Duranko’s Digest: What did we see in Pittsbrugh?

Louis Nix - Notre Dame @ Pitt
Notre Dame Fighting Irish nose tackle Louis Nix (1) walks to the sideline in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field. Pitt won 28-21. (Photo: Matt Cashore / USA TODAY Sports)

Five HUGE mistakes, each self-inflicted, compounded to help Notre Dame lose to a game, gritty Pitt Panther squad 28-21. The Irish offense is not yet eploxsive enough to overcome multiple errors, and, in Heinz Field, for the third time this season, the “chickens came home to roost.” The 2012 Irish did not beat themselves, but this team has. The loss ended the Life Suport for Notre Dames barely palpitating BCS dreams.


(We will not discuss here Tom Savage’s “entrapment” of Stephon Tuitt’s alleged “targeting” penalty and disqualification. That was Zebra-inflicted, not self-inflicted. Zebras happen. For the data-hungry, the Panthers had rushed for 17 yards before the zebras Sacco and Vanzetti’d Tuitt.)

Senior Captain T. J. Jones, with the score tied at 7 and the Irish at the Pitt 40 slanted in and caught a pass from Tommy Rees, then broke to the middle and the end zone. He was indecisive regarding which hand he would use to secure the ball, and when hit, by Pitt, he fumbled on the 6. It was a freshman mistake. It is not in the job description of a senior captain. Pitt was on the ropes at the time.

With the Irish leading 21-14 in the third quarter, the Panthers had the ball on their 37. Savage dropped back and hit a crossing Devin Street on what ought have been a 20 yard gain. Matthias Farley slid off Street rather than tackling him and a 20 yard play became a 63 yard, tying touchdown. More about Farley below.


Senior quarterback Tommy Rees, with the game tied at 21, on the tenth play of a drive which started at the Irish 46, faced a Second and Goal at the Pitt 4. 7 seemed likely, 3, a sure thing. Rees threw into the end zone but the receiver was not open and, worse, a Pitt safety whom Rees did not see swooped in and intercepted the ball ending the drive. It was a freshman mistake, not in the job description of a senior quarterback.

On Pitt’s ensuing possession, they had moved to near midfield, and when Savage dropped to pass, Prince Shembo went FrankStamsian on Savage, stripping the ball and causing a fumble. The Irish, led by Sheldon Day, did NOT play to the echo of the whistle, and ignored the gift horse of the football lying on the ground. They merely looked in its mouth and rather than scooping it up and advancing it some from the Pitt 45 or even scoring allowed the Panthers to recover the ball and punt it out of harm’s way. Maddening!

On the ensuing Notre Dame drive, the Irish faced a 2nd and ten at their own 24, with the score still tied. Rees threw an even worse ball than the red zone interception, it was returned to the ND 5 and Pitt pushed in the go-ahead touchdown that made the final 28-21.

The first three possessions of the fourth quarter. A triad of disaster.


A gentle reminder about Matthias Farley. After showing such promise and great tackling ability as a frosh, he has been a part of three awful plays in 2013. Not to rub salt, but against Michigan, the Irish trailed 3-0 and the Wolverines had the ball on their own 39 yard line. Gardner threw to Gallon for a 15 yard gain, but it turned into a 61 yard touchdown which stretched the lead to 10-0. Farley overran the play.

Against OU, the Irish had fought, and I mean FOUGHT, back from 14-0 and 21-7 deficits and were trailing by 27-21. OU had the ball on their 46 yard line and had a 3rd and 3. Bell threw a short pass to Shepard, who eluded Jarrett Grace, but Farley was out of position and when he tried to recover, Shepard blew past him and when OU converted the 2 point play, the Irish were done at 35-21. The word Safety means you keep the defense “safe.”

Now, the lesson of kaizen is to fix the problem, not the blame. You change your preexisting structures to get ahead of the problem. We have some talent at safety, including Shumate, Hardy and MAX REDFIELD. But the defensive “system” requires the safeties to make a lot of adjustments and experienced players do it better. Well, which is the tail and which is the dog? The troika of Diaco, Elliott and Cooks ought consider a redesign, and reassignment. It is not that we are devoid of athletes at safety; rather it is that the best athletes are not manning our last line of defense. Agains, fix the PROBLEM, not the BLAME.

Okay, enough looking back. Let’s look forward. We are three games away from having Golson back, and the quarterbacks who will back him up, then fight to succeed him, will have mobility and escapability, which adds 30% to your offensive repertoire. We’re very close to weaponizing our whole offense. The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends are there. The Running Backs are closer than you think. Kelly and Alford are giving up on none of the four.

Atkinson has come back after many buried him. And they’re going to give Carlisle the opportunity that his potential and Spring and pre-Fall showed. And Bryant will be a factor. Our offensive line is on the verge of true greatness, a year or two away. It could happen, even with youth, in 2014. When Elmer and Stanley line up together, they are the prototypes. We should be explosive next year. That will compensate for some errors.

And the team must return to the smarter, minimal-error football of 2012

The team will welcome the Saturday off, both to heal, and to wash out the foul taste of the loss to Pitt. Kelly will have to raise them back up, but he’s been here before.

Newcomers of the Match:

Will Fuller – seems to have passed Corey Robinson and perhaps Chris Brown. A playmaker. Bright future.

James Onwualu – first career catch, but he’s been a willing blocker and an eager special teams player.

What will we see on Senior Day?

This Senior class is special. They were recruited by a losing team, not a winning team. But they listened, they worked, they competed, they lifted, and they played with true grit. Notre Dame was a soft football team under the previouos regime. But this group led the way back to a Notre Dame team that now plays tough all the time, showing the first glimpse against USC  in 2010. In 2012 these seniors led a team that was less artful than intense and tough, in gritty wins over Purdue, Michigan, Stanford, Pitt and BYU. In 2013, there was more of the same against Michigan State, Arizona State and USC.

The class of 2014 (proforma’ing the redshirts) has 35 wins going into their Senior Day. In the last two years they have lost to National Champ Bama in Miami, to Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a top Ten OU team in South Bend, and then Saturday’s hot mess against Pitt. The classes following will have more wins in their four years, but to a non-trivial extent they will be standing on the shoulders of the class of 2014. The future here is bright, but that Golden light would be more distant except for the work of these stalwarts.  Each one, and I mean EACH ONE deserves a chapter, but we will highlight just a few:

Zach Martin – arguably the first block in the foundation, inserted as a freshman starter at the crucial left tackle position, and he never looked back-or beaten. Stayed around to play on the same line with lil’ brother Nick. Zach held on until the offensive line pipeline could be filled.

