UHND Football Friday: Week 5

Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson (2) and linebacker Jarrett Grace (59) celebrate with their teammates after Notre Dame defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 31-24 at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson (2) and linebacker Jarrett Grace (59) celebrate with their teammates after Notre Dame defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 31-24 at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

In the second quarter of Notre Dame’s 17-13 victory over Michigan State, the Spartans started a drive from inside their own twenty. When they lined up to run their first play, I had to do a double take. Why, they were in the infamous wildcat formation.

After the game I kept thinking back to that formation. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but hasn’t it been quite a while since we had seen the wildcat? I texted a friend about it Saturday night, and he shared my thoughts; we haven’t seen that in ages. I thought the wildcat was dead, but it turns out football’s hottest fad of a few years ago is still clinging onto some life.

For those who don’t know, the wildcat is a variation of the single wing. It is when a running threat, be it a mobile QB, a running back, a wideout or what have you, lines up in the shotgun formation and takes a direct snap. In simplest terms, the idea behind the formation is that it evens up the numbers game for the offense. On most running plays, the quarterback hands the ball off and is a spectator the rest of the play, effectively making the play an eleven on ten numbers advantage for the defense. By making the quarterback a running threat, that numbers game is evened up. Throw in a ton of misdirection and the ability to threaten the defense vertically and horizontally, and the formation is a handful to defend when not prepared for it.

The wildcat has been around for years, but it became famous in 2008 when the Miami Dolphins took the formation to Massachusets and beat the Patriots 38-13 using a heavy dose of it. This snapped the Pats 21 game regular season winning streak, and started a league wide fad. The Dolphins would go on to average seven yards per play out of the formation the rest of the year.

In college we started seeing the formation everywhere. Darren McFadden and Felix Jones ran the “Wild Hog” at Arkansas with great success. Randall Cobb and Kentucky ran the “Wild Cobb” which made Cobb a household name. In the NFL, almost every team tried their hand at the formation, and teams started drafting and signing players with the formation in mind, see Mike Vick, Tim Tebow, and Colin Kaepernick.

As fast as the wildcat rose to the top of the football world, it died. The next time the Dolphins played the Patriots, every play was snuffed out, and teams started getting a blueprint on what it took to stop it. The more film that teams had on it, the easier it became to stop, and today the formation is rarely seen.

The weird thing is, the wildcat will probably always have some place in a football playbook. While it’s not difficult to stop with the right preparation, it does involve a ton of misdirection and a numbers advantage, which can throw a team off if they are not expecting it. For Michigan State, teams have now seen the formation and will have no choice but to dedicate some practice time towards stoping it, and that’s why you see the occasional wildcat play on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, even though it’s ineffective anymore. It is for that reason the while the wildcat may be endangered, it may never fully become extinct.

Game Balls: Week 4

Brock Hekking, LB Nevada

Ready for this line? Had six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three pass breakups, and an interception in Nevada’s 31-9 win over Hawaii.

Wisconsin Badgers Offensive Line

After I heard about the Badgers rushing numbers against Purdue, I made it a point to check out the replay to this game on the Big Ten Network. The Wisconsin line pushed Purdue defenders all over the field Saturday in route to almost 350 yards rushing.

This Week for the Irish

Oklahoma visits South Bend this week in a game that is too critical for words. Last year the Irish embarrassed Oklahoma in Norman, pounding them on both sides of the ball en route to a 30-13 victory as a double digit underdog. This week ND starts a three game stretch that will ultimately decide if they’re BCS bowl contenders or a mediocre team who will play before New Year’s Day. Oklahoma is coming off a bye and has been playing better offensively as of late, so odds are that unless the Irish defense magically flips a switch and reverts back to their 2012 form, the Sooners are going to score some points Saturday afternoon. It will likely come down to Tommy Rees and the Notre Dame offense. In year’s past, Tommy has done enough to keep the Irish in games that turned into high scoring track meets. However, he rarely actually leads them to wins in those games. While he may put up solid passing numbers in the high scoring affairs, usually Tommy makes one or two critical mistakes which ultimately cost his team the game. Look no further than earlier this month at the big house. Last season Everett Golson played mistake free football while occasionally sprinkling in an explosive play in Norman. Seeing as the Notre Dame defense has taken a step or two back this year, that will be the MINIMUM Rees can do this year to expect a win. More than likely, Tommy is going to have to lead the Irish on several scoring drives while limiting his mistakes. I don’t doubt his ability to put up points; but I’d be lying if I said I had 100% trust in him to protect the football in what will likely be a high scoring affair.

Prediction: Oklahoma 34 Notre Dame 21

What Else I’m Watching This Week

#6 LSU @ #9 Georgia

In all my years watching college football, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team run a gauntlet like Georgia has in their first month of the season. They opened at Clemson, hosted South Carolina the following week, and now they will welcome the Tigers to Death Valley. If Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs can get past LSU on Saturday, they will finish their extremely tough first month with just one three point loss on the road to a top five team. That could look very good come December if there are a few one loss teams vying for one of the top two spots in the BCS rankings.

WEEK 5 PICKS

LAST WEEK 2-0

OVERALL YTD 5-2

I had no picks in the column last week, but posted San Diego State +7 on twitter as they covered against Oregon State, and I also took to twitter to place my Miami Dolphins -2 bet as they covered against the Falcons.

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148 Comments

  1. Maybe just maybe Kelly keeps playing TR because of his Dad’s NFL connections. He is currently working for Tampa, and it would appear that Greg Schiano is on his way out. Could BK be headed for at least some position with the Buccaneers?? We can only hope!

