Notre Dame – LSU Bowl Matchup Brings Opportunity, Challenges

Notre Dame - LSU : Music City Bowl
(Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Still reeling from an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the USC Trojans, the Notre Dame football program had numerous unanswered questions circling overhead.  Is the program headed in the right direction?  Is Notre Dame capable of becoming a consistently elite team under its coaching leadership?  Certainly a bowl matchup against an SEC power like LSU can answer such speculation, be it positive or negative.

And it did.

Notre Dame was blasted out of the New Orleans Superdome by the Les Miles-led LSU Tigers 41-14, and the Fighting Irish were outgained 577 yards to 291 in the process.  LSU averaged over six yards per carry on the ground en route to 245 yards rushing.  The Irish defense made LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell a household name and was largely responsible for his first round draft selection by the Oakland Raiders after he effortlessly collected 362 total yards and 3 touchdowns.

It’s been seven years since LSU brushed aside Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, and since then the Fighting Irish have endured one coaching change and are still trying to find an identity, while LSU has been a consistent winner – with the same head coach, no less – after having played in two national championship games, one of which led to a national title tucked away in a trophy case.

If you’re experiencing a bit of déjà vu, it’s justified.  While the Music City Bowl in Nashville is a far cry from a BCS showdown in New Orleans, the Irish have just as much on the line this go around against Louisiana State.  Unfortunately for the Notre Dame faithful, the Fighting Irish have not fared well in recent memory when a lot has been riding on a bowl outcome.

In addition to the 2007 Sugar Bowl massacre at the hands of LSU, Notre Dame was systematically dismantled the year prior by Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.  Charlie Weis’ squad took an early 7-0 lead after a 20-yard rush from running back Darius Walker, and it was a one-way pummeling from the Buckeyes the rest of the night.  Ohio State smashed Notre Dame, outgaining ND 617 to 348 for a final tally of 34-20.

And, of course, there is always the 2013 bowl game that shall not be named.  I still have nightmares of Alabama running back Eddie Lacy’s predator-style dreadlocks sashaying in the cool, Miami evening while dragging half of Notre Dame’s team with him across the goal-line.

Poor history or not, Notre Dame’s selection to go toe-to-toe with LSU in Nashville presents several opportunities for head coach Brian Kelly’s program.  Chief among those opportunities is a chance to stop Notre Dame’s losing skid, having dropped five of their last six contests in horrible fashion.  Currently, Kelly’s defense has surrendered 30 points or more in seven straight games, and the offense appeared completely lost with quarterback Everett Golson under center.  Snapping Notre Dame’s losing ways against a major SEC program could go a long way toward undoing the damage the 2014 season has done to the reputation of Kelly’s program.

Another often overlooked perk to playing in the Music City Bowl – despite the calls from some Irish fans that an inferior bowl game isn’t worth Notre Dame’s time – is the additional practice time it creates.  With youth all over the field due to injuries, the more reps Notre Dame can take the better.  Particularly if those repetitions culminate with the experience brought about by playing an SEC program such as LSU.  And should Brian Kelly decide to give quarterback Malik Zaire the starting nod, preparing for LSU will serve as the perfect crash course on what takes to be a college quarterback.

The showdown with LSU can also help Notre Dame shore up its currently No. 9 ranked recruiting class according to Rivals.com.  It’s no secret that losing hurts recruiting, and a victory over LSU could provide a healthy dose of damage control, assuring recruits that the program is still stable and that Notre Dame’s current slide is merely an anomaly.  The perfect case study for such an assessment is current Notre Dame commitment, Jerry Tillery.

