Dissecting the Big Least

I’m not just saying this because I’m a bitter Colts fan, but leave it to a Steel Town sportswriter to be a total freaking idiot. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook recently took issue with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick calling out Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg and athletic director Steve Pederson for jumping ship to the ACC after years of masquerading as Big East loyalists.

12908110111 Pitt v Notre Dame feature
Pitt is Notre Dame's fifth-longest rivalry, trailing only Navy, USC, Purdue and Michigan State in games played.

“Offensive and preposterous don’t even begin to describe Swarbrick’s remarks,” Cook said, concluding his emoting, over-the-top diatribe with the less-than-eloquent, “I want to gag. Like Notre Dame is so pure. What garbage.

Mr. Cook’s remarks aside, I vote we have an honest conversation about the Big East. It has always been a Frankenstein creation living on borrowed time. The conference currently comprises 16 teams in basketball, of which only nine teams have Division I-A football teams, one of which isn’t part of the conference, but in just football. Of the remaining seven teams, two are Div I-AA and five don’t even have football programs. This doesn’t count the two all-sports schools set to leave the conference in 27 months, the three all-sports schools who left the conference eight years ago, the one all-sports school set to join the conference next year, the other all-sports school rumored to be wanting in, the two military academies rumored to be on a future invite list, but in just football, or the two schools rumored to be considering following Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC.

Anyone manage to follow that? Hell, I’m guessing when Notre Dame first suggested, “We’d like to join, but the problem is we want to join in every sport but football,” the Big East probably said something to the effect of, “You call that a problem?”

Swarbrick “ripped the Pitt hierarchy” because they flat-out lied to the Big East. Where’s the hypocrisy in that? Has Notre Dame lied to the Big East? The school set its conditions for admission into the conference, and its members agreed to those conditions. The end. The Big East isn’t dying because of Notre Dame’s ambivalence; the schools that put the conference on life support from day one are Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence and Depaul.

You want lies, Mr. Cook? You want hypocrisy? Okay then, try these on for size:

“This is a case that involves broken commitments, secret dealings, breaches of fiduciary responsibility, the misappropriations of conference opportunities and predatory attempts to eliminate competition.” – Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg on a joint lawsuit filed by Pitt, UConn, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Rutgers and brought against the ACC and its two newest members, Boston College and Miami, formerly of the Big East (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 1, 2003)

“We were flattered by the ACC’s interest in us. We’re grateful to receive the invitation to join this very special conference and feel privileged to be moving forward in your company.” – Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg (ACC teleconference call, Sept. 18, 2011)

“All of our energy and focus at this time needs to be on building a stronger Big East.” – Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg (Post-Gazette, July 1, 2003)

“The Big East has been Pitt’s conference home for nearly 30 years. It has been a good home that we will leave with many fond memories and many strong friendships.” – Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg (ACC teleconference call, Sept. 18, 2011)

On a personal note, is there any chance you’ll ever stop the muckraking, Mr. Cook? It’s no secret you’ve relished bashing Catholic schools over the years. Find a new drum to beat, you jackass.



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  1. Gents-The ‘Crystal Ball’ has spoken. Lame and Perps are in for a very bad time of it Saturday. This will be their ‘Little Big Horn.’

    In most cases I would not wish to lay a bashing on an opponent but I have to agree with you all-We need to whip SC ass until the stick breaks or the clock runs out. Pay back is a bitch; and her name is Irish. Let the beatings begin!

    1. Seriously. I know I’m going to be a maniac on Saturday night. I believe it will mostly come down to turnovers. We turn it over too many times, we lose. We protect the ball, we win. That’s been the obvious story of the year…

  2. Coach Kelly,
    Please, oh please, keep the pedal to the floor for 60 minutes! This is only one for the Irish to lose, not one for USC to win. Kiffin thinks he really beat you last year, Coach. Show him. No let up. The Trojans defaced the name of Our Lady! We are defending her honor. Don’t let the perps. up off the pavement. Cuff them and stuff them in the lockup.

    Please Coach Kelly, keep scoring and keep them out of the end zone for 60 minutes.

    1. Those trojan condoms didn’t have any problem flooring that pedal when admittedly, they had much better teams than us, during Ty & Charlie’s tenure’s when they laid on some beatings to ND. It’s time for a new round of “racing” with the boys of Troy. I agree with you C-DOG, Coach K, hammer down & pedal to the metal with these guys. DON’T LET UP IF YOU HAVE THEM IN A KNOCKOUT POSITION! Go Notre Dame.

  3. I have a few observations. I live in California so I see a lot of USC football. ( I hate their stinking ass) Lame Kiffin is NOT Pete Carroll. Pete the cheat had his teams with a lot of swagger and confidence and obviously talent. Not the same with Lame. Yes, they have talent but they do not have that swagger anymore or confidence. I’m telling you right now.

    They used to be high fivin on the sidelines jumping up and down. Not anymore. I believe they are toast, done, put a fork in them.

    The Irish have talent and I believe they have a great coach. Now all they need is that swagger and confidence. It all starts right now with beating USC and also beating the Navy the following week.

    The only thing keeping USC afloat this year is Matt Barkley. When Barkley leaves after this year they will fall Like Osama bin Laden.

    We need to seize the moment. Saturday night. IN OUR HOUSE. Let’s clean their clock and shut their sorry ass up once and for all!

    1. I used to have a lot of respect for USC back when big Johnny Robinson was on the sidelines.

      He made sure his players got their education, stayed out of trouble, and played and conducted themselves with class.

      He made sure no one player was bigger than the team or the University.

      There was no cutting classes, cheating, gesturing, or trash talking.
      His players did their talking with their play, and you could respect that.

      In my book, Slippery Pete and Lame Kitten have soiled a great football tradition.

      Pete surely left his mark on the program… it’s an asteric next to the 2005 season, and I don’t see the Kitten changing that image any time soon.

      1. I will compliment you on some good objective observations of the next opponent, SHAZAMROCK. I also thought John McKay wasn’t too bad either.

  4. Shaz-Lame is an excuse. No class. And what is class without the cl? It’s what Lame and his convicts are going to get kicked on Saturday night. The Crystal Ball sees a big win for the Irish and a big whine from the Lame. The worst loss he was ever part of was when the umbilical cord was snipped at birth.

    We’re 8,000 miles away and can feel the energy building already.

  5. I cannot lie… I just don’t like Lane Kiffin.

    We all know how he jerked around a proud and history rich Tennessee.
    Not only did he make promises he had no intension of keeping, he also stole a bunch of recruites. Recruites whom he had told just months eariler about how great ol Rocky Top was.

    So Lame makes a Boom on the orange rug over a year ago, and poor Tennessee is still finding turds under the couch.
    But, if you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

    Here’s what the Lame just said about last years game:

    Kiffin raising eyebrows twice when talking about the Trojans’ 20-16 loss last November. Kiffin felt like the Trojans gave the game away.

    “That’s why that game was so hard,” Kiffin explained. “It had been so many years of all the players and coaches to get that streak to where it was, and then really, to just hand the game away. As we all remember, the ball’s in our hands, we’re going to walk in the end zone and win the game. And then for all those years and hard work to come down to that. It was very hard to deal with.”

    Maybe if we beat his chicken ass by 30, he’ll have no choice but to say he lost to a better team!

    He called the game “the worst loss he’d ever been a part of”

    Get used to it Lame!

  6. Hey storespook,

    When did you become an etymologist? Hahahahahahaha! How about Mr. Barkley experiances a real horripilation event when he sees Lynch in his face all day! Hahahahahahahaha, word club!

    Hahahaha……….GO Irish!

  7. Shaz-USC will bring their’ a’ game Saturday night. We want them to be 100% so there will not be any excuses after the dust settles! Our O and D lines should shred them. That is the Trojans true achilles tendon. I have seen them three times now.
    As for that ‘Green Dough” or whatever the moron is, we have the right coach and the right players. The train should start rolling Saturday night and not stop until we win the NC.
    As far as Mark May, aka ‘The Oneonta Oaf’ goes-he is a racist and ignorant blob.
    I can’t believe Coach Holtz hasn’t chopped his farcical head off. I know in my heart of hearts the ‘Oaf’ is going to hell when his demise arrives.

    1. USC being at 100% ain’t gonna happen. That much is already clear. And ND cannot control that any more than they can control the weather. Let SC fans make excuses- it’s just noise. No one remembers who was injured and who wasn’t- just who won and who lost. Injuries are part of the game. As far as this comment:
      “I can’t believe Coach Holtz hasn’t chopped his farcical head off. I know in my heart of hearts the ‘Oaf’ is going to hell when his demise arrives.”

      Really? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand May either. But maybe chill out a little bit. We’re talking about disagreement over FOOTBALL here. Mark May isn’t Al Qaeda.

      1. JDH-Don’t you recognize sarcasm when you see it? ‘Taking his head off’ would require Coach Holtz to simply flay the ‘Oaf’ on national television. No one is speaking of Al Qaeda.

      2. Sarcasm does not always come through in the written word. But I would then ask you the same question- Can you recognize sarcasm when you see it? The Al Quaeda comment was a joke.

        It appears we were both joking.

    2. Warrior,

      During Charlie Weis’s administration, he had a couple of seasons where the talent and depth where thin.
      We didn’t make excuses, and we took our beating.

      USC, with the transfers, injuries and recruiting restrictions are facing similar issues.
      We ND fans have long memories.
      I say What goes around comes around.
      I am a little worried about those PAC-12 officials though.
      I watch the USC-Cal game and some of the calls were very questionable.

      C’mon..Mark May is Al Qaeda???
      I don’t think so.

      But I did see him driving one of those old, beat up, Toyota pick-up trucks, so I wouldn’t rule out the Taliban!

      1. Shazz-That is so funny about Mark May aka “The Oneonta Oaf’
        The Pac officials-Oh yeah they will be a concern in this game. However they know “Zay vill be vatched veeery carefuelly by za Irish.”
        I remember the beatings they laid on us. Now it is going to be their turn in the woodshed.
        When I was a kid living in California (Monterey) I had to haul ass from the SC crowd more than once. It was like a lynch mob or something along that line coming to get me when it was revealed I was an Irish. So I do know their mindset.They didn’t get me and they won’t get Tommy either.
        Barkley is dangerous for sure but that Achilles line of theirs will feed him to Manti and the Crew! Olivia Newton John had it right-‘PHYSICAL’!

      2. I just saw thwe ‘Oaf’ drive by predicting an Irish victory Sat night…I guess I hallucinated there for a brief moment.

    3. Hahahahahahahahahaha (regarding that statement concerning Mr. Windbag Mark May-can’t stand his “insights” he loves to say about ND). In terms of the game Saturday night, as Olivia Newton-John once sang back in the 80’s, “Let’s get physical,” yeah, I hope ND gets real PHYSICAL with these west coast boys from Troy. Mr. Barkley, I hope you become a horticulturist due to the number of times you examine the turf close up by the end of the game .

      GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Seen on espn where Marc Tyler may play against us. Regardless the guys not 100% so it still favors us. If anything will be a excuse the SC fans will cry about when we demolish then Saturday night.

    GO IRISH!!!

    1. Tyler is not that great. the other back is about as good. We faced a better back in Pitt’s Graham. Stuffed him cold. I hope our guys get a little angry and hit hard.

      I hope they saw the emotion of how MSU pounded Michigan. Hopefully our guys keep the penalties down. Makes you realize that those 10 turnovers really hurt a great team.

      ND still needs to prove it, but if the boys keep up with the improvement plan and keep playing like they have been, the season should finish on a high not.

      Wins over MSU, and hopefully USC, and better than expected Maryland and Wake Forest, should at least give us a shot if we can beat Stanford.

  9. I hadn’t seen USC play yet this year. I know that they haven’t played the toughest schedule. I know they lost on the Road to Arizona St. I know prior to thusday’s game agianst a woefull Cal team, that they had given up 40+ points in the previous 2 games.

    I watched the first half USC- Cal. When I think of Pete Carroll’s USC teams, I think of very physical play in all phases. Lame Kitten’s USC team is a far cry from that. They started the game by using a lot of non traditional formations and unorthodox motion. They were trying to confuse Cal on defense, and get the ball to their speed players in stride, and in open space. They couldn’t run the ball out of these formations and were held by Cal to one yard rushing in the first quarter. Barkley, when he has time, is a very good passer. When he doesn’t have time, he is very average.
    And of course they still have Woods.
    30 -9 sounds like a dominating performance by USC, but Cal had 4 turnovers in the first half. This game was a gift.
    As JC noted, Tyler is out, their #2 WR Lee has a sprained shoulder and is questioniable this Saturday Night. And their starting corner broke his ankle and will be out.

    With the transfers that they have had, they are thin. Being thin means that you can’t practice as hard for fear of further loss due to injuries.
    This is evident in their style of play.(more finess and less physcial)

    We have had a week off. We are riding a four game winning streak. We just put up 59 agianst AF. We are pretty healthy, And we have the first night home game at ND stadium in like 20 years.

    I hope our fans resemble what we all saw at Michigan when WE were the visiting team for a rare night game. And as long as we don’t turn the ball over, I think everything is in place for ND to have a big game.

    We owe USC a few beat-downs, And PAYBACK starts this Saturday night!

    1. Kelly needs a signature win. This would be one with a significant point differential and a final 4th quarter statement like a pick 6 or a 4th down stuff. Please don’t sit down in the 4th if we have a lead. This is a 60 minute game unless we are up by 40 or more.

      I saw enough of the CAL game to know that USC doesn’t have a high octane running game. WE should be able to shut that down completely. However, we can get burned by their passing unless we can hurry Barkley. But we cannot blitz every down. The coaches better have a plan to quickly substitute for nickel and maybe dime packages.

      On offense, our linemen better play angry for the whole game. We should be able to run on these guys. Look for Gray to be the Robert Hughes of this year. I might even put Hendrix in with a 2 back set. You still have the option to throw one to FLoyd if they oer play the run. No matter what, our offensive line must play smart and physical. That will dictate most of the game, including how the defense plays. Get a lead and don’t let up. Play with confidence and instinct.

      USC is obviously not skipping class for “voluntary workouts” so they don’t look nearly as sharp as when Pete had them on an NFL 40 hour practice schedule.

      If ND takes care of ND, then we’ll beat these guys handily.

      1. C-Dog,

        Like you said , we can’t blitz every down. Barkley is too good for that. But I’m not so sure about his receivers (other than wood)
        I watched Michigan State blitz “late” agianst the wolverines. They stayed back in their set defense, so as not to tip off the offence, then brought the corner back at the snap. Michigan’s receivers failed to see it and didn’t break off their routes, leaving Robinson a sitting duck with no time to throw.
        Give Michigan State credit, they finished him off and made him pay.

        I hope our coaches work on special teams this week. USC is better than us with their special teams play.

      2. Shazamrock,
        Yes, MSU did a great job mixing blitzes and alternately showing blitz but backing off into double coverage. That is an area of concern to me. ND’s secondary tends to play soft in double coverage. Not all the time, but enough and guys seem to get confused. I’ve always thought you let one guy go for the ball and the other guy times a nasty hit. But you have to practice that.

        Speaking of Denard Robinson as you did really makes me wonder what would have happened if Aaron Lynch had been in the Michigan game. Oh, I forgot, Gary Gray still needed to look above the receiver’s ankles. Let’s hope he’s used his time to get more solid. I hope he’s not covering Wood.

        Also, I hope Kelly uses Tuesday or Wednesday for a physical practice. Thursday can be speed and timing. Let’s hope the team is focused and ready to go. This could be the game we’ve waited 9 years for.

        And remember, Pete the Cheat put USC in their situation. Let no USC fan be allowed to whine. They made their bed and they can lie in it.

      3. C-Dog,

        I watched Stanford go from doormat in the PAC-12 to owning that conference. (Oregon might argue that)
        They did it behind strong coaching in Jim Harbaugh and him implementing a physical style of play. USC was the bully on the block until Harbaugh and his crew came along and took it all away.

        Watching Cal-USC last Thursday I was somewhat surprised by USC going for the TD early in the first quarter on 4th and Goal.
        Normally the road team would takes the points (field goal) in that situation.

        USC tried some trick play off some trick formation. The real trick was that they didn’t get it blocked up properly. It cost them the ball on downs and a easy 3 points.

        That really got me thinking.
        Surely it was way too soon for a coach (Kiffin) to start chasing points.
        The only solid conclusion that I can come to is he wanted to get his team some experience in going on fourth down. So he did it early in game.

