Notre Dame v. USC ’14 – Shamrock Stickers

Greg Bryant - Notre Dame RB v. USC
Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Greg Bryant (1) carries the ball against the Southern California Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Notre Dame 49-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport

Notre Dame’s regular season came to a brutal end as they were flattened 49-14 by arch-rival USC.  The Irish were never in the game as the Trojans jumped out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and didn’t let their foot off the gas.  The Trojans were able to do whatever they wanted against the injury riddled Irish defense, throwing over the top of the defense with ease and running the ball with success.  Notre Dame’s offense continued its subpar play which led to Malik Zaire getting an opportunity to show what he can do.  The following players stood out in defeat for the Irish:

Greg Bryant:  When Greg Bryant gets carries he delivers.  Bryant has seen his carries limited as he is behind Cam McDaniel on the depth chart despite being a vastly more talented player.  Although Bryant did most of his work when the game was out of reach the Florida native rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown on only seven carries.  Bryant also did a better job of limiting his dancing around and getting the ball up field with authority.

Jaylon Smith:  The Irish defense did not look good against the Trojans but Jaylon Smith had another solid game.  Smith had a team-high 14 tackles to go along with a sack and a pass breakup.  The sophomore did struggle a bit in helping to align the defense which resulted in a lot of easy plays for USC.

Malik Zaire:  Although Malik Zaire didn’t look outstanding in his debut he did enough to make the quarterback controversy more legitimate.  Zaire completed less than 50 percent of his passes but threw for 170 yards and rushed for a touchdown.  He also showed good chemistry with Bryant in the backfield.

Nyles Morgan:  Freshman Nyles Morgan missed the first half of the game because of the carry-over of a targeting foul but still managed to register 11 tackles good for third most on the Irish and was also in on a tackle for loss.  Although Morgan struggled in space covering the athletic Trojan playmakers so did the rest of the Irish defense.

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  6. I’ll give it to the ND fans that were willing to watch the whole game and not throw a TV through the window at the conclusion.

  7. A bowl game would allow Zaire and Golson to compete for 15 practices as equals and a preview of spring practice next year. Let the best QB win the job. Let both QBs show off their ability to lead teammates in practice and let their teammates decide with their effort and focus while each QB is leading them.
    This SHOULD be the #1 reason to go to a bowl game. Secondly, give the rest of the underclassmen the chance to audition for starting spots next year and see how they transition that competition in a game day atmosphere.

  8. I would like to see one last game this year to possibly end season on a positive note. I have read numerous articles over the years which explain that schools actually lose money participating in some of the bowl games. It looked like to me that Zaire got the ball out much quicker than EG. 1) Maybe due to not reading through all the progressions. 2) Toned down play calling. Which IMHO needs to be done regardless of who QB is. 3) Zaire saw open receiver sooner. He did play with much more energy than EG. I agree with those above about O-line weakness causing EG problems. Adding the over coaching too. I repeat Kelly calls a crappy game. Can build a team though. Need to address injuries. S/C coaching problems? Not enough agility and flexibility work? Maybe just fatigue and we need to platoon more. Seems we always are decimated at the end of every year. I really think we need to platoon more. Especially in the trenches. Like to see Kelly simplify the offense next year. To damn cerebral for kids in school and what is supposed to be a contact sport.

  9. tony rice
    Passing Rushing
    1986 Prop. 48
    1987 35 85 41.2 663 1 5 90 340 3.8 7
    1988 77 149 51.7 1,389 10 8 134 775 5.8 9
    1989 73 146 50.0 1,221 2 9 188 934 5.0 7
    Totals 185 380 48.7 3,273 13 22 412 2,049 5.0 23

      1. What about Steve Spurrier?

        Anyone who has seen how he votes in the coaches poll knows there is no one in the land that hates and dispises Notre Dame more than Spurrier?

        Wasn’t he Your second choice?

      2. Or how about that coach from Washington that you suggested?

        He’s fresh off a 8-5 season?

