IBG: Chopping Down Trees Edition


As the saying goes, better late than never.  It’s been a bit of a hectic week so this week’s IBG is a bit late and a few columns unfortunately had to be sacrificed to the gods of real life coming in the way, but with the Irish set to take on Stanford in just a few hours, here is the weekly IBG.

First off, my question for the group was: After Torii Hunter’s debut and the the return this week of Amir Carlisle, how do you foresee the Notre Dame wide receiving rotation working out this weekend and beyond?

For everyone’s responses, click on the links below accompanying their questions.

Ryan Ritter, Her Loyal Sons: While Stanford’s rushing offense has been struggling this season (ranked 70th nationally), their defense certainly hasn’t (ranked 1st). How do you feel about the Golson-led offense against the Cardinal defensive unit?

I think there are going to be some ups and downs on offense given Stanford’s defensive strength.  I can see the offense having a hard time sustaining a lot of drives and needing to rely on the big chunk plays Brian Kelly talked about this week.  That said, I think Golson has the ability to make those big chunk plays based on everything he’s shown us so far this season.  I expect to see at least one big downfield throw to Will Fuller deliver at the very least a lot of yards, if not a touchdown as we’ve seen him do against both Rice and Syracuse.

In the 2012 matchup, Golson played surprisingly well for that point in his career against the Stanford defense other than those costly turnovers.  I think we’ll see some big plays on the ground from Golson as well today and if he cuts out the turnovers, the offense will have the Irish in a position to win the game.

Josh Vowles, Subway Domer: The national narrative hasn’t changed much. Notre Dame hasn’t played anyone with a pulse, and big bad Stanford is coming to town as the odds on favorite. The only thing that can change this perception is a win over the Cardinal- or would it? Would an Irish victory over Stanford in the eyes of pollsters and the CFB Playoff committee give more credence to the season thus far? Why does any of this even matter if it doesn’t really matter?

 First off, I agree to an extent with the national narrative.  Notre Dame’s opponent have done nothing really to impress so far this year so to this point we really don’t know what we have with our Irish.  Have they been taking care of business as a good team should or have they benefited from a weak early slate?  We’ll find out today. 

In 2012 Stanford came to town with exactly the same type of resume including a loss and that win in 2012 is when people started to put more stock into the Irish.  Following that game everyone’s attention immediately turned to Oklahoma just like attention would immediately turn to Florida State should the Irish pull out the victory today.

All that said, what Notre Dame does today in terms of impressing the committee doesn’t matter all that much because there are many more tests along the way for Notre Dame and Stanford could run the table potentially in the Pac 12 and make a potential Notre Dame victory look all that much stronger by the time the committee is really looking at things.

Aaron Horvath, ND Blog: What does it mean to you that Notre Dame was able to overcome 5 turnovers and still thoroughly and soundly defeat an ACC opponent? 

I think any time you can overcome 5 turnovers and still win by 16 points against any opponent it’s obviously a good thing.  We saw Notre Dame be unable to overcome turnovers against South Florida in 2011 at home and come up on the short end of the stick.  That said, it was alarming to see the Irish turn the ball over that much after being so careful with it through the first three games of the season.

Mike Coffey, ND Nation: There seems to be two schools of thought on David Shaw. The first believes he’s surviving on Jim Harbaugh’s leftovers and Stanford will soon revert to form once they’re gone. The second thinks he’s an apple sitting not far from the trunk of the tree and Stanford can continue their strong play under his tutelage. To which school do you belong, and why?

I think we are past the point of saying that Shaw is riding on Harbaugh’s leftovers. The man has gone 37-8 in 3+ years and has been to a BCS bowl game every season since taking over for Harbaugh.  Compare that to say when Larry Coker took over at Miami when Butch David gave him the keys to a Ferrari and Coker immediately crashed that thing into the guard rail.  Shaw has done so without having the luxury of an Andrew Luck for the last two seasons as well so it’s not as though Shaw has benefited from the amazing quarterback play he got in his rookie season.  The one area where I think Shaw hasn’t been able to fully sustain what Harbaugh built though is at the QB position since he hasn’t been able to find or develop a real heir apparent to Luck

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  1. See people who know about football, unlike duranko, know that a really good punter, coached by a good special teams coach, can execute a coffin corner punt or hang one up so only a fair catch is possible, without sacrificing precious yards, in a game like the one against Stanford, where field position always proves vital.

    But you’d have to actually know something about football and not just blog about it here in order to realize this.

    So sad duranko just likes to hear himself pontificate.

    When all else fails, call someone dumb. Just wait until someone else does that and he’ll get all self-righteous and say “how dare you do that on this, my site.”

    I recall I used the phrase with extreme prejudice one time and you would’ve thought I killed someone according to duranko.