        What, if anything thing, does that tell us about how the Trojans are viewing this weeks game at ND?

        Are there going to be more trick plays this week?
        Does Kiffin believe that his team will be faced with more than a few fourth down situations?
        My spin on it is that Kiffin knows his team is over matched in this one, which requires alternate solutions to stay competitive.
        I wouldn’t be surprises to see an onside kick, fake punt/ field goal, or more of those goofy formations.

        You know, when you are on the road and those trick plays work, it’s great. But in a game like this, if they don’t work. it’s disasterous!

        If USC goes for the TD on 4th and goal on Saturday night and gets stopped like Cal did last week, you know ND stadium is going to come unglued!

    2. ABSOLUTELY Shazamrock! I hope this prime time opportunity allows the fans to be UP for this game (as they should be). This rivalry in the last 20 years seems cyclical between the two. I’m hoping it is swinging back to ND’s favor. Go Irish and show no mercy to the Trojans.

    1. I’ll be surprised if they are. 4-2 from a “ND” team probably won’t cut it (even if it was deserved they wouldn’t probably).

  10. fxm,

    Excellent point, and it certainly was refreshing to see Denard get hammered. Hopefully, we can make up for some lost ground and hammer USC’s QB in grand fashion. I will predict another win for ND against USC as I did last year on this site. ND 45 USC 14! It’s HAMMER time for a real blow-out! USC WHO??

    GO Irish…………………………………………………..!!!!!!!!

  11. Ok, lets ignore Green-douche so he will go away. Now, I am glad that Sparty smacked UM, there was a lesson there since we chose to leave the young guns on the sidelines that day, go after Denard and smack the snot out of him. He was sacked multiple times and took a real beating.

    1. Yep, MSU played & defensed them well, especially Denard. Makes that loss to Mich sting a little more after knocking the crap out of MSU.

      1. Did Notre Dame need UM or MSU to win that game? I’m asking since we lost to one and beat the snot out the other? Does it favor ND’s bcs chances since State won?

      2. It probably would have beeb better for Um to win as they don’t have any tough games left where sparty is going to get humiliated next week by Wisconsin. therefore the illusion of um being good would have cavorts us, I guess

  12. It sure is easy to stir the pot with you all. Guess the truth does hurt a bit! So who’s your Messiah Coach?

    1. The only pot that is stiring is the pot you’ve been smoking, Greendung. I’ve had my enjoyment responding to your crap and I stand by my previous statement. With that being said, I look forward to Prime time next Saturday night and seeing ND pound USC.
      Go Notre Dame!

  13. GreenSlime,

    Your vacuous statements are revealing, tell us something that would indicate you have some form of education if any?

  14. Yeah I am the son of an ND grad and gave up on them when they brought Willingham in. Not a Trojan fan but they will beat you as well as Wake Forest and Stanford. You can be as “real” as you want as a fan, the bottom line is the program is still over rated and the return to glory is dead forever. So suck it up and accept ND is a very average team and should be in a conference like the Big East. BCS talks, yeah not so fast my not friends.

    1. Green girl,
      Oh honey, maybe you have issues with your ND parent since you swapped genders with Chaz Bono. Obviously when they sucked out half your brain, you lost all ability to understand football. ND matches up pretty well with USC this year. And Kiffin doesn’t cheat quite as bad as Pete the Cheat.
      If you are going to jump on our board at least be intelligent. Amidst all our debates and discussions one thing is certain. The ND fans here are intelligent. You might have been but now that you have switched genders, you have suffered from some serious loss of brain function.
      But hey greenie, you go girlfriend!!

    2. Green Asshole,
      It is easy to throw shots when you don’t like any team. Your opinion sucks like you. You just want to be rebellious against Daddy because you were to stupid to get into Daddy’s school. What tried shooting smack and Daddy didn’t care. Get off the board asshole.

  15. “greenday”,

    You’re so transparently not a ND fan. You write “we” sometimes, as if you could fool us into thinking such trash could actually come from a true son of ND, but then (subconsciously) your true colors show up and you write using “you” as in your last idiotically constructed sentence.

    At least “Anus”, I mean “Angry”, “Eagle” was open about not being an ND fan. Sure, it’s sad both you losers have to troll other fans’ sites for kicks (I guess your internet connection was too slow and you couldn’t download your gay porn tonight, “greenday”!) But, heck, I have more respect for “Anus” than you. Never thought I’d be able to say that about our long lost pal “Anus Eagle”!

    I hope this idiot does one thing: prove that whatever our disagreements on this or that (e.g., whether or not our D was up to par against AF last week), we’re still all real fans of the Irish and not lame loser like “greenday” who has to pretend to be a ND fan.

    Go troll someone else’s site, you closet Trojan piece of @#!&!

  16. Well watching College Gameday tonite prior to the Hawaii/SJST game, Mark May is a bias blowhole and Lou should be in a home. As far as ND, you are all delusional as Holtz is. Yeah we tee’d off on AF, BFD. And we really didn’t defensively. USC will dominate ND sat nite. When Kelly loses to that ahole Kiffen, he should rethink his career in college football. I still do not understand all the hype on how good ND is? They are so average or Big East it is on your plate tonite. This notion ND is better than joining a conference for any reason is just insane as the ones who actually believe this. Hello, it is 2011 not the 70’s. The reason this site is not updated is because nothing really to report other than fiction. It will be updated next summer when yeah, ND is going to run the table to a BCS national championship. Yeah never ever ever again. Join the Ivy League where you really belong.

    1. Hey Greendung

      If it wasn’t for good work release programs in the greater LA area, USC wouldn’t be able to field a team of footbal playing cheaters & convicts. Lane Kiffen sooner rather than later, will remove his halloween costume of “USC football coach” and realize he’ll be better off sticking his head up his arse & f—–g himself over versus institutions dumb enough to hire his sorry ass. As for your name, I’m guessing you took it from that lame 3 man band of crap called greenday from the left coast where you most likely reside. I’d have more respect for your dumb ass if you would just admit who you really follow. No one here needs to be told by YOU about Mark May’s blow hole s–t he has about ND-we know all about it-nothing new you punk. To insult Coach Holtz the way you did, well, I believe had a pretty good record against you trojan condoms, you can go take a flying leap into a pile of trojan crap & use a straw because you suck.Oh, have a nice day.

      GO IRISH and pound the crap out of USC in PRIME TIME

  17. C-Dog,

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Given the way the O is clicking right now all we need if for the punt returner to just catch the ball and give it to back to the O.


    Sure, MF could get hurt on a regular play. But what’s the alternative? Not sending him out on routes at all? Not even suiting him up in the first place? There’s a big difference if MF gets hurt doing what he needs to do to help ND win and getting hurt because BK was experimenting. That’s a huge risk BK’s taking with our best O weapon, like Sad Warrior points out.

    Regardless, I’m sure we can all agree that we hope it turns out for the best for BK, MF, and ND football.


  18. JimmyIrish-no money, just love of the game. Ohio St. gets the money…

    Jack-I have to think more about Michael Floyd and the punts. You may be right.

  19. Sad Warrior and everyone else,

    I disagree with your analysis that Floyd would get hurt. ND’s greatest punt returners were Ismail and Tim Brown. Both were crucial in the success of their team and both were the best atheletes on the field. I think using Floyd like the Eagles use Desean Jackson is the smart way

    1. Jack-I’m saying that the risk might be too great. If Michael Floyd is hurt we lose a huge weapon and constant thorn in the opposing defenses sides. SFR has a good idea in using Tomaor maybe GA III.Toma has tremendous speed and his hands are true. Plus he is a gamer.
      On the darker side of the coin I could see some opposing defenses like say, maybe, uh, let’s see, USC (large criminal element), Boston College (known hooligans those Beagles), or Stanford Wall Street protestor types) taking a cheap and illegal shot on Floyd using a third team no account defender. He gets injured and they have accomplished what no one else can-elimination of Michael Floyd. And I believe that scenario has indeed crossed a few minds out there,; evil intentions or not.

      1. Sad Warrior,

        That could happen on a regular play if they wanted. I feel you get the ball in the hands of your best playmaker. I don’t think loosing Floyd will kill the offense. The running game is flourishing even with 8 in the box. I feel in a spot situation in a tight game he needs to get the ball in his hands anyway possible.

      2. I’m really nervous about Floyd returning punts. The risk is much greater than the reward. However, Jack is right. The best returners that we’ve seen have been the best players on the team. Add to that list Zibikowski and Golden Tate.

        I don’t think it will make a huge difference unless if special teams miraculously learns how to block for punt returns. I don’t think the problem is with the returnman. It is the scheme or the execution. Floyd had two chances against Airforce and didn’t return one of them. I would like to know the stats for the opposing punters. Are they punting it shorter against us, or is our blocking that bad?

        If the punt return game turns around with Floyd back there, it will be a great decision. BUT, if Floyd happens to get injured, Kelly will take a lot of heat!! Hopefully it helps because we need it!

      3. Until they improve the blocking on the return, Floyd will be fair catching almost everything coming his way.

        I am confident he’ll either catch it cleanly, or if it’s a deep end over end punt, will let it roll into the endzone for a touchback. He’ll avoid stupid mistakes like muffs or fair catching inside our own 10 yard line.

  20. SteelFanRob and C-Dog,here’s the deal-who is going to write,or call,Coach Kelly and let him know about our observations and discoveries concerning punt returns and Michael Floyd?!

  21. SteelFanRob-I like your conclusions. I like the III. Toma would probably fare well too. I believe the problem might be in the blocking scheme with the punt returns. It seems like our guys are smothered as the attackers are arriving uncontested in most cases.

    Michael Floyd hurt ‘would hurt.’ He’s the key no one can match or that we could replace if he was to be injured. I shudder…

    Thanks. Good copy on your comments.

  22. Sad Warrior,

    There’s something in the punt return scheme that I can’t quite figure out but that I don’t like. I don’t know if it’s an alignment issue or what, but it seems that every put ends up in a fair catch, regardless of who is the returner.

    Given that, I don’t think it matters who does the fair catching as long as they actually catch the darned thing!

    If we where actually planning on returning punts, then I’d try Toma or Atkinson III. I agree that the last thing we need right now is for our key weapon to get hurt returning a punt.

    1. They aren’t holding up the outside guys enough and they have no one retreating fast enough to help block. Therefore the punt returner never has enough space to start a return.

      1. Thanks for the observation, C-Dog! I couldn’t put my finger on it, but what you say seems to me to be matching what I’m actually seeing. Good points, bro.

    2. I’ve noticed how they blocking up front on kicks to delay downfield rush and set up blocking for the return doesn’t seem very organized and the opposing teams are covering better to prevent returns. Not saying I know it all, but, I have observed that on many punts.

  23. Someone is lazy, but forget that one.
    Important Notice-How many of you feel that the insertion of Michael Floyd as a punt returner could be a monstrous error in judgement on the part of Coach Kelly? He goes down and bad things will occur; very bad things.
    So the point comes down to:What player (s) can jump start, kick start, anything, with the punt returns? Some say Toma? Jones? George A. III?
    This is the only really weak spot for the team a a whole.

    1. Mike Floyd is more needed at WR versus returning punts. Elston needs to get a better handle on this. I like Atkinson or Toma.

      1. Well they do have the forums and chat rooms, forgot about that. But, this particular blog style is nice too.

      2. Chat rooms are a pain unless we are watching the game. I like this format with threads like Irisheyes has but without having to pay the dam fee.

  24. For Christs sake, this website sucks the big one now. No updates in weeks! Laziness all around. Time to find a new site.

    1. Yes, DREW, no new updated stories from the site, thought that was a bit odd, too. I do like the links to other stories and they have been current.

  25. Amen Jack! Hendrix is a potential Pandoras Box for opposing teams. Rees is fine but Hendrix is a party crasher! What a package he will, should, be.

  26. I just want to see ND become a bigger force in college football. Yes, we are not there, yet. Yes, I believe the team is on the right path. Yes, I believe reasonable goals should be established (and by looking at teams that are there now, I think it’s reasonable to use them in comparison). Yes, it’s not the end of the world Air Farce rolled up 560+ yards, but, I think it is something to strive towards not repeating if ND continues to improve/progress in team development. Stop demanding a higher standard, prepare for mediocrity to follow. I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT. I don’t think anybody else here on this blog does either. I know some may tire of hearing the comparisons to Alabama, LSU’s, but, they have (and are) playing at a level we’re not (at least not yet).If we want to get to that level, we have put away inferior teams on all sides of the ball (especially defensively). There is a reason the last 5 BCS winners came from the SEC, b/c them boys know how to play defense. I’d love to see ND approach that level of intensity (and, give it another year or so,I think they will come close as long as recruiting remains efficient to continue in bringing in the athletes). As JACK said above, Kelly is recruiting Defense first. Again, there is a reason for that. Great defenses are more likely to perform better against a great offense than vice versa. Stats are stats, I GET THAT. However, they are one measurement criteria identifying how well something is functioning/performing. It’s just like a business, numbers can mean things regarding business performance, so do stats. The stats regarding the D in the Air Farce game would seem to show they didn’t perform as well compared to the previous games. It simply means to me that the coaching staff & players may need to look at somethings to avoid repeating that. To do that successfully demonstrates continued progression towards a higher standard of play, which I think is what all ND fans want to see happen with the program.


    1. Storespook,

      I don’t want ND to be an SEC defense because most of those kids don’t graduate, came from JC’s and get arrested. BK first beefed up the defensive front now he is working on Corners. This defense is showing improvement which is good. The first option team they see they always have trouble but by the time they see Navy I think the bugs will be worked out. The other thing is this defense doesn’t give up big plays, other than Michigan and don’t let teams get in the endzone. Are they a dominant defense, NO. Are they better than Weis’s defenses, hell yes. Is the offense better than the great schematic advantage, yes. I think by next year if Hendrix gets this offense you will see him take over. Air Force weren’t prepared for his running ability and if he is as avertised with his arm teams are in trouble if they put 8 in the box because Floyd will have 1 on 1 coverage.

      1. I agree with you, JACK. I don’t want to see the student part of “student-athlete” get compromised, nor would I ever want it to for the only sake of producing on the field. I believe we can recruit the “identified” student ND wants who can also be a good athlete/player on the team. I think in the last 15-20 years those types of athletes haven’t been coming ND as much as they used to (for a variety of different reasons). I think this coaching staff is demonstrating they can start to get back that student-athlete ND desires who are also better athletes. However, I disagree with your unstated implication that a ND D that can play close (but maybe not exactly at the same level) to the intensity of some of the better SEC teams can’t be developed or achieved with the student-athletes that are being recruited. I think if one would stay stuck in that belief, you will then stay stuck where you are developmentally on the field of play. I see the coaching staff appear to be demanding more of the players-that’s good. I agree with you, JACK, there is improvement in the football program. If we are going to be playing in BCS games in the future or playing in a NC game, let’s face it, the caliber of teams that will be the opponents are going to be a HELL OF LOT BETTER than most of the opponents currently on the 2011 schedule ND is playing. I think striving for higher standard of play on all 3 sides of the ball should be something that is targeted all of the time (including playing at even higher standard defensively then we are currently because a higher standard of play is going to be required to play at BCS levels of play). If we play a Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma,Boise St, I’m not sure how well we would do. 2000, 2005, & 2006 were ND BCS teams that “supposedly” were good ND teams. We know what happened. ND didn’t fare well in those games because they were not playing to the same levels their opponents were playing. I hate to admit it, but, that’s exactly what happened. If we get into a BCS game, I don’t want us to get clobbered. Our level of play has to be better, that is just reality of today’s college football. Champions are because they play to the level of champions. Also regarding player “arrests, “ND football players haven’t been immune, either, to being arrested, as Mr. Floyd can attest to that, as one example.

        GO Notre Dame!

      2. Storespook,

        I agree with your analysis, however the 2005 and 2006 teams were sub par defenses. They had people playing out of position like Maurice Crum and Travis Taylor. The front 7 was a joke. This defense is not dominate, but could show up for one game especially against some of these SEC teams that do not have a solid offense and first year QB’s. Remember the Ohio State NC team. They played a Miami team that had 10 all pro players on it and won that game. You just have to be good enough to get into the game and then anything can happen. I do believe that the level of player and depth on the front seven but needs to be better. I feel that the level of atheletes on this defense are much better than 2005 and 2006, but I agree with you if ND wants to compete for an NC they need a dominant defense and are not there yet, but are showing signs.

