he was known for his “power” spread offense. He ran the ball down teams throats. As his QB’s got better as his coaching career progressed so did his trend to call more pass plays.

        Perhaps Kelly was overly excited about having Floyd and Rouldoph and some other young talented receivers and built his game plan around getting them the ball. But I think Kelly started to see that it wasn’t working and that the talent we had in the backfield could win us some games.

      2. Chan,

        I agree with your point that the run balance needs to be there. I also believe in this offense the QB must run at least 5 times a game to make the defense respect the fake. I think that Crist was required to dominate the offense rather than the o-line. I agree with your point, I think you will see a better Crist if he has a running game. Also I think Rees has done a respectable job, but ND has better options and he won’t be a started unless Hendrix or Crist gets hurt. The “IT” factor that everyone is talking about has nothing to do with him and more to do with the defense. If the defense shows up early in the year the only game the Irish lose is Standford. All of those games were lost on drives late in the game, like the Weis era. The defense really stepped up against Tulsa. The only game I saw the offense have problems in the biginning of the year was Standford. I agree though he needs to focus on the running game as a weapon and recruit backs like he has.

      3. Jack –

        According to BK on the TD play to Floyd w/ 42 seconds remaining, Floyd ran a bit of a different pattern then expected. Regardless Rees was to throw the ball out of bounds if Floyd was not open. I say credit the freshman QB who saw the height advantage Floyd had on the defenders and tried to make a play. I wont NOT come out and say he cost us the game. That was the play he was called to execute by BK. He took a shot which showed balls and a desire to take charge to me. In the same sense you could say Floyd cost us the game which is probably more accurate. In hindsight w/ Floyds experience and size he should have mugged the defender so he couldnt have picked it in the first place. You take the penalty and kick the FG.

      4. Jack-
        Rees is an 18 yr.-old kid who stepped into the starting position. Kelly lost the Tulsa game, not Rees. Generally speaking, an 18 yr.-old frosh backup is going to have a fair number of INTs. He is not going to be used to the speed of college defenses. He is going to telegraph his passes, make the wrong reads etc.

        And I’ve seen Crist look lost PLENTY of times.

        Don’t get me wrong- I think Crist (as I said before) is the better all around player- no question. But I do believe that Rees could be DEVELOPED into a pretty good QB. Good enough for ND’s system? I’m not sure. I’m hoping Crist heals up nicely and makes a smooth transition back as a starter. But it may be a tough road with 2 knee injuries now…

        But there is almost surely going to be a battle for the starting QB position in 2011…

      5. …I meant to add:

        When I say “Rees is good under pressure”, I’m saying that relative to the fact he is an 18 yr.-old freshman. The kid put up some very respectable numbers all things considered!

  19. on another thought, how wierd were Crist two knee injuries??? Maybe he is being called to be a Priest and not a STUD QB….Then he can pray for ND and gives us that Coach Holtz Edge….

  20. I am also excited of Hendrix Potential. I don’t think he entered ND early like reese so he was behind the 8 ball… u say he is a decent Runner for a QB which would bring a huge element to Coach Kelly’s offense..

    I still think it is Crist. I think Crist will be better and now that Coach Kelly and Crist have a yr under their belts at ND he will manage Crist better. But if he gets beat out by Hendrix/ Reese or anybody else I will take that as a real positive for ND QB position.. .

  21. PRTB
    I agree the more competition the better for the team and the players.I havn’t seen him play college but did see highschool highlights for whatever that’s worth.He runs well and has a cannon for an arm.I’m not counting out Crist as he is a talented player and maybe sitting out will make him see the whole picture and understand what he needs to do.Reese to me just has that “it” factor.He seemed to lead the team very well and bounced back after throwing ints, he also went 3-0 as the starter you have to take that into consideration.Should be a fun spring to watch and see who seperates from the pack.GO IRISH!!

  22. Hey Frank , remember the Pitt game , and the BC game , and the Army game that Turk was instrumental in the Victory ! As far as i can remember , he hasnt cost us a game ! Last year as a freshman he had to take over the duties for the starting punter who had actually cost the Irish a couple games ! Dont be so quick to turn on Turk who’s a hell of a Punter we’re LUCKY to have ! By the way , there was a ” monsoon ” which made a difference in evaluating a punters average ! Also , the USC’s punters avg was less than Turks , so please , be slow to judge and evaluate , and quick to be supportive !

  23. Crist vs.Reese vs.Hendrix I think he will push hard for the starting spot and is very talented and can run pretty well.Don’t count him out.

  24. Crist versus Reese

    Yes Crist durability is questionable but that is not reason to start him… He was significantly better then Reese this yr even though Crist had his flaws… This was his first season starting which is something to consider and he had some great drives…

    Reese played great for a true freshmen and made some plays to win games. he seems to have a lot of poise and character… He did miss plenty of passes and made plenty of mistakes with very limited opportunities.. ND defense stepped up big time when Reese was appointed QB and the running game became more relavent. Which are to things Coach Kelly learn this season. In my opinion a little to late, but better late then never..(i know that comment will deeply offend some reader for some reason)

    Crist for QB next season and we know we can win with Reese if we have too. He gained Valuable eperience this season.