  2. After two key loses, it’s pretty clear we could easly go 7-5 for the season as Matt stated. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand BK will play who he wants to play after four years. 148 yards for GAIII was impressive. Personally, I don’t see investing any time into any senior QB’s at this juncture will improve results. Zaire is the future of this team and there’s no guarantee Golson will be back. If Zaire does not start playing soon we will loose him too. I also like JDH’s comments, however, it really boils down to how fast Zaire can be inserted into the game. I don’t see it happening this year and I don’t see us going to any significant bowl this year. This is definately 2011 all over again. Further, recruiting will suffer and certainly maintaining what we have now will be difficult to say the least. There is no quick fix or one player fix to this dilemma. Every thing has been squandered since the NFL distraction, no one on this coaching staff has delivered this year. So like it or not it may turn out to be another CW event down the road. Time is of the essense to move forward. I’ll be surprised if we change fast enough to pull off a lucky 8-4 season.

    1. Gidday JC Said I would talk to you on Oct.20th but in light of OU performance felt the need to drop you a few questions. Re your commentary on how much BK knows after 23 yrs coaching compared to my good self it would appear a large number of Irish supporters beginning to identify what I did 4 yrs ago eg Kelly is NOT A PLAY CALLER. Also re your TR being a very “capable” QB you suggested I only needed to look at his QB rating for this year and his 300+ yd passing games etc. How is he looking to you after his CONSECUTIVE 9 completion games vs MSU and OU?? Yeah thought that is what you would say (eg Bring in Zaire). Guys like you make me sick As long as the team stumble along with pulling out a W no matter how bad they play then Kelly and Rees are geniuses. Now when it is becoming OBVIOUS they are both crap at A play calling and game prep B playing QB vs anyone with at least AVERAGE Div ONE talent then your into your above commentary. At least I stick to my opinion. Kelly and Rees deserve each other. Crist pulled after 2 qtrs in first game of the year and never got on the field again. Rees has been stinking up the program for FOUR years with the odd TD vs no opposition and you and Kelly still think the guy is Tom Brady. Give us all a break. David Shaw would have this team in top 15 every year and Rees would never have taken a snap in four years. Would love to see Hendrix transfer to MSU and play vs ND next year to shove it down Kelly’s throat.

      1. I’m gonna throw a shrimp on the barbie, crack a Fosters and wait for this reply. Get out the Thesaurus because I’m sure it will be good.

      2. The one and only D-Train 65 – The people’s choice!

        Amazing, you’re so drunk on yourself you have been refering to someone else’s post: “capable” – a one word quote!? I am well known on this sight for not being a Rees or BK fan. You’re absolutely delusional!

        Go back to the beginning of the Temple pre-game. I said Zaire was my first choice ‘in writing’ unlike your hot air hot dog! How’s that Hendrix lovefest working out for you BK-jr!

        Furthermore, I was the guy who said passing was down 167 yards last week ‘in writing’ before the OU game. So go hang somebody’s else’s imaginary post somewhere else genius.

        Why don’t you go try your little rant on your buddy dranko, I’m sure you’ll straighten him out on Rees, since Rees is his favorite. Suuuuuuuure you will, Hahaha!

        I now fully understand why England dropped off all their undesirables on the island of Australia in 1788, somewhere around Sidney Cove was it?

        Cheers!

      3. Uh yeah I’m going to have to agree with JC here. Dtrain if you think JC is a Tommy Rees lover you need to go back and read more posts.

  3. I was disgusted by the amount of time Bell had to throw on that last TD pass right before halftime. Then of course the WR gets WIDE OPEN. That was the ball game right there. Bennett Jackson’s worst game by far.

  4. Not sure about losing the locker room but pretty sure the Receivers are getting sick of Rees and his “limited” ability to throw. 9 completions a game and a “repertoire” of the Fade, the Bubble screen and long down the sideline is getting old. A wasted year for the team if this continues with Kelly calling the same plays and Rees blowing games. Folston runs 36 yds and never sees the field again. Bryant never sees the field period and we open the game with Turnover throwing LONG (30yds) out of bounds down the sideline AGAIN. Put Hendrix and the “kid” in for rest of year and at least we should be able to score more then 21pts. Northern Ill. put up 55 YES 55 on Purdue our Off under turnover got 18 (don’t count FG’s, PAT’s or Def TD’s so 18pts for Turnover followed by 17 and 18 so an Avg of 18ppg for last 3 games. Goodbye TURNOVER>

  5. Something no one is talking about is the team leaving the field after the game. I know they changed the policy to not sing the alma mater after home losses but it was strange how that all played out. I know one of the guys who led the team into the locker room was TJ Jones and I know Kelly and TJ had quite a misunderstanding late in the game. I hate saying this sort of stuff but I feel like Kelly might be losing the locker room.

  6. I know Kelly has been dealt a bad hand through no fault of his own losing Clausen, Kiel and Golson. However, Golson I believe when he comes back has the best chance to get Notre Dames offense rolling because he can run and make plays when things break down. IMO Notre Dame’s offensive talent compares favorably with any team in the country minus the quarterback. Notre Dame has speed and difference makers all over the field- Daniels, Jones, Nickols, Carlisle, Atkinson, Cory Robinson, Will Fuller, Folston. O line is very good. Just don’t have the quarterback. IMO you could take any of the quarterbacks on the top ten teams and put them with Notre Dame right now and this offense would average 40 points a game easy. I also, would like to see Kelly move Chuck Martin back to defense and bring in a great offensive coordinator similiar to what Les Miles did at LSU- Cam Cameron has made a huge difference with that quarterback and offense.