  27. I don’t think ND is settling for mediocrity, I think they are building simething. ND isn’t like other schools that can take players out of JC to fill in holes. Look how BK is recruiting, a defense first and then offense

  28. The word is out — We’ll never be Alabama (or how is it we’re not even Wisconsin?) if we settle for mediocrity, for excuses, that’s for sure. When we start making excuses left and right we can be sure we won’t be in the NC discussion. (It seems to me that we’ve been hearing excuses for a long time now!) Some people are happy to just win, no matter how or against whom. That’s a good enough start, I guess. But what we should all want is to be great again. That means totally crushing the likes of AF, Navy, Army, etc. We won’t get there if we constantly make excuses.

    I’m thankful that BK doesn’t seem to be one for settling or making excuses. He certainly wasn’t happy with the D. He’s said as much. (BTW: Go back and look at the stats; most of AF’s yards came against our starters. Also, as far as I recall, Ethan Johnson was our only missing starter, so it’s not like we were playing with a bunch of backups all game long!)

    1. SFR,

      You know better than anyone that we will never be Alabama.. nor do we ever want to be!

      Tuitt was held out of the Purdue game (the whole game, not just the first quarter) for skipping class.

      You won’t here something like that coming out of Alabama!

      There’s more to college football, than just football.
      (At least at ND.)

      ND doesn’t settle for mediocrity on the football field, OR in the class room.
      And at ND They both go hand in hand.
      It’s a package deal.
      As it should be.

      It’s who we are, I accept that, and I don’t consider it settling for less.

      I’m proud of our effort, our class room achievement, and our policy of honor and sportsmenship.
      That’s what the priorities of college football should be.
      “WINS” certainly have their place and importance, but it isn’t at the top of the list.

      I think there is some greatness in that.

      It’s a free country, so call it an excuse if you like, but that’s what I believe in, and that’s why ND will always be my college team.

      Notre Dame Our Mother…

      1. Shaz,

        I’ll never concede that ND can’t be as good –if not better than– anyone else in the nation. I have too much respect for and too many years of loyalty to ND for that.

        I recognize that we’re at a disadvantage. But we’ve always been at a disadvantage and managed to win in the past. Times have changed (not only in college football but throughout the sports world — the Lions are undefeated and I saw Venezuela beat Argentina in a South American World Cup qualifying match last night!) But let’s not concede anything to anyone.

        I agree, Shaz, that we’re rebuilding. That’s OK for now. But at some point the rebuilding must produce a finished product. That finished product should be able to be at least relevant to the BCS discussions year in and year out. ND should also compete for a NC at least every 4-5 years. I don’t think, Shaz, that these are unrealistic expectations. Am I wrong? Should I settle for less for Our Mother’s school?

      2. SFR,

        I won’t concede that fact either.
        We have seen it done.
        But as you say, times have changed.

        Part of me says that we should lower our admission standards, take JC transfers, and soften our schedule.

        But another part of me says that we should stand behind our principals, keep with our mission statement, and stay true to ourselves in what we know is important for Notre Dame and it’s students.

        I sure would like to see us win a National Championship, if fo no other reason than to prove to the rest of the college world that it can be done without compromising your principals or lowering your standards. That it can be done, and done the right way.

        Also, I would rather lose every game with the approch of honesty, integrity, and fairness, than go undefeated, and win a NC by cutting corners or cheating.
        Our students don’t come here to learn those things.

        When it comes to ND, that would be nothing more than a false victory.

    2. Rob, If you can get guys like Tuitt, Ishaq, Lynch, Darby, etc. when you are playing mediocre, I would think if we win we would get more elite players and end up competing with the “greats.” Look at where Stanford is right now, does anyone think we can’t get better athletes than them?

      1. fxm,

        I think we agree. I see us possibly going undefeated the rest of the season, including upsetting Stanford (I can dream, can’t I?). I hope, however, that somehow we avoid the BCS. But then again, if ND beats USC and Stanford, they should be able to compete with the other powers that be, too. Finsih the season 11-2 and we’ll definitely get a top 10 or even top 5 recruiting class. Ideally, I’d love to see ND grab DE Noah Spence, one more of the top 10 WRs, RB Marshall, and one of the top 5 OL we’re in the hunt for.

      2. Defeating Stanford will be no upset. We just need to knock their clocks off and the rest will take of itself. Andrew may run out of luck against ND. The Irish are on the verge of something very special. We are 8,000 miles away and can see this coming.

        And the week off does not spoil momentum-it gives the players time to heal up the dings and nicks from th first half of a demanding schedule. Think positively brothers; and sisters.

      3. FXM,
        I agree with your conclusion. I think this coaching staff is recruiting students who also happen to be better athletes. Consistent winning will do that, at least, it helps.

    3. SFR,
      I think what I see on defense is strangely encouraging and frustrating at the same time.
      The encouraging part is that the puzzle pieces of talent and performance on both the first and second strings are just about in place. The comments I made regarding the defense playing better than the stats relate to this.
      The frustraing part is that Kelly and staff seem to have a strict formula. It’s as if they don’t believe any of Weis’s recruits other than a small handful are worth a darn and so they don’t try to get more out of them.

      That’s not settling for mediocrity, that’s not believing in the former regime. I would hope against USC, Kelly unleashes a fury and kicks the living crap out of that team before playing true reserves. I hope our defense hits them hard and makes a few receivers go change their underwear and sends a few offensive linemen to the locker room. I hope Matt Barkley eats dirt. Perhaps Kelly can instill the feeling that the lousy cheating Trojans have come to threaten Our Lady, as if she represents a sister, mother or girlfriend. That could fire up Teo, Slaughter, Lynch and company to take a few heads off. I’d like to see that.

  29. “The Jeweled Shillelagh”

    That’s what the winner of the ND vs USC game gets.
    I saw a picture of it once in a book or magazine years ago,
    but never in real life.
    It’s a wooden club made out of petrified wood or some such and encrusted with emeralds and ruby’s.

    If ND wins the game, a green emerald shamrock is added/ placed on it.
    If USC wins, it’s a red ruby in the shape of a Trojan head that is added.

    That’s one heck of a piece of bling! Dang thing must be worth a fortune!
    Sure beats the hell out of the old oaken bucket!

    I often wonder about the Shillelagh and the “Bush Push” game in 2005.
    USC was forced by the NCAA to forfeit all the wins for that year for their
    Cheating ways.

    Was the ruby Trojan Head for that year removed? If so, who got to remove it? Whatever happened to it?

    For some reason, when I think “where is it now” I get this bizarre vision of Charlie Weis prying it off with his pocket knife and using it
    as a navel jewel or in a pinky ring!

  30. storespook,

    Don’t let what I say stop you from chiming in. We need more of the faithful on this site to speak truth (hopefully in charity) to “power” (i.e., some of the alumni here who think that those who didn’t go to ND shouldn’t be allowed to voice our thoughts or think that we’re second-class citizens in the ND Nation, as if the “Subway Alumni” were in fact not historically instrumental in making ND football what it was and hopefully will be again!).

    Besides I always enjoy hearing from our faithful — Shaz, C-Dog, fxm, JDH, Spicey, teo, jack, JC, and the rest of ND’s loyal sons (and daughters?).

    1. I was concerned with the yardage given up just like everyone else. I remember when that last great ND coach that no one wants to remember anymore reemed the 3rd string out for allowing the opponenet to offend Our Lady. I wanted our 3rd string to shut these guys down.

      But my take after watching the game was this.
      1. The coaches did less scheming for this game than they would have done with last year’s lesser defense. They have more confidence in the abilities of the athletes. Therefore the yards and points were not meaningful inside the game.

      2. Kelly isn’t all over the younger players because they aren’t quite ready yet. Our top 16 defensive players did great. since the game was well in hand, it seemed to me that the coaches used real time to get more reserves into the mix.

      Look, we need options going into USC. They attend more class and so aren’t as dominant anymore, but they still are a formidable opponent. We want a solid win. And then NAvy comes along and we must scheme for Navy. the straight 4-4. Then there is Wake Forest. Another formidable opponent. I hope they are ranked when we play them.

      Finally there is Stanford. I think we can play with them on offense given this whole new dimension. But they will challenge our defense much more than any other opponent.

      This team has impressed of late. But they need to keep the win streak alive each week for the next 17 games before I’ll say they are back. I just have more confidence after the Air Force game that Kelly knows what he is doing.

  31. Shaz,

    Do you think that Alabama would give up almost 600 total yards to AF?! Would LSU?! I don’t think that any top tier D would. In fact, as you yourself point out, Shaz, last year we faced an option team in Army and held them to under 200 yards rushing, so your “Option teams rush for 300 yards. That’s what they do” statement is patently false. In the 1980s and 1990s, moreover, the Hurricanes used to shut down the option attacks of the likes of Nebraska and Oklahoma, who had much better athletes back then than do the academies today.

    If we learn from this AF game and slow down (NOTE: I’m not saying totally stop) Navy, then, you’re right, Shaz, and we don’t need to worry too much about this performance against AF. But if Navy gashes us again, then the Army game last year looks more and more like the exception to the rule and we need to reexamine how we defend the triple option. (Therein lies the problem: You don’t defend the option, you attack it! Notice how easily AF defended our option reads when Hendrix tried to run it a few times. What did they do? Attacked the pitch and forced the quick toss or keep. )

    You’re also right, Shaz, about the academies being tough outs. We’ve known that as ND fans for many years. When ND struggles against them, well, it’s time to have a good laugh at Irish expense. But when they win bowl games by beating other good teams, then everybody fawns over their toughness and character (which, of course, they display against ND all the time!). What media hypocrisy!

    1. I was going to add something, but damn SteelFanRob, there is nothing to add to your analysis as I believe you stated what I was thinking very beautifully, hahaha. It would have been nice to have hold AF run game below 250 yards. I’ll get off that stat and get ready to watch ND take on USC.

      Go Irish and let the Irish thunder knock those Trojans right off their asses.

    2. SFR,

      This defense is not yet Alabama or LSU caliber, but look at the numbers when Navy played South Carolina. Also, these teams only need to get 3yds a play, they go for it on every 4th down because they have nothing to lose. Finally, Ethan Johnson didn’t play and that is an experience defensive lineman against this offense. Also, they abused the 2nd team in the fouth qut. Outside containment was a nightmare. I don’t think giving up 16 pts to this team by the end of the 3qt was bad. It wasn’t great but I have seen worse.

    3. Here’s what I find funny. Notre Dame hangs 59 on Air Force, covers the spread (and then some) and people complain they gave up 565 yards. If they held AF to 150 yards rushing, but only won by a field goal, they’d be complaining about something else.

      How about this, you can have your wish, and ND will give up 100 yard rushings per game and have a margin of victory of 3 points or less. I’ll take them giving up 200 yards and winning by 10 points or more.

      As much as you may not want to hear this, ND’s defense is not on par with the teams you mentioned. Not yet. So each game will fluctuate based on the opponent’s offense.

      1. Patrick,

        Why does it have to be an “either or” issue. (This “either or” thinking always reminds me of my theological debates with evangelicals who can’t seem to get “both and” thinking. For example, for me to quote a Church Father is somehow tantamount to discounting Scripture among evangelicals. It’s as if we had to select either the Fathers or the Bible. That’s absurd. We can learn from BOTH the Church Fathers AND the Bible.) Why is it wrong to expect that our D can limit another team AND the Irish can also win by more than 10 points? Don’t these two propositions in fact reinforce each other?

        In fact, Patrick, if memory serves, with the exception of Auburn last year, the recent national champs had dominant Ds AND dominant Os. OK, USC, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, all were immovable. Thus, this isn’t an “either or” issue. ND can BOTH play sounder D AND put up a ton of points on O.

        Your position, Patrick, in the language of formal logic is called a “false dichotomy”.

        “As much as you may not want to hear this, ND’s defense is not on par with the teams you mentioned.” That’s exactly what I’m saying, Patrick! It seems that the ones who don’t want to hear the truth are those who are happy dominating the likes of AF but don’t seem to want to aspire to greatness, to being Alabama, LSU, etc.

        Let’s stop settling.

      2. Yes, we are not Alabama. The word is out.

        It hardly means that things aren’t going in the right direction on both sides of the ball.

    4. SFR,

      I agree that 650 yards is way too much to allow even if a large portion of it came agianst our second and third stringers in the fourth quarter.

      I probably shouldn’t have used Army as an example.
      Georgia Tech, AF, and Navy are all averging around 300 rushing per game, so no, not all option teams average 300 rushing yards per game.

      But I also saw Hendrix run for 111 yards on 6 carries.
      One was a 78 yarder, longest by a ND QB since probably Tony Rice.
      That’s not exactly defending the option either.

      I agree that the best way to stop the triple option is to attack it. IF… you have the personel to do it. I don’t think we are in the same league as Alabama, LSU, or the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes.


      But I think you get there by finding ways and oppertunities of getting your younger players in the game.
      Even if it means taking a hit on the stat sheet.

      A win is a win. And getting more players, more playing time, should mean more wins in the near future.
      People will forget about the yardage, what they don’t forget about is wins and losses.

      1. Our defense needs to be a little meaner.

        Stonebreaker, Zorich, Stams, Lyght, Smegala. REal hitters. and that’s the short list.

      2. Shaz and C-Dog,

        That’s all I’m saying. We need to get better on D. I agree with both of you that it takes time. That’s OK so long as we don’t settle for mediocrity.

        A “win is a win” is OK for now. After all, we’ve sadly grown used to losing to inferior opponents of late. So soundly beating AF is good indeed. However, beating AF shouldn’t be the standard. Let’s demand getting back to the kind of D played by the likes of the legends C-Dog mentions. Those were truly great Ds. They had no problems shutting down the wishbone (or other styles of O for that matter!).

        Like C-Dog says below, let’s keep it rolling and trust that BK knows what he’s doing and will not settle for “just win” but will continue to strive for a “commitment to excellence” (RIP Al Davis).

        Go Irish!

  32. teo and Shaz,

    I think it’s admirable to look at the positives of this (or any other) win, so long as this doesn’t turn into an excuse to not seriously analyze the negatives. I don’t think my criticisms or those of others here are excessive or over the top. To allow AF to run for over 300 yards is perhaps acceptable collateral damage to some here. OK, let’s go with that for the sake of argument. But what about the 200 + yards of passing yards allowed by the D to an option team? How many times did the D get AF “behind schedule” (to quote Mike Mayock) only to give up a 3rd and long pass completion for a 1st down? That kept drives alive and allowed AF to gain more yards on O and control more of the clock.

    I really believe that some here don’t realize what this game would’ve been like had our O only scored 50% of the time in the first 3 quarters, while the starters where still in. Even 50% is exceptional. Had we scored on half of our possessions in the first 3 quarters and put up only 28 or 35 points this game would have been a nail biter. We might have even loss and then where would all the apologists for mediocrity be?

    1. SFR,

      Option teams rush for 300 yards. That’s what they do.
      I think you would be hard pressed to find the last team that held AF under 200 yrds rushing. And I’m sure we could have reduced that number if “Stat’s” were our main concern. But I give it to BK for using the situation to get as many players in on defense.
      AF didn’t get many yards up the middle. And that is important. Most of their yards came on the edge where our freshmen and young linebackers play. And that deffenetly needs to be worked on.

      If the yardage allowed in this game was part of a continual trend, then there should be some alarm. But with the exception of Denard Robinson, we have stopped every running game we have faced this year.

      We learned the hard way last year agianst Navy. Then we took what we learned and played better agianst Army. Now we were able to beat AF with a lot of players seeing playing time. We should come full circle when we play Navy.

      Just because Jefferson plays for AF, that doesn’t mean he is a poor passer. In fact, he is averaging about a 70% completion rate. That’s pretty darn good.
      That’s what a good option running game and good play action will do for a QB.
      This is why none of the top teams in the BCS want to play AF or Navy.

      A ranked Ohio State played Navy to open their season a couple years back. They only won because of sheer dumb luck.

      You won’t see a rematch between those two any time soon!

      Their sytle of play can make even the best teams look bad.

  33. I am comforted by the fact that our defense dominated without the coaches really scheming anything special. Air Force did make gains, but take away the last two touchdowns against our second and third string and this is a true blow out. And truly the coaches did not dial up a true 4-4. It is obvious they saw that they could overpower Air Force with talent. That provides a real advantage going into the bye week and prepping for USC.