    1. Crist was shaky and favored the knee when he started this year. He got knocked into Mr Robinsons neighborhodduring the Michigan game on seemingly an innocent hit. Play calling was compromised on his behalf for fear of a set back. Now his other knee is blown up and both injuries occured simply by falling. He will have one year IF he comes back then the Irish transition to another QB. That doesnt make sense to me especially in light of Crist’s history this year – playing decent after getting comfortable at the start of the season but then he began regressing before getting hurt again.

      Rees simply has that look and obviously the ability to be really good. He has played well overall and he seems to be grasping the offense real quick not to mention the dude has ice in his veins! I do believe he is undefeated w/ a win against the condoms too. Again, its Rees job to lose.

      1. Chris,

        He has thrown 3 redzone interceptions, one which cost ND a game and 8-4 record. If the defense doesn’t step up ND loses at USC 28-21. I am not saying he shouldn’t be considered but lets go into the season with all three QB’s because under BK’s system they will all play.

      2. Jack –

        All part of getting acquainted to the game at the college level and Freshman mistakes. He has a grasp of the spread offense that Crist does not have. I will take that over learning mistakes anyday. Even if Crist recovers – BK will dial back the offense in light of the injury but I dont think Crist will be an issue after what he has seen in Rees already.

      3. Chris,

        I disagree. Crist is a better raw passer than Rees. He is taller and after teams gets tape on Rees they are going to look for deflections. Also when Crist was running the offense ND was not rushing the ball as well as they are now. Crist makes better decision than Rees, he throws a better ball, he is a better athelete and this it factor you are all referring to I disagree with. Remember Crist was running the offense when players were still learning it. Everyone at Michigan though Mallet was not that good and look at what he is doing at Arkansas. I would stick with Crist unless he is beat out by Rees or Hendrix.

  25. Saw on another board that there is the possibility of playing Miami in the Sun Bowl but it depends on how the Pac 10 shakes out.

  26. Yeah I would have liked to see that game happen also.Catholics vs.convicts in a bowl.Oh well we play them in a couple of years I can’t wait.

  27. Watched the game at the ND Club of Denver game watch. Loud and proud!! Man, that was fun! Had a ball yelling HUUUUUUUGHES along with everyone else. My hat’s off to BK and his staff. The turn-around they’ve engineered since the Tulsa game is one of the best coaching jobs I’ve seen at ND in years. Making the comparisons to Lou’s first year just might be valid….BK’s first year is eerily similar. Lou turned it around after a break as well. Love that defense!! What I saw was a group that was kicking ass and taking names. Unlike earlier in the season the way they were playing Saturday night I would have been surprised if SC won this one late. SC hadn’t done jack with a short field and I felt pretty confident they weren’t going to get it done with a long field. Of course, there was that long pass to a wide open receiver who could have walked it in backwards if he hadn’t developed a serious case of the drops. I’m still grinning. To paraphrase: That’s one small drop for a Trojan; and, one giant leap for ND. GO IRISH!!

  28. Latest bowl projections have Notre Dame vs. Maryland in either the Champs Sports Bowl or the EagleBank Bowl… I did see one that had ND vs. NC State in the Champs Sports Bowl. Kind of disappointing that I didn’t see an ND-Miami match-up.

  29. You do know that back up started 8 games at Arkansas right.U do know we had an 18 year old true freshman qb who started 2 games before this one right?How about all of other backups we were playing, back up TE,RB,NT.Sick of excuses the game shouldn’t have been as close as it was, if we had an experienced qb we win by 30.It’s not ND’s fault your coach couldn’t put a game plan together for your qb, i’m suprised he can tie his own shoes.The USC team has a ton of talent, but they are all playing for numero uno.All they want is the NFl.USC better get used to it because like it or not ND will be back.They do have work to do, but they have a coach that will make them do the work unlike USC.Coaching is the most important part of a program.

  30. A Fan,

    Which team are you a fan of? ND? I doubt it.

    I’m the first one to be critical when warranted. Yes, this is not the best SC team. Yes, they had a backup QB. All true. But here are some other facts, sir. That SC team was still a top 20 team at some point this season. That backup QB was the best high school player in his recruiting class and started as a true freshman at Ark. That backup QB has been in the SC program for 3 years now.

    Also, what about ND playing with a true freshman backup QB? What about all the injuries to key starters on both sides of the ball? I didn’t get you mentioning that, “A Fan.” I guess these are just inconvenient truths for you!

    “Anus Eagle,” are you back under an assumed name?

  31. You do know that USC has a back-up QB in with no time to prepare a solid game plan right? Let not get on the D bank wagon yet. They still have a lot of work to do. This is not the USC teams of the past. Sorry to but your bubble.

