IBG: Win One for Subway Domer Edition

Notre Dame - USC
A view down the line of scrimmage during the game between Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Notre Dame defeated USC 22-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The IBG continues to forge on following the retirement of IBG founder Subway Domer and if there was one Notre Dame blogger who embraced the Notre Dame-USC rivalry it was Subway Domer. With that in mind, hopefully the Irish can out there this weekend and win just one for SD.

This week I asked Aaron Horvath of Strong and True a set of questions while I answered questions from Mike over at ND Nation.

1. Notre Dame bounced back from a rough loss to Oklahoma with a solid win over a ranked opponent. What from the ASU game has you the most optimistic heading out of that game and into this year’s show down with USC.

The play from the Irish defense in pressuring the ASU QB was definitely what jumped out for me during the Shamrock Series game in North Texas.

Pressuring the quarterback with using your down lineman is key to any defense. If your front can get pressure, that allows you to drop most into coverage and create turnovers by forcing the QB to hurry and throw before he is ready to.

So, simply … pressuring the quarterback is key this weekend against the Trojans.

2. Notre Dame hasn’t won back to back games over USC since 2000 & 2001. What must the Irish do this weekend to do so for the first time in 12 years?

This weekend the Irish must play within themselves to win. Just win. Style points are not needed this weekend. This year against USC will be different because the Irish have only one game to really look at to figure this Trojans team out. Once Lane Kiffin was fired, it seemed that new head coach Ed Orgeron told his staff to throw caution to the wind and last week’s performance against Arizona has everyone around the Trojans starting from scratch.

Needless to say, the Irish will have a tough time this week because they have no clue what the Trojans will throw at them.

Simply, to win this weekend, the Irish need to win the turnover battle. Very cliché, but very true.

3. Notre Dame was almost this exact same situation in 2011. They were 4-2 with the Trojans in town and a ton of elite recruits on the sidelines. What is the same and what is different about the 2011 match-up vs. this weekend’s and do you think things will play out differently for Notre Dame?

First off, the Irish are much better at finishing games than they were two years ago. Secondly, they have a veteran signal-caller who I think can help the Irish to victory and they have a much better defense than two years ago.

Bonus: After a few rough patches so far this year, would a win over USC give Tommy Rees a level of redemption?

I personally don’t think Tommy needs redeeming. I think he has done very well for himself already this season. In saying that, it would go a long way in his legacy to beat USC … again … He would be the first QB to defeat USC twice in his career since who?… Exactly …

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  1. forgive the type errors–in some words–
    but I stand by my intentions–type errors or not–

    Again-if we go 9-3 and they put us in a bowl over our head, I’m going to ask to knocked out because a 41-9 loss and destruction by Clemson or Missouri or Washington or South Carolina is not any fans idea of a good time. ( all teams mentioned are possibilies at this point)

    A win of 14-10 is better than a loss for sure.
    SC scores and we could not do it.
    Defense I’m proud of.
    BUT did it redefine the season to propel ND to the next level?

    Go Irish–

  2. JC and Stores–

    right , right and right.

    It bugs me to no end.
    One year contention for the National Title
    then just praying to win a sloppy game in a comedy of errors week after week.This is not just an “off ” year–( even thought we are 5-2)
    It is not COMPETITIVE playing and this cycle repeats itsef ALL the time
    since 93.
    Today, as I was walking in the Beautiful Autumn with my family,
    I thought back to the same walk 20 years ago before our youngest was born.
    Work with me Irish fans—
    We were ROLLING–
    florida state end of season—followed by Boston.
    We beat Mich 27-23-and they only made it close in the last part of aurter 4–when Irish were up 27-10.
    Beat Purdue in the rain–sloppy but we smacked them 17-0 —
    Michigan State-running game –conservative–eat up clock–kick lots of field goals–(points are points you know)
    and we win 36-14.
    Other scores I forget–but the wins I don’t.
    Yes, the wind was out of our sails in that awful last second field goal against Boston–but it was a great season.
    (and we deserved and still deserve a share of the National Title)
    But moving to now–
    Look what has happened —
    or rather has NOT happened.
    On this day in 1990 ( October 20) ND beats Miami 29-20.
    Meanwhile, Florida State is rolling, Miami is on the move again trying to clean up their image ( and there is a lot of cleaning to do with that mess)
    and Notre Dame–a few bad years or not–
    is still not CONSISTENTLY –or at least 3 years out of 5 competitive.
    OK 3 out of 6 would be great. The cycle of 4 year players would have the chance to experience something to contend for—and they have not.
    Up and down–mediocre, then a spark and surge of awesome things–only to fall off for a long time in to mediocre things again and again.
    Yes–a win over Pasadena is good. Quality and competitive play is not there. QB as store said isn’t cutting it.
    WHO says we have to go shotgun 80% of the time?
    Doesn’ the offense dictate the tempo of the game?
    Blitz or not, etc.
    a running game and good defense with some good moments from special teams will get the job done. ND did this for quite some time.
    We don’t need to invent the wheel all over just because it is “hip” and “it is what the others are doing”
    Responsive to it, yes.
    Mix it up, yes.
    But for the Love of Heaven, 3 and 1 over and over and passing? We can’t get a yard to get a fresh set of downs? What is THAT?
    This isn’t rocket science folks—
    Just do it as NIKE says I guess.
    I’m not throwing in the towel–because we won.
    But Look at HOW we have won—
    not pretty–
    and week after week, after week after week–it is going to catch up with us in a not so pretty—-loss —week after week.
    I dont’ care if it IS “the lighter part of our schedule” there are no guarantees—-Air Force and Navy have pulled surprises before.
    Pitt would love to have revenge after that scare last year.
    BYU beat a really sloppy Texas team–and I just can’t talk about Stanford.
    Love the Irish–
    Just don’t understand WHY things –win or lose—aren’t cohesive.
    I rambled I know–
    Just love ND too much I guess.
    If that’s a sin–then I’m off to confession.
    Meanwhile, seems like something isn’t in sync—and it needs to be addressed. ( For the record, I did NOT expect 12-0 –and it is unrealistic to think so year in and year out. That is NOT what I’m saying–and most folks are not either. So lest I be accused of wanting gold every year in a trophy that says we are # 1–I want to make it clear that we should be striving for that -minus this cycle of a moment of great, followed by what appears to be an era of less than spectacular—and calling it acceptable.