Tillery is a 6’6”, 305-pound 4-star offensive tackle recruit.  What makes him stand out from the rest of Notre Dame’s current commitments is his location: Louisiana.  The State of Louisiana is notoriously difficult for Notre Dame to recruit.  So difficult that Tillery and fellow 2015 recruit Bo Wallace are the first two commitments Notre Dame has had from Louisiana in the Rivals.com era.  It should come as no surprise, then, that despite Tillery’s status as being committed to Notre Dame since June of 2013, LSU has been pushing hard for the Shreveport native’s signature.  Though it was reported last week by The Times-Picayune in New Orleans that Tillery has shut down the recruiting process, it cannot be ignored that the offensive line recruit has taken multiple visits to Baton Rouge throughout the season.  Emerging with a victory over LSU could spark Notre Dame into winning another battle with the Tigers on the recruiting trail.

The goal of the 2014 season was to put the college football world on notice that in 2015 Notre Dame intends to be a championship contender.  While that goal is no longer attainable, LSU presents the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button on an otherwise forgettable year.

Scott Janssen is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has authored several nationally-featured articles, including an appearance on MSNBC as a sports contributor.  He talks football 24 hours a day, much to the chagrin of his wife and those around him.  Scott can be reached at scottjanssenhp@gmail.com.

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112 Comments

  1. There is a fellow ship of trustees in which 6 are Holy Cross priest and 6 are lay people. The board of trustees is much larger and dominated by lay people. The deans are also mostly lay people.

  2. Merry Christmas.

    Simple life. High thoughts. (I’ll get back to that)

    After Christ’s birth there were two sets of visitors, nearby shepherds and wise men from afar. The song “Silent Night” is mildly inaccurate, as the shepherds did not “quake at the sight.” While they were initially “greatly afraid” it was mostly cognitive dissonance for these simple men of the fields. They hopped to it afger assurances from the angels and went “with haste” to Bethlehem. One thinks of the line from Buffalo Springfield “Something’s happening here what it means ain’t exactly clear.”

    But when they arrived they KNEW, not in a syllogistic, theological sense, but with an earnest simplicity that Christ would later oft recognize when He said “Come to me as a little child….” And the shepherds then became active advocates. Perhaps unkempt, perhaps wafting the faint musk of sheep and goats, nevertheless they were invited.

    thousands of miles away (if you really want to push the edges of the envelope, talk to a Hindu who just might theorize that the wise men were from India) something stirred with wise men. they packed up a few gifts and got busy with their journney, their only GPS a star. But they were compelled to go, they had to go, without full understanding of their destination. But they went unequivocally, with commitment. After the detour with Herod (never to return to him again) Wisdom, embodied in these travelers “”fell down and worshipped him” Informed wisdom, an
    elegant obeisance to a higher and fulfilled wisdom. They they gave the tokens, less important than their appropriately falling down, gold, frankincense and myrrh, more fragrant than those musky shepherds.

    Simplicity and wisdom can both perceive Christ, and both are welcome before him. It was outsiders, not rabbis, politicians or CEOS who recognized and CAME to Christ.

    So I wish you are yours A RICH AND FULL CHRISTMAS.

    The two early greetings are not inconsistent.

    Simple Life

    High Thoughts

    May all of us enjoy both.

    For unto us a child has been born.

    In every way, Merry Christmas

    1. Just to clear the record about the May, 1970 “strike” at ND- those of us who were there recall it was as much a reaction to the shootings during the kent State protest, which was in response to Nixon’s sanctioned invasion “officially” into Cambodia, perceived then as an expansion and a diversion to the stated policy of withdrawal of the war in SE Asia. As for Fr. Ted changing his mind about amnesty, he was against war protests when LBJ, who had appointed him head of the Civil Rights Commission, was president in 1968, having given his famous “15 minute warning” to disperse or be expelled during an anti-war protest that year on campus; after Nixon, and his subsequent defunding of the Civil Rights Commission that Fr. Ted still headed, it was believed at the time his dissent with the infamous Cambodian incursion had as much to do with his opposition to Nixon moreso than any agreement with a “in good conscience” student walk-out. In fact, at the time Alumni and Dillon Halls’ students who were passing out the petitions to shut down the university, rumor was it was initiated by Fr. Ted to make it appear it was a groundswell of student activism that resulted in his amnesty of those students leaving campus early that May. He also, after the R.O.T.C. building was vandalized just hours after Kent State shootings, encouraged those who opposed this escalation of the war to go home and protest – rather than to bring violence and disruption to the campus. But who knows, other than Fr. Ted, who, I agree was both special and practical. Now- back to sports talk, please . . .