    1. Don’t you dare “but my bubble” sir! Don’t you DARE!

      Ahhh haaa! USC Sucks… ahhh haaa!

      Now… IrishChan is sorry that he “butted yourrrr bubble”!

    2. Maybe all of the catchable passes that were dropped were Mustain’s fault. ND wins that game regardless of which QB was playing for that A-hole Kiffin.

      What’s even better is that all the shit is slowly dropping out of the top 25…First SC and now Florida. I’m watching the replay of FSU throttling Florida right now. Have fun Chris Martin, Florida’s offense is TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. @ A FAN:

      Spell much? YOU DO KNOW that ND has been racked by injuries right? Without their starting RB and without the best TE in the country?

      Better get used to this Irish fans. USC fans are going to piss and moan for years because of their getting caught for CHEATING. It’s going to be this over and over: “Well we’re not the team we USED to be so the fact that you won doesn’t really count.” You mean the team you used to be when you were breaking all those rules?

  32. Scout and Rivals are reporting we just got a committ from RB Cam McDaniel. Kids from Texas, plays 5A ball there on the third ranked team in the country. Had a shuttle time of 3.84 at the Army combine, 34 inch vertical, and 4.5 40. He is described as a leader on his team. Sounds like a RKG. Some sites have him listed as an “Athlete” as opposed to RB. Others project him as a slot receiver. He is 5’11” and weighs 190.

    Things are looking up. First we beat SC then some good news on the recruiting trail.

    Welcome home Cam! GO IRISH

    1. He rushed for over 1600 yards and 28 touchdowns this season and had 33 catches for 417 yards and 2 TDs. He had offers from Stanford, Colorado, Iowa Sate, Minn. and Air Force.

      he had said he was gonna hold off on recruiting till after the season (his team won last week in the first playoff game)but I guess the ND offer was too enticing.

      Nice to beat Stanford for a kid when they are riding high.

      1. I just went on to superprep about 4 days ago and looked at possible running backs for the Irish after Justice Hayes left.He was one of the ones with Nd in his top 3, but when I looked it said ND hadn’t offered.Apparently Justice Hayes made room for this kid wich is fine with me, I say get kids that will fully commit to the program.He seems like a good kid and a good athlete. Here is what superprep had to say about him.”McDaniel is a tough runner. He does not have ideal size yet, but he is a workhouse of running back that averages well over 20 carries per game. He fights hard for every yard and has a unique style of running. He keeps his feet moving and twists, turns and powers his way out of the grasp of would be tacklers. He is not super explosive, but has the speed to take it to the house when he hits the open field. He catches well. ” To me this is an RKG.He averages 177 yards a game(all-purpose) I think he could be a great spread RB or a great slot reciever.Think Wes Welker was a runningback also.Who knows but he seems like a good player who plays top competition in Texas.

  33. Crist is not durable – he blew out his other knee and never got hit. It makes no sense to re-install Crist next year IF he does come back from injury again, then turn around the following year and re-acquaint Rees to the position. This was valuable experience for Tommy this year – I say again it is his position to lose.

      1. Chris,

        Rees doesn’t throw a nice deep ball and he has not been asked to run at all. In Kelly’s system you always need 3 QB’s because of injury. I think next year Hendrix will pass him on the depth chart anyways. Crist is a good player and Kelly won’t be afraid to run him next year knowing what he has behind him. Plus ND was not running the ball like they are now when he was playing.

      2. Jack –

        The ones TJ Jones and Tyler Eifert laid out and caught in games prior to SC were perfectly thrown balls considering the coverage and even better considering it was a true starting freshman throwing it – are you kidding me?

      3. Chris,

        His deep ball floats a lot. He has trouble throwing a deep out. He is about 6’1″ and 200 lbs and durability will be a factor if Kelly runs him. From all accounts Hendrix has a lazer for an arm. Rees has a ton of interceptions throwing into coverage. Crist is a better athelete and has a stronger arm. Hendrix is a bigger player and more atheletic thatn both QB’s. Two passes doesn’t make a better season. Crist does have issues with accuracy, but he makes better decisions and throws a better ball.

      4. “Rees doesn’t throw a nice deep ball…”
        “His deep balls float alot…”

        The kid is 18 and a freshman!

        The following throws were dead on balls accurate. Fairly deep for a kid in his circumstance:

        Tulsa game-
        334 yds. passing and 4 TDs
        25 yard TD pass to Floyd

        Utah game-
        129 yds. passing and 3 TDs
        26 yard TD pass to Kumara

        I would argue that he really hasn’t thrown that many “deep” balls. He’s not getting that many play calls to throw deep yet, so how do we really know?