      3. How about Bill Belichick?

        Couldn’t you see him wanting to give up his gig in New England so he could come coach the Irish?

      4. I got it…..

        SHAQ FU !

        He could coach the Irish from another Dimention….

        just like you!

  10. Are you guys serious about not accepting a bowl game? Why would any team ever turn down a chance to go to a bowl? Every team has something to work on. Even if you suck, it’s still an opportunity. Could you imagine what people would be saying if ND didn’t accept a bowl this year? From NC contenders from the first half to not accepting a bowl in the 2nd half…

    As a fan, I want to see us play again. Even if we suck, it’s still a game for me to watch as an ND fan. We have young players that are getting good game experience that may not have if we didn’t have so many injuries. What if Greg Bryant gets to play more than 50% of the snaps on offense and rushes for over 200 yards? How cool would it be to see that and him get more experience with in-game pass blocking as well?

    And you people have no heart at all if you say these Seniors that are not coming back do not deserve to go to a bowl game. Deciding to play in a bowl game isn’t about where the state of the program is. For some of the players, it will be their last game in a Notre Dame jersey. They DO deserve it and will be their last memory of being an ND football player. Win or lose, embarrassed or not, they have earned their last game for being bowl eligible. There isn’t one player on the team that would decline that invitation and play for their brothers that will be leaving them after the season.

    1. “Why would any team ever turn down a chance to go to a bowl?”

      Simple…. motivation.

      Every returning player on this year’s team has already been to a bowl game at some point during their careers here.

      We have been to a bowl game every year under Kelly and had the extra practices that go with it.

      Has that made a profound difference?
      (Maybe in 2012…. one out of 5 years)

      Don’t get me wrong, I strongly agree with the reward system, and know full well that this year’s team, regardless of record, has worked very hard on and off the field and deserve everything
      that they can get.

      But sitting home, during the holiday’s, watching other teams, perhaps even some teams that ND beat, playing in bowl games and reaping those rewards…. that might just have the affect of creating some attitude, better team work, better chemistry, more hunger, more determination, and more toughness… all of which seems to have been be missing of late.

  11. 3. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

    Career record: 128-22
    NFL draft picks the last five years: 22
    Nobody gets fans fired up like Meyer, thanks to his somewhat brash and outspoken nature. Still, it’s hard to argue with the results on the field as the offensive-minded head coach has won everywhere from Bowling Green to Ohio State and has two national titles to his name. Considering his worst season is 8-5, Meyer knows exactly what he’s doing and is a great motivator.

    1. You know when Meyer was coaching Florida, he mentioned several times on his radio show that his dream job was the Head Coach at Notre Dame

      1. Actually he said that while he was the head coach of Florida..Remember he was a receiver coach for ND for 5 seasons

      2. Oh I remember, but still doesn’t change the fact that ND and UF were both open and he took the UF job.

      3. His family was younger, and hated both the cold of SLC, and the isolation of religious demagoguery…both of which ND promised in turn. She chose Florida…He chose OSU; another dream job of his.

        He is the perfect coach for ND, but would have the same struggles as Kelly.

      4. I’d be worried about the mental capacity of a coach that would take the ND job over the UF job.

        Money, sunshine, less hectic travel for recruiting, more realistic sports administration the list goes on.

  12. In my humble opinion, I do think ND should turn down any bowl bid. I understand the idea that the “seniors deserve to have some fun on the way out”. I completely disagree with that notion, and I don’t mean that as any kind of personal knock on the players. As is mentioned in the article, the plethora of meaningless bowls is just another manifestation of our “everybody gets/deserves a trophy” weak society. Teams that grossly underperform don’t deserve jackshit in the postseason. Why, because the players have “worked really hard”? And? By that rationale, every team of every sport in the nation “deserves” postseason play and a trip to the beach as a reward. Excelling as student-athlete is no easy task and should be respected.

    I certainly understand the “we could use the 15 extra practices” idea, although I’m not sure if those 15 practices in December have any meaningful impact on a team next September. I honestly don’t know the answer to that one.