      1. Michael,
        Being that your are alumni I have a question for your.

        Is there clergy leadership other than the President of the University? Are there priests on campus that have the same qualities as Fr. Ted? I was just wondering, because it seems there is more secular leadership at the University. Nothing related to football, just to the culture of ND.

  3. father ted was special. it was 1970 and the school went out on strike in protest of the bombings in cambodia. father ted said no amnestry for striking students, about 90 percent of the school was out.

    the strike leaders went to father ted and the board of trustees to make their case. after the meeting father ted said he was wrong, it was an immoral war, and the students got amnesty for following their beliefs.

    1. I agree that Hesburgh did many great things at ND, but I’m not so sure he said he was wrong because the war was immoral as much as it was because the students have a constitutional right to free speech and the right to peaceably assemble.

    2. Hey BJ, stick to posting useless you tube clips, whining about grass, complaining about head coaches and leave the political landscape to those with more than one brain cell.

  4. I was saying if father Ted, god bless him, was still in the president’s job it could happen, father Jenkins never met him

  5. Eddie calls his sister. She says ok. He calls
    Father j and says he wants to hire bk. but bk has to quit. No
    term payout. Big jump in salary. Eddie calls jh and says he can have the nd job if he wants it. 10 million a year for four years. Option to extend. If jh agrees we have a deal. Swarbrick has to
    agree to put back the grass.

  6. This season sucked, such high hopes to be dashed to bits by poor quarterback play…are we going back to the wishbone option anytime soon? Our defense ended up being a lot of freshman and even hurt freshman, unless they are all stars in year one that surely didn’t help. Will Malik be a better option than Golson? Only time will tell…losing those pro style QB’s is starting to look bad though. All I wanted for Christmas was to beat USC…

  7. It’s simple there is a 49ers nd relationship.
    It’s unique such that it makes possible a deal because they know both parties and are inthe position to do a unique deal.
    Nothing more. If you can’t see it, so be it. I have been doing trades of all types
    all my life. Hesburgh and the debartolo’s could do it. Father Jenkins is an enigma to me.

    1. Father Jenkins is a wussy effeminate. He and Malloy may both be gay. Jenkins has never lived in the real world. And the administration is not going to change the course of the program until the money stops flowing. Everyone better get that through your heads. This program makes a mint on what happened prior to 1994. If they can milk nostalgia they have no reason to worry about championships won this century. ND football is becoming like the British royalty. A neat attraction to remember historical times but not much current relevance. That all changes if ND pulls out a championship this century but only then.

  8. Soooo what is with you idiots regarding Harbaugh??? First of all, Kelly is going no where fast. Harbaugh would not go to ND even if they offered double the Michigan salary – bottom line. If he goes anywhere it will be the NFL. As far as Kelly, he is there another couple years. Guess many of you don’t remember the Gerry Faust, Bob Davies, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis days when we all called Century 21 to list their properties. I do not think Kelly has succumbed to that level just yet.

    1. Relax dude. Most of us do not consider Harbaugh. In fact several of us are trying to elevate the conversation above the idea that changing the coach is necessarily going to fix anything.

      This program’s issues go much deeper that changing a QB or a coach for quick fixes.

    1. So why do you continually make it point to bring up “Eddie’s sister” over and over as the owner of the 49ers?

      What’s the point in that?

      And now you’re saying she is owner in “name only” and Eddie still calls all the shots?

      And why would you now say that?

      Because she is a woman and when it comes to football, and football operations, a woman couldn’t possibly do a good job?

      So in your line of thinking, Jim Harbaugh is a coach you like and want.

      He works for a team that is owned by a woman.