      5. JDH,

        Look at his picks compared to Crist. Look at picks per attempt compared to Crist. You just admit in your post he is not getting the chance to throw many deep balls, why is that? It is because Kelly has not opened up the offense because he knows the kid can’t do it. IrishChan has pointed out the diffference between 70% throwing when Crist is the QB and 50% when Rees is the QB. Also look at his completion percentage it isn’t that good. Also Tulsa’s defense is a joke and Utah had turnovers inside the 40 yd line. What were his SC numbers. We can agree to disagree and let this all play out in summer camp.

    1. Chan,

      These people are just haters! Screw them! (I know, I know, I should be more charitable, but….) Thanks for sharing, though.

      1. Yup. Just another pinhead who would cry the loudest about due process, if and when it would fit their agenda. Because of his hatred for ND that call is not going to be made. Selective outrage and nothing more. He probably took the same line during the Duke Lacrosse case, then piped down once the truth came out.

        Move along. Nothing more to see here…

      2. Agreed that was just garbage, if you don’t like ND fine, but to talk about the things he talked about with no evidence whatsoever is just garbage.Looking at the comments on that page I hope his name gets dragged through the mud just like he tried to do with the ND football program.Write about something you know and leave the real journalism to the profesionals.

  34. Nice to finally get a win over USC and more importantly, we looked faster and more physical than them for a change. I think it says something about BK as a coach when after Tulsa, the team could have gone in the tank but instead of sleepwalking through the rest of the season, they turned it around and played inspired ball despite injuries to key starters.

    Hughes reminded me of Bettis on that last drive. Like trying to tackle a truck with legs.

  35. I like the way the program is trending. Just think if the three starters out played in that game, SC would have lost by much more. I have read some posts on this board concerning Rees over Dayne Crist and I disagree that Dayne will not start next year. Rees has not run that much and the running game of the Irish has gotten much better. I think Dayne starts next year and the defense is a top 25 defense next year. They only loose Walls, B.Smith and Ian Williams. The offense on the other hand will also be a top 25 offense after one year in the system. As far as ND haters, who cares there will always be ND haters and I have learned to ignore them.

    1. It will be interesting – Crist just never looked comfortable in theat system – so hard to judge – I agree Rees has not run as much as I though he would – that may be by orders – so we will havr to wait – the offense is still a work in progress – we have other QBs that may become part of the picture. The big factor is the questions are all on the positive – the D should be a lot better – Much of it comes down to the attitude and that is certainly going in the right direction – all we can do is wait

      1. I still like Crist more than Reese.

        Crist wasn’t given the same opportunities that Reese was.

        Reese hasn’t been asked to “carry” the team as Crist was asked to do. Crist was throwing the ball 30+ plus times a game and didn’t have a run game in place at ALL!

        I’ll agree that Reese has been fantastic when he asked to throw the ball 15-20 times a game. As soon as Kelly began calling pass after pass Reese showed that he was still learning and started making mistakes.

        Considering that Crist was asked to command a new (complicated) system without having a run game to speak of I think he played very well.

        Personally I feel that Crist has more to give than Reese (as of right now). Crist is much bigger as well as one of the “leaders” of the team.

        How many balls were tipped at the line of scrimmage Saturday night? Reese isn’t a very big kid. That’s not to say that a QB has to be 6’3″ but it helps!

        At any rate the QB competition will be great next Spring.

  36. ND looked great on Saturday. Diaco has them playing off the charts. I wish Brian Smith had another year. I can not wait to see Nix in action next year. Shembo is going to be special. On the offense, I do not see Rudolph going pro. The injury killed that chance for him. Floyd is an unknown. I am not sure why analysts like Kipper do not have him higher on their charts. I would take him over AJ Green.

  37. Is it me boys or have all the ND haters stopped posting on our site? It is always a good sign when there are no comments by the usual ND-hater suspects: Angry Eagle, Irish Thunder, etc… It means that we are back!!!! Kelly is the real deal and he has us back in contention. Go IRISH!!!!! GO IRISH!!!!!

    1. The ND haters may be gone, but the idiots that recognize good coaching (a win) and bad coaching ( a loss) still show up each week to explain what they think BK and the staff are doing. BK is a winner and, more important, he knows how to make others winners.

      1. Neil – They are simply fair weather fans like PRTB….mostly all new to this site as of this year. With them also came a ton of vulgarity that never made it on this site prior to this year.

        Overall – it takes time to change the mentality of a team. We are beginning to see signs that BK does indeed know what he is doing and when all players buy in – the program will indeed be back! GO IRISH! Love the win over SC and love the attitude on D! Who cares what bowl they end up in – JUST WIN BABY! A lot to look forward to next year and the QB position is Rees to lose! I say continue to build around this kid. The injuries hurt this year big time but the experience these kids who picked up the slack got is enormous! Funny how things work out….

      2. Chris, please don’t mind a defense response to your comment… I am not fair weather fan, just very critical on how to get better and what i believe is best for ND… I been on this site only for 3 yrs because of the need to either vent or rejoice with the ups and downs of ND football, B/C most people just don’t care that much…. As far as vulgarity… I don’t use it so i guess you were referring to some other critics. I do disagree with your point on team mentality. I believe coach Kelly believes he should have won 9 games this yr so maybe I am too optimistic but I am in good company…. If my comments aren’t wanted by the majority i won’t continue to comment because I am not trying to upset people, I just enjoy the healthy discussion.
        PS u don’t have to read my comments.