  7. I don’t think it has anything to do with being inspired or motivated. The offense is simply missing a QB, and the defense just has very minimal talent. Sure, there are a couple studs on D, but then there’s a HUGE drop-off down to many of the other defenders. Jarrett Grace has NO business being a starter at ND. At least Carlo can plug a hole and Fox (supposedly) has some pass defending skills.

  8. kelly just cant pull it together, seems like he has a chip on his shoulder, why cant he inspire them to play above their heads which had been notre dame gospel, before kevin white, and yes, last season, the defense non existent, putting aside temple, giving up 31.6 pts a game to opponents in the last six games, without manti’s inspiration they are so flat every game, finally the offense focuses on the run, but its ruined by repeating, repeating, repeating the same passing plays with disastrous results, time for tommy rees to sit down and move on to a running offense and a future quarterback, i just dont believe grand valley state guys can produce a bcs calibre offensive team, they need a new offensive coordinator, lou had years of top school coaching experience before he got to nd, and compare our offensive results with those of say oregon, ouch, you have to innovate, change formations, patterns, inspire and play like a champion every day, they just dont believe in these guys and dont produce for them. something is missing. that magical quality that always separated us from everyone else. god protect us next week.

    1. Lou or Ara would never allow this. Maybe a team meeting where they bring in the Rocket and Joe Montana will help.

  9. I don’t understand why Kelly scrapped what he was doing with AH in the first half. They didn’t try it once in the second half. Certainly AH wasn’t setting the world on fire, but it seemed somewhat effective. But now that the season is over, I’m on-board with playing Zaire full time.

  10. And now one of our heated rivals is lookinged for a coach. 4 years ago no one wanted that job out there in LA land. Things are different there and it makes me wonder who will step into that job. It seems like other teams get a new coach and produce well in the first 2 years or less. We have never been fortunate to experience that since Lou was here. Still need more athletes and how we are playing isn’t going to cut it. TR will continue to start unless he is injured. As to AH, you don’t get better without opportunity to play some extended time. It can’t get any worse than what we have now in the fair hair wonder boy. I hate this feeling of pessimism but there doesn’t seem like a significant change on the horizon.

  11. Let’s make a list, just going back a couple years:
    Vanderdoes
    Keil
    Neal
    Shepard
    Ferguson
    Lynch
    and for fun, let’s just throw in Anzalone, Greenberry, Darby….

    1. I’m so sick of hearing this. Is anyone on that list an all american or at least a very good player? That would be NO!

      Every team loses players. Just another excuse. I’m so sick of excuses. This list is NOT why the Irish stink on the field. It has everything to do with coaching and we all know it!

      1. Well Darby was the ACC freshman of the year, and several of those guys haven’t played for their new schools yet, but that’s besides the point. I agree there are other factors involved, but ND is CLEARLY lacking talent in certain areas

      2. Absolutely, especially at QB, but our offensive line was supposed to be very good and what the hell happened to our defense. I don’t want to hear Manti Teo anymore. Tuitt and Nix were top 10 NFL draft picks. Not anymore.

        We are a slow plodding un-inspired team week after week. We look like we just lost our dog. We turn teams like Purdue into the New England Patriots. We should be holding BK’s ass to the fire!

      3. I have been saying this for along time. Last year as great as it was, was a fluke. BK is losing the locker room and is making things worse. Though I look for him to leave this year.

    2. George,

      Again none of those players is an All American and Lynch is a shell of hiimself. He is 6’6″ and 244, he played at 270 at ND. The Miami QB just stated that South Florida is a dirty team and I am sure Lynch was one of the players he is referring. Is Darby even starting at FSU. ND has talent, they just have a game manager at QB not a playmaker and Keil wouldn’t have made a difference. He has not heart and would quit the second it got hard.

      1. Yes, Lynch made a big mistake by transferring, sitting out a year, and then joining a team even more pathetic than ND. But your argument that his career would have nose-dived in the exact same way had he stayed at ND is a little ridiculous. He was a damn good player at ND. Go watch him lay out Kirk Cousins again. I don’t follow what he’s doing anymore and I don’t care, but you implying that his transfer was a good thing is baffling. Hey, I’m not trying to say the players I listed would all be All-Americans right now, but certainly it hurts to lose that many players, especially highly touted ones. We have two Weis recruits stating a middle linebacker right now for Chrissake

      2. I just think it’s interesting how when ND loses players like Spond, Tony Springmann, and Nicky Baratti, it’s a travesty. But when ND loses players because those players CHOOSE to leave, I hear the “Oh, well they were no good anyway” type response.

  12. I’d like to know why Max Redfield isn’t seeing the field. Possibly he’s as overrated as Ishaq? MR can’t be any worse than the guys out there now.