T.J.Jones – forced into action as a freshman, survived the early death of his dad Andre Jones, and developed into a smooth polished receiver by his senior year. An eager worker, who accepted the bit to serve as punt returner. He made Tommy Rees a better quarterback. A case study in player development.

Danny Spond-an underrated prospect stolen from under the nose of Gary Patterson at TCU, who showed what the prototype of a cat linebacker looked like. Marvelous pass coverage skills, who stayed on the field in passing downs in 2012 when the secondary was, well, not penniless, but nickless and dimeless. His health was of more value than his senior year, but morphed into a coach, the one-on-one mentor of Jaylon Smith. If you question Spond’s coaching ability, just ask Jaylon.

Tommy Rees – “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Tommy Rees arrived as Rivals’ 31s best quarterback of 2010 and the 13th best player in Illinois. He was expected to just be a warmup act while Dayne Crist recovered. He is not Joe Montana, he is not Tom Clements, he is not Everett Golson, he is not Brady Quinn. But he sure as heck is a nice Tommy Rees. He became the surprise starter as a frosh when Crist went out against Tulsa. He became the starter in 2011 when Crist, who had one final chance to convince the coaching staff that he was up to the starting role, parafinned against USF. He lost the starting job to Everett Golson in Spring 2012, went out and had a few pops, got arrested and suspended, yet returned and was a Mariano Rivera-esque reliever in 2012. Golson paraffined academically, and Rees became the starter.

“From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.”  Was he Kelly’s first choice? Was he the fans first choice? Well, and you can look this up, Lou Holtz used to say that his wife Beth often reminded Lou that he wasn’t her first choice either! Tommy Rees gave his all: what more can we ask? Before we leave this controversial personality, ask yourself two questions:

(1) What would Notre Dame’s 2013 record be if Golson were the quarterback?

(2) If, after losing the QB job in the Spring of 2012 to Golson, Rees had left to, say, set passing records at Augustana or some D-III school, what would Notre Dame’s record have been in 2012 and in 2013?

Louis Nix – not to the manor born in Jacksonville, he hung in during the coaching change and would not be swayed. More corpulent than conditioned as a frosh, he redshirted, then split snaps with an underrated, but easily, and unfortunately forgotten Sean Cwynar as a soph. His ebullience, his joie-de-vivre could not be supressed, and he adopted his “Irish Chocolate” persona. In football with its seriousness and military metaphors, humor is the sine qua non of emotional and mental balance and Louis provided it. Got his touchdown in the Spring.. “What though the odds be great or small.” It’s not just a football thing it’s a story of human achievement emphasizing what can happen when the yin of a motivated individual meets the yang of the Notre Dame millieu, given context with a wondrous support system. When Louis ambles out to embrace Mama Nix at midfield in the pre-game introductions, feel good about Louis, feel good about Mama Nix and feel good about God, Country and Notre Dame.

What will we see from BYU?

(1) A team that rebounded from losses to Utah and Virginia in the first three games, and has garnered impressive wins over Texas, Georgia Tech, Utah State and Boise.

(2) Tayson Hill has improved, but he is no Johnny Manziel. More big than quick, more fast than slippery, he has not seen anything like what our defense will bring. A year away from being a dangerous passer, he needs the Cougar rushing attack to flourish before he has enough room to pass.

(3) Last year, playing the Cougars the week after the emotional overtime win against Stanford, we still outgained them 389 yards to 243 yards, with our rushing attack getting 270 yards to the Cougars 66 yards. This year we play them AFTER a week off. Know this, we are a lot more physical than they are.

(4) An Irish team that will benefit from not playing on 11/16. They guys like Nix, Day, and Watt, who played hurt against Pitt will be a little more healthy. Schwenke and Williams back would be nice.

(5) A nice test to see if the coaches and team can suck it up and play with vigor. They should. It’s the Notre Dame way.


Go Irish!

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  1. And while Duranko is sleeping it off, can Frankie v please fix the advertising on the site? The pop up ads are killing my browsers. explorer, Firefox, and safari all crash on the ads.

    1. Yes, I’ve complained about the same thing over and over. I’m glad someone else brought this up. I thought it was my laptop. But all the computers I get on crash on this site. Please do something about this.

  2. insaity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results-albert einstein

    lets go get chip kelly?

  3. I have been an occasional visitor to this site. This season I have had the good fortune and pleasure of reading a few of Pete Duranko’s articles. These articles are vastly superior to those found on most of the other ND football sites. Thank you for your informed, balanced comments.

    1. “duranko” is not the late Pete Duranko, the former ND gridiron great. I’m assuming “duranko” picked this screen-name as a tribute to Pete, RIP.

  4. Kelly is not building a program. We will be 7-5 again except one great
    year. That is not building a program. We are averaging 5 yard a carry
    against Pitt and he quits running in the 2nd half. Where was Folsum? Our best
    runner was barely used. Do I need to go on?

    1. I know he has some issues, but GA III averages 6.2 yards per carry. I can’t imagine what his number would look like at Stanford or Wisconsin.

  5. Damn, every post, and Duranko,s post were right on. I got on some guy about lack of leadership before the season started, wish I could apologize to him right now..