        Believe me, I know I get a little crazy about ND football. My wife and Father sometimes think I am way too critical also.

        Injuries were not the reasons for any of the losses it was coaching and like Coach Kelly said he learn alot this Season

      3. I have to disagree on the injury issue. When Crist was playing against Michigan, we outscored them by several TD’s. The only time they scored while Crist was in the game was their last drive, whereas we scored on 3 (maybe it was 4). We would at least be 8-4 if Crist has not been injured in that game and possibly, the INT against Tulsa wouldn’t have happened but that is debatable because the offense wasn’t really clicking before Crist was injured. Having our best receivers out really hurt our offense this season, though. When you have a new QB, you want to have the best receivers on the field and we didn’t have that most of the year and not having our best RB for half the season didn’t help, either.

  38. Diaco may not have the best speeches out there or be able to give a great interview, but towards the end of the season he did a great job.He did learn under Al Groh, played under Hayden Frye, and was a hell of a linebacker at Iowa.To me he is coaching like he played and he learned from some pretty good coaches.I’d say coach Kelly found a great D coordinator.Great head coaches have great assistan coaches.Keep working Irish and more success is on the horizon.

  39. I am one of Coach Kelly biggest critics. with that said I really like what he said after the game…

    He, when ask about the season said I believe we learned alot this season…

    As I posted at half time; Coach Kelly really pulled a 180 as a coach by running the ball— ball control offense—relying on the defense—-getting floyd the ball….

    which i thought was good coaching. In the second half he got away from the run a little bit until the end of the game when he decided to ram it in for the big score…

    If he is learning and willing to adjust accordingly that is a great sign most coaches can’t see the adjustment that are needed due to ignorance or ego usually… I thought coach kelly’s arrogance and ego was going to blind him but I have to give him credit after the usc game….

    I loved the look that diaco came with on passing down with flemming and shembo on the outside and kap lewis and johnson on the inside… it wasn’t the giant or bears front four but it is the best we got and I was happy to see him make that adjustment…

    I forget who posted it a couple of week ago but whoever you were you posted that coach kelly will learn and will change. cudos to you…

    I happy for the Player/ coaches that they didn’t get to down after the terrible losses to navy and tulsa and rebounded nicely….

    As far as the drop pass i feel like ND had enough breaks go against them this yr and the pass few yrs that one drop pass in terrible weather wasn’t to much to ask for….. we put ourselves in position to win this game and ND did win with a freshmen QB….. I liked diaco adjustment after that play bringing brian smith on the next play to smack mustain….

    No one is going to want to play us in a bowl game we are clicking at a very good time….

    1. In our defense Power, all we have been asking for is for Kelly to utilize our backs as the foundation of this offense. And let our QB’s learn the offense by having the defense focus on one part of our offense. Our running game.

      To me it just makes sense.

      Personally I have grown to like the running lanes that the Spread offers our backs. We had our slowest most North-South runner rack up a huge day (15 carries or so?) in this offense. What could he have done with 25 carries?

      I still like the idea of Reese/Crist throwing the ball less than 25 times a game and letting our running game be the foundation of the attack.

      Quick high percentage passes to our play maker wide-outs can be the nail in the coffin for the opposing Defenses!

      I’ll say it again…. LOVE the defense!

      1. I am still a fan of stanford offense 1st for ND because I believe ND gets similar personnel but standford does have a spread package.

        Running the ball or even the elusion of the run game is Key to offense..

      2. Completly agree the spread was made for running lanes not to pass 50 times a game like some teams do.

  40. Cav,
    I agree it is nice to sit back and appreciate how far this team has come.I think this team was exhausted and needed time off.People can say what they will, but that was not as easy of a schedule as many people thought.I agree also that Kelly and his staff over the coarse of the bye week changed their play calling and realised they had to change for personel.Thats what good coaches do.I’m exited about next season as you can see the foundation that was laid.All these kids that got playing time and kids making the most of it.The QB situation will be fun to watch, Christ knows he is going to have to improve or else he might be a backup.It’s like I said all year another year in the system, another year in the conditioning program and this team could be very tough.Everybody should go to and watch the celebration after, it’s all the players and coaches truly happy and together no more “I” in this team and the “Fight” is back in the Irish.Lets go win a bowl I don’t care who we play lets show everybody how for ND has come.GO IRISH!!

    1. I posted earlier we have played 10 bowl teams this year!

      Let them say what they will… this team played a solid schedule this year.

  41. It feels real good to sit back and reflect on what this team was able to accomplish this year. I don’t know what happened, but something clicked with this team during the bye week. Think about it, they got hammered by Navy, had to deal with a tragedy, lost their starting QB, and then lost to Tulsa. For this team not to completely throw in the towel was not out of the question. But Kelly and his staff found a way to re-invent themselves during the bye week.