    Even after this soup sandwich of a season, I believe the future is brighter than where ND stands now. The program is currently a mess, but a mess that can be cleaned up and used as a motivator, a prologue to something great. ND claims to be different and that it strives to do things “the right way”. In these tough times, they can make a positive statement to that affect. They could turn down a bowl and not perpetuate the absurdity of the current bowl “system”, when 90% of that system rewards mediocrity or total ineptness, but cuts the schools a check. And that check is the only thing that matters when the outcome of these games do not. This short article nails it:

      1. Ron,
        That’s cool man. I respect your opinion and the good Lord knows I could be wrong! ;)

        I’m curious though why you do like the idea of going to a bowl. Interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.

      2. For one I think they’ve earned it. Don’t get me wrong there are a ton of these with a bunch of average teams (ND included) playing in them but they have qualified for the right to play. As far as meaningless is concerned, you could say all bowls outside of the playoffs are meaningless. What really do they accomplish?

        More importantly, I’d like to see them end on a high note. Maybe Golson goes out and has a 5TD 0 int game. Heck of a better way to go into winter workouts than being yanked in the second quarter in a blowout to your rival. The team could use some sort of confidence. Again, they could get killed again. I’m not sure what team they could actually beat right now but I’d like to see them try.

        Finally, it’s the last time seniors get to strap on the pads say for the select few who go on to the NFL. It’s a moment they will treasure forever, I know I do. I bet the seniors at Michigan wished they’d have won one more so they could play one more time.

        I’m not sure any of it means anything in the end but most coaches will tell you these practices are critical to the development of a program. Besides, selfishly I’d like to watch them play one more time.

      3. One more game gives ND a chance to land a couple more 2 or 3 star recruits who are currently on the fence between nd, harvard, or northwestern

    1. The player…
      The student athlete…

      They make dump truck loads of cash for the schools,
      For the coaches,
      For the advertisers,
      For the sponsors,
      For the media, and on and on…

      So you got to give something to the natives… you know… to try to keep them happy.

      And what better than a few trinkets and a paid vacation?
      Of course when there is still more money to be made with a full blown Bowl season, it will also have to double as a “working Vacation”

      Yeah dad?
      -How’s your day pal?
      Great dad, how’s yours?
      -Say son, how’d you like to go fishing this weekend?
      Great dad ! …but I’ve got homework to do.
      -That’s alright son… You can do it on the boat!
      Gee… thanks dad.
      -Dear, isn’t our son swell?
      Yes dear, isn’t life swell?
      Oh…*kiss* Oh…*kiss*


      1. Wow Shaz,

        Normally, I’m with you, but that’s a bit too bitter for even my tastes. I’ve never known a player that wouldn’t take one more game, one more chance to win. Not ever.

      2. A naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm, and a two-foot salami under the other….

    2. The last game, any game, is a chance to play young players in a pressure environment. Any coach would take that opportunity. Ron is dead right, but for the misplaced allegiance to Golson. This is a game where Zaire can flourish. If Golson goes out, the team will likely remember this as an extension of the season, when he utterly confounds his own offense. Zaire, can pave the way to optimism, for players and recruits.

      Golson had two chances too many. He’s done, and he and Kelly know it.

  13. In the 2nd half of the season it appeared to me that too many players were trying to do too much, instead of just doing their own assignments. I don’t know if it was because of trying to compensate for injuries or help the newer/ younger players, etc.

  14. In 2012 Kelly had An O.C.who called the plays. This enabled BK to be a CEO & if EG had been there, 2013 would also have been great!

  15. Wow. How disappointing to see a team so poorly prepared and coached. So the game plan was to come out and have a struggling QB throw the ball to victory with no real attempt to establish the run?

    1. Agree. I was confused with the lack of a running game. This bothered me not just with the USC game, but the year in general. Folson and Bryant have the talent to be 1,000 yard rushers.

      1. It was 21-0 before anybody got to their seats. This game was over the minute Leinart led them out of the tunnel. I don’t care if Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith were in the backfield.