      And because of that that it should be no problem for ND to just swoop in and get him?

      And of course, for cheaper than we are paying Kelly, because anytime you’re dealing with a woman you should always get what you want and have a nice tidy profit to boot?

      Really?

      You better throw another log on the fire.

      1. I like the result ls Harbaugh got at Stanford. I do not like that he left so soon without proving he could sustain it. In my humble opinion Jim Harbaugh is in the process of coming apart. Since going to the Niners he’s shown some borderline behavior that tells me he needs a hall monitor. As much as he impressed me at Stanford I wouldn’t want him at ND. And I would find it ironic that Michigan wants him after some of the derogatory comments he’s made about the school in the past.

        Forget about Harbaugh.

        My earlier question was simply whethe anyone thought ND is at significant risk of losing Kelly to the Niners or another NFL team. Frankly ND is in a very tough spot. As long the NCAA its schools and the fans accept that athletes aren’t really students all schools like ND are at a serious disadvantage. While not the case 20 years ago it is definitely the case today.

  9. bj,

    I see what you’re saying now!

    Because a “woman” (DeBartolo’s sister) owns a NFL team, she couldn’t possibly understand the intricacies of running a football team (unlike you) and she could be easily suckered and flim-flammed into trading Harbaugh for Kelly.

    Sorry to break it to ya, but I don’t think this is the type of “vision and a plan” that Father Hesburg had in mind.

  10. What does anyone think of the chances of the Niners picking up Brian Kelly? The Harbaugh to Michigan thing is still smouldering. With the rumours on some NFL reporting sites of Kelly being frustrated with the administraton, is there enough in the story to be concerned. While many question Kelly’s ability to take this team all the way, ND’s chances of finding a coach who can maintain even an 8 win average are not so great. Of the last 7 coaches 2 have NCs and both were fired. (That’s the real truth), and only one other, Kelly has been considered acceptable to the ND football community.

  11. A contrast between two quarterbacks is apparent in the interviews of Malik and Everett on Irish Illustrated. In my opinion, Malik comes across as a confident QB, talking about being a leader and helping his teammates become winners. Everett seems sheepish under the towel on his head. Not making eye contact and talking about trying to make himself more confident. Everett is a good athlete, but seems to have lost whatever leadership he had at the beginning of the season. Malik is the field general I would want to lead my team.

  12. beatha, I threw you a high lob and you handled it. I figured you would…..

    Further, my mission here is not dissimilar to Eleanor Roosevelt’s : “To afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.”

  13. Save me from those therrble prongs! Two more. Onetwo
    moremens more. So. Avelaval. My leaves have drifted from me.
    All. But one clings still. I’ll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff!
    So soft this morning, ours. Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you
    done through the toy fair! If I seen him bearing down on me now
    under whitespread wings like he’d come from Arkangels, I sink
    I’d die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to washup. Yes,
    tid. There’s where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush
    to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us
    then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thous-
    endsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a
    long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend
    of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to
    Howth Castle and Environs.
    Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passen-
    core rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy
    isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor
    had topsawyer’s rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse
    to Laurens County’s gorgios while they went doublin their mumper
    all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to
    tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a
    kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all’s fair in
    vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe. Rot a
    peck of pa’s malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory
    end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface.

    Heller was always a cartoonist. Why not insinuate with a proper ND precision?

  14. Shaz, this eternal question was answered by Joseph Heller in Catch-22:

    “Major Major was born too late and too mediocre. Some men are born mediocre, some achieve mediocrity and some have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking distrinction he stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.”

    You are welcome!

    1. Big-D,

      I’ll see your “Major Major”, and raise you a “Rochelle Rochelle” (In Seinfeld , episode 4 of Season Three)

      “Well, you made a long journey from Milan to Minsk, Rochelle, Rochelle.

      You never stopped hoping; now you’re in the Pinsk, Rochelle, Rochelle.

      When the naysayers ‘nay’ you picked up your pace.

