Notre Dame 2012 Season Wrap-Up

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley (32) chases Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) during the second half of the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The BCS title game has come and gone, and obviously not with the results Irish fans were hoping for.  The Irish were overmatched on the field and out-coached off, but that doesn’t mean that players, coaches, and fans, have anything to be embarrassed about. The 2012 Irish team was , by all indications, a year ahead of schedule. Before the season started if anyone claimed that Notre Dame would have gone undefeated with a freshmen quarterback, it’s best receiver in Michael Floyd playing for the Cardinals, and a secondary that was depleted due to injuries, a person would have called Dr. Phil to get the over-zealous prognosticator some help. Amazingly though, that is exactly what happened.

Fans of Notre Dame football have not had much to cheer about in recent years, but that all changed in 2012. They were treated with some very special and touching moments both on and off the field.  From the maturation of its young quarterback, incredible goal-line stands, and personal triumph and over-coming of tragedy. There are memories and moments that will remembered for years to come, and although fans are truly disappointed from the title game, that same disappointment will fade and appreciation will soon replace it.

If you follow the Irish closely, than you know that Brian Kelly has positioned this team for what seems to be a long run of success. Through hard work, discipline, and solid recruiting, Notre Dame has proved it can be an elite program again. The blueprint has been created, and as long as the players and staff remember what brought them to the pinnacle of college football, then Notre Dame should find itself there consistently for years to come. Although winning a BCS title is what every team strives for, if a program wants to remain at the top, and not a one hit wonder, then a smoke and approach is not the path to take. Gimmick offenses and trick plays may work for a year or two, but great talent, good depth, and hard work, will never be replaced. Some may think that the way Alabama rebuilt their program, and the same way Brian Kelly is attempting to do with the Irish, is an antiquated process – but they would be wrong.

As of right now the Irish have the #1 recruiting class in the nation and that is incredibly important as Notre Dame looks to not only add front-line starters, but strong depth also. This program is still in the infant stages of learning how to reclaim its position at the summit of college football, but took huge strides this year in doing just that. Kelly and Co. have removed the stigma the Irish had rightfully been associated with, of simply being average. Now the next step is to find success in BCS bowls games and eventually a playoff. It requires an attitude that permeates not only the players and staff, but fans and media alike. It’s an attitude that Alabama has right now, and it requires players to feel that no one is beating them on any given Saturday, and they can overcome any mistake on the field and still win. The 2012 football team finally understood how to win as a group, now they need to expect to win as one.

Disappointment is a valid and obvious reaction from the debacle in Miami, but feelings that should not be carried into next season for Notre Dame fans. You have a defense that could be as good or better than its predecessor, and an offense that will be better and more creative. A coaching staff that understands what it means to be truly elite, and hopefully a recruiting class that should bring excitement for the foreseeable future. You have a team that is returning from being embarrassed on the field, and hopefully understands now what it takes to be great. The bludgeoning the Irish took will be a constant reminder next year, that there is huge difference between being very good and being great.

There are a lot of positives to enjoy and negatives to learn from this season, and we have a feeling Coach Kelly with utilize both as learning tools in the upcoming 2013 season. Perspective is always important, and Irish fans will have to remember that, as they enter a new season. We understand it is hard to let go of the recent memories of Irish failure and mediocrity over the past 15 years, but if you expect the Irish football team to do that, than fans need to also. This a new era of football in South Bend, and one that is to be appreciated. To quote a great line from a movie my child watches often – “The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is gift – and that is why it is called the present”.

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  1. HURLS 5 years ago

    BTW – who else is glad the uniforms aren’t as “pretty” this year? Having the matching hue of gold between the pants and the helmets makes a fashion-statement. Having a group of studs whose colors are close-enough but who WIN THE DAMN GAMES made it a better season for me. I’m just saying’…

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  2. HURLS 5 years ago

    Notre Dame needs “pumped’n’jacked” Pete Carroll. As annoying he is, and as skittish he seems, guess what? Pete knows how to win. Granted, he knows how to work college-aged players and optimize their talents. And as he’s already learned, college and pro football are 2 different animals. But give credit where credit is due. (and to guys whose nose is all crooked on his face) Petet Carroll is a wicked good college football coach.

