5 Things I Didn’t Like: Notre Dame – Navy ‘12

notre dame navy didnt
Dublin, Ireland. Navy Midshipmen wide receiver Shawn Lynch #87 receives a pass during the American Football game between Notre Dame and Navy from the Aviva Stadium. (Photo - Paul Walsh/Actionplus/Icon SMI)

Yesterday I posted a list of things I liked from Notre Dame’s season opening win over in Dublin so for the sake of some balance, today I bring you a list of things I didn’t like from week one that Notre Dame will need to work on this week on in order to improve to 2-0 on Saturday.

1. The secondary letting receivers behind it

We knew the secondary was going to be a major concern this season, but if Saturday is any indication, it could be worse than we thought. Navy doesn’t have great wide receivers and they were already playing without their top one this weekend yet they were still able to get behind the green Irish secondary on multiple occasions.

Part of the problem could have (hopefully?) been the fact that the defensive staff had to spent more time than normal preparing two young, inexperienced corners for the unique option offense only to see Navy chuck the ball around more than I can ever remember after Trey Miller got banged up, but even still, Notre Dame corner backs should never get beat as bad as they were at times on Saturday unless there is a major blown coverage.

With Landry Jones and Matt Barkley as upcoming opposing quarterbacks, Diaco and secondary coach Kerry Cooks are going to have to get their secondary improved in a hurry.

2. Sloppy place kicking execution

I’ll admit that I was shocked to see as many problems with the extra point as we saw on Saturday. These kind of things can somewhat be attributed to normal first game issues, but there is no reason to ever miss two extra points in the same game. Notre Dame is going to have to correct this problem ASAP because once tougher defenses start popping up on the schedule, the Irish will need to be able to rely on the place kicking unit to put points on the board – especially if Notre Dame isn’t able to develop a red-zone target outside of Tyler Eifert.

3. A lack of a downfield passing game

Whether it was by design as to not show too much this week or to ease Everett Golson into the starting role or because Kelly and Martin just don’t trust the downfield passing game yet, we didn’t see Notre Dame target receivers downfield too much. Notre Dame stuck with short passes to the backs, wide receiver screens, and passes to the tight ends for the most part on Saturday.

Sophomore Davaris Daniels was targeted a few times and flashed some good potential and why he is not listed as a starter is a mystery since he was on the field a lot. Outside of Daniels, however, Notre Dame receivers didn’t see the ball downfield much at all. Perhaps Kelly and Martin were holding back because they knew they could pound the ball on Navy and let Golson build up some confidence or perhaps the Irish receivers just haven’t established themselves enough for the staff to trust them when they don’t have to.

Whatever the case here, Notre Dame is going to need to throw the ball downfield much more in the coming weeks with some much better defenses on the schedule.

4. Dropped passes & Needless Penalties

There weren’t a lot of them, but there were enough dropped passes on Saturday to lead me to believe that some players will be running some laps on Sunday. Ben Koyack specifically dropped two passes that need to be caught. One of them was a bit a duck, but when the ball hits you in both hands and there aren’t any defenders in your immediate vicinity, you have to come down with the ball.

On the needless penalty front, Kapron Lewis-Moore lost a sack because of a completely unnecessary face mask penalty on Prince Shembo. KLM had Miller on the way down to the ground already when Shembo latched hold of his face mask negating the sack and continuing a Navy drive that had completely stalled out.

5. A red-zone turnover

Red zone turnovers plagued Notre Dame in 2011 – see USF, USC, and Michigan games just to name a few – and while overall Notre Dame did a good job protecting the football finishing +3 in turnover ration, Evertt Golson had one really bad interception in the red zone. Golson had Tyler Eifert open for a nice gain, potentially a touchdown when he locked on and then waited too long to make the throw. It was the kind of throw we will have to expect with playing a red-shirt freshman quarterback, but it’s also the kind of throw Golson has to learn from and not make too many of in order to completely lock down his position as the starting quarterback.

Aside from that throw Golson didn’t have too many he would like to have back other than not seeing a completely wide open Daniel Smith in the corner of the end zone in the 3rd quarter. Notre Dame would end up scoring on the drive, but Golson had an easy 6 if he saw Smith. Such is going to be the life of living with a rookie quarterback though.

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  1. For anyone interested in such things… Charlie Weis won his first game as
    the Kansas head coach, 31-17 over North Dakota St.