    They came out of that week with a totally different attitude. The defense decided it was time to actually defend for the first time in about 10 years. The coaches decided to plan around the players abilities, not hope the players could adjust to the scheme. But the biggest change is that this all happened with very young and inexperienced players on offense and players who have been beat down the last couple of years on defense.

    What we have witnessed over the last 3 games is a team that has finally understands what it takes to win games. This team doesn’t look like a team that is playing not to lose, but rather, a team that expects to win. This is that foundation that Kelly has been laying since he was hired. I can see how he can turn programs around so fast, because he did it without the services of some of his best players.

    Think about how good this team can be next year especially if Floyd and Rudolph come back. Think about the competition this team is going to have at the QB position. Think about this defense and how many will be back next year. All these injuries may have been blessings in disguise because this team now has some serious depth.

    This team has some serious momentum right now and I think recruits will take notice. How can they not be impressed by the drastic turn around made by this defense. Defensive kids didn’t want to come to ND because they wouldn’t be developed, well I think that perception has changed. We are starting to see a running game, which could bring some elite running backs. I think if ND wins their bowl game, we will see some exciting pick-ups in recruiting.

    This year has been tough but the future seems bright. I look forward to the bowl game.

  42. Great win for the Irish. I am sooooo happy. Still partying here in South Bend.
    I would argue this season has been the best since Weis first year. I was also thinking we are three plays away from being 10-2. Mighiga- stopping DR on the last drive for Mich, (DC not getting hurt) or completing that last pass for a TD. Fake field goal vs Mich St, and not kicking a field goal vs Tulsa. We are close.

    Our loses are to good teams except for Tulsa and Navy. I think we will win our bowl game. 8-5 would be a great first year. Wins vs ranked #14 Utah and USC and a bowl game would be great.

  43. Hey, one other thing. Is it just me, or does Kiffin look a LOT like that baby on the E Trade commercials??? I swear I couldn’t help but think of that freakin baby everytime they showed him on the sidellines.

  44. And Fair Catch Goodman was consistant as usual too. GOD, when is Kelly going to wake up and let SOMEONE else return punts. The key word “RETURN” punts. If we had someone like Jackson who wasn’t afraid to run with the ball, maybe we could get a little return yardage and the offense would not have to start on the 10 every time.

    Yeah sure, he never made any mistakes by calling fair catches and letting it bounce, but if we could just get 15 or 20 yards on return, it would be a huge help to the offense.

  45. tommy managed the games well since dayne went out, but i don’t see him keeping his spot. he came from a spread system in highschool and was the most prepared option we had once dayne went down.

    with the kind of defensive support and running game we gave reese the last 3 games, dayne showed he can win games too. like spicey mentioned above, dayne won every game where we held the opposing team under 20 and lost when the opposing team scored over 20, so did reese. dayne’s numbers 59%, 15 td, 7 ints; tommy 63%, 10 td, 8 ints. dayne is so freeking talented, i gotta believe he can/will pull it together next year.

    if not, reese, hendrix or one of those possible incoming freshment will get a shot. it is rare you see teams successful at a high level with qbs who ‘manage’ games. especially in the spread, tommy worked for this year but we should be scoring 40+ pionts a game with a good qb.

    with an experienced qb next year, a stout d and solid running game, there is no reason we can’t win all of our games going into palo alto.

  46. GO IRISH! Loved that win! It is easy to see this program is finally moving in the right direction. Kiss off to all the BK doubters out there by the way….GO IRISH!

    1. AMEN to the kiss off comment. Maybe the doubters should go back and read some of their stupid remarks from three / four weeks ago. Several are still offering coaching advice this week. Maybe the Leaping Lep should be listened to, … believe BK understands players and leave the coaching to him.

  47. I made a comment at the beginning of the season that if ND held their opponents to 20 points or less they would win many game. It looks like the 20 point barrier was the difference maker:

    ND was 7-0 when they held their opponents to 20 points or less
    ND was 0-5 when their opponents scored more than 20 points

    I bet the results are pretty similar for most college teams unless they have a terrible offense or a terrible defense (Oklahoma State)

  48. Also,
    I was very happy to see Harrison Smith get the closeout INT. He is without a doubt (IMO) the most improved player on the squad. Good for him!

  49. I am so glad that my predictions for the last 3 games were so spectacularly wrong. 🙂

    The USC game was really a microcosm of the 2010 season. Moments of brilliance followed by lots of moments of diarrea. But it matters not- Rees and Co. put a great drive together to get the job done. He continues to impress me, minus of course the bad interceptions- he’ll learn.

    I am still very pleasantly suprised with how well this unit pulled together after the Navy and Tulsa debacles, failure to close out the UM and MSU games etc.

    Looking forward to the bowl game. GO IRISH!