  6. best of the lot

    1. Nick Saban, Alabama. He’s won four BCS championships (2003, ’09, ’11, ’12) over his last eight seasons in the college ranks and turned Alabama, and LSU before it, into a recruiting machine. Saban’s teams’ dominance in the past two title games against previously undefeated foes LSU and Notre Dame is a testament to his preparation skills, and his program’s infrastructure — relying on an enormous support staff to maximize efficiency — has become a model for the rest of the sport.
    2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State. While the brash and often outspoken 48-year-old certainly has his share of critics, it’s hard to argue with his résumé. Meyer has gone 116-23 (.828) at four different schools, posting undefeated seasons at both Utah (2004) and Ohio State (2012) to go with a pair of BCS titles at Florida (2006 and ’08). While initially viewed as a spread-offense guru, he is now renowned for his unique ability to charm and connect with both recruits and players, something that’s produced consistent success.
    3. Chris Petersen, Boise State. Now entering his eighth season in charge of the Broncos, Petersen has gone 84-8 to rack up an insane .913 winning percentage. Last year’s team — the first in the post-Kellen Moore era — was one of the biggest rebuilding projects he’s had, and it still finished 11-2. Petersen has no equal when it comes to player development. Boise never sniffs the top of the recruiting rankings and yet has produced seven first- or second-round NFL draft picks under his watch.
    4. Gary Patterson, TCU. Here’s what I wrote about Patterson in 2007: “Does anyone get less credit for running a consistently successful program than this guy?” And that was before two BCS bids, an undefeated 2010 campaign and an impressive transition to the Big 12. While the Horned Frogs still have plenty to prove following a 7-6 debut in their new league, Patterson has long since demonstrated that he’s one of the top defensive minds the sport has seen over the past decade.
    5. Bill Snyder, Kansas State. I know I said this list isn’t based on career achievement, but it’s hard not to bring up Snyder’s ’90s miracle work in Manhattan — particularly now that he has engineered a second surprising turnaround. The Wildcats, 39-45 from 2004-10 (three of those seasons under Ron Prince), went a combined 21-5 in Snyder’s third and fourth years back at the helm, including capturing last year’s Big 12 title. There’s no magic formula or trademark strategy at Kansas State. Snyder simply wins.
    6. Les Miles, LSU. While the Mad Hatter’s diction and game management can be bewildering at times, his eight-year tenure in Baton Rouge has been nothing short of extraordinary. The Tigers have won at least 10 games in all but two seasons, going 47-17 in SEC play, and reached two BCS championship games, winning one (2007). Miles’ program is a fixture near the top of the annual recruiting rankings and churns out a virtual assembly line of prized NFL prospects.
    7. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M. I have a feeling he’ll be even higher on this list in a couple of years. Sumlin is the consummate CEO coach, imparting his vision (an up-tempo offense, attacking defense) to his staff and hiring excellent coordinators to execute it. Like Meyer, his charisma and confidence rub off on players. After leading both Houston (in 2011) and A&M (last year) to their best seasons in decades, Sumlin is now recruiting at a previously unattainable level in Aggieland.
    8. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma. This ranking may seem a bit low for a guy who has won eight Big 12 titles and compiled an .801 winning percentage, but the Sooners have shown some cracks since reaching the 2008 BCS championship game — especially over the past two seasons (though they still won 10 games in both 2011 and ’12). Stoops came up as a defensive coach, but his program has long ranked among the nation’s most powerful and innovative on offense.
    9. Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky. He’s back after a year spent in exile, and while Petrino isn’t likely to rank among anyone’s top coaches in the charm or ethics departments, his offensive game-planning and play-calling aptitude is hard to dispute. In eight seasons as a college head coach, he has produced four top-12 teams and done so at two schools — Louisville and Arkansas — that were hardly fixtures in elite territory before his tenure. Best of luck, future Sun Belt and Conference USA opponents.
    10. Art Briles, Baylor. Briles doesn’t get nearly the national recognition he deserves, particularly considering just how astonishing Baylor’s rise would have seemed just four years ago. The Bears failed to post a winning record in their first 14 seasons in the Big 12; they’ve gone 25-14 in the three seasons since, twice knocking off top-five teams, producing a Heisman winner and maintaining one of the nation’s most explosive offenses even after RGIII’s departure.

    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130708/best-worst-college-football-coaches/#ixzz2kS2c1gCX

    1. B.J.

      Let me respond to the top ten coaches you have quoted and whether they would work at ND.

      1. Saban would never work wants to much control and the trustees would never let that happen.

      2. Urban Meyer couldn’t get his criminals and murders in and would not want to be under those restrictions.

      3. Chris Peterson has to prepare for two hard games a year and wouldn’t fare well if he played a real schedule.

      4. Gary Patterson is tearing it up in the Big 12.

      5. Bill Snyder fits where he is at and would not translate to ND. His team this year is not leading the Big 12.

      6. Mad Hatter is a horrible game coach. He can recruit and he can put atheletes on the field but gets out coached time and time again by teams with inferior talent.

      7. Kevin Sumlin, without Johnny Manzel bailing out his shitty defense he would be a fiver hundred team. At Houston he played no one and beat a Penn State team in the mist of scandal.

      8. Bob Stoops gets his ass handed to him by the SEC in every game he faces them. We would be back to NC game last year.

      9. Bobby Petrino leaves when things get hard and can’t keep it in his pants. ND would never let him coach. He really did nothing in the SEC and was housed by teams like Alabamaa and LSU.

      10. Art Briles is an offensive genius but usually he can’t get his defense to stop anyone.

      Sports Illustrated is a bunch of hacks. Also, I want you to go back and review Saban’s numbers at LSU and MSU, they are not earth shattering.

      I want you to know that I am on the fence about Kelly. I need to see him run a team with an experience QB that fits his system. As far as the defense, I am not sure which one will show up the USC defense or the Temple defense.

      Naming the top ten coaches doesn’t mean they will translate to ND. I do reserve judgement on BK until after this season. I need to see how he reacts to this latest loss and how the team reacts under his leadership. There is no way he gets fired until his contract is up, they are still paying Weis.

      1. You are correct, none of those guys can coach. What about the guy at Kansas, his name escapes me, he has some impressive credentials.

      2. Buckeye I’m not saying they can’t coach I am saying the either wouldn’t work at ND or they would never want to work at ND. Their are people on that list that aren’t good coaches. Saban isa great ccoach, Urban is a good coach but looks the other way when players get in trouble.

    1. Not really. What no one is pointing out properly is the other issues ND has.

      The offensive line is overrated. Lack of running game proves that out. They don’t maintain blocks long enough. Protection is suspect at times.

      The defense is a shambles this year. The CBs and Safeties have reverted to 2011 and prior play. They play way too soft and frankly look confused too often. The LBs are inconsistent. I’m not impressed. And the line has regressed, either due to lack of support, of self satisfaction.

      And against Pitt, there were times when the defense just stopped playing. On the 60 yarder that Pitt had and everyone is blaming Farley for, the pursuit gave up even before the Pitt receiver was inside the 10. Kelly essentially has the same issue this week that he had in 2011 after the USC game. The team just gave up. Why is that?

      1. you lead a rich fantasy life.

        Were you raised by people who taught you to ignore facts? Check Russell’s pursuit after Farley’s miss.

        And at what point in the four game winning streak after the 2011 USC game was it evident
        to someone with your acuity that the team just gave up?

        Go ahead, dazzle me, but this time try some facts.

      2. I didn’t see the “team give up”. I did see them give up at least three when TR threw the INT in the end zone, and the D give up seven when they didn’t cover and advance Pitt’s fumble, and TJ giving up another seven when he was stripped of the ball inside the five, and then seven when TR’s 2nd INT gave them the ball at our five, and a missed tackle that led to a 60 plus yard score against us.

        Do the math; that’s five plays in which the offense left at least 10 points on the field, gave up seven with TR’s 2nd INT, and a missed tackle and missed fumble recovery opportunity = 14 points. Five plays that led to 31 point turnaround.

        Game, set, match.