  16. I think coach should focus on getting his team back. He should try to show these kids that they are all in it together and find a team leader. This team needs confidence and to know that their coach has their back. They need to play for each other. This family feeling must happen first before they worry about football. Once they have that feeling they will be able to take coaching, but until then this cancerous feeling will show its ugly head

    1. You’re spot-on again Jack. Yes we’re young, yes we have injuries but our problems are mainly with leadership. Nothing on the field and nothing on the sideline. Until they address this we will always go around in circles.

      I’ve mentioned this before and a few bloggers have mentioned it also is that our main problems are from the neck up. Kelly has to sit down and do some serious soul searching.

  17. I think we should actually accept a bowl game no matter how crappy it is. We are the YOUNGEST TEAM IN THE COUNTRY. Look it up if you don’t believe me. An extra month of practice and another game will help these young guys. Plus I can’t imagine the defense getting any worse next year so…..cheers to that

    1. First, that is a silly stat. Based on what? Starters, depth chart, what? Secondly, I did look it up and Ok St, Colorado and Tennessee all have more freshmen and sophomores on the depth chart than ND.

      Other than that great point. Obviously they accept a bowl bid. What kid wouldn’t want to play one more game with his boys??? Just because you mouth breathers are tired of watching doesn’t mean they quit on the season.

    1. That’s ridiculous Jack and it’s baseless. I hope you sleep better tonight having insulted 18-22 year olds who’ve accomplished more than you could ever hope for.

    2. Couldn’t agree more with Ron. You’re a blunt mind, both intellectually and emotionally. Get back on your lawn mower and anger at the grass.

  18. Said it before and I’ll say it again. You win with defense, special teams and running the ball, until N.D. has a coach you gets it they will never be a top team.

  19. how to prevent a quarterback from throwing interceptions, lou holtz, wins, losses and lessons, page 209, once you throw six interceptions, you dont play, we cant win if the quarterback doesn’t protect the football.

  20. Ashame about EG’s lack of motivation. He was one of the few bright spots during the NC game against Alabama. He was the only one during that game that didn’t seem overwhelmed by the spectacle of the NC and he actually looked like he cared, unlike most of the rest of the team that day that looked shellscocked.

    What a turnaround this year. I don’t get it. He started off lights out too this year. Zaire must be licking his chops because he will have a real opportunity to be the starter next year.

  21. One other thing about the suspended players. While everyone deserves a second chance it should be noted the choice these players made in cheating, hurt not just themselves but the whole team and defense in particular. If I were a coach, I don’t know if I’d want them back next year. So you sit out a season and then are allowed to come back, it’s not a great lesson learned in my opinion.

    1. Agreed we all often need a second chance. How one takes advantage of the second chance is the great lesson that will be learned from teammates, since most everyone on and off the team has messed up by showing poor judgment before. Some aren’t caught and don’t learn from it; others are caught, learn from it, and become a great example of maximizing the second chance offered. I welcome all three back- they did their time for whatever crime – and more importantly, the team and the staff will welcome them back as well.

      1. I agree with you in one respect Michael but then I get a nagging thought. We had an incident where the leader of the team was caught cheating and required to sit out a season. He was welcomed back with open arms and then the team had multiple players caught cheating and they were banned for a season. And will be welcomed back with open arms.
        I have a nagging feeling that when some of these kids are thinking about cheating and they do a risk/rewards scenario in their heads, the risk being they sit out a season but then resume their college career doesn’t provide them with enough risk.
        Perhaps if they knew getting caught would be the end of their football career at ND they may make better choices.
        It’s not just a ND problem, it has become a societal problem these days.

  22. Just like every other Notre Dame fan, it was a very frustrating season. I am curios if anyone else boy there feels that EG,s biggest problem is that he is OVER coached. He spent last summer with the Guru, came back to a micro-manage head coach,and a new quarterback coach. If BK hired a quarterback coach, why is he not the one to talk to Golson when he comes off the field? Why is it always Kelly in Golson face instead of his position coach? Why is there a quarterback coach if he never communicates with the quarterback when there is a problem? Is Golson the best choice moving forward? I don’t know, but if he is stop over-coaching him and let him play his game!!!