  13. Looks like we all pretty much agree- 4-6 losses not out of the question
    `1. The D is not getting the job done – no pressure on the QB, not making the key stops – giving up too much on 1st down – keeping the other side from third and longs -NO real aggressiveness on D
    2. The D gas to get better – Arizona put up 62 on USC – they have to be licking their chops about what they can do next week – And USC has to be thinking they can put up a bunch too
    Just doesn’t seem to be any improvement here – I agree no leaders seen here
    3. Tommy – all his shortcomings have really come to light the last two weeks. — Lack of mobility, can’t throw accurately downfield – forget about wining about the PI call on Robinson -and his decision making in the Red Zone – you can’t really put the first two pick on him but the third which was a real killer was on him – bad decision to make that throw and it took away what could have been a short FG and some points when point were really needed
    4. I don’t think there are many other options than TR here though – at the end of last year it looked like he was the #3 choice here after Golson and Gunner – both of them are gone. For one reason or another BK has little or no faith in Hendricks – Zaire may not be physically ready yet. But we all agree, I think TR will not lead to wins against good teams
    5. It may mean – just turning to the Freshman and riding out the rest of the year to prepare for next year
    6. The good point – the running game finally did something GAIII had a good game – take away that 80 yard TD and he still averaged 5yd a carry
    BK just needs make some changes and use the weapons he has at hand – a BCS game or top 10 ranking are gone – very little chance of a top ten

  14. Of course Arizona St is going to be able to score on ND. It isn’t like ND is all of a sudden going to become good. Notre Dame has Jarrett Grace, Austin Collinsworth, Dan Fox, etc, who are not top tier talent that can’t run with the fast players that ASU has. We are going to see ASU drive down ND’s throats because ND is going to stay back and give them the yards. The reason they are staying back because of the major lack of speed. It is going to be a high scoring affair. Maybe ND can win by scoring 40+ or maybe 50+ points. That is the reality of the situation. ND is not going to stay with teams that have fast, athletic players. Lets face reality and hope Brian Kelly recruits the right athlete and not the slow Jarret Grace type players of the world.

  15. ASU may just put up 40+ if our D doesn’t grow a pair and man up. At this point I just think this team has no soul and can’t find one without leaders. Where are the leaders? Is there a single coach players respect? Who are the leaders on D? On O? I want one of our pie in the sky types to point to the leaders. Please don’t say TR. Such a mediocre player cannot be a leader. He’s starting because the would-be starter showed even less leadership and got himsel booted from school.

    This is heading south fast. Can things change? Yes. But how?

    1. SFR,
      I do believe the “future is bright” because of the talent we have in the wings. With Golson back (hopefully), Folston and Bryant etc., I have to believe. But this year, WITHOUT any LEADERSHIP to be found, with Rees imploding every 3 games or so going forward, with a tepid linebacking/secondary, it’s an 8-4 year or 7 and 5. Our schedule is too tough for an ND team that has this many systemic problems.

      Again, TRYING to find a bright spot, our running game looked really solid yesterday. GAIII finally had a game and we got to see his speed. We’re going to need all of it going forward.

  16. “Stores,”

    Totally agree. I just don’t know if we can compete. But how does Stanford do it? I’m seeing Stanford destroy teams week in and week out. They have as high standards as ND. ND can and should be more flexible in its standards. Perhaps that’s how Stanford does it. But whatever it is ND’s been doing foe 20 years hasn’t worked. What Stanford is doing is just fine. BTW: If things don’t change fast, we’re looking at Stanford putting 50 or 60 on ND.

  17. Teams are going to smell blood here. Kelly has a rigid plan and is too proud to adjust. I don’t think they are creative either.

  18. I would not want to play for Brian Kelly. It appears that he only yells at his players for doing wrong, never encourages them when they need it and never congratulates them when they do right.

    1. People like u need to stop b*tching about coaches (Kelly) yelling at players. Watch any other college coach and they all yell just as much as Kelly. Look at Saben. That dude jumps around on the sideline like a lunatic sometimes. So quit complaining about the yelling. I bet u hate it when MLB managers yell at the umps too for making a bad call. Its all part of the game.

      I will say this about the Irish. If Kelly is gonna keep Rees in there (which he will for some reason) then he needs to change the playbook. Quit trying to run a spread offense with a QB that can’t run or throw a bullet pass ten yards to save his life. Run a stanford like O and punch opposing defenses in the mouth with a power run game. And maybe run a few slant routes and quike over the middle routes. Clearly it works on our D so it must b pretty effective.

      I just hope Malik gets a shot. Od rather go 7-5 with Malik then 9-3 with Rees. Cuz then at least Malik gets experience for next year cuz Golson isn’t a for sure thing. I’m done venting my Irish frustration now. Sorry for attacking NDfaninmonterey but I’m right and you are wrong

      1. Total pipe dream. Power run game with Brian Kelly? What else do you want? Al Quaeda to get together and watch Woody Allen movies?

        Kelly loves two things:
        -Passing the ball and experiencing Tommy’s magic

        Not to mention, in 3 out of 5 games our RBs / O-LINE did nothing. All a defense has to do is stack the box and let Rees do his thing.

    2. He was congratulating GA3 yesterday.
      Relax, open up a nice Pinot. Cut up some cheese and enjoy the nice weather.

      News flash, coaches yell. They never put the camera on BK after a score. It is more entertaining to show him going off after a mistake. After all its a tv show.

  19. George,

    And we’ve lost some good ILB recruits, esp. Anzalone (thanks to BK’s little hiatus with the Eagles). Right now we don’t have a lot of talent at that spot and won’t have a big NT to cover them after next season (perhaps Nix comes back). That makes the loss of Vanderdoes even more painful. Jaylon Smith alone won’t be enough. BK needs to nail the few last key recruits on D. Won’t happen playing like this, though.

    JDH says the future looks bright. Have heard that before. Would like to believe that. But recent history proves otherwise. We have talent. So what? How’s it reflected in wins and NCs. We need so much more talent to even play on the same field as the elite teams. Right now ND is closer to Penn St. than it is to Bama. That’s just apparent unless you live in a bubble.