    Offensively, we now create a whole host of problems. The running game has finally arrived with both Gray and Wood showing speed and power behind an offensive line that is exerting it’s will. Now with Hendrix you have a quick to the point of attack running option in the redzone. Oh, yeah and your QB might break a long one too. The pressure is off of Rees which will allow him to play within himself and focus. We’ll know in two Saturdays if the Irish are running on all cylinders.

    The team just needs to focus mentally and hone those details. I hope they do that and get pumped up for that game.

  34. Frankly, I was a bit worried about our defense going into this game.
    Take the option, at the level AF runs it, then the fact that ND had 2 freshmen d-linemen in Tuitt and Lynch responciable for containment, and also knowing they had little expierence in defending it, it was little surprise that AF found yardage on the ground.
    The service academies, who aren’t able to sign the 3,4 or 5 star recruit, are only able to level the playing field agiansy bigger and more
    talented teams by running an option offence.
    Some fans might be upset with the amount of rushing yardage allowed. But I think the most important stat to take away from this game is “PT” or “Playing Time” If giving up some rushing yards is the price for a better game the next time we face the option, that’s an easy choice.
    I’m getting very tired of losing to Navy. Hopefully we took a step in the right direction in correcting that on Saturday by getting a lot of defensive players on the field and giving them a chance to play agianst it.

  35. I love how some people take an honest critique for some kind of treason or disloyalty to the team. On the contrary, no one is disloyal so long as the criticism is valid and timely. In my opinion, disloyalty is thinking that the ND D played anywhere near BCS level yesterday. To think that that kind of D performance would be enough to compete against an OK, LSU, Alabama, or Wisconsin right now is insane. An that kind of insane delusion of grandeur, not an honest observations of this team’s weaknesses, is truly disloyal. But I guess some people prefer to bury their heads in the sand and think beating AF at home is like beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa or LSU in Baton Rouge.

    BTW: Since no team has ever played a perfect game, ever, at any level, criticism is always valid. In fact, the great teams learn more from what they do wrong and correct their errors than settle for the pat on the back approach. This “let’s not worry about what’s wrong with the team but be happy we just won” mentality leads to mediocrity. And mediocrity is what ND football has been mired in for too long.

    As for those who believe that we shouldn’t worry about the D Sat., all I can say is read BK’s comments about that unit’s performance or lack thereof. Sounds like he doesn’t agree with you. But I guess what does BK know. Right?

    1. I think some criticism is fine; some goes overboard.

      Yes, Air Force moved the football on our defense yesterday. That’s unfortunate, but not unexpected, given the quality of team and the fact that one of our starting defensive linemen was out. Add to that the fact that we essentially blew them out early in the game and you get a suggestion that our focus would wane.

      And, actually, now that you mention Coach Kelly, a lot of the criticism seems to relate to the criticism when we were 0-2. “The defense sucks. Rees blows. Coach Kelly is an idiot because he keeps playing the turnover machine.” Well, maybe not exactly in those words. But there is a fair contingent of fans — alumni and non-alumni — who continue to believe that if only we had Stoops or Meyer, we’d have won a title by now.

      I don’t buy it. We’re a work in progress. We put up 59 points yesterday. Sure, the defense lost focus at times. And no one really wants a bend-but-don’t break defense. But, we’re good. We’re on the way back.

      By the way, Oklahoma was 7-5 in 2009 when we were after Stoops. They’re the best college team I have seen this year. In fact, in the three games I have watched them play, I’d say they’re the most efficient college team I’ve seen in a very long time.

      It’s a work in progress. Stoops had some kids from the 2009 squad. He found some others last year and still some more for this year. Hopefully, we’ve got a coach who does the same.

    2. Thanks Rob, well spoken. Frankly, when we just get flat out beat by a better team, there is no anger, it makes me aspire to be more like them. But when we lose to inferior talent it is maddening. Excuses like its early in the year, new coach, etc. Like Michigan didn’t play us early in the year with an even newer coach.

  36. Very true what you saidTeo. This game was over at halftime IMO. I don’t care how many yards were given up all I care about is the final score. These guys get on here and try and act all smart and disect every move the Irish team makes. the Irish can go in and beat LSU or OK and these guys will still find something negative to complain about. The facts are the Irish are a mediocre team trying to be on the rise. We are nowhere close but we will get there. These guys act like were in the top 5 and everything has to be scrutinized.

    GO IRISH!!!!

    1. I don’t believe I ever proclaimed myself (or other bloggers either) as a football know-it-all, guru. This is an opinion blog and I’m simply contributing to it as many others (including yourself ETI) are because we all appreciate & follow ND football. By your statement of using the term “mediocre” to describe ND football, you are doing the very thing you are criticizing others of doing by making a “disection” statement about the team. I believe ND is not an elite college football team, yet. I believe it is trying to get there. Using comparisons to other teams that “are there” simply is a bench mark to show hopefully where ND football will return someday. I think, from what I’ve read of others’ posts, that most would support that supposition & would like to see ND football become a force again in college football. I’m not trying to start a pissing match here with you ETI, because we’re both Irish fans. This is a opinion blog, the intent is to supply opinions about ND football.I think that’s what we’re all trying to do in our own ways.

      Go Notre Dame
      Kill USC (and enjoy the bye week)

  37. 4 Very General Observations:

    1. Andrew Hendrix displayed that he will get a serious run at being the starting QB next season during fall practice. He would be considered now, but Tommy Rees does something better than any of the other ND QBs, he throws the ball to Michael Floyd. As long as Floyd is playing, then Tommy Rees will get the majority of the snaps.

    2. There is an outside shot that Cierre Wood (650 yds) and Jonas Gray (395 yds) can both be 1000 yard rushers this season. There is 6 games left, plus a bowl game. It can happen.

    3. I love how Theo Riddick was utilized yesterday. He was moved everywhere pre-snap. Once he gets the ball, coupled with blocking from Michael Floyd, he is as dangerous as anyone in college football in the open field.

    4. I’m not sure what to take from the defensive performance yesterday. My cause for concern was the lack of players flying to the ball. I love to see more 5-6 players making the tackle, with a player trying to take the ball away.

  38. I think there is a difference between being satisfied with a “W” and being happy with an overall performance. I’m excited about what I’ve seen offensively, but I also think its important to realize that we haven’t exactly been facing the highest level of defensive talent out there. All due respect to the cadets, but physically they are no match, we really SHOULD put up 50+ however giving up 30+ as well as 200 yards in the air …..? -thats slighlty alarming

  39. Some people will complain regardless of the result. This was a blowout we’ve waited for and still there are many who are definitely less than satisfied. I’ve alluded to this in previous posts about Tommy Rees, virtually everyone’s nemesis, who improved to 7-1 as a starting quarterback (clearly not good enough for many of you).

    To be sure, Air Force moved the football. But coming into the game, the Falcons were a top 10 rushing team and they have a quarterback who is exceptionally accurate. When it counted -in the third quarter with our team up big, but not quite blow out big – our defense held them as we really put the game out of reach. And on offense we handled the ball better.

    Bottom line: a great win against a formidable opponent. Could it have gone better? Of course, it always can. But it was very much a statement game — and the statement is that we’re on our way back. Bring on the Trojans.

    1. Here is a quote from the AF coach, “Frankly, when you see them playing live, you’re a little bit surprised that the record is not even better and it can be as they go,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said of the Irish. We just want to play close to our ability. It is going to take a while for us to get over the fact that Michigan is having our season, they will move into the top ten this week. And we are all pissed. We will get over it in time.

    2. teo,

      It was a nice win, no doubt. But let’s not overlook some obvious problems on D. I don’t want to count on a perfect O performance against Navy. But, you’re right about enjoying the win for now and look forward to SC.

      Go Irish!

    3. I think it is a legitimate observational critique that a defense which has played well against the run in the last 5 games allows 360+ yards rushing to a predominatly run offense (and 200+ throwing)which stopping had been the strength of this D, is not complaining. If ND allows USC 500+ yards of offense then the liklihood of a L in the W-L column will increase (and USC is better than AF). I am happy with the victory & how the O played yesterday. Yes the D did make some important stops in the 3rd quarter. However, to acknowledge the manner in how the D overall played in the Air Farce game, to me is fair critiquing. ND strives to move up the bar of success, which means playing a complete game on all 3 sides of the ball, especially during a decisive offensive output. I am betting in no way would LSU, Alabama, & Oklahoma D’s would have allowed that type of output from AF.That being said, GO IRISH, Clobber USC!

      1. Oklahoma almost lost AF last year. here is the line from ESPN for the OK vs. AF espn-Oklahoma survived despite allowing 458 yards of offense — 351 on the ground.
        Same team, and LSU/Alabama won’t leave the south to play other teams…Boise, BYU, AF, and the list goes on.

    4. Rees has played well, but he still can’t make the big time throws. He is very limited into which areas of the field he can throw the ball. Andrew Hendrix exposed Tommy’s inability to run the ball when he went for 79 and should have scored. The offense is designed for a qb that can make a play with his legs too.

      I’m fine with Tommy if he keeps winnig, but keep getting Hendrix in the game to add that running threat.

  40. Pass defense overall, the entire season, has been poor. It seems like any team we play is able to convert those intermediate passes ……and let’s be honest, the long ones as well, virtually any time they need to. Robert blanton has been EXCELLENT. Especially in his run defense. But motta, harrison and of course g gray have been lack luster all too often.

  41. Didn’t BK pull the entire starting D in the fourth quarter when it was 49 -16. Second unit looked horrible, but I saw a lot of underclassmen on the field

    1. 1st unit defense wasn’t exactly steller prior to the subs being put in. I think AF rushed for 350+ yards and definitely was over 200+ in the air. I haven’t looked at the game stats yet, but, I believe AF outgained the Irish on total offense. Not good as a marker for our D against the option. Better do better against Navy.

  42. Welcome to Notre Dame future Airman Jefferson. Stupid things that you said, but perhaps now you’ve learned a lesson. I wish him and all our Academy grads a rewarding and safe career.

    Offense was unreal. Defense was unreal (and not in a good way).

  43. Yep, poor D play today. I believe Air Farce even out gained the Irish on offense. It was nice to see Hendrix get some playing time. I like the win and go beat USC. Go Irish.

  44. store,

    As bad a defensive effort as I’ve seen. Worse than Navy! How do we give up 200+ yards to AF!

    Thank God this is as bad a D as we’ll face all season. Better do better on D against Navy or we might not win.

    1. It was frustrating, but truly I do not think the coaches made special prep for the Air Force Scheme. The only thing I found truly irrating was the number of 4th down conversions that actually were successful.

      Hopefully G. Gray learns to look up sooner. He showed improvement, but Barkley will throw his way all night if he doesn’t improve. Otherwise, the d-backs looked decent. Not great, but decent.

      Look for the d-line to get in on Barkley. Lynch and Teo could crunch him and put him out of the game.

      I think our offensive line is ready to push those cheaters around. Monte Kiffin has to be worried. How do you defense the pass, and then adjust to Tebow ball when Hendrix comes in?

      I wouldn’t worry about the stats in this one. However, we all better hope the Irish play a true 4-4 against Navy.

  45. Hey Mr. Jefferson, have a nice flight home to Colorado Springs. By the way, we don’t care if you don’t like us.

  46. The coaching staff really should’ve been prepared for that fake punt. Hell I was, and I’ve been drinking

  47. We better score on every drive like we’ve been doing because our D is getting carved up like a Halloween pumpkin! Way to keep these guys in a game on this last drive. 3rd and long, 4th down conversion, off side….

  48. Run defense ain’t looking real hot right now. Diaco better make some adjustments or it’s Navy all over, except offense is scoring points.

  49. Shaz,

    By no means am I advocating a pass-only approach. God forbid! We need to run, run, run, on AF. Every so often, esp. if they start committing 8 or 9 men to stop the run, then we go over the top with the WRs and TEs. We can score quick or slow. But we must score. If our D plays like it did against Army last year, I don’t see AF scoring more than 13 or 14 points. If so, we’ll win by 2 or 3 TDs. If the D plays like it did against Navy last year, however, the O may need to put up 40 or more points. To do that, Shaz, we’ll need quick strikes. (BTW: Don’t count on our Special teams to get us points or even field position; though, like I said, I love to be proved wrong if it means an Irish win!)

    storespook — Good observations. The Hurricanes of the 80s and early 90s depended on speed to gut the option attack. They used DEs at DT; they used LBs at DE; they used CBs at safety. They had speed all over the field. Ironically, when Holtz got his option attack going at S. Bend, however, the “U” had some troubles against Rice, Ishmael, Mirer, Bettis, Waters, and co. Back then, ND’s option featured not only speed at the skill positions but also toughness in the trenches. It seemed to me that while the Hurricanes could easily keep up with ND’s speed, they couldn’t match the Irish’s toughness during the middle period of Holtz’s tenure at ND.

    Go Irish!!!

    1. SFR,

      Nor am I implying that we abandon the pass.

      Our receivers are a match up nightmare for every defence we face and we need to continue to exploit that advantage.

      But what I really want to see, and what I think ND is getting back to under Kelly, is being a physical team instead of a finess team.

      I look at the college football landscape, and the teams at the top.
      Teams like Oklahoma, LSU, Auburn, Wisconsin, and Stanford. They all play physical football.

      Using Navy as an example, we used to beat them 56-0 employing a physical style.
      When we tried to be a finess team I witnessed Navy sacking Ron Pawlus and breaking his collar bone.
      Or Travis Thomas unable to gain 2 yards at the goal line in overtime.
      We were Losing games we could have / should have have won if we could have taken some of the steam away from their defense.

      I’ve seen our offensive line playing more physical this year.
      They seem to be getting in a grove and having more fun.
      Our running backs are getting better each week as well and I think this is a good game to continue that trend.

      I hate to look too far ahead, but after AF, USC comes to town. Stanford, whom USC used to own, has shown us how to beat the Trojans.
      By being more physical than them.

      If you can play physical football and can mix in a little finess from time to time, then I think you really have something.

      I think that’s what you mean by Speed and Toughness.

  50. Laf Irish,

    I just re-watched this game on DVD. In fact, Texas ran very little option or wishbone that day in the Cotton Bowl. Earl Campbell ran for the least effective 100 + yds in a game I’ve ever seen. His rushing yards just didn’t contribute all that much to the Longhorns’ O that day. As a whole, ND’s “mirror defense” stifled Texas.

    The following year, however, also in the Cotton Bowl, ND was blistered by Houston’s veer offense for most of 3 qts. Then the Cougars shut it down way too early (start of the 4th), even bringing in their back-up QB. We all know what happened then, as Montana led one of the all-time great ND come-backs!

    Point is, the wishbone, veer, triple option, etc. are difficult offenses. O line chop block to gain an advantage over usually bigger D linemen. Rather than simply “mirroring” the O, the key is to attack the option. Take away the dive and force the QB to make a quick pitch and then count on your LBs and safeties to absorb the lead blocker and tackle the ball carrier at or around the line of scrimmage. It’s tough because the interior D linemen and inside backers have to watch out for guys going after their knees while constantly banging away against O linemen and plugging the dive option time after time after time. It’s tough work! Meanwhile the players on the edge can’t loose contain and must play sound assignment D play after play after play. So, for the inside guys the stress is physical, while for the outside guys the stress is mental. That’s what makes the option attack so difficult to defend.

    1. Nice analysis STEELFANROB. Back in the 80’s, those great Miami teams were able to do exactly what you describe against probably some of the best wishbone teams that ran triple option, the Sooners. That’s why Miami beat them in 85,86, & 88 Orange Bowl when OU had some great wishbone teams. Hope ND atttacks Air Farce’s option with success. Go Irish!

  51. I hope we get past the problems we have had as late with the triple option. It seems it takes a least a half of football before it is figured out. Last couple of time with Navy we never got there. I expect it to be different this Saturday because we are now faster, more athletic and tuned in.(and we have Manti!)

    I remember when ND went against Texas for the NC and they were running the wishbone (triple option?). Dan Devine came up with a stopper that year he called the “mirror defense”. The defense was exactly like it sounded and worked like a charm. I have never seen it used since.

    1. Last year Navy really gashed us with their fullback (Alexander Teich) up the middle.

      THIS year we have two true, big defensive nose tackles, in Cwynar and Nix, and as you say, Manti Teo in the middle.
      The traditional option starts with the fullback dive.
      Stop that and you have taken the first step.
      Those three guys should do the job inside.