    1. You hit it on the head. If it wasn’t for Golson they wouldn’t have won half the games they did this season. You can blame Kelly for Golson’s downward spiral. It gets old when you come off the field and Kelly has that “what were you doing look” every time the QB makes a mistake or doesn’t get a first down. This guy was a Heisman candidate at the start of the year so you figure it out.

  23. I thought Malik did fine considering it was his first game he’s seen any real action all year. The kid has a rifle for an arm and many of his passes were on target and dropped for some reason. Notice the difference how he runs and moves with the ball. Whether it’s conscious or natural he protects the ball when moving around with it.
    Anybody who has listened to interviews with the team’s defensive members about who the hardest person on the team is to tackle and almost to a man they all say Greg Bryant. If he gets his pass blocking down and gets more time people are going to look back on this season and wonder why he wasn’t played more.
    As for next season, Golson now knows he can be replaced any time and the team doesn’t lose much at the QB position. Maybe the secret is to even platoon the two. You have Deshonne too another really good dual threat QB.

  24. No mattter what level of competition…championships teams are built primarily around two complementary factors…On offense, RUN THE BALL. On defense, STOP THE RUN. These two things must be accomplished before all else is even attempted. This year’s ND team never demonstrated it could do either on a consistent basis. Until it does, you will see many more 7-5 seasons in South Bend, IMHO. I honestly don’t think Brian Kelly has the patience to do either.

  25. Kelly is nuts. He passes when he should run. He runs Greg Bryant eight times in a row until he fumbles. He gets the pick plays from the patriots where their own quarterback says they are of questionable legality. He uses it when the whole season is on the line. He is an enigma to me. He can’t seem to button anything down. The offensive line was a nightmare, undermining his desire to run and forcing golson to throw Hail Mary passes every time the line broke down. Can’t we get one thing completely buttoned down. No foundation means no ability to excel. Sorry for the frustration. Sorry for the criticism. Won’t it ever get better

    1. D’ya see Burgundy?! Duranko?!
      What happens without some sanction? Comment’s like this occur…

      Now “Bruce”, I understand that it took you an immense effort to type this all out, what with the leather suit and the burner phone, but can’t you at least make the extra push to learn the basics of football theory? Can’t you deride my, our, emotional preoccupations with class? Because it’s one thing to insult my attentions publicly, but to humiliate that of my peers simply won’t abide. It will be four mushroom stamps this evening slut! And a clover on your forehead for it!

    2. Bruce,

      The pick play is not from the Patriots it’s a staple in the spread offense. This would be the Patriots copying the college game.

  26. One more shamrock sticker – to Elijah Shumate.
    Second to Jaylon’s 14 tackles was Shumate with 13 tackles.
    He was the impetus of some significant hits, despite being part of a secondary unable to compete with the Trojans elite passing attack. After being benched numerous times, Elijah came back with effort and intensity.
    Of course, when your safety has that many tackles, it suggests your front seven are getting manhandled.
    I’d love to see him at Onowalu’s LB position.
    Shumate’s strength seems to be against the run, and he would be an adequate enough pass coverage guy at LB rather than at safety. But I’ll leave that to the coaches who are at practice everyday.
    I didn’t see ND quit. Outmanned and tentative, yes.

    1. I don’t think they quit either. They were just incredibly beat up and lost focus(dropped passes, two in a row) but they were hitting hard at the end. Morgan is out of control right now but plays with a passion right to the end. I am an optimist but I think we will be real good the next few years and expect no more than 3 losses in total over the next 2 years if not less. I think Golson is still the best quarterback but I do think Zaire should play 3 series a game for a change of pace. He is a terrific ball handler on the read option. I think Golson played hurt a little more with the shoulder than people realize.

      1. It should be remembered that Golson is right handed and Zaire is left handed.

        The receivers get accustom to the right handed QB who’s ball spirals in a clockwise rotation.