    1. Yeah I was watching the Bama-Ole Miss game. Watching those student athletes (the validity of “student” in that is questionable but the NCAA declares them as such) really shows how far away we are competing with what the NCAA is allowing to compete in college football as student athletes. We are just not on the same playing field and with our academic integrity, probably never will (though Stanford sure stays pretty damn competitive) get the athlete students to play highly competitive college football. Lou had the luxury of being able to get some less academically proficient athletes and boy those teams that won or consistently competed at high levels where not bitched about by the fans and it led to a current TV contract with NBC bringing in money to the university. I just wish we were more competitive since we are on an uneven playing field. I wish we had the offense that was intended after 4 YEARS of being at this under Kelly. He’ll, I don’t know if there is a coach out there that could end up doing better than Kelly with our academic requirements. Just really frustrated after this game today.

  20. This middle linebacker crew is an absolute embarrassment! Ben Councell sucks too. I don’t recall ever even hearing Councell’s name during a game broadcast until today, and that was for getting ejected! 44, 48, 59 and 30 are all garbage. The secondary is no good either. Jackson committing that PI penalty on the wounded duck throw that hung in the air for ten seconds was pathetic. Shumate is mediocre at best, and he’s apparently better than Farley who did a nice job getting completely run over YET AGAIN. Nothing but dink and dunk passing by Oklahoma, and we never get wise to it. Bell was NOT a deep passing threat whatsoever. I guess ND is being conservative, but when you’re getting your azz kicked you need to think about trying something different.

  21. Here’s best case right now not involving THB delusions. BK manages to rally the team. They somehow beat ASU and USC. They don’t get upset by any of the second tier teams. Lose a respectable game to Stanford. End a disappointing season winning a Jan. 1 bowl game. Final record 10-3. Then hope that BK can recruit his ass off and get a top 10 class somehow. That would be the best we can hope for right now. I just don’t know after today if it’s realistic, however. Worst case, I can see this team get salughtered by ASU. Lose to SC. Get upset by one of the academies or Pitt. Get raped by Stanford. And finish 6-6 and no bowl. BK loses it altogether and finishes with only a few recruits and not even a top 50 class. Then the downward death spirals we saw with Davie, Willingham, and Weis start all over again with BK. Hopefully if we can’t get best case, we don’t get worst case either. 9-4 with a mid-level bowl win is OK I guess. Wow, how our expectations get lower and lower. Soon enough we’ll be thrilled just finishing 6-6!

  22. People, go watch the athletes in the Bama-Ole Miss game. What a difference between what you see there and what you see at ND. I just don’t know if ND will ever be able to have that kind of talent. Not with this administration and its rigid standards. Probably doesn’t matter. ND’s been bad for so long most of these kids probably wouldn’t want to play for the Irish. Regardless, we won’t be competitive with fewer recruits.

    1. I’m watching Ohio State and it’s pretty clear that they would DESTROY this ND team. Ha! We talk about being able to play at the “SEC level”. How about just consistently playing to the “Big 10” level? Beaten by a Michigan team that barely beat Akron or Connecticut, barely beat MSU, and if not for a huge 2nd half, could have easily lost to PURDUE!

      Yeah I’d say it’s time to invest directly into the future and play Zaire.

      1. Won’t happen. TR’s BK’s security blanket. Best thing about next season is we won’t ever have to see TR in an Irish uni again and BK will have to move on.

        I see all these ATH QBs all over the place and great Os. Makes me sick with envy! Wasn’t BK supposed to be a genius of O?

  23. I wonder what THB will predict for next week? ND will win 100-0. Will be put immediately in the NC game and TR will win the Heisman in the 1st quarter.

  24. Wow, what a disappointment!! How can they possibly regress this much? I understand they lost some players (Golson and Spond) they were expecting to have but this is absolutely awful. You simply cannot turn the ball over 3 times and expect to beat Oklahoma – made all the difference in the game. Can someone please help me understand how ND can be so inept offensively? Except for 1 run (80 yard touchdown) they can’t get out of their own way. I am sure Rees will be very successful in life, which is infinitely important than anything that happens on the football field, but he cannot play at this level. He can’t move and he is not a particularly accurate passer. Why can’t Kelly and staff see that? Commit to the future at this point and play Zaire the rest of the season. Yes, they’ll probably go 6-6 or 7-5 this year as he goes through some growing pains and makes freshman mistakes, but they’re going to go 6-6 or 7-5 anyway with Rees at the helm. I say play Zaire and at least he’ll have some vital experience heading into next season (regardless of what happens with Golson).

    I really can’t believe this team is so mediocre. Never saw this coming. They get less out of more talent than any team in the country! When will the glory days return?

    1. When will the glory days return? Next week. Next season. Next decade. Next century. Sometime. Maybe. Perhaps. Don’t know.

    2. its just my opinion but i think this team started the season with a major case of the big head. the only way this team can win is to play an error free game. they are not that good.

  25. That was the key play of the game for sure! Forget about all the times ND overrated stiffs on D had a chance to make a stop when we had a chance to get back in the game and didn’t. Forget about the TOs and stupid penalties. No way. It was the refs!

  26. When ND is on the recruiting trail and they are recruiting a middle linebacker, make sure the player has speed. All of Oklahoma’s big plays happened because slow players like Jarret Grace and Carlo Calabrese can’t get to the ball. All the good teams have speed, so why doesn’t ND recruit speed at those position is beyond me.