    Oh yeah, and F$CK Lane Kiffin. What a classless tool…

  50. AT GVSU when Kelly’s teams were putting up 58 pionts per game I believe they rushed for almost 300 yards a game.To me this says that he wants to run the ball, he wants to be balanced and keep defenses off balance.I think at Cincy he didn’t have the players to pound the ball and new he didn’t have a good enough d to stop people so his defense played aggresive got turnovers and the offense chucked it up. In the early part of this year I don’t think the team was tough enough and the offensive line didn’t gel yet.I hope we see more of this for years to come, I said it all year you can run a spread offense and still pound the ball you just need the attitude to do it.

  51. Love the Power Spread comment.

    College football is 70% mental. ND has its swagger back.

    Luck? USC was lucky H Smith fell, lucky the iffy fumble call went their way leading to their only TD, etc. The better team won last night, to call us lucky ignores the whole picture. Besides, losing teams drop balls when the chips are down. We know all about that from the last few years.

    This team is on their way. Go Irish! Hopefully we get Florida State or someone like that in the bowl game and beat them. 8-5 would be HUGE!

  52. What makes me optimistic about the Kelly era is that you can already see he understands his players talents and weaknesses and leverages them the right way. Hughes and Brian Smith are two great examples. Weis never had a clue about how to leverage these guys and they never played up to their talent level. Kelly in a short period of time has them playing incredible football. Can you imagine what this guy and his staff can do with a player over 4 years? The guy will win a championship in his time at ND. No doubt.

  53. I agree delta, for the first time in years I didn’t get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when usc got the ball for their final drive. I was strangely confident. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I really hope Hayseed comes back next year, he finally seems to be turning into the playmaker we’ve all been waiting for

  54. I would first like to say that this is the best Irish defense since the Davie era/Willingham’s first season. They were put into horrid positions during the game and they more than held their own.

    -SC is not SC anymore. They still have great speed and athletes, but the toughness is gone. ND won this game due to their toughness. Especially the winning drive, when ND offensive line blew up SC’s d-line.

    -SC got a full taste of Michael Floyd. They were lucky he was injured the previous two seasons. Floyd was wonderful and he should be the top receiver in college football next year if he stays.

    -Gary Gray, Robert Blanton, and Darrin Walls are excellent physical corners. SC receivers had the size and speed, but the three ND corners had the physical capabilities to shut them down.

    -Gary Gray will be a great draft choice for any NFL team.

    1. Agree the toughness that USC had is gone in one year.It’s amazing what a coach can do.I was listening to a former USC player from the 80’s(can’t remember the name, he was talking about no matter what players the Irish had they played tough and you knew it was going to be a fight for 4 qtrs, for the first time in ten years I think this is true, and for the first time in ten years USC is soft and got owned. Man this feels good.GO IRISH!!!

  55. I might be crazy but I’m starting to think Floyd could turn into an NFL tight end. He seems to get bigger every year and I don’t know if he has the speed to be a #1 NFL WR. 10-15 more pounds and he would be unstoppable at the TE position. Just a thought!

  56. Our Lady finally has her swagger back on D boys and girls. I had the oddest feeling at the 2 minute mark in the fourth. ND had just gone up and left a little over @ to go for SCum. Over the past 4 or 5 years (even in this year) I would have had that sinking feeling that ND was gonna blow it. We never get the breaks, too much time etc. But this time, I actually had the feeling that this team wasnt gonna quit, wasnt gtonna stop and wasnt gonna lose. The dropped ball scared me a bit, but, the fights back in the Irish.

  57. Chris Gallipo completely bulldozed by Robert Huuuuuuuuuuughs!!!!

    And how about Pat Haden saying that the perception and reality of Lane Kiffin are two different things. My perception is that he is a real nice guy….the reality must then be that he is a complete asshole!!!

    1. Big Time J Dog. Did you see how he threw his player under the bus for the dropped ball at the end of the game. No coach should pin a loss on one play. Kiffin took it to a new low. If that kid did make the catch it would have been a great catch. It was behind him and was not a gimme catch. None the less I agree with your assessment of Kiffin. A real D Bag. Glad to see that USC grabbed him as their coach.

    There is alot to be said about this team and fighting to the end. Credit Kelly and his staff for keeping this team together thru trying times this year. It could have gone much further south and never come back.

    Defense, defense, defense and some good old Irish Luck!

    Can we recruit someone who can return kicks please?

    Very happy for Robert Hughs to finally beat USC his senior year and he was a big part of it. Wish he was used more all season.

    Lane Kiffin is truly a weirdo but the USC Cheerleaders – wow as always!!!!

  59. With all the turnovers we had we should have lost that game by 3 td’s!!! However, what you saw out there was a team fitting to be called THE FIGHTING IRISH!!!! The only problem I have is that Robert Hughes should have gotten the ball 20 to 25 tines. Even in the 1st half you could see he was going to run all over usc. The trojans had no answer for the power running game. All-in-all good win and onto the bowl game!!!