    Again, on this day in 1990 –Irish beat Miami 29-20—do we have that emotion now? Does the program?
    I hope so!

  3. Stores,

    Look at the offense required to be in the top ten…40 points or more capability. Johnny Heisman was upset again with stellar QB numbers off the charts! Yeah, we are nowhere near BCS caliber guys. The stats just don’t add up. I don’t see how BK survives after year 5. Let alone NOT having more chaos with next year’s QB derby. Stability with a GOOD not great QB is without fail a requirement for the offense to even work! A great defense as we all know is required to win Championships. We have neither at the moment and next year I don’t see it happing either, with or without Golson. Fact: the 99% investment in TR has killed QB player development from spring practice to the obvious USC game. I don’t see any development in one week’s practice this week to make much of an impact either. I see more 1-3 point wins at best.

    1. As do I JC. The QB role & position just has not been smartly developed in the past 4 years. It is bothersome and I hate seeing these other high caliber QB’s operate so well.

  4. STORE:

    Amen –the truth and Amen.
    A Much lower tiered bowl ( IF) we get there is the key and –then to WIN it ( (IF) we could or should.
    You say that the most important position has not been solidified for 4 years—–
    Pray tell which position?
    I have a list!

    Do you have one in particular?
    Mind you I’m not being a smart mouth here not cynical–I like the insight of others.
    Love the Irish.
    Like a win-even though all except Temple have been very scrappy ( my favorite word for this team this year)
    Would be willing to hear your insight–( sometimes in print it is difficult to tell whether one is being cynical or not–and I’m NOT doing so Store–) Folks get VERY touchy and pissed off if one disagrees with another or if the opinion or insight is on another tier. I truly would like to hear what you have to say.
    Let’s cheer for the Irish.
    I DO have to wonder–all the missed tackles, soft corners, wide open players of the opponent and lack of running game and many penalties and on and on.
    Doesn’t this discipline start at the top?
    I’m NOT bashing BK as some will suggest–I’m just wondering about the fact that this machine should be well oiled–NOT duct taped!
    Sincerely and respectfully–

    1. Oh I was referring to our QB position, from starter to backup, the whole position. Not to say we don’t have other areas to improve but this was to be the position Kelly was hired for and supposedly renowned for when he came on-board. After 4 years, we are still not solidified. I contend that a large part of it rests on coaching not developing this position, especially the backup position (as evidenced last night). If AH wasn’t the guy for backup, then why wasn’t more effort put forth to get “the right or trusted guy” for backup, including getting the position developed. I contend it hasn’t been done and now why should anyone be surprised by how poorly AH played, which is reflective how developed he is for his role. Again, if he isn’t the guy somebody should have been doing something about that at least in the last 3 YEARS but really hasn’t. AH certainly has not been given a whole lot of game experience when there was opportunity to in the past. Apparently MZ isn’t available. TR has his issues even being an experienced STARTER. I am really bothered by how this position has not been solidified after 4 years. I am 40+ year fan of ND football. I am not saying I know everything but I do know we have issues in the whole QB position. I thought last year we were taking a step in the right direction until EG did what he did to get removed for this year. I have no problem with folks disagreeing with me but just sharing what I think.