      You may remember the game last year agianst Army at Yankee Stadium.
      Army, with their option, moved the ball right down the field on their opening drive.
      But after that, our defence shut them down for the rest of the game, so maybe that’s a sign that the coaches and players have figured it out.

      AF is hurting on defense with youth and injuries. Especially on their defensive line.

      TCU beat them pretty good eariler this year with a balanced attack.
      (which we also have this year)

      The best way to stop their option might be to just keep the ball away from it.

      1. EXACTLY! Keep the ball away from a scheme that is about ball/time control and you screw up the option & make them do things they don’t want to do. Go Irish!

      2. Shaz and storespook,

        Do you guys mind if I play devil’s advocate for a second? Here’s the problem with the “keep-away” strategy you both propose. It forces your own O to be perfect in controlling the clock. Meaning: If you eat up 7-8 minutes on O, then you can’t settle for 3 points or turn the ball over and have nothing to show for the drive. Notice that this lack of red zone production has been our Achilles heel all season long (last season, too, for that matter). I just don’t trust our O to drive 80 yards or score a TD even if it did. (I always enjoy being proven wrong if it means an ND win!) I’d rather strike quick and often, whether it’s Wood or Gray busting a long one or Floyd going over the top and scoring. Scoring early and often will also take AF out of their game.

        As for when AF actually has the ball, since none of us really believe ND will keep the ball 45 or 50 minutes, refer to my previous post. Attack the option. Don’t sit back and wait for the play to come to you. Penetrate. Force bad hand-offs and pitches. The option is susceptible to TOs when pressured.

        Just my thoughts, lads. Hope no offense is taken.

        GO IRISH!!!

      3. SFR,

        Very good point. If you are going to play “keep-away” you better finish with touchdowns and not turn the ball over.

        Although, we all saw Charlie Weis go “pass, pass, pass, and not have much success agianst the academies.

        I think we can win in a big way by being physical, wear that thin defense down, and own them in the second half.

        I base this on how well Navy did last week agianst them, especially in the fourth quarter. They got screwed by a bad call or they would have won the game.

  52. The Air Force qb is a fool; with a big mouth. He should have learned by now that it does no good to give your opponent fodder.Tell me that Robert Blanton, Lynch, Harrison, and Manti did not hear about those comments? Hopefully he will learn this lesson before he is commissioned into the USAF. He will likely rue that big mouth writing checks he can’t cash. Perhaps he should read Sun Tzu.

  53. Shaz and store,

    Perhaps it’s time we stop showing the academies so much respect (not that I’m saying we disrespect them entirely) and start taking it to them from the opening kickoff, instead of waiting to get down and then rally late, only to fall short of late against them. I don’t recall Holtz’s teams disrespcting Navy, Army, or AF. But I also don’t recall too many close games against them either (although there were a few, like one against Army in the old Meadowlands when ND had to stop a Black Knights 2-point conversion on the goal line to hold on for the win; I forget the year, though). We would routinely win big against the academies. I realize times have changed. ND is no longer as good or the academies as bad; but we should still be able to beat the service schools by at least 10 points year in and year out. Until we start to do that, storespook, forgive me if I don’t get overly cocky about ND victories. Let’s show confidence but also some realism. After all, we’ve struggled mightily in these kinds of games recently. Let’s hope beating AF marks the beginning of the return of the rout inside ND Stadium against lesser opponents.

    1. Yep, I know what you mean STEEFANROB. I don’t want to come off sounding cocky, but, a statement like Mr. Jefferson made about ND, I hope was not only pinned in the lockerroom, but on every individual locker of the defense, haha. No, I don’t take the service academies lightly, especially Air Farce. They have had some wins against ND including against Holtz’s 96 team. I watched the 2000 AF game replay last night on Versus (from 12 AM-2 AM, couldn’t sleep). Now granted it was a Davie team, but in that game, AF came back to erase a 28-10 ND 4th qtr lead (well sounds a little familiar) which led eventually into OT (with ND winning their first OT game on that occasion). I hope ND smacks the Falcons. GO IRISH!

  54. Few thoughts,

    Goodman ran away from a catchable punt in the first half, let it bounce, and it cost a ton of field position. But I’ll take one of those every now and then, over a muff any day.

    Jonas Gray had a good day agianst Pitt. The coaches gave him a few additional carries agianst Purdue, and he did a good job with them.
    Remember when we would have given our right arm for just one good running back?

    Hope the defense works on their open field tackling, and man coverage this week.

    Calling Theo Riddick… has anyone seen Riddick? Little guy, very fast and shifty, wears number 6? Don’t know what he did to piss off Rees, but this would be a good week for them to shake hands and make up.

    The option starts with the fullback… And this year ends quickly with Cwynar and Nix at nose tackle!

    Really love Lynch, but not sure he is ready for that Air Force Option.
    Can He “Stay Home” and not lose containment? If he can, he has the atheletic ability to make big plays. But for a freshmen who loves to rush the passer, that’s a big IF.
    Exspect reverses, end arounds, option passes, and other trickery from Air Force.

    The Air Force Academy rarely has a letdown agianst anyone, let alone ND.
    But last Saturday they won a 35-34 OT thriller agianst Rival Navy.
    Lets hope the team is ready to jump on them early and often.

    1. “I’ve never really been a fan of Notre Dame, I’ve always hated how everybody has always loved Notre Dame,” Air Force quarterback Tim Jefferson said.

      “It’s one of those things where I say, it’s just another team on the schedule.”


      1. I’m sure this fine young gentleman will be gladly introduced to the turf on many occasions by our fine young gentlemen AKA the ND defense come Saturday. “Welcome to our house, Mr. Jefferson! Guess what, we don’t care if you hate us. We love to pound your falcon ass into the ground” Go Irish, clobber Air Farce.

      2. storespook,

        Last time these two teams played at ND stadium the game got a bit chippy. I remember
        one of their safteys’ throwing, and landing a punch that went unflagged.
        And of course we always get to watch one of our defensive lineman get carted off with a knee injury.

        But we always show the Service Academy’s a high level of respect… somehow it doesn’t seem like we get much in return.

        There was a time you would NEVER hear a Air Force QB say anything about an opposing team.

        My how times have changed!

  55. Scratch 5 turn-overs, No scratch 2 of those 5 turnovers and ND routs Michigan. I don’t begrudge Michigan the win, we gave it to them and they took it. But Ranked 11? Are you kidding? K-State is a better team. Florida is a better team. Baylor is a better team. And what is sad is that those same Big Ten folks will say that ND hasn’t played anyone. Logic dictates then that the Big Ten is a nobody conference.

    I do predict that Michigan will lose one game in the next two weeks. After that the gates open again. Iowa is getting better. Nebraska is still better than the rest of the Leaders or Legends or whatever division. Illinois has a shot at Michigan. And Ohio State may regain some fight once some of their cheaters return to the team. If Notre Dame were ranked that high with such a record, the haters and the pimps at ESPN would be trashing the Irish and promoting their own whores.

    I hope Kelly uses our current ranking to motivate the team. Nothing less than a top 10 finish should satisfy those guys. I am not saying as a fan that I will be hyper-critical. What I am saying is that no player should let up on the gas pedal until the team is at least a top 10 team and BCS contender. Champions may be happy, but never satisfied.

    1. I predict Michigan wins seven games this season. Yes, that is a rough finish but Michigan is a rough team. Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio State and Iowa are all better at this point. Michigan State is much better.

      Again, I could be wrong, but I don’t believe Michigan is good. We’ll see.

    2. C-Dog

      Mich at HOME vs western Mich
      Mich at HOME vs ND
      Mich at HOME vs Eastern Mich
      Mich at HOME vs San Diego St
      Mich at HOME vs Minnesota

      That’s a BS schedule, for a BS team, who has BS’d their way to a top 10/11 ranking.

      Nebraska opens Big 10 play by having to go to Wisconsin.
      Michigan opens, where else, at home agianst lowly Minnesota.

      I guess we are supposed to think Michigan is “shrewed” for replacing pesky Appalachain St with Eastern Michigan.

      I didn’t even know Eastern Michigan had a football team!

      Hail to the Victors!!!

    1. Other than Notre Dame -WHO has Michigan played? Exactly–the fall from grace and the honeymoon is coming soon–I could be wrong ( I’m human) but MEECHEGUN isn’t as good as their record states-they have the fast legs in OB and ” I only have eyes for you syndrome” with two receivers-and they SHOULD have beaten the other teams they played with “mighty” Western Mich. and ” mighty” Eastern Mich and oooo–Minnesota Minnesucky–that’s 3 scrimmage games right there-what a luxury (I have respect for this University but the Big 10 has some of the easiest damned non-conference games I’ve ever seen–minus the ND challenge most years) Michigan #11–dont’ buy into it-wait until Wisconsin or Nebraska GO IRISH ( who blew a 24-7 lead with erros and we beat ourselves)life goes on

      1. I know, but look at their schedule, don’t play Wisconsin and Nebraska looked so-so, albeit I think Wisconsin is for real. But not worth wasting a lot of breath on. But it is a phantom juggernaut launched by yours truly.

  56. Rees does not suck. But the coaching staff needs to work on his feet. I suspect that is why he does not go under center. If that is part of the scheme for the Kelly Spread, then we will always have difficulty running effectively in the red zone. That will cause difficulty scoring in the redzone. Right now Wood and Gray are great. But the coaches can make them even more effective by moving the QB under center and getting the point of attack closer to the line. Rees is not mobile. In fact his ability to read and throw drop off immensely when he is required even to step up into the pocket. The coaching staff has 2 weeks to get him and another QB ready for USC. Putting a package together that gets the QB under center in the redzone could make the difference.

    Oh, and Gary Gray still needs to look up while running, not down at the ground.

    This team played a better game on Saturday, almost complete. But not complete and there is still much to improve upon.

    1. Apparently sarcasm did not come through in my email.

      Rees is fine. Is he the best quarterback we’ve ever had? No. Is he anywhere near the bottom? Of course not. He is a bright young man who reads defenses well and can find open receivers and usually get them the ball.

      As Alabama and many other SEC schools have demonstrated, the quarterback position is important, but not nearly as important as those gentlemen on the defensive lines and offensive lines. That’s where the game is won.

  57. In my accolades for the ND last night as was remiss in mentioning the unsung heros of college football. The offensive line. They did not allow a sack and gave Rees lots of time to find his receivers.

    More then that they opened holes for Graywood that I could have run thru and I’m 66. Good job boys.

    I felt like I was watching a ND team from the Holtz era. About time.

  58. What was up with the long snapper ordeal? Fists flying on that one, I missed part of it and how about Floyd slapping around the DB? However, the most entertaining was Cierre hurtling over one of Purdue’s DBs.

    Not comfortable all is well at QB, too many short passes will certainly be a serious problem against USC and maybe Airforce. Hopefully, things will indeed continue to improve.

    1. As Kelly said last night,”He’s the long snapper” translation-do your fricking job by long snapping and don’t screw us over doing stupid things (like trying to tangle with the opponent) that ain’t in your player’s job description.

  59. I wouldn’t say Rees “sucks” -but we still “left points” on the field. The offense seems to have momentum when Rees is in there as opposed to Crist. Crist -bless his heart-just does not make things happen-see waht the offensive unit does when he is in there.

    BTW, all the conference talk seems to have faded—for now.

    We Shall see.
    That said–
    I say we go Big 12 or Big East -IF and WHEN it happens.
    Slap the Big “10” (12) in the face and go where we want to.
    Just saying–
    living here in Columbus, Ohio (uggh) people seem to have all the “concern” in the world for who should and who should not be in a certain conference and it is all the talk and rage ( maybe it is becuase the suck at football this year! LOL)
    again, just saying

  60. That Rees sucks! The way that he didn’t put up 60 on Purdue! Man, he is pathetic. And how many INTs did he avoid because Purdue’s defense is sooo awful they didn’t know what to do when he threw it to them! We are pathetic. If we were playing Sconi or Bama, we would’ve lost by 40. Whew.

    Okay, more seriously, Purdue came in with the 12th best run defense and we mowed them over. Wood is impressive. We played well. Felt good.

  61. General Observations:

    1. First Purdue has hit an all-time low. If conferences relegated a team or two every year due to having a poor record, then Purdue would be the Big Ten’s choice to send packing

    2. Notre Dame has quietly put together one of the best run defenses they’ve had in years. I think Te’o is a major part. He is everything you want in a middle linebacker, pursuits strongly, sheds blocks, tackles well and most importantly he isn’t afraid to blowup a blocker to allow a teammate to make the play.

    3. I’m a little worried about Stephon Tuitt’s suspension. Notre Dame keeps player information very private. We will have to hear second hand news on the reason for his suspension. We all know that second hand news can be very suspicious. I really hope this is a minor misstep for him. I’m just afraid on Monday that he has been kicked off the team and he is transferring to G-Tech or something like that.

    4. Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray got plenty of touches. Brian Kelly needs to make it a goal that as long as both are healthy, then both should get at least 35-40 combine touches.

    5. It looks like the goal in the passing game is for Floyd to get 10-15 touches, while the rest of the receivers get about the same amount of touches. Like Wood and Gray, it seems like ND wants to have a two-headed receiver attack. Except when I’m speaking of the receivers, its Michael Floyd getting 50% of the touches and the other 4 getting the other 50%.

    1. Good observations and yes, Tuitt’s missing the game (I’d heard it was due to missing class-we’ll see I suspect)I hope doesn’t lead to more severe discipline. Run defense indeed is way better than it has been in many years. Go Irish, beat Air Farce, I mean Force, of course.

      1. I guess Brian Kelly said it was due to him missing a class or classes. He said Tuitt will be back next week. We should put to rest the Tuitt transferring to G-Tech rumors

  62. I got my wish. I stated I wanted to ND to kick the crap out of the Bumbles as opposed to winning ugly. One of the best all around game for ND under Kelley IMO. Just need to get the kicking game going and learn how to return punts.I lose my mind when Goodman lets the punt sail over his head for another 20 yards after we keep them deep in their side of the field.

    It seems BK has created a two headed monster in Woods and Gray. Michael not looking too shabby tonight and the defense was stellar.If there is a better line backer than Manti I don’t know who that might be. The guy is amazing and is turning out to be like everyone expected. If ND can limit TOs they will be hard to beat. Again some bone headed penalties, one of which helped Peeyew get that field goal at the end of the half. All in all, extremely gratifying.

  63. Well, better play, no damn turnovers (though we easily could have with afew letting-go of the ball and continued poor throws by Rees where PU should have intercepted though PU looked like ND with all the costly penalties) A good ground attack, loving Wood and Gray at this point. Hopefully they will continue with good O line play. Little disappointed didn’t see backup QB’s quicker when the game was out of hand. I love the pounding tonight, this team needed to do it like this tonight from a score point of view. As STEELFANROB pointed out, I was flipping/watching the Ala-Florida & Wisc-Neb games and yeah, we are not close to them. Alabama should be the number 1 team right now versus LSU, but, I digress. Watched the Navy-Airforce game today since we will be playing them (what an entertaining game that turned out to be). ND better be prepared for both of those option teams, especially from the defensive side. A nice win tonight. Go Irish!

  64. Good win. But looking at what Alabama is doing to Florida in the “Swamp” and what Wisconsin is doing to Nebraska is depressing. We’re still a long way away from the level.

    1. Steel Fan:

      Wisconsin scares me to death. Not only are they corn fed boys and huge, they can run AND pass! WOW! Wisconsin, Passing? Glad they are not on the schedule. If we EVEN think BCS, we need to be inspired and have the hell ( or heaven) scared into us by looking at these teams and what they DO NOT do. Still—-Notre Dame was a lot better tonight and finally beat somebody up. Disappointed in some missed field goals and drives adding up to nothing ( sounds familiar doesn’t it?) Air Force-triple option-don’t EVEr forget the 20-17 overtime loss in 96 with a fumble giving the Falcons the ball. One week –and hopefully one win at a time–but we are NOT in the league with Wisconsin this year ( or bama or Florida or Clemson or OKlahoma) We can learn from them—I hope we do -why not? Steel Fan -your comments are always right on the money.