      You said nothing’s going to stop me so get out of my face.

      I’m having adventures all over the place, Rochelle, ROCHELLE!”

      Cheer O !

  15. “…logic alone doesn’t work. Once you lay out a position, you are going to roll up your sleeves and you have to fight to get it done. That is key….. In order ….to succeed, they cannot just — when they run into problems, step back and give up.”

    leon panetta

    my position, jenkins, swarbrick and kelly meet. jenkins tells him he has to do better. he supports him. he tells swarbrick to give him every means of support, the best oc in the country, the best dc in the country, a world class recruiter with an nd reputation, do anything and everything to win within the standards of notre dame, reestablish that catholic prep school connection, make it happen. you have a responsibility to the schools reputation, consequences for fasilure. go irish.

  16. “i can name you the head coach, but i cant name you the leader. titles come from above. leaders are selected by those under you. they will follow you to victory if you have a vision and a plan” father hesburgh

  17. I don’t believe it. Every time I read holtz’ book I see it is a brutal competition, recruiting, lobbying admissions, getting great assistant coaches, knowing how to discipline and inspire, decades of big time experience. But it can be done it’s just that the school has given bad ads to find that guy. Wadsworth, kevin white and swarbrick just didn’t give the time, focus or the effort. You need a great coach and a great general
    Manager or ad. The Redskins were great because they had bobby beathard and joe Gibbs. I don’t even think that swarbrick is involved with the team, all he sees are contracts and deals. But let’s not give up. Maybe the holy father can convince father Jenkins to get off his derrière.

    1. I agree with Bruce. Notre Dame consistently recruits a top 10-15 class. We may not get some of the kids Ohio State or Alabama gets but we get a top class every year. The only thing missing is a great coach and staff.

      It can be done if Swarbrick and the administration want to get it done. Play to win!

      1. Great programs don’t build just on recruiting class, grey shorting and JC transfers give depth to the program. Read about a MSU QB recruit and you will understand how it’s done in the SEC. People like Bruce need to understand if I’m a coach I’m not coming to ND with all the rules. I’ll go to Florida and be treated like a god and be able to recruit whoever I want. The SEC conference is more powerful than the NCAA and will let their schools do whatever they want.

  18. Who do you like, Peterson, Meyer, chip
    Kelly, ravens harbaugh is special, hard to get, spurrier,
    ?????????
    Thanks for the intellectual input. You must be be a real domer.

    1. Bruce,

      Let me give you a run down:

      Meyer will never come. Aaron Hernandez and Percy Harvin can’t get it. If you get caught smoking pot at ND you get suspended for a year. Both players lost a game.

      Peterson is another Kelly. What has he done on a big stage? Washington didn’t set the world on fire.

      Spurrier wouldn’t touch it because you can’t get the talent.

      Stoops wouldn’t leave OU for a job where he can’t recruit 25% of the players due to academic requirements.

      Saben won’t touch it because he can do whatever he wants at Alabama. ND would put on restrictions.

      ND isn’t a great job for a coach. High academic standards, rigid social standards and a delusional alumni and fan base that lives in the 1960’s and is scared to change from tradition.

      If you live in the past you will be the past. I have not seen any new ideas come from this school as it pertains to their athletic programs. They copy other schools and usually 10 years after the fact. I hate to say it but if I was a hot coaching prospect I would not coach in the Big Ten or at ND. I would go somewhere like LSU or Alabama where football is god. Back in the 80’s the NCAA had teeth, they don’t anymore and the inmates are running the asylum. I don’t want ND to compromise their standards, so it’s a self fulfilling prophecy, that you will fail at ND and be gone within 5 years. The NCAA will not sanction another school because the conferences will jump in and threaten to pull out of the NCAA. I know think they should just call in the NFL minor leagues and move on.

      To put it in few words “ND will never win, I don’t care if you dig up Knute or Lou came back.” It’s over Johnny!