      Go Irish

  5. We are not a BCS team, not even close. If we end up bowl worthy I would much prefer to be placed in a bowl that will allow us an opportunity to win because that is more important for team development than being in a bowl we have no business being in. We are at best an average to fair team. We are not great nor a good team. The most important position has not been solidified for 4 YEARS now.

  6. It was a win –and a win is a win but it sure wasn’t comfortable was it?

    I’m confident in one thing–True Notre Dame Fans will age a bit this year–
    An overview–in disjunct form if you will ( much like the team)
    17-13 against Mich. S. 31-24 over Purdue– Arizona State pulling out a lot in the last 30 seconds with ALMOST getting the onside kick ( and they WOULD have been in FG range!)

    Turnovers to Mich and Oklahoma the difference there–
    Soft corners and coverage–big key plays for opponent
    BUT the Defense is coming around–
    even though a Manti Teo type hasn’t shown up–Im confident that there may be a few building for that next year ( no names mentioned yet)

    Special Teams ( coverage on punts, the BIG 53 yard field goal –FINALLY)

    This team is not mediocre but it isn’t BCS worthy either –and as a LOYAL ND Alumni, Fan etc I pray that IF we get to a bowl that ND isn’t automatically placed in a bowl due to fan base and $$ alone –because we will be in over our heads..
    Yes I realize much can happen in a month or so–but truly this ND team would be better in an Independence Bowl –Gator Bowl at most–because a WIN is best for the program and continuing to build for next year.

    Yes-a win is a win–
    but scrappy wins are not impressive –and we ND fans and team know that this type of play can’t continue for too long–otherwise we WILL see a 42-14 thumping again

    Looking at the season-
    looking ahead
    with reality
    and LOVE
    by telling the TRUTH

    A HOME WIN OVER SC is NICE –FOR A CHANGE –but one can only consume so much Southern Comfort GO IRISH
    ( and don’t look ahead over other teams to Stanford some 6 weeks away–every week is a possibility for building–because that is REALLY ALL WE HAVE–and it isn’t bad or sad–it’s a fact!)
    ( repetition was intentional to drive the FACT home–love the IRISH-looking forward to improvement–because there is plenty of room for it)

  7. I agree with the interviewee and the comments;
    what we get from TR is both predictable and critical.
    We’ll need more than one drive or one quarter of the TR we’ve all seen excel in key situations.
    And obviously, our entire team must keep TOs to a bare minimum
    (and forcing a few from them would be key).

    But, more than that, we have to bring out schemes and formations $C hasn’t prepared for.
    $C has too many athletes for ND to remain as predictable as we’ve been.

    Not only does ND not know what to expect from the Lame-free Kiffin offense, I fear
    the $C defense will know exactly what to expect from the ND offense.

    Will we throw a few screens, or let AH throw at least one play-action pass, (if he even plays at all)?
    Will we remain aggressive and seek to score even with a lead,
    or “let the defense win it” and play not to lose?
    Will we ever see ND play 6 DBs (Shumate hits like a LB anyway)
    with Jaylon in and Ishaq blitzing on obvious pass situations,
    or instead watch $C throw underneath at Fox and Calabrese on second and long or key third downs all night,
    as we’ve watched all season?

    If we remain predictable, victory will be gained by which team makes the key plays
    in critical third downs and in how they attack the other team’s ‘D’ in the fourth quarter.

    “Just execute” works well against teams with inferior athletes.
    Unfortunately, the opponent we face this week doesn’t have inferior athletes, just an inferior team.

    This week’s version of “Play like a champion” means scoring TDs, even with a lead,
    and with pressure ‘D’, even if that means having to blitz.
    Their receivers are too talented to give $C’s QB time to connect with them.

    If we do, I’m confident ND, the better team, will win, and quite comfortably,
    “While her loyal sons go marching onward to ( a convincing) victory”!

  8. Done well and legacy talk in regards to TR. Well, I will say his legacy will be more about other things rather what happens on Saturday. I agree, TR has played pretty much how the fair hair wonder boy has shown in past years he has started/played. Nothing new or improved, pretty much doing what he has done before. No redeeming himself he is what he is and nothing is going to change that. What I would like to see is a back to back game where ND comes out fired up, aggressive, and belief & expectation they are going to win against the Trojan heads versus being flat. 2 years ago at a home night game with a previous open week they were flat and unemotional. To me, how they come out to start the game will be indicative whether this coaching staff has made some progress. Balanced attack will help if they can establish some run against these jokers.

    Lets go Irish
    Knock their fricking heads off Saturday
    Goooooo Irishhhhhhhhhhh

  9. Yes, you are 100% correct, RT has done the best he is capable of and that is why we are 4-2 and not 6-0 this year. RT does not have the capacity to score 45 points when we are behind or when we need it to stay ahead. With 99% focus on TR, I sure hope it pays off handsomely next year for BK!

    GooooooIrish! Stomp USC!

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