        Beyond three TOs, 4 key mental mistakes and a huge missed tackle.

        Now, if ND doesn’t show insane effort and superior execution against BYU, then, C-Dog, your point about them “giving up” carries more water.

      3. Hey Duranko, you might want to avoid the cocktail induced rants and flames of you customers. Otherwise give up being affiliated with the group that controls this site.
        So I suppose you don’t remember the flap in 2011 when Kelly called out his team after the USC game? Go sober up dude.
        As for Saturday’s game. I saw more than one guy ease up as the Pitt receiver was heading down the sideline. If you disagree that’s fine. But your achoholic induced rages and flames poorly represent this site.
        Frankie v of course is more professional. Not sure what connects you to ND but hopefully it is more than tailgaters and a case of PBR.

      4. good grief Cdog you are
        soo easy to bait.

        You got played, because I intentionally laid off your most absurd falsehood, the criticism about pass protection.

        You’re too predictable really. Each time you are revealed to be a liar and a manufacturer of facts, you resort to a spittle-spraying blend of accusations of alcohol and emotion and non-sequiturs.

        You emote. You neither observe nor think. You elevate your emotional reactions to a place higher than facts or reason.

        Sound familiar?

      5. duranko,
        Sounds like you are talking about yourself. Tell me what facts I’ve manufactured and tell me what lies I have created. To lie is to intentionally deceive. I have neither lied nor manufactured anything. I have made observations and expressed my opinion based on those observations.

        You have made observations and have expressed opinions.

        You remind me of someone I worked with about ten years ago. The guy would go off and insult people just like you do. Turns out he was snorting coke. Do you do drugs Duranko? It really seems like some kind of chemical guides your actions.

        You really suck compared to Frankie V.

  7. Bottom line: People can say what they want about every phase of ND’s game. When you have a QB like Rees, who might be the slowest/least mobile QB in all of college football, ND is not going to make a BCS bid. Because he is so un-athletic, decent defenses were and are able to scheme accordingly. Watch the film and watch what happens when defenses do not have to ever worry about a QB run. IT CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!!! Notre Dame can hope in future championships. QB is by far the most important position!!! ND does not have one. I laugh at fans who say Rees is effective. Future: Kelly has recruited very well at QB. The future looks very bright. In fact, Golston, under Whitfield’s expertise, is going to be incredible next year. Unathletic slow QB’s are obsolete. Notre Dame is bringing in the opposite for the future!

  8. They looked like a team uninterested in doing what needed to be done to beat Pitt. Rees was a disaster. The depleted defense was unable to stop an average offense. Throw in fumbles and the like and there you have it…
    a loss to Pitt! I honestly have to blame the coaching staff especially the fact that last weeks running sensation TF didn’t get the ball nearly enough times. How does a back run for 147 yards the week before and gets only about 6 carries the following week. Piss poor game plan, that’s how. Not that we are not aware of this but Rees is no more big time than Faust was when he was here coaching. Really tell me what good team he’s beaten this season. None that I can recall. It will be a breathe of fresh air next season when Golson or Zaire get behind center. I know the record is still ok, 7-3, but ok is not good enough at ND! I hope Forsten and Bryant get the chance to show their worth. Now that could be a dynamic duo for the Irish. Go Irish!

  9. Shaz,

    “You know…the ones we Cherish, Honor, and Revere.”

    Amazing! Blathering on and on about TR’s great stats, then advocating the notion Rees will compare someday to the likes of our Championship QB’s? Please, stop dishonoring our Championship QB’s with this obvious, intentional and exclusive-delusional-logic of yours. Rees without question is a great back-up QB, however, it is a brazen falsehood to frame Rees anything but a great-back-up QB! Rees will never be a Championship QB at Notre Dame….ever! To glorify Rees’ stats as equal to Championship QB status is obvious puerile non-sense. Show me Rees’ rushing stats equal to Tony Rice. Stats don’t win Champsionships…Champions win Championships, period! Rees will never belong to the Notre Dame Championship QB club, end of story!

    1. All I ask is you just take a minute and compare TR QB numbers to those of other ND QB’s.

      He ranks right up there.

      And yes his rushing stats come no where near that of Tony Rice, but then Rice’s passing number do compare with that of tommy rees.

      Never said he was a champion.
      I said he was a reserve QB that got trust into the starting job.

      Just said that his numbers are worthy of some level of respect.

      Is that really so hard for everyone?

      1. Shaz,
        I know what you are trying to point out. the Rees situation is not black or white. Which is what both you and I are saying.

        One thing that is of greater concern is why the QB situation is such a mess. Golson cannot have been the only decent QB for Kelly to develop. Kelly has not created satisfactory stability. The “Next Guy In” is not being executed to expectations. Too many injuries at too many positions, or otherwise too many issues to create a true next guy in scenario at ND as of today. He needs reality to match his sales pitch.

      2. C-Dog,

        Your opinion is one I put the most value on around here.

        That’s because you have actually “lived” ND.

        You were on that campus, walked those grounds, and was able to look into your fellow student athletes eyes on a Monday morning following a tough game or loss.
        You could see first hand the long hours of hard work, the dedication, the pain, the team work, and the sacrifice that theses players willfully accept.
        While winning, excellence, and ND go hand in hand, there is also the humand side.
        You have seen it, I try to acknowledge it, and wish more fans took time to consider it.

        I believe that’s why you always say that you don’t blame the players.
        A level of accoutability, ok. All the blame, no way.

        You understand the side that most fans never see.

        Tommy Rees…. He’s just a College kid doing what his coaches and team are asking him to do in a tough situation, and trying to do it the best he can.

        I for one can’t fault him for that.

        He was never recruited to be the next great QB or savior of the ND football program.
        We should all know this.

        And don’t doubt for a minute that we as fans, cheered and were happy for most every one of his touchdown passes.
        Or that he found a way, immobile, and weak armed as he is, to pass for over 6,000 yards, or that he somehow, with all his faults, got the ball to his main recievers like TJ Jones, and Davaris Daniels,(who most likely will play at the next level) or to the big heavies like Niklas and Koyack, and found a way to understand and incorporate the long term importance of participation by the younger players like Chris Brown, Will Fuller, Kory Robinson, and CJ Prosise.
        He helped provide those guys with their first catches or first ND touchdowns and we cheered for all that as well.

        TR started as a freshmen… at QB… at ND.
        We should all think about that one for just a minute.

        He has always been a team player. Whether starting, coming off the bench, or in support of his team mates.
        Those are the type of players every team needs.

        And while he might not be pretty, he is tough, he is a fighter, and a battler, and Notre Dame through and Through.