  27. BK was a genius at the FCS level. He was a genius at Cinci. Now at this level he’s just lost. Last year the D covered up for a weak O. This year there’s no hiding the weaknesses all over the place, coaching staff and players. This is a putrid result today. Make no mistake about it. BK again talking about the D playing great today. Is he just delusional? Now he’s in real loser speal talking about could have done this or that. Loser speak if I’ve ever heard it.

    Now it’s time to hear from our pie in the sky, head up the you know what apologists to tell us that the refs cost us the game, or that we could’ve won had we done this or that, or what a monster Shembo or Tuitt are, or whatever delusional crap to cover up the crap this team is playing like. But, hey, there’s always next season, right?

  28. Bye, bye top 25. Bye, bye home winning streak. Right now this team doesn’t look like it will beat any quality teams left on their schedule. I just hope we’re not saying bye, bye to top recruits. This team is still too slow and unathletic to compete with any top 20 teams.

    My last hope is to beat SC.

    Let’s just hope we win whatever shitty bowl we play in and get some momentum for the offseason.

    This sucks!

      1. You’ve mentioned this bowl game before but just not sure what other conference has a tie in.

    1. with the way things have gone the last couple of years under kelly, not only will it be bye bye recruits, but very possibly bye bye people already on the roster (gregg bryant maybe?)

      1. Yep GB will jump ship for a school down south where the game of football is played and who could blame him makes you also wonder what hood “seen” in south bend on his trip

  29. i am one of the people that think people here unfairly critize tommy rees. but in the red zone he is horrendous. i have been watching college football since 1954 and i don’t think i have ever seen a quarterback that can pass the ball from the 20 yard line to the 20 yard line then turn into a complete disaster. the same play that if it were at the fifty yard he would throw the ball away, at the twenty yard line he will throw into double or triple coverage. one of his assests is that he is suppose to be a smart player, in scoring position he turns in a complete moron. i wonder how many times he has cost the irish a chance to score with an ill advised pass that results in a turnover in scoring position. he has been doing this for four years. when the heaven will he learn.

    1. short answer : he wont learn.
      i wish him well in life, outside of his performance on the football field i have no ill feelingsl towards him at all.
      but bottom line is we’r stuck with him for the year. thankfully he graduates after its over (jeez am i sick of “waiting til next season”)

      1. I agree. As I’ve written before, Tommy just has very limited abilities. That being said, I think his abilities are higher than what she showed today. He was completely underprepared.

        THERE CONTINUES TO BE ZERO LEADERSHIP anywhere on this team. Players, coaches etc.

        8/4 this year and possibly 7 and 5 with some key injuries.

        But there is a lot of talent in our future. This year is a right off.

    2. I think your post defines exactly why the fair hair wonder boy receives the criticism he does Tommy. He does deserve it. He’s a 5th year senior and still playing with dumb rookie mistakes. It’s time to look at a change even though it won’t happen. Damn

      1. zaire is the only option

        -do you think its worth burning a red shirt at this point?

        -and if it is, other than injury, will BK actually do it?

        im not sure honestly

  30. tommy is a poor QB

    martin (kelly) is bad at calling plays for our poor QB

    these two things together spell doom for ND in 2013

  31. I just can’t believe how sorry this D is! Not even average. Just piss poor. Bottom line. Has Shembo made a tackle today? Just figures when we start calling someone a monster on this team they play like crap!

  32. Can’t give OK 21 points as a gift and expect to win with this tepid offense. Nice running game though- trying to find a bright spot.

    IT’S AMAZING THAT TOMMY REES CONTINUES TO PLAY AFTER 3 PICKS AND 21 POINTS. HE MUST HAVE NAKED PICTURES OF SOMEONE.

    1. It must be a REVEALING picture at that. It’s going to be a sucky season. I think it’s time to consider looking at your future. What do you think Malik?

      1. There are many amazing things in life Ronny. It’s all about staying classy right Ronald? Oh well, we have our health.

      2. It’s called a joke Ron. You know that thing that you attempt to do all the time, but then you do nothing else?

        There you go.

  33. 21 PTA off TR’s TO’s is the big factor in this game. Statements could have been made in this game but weren’t. We have an average team. I think this is a sign of things to come this year. TR is just too limiting for offensive production and the D is not going to manhandle O lines the rest of the season. Only if we had a QB that could do both, oh wait we did until he screwed up. I see Ben C is getting booted out now. Average, average, average, I can’t stand it.

  34. Unbelievable how mediocre teams find ways to lose. TOs. Bad D. STs breakdowns at key times. Add it all up = loss. Add it all up all season long = bad season.

    Is there a miracle some where?

  35. Like I said this D is gutless! I can’t believe there are any apologists left for this D and team. No monsters here! Please let’s just drop the hyperbole about monsters on this D. Enough!

  36. I’m telling you, if it weren’t for the INTs, I think NDs running game could’ve been a factor. We’ll never know. Could have is for losers!

  37. It’s going to reach a point where 10 to 13 point lead will not be overcome at the rate this contest is being currently played. 21 points on TO’s. just terrible

  38. You cannot win with a limited athlete like TR unless you have the 85 Bears D and a pro-quality O line and WRs. ND will never have that. So you need a great ATH at QB. One that can make plays with his feet or out of the pocket. It’s time to move on from TR but BK will not do that. He’d prefer to go 7-5 with TR than 6-6 with MZ.

  39. wow. great answer by OU there.

    predictably we screwed up the kick off, but good play calling and execution by the sooners O.

    at least we held them to 3 i guess. gonna need another quick strike by the offense now and get the momentum back

  40. That’s what I’m saying. Good D stand. Quick 7 on O. Now it’s up to STs to make another good play on the KO and the D to get the ball back quick for the O. ND’s big O line can begin to wear out the small OU D line and LBs.