        Then in comes the lefty who’s passes spiral in a counter clockwise rotation.

        I witnessed a few of Zaire’s passes being dropped for that very reason.

        Of course, we’re talking about catching a football here.

        When a pass hits a receiver right between the numbers he should be able to catch it no matter how it was thrown.

      2. I got that from a documentary about Jerry Rice.

        Jerry Rice was far from lame.
        (He is the all-time leader in most major statistical categories for wide receivers, including receptions, touchdown receptions, and yards)

        When he learned the right handed Joe Montana was out as the 49er QB, and left handed Steve Young was in, he spent that an entire preceding summer catching passes from a left handed thrower just so he could get acclimated to the reverse spin on the ball.

        Call me lame if you wish, but Jerry Rice will kick your ass.

      3. But Mr. T is a left handed thrower, certainly he knows as much if not more than Jerry Rice. He was just a catcher of balls.

      4. I do agree that ND did play hard up until the end. It was the 4th quarter and you could hear the pads cracking when they were on defense. But they played without any confidence. Waiting for something to go wrong.

      5. i was in the second row. there were no pads cracking. USC had third team in for final drive and we couldn’t stop them with our 1 d

  27. Glad the season is finally over. Very painful indeed. Maybe next year, the team can improve, after all,stranger things have happened.

    Please———— no Bowl game acceptance. ND just needs to cuts its losses short.

    1. The last time we limped into a bowl game due to numerous injuries was the disaster vs. Alabama in 2012 (then, it was primarily the OL). The excuse for poor tackling/execution then was inability to practice full tilt because of the lack of depth. I know we won’t be facing a team the caliber of Alabama, and extra practices help prepare for next year, but are we even able to field a two deep DL,LB, and DB by the time we go bowling? Are we able to compete with any bowl team at this point?

  28. This game was a tale of two QB’s. (and two offensive lines)
    Kessler for USC, who had a career day, and Golson for ND, who did not.

    Kessler, who I do not consider being a better QB than Everett Golson, had one great advantage over Golson…. Consistent Pass protection.

    The USC QB stood in the pocket calm, poised, confident, and made every throw.
    Good pass protection will do that for a QB.

    On the other side you have Golson, who has spent the majority of this season with a inconsistent running game, terribly poor pass protection, having to run for his life, facing a mountain load of 3rd (and 4th) and long on almost every series, and most importantly, at 6 ft,/200 lbs, having to take a good 500 hits during the course of the season.
    500 hits…. you know, that’s a lot of hits for anyone to take let alone a QB, and I’m pretty sure it starts to really hurt after a while.

    That would cause any QB to get cold feet, to get a little gun shy, lose some confidence, lose some poise, to tire, to get a bit grumpy, and maybe even lose a little heart.

    And who could blame him?

    Golson had the look of a player who was just plain beat down.
    Too many hits, too much of the load, too much continual catch-up, too much criticism, too many unwinnable situations, too much pain, and too little fun.

    And that’s not all his fault.

    I really don’t care who the QB will be, but whomever it is, they had better give him a decent running game and a hell of a lot better pass protection than what is currently being trotted out on the field, because that shit just plain stinks.

    1. Spot on, Shaz.

      At any level, if your line doesn’t dominate or at least hold their own, you lose. Running game becomes inconsistent; you need to pass inside the ten; your QB under siege makes errant throws ? How many turnovers weren’t forced, resulting from OL breakdowns or EG being hit while throwing ? With Martin at G, does ND even have a back-up center?
      Was ND so satisfied with the OL that it never felt a need to try anyone else ?
      If the OL isn’t much better, ND won’t be much better regardless if it’s Zaire or Golson or Bryant or Folston.