    Lo and behold he just used it himself recently.

    I have to admire duranko for the consistency of his hypocrisy. Would’ve made the Pharisees proud!

    1. Now don’t get me started on the modern day “Pharisees” associated with ND football, SFR.
      As duranko characterized in an earlier post, ( I’m giving him credit where credit is due, an old Jewish tradition), the”turgid” (Thesaurus synonyms= presumptuous, pompous, ponderous) never-ending process involving the academic five is IMHO a much better use of the Pharisee descriptor, as the ‘decision-makers’ in this fiasco remain mired in judgment, self-importance, and retribution. Back in the day, that mentality earned Pharisees a seat with the Sanhedrin. But none of that would predominate at a Christian university which would be more consistent with the message of compassion and forgiveness, right? We’ll soon see.

      1. Compassion and forgiveness have nothing to do with the discussion. Nothing. Granted, the length of time the investigations/hearings have taken is absurd. But that’s good old academic bureaucracy for you. It doesn’t work out too well during football season.

        But this whole “We’re a Christian university and we should forgive and be compassionate” is a logical and theological fallacy. You’re confusing it with a lack of accountability. If any of the players truly broke rules, then set the punishment and move on. Then it is up to all/whomever involved to “forgive”.

        If there’s no wrong doing then there is nothing to forgive on one side. On the other (the players etc.) would I suppose need to forgive those involved with making them miss 1/2 the season or more.

        People too often think forgiveness = you don’t have to pay a price for breaking the rules.

        For the record, I think the mouth-breathing administration is a joke for how long this is taking.

      2. JDH

        My main objection has always been with this ponderous presumptuous process. By not deciding, nor even granting the academic five any hearings for over 30 days(and counting) since the investigation’s conclusion also reflects a lack of accountability on the administration’s part, and on that we apparently agree. The “price for breaking rules” always needs to include student accountability. But after discouraging others who also “sinned” about “Casting the first stone” and concluding that incident with “Go and sin no more”, that event indeed teaches a Christian message that doesn’t preclude consequences, but does encourage compassion and forgiveness. That is most definitely an accepted Christian tenet. Since we’ll never know the details or severity of the students’ alleged actions, we’ll never know the fairness of any additional penalty rendered, because five games suspended and counting is already a penalty rendered. After 35 years in education, I’ve seen both appropriate and inappropriate consequences for poor student judgment, and saw the effectiveness of immediate consequences once the facts have been learned.

      3. Very well said Michael. Now that you have expanded your thoughts, I agree with you. I wasn’t implying that consequences needed to preclude forgiveness. I misunderstood what you were originally trying to say. Indeed, forgiveness is a matter of the heart, has no timeline, and is separate from punishment.

  2. Have you ever heard of “coffin corner” or hang time as better alternatives to the touch back?

    You’re best argument is always resort to personal attack!

    BTW: We’ve had absolutely great special teams these last few years.

    Dumb fan=duranko.

    Two can play at your lame game!

  3. Keep the ball away from Ty Montgomery.

    Kicking the ball into the end zone on punts does that.

    Luckily, we have smart special team coordinators and dumb fans. Not vice versa.

  4. JDH,

    Even a 77% efficiency on FGs isn’t all that great. I agree that we shouldn’t hold the 2 misses against Stanford on Brindza. Plus that 45 yarder was a thing of beauty!

    However, against Stanford he at least boomed 2 punts into the EZ when we could have used shorter ones. His net punting yards are probably in the low 30s for Stanford and maybe his career given how many touchbacks I’ve noticed. But perhaps you can prove me wrong. It just seems that way.

    Go Irish!

  5. One other thing about Brindza. Ron Burgundy list his accomplishments,
    but Brindza’s all events prowess allowed them to redshirt Tyler Newsome, so next year he will still have four years to punt. That is not quantifiable, merely valuable.

  6. Why not throw in MSU into our schedule. Np problem. Don’t get too confident. This team has a long way to go and alot to work on.
    The Stanford game wouldn’t have been close in better weather. C’mon man. You are starting to sound like alot SEC fans I work with.
    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

    1. Why not MSU? Because we have 5 games to play in the ACC, and the teams we kept are traditional games, or send us to regions where we wish to get exposure with future recruits, and the teams we have replaced them with expands our recruiting base. We’re not dodging MSU. Not to quibble with you, ja4nd, but I’m not “too confident”. If I was that confident, I wouldn’t be concerned about NC, and I am, as I said. Every team, including Sparty, can improve. I didn’t say it wouldn’t be close- I said it wouldn’t be “as close”. I choose my words carefully when I post. Don’t create a straw dog and argue against what i didn’t even say.