  41. Alright, I’ve seen enough, we’re now in game #5. Obviously, this team is nowhere near as good as I thought they would be (I thought top 15 prior to the year). Please sit Rees and play Zaire. No question, he will throw interceptions as a true frosh, but at least he fits their skill set and they can build for the future. Rees just does not have the ability to play at that level. That is obvious – I wish it was obvious to their head coach.

    This is painful to watch. You can’t turn the ball over 3 times in the first half and beat anybody, much less a good team like Oklahoma. I see a 6-6 or 7-5 season.

  42. The D bettter get the OU O off the field quickly. Now we’ll see what this D and team as a whole is made of. 3 and out on D. 7 on O. Game on.

    Go Irish, damn it!

  43. Oh I still love my beloved Irish SFR. I tend to yell a little more with a few beers, haha. Actually my 2 yr old is napping next to me so I have to keep it toned down a bit.

    GOOOOOOOOO IRISHHHHHHHHH

  44. Stores,

    I’m sorry to hear this program’s mediocrity has sucked the passion from you. But perhaps you’re right. Just accept that this is ND football: passionless, gutless, etc., and get drunk. There’s always next season, right?

    G _ d d _ _ n it Irish! Show some f’ing fight!!! Make some history and have a memorable comeback win!

    Sorry, Storespook, I can’t give in to apathy and accept defeat. When I get to that point I might as well do something else on Sat.

  45. I don’t even yell or get emotional watching the boys play, mainly, it seems so predictable we’ll have TO’s by TR or just other uninspired play. Maybe it’s time for a halftime beer. I would like to see a better 2nd half.

    Lets Go Irish

      1. Probably not,then let Hendrix play the 2nd half. We finally get over 100 yards rushing in a half and use 13 passes to give up 3 picks for 21 points. Nice. Although, that last one was for 88 yards.

  46. Did I just hear BK say the D played great?! What game is he watching? This D has not made a big play. A great D shuts out OU the rest of this game and gets the ball for the O. This game will have to be won by the D, which will have to basically shutout OU the rest of the game.

    1. The D has made some HUGE plays! 3rd and 2 stuffed. 3rd and 1 stuffed. 4th and 1 stuffed. All their points have come off of Tommy Rees turnovers. I wish I was wrong but what I was worried about (on record on this site this week) has occurred. All of those NEAR INTERCEPTIONS that Rees threw the last 2 weeks have turned into real interceptions. 21 points off of horrible mistakes by a 5th year senior.

      Rees should not see the field in the 2nd half.

      1. Unfortunately he will see the field, a lot. I can’t stand him being the starter. Everett, why oh why could you have not been smarter off the field?

      2. Those are plays any half way decent D makes. A great D holds OU to a FG after TR’s second pick. A great D doesn’t give a late TD before HT. A great D gets a TO for the O. A great D has this game 7-7 or at worse 10-7 right now. A great D doesn’t allow redzone TDs at a 75% clip. Perhaps our concept of a huge play or great D are just too different.

  47. With all due respect to “Sad Warrior” and “Shaz” there are no monsters on this D. It’s great to br Ra, Ra. But at some point it comes across as just that. All emotion. Where’s Shembo? Tuitt? This D is just like the rest of the team: mediocre.

    Unless something incredible happens on STs (I’m sure that’s likely!) or D (also unlikely the way this unit is playing), the O alone won’t probably score more that 2 TDs the 2nd half.

    21 points off TR INTs!

    What a shambles this program is in. It can’t get on anykind of streak from season to season. Now we’re at the point we make a big deal about a 10-game home winning streak. I recall when winning 10 home games in a row was a given. How we’ve settled for less and less every season.

  48. I think JDH was the one who called this INT fest from TR. He’s been lucky until today. If the D doesn’t make a splash play for points I don’t know if the ND O alone will be enough. -3 already in TO margin today. To reiterate: the D needs a big play!

    1. I did SFR and I obviously wish I was wrong. TR just had so many near misses in the last 2-3 games. His lack of speed and telegraphing his passes really help opposing LBs and DBs.

      You know what I think is hilariously sad? How many times has Brian Kelly said something to this affect: “When it comes to our quarterbacks, I don’t care who you are. If you turn the ball over too much you are going to be replaced.”

      There should be a HUGE asterisk or footnote when Kelly says such things. If you are Rees that does not apply! 21 points off of turnovers in the first half and guess who starts in the second half?

  49. Why not backout of the blitz when everyone saw it? Will this D step up and make a big play? We’re going to need it!

  50. Not a great stand by the D. But at least the ND O gets the ball back. I think AH can make some plays on the edge with his feet or arm. We’ll see. Even 3 points here would be key.

  51. BK is not a motivator. He’s supposed to be a great recruiter and Xs and Os guy. Right now I don’t see a lot of talent or speed and no creativity on O.

    ND needs to get within 7 before HT. Then win the 2nd half by 8 or more.

  52. THB was sure right about the start of this game. Just like he was right about that powerhouse that is Purdue. How did that stout Purdue D do today? Didn’t they shut out N. IL?

    Bashing THD aside for his stupid predictions, this could get ugly quick. The season is on the brink if the D doesn’t stop OU right now.

  53. The fair hair wonder boy has a 2nd pick yeah the WR didn’t help by not holding on to it. Can’t wait to see a 3rd offensive series.