      1. Totally agree with the above comments from Shaz and Michael. At the end of the day and with a lot of adversity Golson avg about ONE pick a game and statistically was responsible for about 40TD’s and 20ppg to rank in top 10 QB’s in FBS. He may have had “less” picks then Winston at FSU but did not have the defense he had to pull him out of a hole. This season’s shortcomings aside as they have been done to death let’s take a “glass half-full” approach and see what there is to salvage from the season and look to 2015. We start next year with the following: Two very good QB’s, two potential 1000yd rb’s, an outstanding fleet of wide receivers with several more to come in plus perhaps Daniels back and 3 possible starting caliber TE’s. On defense you look at Schmidt, Smith, Martini, and Morgan for the linebacking corps and with Schmidt to call the plays that would be a top 5 linebacking corps in anyones book. You get EVERY db back except Collinsworth and Riggs so already you have more depth and exp then this year. We lose Brindza and despite his problems at the end of 14′ he will still finish as one of the best FG kickers in ND history and was very good this year on most occassions as a punter. Special teams remains our biggest bone of contention for the 5 yrs Kelly has been at ND he needs to find a coach to fix them and he should NOT BE ALLOWED TO DO TWO THINGS in his remaining time at ND eg Call the plays on Offense and have anything to do with special teams. That would be my take on season 2014 and if BK loses more then TWO games next year I would be happy to see us chase Mark D’Antonio at MSU or Shaw at Stanford as a replacement.

    2. Shit, that’s three sensible comments in a row, what’s the place coming to?

      Still, I’d disagree with a few points. First is the critisism of the OL, the performance of which is massively dependent upon the QB to do one thing in the passing game, and another in the run. If Golson can’t stand and pass within the defined area called the “Pocket”, then no offensive line in the world can block for him. The OL can’t see him, and can only rely upon his dilegence and experience to stay in the hole and make the pass. When he flees, consistently, unpredictably, and without cause, there’s simply no way to protect him…from himself. This is just hay for the DL/DE’s, who can juke and fake with impunity, because the OL haven’t any idea where their QB is at any time. (I won’t even get into the inablity to read a defensive scheme.)

      Offensively; Kelly is trying to run read option, the depiction of which we got from Zaire. But, Golson is simply incapable. What can an OL do when the quarterback can’t make the DE/OLB read?

      How frustrating can it be for an always unheralded OL, to have a QB that consistently makes them look bad through his own mistakes? Whose success comes from panicked playground ball?

      Secondly, maybe I’m not up to date, but doesn’t Kelly’s OC have cancer? The reason that he’s calling plays again is because Denbrock is fighting cancer, and while he is still coaching, he’s not stressing himself with the game calls?

      I agree that Kelly shouldn’t be HC and OC at once, but I don’t think it’s hubris that put him in the position this year.

      1. I think one thing we saw was that Zaire is much better at the read option than EG. It could be he’s just had more exposure to it. Looking back at some of his HS highlights it looks like the HS team he played also ran a read option offense.

        Good points about OL,

  29. Completed less than 50 percent not if you count the numerous dropped balls that could have been caught by Pop Warner players. Another disappointing season for the Irish and Kelly. You start to wonder when, if ever, the Irish will win ten games and compete for a National Championship. Losing the likes of Cam McDaniels and Amir Carlsye will not hurt. They both had limited usefulness. But the biggest disappointment was most certainly with Golson. One year studying under his quarterback guru didn’t seem to help much or enough to make a difference. The QB competition should be wide open next season. the irish need to spend lots of time filling the gaping holes on the defense and offensive lines. The offensive with Forsten, Bryant, Robinson, Zaire, Golson and the other good receivers should be more than enough to win games.

  30. I’ve not much to say as the vitriol has been let loose like rabid hounds (understandably so). It’s no suprise that USC won the game and I never had any doubt that would be the case, because of a destroyed defense. But I also thought the offense would score points as they have no excuses.

    I have never been so shocked by the total lack of effort, pride and fight in a team. Everett Golson was pouting and dead inside while he was waiting in the tunnel. I have no proof of this, only observation, but the look on his face and his body language before the game ever started was disgusting and pathetic. I wasn’t ashamed to lose. I was ashamed by the team’s total apathy, against USC no less!

    For the record so to speak, Everett Golson will either go down as one of the greatest comeback stories / players in the history of ND football or as the greatest disappointment.