    1. Yes… YES… Yes!

      I REEAALLY hope that when the staff review the film they see as clearly as I did that it was the RUNNING game and Defense that overwhelmed USC.

      For the last 3 weeks this has been the key to victory for us. I started to get really scared when Kelly started calling pass after pass.

      I could get behind the spread ALL DAY if Kelly would start calling a Power Spread game and then play action pass and his complicated passing game.

  60. Nice win for the program. I didn’t get a chance to see any of it — vacationing in FL — but from what I’ve read, the Irish played well early, hung tough late and won in a very difficult environment. After a long and horrific losing streak in LA, the Irish knock off the Trojans. Great stuff.

    Let’s hope we get to play a great opponent in a bowl in the near future.

  61. The bottom line:Notre Dame has a DEFENSE for the first time in many years. With a break or two and some better decision-making at appropriate times, this could have been a very good year.But there’s a lot to look forward to in the years to come. It’s the first time I can remember them getting better as the year ended, instead of sputtering to the finish line…and all this with an extremely inexperienced QB, their Tight End and RB out, and 2nd best receiver not playing.

  62. the question i have is who plays QB next year. tommy is 3-0 as a freshman so he will only get better. Dayne played well before getting hurt and rumors are that hendrix is perfect for Kelly’s system. BUg decision for Brian

    1. I have the feeling that Hendrix is the QB of the future for Kelly. He’s saved him up and he’ll be good come spring!

      1. i don’t think we necessarily saw reese progress. he ran the spread in highschool and from the first snap, it was a smooth transition for him. that is why he started this year. with more time in the system, i bet we see some real competition in the spring

      2. It’s good to have competition is how good teams become great.I think it will be Hendrix if he learns the offense well enough.Kelly said it himself that he has one of the best releases he has ever seen, and he can move.We might end up with Everett Golson who is a good dual threat prospect.Should be a good battle in the spring.

      3. I don’t think he progressed at all, but I wouldn’t expect much over 4 games after being a back up. Overall, Crist performed better and is a better prospect at this point. This is especially true if we start playing a real offense instead that joke of an offense, the “spread option”. I’m not sold on Kelly, but Diaco seems to have learned something. He’s not wed to a 3 man front all of the time. I’ve seen much more 4 man looks. I think the flexibility has helped the defense.

  63. You have to admit, that you got EXTREMELY lucky that RoJo dropped that ball. I understand the INTs kept USC in the game, but that pass would have (in all likelihood) won the game.

    1. you got EXTREMELY lucky to be in the game. usc’s TOTAL distance on their scoring drives was 38 yards! what a joke!

      you were dominated.

      USC – won 3 of last 8, no bowl, head coach is a douche

      nd – won 6 of last 8, headed to a bowl and a bright future with the coach of the future.

      if you were a recruit, where would you go?

    2. You would have to admit that Hughes marched his big 250 pound body down the field with the same grace as ND’s marching band at half time!

      Single plays don’t determine games…it’s the whole body of work.

      And USC’s offenses couldn’t move the ball against ND. We gave them 4 chances inside our 50 to blow the game out. They couldn’t do it.. D- played far too well for them to have an answer.

    3. A win after 8 years! Walking out of the Coliseum never felt better. Finally, it was USC who was on the end of some bad breaks.

    4. wow, just read a kiffin quote that sums up how huge of an ass he is, to put it in perspective,

      we all saw what happened to boise on fri, when asked, what did Coach Peterson have to say about the missed fgs?

      “One play can never lose a game. It can win a game but it can’t lose a game,” Petersen said. “There were a lot of chances for us to make plays and Nevada made more plays than us.”

      When asked about rojo’s drop what did kiffin have to say?

      “It’s just a shame, because now you’ve got a whole locker room and the whole Trojan Family all down in the tank at one play [that] could completely change the whole outcome,” Kiffin said.

      how about some accountability? jesus what a douche

    5. You have to admit you got extremely lucky that the defensive back fell down on that pass to Johnson. If he deosn’t drop the ball USC probably wins the game, if Smith doesnt fall down he is probably all over that, but what happened was USC lost.

  64. This team WANTS to run the ball! The last 3 victories have come because Kelly made it a point to POUND the football. We have the backs to do it. If you ask Reese to throw the ball 25+ times you can expect him to make multiple mistakes with reads throughout the game. It’s just going to happen. I don’t care that there were tip balls… blah, blah, blah.

    Roll him out… shot-gun… under-center… what ever…

    Pound the ball and ask the kid to to complete 12-15 passes a game.

    Our DEFENSE is playing some spectacular football! They have shown us that they are hungry and keep to opposing team out of the end zone. They are playing with attitude.

    Monti, Gray, Smith (Harrison), Smith (Brian) and some younger guys are playing really…really well!

    I really hope that Kelly recognizes that we can be a spread team… with a GREAT running game and have a DEFENSIVE personality too…

    Bring on the next game and recruits!

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