  54. I’m so blesses for my now increased knowledge of that Nevada linebacker
    I believe Middle Tennessee’s punter went off last night. Hopefully I can learn more about him next time

  55. One observation I see from the article with which I agree is that this game will be
    on Rees, BK and Coach Martin to not just manufacture yards or even FGs, but to score TDs.

    I’ve given up on seeing Malik or Hendrix used in key situations to pressure unprepared D’s
    with different variations that would include
    the threat of a mobile QB, ( for example, in a red zone offense,
    like Bell was utilized very successfully by OK last year).
    So this will have to be TRs day to “shake down the thunder” in this key game in this his final season.
    OK has too many weapons to hold to under 20.

    With OK having two weeks to prepare ( and likely add a few wrinkles,
    especially on ‘D’ to further stifle our ground game AND pressure TR),
    and with a QB who can run and apparently pass,
    ND must control both LOS, have our best day running the ball yet,
    and TR will have to leave few if any TD opportunities on the field.

    If we are to win this one, and we can, we’re going to have to score at least 24 or, likely, even more,
    and dominate the line of scrimmage.

    ND 31- OK 27. Go Irish !

  56. THB: “ND IS THE GREATEST ATHLETIC ENTITY IN AMERICANA. HANDS DOWN!”

    I’m telling you that this smacks of sarcasm and parody.

    I sometimes wonder if people don’t use sites like this to carry out sophmoric sociology experiments or just get some sick kicks from pulling peoples chains.

    I hope that whether people agree with me or not they realize that I’m transparent and wear my emotions on my sleeves. I guess that makes me the perfect mark for these would-be sociological hacks or frustrated stand-up comics.

  57. You know what people, I have a strange suspicion that THB is actually a troll and is trying to mock us. It sounds like he’s making a parody of what the haters claim ND fans are like and believe. It’s almost as if he’s assuming the persona of the alleged arrogant, snobby ND fan, who is, according to our detractors, detached from reality. I mean just read the posts above. Of course, it could also just be that he’s in fact just delusional. But I’m really beginning to suspect that this guy is a troll who’s trying to make funny at our expense and gloats when we lose.

  58. THB,

    The penalties were ticky-tacky but they existed. And if the same calls had been made against Pittsburgh, then the roles would’ve been reversed. The Stillers fans would be upset and the Seattle fans wouldn’t be saying “Hey, let’s give Pittsburgh the trophy”.

    Let me tell you this “Mr. Tell like it is.” There were a lot of PI calls ND got last week that were a lot weaker than the penalties that were called on the Seahawks in their SB against Pittsburgh. A large percentage of our O against MSU last week was as a result of some questionable PI calls. I don’t here you bitching about the calls we got last week, THB. But I bet there are plenty of MSU fans that are still upset and rightly believe they could’ve won that game if not for the dubious PI calls that went our way. What about it “Mr. Tell it like it is”? I guess your moral outrage against refs only extends to calls that go against your teams.

    Bottom line, THB, is Pittsburgh beat Seattle for the Lombardi that year, refs or no refs. Bottom line is ND beat MSU last week, refs or no refs. Now that’s telling it like it really is and not some THB double-standard.

  59. I agree with Ron. Sports fans have selective memory when it comes to officiating. We all recall the calls that went against us and forget the ones that helped us win.

    Seattle Seahawks fans are still crying about the refs costing them the SB against the Steelers. I agree that the calls against them were ticky-tacky but I’m sure if they’d gone in their favor they wouldn’t have minded. Such is the hypocrisy of the sports fan

    1. The Seahawk fans are right!

      I have close friends with the Steelers.org but I try to be direct (most unpopular in the USA but considered acceptable in Germany) I tell it like it is “Seattle was robbed.”
      FINAL SCORE:
      ND 41
      OU 10

  60. OU is weak on D. The gooners will attack the outside linebackers and cornerbacks as did Alabama. If there is a weakness in ND that’s it!

    Rees’s QB National Ranking speaks for itself.

    In Closing:

    ND lost to Michigan for two reasons:

    1. Officiating (late 4th quarter)
    2. Porous D…

    (Rees and Tuitt did their job & pulled ND to a Michigan 34 / ND 30 score with time enough to take the win)

    1. Get over the officiating as an excuse. The only sorts team in history that can use that is the ’72 Olympic Men’s Basketball team. THEY were truly robbed!,

      You can’t give up 40 on the road and expect to win. Play better!

      1. ND is undefeated ! IMHO …I know a lot of em and I how much they fear the Irish

        “ND IS THE GREATEST ATHLETIC ENTITY IN AMERICANA. HANDS DOWN!”

        say your prayers

  61. There is no way ND beats the Sooners this week. I hate to say it but this could be a blowout. If rees plays like he did last week, you’ll need a calculator to count up the Oklahoma points. Of course there is always the hope that the Sooners come in over confident and play poorly. The ND defense will have their hands full and honestly I do not see them being able to stop the Sooners. As said in the article, the next 3/4 games are critical. I hate to be the one with bad news but ND will not be playing in one of the BCS games. They still have too many question marks offensively and defensively. Goo IRISH!

    1. Rich,

      Who has a better Defense WVU or ND? I am not saying ND is a two TD favorite, but WVU is horrible and they held the Sooners to two TD’s.

      I’m not saying ND wins, but a blow out. If they lose it is a close game in the fourth. Oklahoma is the best team ND faces this year, but your making it sound like they are a top 5 team and they are not. They would be smoked by teams in the top 5.

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