      1. irisheye62 and storespook:

        Thanks for the positive feedback. Couldn’t agree more with you, irisheye62, about Wisconsin. This team should be a model for ND. Both are mid-western schools with high academics standards. Both recruits the same kind of athletes, big kids who can also run a bit. ND, however, has some advantages going for it, esp. tradition. But that doesn’t seem to mean a lot to some of today’s athletes. So ND needs to win and win big regularly. That means beating good teams like the academies. But as storespook points out, we need to not take them for granted. Their option attacks will kill us if we don’t play sound assignment D. That’s why I don’t expect to see a lot from our super frosh defenders against AF or Navy. I’m not sure we should want to play in a BCS bowl against the likes of Alabama or Wisconsin. Better to play in the Cotton or Gator Bowl against a more accessible opponent and hopefully win to secure a top 10 or even top 5 recruiting class. Jut my opinion.

      2. and you are right–as usual—Service Acadamies are NOT an automatic gimmee win—-Wake Forest best Florida ghetto state today –so much for a “light” schedule in November——- defense get stronger –we r getting better week by week and a win is a win–way too many yards given up today -oh well better to be on the up side fo the score than not

  65. Boring game, so lets argue. game is 1/3 over and Rees has thrown 22 passes and we have run 13 times. This balance is not good. Rees almost throws a pick 6 and we are almost in a dog-fight. We are killing them on the ground, why not continue? Does BK have ADHD and can’t take the methodical pounding and beating down of an opponent?

  66. 14-0, in good field position and we get crappy play calling and then a missed Ruffer fg attempt. This is the issue, not putting away a team when we get in position to do that very thing. Ridiculus.

  67. Turnovers and penalties. Someone said, here or one of the other sites, that losing despite dominating stats due to turnovers and penalties is the sign of a team on the cusp of greatness. The theory is, that in building a winner, you start with the fundamentals, then add the system. Last step is the fine details, in which lie the devil of turnovers and penalties. Seems like a good theory.

    Our fundamentals (with the exception of maybe having our CBs actually look for the ball in the air) appear to be sound. That’s proven by the better than expected run game and run defense. Kelly’s system is steadily being added and, when the boys don’t kill themselves with TOs and penalties, works quite well. That’s proven by the statistical domination even in losing contests. Any one watching, domer or hater, has to admit the two losses this year were due to TOs and drive killing/opponent drive extending penalties.

    Kinda like what they taught us in the military. first part of training is to get you into combat shape. Second, teach you the tactics and strategies. Finally, the rules of engagement so you can control yourself.

    The devil, and the losses, are in the details. Hopefully we will continue to iron those out and make something out of this year. If kelly can take these young men he has turned into specimens of athletic power and teach them the efficiency and control….there is simply no ceiling for the Irish.

    GO IRISH. Beat Purdue.

  68. Good God, watching Pitt take on S Florida. How in the hell did we not knock the crap out of both of these teams versus what actually happened on the field. I just shake my head as to how our TO’s really have affected us (not that I didn’t know but geez, it’s real depressing to see the “what if’s” had we played w/o the TO’s). Go Irish, CLOBBER PURDUE.

  69. I don’t want to win “ugly” against the Purdonts. Let’s just kick the snot out of them and get this train back on track.

    This is one of the most talented teams all around we have had in a while. Execution is a different story. If we can put the TO’s behind us I believe we can play with any one in the country.

    Kelly can do a lot of things to make this happen but he can’t step into his players cleats and keep them from making knuckle head decisions concerning TO’ and penalties.

    My biggest concern is still Gary Gray at the corner. If he would just use his neck to swivel his head and look for the ball he may compliment the stellar of Robert Blanton at the other cornerback position. It seems like every time we give up a long pass play Gary is in the frame most of the time. He is the weak link in the defensive side of the ball. That has to change or we will be playing to the last 5 minutes (again).

    1. Gary Gray should be a great cornerback. He covers well in terms of being near the receiver and the ball. He just doesn’t look up. Frankly I don’t understand why a coach isn’t getting inside his head to correct that.

      We need to crush Purdue. Nothing against them. They are a nondescript team from a nondescript school. But ND needs the style points.

      1. Am I wrong or last year didn’t Chuck Martin coach the entire defensive backfield and then this year switched to Kerry Cooks having the DBs and Chuck only the safeties?

      2. C-Dog,

        Gray’s play so far this year is a real head scratcher.

        Is he hurt? Did he get too comfortable as the incumbent starter? Is it just a run of bad luck?

        I don’t know. I do know at six foot, 195 lbs, and a Senior who has been in a major college program for 4 years and has significant playing time, that he isn’t undersized or inexperienced.

        He was a marked man agianst Michigan, MSU, and Pitt.

        Until he proves himself (which I believe he can do) he will continue to get picked on.

        You know, if we were playing Purdue at Noon this week, I wouldn’t think too much into this game.
        But once agian it’s a prime time night game on the road.
        Purdue will be jacked up, so we better be too.

        Going to keep an eye on the Air Force / Navy game.

        We face Air Force next week, and Navy a few weeks after that. Two teams that run the option, and should know something about trying to stop it. Should give us a good look at what we can exspect in the coming weeks.

        It’s also a big rivalry game.

        Maybe, for once, we will catch a team (Air Force) in a bit of an emotional letdown when we play them the following week.

  70. Well, hopefully we will have some answers for Purdue. I can live with winning ugly and uglier and ugliest as long as we are winning. Given that, hopefully we will eventually come up with some sound answers for eight more wins.


  71. Who would like to see ND get a rematch with Michigan in a bowl game? I would. Knowing how our defense is improving, and hoping Gary Gray either learns to turn and look or gets replaced, I see us killing Michigan. Aaron Lynch would also be a difference on the line against Denard, “the mind” Robinson. A goal like that might motivate the team week in and week out.

    Any takers?

    1. If we had one “legit QB” we would not be 2 – 2. Crist is miscast, he should get out of Dodge to a pro-style offense, Hendrix, I am like you I don’t know him, but ND is for smart kids and he should be mentally ready at this point to play. He wouldn’t be the only red shirt QB in America, Golson, he gets a pass as a true freshman.

      1. fxm,

        “Mentally Ready” is a fairly loose term when talking about this team.

        Crist should have been mentally ready, as should Rees.

        QB’s get hurt. And if that happends, it’s back to Crist.
        He is still part of the team, and may still have a roll to play before it is all over.

        Not saying one of the freshmen can’t come in and play well enough to win consistently… I’m just not willing to bet the farm on it.

        I’ll probably get boo’d out of south bend for saying this but sometimes I wish we were back running a option offense.

        Air Force and Navy never sniff a four or five star recruit, but they level the playing field with their option offense.

        The last time ND won a national Championship, Tony Rice was running an option.

        Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech lead the nation in rushing with their option.
        I think for 3 or 4 games they have this obscene rushing average of 600+ yards per game.

        It isn’t fancy, but it works!

      2. I agree, give Navy our current defense and you have quite a team. Nobody would want to play that team in a bowl game.

      3. Whole heartedly agree SHAZAMROCK. In theory, we’re supposed to be running some option from this spread option offense. Oh yeah,that’s right, we just aren’t using a QB right now that can be a run threat to have an option from this scheme. All right, I’ll end my sarcasm. Go Irish

    2. C-Dog,

      Robinson is always lights out in the beginnning of the season and then he gets hit. By the end of the season he is beat up. He has a lot in common with Vick right now and would be a shadow of himself. Also, ND will be looking for the deep ball and they will not get it by them twice. He was throwing Hail Marys because that was the only thing he could do. Gary Grey will be fine.

  72. Question of the day…
    If (and that’s a huge if) we have a big lead going into the 4th quarter of the Purdue game, or even the Airforce game, who do you put in as the second string QB? Do you put in Crist because he’s a senior. Do you put in Hendrix to see what he’s got? Do you put in Golson because he’s the future?
    There is a problem with each one of these. If it’s Crist, you don’t give any experience to Hendrix or Golson. If it’s Hendrix, Golson transfers. If it’s Golson, Hendrix transfers.

    I also have concerns for the upcoming years. Tommy Rees has two years of eligibility left. Does BK really see Tommy as a starter for two more years. If so, his spread attack is put on hold for another 2 years. I don’t think BK can make a mid season change at QB, unless if we lose 2-3 in a row, AND Tommy continues to turn the ball over. Tommy is our best option for wins right now, but is he the best option for our future? We HAVE to get Hendrix or Golson some playing time to see what they can do. If we don’t get them playing time…when they do have to go in, they won’t be ready!!!

    I don’t think we will be in the position to have a big lead against either one of these teams, but I’m hoping one day, everything clicks and the Irish come out rolling. If that happens, who does BK put in?

    1. You have a package for Hendrix now inside the 20. ND already turns the ball over enough why not give the kid a shot. At least the defense will have to respect the QB run. Golson needs to be redshirted, in practice videos and he is forcing the ball into double coverage around the goal line. I think if Reese has another turnover riddled game he should be benched and go back to Crist.

      1. I think the Hendrix package is a great idea for inside the 20. If it doesn’t work out, kick a field goal. Atleast it’s safe. 3 points is better than none. Also, why not put Reese under center and give it to Cierre/Jonas in the red zone. Running from the shot gun inside the 20 (without an option) isn’t working out.

        Kelly is in a tough spot becuase if he goes to Crist, and Crist loses, what do the fans and media say?

        Why can’t Reese have a turnover free game and we win by 30? Why does there have to be so much stress?!?!

    2. Just keep in mind, when Crist went out last year, a QB (whom we’re all discussing now)had to be inserted with minimal game experience & readiness. The team won some games in spite of that. You can’t convince me if either Hendrix or Golson had to be inserted if Rees goes down, that maybe, just maybe, it may not be the “end of the world” b/c they have little “game experience/readiness.” Those 2 should be having some packaged plays put in for them NOW, especially if a significant ND lead is happening (or God help us all, we’re getting the s— pounded out of us and we’re down by many points). It’s hard to say what would happen b/c we have not seen either of those 2 play in a game. Mr. Rees MAY NOT be the best chance we have to win if all the options we have available have not been used in game time to make that assessment. Just a thought. Go Irish!

  73. Nobody on this blog would be uptight if we did not have polls till after the 3rd game as it should be. The preseason polls got everyone jazzed up with the #18 ranking. Please tell me why they deserved that ranking? Frankly, ND and BCS should not be mentioned in the same sentence – probably ever again. Hell ND could even dominate the Big East if they joined. The old days are just that – old and gone. This current program is what it is. So everyone get over it and enjoy whatever victories they achieve. They are not a Oklahoma, LSU, West Virginia, Texas, Florida or Oregon program…….and probably will never be that type a program again.

    1. Not even sure 3 games are enough with the way so many BCS teams load up on cupcakes to start the season.
      After watching Oklahoma and LSU play, I’m not going to argue that we have a way to go before we can be compaired with them.
      But lets not forget Stanford.
      They were very much like we are now.
      If they can do it, so can we.

      1. I do not share entirely the idea that we can’t be better or move up to a higher bar for success. There are many variables that have to be addressed. Bottom line, it starts with winning consistently (and especially winning against teams we should beat and the more convincing the better, especially during televised games)during the season and more so, in a major/BCS bowl. The high rated player/athletes that can meet current ND standards aren’t going to come to a team perceived as mediocre, “not good” or any other descriptive label as such. That, in part, is some (but not all) of the reason we have had sub-standard teams the last 15 years.

        Go Irish!

  74. When will the crucifiction of Tommy Rees end? Some of these comments are beyond reasonable. He gets the job done against USC and Miami and he is beloved.

    As for Cook and Pitt-adios traitors. Cook is from the lineage of Judas Escariot and John Wilkes Booth. When my Granny worked for him he threatened to terminate her for voicing an opinion differing with his-and I do mean terminate as in he threatened to kill her. So long creep.

    1. I don’t think anyone is “out to get him.” He is in a bad spot, he is not a top 25 QB, we want to be in the top 25, and BK compounds the problem by making him toss the ball 40 times a game which invariably will lead to him having 2 turnovers a game. it makes you start to read the tea leaves and say, oh no, we are going to lose to Navy again at this rate.

    2. Well,I’d say it was more the “team” won against those 2 teams versus attributing those wins to Rees “outstanding” QB play, especially against USC. I think there are legitimate observations about Rees’s play as QB that are fair game to critique. I don’t think that is crucufying the young man. At this stage, he should be performing better than what he has shown. He’s no longer a newbie to this.

    3. I agree that a little leeway should be given to Rees. Why isn’t the running game more prominent? LSU is taking pressure off it’s QB by having an awesome run attack. They will probably be stopped at some point, but ND could open the pass game and not make Rees be the all or nothing factor in the offense.
      They open up that pass game by having a consistent, and solid run threat.

      1. Have him play a little more under center versus so much shotgun so he can read the defense a bit better and poentially execute a better run game would be one consideration to try.

      2. BK is running the spread and if the player can’t play in his system he needs to find someone who can.

      3. You saw that too, eh, storespook?
        Even in the spread the QB goes under center more. I don’t understand why Rees is not comfortable under center. This should be coached and quickly. Play action is so much more effective whent the QB is under center. And you must also see that the point of attack for a running play is closer to the line of scrimmage.

        Glad you pointed that one out.

    4. Sad Warrior,

      I am not crucifying Tommy Reese, but it is unacceptable to turn the ball over as much as he does. Just look at the Brady this weekend and you will see that turnovers are the reason teams lose games. It is the QB’s responsibility to protect the ball and Reese does not. Tommy nor Dayne are not the fits for the offense BK wants to run. The reason ND turns the ball over in the Redzone is the QB is not a threat to run. It limits the playbook by a third. Also, don’t give me this crap he has moxy. ND should have won that game by 2 tds and the last drive would not have been needed. If Tommy can’t protect the football he needs to go, period. Look at the stats he turns the ball over more than Crist. He has turned the ball over more than the previous two QB’s at ND combined in two seasons. This team can not afford turnovers anymore, the sloppy play must stop and BK needs to light a fire undeer someone’s ass and get this fixed. They lost two games because of stupid mistakes and careless play by everyone. Reese needs to protect the football period, if he doesn’t he is no different than Jaquori Harris.

      1. We have four legitimate QB’s on the team.
        Crist, Rees, Golson,& Hendrix.

        Two, Golson & Hendrix, are not yet ready for prime time.
        (And, to be perfectly honest, I know very little about ether one)

        That leaves Rees and Crist.

        Before the start of the season I felt that Christ was the correct choice to play QB.
        And it’s very hard to make a judgement on him when he has only played 2 quarters of football.

        I watched the USF game like everyone else.

        What I saw in the first half was a QB playing not to lose.
        What I saw in the second half was a QB playing all out to win.

        As pointed out, Rees’s turnovers are unacceptable.
        Especially when you consider that he now has about 8 full games under his belt.

        But the bottom line is that he is just more productive than Dane Christ, turnovers and all.

        As for “moxy” . Never under estimate it. It is often the difference between a player willing to take a hit to make a first down, and a player looking to run out of bounds or grab some turf in order to protect his own butt.

        It is often the difference between winning and losing.

  75. ND-Pitt game. A win, but uninspiring. I felt almost as bad as the Michigan loss. They need to start playing to their potential.

  76. You wrote: “The Big East isn’t dying because of Notre Dame’s ambivalence; the schools that put the conference on life support from day one are Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Marquette, Seton Hall, Providence and Depaul.”

    This is just not the case (and, in fact, many of these schools are founding members of the Big East conference).

    The regional conference has many founding members that don’t play football but that have strong basketball programs. Georgetown, for example, has a remarkable basketball tradition. Should it have to go independent because it doesn’t play football? Of course not.

    The Big East fate was sealed the moment that the BCS gave it an automatic bid. At that point, the conference became obsessed with the money that is in college football. But Cincinnati and Connecticut (and West Virginia and Louisville and South Florida and the other “football” schools) don’t have football programs that compare with Oklahoma, Texas (or any other Big 12 school), any SEC school, our beloved university, or any Pac 12 school. It’s not even close. Yet, the BCS wanted the Big East because it knew the ratings would rise if a Big East school were in the BCS. And the Big East wanted the BCS because it wanted the cash. So every school in the conference shares some of the blame for the current predicament.

    At this stage, it seems to make the most sense for the Catholic schools — St. Johns, Marquette, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence and DePaul — to consider starting their own gig. It will be tough, though, because these basketball schools won’t have enough participation to really succeed at the outset. Notre Dame could join this conference for all sports but football.