      Let’s instead agree on supporting ND, as your screen name suggests you do.

    1. Why? If Nebraska can come back on Sparty the final minutes and nearly win, Just think what Golson could do to them! We’re better than Sparty, offensively and defensively. Before someone starts complaining about Golson- that last drive was Montana-esque – bring the team down the field against the #1 rated D,
      completing a 4th and 11 for the winning TD. If all three blitzers hadn’t missed Stanford QB
      before their 4th quarter TD, they’d never have gotten even 14.
      This ND D’ has heart, and a lot of skill.

      Keep sending them BVG . . . finally, a D-Co-Ordinator who maximizes the athletes ND has put so many hours on the road to recruit. So happy Shaw decided to blitz only once and drop into his “prevent your team from winning” D (that Lovey Smith authored for years as Bears coach)
      the entire last drive by Golson and company. Even happier how BVG blitzed as often as he did, forcing the last ten seconds off the clock to insure the W.
      The ND players outplayed Stanford and BVG outcoached them as well.

      ND is the better team- they deserved the win . . .in decent weather conditions, it wouldn’t have been this close, IMHO.
      More yards and more big plays . . .
      If Mayock has a dog, it ought to expect to be kicked tonight. The only time I heard him shut his not-so-subtle ND hatin’ mouth for a few seconds was immediately after the winning TD.
      But enough about that jealous BC alum who minimizes ND and Golson as often as he can.

      A victory for the ages- and the better team won! Now, somehow, ND must avoid the inevitable let-down vs. NC and Just win, Irish- which they seem very good at doing!

  7. A bit of disappointment the O is not playing better and did not score more than what they did. I know weather and quality of opponent had some contribution to that. They have to be more productive offensively in games like these, especially with FSU coming up. I see UNC got pummeled today and Northwestern beat the Badgers. Non-easy games are coming up. However, I would play for Brian V anyday and run off a freaking cliff if he directed me to do so, hahahaha. I LOVE his intensity and what he has brought to the D side. I am liking how this D is starting to play more and more each week.

    Go Irish

  8. I agree overlooking UNC a danger – after this win and FSU the week after easy to do. The D was better than good – with all the underclassmen playing the D should be one of the best over the next couple of years – fill a few holes and it will be tops. EG still needs to be consistent – I liked the attention to the ground game – not great but it was there against the #1 rated defense – FSU, USC and Arizona still the big threats

  9. Oregon, ‘Bama, A&M and Oklahoma all lose.

    i feel relieved more than anything.

    DO NOT overlook UNC in 1 week. i don’t care what their record or stats are. this has classic “let down game” written all over it. enjoy this W tonight, rest up, heel, and a have the best week of practice you’ve had all year.

    great win

    GO IRISH!!

  10. Our D is off the freakin charts. Held them to 200 yds total offense. They gave us a chance to win and Golson delivers. It wasnt pretty but its a win. Something alot of top 10 teams cannot say this week. We are top 5!! Yes men freakin WOW!!!

  11. This O will always struggle against anything that looks like a decent D. Put up 31 against whomever. It would be more impressive to do that against a good D.

  12. LUCKY to be tied after 2 quarters, honestly.

    i feel like this season the coaches have done an excellent job with making adjustments at the half.

    i have faith today will be no different

    GO IRISH!!

    1. Brindza is a maddening inconsisten kicker and even more irregular punter. When you need a boomer he squibs it. When you need a short one, he booms it!

      1. I know this was written during the frustration of the game, but were you too high? Brindza is a GREAT kicker and punter. He booms it through the back of the endzone consistently to force touchbacks. He only let Montgomerty get ONE runback the entire game, in horrible weather. Horrible snaps and holds on FGs are not his problem.

        We are very lucky to have a kicker that good.

      2. He’s all over the ND record book so he must be better than average. He is a very valuable player with all he does.

      3. 2013 Brindza Stats:
        Extra Points: 38 for 38 = 100%
        Field Goals: 20 for 26 = 77% (3 for 4 from 50 yards or longer)

        2014 Brindza Stats:
        Extra Points: 19 for 19 = 100%Field Goals: 8 for 12 = 67%
        *** 2 of the “misses” were in the Stanford game due to bad snaps and holds.

      4. What’s his average on intermediate FGs? Plus I was referring to his punting more than his kicking. When we need a punt inside the 10 it inevitably goes into the EZ for a touchback. When we need a boomer, just as often we get something under 40 yards. I’ve been watching these games just like the rest. And that’s what I’ve seen. If you want to disprove my eyeball test with stats feel free.

        I agree that his KOs are excellent, however. Eve then he has kicked more than a couple out of bounds.

  13. I don’t see ND winning this game with the weather and not bring able to run the football. Stanford 20 – ND 14.

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