        Come Nov. 23rd. When Tommy Rees stands at his stall in the locker room and puts on his ND uniform, and tightens his chin stap for the very last time at Notre Dame Stadium, walks down that narrow corridor, touches the sign at the landing that is every ND player’s creed, then runs out of that tunnel for the final time, I say he has earned our appreciation, support, and respect.

      3. Man, I do hope he comes with his second best game. I think he can. And then I hope the best game is out in Palo Alto. Despite everything that has happened this year, It would be wonderful to see this team pick itself up and just play like there’s not tomorrow.

  10. A great coach builds a program. We will be 7-5 like most all of Kellys
    years except one great one.That is not building a program. His play
    calling is horrible, his use of running backs are horrible, the defense
    has gone to hell

  11. Hmm interesting using the Toyota Production System in your post. Well, OK if you hope for credibility. Having used it at work, and also seen how one company basically uses it to keep a small group of people employed to do nothing, I have mixed opinions of TPS. But OK.

    As for the rest of the post. It seems like apologetics, justifying what went wrong as aberrations. When did a successful coach establish a consistently excellent program that was subject to so many “aberrations”.

    I don’t think the players are to blame. You’d see one bad apple quickly, or a cancer spread that would be more obvious.

    Other than my wondering why Rees throws so many picks, versus just not completing passes, he seems like a nice kid. He doesn’t seem like a bookie’s friend. But those picks and fumbles all seem to come at the worst times and right when ND is about to score.

    My concern is that all those aberrations are actually endemic to the environment created by the Kelly staff and leadership. And while I don’t think the administration should do anything, I do wonder these “aberrations” are going to plague the program for the foreseeable future. Just comparing to how other programs have trended, I see nothing that tells me to expect anything spectacular.

    Love the school, even with all it’s flaws and craziness. Love watching the teams that over achieve. Love especially because the University isn’t yet tapping my veins to pay for those tix. But for all the fuss, and expense, the football team is not the inspiring team of old. They are just better than average.

    It is fitting that you pay tribute to the seniors, although you do overstate things a bit. It comes off a bit like demagoguery but I’ve seen that kind before. It’s the my country right or wrong attitude that causes very bad acts. But st least in this case it’s just football. By the way, the class of 2014 was not recruited by a losing team 7-6 and 6-6 are not losing records. But if that get’s you up in the morning, no worries. These kids have done some good things. Last year had us believing again and will line the pockets of the school with overpriced tix, parking and concessions for years to come. Plus a few massive donations.

    We’ll see what happens against BYU. Win or lose, I don’t expect to see a team transformed from Saturday’s team. Nor do I expect to see an upset of Stanford. The players, I think, want to overachieve. I just think this coaching staff is a bit egocentric and pig headed to change. And I think the administration and athletic department are still milking ancient history.

    If you want to see a truly great Irish program again, stop demanding the blood loyalty of the fans. Stop paying top dollar to attend the Downtown Disney Notre Dame nostalgia show. Let the team, coaches, and administration prove that an Irish program of the 21st century can get back to the greatness of 1993 and prior.

    1. C-Dog,

      I think you answered you own question… it “seems” like Tommy Rees throws a lot of interceptions because of when and where they happen, and the end results.

      Plus, I think the mistakes he made as a freshment, thrown into the starting job, has continued to dog him throughout his career.

      In 900 career pass attempts TR has thrown 32 INT’s.
      Do the math.

      Other noteable TR passing stats:
      551 completions
      6,600 passing yards
      56 touchdowns
      61% completion percentage

      Love him or hate him, make no mistake, there are plenty of DIV-I college football programs out there that would love to have TR as their starting QB.

      1. And there are plenty of DIV-I college football QBs who would have completed the pass on the 4th down to Daniels because they have DIV-I armstrength…

      2. With all due respect sir I think you are out of your freakin mind! Do you have two eyes?? Rees sucks. Period! With that logic he should have no problem landing somewhere on an NFL team. That’s a joke!

      3. I never said the guy was a Heisman canidate.

        FACT: Tommy Rees currently ranks 19th amoung passing yard leaders in college football.

        That’s top 20 sir.

        Yes, he has fine recievers and outstanding pass protection, but top 20 is top 20 whether you like it or not.

        Any pinhead can make unsubstaniated off the cuff remarks with little fact in which to back it up.

        Those are the things I find funny!

        Perhaps you should re-examine your own logic.

      4. Once again, you can have all the “facts” you want. Top 20 whatever. Statistics aside do you really believe Rees is in the top 20 of all college qb’s? You sir are a pin head and blind as a bat. Any moron who watches this kid play knows he sucks so you can take your “logic” and stuff it.

        You also might want to re examine your off the cuff BS!

      5. Ron,

        How about a do over?

        What I said was:

        Tommy Rees is in the top 20 in

        “Yardage Passing Leaders”

        in DIV-I college football.
        (per ESPN)

        “NOT” a top 20 QB in overall QB ratings.

        Top 20 in Passing Yardage
        means that currently, there are only 18 other college QB’s that have Thrown for more passing yadage than Tommy Rees, and a whole lot more, who have thrown for a whole lot less.

        Now, if you prefer to judge TR by your own personal eye test alone, that’s fine.

        Just don’t exspect me to agree with it or your eye test criticism.

        I believe that 19th in total passing yardage grades Tommy Rees a bit higher than “Sucks”… Ok?

      6. @ Shaz . . .

        Gotta disagree with you, although I seldom do. Included in TR’s stats are great receivers who have snatched up-for-grabs passes away from less proficient DBs (see: Michael Floyd, Rudolph, Tyler Eifert, TJ Jones). Today’s game calls for more mobile QBs who can throw on the run, run on occasion, and avoid a blocking breakdown. Few top teams would settle on a QB with the limited skill set of TR. Having said that, I think Tommy has maximized his potential, albeit his potential is extremely limited when compared with the top programs QBs.

      7. Archangel,

        I agree with everything you said, especially the “Maximizing his potential”
        Something a lot of QB can’t or won’t do.(see Dayne Crist)

        TR was never intended to be “THEE” guy at QB at ND.
        He was only intended to be a fill-in, a back up. A team and roll player.

        People, in their desire to rip the gut, easily forget that.

        But that’s the cards that fate has dealt ND and Tommy Rees.

        And in that context, I say he hardly sucks.

        At some point history will compare him, his wins, his stats, to other Notre Dame QB’s throughout history.

        You know… the ones we Cherish, Honor, and Revere.

      8. The only reason Rees is so high in passing yards is because we throw the ball ALL THE TIME. That stat does not impress me.