    Another option is a full-scale merger with the ACC, which would drive TCU nuts but would make some sense. With the teams left, though, it’s hard to see the Big East staying independent.

    1. Teo:
      Call me crazy but I think and have thought for a long time, that if Missouri left the big ” 12″ and Penn State left the big “10” and Notre Dame joined Big East alotgether that would be a start. A Second COLOSSAL step would be to take what is left of the Big 12 and merge it with the Big East and inviting Army and Navy ( and perhaps our southern Catholic Friends Tulane) THAT would be GREAT CONFERENCE USA -with the divisions being called Platinum and Gold. Seriously!! why not? ( If the Big “10” can have leaders and legends -in their own minds-why not ? Geography is not the key anymore–merging with these schools would make super $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and ND could keep the friendship with Texas and step it up with Oklahoma ( oh boy) and Ok.State and K. State and others. It would TRULY slap what is claeed the big 10 in the face!! why not? Stranger things have happened–think of all the bowl potentials and the big pot of money $$$$$ AMAZING!Maybe, Maybe not? ND may have to do something someday and I would rather embrace the Big 12 than the Big “10” any day for the sake of the enemy of my enemy is my friend type of thing. ( Not to mention basketball and baseball and ND FINALLY could have and SHOULD have a wrestling team for men with all the extra dough! -whew)

  77. I think BK needs to consider yanking anyone who turns over the ball for atleast 2-3 plays. Riding the pine is a great opportunity to see the player in action who could possibly replace you. Should be motivation for most people.

  78. It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. You guys are all right. Crist is bigger, stronger, faster, has a stronger arm than Rees, but is a little hesitant in running this offense. Rees can run this offense, but is a turnover machine. I wish BK would have been as patient/loyal to Crist as he is with Rees. I think Crist is lost forever to ND. Rees is a good back up but is the least talented of the 4 QB’s. It seems like this team is strong everywhere but at QB (and punting/punt returning). Unfortunately,that’s a big position to be lacking.

    1. That is the weird part, Hendrix can’t get on the field after a year in the system when the guy ahead is a lock for 2 turnovers a game. Thats not hyperbole, it is a well established trend.

      1. After reading the specific article from the NYT, it doesn’t look like any of the other 3 QB’s will be seeing any playing time in the near future as quoted from Kelly. Jesus!

  79. Tommy does have ice in his veins when it counts. 8 for 8 on the final drive. But he has to rescue the team from his own mistakes.

    I don’t know how much longer BK will tolerate his miscues. Probably as long as he wins.

    Hendrix has mobility, Crist a strong arm and Rees has some savvy. From what I saw of the spring game, Golson shows all those aspects. Of course, scrimmages are a whole different game.

    He is the prototype for Kelley’s offense. It will take either a blowout or Rees continuing to give up the ball before we will find out.

    1. You hit the nail on the head. He has to rescue the team from his own mistakes. That sums up this kid. This is a very good team with one weak area. Unfortunately it is at the key position. I find myself expecting the rest of the team to be perfect to make up for Rees play. He turns the ball over, does not see the whole field leaving WR’s wide open, throws one dangerous pass after another and telegraphs his passes. The frustration that I have is that he is getting a reputation as a QB with ice in his veins who leads late drives. As you state he puts the team in that position and leads drives on prevent defenses. From what I saw in the spring game, Hendrix and Gholson look like they could lead this team better than Rees. Based on everything Kelly says, it does not seem like they will see the field any time soon.

  80. I watched Alabama & LSU play yesterday. WE ARE NO WHERE NEAR THEM yet regarding player matchups and they are, at least right now, the marquee teams in college football. They certainly have some of the best defenses right now. I wish we could achieve that level again like we did in Holtz’s days.

    Go Irish.

    1. I agree, how can you not? But it was funny watching WVU get blown out by LSU. WVU had 533 yards of offense, 10 penalties, and 4 turnovers. Sound familiar. The culture of greatness is that you don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

      1. That he is not, you’re absolutely right about that, JC.

        I wish Lou would stick a thick sock in Mark May’s mouth to shut that anti-ND’er up I suppose ESPN would say that’s bad for business. I can’t stand that guy or his “insights.”

      2. You old timers are really annoying.

        Holtz’s 1987 team — his second with the Irish — went 8-3 and was drilled 35-10 by Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. The quarterbacks had 11 interceptions against just 4 touchdown passes. In the Cotton Bowl, we had four turnovers that led to several A&M scores.

        In the national championship season, Tony Rice had 10 TDs and a whopping 8 interceptions.

        Holtz didn’t really start to dominate until his third season, when he won a title.

        You should look up some of these “facts” sometimes, instead of just reliving your glory years by omitting key facts.

      3. Teo,
        Come on now. I understand the frustration with hearing about “the good old days”.
        However, maybe because some of us old timers were there during the transformation, we see some things. I think Kelly is as good as any coach ND could find to fit our ethical standards. But Holtz was the last to do it and not sacrifice ND’s standards. Therefore…..those uof us who witnessed the the greatness and inspiration, see some things that have been lacking since.

        Holtz did have issues to corect. His defensive coordinator, Foge Fazio was an excellent game planner, but could make no adjustments during the game. Holtz fired Fazio in favor of Barry Alvarez who planned the game but then adjusted the defense to suit the opponents adjustments. His players could mentally handle it. Result, dominant defenses. Mintor in his prime as a defensive play caller could do it too. Actually as a coordinator, Davie could as well. Bottom line is that Holtz dissected a problem and fixed it.

        Another problem was team quickness and agility. Holtz saw that in 1987 and fixed it from 1988 onward.

        We don’t know if Kelly is seeing issues, especially in his staff and fixing them.

        I won’t blame this group of kids. I think they are doing well with how they are currently coached. I fear that Kelly is sticking to his plan with a rigid approach. This team won’t progress until he says they can.

        My concern is that he gets a lot out of the players, but doesn’t place them in situationns that give them much freedom. Are they given the tools to think and make good field judgements. I am not sure.

        Holtz broke his players down to eliminate poor habits, or unsuccessful attitudes. But then he built them up so that in context of the team, they could make sound field judgements. He built strong leaders among the players. I don’t see that in this team. I see Brian Kelly and a bunch of kids looking over their shoulder for the next mistake and chewing out, than wanting to take the game in their own hands. This is more so on offense than defense. But we had great defenses under Davie and it got us only to the door.

        Bottom line is this team doesn’t inspire yet. They need to take ownership on the field themselves.

        I don’t know why people are all over Rees. He’s playing well despite his youth. Why aren’t the Irish more consistent with the run? Why is the pass defense still suspect? Why can’t the coaching staff improve it’s gametime adjustments? why is Kelly yelling at the players for not gettign plays off sooner when he’ himself is late getting plays in on time? Why haven’t the coaches worked with Rees more to make him feel comfortable under center instead of in the shotgun?

        Many questions. I point to the coaching staff. But I don’t say there need to be changes. The last time Notre Dame was dominant, you could point to evil, cheating programs and programs who put integrity above all that. It’s a lot harder to do now. So I have to say, having lived during an era that had possibly the last vestiges of idealism in college football, I can’t complain about the Irish today. I can say that unless we put a team on the field like Stanford’s last year, and pull off a national championship the right way, it’s just not inspiring anymore.

        I am a football fan. But it’s impossible to root for any NFL team, knowing the kind of scum that dominates the league. College football is not far behind.

        I feel sorry for those of you youngsters who don’t know when more decent people played and coached football.

      4. Quite aware of the facts you state, TEO. I also had the great Faust years to compare Holtz to (much like Davie, Willingham, Weis for Kelly) when I comment about the Holtz’s time at ND. He took over a team from Faust and infused as much of attitude as talent so he was able to achieve MANY successful years afterward. Nothing since Holtz’s time has anything remotely occurred where ND was a legitimate contender besides some years with ok seasons after Holtz (98,2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 though they didn’t pan out well in bowls now did they). I also can remember the Devine years & Ara’s teams from the 70’s where they were pretty good also. Relieving past times. Sure am and I’m OK with it. My grandfather shared many stories about Rockne whom he played for and they were great stories to listen to as a kid. Holtz’s won/loss record speaks for itself. I agree, a coach should have a 3 year assessment to determine suitability. I’ll make my final assessment of Kelly after the 2012 season. I certainly share similar opinions with you TEO about some of the things happening with our current team.

        Go Irish!

      5. Fair enough (and, perhaps unfortunately, I am not a “youngster” — I did graduate from college in the early 1990s and lived through/watched the Holtz years with excitement and vividly recall Faust’s last game). My general point is that it is too early to make a judgment on both Rees and Kelly. They’re working together and growing up in the limelight that is Notre Dame football.

        Like Holtz in the mid-to-late 1980s, they’re trying to figure out how to win in South Bend. But this idea advanced by many of those my age and older who remember one/more ND national championship(s), that Holtz walked in and essentially won a title in a year or two is crazy.

        He won in his third year — and continued to coach very well for the next several years (really through the 1994 season). At this stage of his second season, Holtz and his kids started to pour it on. Let’s hope that Kelly can do the same.

      6. Teo,

        Remember the week before a big game?

        Lou would say things like “we are facing a very good team and I hope we can compete”, or, “we have a lot of work to do if we don’t want to get blown out” or “the sky is falling and the end is near, I just don’t know what we can do to win this game”.

        Then his players would go out and play the game of their lives.

        He was a master at diverting attention, taking some pressure off, and getting his teams to pull together.

      7. Teo,
        I think you have a point. But Holtz did give one confidence that he himself saw flaws in his own management of the program and fixed them.
        Something we forget is that Dan Devine was run out after 5 years of amazing success when you look at it. He also had a run very close to Lou’s but was essentially fired after year 5. But his teams also inspired.
        I reserve judgement on Kelly. What I would like to see is the intangibles that Holtz inspired, the love, and commitment for one another among the coaches and players. That will show on the field. Gary Gray turns and sees one of Denard Robinson’s moon balls if the coaches have instilled respect, love and commitment. A lineman falls on a fumble, etc. Let’s see if the players free themselves of fear and replace it with commitment to the whole.

      8. Yes, I absolutely remember the Lou Holtz mind games. They are fabulous. Every coach should utilize them. Coach Kelly has a much different approach in that respect (see the South Florida pep rally).

        Lou was just such an amazing coach. And, really, he is an amazing person — someone who is humble yet confident, bright yet aware of his limitations. He’s a great man.

        I don’t watch Coach Kelly to become Lou Holtz. But I do want him to have the kind of success — and more — that Coach Holtz had while paying attention to the ethics of the university.

        It’s very difficult to see how Notre Dame could win a national title in these times. The SEC is a league filled with NFL players who are “studying” football. Notre Dame is filled with students who play football. There is a huge difference.

        That said, the intangibles that C-Dog and Shaz and others mention are key.

  81. Well if they play up to the ability where they should be this time of year, their up by 3 touches against Purdue and they can get another QB in for some reps in the 4th. But nooooooo, cause they will be playing two games that day. One against Purdue and the other against themselves. A very tall order for a good win.

  82. There were times today, when it sure looked like if Rees had faked the handoff and kept the ball and ran around end the opposite direction, there were plenty of yards there to be had. But I think the defense knows that he is not about to run (what did he have? about 5 yards rushing)so they flat disregard him as a running threat, and that makes us 10 against 11 which doesn’t work out well. If we had that one little bit of surprise, where suddenly he takes off and gets say 10 yards cause they disregard his running, then that evens up the odds a little more, the defense would need to stay home and maybe keep an eye on him for just a second longer. I know if he had taken off on a couple runs Saturday, it might have made a little more of a difference. But he flat refuses to scramble at all.

    I agree that the play calling is getting WAY too predictable. I really wish he would give Golson or Hendrix either one the opportunity so we could see for ourselves how they react under game conditions.

    They looked awfully slow or lethargic today, do you think that 12pm game time was messing with them a little?? I hope that is the only game they play that early in the day the rest of the season.

  83. Where would Reese rank among some of the worst QBs we’ve had in people’s minds if he in fact belongs in that category? Better than Carlyle Holiday or Arnaz Battle? Those were pretty brutal regimes to watch too where balls were skipping on the ground to recievers and there was NO hope of an offensive TD in sight. Lets have a top 5 worst 5.

      1. Good point, I had that thought too. Arnaz, Carlyle, Gary Godsey (yeah, I know he was a temp fix due to injury at the time)Demitres, & Dayne come to mind for me. Wasn’t a huge fan of Clausen either.

    1. Where does Rees rank amoung the better QB’s that ND has had during their sophmore years?

      His Yardage and completion percentage are highrer than both Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen during their sophmore seasons.
      Rees is a “Gamer”, he will make some bad reads, poor decisions and forced throws, but when the game is on the line he finds a way to get it done.
      That much he has proven to me.
      (We might want to keep in mind our schedule for next year when talking starting QB’s for this year)

      ND kicked off to start the second half. They had Pitt pinned back deep in their own end. Our defense forced a “3 and out” That is exactly what you want. So why do you go after the punt?
      The Pitt punter kicks the ball out at his own 44 yard line, great field position to open the second half on offense right?
      Only we decided to go after the punt, didn’t block it, roughed the kicker, gave them a first down gift. Then watched as our defense was stuck on the field for over 8 minutes as Pitt drove the entire field for the go ahead points.

      I just don’t understand the call?

      I love a power running game. Got to have it if you want to be a top 10 team. Jonas Gray had his best day so far. I think he has earned a few more carries for next week. I hope they give them to him.

      We play a 12 game schedule. You have to know that if you want to win them all, a few are going to be of the “ugly” variety.
      We used to find ways to lose these types of games.
      I’ll take an ugly win on the road any day.

      Now we have a chance to get on the winning side of the ledger. No time for any kind of let down.

      1. I think when you have a dink and dunk passer, the completion % is overrated. I bet we lead the nation is pass completions for a loss. No deep action will lead to the suffocation of the ground game and even the dink and dunk will evaporate as defenses get tighter and tighter. Jonas only gets to run the ball 5 times a game. Rees has thrown the ball more 35 times in three games (1-2). We will probably have 2 or 3 more losses if this trend continues. BK just can’t help himself.

      2. I think your general comment is valid: too often, we have 3-5 yard completions instead of 25-30 yard completions. And it follows that defenses will suffocate us over time.

        That said, I don’t see this as BK. I see this as Rees learning the role. And I would also say that he showed his growth in the final drive, when Pitt doubled up FLoyd and we found the Tight End Eifert.

  84. I am not griping about about the result on the field today, butlet’s be honest, there is a LOT of legiitimate critqueon the means that occurred today that resulted in the outcome. Kelly certainly seems to be showing a LOT of committment to Rees. I am worried he is projecting him to start in the next coming years. This is the 4th game of the season. It’s time either Rees starts making better QB decisions, figuring out what his strengths & weaknesses (b/c I’m not convinced he is aware of those based on his play)and assisting in the improvement on the O side of the ball. This team is struggling and making the games WAY TOO HARD on themselves and Rees is a big part of that. Last night, I couldn’t sleep so I popped on YouTube and watched, in particular, 1988, 1989,& 1993 game highlights. I picked those 3 years b/c they were some of Lou’s best teams. remember what was in common between Rice & McDougall. They could RUN & PASS the ball very effective. I think that success could be repeated with a dual threat QB running this spread offense (AND REES AIN’T IT).The intensity highlights showed ND playing is something I wish we could get back to now with the current edition.

    The defense continues to play well, more so the front 7 versus D backfield.

    Go Irish, Beat Purdue.

  85. If Crist goes back in and loses everybody wil be crying for Tommy again. Just leave it like it is he’s 6-1 as a starter. Next yr you can start whoever but for this yrs sake LEAVE IT ALONE.

    GO IRISH!!!!

  86. If Crist goes back in ad OSS it everybody wil be crying for Tommy again. Just leave it like it is he’s 6-1 as a starter. Next yr you can start whoever but for this yrs sake LEAVE IT ALONE.

    GO IRISH!!!!

  87. It’s dumb to try and play the Qb roulette game again when the current starter is 6-1 as such and only a 19 year old sophomore. I dont trust 19 year olds to get my Mcdonalds order right, let alone play Qb at ND – but he’s well enough to get wins, eben if it’s just barely. The USF game cant be blamed on him, and IMO neither can Michigan. The defense blew the Michigan game, twice.

    I’m not ready to give up on Rees yet, and the Irish would be in a lot worse shape right now if they were already giving up on him, too.

