The Irish Blogger Gathering returns again this week as we all try to manufacture some excitement for Purdue following last week’s emotionally draining game against Michigan. Amazingly, all of the IBG bloggers remained focused on Purdue with the questions this week. If our boys do the same on Saturday when they invade Lucas Oil Stadium, we should all be in good moods again this weekend.
With that said, let’s get into it.
For starters, here was my questions this week: Notre Dame has struggled against Purdue the last two years even though the Boilers have had back to back down years. 1) Why has Purdue given Notre Dame such problems the last two seasons 2) what does Notre Dame have to do avoid a similar fate this weekend and 3) will Notre Dame be able to keep this game from being too close for comfort this year?
You can read my fellow IBG blogger responses with each link below:
Her Loyal Sons: Since Michigan still hasn’t scored, let’s talk about the defense: who stood out for you against Michigan?
I really liked what I saw from freshman Kolin Hill. He got at the quarterback really well for a true freshman and in some ways reminded me of Prince Shembo vs. Utah as a freshman in 2010. There was Jaylon Smith being his normal awesome self. Then there was the defensive line getting a strong push all game long. They all stood out. The play of the safeties jumped out the most though.
Against Rice the safeties looked rough but against Michigan they were lights out. Max Redfield and Elijah Shumate both had interceptions and the communication breakdowns against Rice didn’t happen. It actually reminded me a little bit of 2012 when the young secondary got beat a couple of times against Navy and then tightened up the rest of the season.
ND Nation: While it will be difficult to make many definitive statements about the team this week due to the poor quality if opponent, what is one thing you really want to see them do against Purdue?
I want to see Notre Dame come out and dominate from start to finish. I don’t want to see a slow start with a close game at half time that Notre Dame ends up pulling away or squeaking out a win. I want a start to finish performance from Notre Dame that allows for the backups to see some playing time. This Purdue team is not very good and and on paper, this game should be over sooner than the Rice game was. The last two games against Purdue have been far, far too close for comfort. I want to see the Irish line up and beat up on an inferior opponent.
ND Blog: It seems as there is always talk about how the current head coach at Notre Dame is not the right man for the job, however in the past five years Brian Kelly has created a system of consistency and led the Irish in the BCS Championship Game. What do you say to the people out there who still think Coach Kelly is not the man for the job?
I would ask them what else Kelly has to do to prove to them he is the man for the job. He’s won more consistently than the last three Notre Dame coaches and he’s done so without really having a stable quarterback situation throughout that time. He’s systematically improved the entire program from the way they train to the way they practice to the way they play on Saturdays. He hasn’t just focused on X’s and O’s and schematic advantages – he’s focused on changing the culture at Notre Dame and has created a winning culture at Notre Dame again similar to what Lou Holtz did – it’s just taken Kelly a bit longer because the abyss of a program that Davie, Willingham, and Weis created.
I am particularly a fan of what Brian Kelly has done to improve the gameday atmosphere at Notre Dame. Kelly has started to make Notre Dame Stadium an intimidating place to play again – it’s not quite there but it’s getting close. Instead of relying on people to motivate themselves to get loud, Notre Dame has been systematically introducing new gameday aspects each season since Kelly’s been at Notre Dame that have enhanced the atmosphere and all of the them where on shining display during Notre Dame’s rout of Michigan last weekend.
Subway Domer: With all of this recent talk of different series ending and scheduling issues, what are your opinions on scheduling Big 10 teams? How does Notre Dame keep a strong regional presence while continuing to live nationally?
When it comes to scheduling Big 10 teams, I am a bit torn. I like playing the Michigans and Michigan States a lot – I especially wish we were still playing Michigan State now that they are trending upwards since those games would be a heck of a lot of fun to watch, but at the same time I absolutely love what Notre Dame is doing with it’s schedule. Notre Dame is adding games with marquee opponents while adding a lot of games in areas of the country full of talent where they struggle to lure recruits like the Southeast.
At the same time, Notre Dame has kept some ties with Big 10 schools with Michigan State coming back again in the next few years, Purdue coming back in 2020, and the recently announced home and home with Ohio State in 2022 and 2023 so they will have games in the Midwest. Also, let’s not forget that Notre Dame has six games a year in the Midwest where it’s an easy drive for recruits from Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois to visit for.
Lastly, I think Notre Dame saw in the title game what happens when you rely on a Midwest focused schedule to get you to the title game – you aren’t prepared for the really elite programs in the country like Alabama.
Bonus: Rate the Subway Series uniforms:
1. 2013 – Last years unis were hands down the best. That helmet? Sick. I’ve thought about pulling the trigger on a replica many times but that price stag is steeeep.
2. 2014 – Love this year’s uni’s as well. The helmet isn’t quite as nice as last year’s, but the uniforms are simple yet different enough to get the players and recruits excited about them.
3. 2012 – These uniforms took a little while to grow on me, but I have warmed up to them. The helmet is still a bit questionable to me, but I liked the jersey and pants combination quite a bit.
4. 2011 – Again, that helmet was pretty cool – especially when you consider how it was made, but the uni’s themselves were lacking.