      9. Shaz,
        My comments are not meant to disrespect Tommy Rees, specifically. But I reaistically would not characterize him among ND’s most renown QBs. I think Duranko and a few others demand unquestione loyalty to the ND program as if we were part of some nazi regime.
        I say, Tommy Rees’s propensity to turn over the ball at just the most critical time is in question here.

        His numbers are great. In fact I see some greatness in his play. Joe Montana himself almost didn’t take the field for ND and so I throw little credence to what the guy was supposed to be when recruited I look at what shows up on the field. And Rees shows more than just flashes of brilliance. I think other than arm strength, he has a big part of the IT factor.

        That’s what confounds me about those strangely untimely turn overs. Doe Tommy need a sports psychologist? A kick in the butt? A girlfriend, ( fake or real )? Or does someone need to bail him out of some gambling debts? Why does a QB who in college shows a fair amount of greatness, fall victim to such devastating turn overs.

        Is there a stat on QBs who turn the ball over in the red zone as a percentage of their total turnovers? Or turnovers when the team is within 7 points of the opponenet?

        It’s not Tommy’s numbers or his overall play, but just that tendency to turn the ball over at the worst time. End of long drives while in the red zone.

        It’s not an easy question.

      10. In regards to the fair hair wonder boy, excuse me, Tom Rees, I guess what bothers me is decision making. For as much experience he has achieved, he still making mistakes I would expect from a frosh or soph, not a guy who is a senior and NOT NEW to the offense. He is a coach’s son so he has been around this little game for while. Forget about his limitations, stats, record, it’s between the ears that concerns me with decision making. I understand he somewhat inherited his position he has been in, but as a senior a more improved TR especially about decision making, especially reducing T/Os would have been nicre

  12. Why we lost to Pitt:

    1) Did not establish the running game, never got into any rhythm, Rees should never be left out of the packet

    2) Did not utilize Folston at all, when he was used they ran him east/west not north/south

    3) Did not play defense in the second half, gave up too much yardage inside the 20

    4) Did not use the blitz to put pressure on the QB, front four were not getting to the QB

    5) Did not recover the fumble when the QB was stripped of the ball, they quit on the play

    6) Pass defenders still can not play the pass nor the receiver – giving too much yardage to the receiver, not able to tackle in the open field

    7) Coaching leave a lot to be desired – from Kelly down, play calling is again atrocious

    8) Has to be one of the worst officiated games I’ve seen in a long time, if this is the ACC brand of officiating we should have joined the Big Ten their officials are the worst

      1. My solution is for all college football and basketball officials to be truly independent (trained and run by the NCAA)- That is no afilliations with any conference period.

    1. Many good points and yeah, where oh where is our running game ? I’m constantly reading about our great talent on the offensive line, but we don’t open any holes when we play the decent teams. I really don’t think our o-line is great at all. And speaking of running-backs— anyone can tell that Folsten (sp.) is a real running-back. Give that man the ball !! And mix in a screen-pass oe two.

  13. RUNNING THE BALL?????????
    RUNNING THE BALL?????????

    you mean like on 3 and 1???
    You mean like when we are near the red zone and could eat up clock and at least get 3 points 2 or 3 times or more.
    Or run to the open side and SCORE with running???
    You mean THAT running game?????
    Yeah, THAT running game!

    Thanks ejs ( not sarcastic to you bud, just shaking my head which is still numb from the Heinz field debacle. Thanks Zebras–we had to play Pitt and the black and white. Wow–running game??? Let me know when you see one.)


    ( It’s not the loss- it is HOW we beat ourselves—
    I’m investing in Southern Comfort for Nov. 30th.)

  14. How come Folston only got 4 carries? since Tommy Rees obviously doesn’t have enough athletic ability to carry the offense, why won’t Coach Kelly make a serious and persistent effort to run the ball? Rees should be a game manager, not a game changer. Too often he changes the game against Notre Dame.

  15. Good article. I tend to agree with most of the points. It seems some fans want to bail on Kelly. I think he has some work to do. But ND does play one of the toughest schedules in the country, the team is banged up, and you have a QB that I agree is doing the best of his ability, but just doesn’t fit well into a spread offense that BK coaches.

    The schedule is a biggie, though. I like that ND consistently plays a tough schedule cross country. But it does have consequences. And the defense has to prepare to play vastly different offenses week to week. I find it laughable when SEC fans complain about ND playing the service academies, when there teams out of conference schedules frequently include as many as 3 FCS school (see Alabama’s schedule). Even Air Force could probably beat many of the FCS schools other big schools play.

    This was a bad loss. It would have been easier to swallow had it been Arizona State or even Michigan State. Pitt is not a good team. But they took advantage of the mistakes ND made.

    Kelly does have some work to do, no doubt. Beating BYU and Stanford could go a long way. But the pressure will increase next year. If EG comes back next year, with the players ND has on offense and defense, I would expect their to be improvement next year.

  16. There is a lot of comparing us to Stanford going around. I think it is fair but needs some balancing out. Stanford is in year 7 of their rebuild. We are in year 4.

    Through year 4 at Stanford they were 29-21, had 1 bowl win (albeit the Orange Bowl) and one top 5 finish. Keep in mind they had the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft (and who some say is the best prospect since John Elway) playing QB.

    We have 35 wins through year 4 with opportunities for more. The bowl win isn’t as impressive, but we did play for all the marbles. BK has had Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees for most of this. The one season he had “his” guy they went undefeated.

    Stanford is a good model, but they ain’t winning the title this year either. Utah was a bad loss. I’m not overly optimistic we can beat them and quite frankly they may grind us into dust, but by year 7 we may look much better than they do now.

    Just some perspective.

    1. Burgundy, all them numbers are great but I’m with Steelfan, we look like garbage. A high school team. Un-inspired, un-disciplined not motivated and basically a piece of crap. This has been going on for 20 years. When are we going to play games when we actually take teams to the woodshed??

      We are not fundamentally sound and that bothers me most of all. We are all aware of the qb situation but there are 4 and 5 star players everywhere on this team and we are embarrasing to put it politely.

      BK needs to seriously look at his assistant coaches and make changes because this crap of a team falls entirely with him not the qb.

      1. If there isn’t improvement, you probably will see some changes in the assistants. I would certainly look at special teams. Defensively, I’m not ready to throw Diaco under the bus. I think he just needs to get back to what worked on defense last year. And they need to get more consistent. But they had a great defense last year from numerous players, not just Teo. There have been signs of greatness this year too. But not consistently. I also think Tony Alford is a keeper. He is a great recruiter and coach. But some changes may be in order in some of the other coaches. Maybe this year, but certainly next year if things don’t improve.