    2015 is the crucible for the entire organization. Everyone who is anyone will be back.

    Credit to Zaire and our running backs for having some fight in them.

  31. We’ve all heard the cliche that we got outcoached, outplayed, out everything on Saturday. Yup, this is true. I was watching at home and the look on EG’s face said it all. He looked like he’d rather be anywhere than playing football that day. He was WAITING and almost wanting something bad to happen. It’s like his light doesn’t come on until the worst is out of the way. That’s a loser’s mentality and the team followed him right to destruction. Coach Kelly had a lot to do with this too. Isn’t this the same USC team that got pounded by BC? Got the ball ran down their throat? So why was ND pitching it all over the field Saturday with Folston and Bryant on deck? BK needs to hire an OC and let him call the game. He’s out of touch with his own team IMO. Why did it take 12 games to get Zaire some snaps? How much bad EG is enough? Why was this game McGlinchey’s first shot at playing time on offensive line? As bad as they were this year? You have a playmaker like Greg Bryant riding the bench yet everytime he touches the ball something good happens. I just don’t get some of the decisions made by BK this year. Even with a banged up defense BVG still brought the house-ending up with one on one on the outside with 3rd string corners and safeties in the game. USC is loaded at receiver?? It was just ugly on all fronts. Here’s to BK evaluating his coaching staff, himself, and coming back better next year. He has to improve as much as all those defensive freshman and sophomores.

  32. I think the injuries to the defense are getting too overplayed. Yes, both the number of injuries and who got injured were a big issue. You can even add the suspensions if you want.

    However, it’s not an acceptable excuse for two reasons. First, the strength of the 2014 ND team to me always was their offense. Even if it was healthy, the defense was only going to be “OK” this year. In order to be successful this year, they were going to have to win some high scoring games. EG started out great but succumbed to the pressure and regressed as the season wore on. He was the one ND needed to count on. I thought he could handle it, but he couldn’t.

    Second, BVG either wasn’t making any adjustments or was making the wrong adjustments to his personnel. The injuries left his defense with a bunch of talented but raw players. Too many times they were out of position and that never improved. To me, he needed to simplify his defense and let his players play instead of being hesitant out there because they were forced to think too much. He didn’t seem to want to do that.

    Regardless of the outcome of the bowl game, this year has been a disaster. BK’s worst year at ND. I’m not saying he should be fired. However, he needs to shoulder the blame better and do something about it.

  33. No one deserves anything for this fiasco.i would start by hiring Muschamo and a few other new coaches. I.e.special teams, O- line, QB coach. Tired of excuses.

  34. We knew the defense was going to give up some serious points but what a letdown from our receivers this weekend. There were some very critical drops from some very good passes. Will Fuller had a chance to tie, and potentially break the receiving TDs record in this game but dropped those passes. It seemed like everyone simply quit on both sides of the ball. No emotion from players and unfortunately, this was the first time I really saw Golson look like he just flat didn’t care.

    Zaire came in with some serious fire under him and led the offense pretty well. He is going to run the read-option much better than Golson simply because that is the type of offense he came from at Alter. Plus, he is faster and a little bit thicker than Golson is. It appears Zaire is pretty accurate and throws to the open man, but will need to develop some touch on his throws rather than everything being a LASER. The kid definitely has a ridiculously strong arm and looks like he is just flicking it out there.

    What is nice to know is that we have a very solid 1-2 combo at QB. I think we should start running the read-option more as well as designed QB runs and let these kids be the athletes they are. With a 7-5 record, let Zaire start the bowl game to see what he has. Hopefully the Notre Dame name will at least let us play someone decent. Our record might pin us against a MAC school at this point. I just want to see what Zaire can do against a legit team.

    1. Hopefully we get matched up against Cincinnati so Kelly can get a good look at Gunner Kiel torch the ND secondary.

      1. And you know it’s true, because Vegas would have UC favored over ND. Who’s the next QB in line for Kelly to ruin? Richard I mean Ron.

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