  88. This is what this fan base has become, we sit here and bitch about a win! Ugly wins make me feel better than good looking losses all day long! Not counting Floyd this offense is extremely young but just as talented, it will come along. This defense is the most talented I have seen since the early nineties, not to to take anything away from the 2002 D, but they overachieved. This defense is gonna do some real damage to the opposition this year, and the O will get there. I love this team and always will, good or bad show some pride in a hard fought win, on the road against a rival with a coach that had our number last year with a far more inferior team! GO IRISH!

    1. Amen! A road win is a win as far as I’m concerned. Well stated texas, couldn’t agree with you more. ND just needs better consistency at QB and eliminate the bonehead penalties/turnovers. (i.e. collinsworth roughing the kicker today?

  89. I do want to say that I think Kelly is one heck of a coach. Night and day of Weiss and Willingham. ND will win a championship in his run. With that said, I scratch my head on his loyalty to Rees. Tommy is a good kid and has done an amazing job in a back up-like role. However, he is a back up QB. He was recruited as one to Hendrix. This is who he is and who he always will be. Kelly can not make him anything beyond this. Kelly needs to remove him.

    It is obvious that Kelly has no faith in Crist. In Kelly’s offense, Crist is a horrible fit. I wish the he transferred for his own career. He is an NFL Style QB. He could have had a good career in the right offense. With that said, the two QB’s on the roster that are tailored made for Kelly’s offense are Hendrix and Gholson. Anyone that watched the Blue/ Gold Game could see the difference in their play versus Rees and Crist. I am not sure why Kelly does not make the move. Rees is a disaster. Why is Kelly investing time with this kid when he has better options to groom?

    The scary thing on Kelly’s crazy loyalty to Rees is that this kid has two more years of eligibility beyond this year. I cannot imagine another additional two years with him. Kelly needs to pull the plug on Rees. Does he see Rees as a starter for the next three years? If not, put the kid in that he sees as the starter and leader for this team.

    1. I hate to say it, but unfortunately Hendrix probably is not that “heady” because he has been around long enough that I should know the offense. But maybe he only has the physical tools. One thing I will say about CW, he is no head coach but look at what he is doing in Floride, he knows he doesn’t have a QB so he is running the hell out of the ball and not throwing it 40 x with a back-up.

  90. Crist stinks, Rees stinks, the whole team stinks including coaches. That was one of the worst displays of football I witnessed in a long time. DID THEY EVEN PRACTICE THIS WEEK? Every college football expert comments on the talent at ND, well then it’s obvious yet once again the coaching sucks. Now what? Urban feeling etter yet?

  91. Again, I don’t get the Rees love affair. He has a 1 turnover for every half he plays. He better lead them to come from behind with all those turnovers. Maybe they wouldn’t be behind without all of the turnovers. By the way, the fact that he can not stretch the field will be the death of the running game. How nauseous do we feel about the Navy game?

  92. does rees think that once the team gets inside the twenty yard line all of a sudden he is john elway. tommy you have the same arm on the twenty you have at the fifty. quit trying to zip the ball into a covered reciever and end up with a turnover, especially on 1st down. as far as crist goes he has the same turnover problem as rees but doesn’t move the team as well.

    1. BS. Try looking at actual stats. Crist throws a INT every 40 throws while Rees is every 20. Plus Rees can’t hangon to the ball. And with all of that, Rees can’t extend the field. The only time he moves the ball is when the D is stupid enough not to crowd the line. If he has room, he can throw his little dink passes. That’s why he has so much trouble in the red zone. The D can only play so deep. It’s forced to crowded and limit his space. Crist can put a rope on target at 50 yards. That means the D has to play honest.

      1. And I would just add that Rees doesn’t seem to be able to throw the ball down field. At least, today he didn’t and in a late setting against Michigan, he didn’t. It’s short passes, which may be what the defense gives him, but still, without any down field tosses, the running game evaporates. Everyone plays tight.

        We have to spread the field.

      2. That is the biggest misleading stat I’ve ever seen. He throws less picks, that means he is the better QB? Watch the USF game again. Watch the two three down and long plays in the first half. Dayne Crist, with barely any pressure, was nervous in the pocket. I assume he was worried about his knee, but he delivered two wretched passes. That was the sign to me and to Brian Kelly that Dayne Crist had a giant mental block. He is afraid of being blitz. I’m sorry, you can’t QB if you are afraid of being hit. Tommy Rees mentally knows he can complete passes while having a rush blitz at him. The boy is just plain tougher than Dayne Crist. There is no argument on that front.

      3. If you’re going to “troll”, at least try to understand the point of the post. In this case, my point was to contradict the misperception that Crist has the same “turnower problem” as Rees. He does not. In the USF game, Crist had 4 passes dropped, and USF wasn’t putting huge pressure on Rees either. Crist has never looked afraid of getting hit. Anyone who can come back from 2 major knee surgeries and play is plenty “tough”, so there is an argument on the toughness front. Besides, it’s Rees who doesn’t step into his throws when being rushed. But, I will admit that the “toughness” issue is more opinion than fact; however, it is a fact that Rees turns the ball over at a greater rate than Crist.

  93. Thoughts on the Pittsburgh victory

    1. Was Tyler Eifert suspended for the first drive/first quarter today? All of us saw freshman Ben Koyack playing and catching a pass early in the game, while Eifert was mysterious absent.

    2. Rees is not perfect, everyone will agree on that, but he has a lot of positives. Delivery of the football, leadership, toughness and his will to win. Hendrix and Golson are probably more suited to run the offense, but at this moment Rees gives ND the best chance to win. He has proven to me that he can win football games.

    3. Prince Shembo was in pass coverage in the beginning of Pittsburgh’s last drive. It was driving me insane. The defensive coaches made the adjustment and brought him in to rush the QB. The decision ended up helping the Irish secure the victory.

    4. Wood and Gray are being used properly. Wood getting 25 touches and Gray is getting 10-15 touches. I would love to see if ND can get a third back involved, but it will be hard seeing that Cierre and Jonas are playing so well right now

    5. Gary Gray has been a massive disappointment. He has taken a few steps back early in the season. After the 2010 season, I thought he was going to be one of the best defensive backs in college. At least Robert Blanton is holding his end of the bargain

    1. Jonas has 25 carries on the year. He had 3 carries today for 83 yards. That is a problem. Rees had 40 pass attempt today, way too much. This is BKs 1st win when a QB threw more than 35 times at ND. Not my kind of win against a team that barely squeaked by maine.

      1. I just assumed that Jonas Gray had more touches. That is my bad. He should be around 10 a game. ND needs 50-50 in play calling. But the play-calling at the end of the game was for Rees to deliver the ball to Eifert more and more. Pittsburgh had no answer for Eifert.

        I’ll give Rees a “C” grade overall, mainly because he had a few critical plays where he was jumpy in the pocket, instead of being cool and collected that he usually is. I give credit to Pittsburgh. They showed a lot of defensive sets that confused the ND players and coaches. They were able to get enough pressure on Rees to throw off his rhythm.

        On the last drive, he delivered like he has done in the past.

    2. Rees stinks. He played well on ONE drive. His reads sucked. His delivery sucked. He was sloooow in picking up open receivers. Crist gets 15 throws, but Rees gets the season to show how bad he is? Insanity. BTW-Gary Gray has played much better the last two weeks. The interference in the end zone was bogus.

      1. Just because you troll a message board doesn’t mean you know what the hell your talking about. A receiver being bump, the offensive line protection all coincides with a play. When Rees audibles to a hot route, the ball is going to that receiver quickly no matter what. During that last drive, matter of fact, any important drive, Rees is the QB that gets the job done for this football team. That is Rees third game where he has brought ND from behind in the fourth quarter (USC, Michigan and Pittsburgh). Plus Rees has no confidence issues at all. Crist has the look of someone who has lost confidence. Too bad because the knee injuries are the problem.

        Gray missing tackles and not looking back for the ball is a giant step back. He was expected to be All-American this season and he isn’t close to that level

      2. Robert Hughes brought us back against SC, not Rees. He wasn’t reading anything quickly today, but if you like a QB that has one good drive a day, I guess Rees is your guy. Even Urban Meyers was saying we should go back to Crist. In the 6 games Crist played last year (leave out Tulsa. He played 6 plays), the defense didn’t stop anyone, and we had no running game. Also, he can accurately throw the deep ball which Rees can’t, so no defense has to respect the deep ball. That allows them to play closer to the line and take away the run and short passes. Happened alot today. Had Rees done anything before that last drive, we wouldn’t have needed to come from behind. Every drive is important. With Rees in the game, we’re pretty much looking at giving up 2 to 3 a game with turnovers. But it’s nice that he looks “confidennt”.

  94. wake up people! brian kelly is OVERRATED. never should have gotten the job in the first place. he is sitting crist because weis brought him in. kelly is arrogant and makes excuses. rees is not the answer. pitt is 119 in pass defense and we can’t throw it down the field?! also why is the NG Nix 2 yards off the line of scrimmage? nd needs the following: a new o-line coach, a new secondary coach, and a special teams coach! other than a td runback last week, our special teams suck ditch water! kelly is realizing this isn’t cincinnati where you get se missouri state. nd plays the big boys. some one make an argument of ONE big game brian kelly has won. (and don’t give me div II championship, or big east title) those are not the level nd is at. nd has LOTS of talent, just crappy coaching!!!!

  95. Today’s game really exposed Reese inability to progress though reads. In addition to that I’m starting to think he can’t throw the ball any farther than 10 yards. There’s a reason his passing accuracy is good…it’s because he’s hitting receivers in stride 5 yards in front of him. Why can’t he send one deep if for no other reason to keep the defense honest? The D knows that every ball is going to be in front of them….so they just keep inching forward as the game progresses. It hurts the passing game and the running game.

    I’m really at a loss for what Kelly (IMO) should do at QB… I’m almost thinking that we should have another look at Crist. For what ever reason Kelly hasn’t been very patient with Crist as he is with Reese.

    I know he’s young and has only started a 5-6 games but being able to at least recognize your 1st and 2nd option in the passing game is critical. He locks on a receiver and the ball is coming…often too late!

    His fumble today comes after a big collision because his left tackle misses a block. But that’s not an excuse for dumping the ball.

    Defense….. played another strong game. I’m loving watching this front seven get better every week!

    A win is a win though…and I’ll take it.

    Go IRISH

  96. It’s an undisciplined team. Really. They get nine on a 2nd down running play but it’s called back for holding, what amounts to a 19 yard penalty.

    Floyd’s open in man coverage and Rees looks the other way. It’s excruciating. Bad execution all over the place.

  97. I wonder how many more TO’s Kelley is going to allow before he sits. 9 out of 16 now belong to Rees. For whatever good he does he post a debit on the other side of the ledger.

    Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t mind having a look at Golson if this keeps up.
    He sure is giving Tommy a lot more latitude than he gave Dayne.

    Part of that interception was the receiver not coming back to the ball.He just stood there and watched the dback cut in front of him. None the less, Tommy is made bad decisions with several throws. As pointed out he is lucky he does not have 2 more TO’s.

    One more and the kid needs replaced. Period.

    1. A LOT OF LATITUDE for TR if ask me. Makes me wonder if DC’s attitude during pactice is poor (besides the SF game time he put in) which maybbe why he isn’t given another opportunity. I’d like to see some opportunity for Golson and/or Hendrix in packaged options.

  98. Why not give Hendrix a couple of series??? He can run with the ball and quite possibly throw the ball more than twenty yards downfield. How bout streching the defense a little bit!

    The play calling is so f’n predictable!!!

    1. Either Hendrix and/or Golson should be given some packaged plays now to see how they do. I’m not sold on either TR or DC as being the starter. Too much of “having to come from behind” is getting old. There is a reason for that happening to begin with.

  99. Rees’ father must have pictures of Brian Kelly having sex with an animal, because that’s the only way he would keep him in. PUT IN CRIST!!!!!!

    1. Why so the offense really evaporates then? Just seeing Dayne back there gives me the “he doesn’t belong in this offense” feeling. Tommy manages the game and is 6-1 and will only get better every game. It’s not his fault that Dayne couldn’t get the job done. I was hoping Dayne would have accelerated in this offense but he sputtered instead. It’s not his fault either, it’s just not his offense and we all know that. If poor Dayne did go in then everybody would be crying for Hendrix or Gholston them. Let Tommy have his yr, I guarantee you he will get better as every game goes by. If somehow someway this kid even wins or even gets to a BCS bowl game that everybody will be in love with this kid. I’ll admit he doesn’t look the part but when your 6-1 IT DOESNT MATTER.

      1. The offense was pretty much nonexistent today. It was a 79 yard run and one drive. So far, Rees has not gotten better with each game, so why would I expect him to get better in the future. He’s not going to suddenly develop great arm strength to stretch the field. He’s never had a completion over 40 yards. If Crist had played the 1st half and put up the same numbers as Rees, Kelly would have yanked him. Right now, I don’t know how well Crist can play this year. He hasn’t had a real opportunity. Those six wins have come despite of Rees, not because of him.

      2. 4 games into this year (not including last year either) and I can’t say TR is getting better with every game. How many more does he need to pass better, make better decisions, and hang on to the ball. The only thing he seems to stay consistent with is in turning over the ball at critical times. The 1st qtr alone in yesterday’s game was atrocious on his part.

  100. Its half time, God please put in Crist. We need a spark after that missed FG. I have a 9/11 terrorist attack in my pants every time Rees drops back in the pocket and chucks it

  101. Time for Evert Golson yet? ND’s next coach is announcing the game. If he cannot turn the program around please drop football.

  102. Rees is terrbile, Crist can’t be any worse.
    I would not be surprised in the least if in 20 years we read a story about how the ’11 Irish team was on the take and part of a point shaving scandal. 4 games in a row where we move it up and down the field and have turnovers, missed FG’s etc. No team has ever been this effective in shooting themselves in the foot.

  103. insane.

    Another game where we march up and down the field and turn the ball over all day long.

    This is nuts. And we always lose when I post in the first half but I have to say that this is just freaking crazy.

    We should be up by at least three touchdowns but, once again, we’re going to the wire (I hope) against an inferior opponent because our quarterback keeps giving it to the other team. Unreal.

  104. Already we have had 3 potential picks and a lost fumble, all in the FRICKING 1ST QTR by the QB, leading to 3 points by Pitt.

    1. It should shock no one, that is what that kid does.
      although he usually has one turnover per half so maybe he will give you a clean second half.

  105. As a Notre Dame graduate; class of 1973; and a resident of Pittsburgh; I want you to understand that a bitter sportswriter from Pittsburgh does NOT reflect the feelings of the city; nor even most of the Pitt fans in the city. at the same time; responding in so similar a manner as initially displayed by Cook; does not do Her Lady’s university justice; and doesn’t reflect the high ideals and class that Notre Dame is proud of.
    your thoughts are spot on”……………your manner of expressing them needs a little work.
    notre Dame is a proud member of the Big East…..and references to “the Big Least” are offensive; and out of line.
    bob Bixby
    Go Irish !!!

    Are they still in this?
    Have I missed something?
    Am I living under a rock?
    One thing for sure-
    folks love to bash Catholic Affiliated things -from pre-schools to Universities and those who practice the faith. ( Baptist Preacher on radio the other day saying when Peter asked Jesus not to die on the cross and Jesus replied “The Devil is speaking through you. Get thee behind me Satan.”
    He then stated that the Catholic Church was built on Satan because of that.)
    That said, whether people even KNOW this mishmash of misguided thinking, they will find ANY misguided thinking to knock ANYTHING Christian–be it Catholic or otherwise.
    So Big East?

    I for one, would like what is left of the Big 12 and take TCU, Louisville, West Virginia and rob the numerically incorrect big 10 and taken Penn State and Notre Dame and Army and Navy. Now folks–THAT is a conference. Take that ACC and stuff it!!!!!!!!!!
    From the heartland to Pennsylvania–that would be HOT.
    WHY NOT?
    as for Mr. Cook—well —get a life –he’s probably an anti-semite too.

  107. Well, I’m just glad ND didn’t get into the football aspect of the Big East conference. I agree, they knew exactly what ND was seeking when the conference was made aware of ND’s expectations to join in all other sports. They agreed to it. No secrets, no nothing hidden in that. Mr. Cook can go have sex with himself (I’m trying to be tactful here) for all I care. BEAT PITT, GO IRISH.

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