      2. I would also keep the tight ends coach (I can’t remember his name for the life of me) for obvious reasons.

      3. RON–

        fundamentals indeed–
        missed tackles,
        false starts,
        the weird non whistle blown play which would have been easy 7 for ND —

        Love ND more than any University and team and program.
        I’m tired of this —
        Just to be CONSISTENTLY competitive and NOT “TENTATIVE” would be great.
        BCS Wins-
        NC contenders once every graduating class and maybe even winning it–
        and doing what we once USED to do —
        RUN the ball, Win–
        not flash–

        I know it is years now
        but with Lou I feel we could have won most any game and found a way out of a whole.
        This game is really not rocket science. It is being overthought and overhyped.
        FUNDAMENTALS work.
        Running game, protect your QB, erase soft corners on defense and for the love of Heaven, can we have a kick off return team???

    2. @ Ron Burgundy,
      Your stats on Stanford mislead. Sure they were 29-21 in the first four years of rebuilding, but let’s look at the years before. Stanford was gutted by Willingham, just like he gutted Washington. Willingham’s successors at Stanford was 16-40 in the 5 years before Harbaugh. He improved them every year. Year 3, 8-5, year four 12-1. And Shaw ( coaching change ), hasn’t lost more than 2 games in a season. So by year 3 progress was shown, and from year 4 onward, Stanford has consistently shown excellence and has not turned back. Stanford has done that with recruiting classes that do not compare to Notre Dames in terms of ranking.

      Andrew Luck, well he was a good find, or perhaps developed properly. One thing that you don’t notice is a whole season with a suspect QB. The year Luck was recruited, Stanford ranked 43. Hmmm.

      Consider that Weis went 7-6 and 6-6 the two years before Kelly and also maintained top recruiting classes. Meanwhile Harbaugh and Stanford were building a powerhouse with recruiting classes in the 20’s 30’s and 40’s in terms of ranking. So Kelly starting at 8-5 is different than Harbaugh bringing a program without a history near as prolific as ND from the doormat to the pinnacle.

      Finally, the book is out about Stanford not playing for the title. If Stanford wins out, and Alabama and FSU or Ohio St. lose, then they could very well play for the title.

      Your analysis is flawed. Stanford is the model of consistency. Stanford’s model apparently works for a school with high academic standards. And moreover, Stanford is doing it with recruits rated significantly below the top tier.

      You simply cannot fault the Stanford model as we know it today. ND wishes it was in that spot.

      1. C-DOG —
        WELL STATED–

        Academics, building, CONSISTENT–
        forward this to the AD, the Presidents, The Board of Regents, and EVERY Alumni Association you know of!
        C-DOG I’m NOT kidding–

        amazing stats, knowledge and data–
        and it does not lie
        ( I have no love for Stanford as I find them disrespectful towards most while they claim to be “culturally sensitive” they are far left elite types–on the whole–and a snobbery and arrogance which attempts to mock tradition of some schools and the ethics of Faith. They still have excellent academics–but what will it gain the University as an entity if they mock those who seek meaning of the Human Soul and its relationship to Deity? Humanism is king at Stanford and their band is just ONE exmaple of jeering as they mock Oregon and the loggers, the Irish Potato famine, the Catholic Faith and Christianity in General–and they believe they are too good for an apology. Shame is and will be theirs.)
        However, for football–they have it together and are building with high expectations in both the academic and athletic realm.
        As far as the building up of the left coast of the Tree, we can’t fault Stanford for their model. We indeed could do that at ND.
        We certainly could —and even more so.

        C-Dog –you are right.

        Go Irish –beat Cougars
        ( and pray we don’t lost to Stanford by a 57-7 score)

        I DO hope 2014 looks bright!

      2. @Irisheye,
        I am flattered, but I wonder if it would do any good. I also agree that while in some ways, I respect Stanford’s model and even the university’s academics, I totally agree about the rest. Their brand of liberalism disgusts me.

      3. Consider one other tidbit about the Stanford program. I had a friend who visited Stanford in Harbaugh’s first good year and again in the 12-1 year. Tickets could be gotten to the game he attended for $11.00 and parking was free. I am certain that they have raised prices. But a comparable Notre Dame team in the last 20 years offers tickets with a seat fee for a total cost of around $270 per ticket, plus $30 parking unless you know where to go.

      4. I think as 2 schools with similar academic qualifications, looking at what Stanford does for their football program should be something to consider as it pertains to us. I wouldn’t suggest to completely copy Stanford, but they certainly are doing somethings right. Tell you what, if ND had achieved similar results the last 4 years as Stanford has, I wouldn’t be griping. To suggest because they haven’t played for a NC somehow lessens their achievements is ridiculous. Even in Ara, Dan or Lou didn’t play for NC every year but maintained high level of competitiveness which is what Stanford has been doing. I am not a Stanford lover but I can objectively state they are achieving some good results.

  17. Michael, what is frustrating is that we have talent at safety. Hardy’s
    play on Navy’s last rush of the game may have been the defensive play of the year, even though he didn’t make the tackle. Coaches can’t “grab-bag” but you must adjust your scheme to take advantage of the talent. Farley’s problems against Gallon and Shepard
    were not tackling technique. He took a bad angle and overran Gallon (in fairness, other players were complicit, as the Irish dogpiled while Gallon ran by them.) Against Shepard, he lost lane discipline.

    On the blitzes, we were doing it early, but got away from it. And it’s time to start weaponizing Jaylon Smith. Smith’s interception against SC was the greatest defensive play I’ve seen in Notre Dame stadium since Ross Browner ran down Tony Dorsett in the ’76 opener. He has the ability to show blitz, or start to blitz and move back to position, unlike any player we’ve seen in these parts.

    Hill is young, and doesn’t have Savage’s experience. Running a blitz in the first quarter a few times will get in his head, and he doesn’t have the receivers or the gun to make us pay for it.

    Oh well, Excelsior!

    1. Farley’s angle on the PI call was horrible. It should have been an interception, a clear deflection or a complete murder of the receiver. Coaching ball skills is tough, though. That just comes from being around the game.

      1. I agree with you west coast. So, much of it comes down to players making plays. I have watched Alabama a number of times since our loss to them. They make mistakes as well,but are so athletically gifted they can compensate. Eventually, they make a big play. We don’t have the number of playmakers some of the better teams do on defense and if we do have playmakers they are not in key positions.

        I think Jaylon is a playmaker, and Shembo but Shembo is not consistent.

      2. Jaylon is gifted. He has size and speed, but they are not his greatest assets.

        He sees and feels the game in a way that few can. He is a hard worker, in and out of Burger King. But the game comes very easy to him.