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  3. EJS 5 years ago

    I just hope that the loss to Alabama and Brian Kelly’s lack of commitment to ND, as demonstrated by his interview with the Eagles doesn’t hurt our recruiting and result in a bunch of decommitments. He’s also almost inviting Diaco to leave even if Kelly stays. It’s like he’s pulling the rug out from everybody.

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  4. Bluengold34 5 years ago

    Latest tweet from NBC Sports

    “Spoke with one NFL source that thinks this is a standard negotiating tactic. Heard that ND and Kelly’s agent were already talking new deal”

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  5. JohnDC 5 years ago

    Hearing BK interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles this week. What’s the inside scoop???

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    1. ND Southy 5 years ago

      Uh oh!

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  6. bj 5 years ago


    “Remember Bear bemoaning Ara’s “mirror D” back in ’74. It was something Bear hadn’t seen or prepared for, and might have very well been the difference in that championship game. Nothing trumps the foe’s preparation better than pressure and something the other elite team hadn’t prepared for.”

    kelly was reading his press releases.

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  7. Michael the Archangel 5 years ago

    Great article; I disagree with none of it. ND fans have every reason to expect
    even better things beyond this outstanding regular season. Thanks, team, for a sensational
    effort and super results all season long. You fourth and fifth year seniors and coaches
    brought us to the brink of total glory. Be proud of where you took this program.

    Now, how to progress onto consistent BCS status becomes the daunting goal.

    And scheme matters against elite teams. Bama’s superior talent consistently applied pressure thru blitzes
    and ND sat back and reacted to what was dealt to them, both offensively and defensively.
    And like Lovey Smith in Chicago, I fear Diaco is
    committed to minimizing blitzes and reacting to instead of forcing offenses into mistakes.

    You can only stop top teams so often in the red zone after you lay back and let them get there with a
    conservative “keep the action in front of you” approach. Maybe Diaco coached that way to protect his young
    DBs. But as the 85 Bears proved, the best way to protect less than outstanding CBs is pressure on the
    opposing QB looking to pass against them.

    I’d rather lose aggressively than sit back and play for waiting for the other team to commit unforced errors.

    Like Alabama proved, with elite quality and thorough preparation, no matter how good our players are,
    nothing garners success like pressure and doing what the other team didn’t prepare for.
    Come BCS time, why not use the extra time to put schemes and formations out there for which they didn’t
    prepare a month.

    Remember Bear bemoaning Ara’s “mirror D” back in ’74. It was something Bear hadn’t seen or prepared for, and might have very well been the difference in that championship game. Nothing trumps the foe’s preparation better than pressure and something the other elite team hadn’t prepared for.

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    1. EJS 5 years ago

      I thought Ara used the mirror defense in the Cotton Bowl against Texas a couple of years previous.

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      1. Michael the Archangel 5 years ago

        I think you’re right. But whether it was TX or Bama, I stand by my point that bringing something unexpected to the table is a better strategy against a top tier team with extra prep time to prepare.

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  8. Logan 5 years ago

    Nice article. The bar has been set for this 2013 group. Next year the expectations will be out of this world and the question of the year will be “can the Irish do it again”? My answer is simply yes, the pieces are falling into place and it seems as though our coaching staff is going to stick together for the the 2013 season. There is no limit on how good we can be next year. Awesome season, Go Irish!

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    1. HURLS 5 years ago

      I like your attitude. BE POSITIVE. But we mustn’t forget that what happens on the field is only a culmination of many, many circumstances. BK has brought OUR Irish back with some fortune. OK – luck. But I believe you make your own opportunities to get lucky. I’m from Boston. BK’s from Boston. I have a real feeling of just how BK works. (it’s called “politics”) ND was good AND lucky this year. I hope BK can focus more on the quality aspect of victory to keep the Irish on top.

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