    Not really all that surprising. (It was N.Dakota St after all)
    Nor is the fact that QB Dane Crist went 17-36 for 169 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT.
    Or that his TD toss went to former ND tightend Mike Ragone.

    What was surprising to me was that Kansas rushed the ball 48 times for 263 yards!

    When Notre Dame runs the ball for 200 yards or more in a game they win over 90% of the time.

    We tried to explain that to Charlie while he was here, but he just wouldn’t listen.

    I think he is finally starting to understand what it takes to win in college football on a consistant basis.

    I would take 48 rushes for 263 yards agianst Purdue in a heart beat.
    Lets hope that it is so this Saturday!

    1. Shaz,

      I am happy for both CW and Crist, but lets look at the team first and some of the stats. Against a shitty N. Dakota State team Dayne still was under 50% completion percentage and air mailed three in the endzone. Also, if that defense gave up 17 to that team, just think what Oklahoma State is going to lay on them. I don’t think CW has understood that a stout defensive and offensive front wins more games that elite skill players. Dominate the line of scrimmage and you will win every time. Unfortunatley CW never understood that at ND.

      But I wish both of them the best of luck and will be pulling for them.

    2. Weis needed to grow up a little. He also has no pressure and so might just go coach a little more. It will be interesting to see what a a Kansas defense looks like in 3 years. You can bet the offense will be decent.

      I do wish him and those two players success.

      1. C-dog,

        Kind of interesting…

        Weis and Kansas play Oklahoma on Oct. 20th.

        ND plays Oklahoma a week later on Oct. 27th.

        Think Charlie would be willing to share some info with us that week, maybe some game film, or perhaps his game day planning and adjustments?

        I mean, after all, since ND is still paying him, it’s the least he could do!

  2. Markie May made the comment, that near the end of the game ND should have taken a Knee and just run out the clock.

    Have to admit, that has normally been the ND way, and kind of what I expected to see.

    But when they put Toma in to run the wildcat for a TD, I has second thoughts.

    First, just a couple short years back, Navy hung 35 on ND in a win for the Midshipmen, and their head coach used that win as a chance to take a cheap shot at ND, so maybe that late TD was a little pay back.

    Second, and more importantly, I thought Toma did an outstanding job of down field blocking. A good blocking WR is offten the difference between a first down and fourth down. A touchdown verses a field goal.

    If you watch him (Robbie Toma) carefully, you can tell he is a real hard worker.
    He does the little things, and the dirty work, that offten goes un-noticed, that makes a big difference in winning a game.

    I like the fack that Kelly and his staff see that, and tossed him a bone for his effort.

    They gave a good, hard working kid, a memory that will last him his lifetime, and that’s pretty cool.

    1. 100% agree

      Also didn’t see anything about ok at runnin up 84-0 on savannah st. Hmmm

      Nick saban completely ripped into one of his players late in the Michigan game after being up huge. Didn’t hear anything about that either.

      Seems when ND does something its nat’l news when everyone else does it its just football……

  3. I agree with all your dislikes. If we want to continue to win games, we must quickly improve in those areas.

  4. I didnt like letting Toma run the ball in for a TD, he’s had plenty of opportunities and scored a few TD’s already. I thought they should have handed it to Cam McDaniel and let him put it in.

    1. chi-town-copper,

      I use to go to a lot of White Sox games. Not sure I want to even attempt to step on the south side at the moment?
      What you say?


      GO IRISH!

      1. No one is safe, even here in the bungalow belt in Beverly. Wilding and flash mobs have pretty much put this city up for grabs. I wouldnt go south of Comiskular Field if you are on public transportation and you can put that on the board…YES!

      2. Man, that is scary. I left the South Bend Area 4 years ago not liking 1 murder a day. Not to mention bank robberies are now a sport.

        I remember when they had to send in the State Police to recapture Gary, Indiana. Sad!

        I understand your worry, stay safe as you possibly can. I know very well it’s easier said than done.

        We live in a dangerous economy more than most people understand!

    1. Ah gee,

      Just when you thought you had everything cleaned up. Poor USC.

      Urban Renewal is going to have his hands full in Columbus. The big ten loves to set cities on fire and roll over cars! Great image builder!

      The best thing we can do is improve week to week and see how good this team can roll. The talent is here but can we develop it fast?

      Here come the Irish!

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