        Players with great athleticism can compensate for their mistakes. But Jaylon is on the cusp of making very few mistakes.

        Not to diminish his effort and commitment, but he was
        “born to play football.”

  18. Talent levels not even close to being equal. ND can’t lose to a Pitt team with savage at QB. Run the ball Kelly!

  19. Great post, duranko. This senior class deserves kudos for their guts and effort
    to improve a program in ashes when they arrived. And it’s obvious progress has been made,
    even with a back-up QB as your starter and an inordinate amount of injuries, especially to our D.

    AND . . .

    re: use of safeties. Fitting the talent to the scheme is what separates good coaches from pedestrian coaches.
    Maximize the talent present, and there’s plenty of talent back there, rather than settle for less
    because who you use is better for the scheme you run.

    @ RB- re: Farley. If I’m not mistaken, most of what Farley has learned about tackling has been learned
    at ND, as he played little in high school, and as a WR when he did.
    The talent of Hardy and Shumate, and potentially, Redfield needs to be incorporated, even if that involves a scheme change. Excuse the repetition, but different variations in predictable scenarios is what ND needs on offense and defense. The pistol on third and short without the QB as a threat to run? I don’t get it other than the “We are who we are” mantra of BK. Out-execute works well against teams with much less talent, but not so-well with competitive teams. We have great receivers, but a pass to the RB every once in a while might keep them guessing.

    re: ” What will we see from BYU?”

    ” (2) Tayson Hill has improved, but he is no Johnny Manziel. More big than quick, more fast than slippery, he has not seen anything like what our defense will bring.”
    Hill doesn’t need to be Manziel; our passive D and predictability has made QBs all year
    look Manziel-like. Remember Temple, Purdue, Michigan, even the over-rated Bell-Dozer ?
    Predictability in scheme and an inability to find ways to pressure their QBs might have been as critical to our deficiencies as our players. Hill will have seen what ND’s ‘D’ predictably does – and I fear, what they will do again, despite extra prep time:
    a) keep slower MLBs in game on passing situations; how many third down passes this season have been completed against whomever our MLBs are covering? Te’o is gone. Adjust!
    b) seldom blitz, with their “keep it all in front of us” one trick pony D’,
    which will result in short effective passes to whomever the MLBs are covering on passing situations.

    Here’s hoping the coaches coach-up and bring something to the field we haven’t seen all year.

    The seniors on senior day deserve that much from them.

  20. West Coast – ok fine call the penalty on Tuitt and eject him, but then you have the call the same helmut to helmut hits on other runners throughout the game. There were at 4 other helmut to helmut hits where a Pitt safety or LB came up and hit one of our guys running the ball. The difference? The runne was not the qb in space. And that is the crime of this call. When the qb runs and does not slide he is just like every other runner…except to this crew of biased refs.

  21. As I see it, Te’o deserved fully half of Kely’s paycheque last year, and Golson, had he performed as capably as everyone thinks, would have deserved half of it this year. As it is, Kelly’s paycheque this year should have gone uncashed at all.

  22. “fix the PROBLEM, not the BLAME.” It sounds like your confidence in the coaching staff is starting to wane, because it certainly seems like Kelly & Co. are proving the definition of insanity more often than not.

    No doubt contrarian to everyone else, I can’t really disagree with the call on Tuitt. The slow motion replay made it look worse than it was, but reducing helmet-to-helmet contact is a referee priority right now. To this point; however,offensive players should face the same scrutiny when lowering their lids.

    The only reason I even bring up this point is because it calls attention to what crappy tackling technique is being coached. It’s no suprise Farley whiffs more than Dave Kingman; his head is down and he tries to hit everyone with his shoulder. No one is ever taught to tackle like this, yet it’s reached epidemic portions at ND.

    If Tuitt leads with his chest and throws his arms like he was taught, the refs don’t even throw the flag. One only can wonder what Alan page would have done to that QB. He would have bear-hugged him and thrown him to the turf or driven him into the ground. He certainly wouldn’t have led with his shoulder hoping to knock him off his feet.

    1. I tend to agree with you on the Tuitt call. At first I thought it was BS, and was really upset. However, as they continued to show replays he did lower his head.

      Bad tackling is an epidemic all over football. Just watch the nfl, guys all lead with their shoulders now, rarely do you see a good form tackle. Farley has become a liability back there but I don’t know if our tackling is any worse than anybody else’s.

      1. I also agree that Tuitt led with his head but the punishment doesnt fit the crime. Ive seen more flagrant hits than that where the call was reversed and the player got to stay in the game. Ejecting a player for the remainder of the game on a play like that is to harsh IMO.

    2. I disagree with you on the call. He didn’t lead with his head he led with his shoulder. He did two things wrong which led to the call:

      1. His head was not up when he went in for the tackle

      2. He didn’t wrap his arms around the QB.

      The target rule in college is as follows:

      • No player shall target and initiate contact vs. opponent with the crown of his helmet.

      He initiated with his shoulder.

      • No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent.

      The automatic ejection is the new part. A 15-yard penalty is one thing, an ejection is huge, especially if it happens in the second half of a game — because it carries over to the first half of the next game.

      First he didn’t lead with the crown of his helmet he lead with his shoulder. Second the QB was not defensless and was lowering his shoulder to initiate contact and get a first down. It was a poor call and the reason why everyone on this board thinks it was a garbage call.

      1. Jack I agree with you. It simply was a terrible call. It didn’t meet the criteria in my opinion. However, I do shake my head and I wonder why Tuitt didn’t have his head up and arms wrapped around the quarterback.

    3. The stupidest rule ever created in football…

      1. Running backs get blasted in the head with defender’s helmets on every play, yet no flags for that. The PITT QB was a RB when he tucked the ball and was running for a first down. If that was a RB, they don’t throw a flag. QBs are treated like their precious little babies.

      2. When the flag is thrown for this stupid penalty, they review the call to see if a player is thrown out of the game. Even if there is no helmet to helmet contact and the player isn’t ejected, the penalty still stands, which is a HUGE 15 yard penalty.

      I understand protecting a defenseless receiver or a QB throwing the ball because defenders do head hunt and you don’t want to see that. But these two things mentioned above really need to be looked into as a change. Absolutely ridiculous!!!

      1. ChrisJ….absolutely correct!! The call is complete bullshit. Did anyone see the DB from Baylor almost kill the the kid from Oklahoma on Thursday. Kid lays on the field motionless with multiple trainers around him. Booth reviews the hit, which was targeting, and reverses the ejection. Tuitt needed to do what he did to stop the runner from getting to the first down. That type of hit happens multiple times a game.

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