      1. True, this is why it is so brutal to lose all of the head scratching games that we do. I have no delusion of NC titles, but I want to be a serial 10-2 or 9-3 program who beats who they are supposed to and goes down swinging against the big boys with an occasional upset victory rather than the monthly upset loss.

      2. In addition, we might as well higher someone like Johnson from Georgia Tech. If we can’t get the top tier talent we can run that maddening triple option system with better talent than Navy and Georgia Tech have.

  19. that was the point about debartolo’s sister. kelly gets a big fat san fran contract, if he backs off his nd contract, we get harbaugh, you gotta think outside the box

    1. The only “point” you made was for the one on the top of your head.

      Tip:
      Forget about the damn box and the fantasy land you live in and just try focus on the thinking part.

    2. You can have Harbaugh bj. I am not a fan of Harbaugh. bj what has he won? Nothing, I would rather did for a winner and not a guy who gets to the championship game with other coaches players and loses. He chose Kapernick over Alex Smith and Kapernick sucks. He hasn’t stayed anywhere long enough to prove he can win the big game. A Rose Bowl win against a shitty Wisconsin team is your claim to fame. An upset win against a Carroll USC team that gave up one head scratcher a year in the PAC 12. I don’t think he is all that and I think his brother is a better coach in Baltimore.

  20. Let’s bid for harbaugh. These chances come by once a decade. Look what happened when we lost Meyer. Another decade of mediocrity.

  21. If the o line can’t make it on trap blocks
    Maybe a sweep would work but it is as complicated
    As a running can get

    See maranis, when pride mattered: Lombardi

  22. BJ , you said “packer sweep.” Not sure if the younger generation knows that you are referring to the “Green Bay Packers sweep” from 1960’s. In the red zone back then Packers two man backfield was fullback Jim Taylor and halfback Paul Hornung. But key to the Famous Packer Sweep was the pulling guard. I forget his name(maybe Kramer All-American from Michigan?). I understand your concern for ground control. ND has two running backs in Folston and Bryant and an O-LINE that can’t get them into the next plateau beyond scrimmage line. Folston , thank God , found his own crease due to his instinctive talent. The Golson /Zaire QB contest won’t be settled in one game versus LSU. What it will do is see how Zaire performs and if he does well–there’s a QB battle next spring. Kelly is not going to name his QB starter–regardless of Golson/Zaire performance against LSU. The main problem from here until Texas opener next season is the O-LINE. Do what ever it takes to get an O-LINE–if that means new coaches , new players , shifting players around whatever. Ya got two highly recruited running backs that are juniors next season–what a waste of talent if ND can’t get them loose in 2015.

  23. I think there was never any pocket for golson to throw from. If Kelly wanted a pocket quarterback he didn’t understand the inability of the offensive line to protect him. It constantly broke down. We should have developed a packer sweep to assure ground control and a triple option offense that would give golson planned options
    versus extemporaneous ones that often backfired. I just think Kelly doesn’t have enough brain matter,experience or insight into his own team. Who wants three more years of this chaos?

  24. Its a no-brainer to play both QBs! Probably something that should have been a bit more during the season. Kelly is a genius yet once again. Good luck to both.

  25. Even if the disparity between the two is minimal (an assumption BK obviously, until the disaster in L.A., didn’t share), I have heard forever you can’t play 2 QBs. I have never understood why situational QB options wouldn’t work. Is that because your own personnel can’t adjust to two different QBs (they seemed to situationally in 2012)? Or because splitting reps in practice gives insufficient time to one who starts?
    But wouldn’t having two game-experienced QBs, and pressuring both sides of the field with them rolling out left and right each to their strengths, be a preparation nightmare for opposing teams with but one week to prepare for ND? A lefty QB who can run well and maximize the zone-read scheme with a QB who,
    despite the turnovers, showed moments of awesome escapability and pinpoint accuracy.
    Throw in a few quick passes from Zaire and a zone-read QB keeper by Golson, and opposing D’s might be as confused as our D’ regularly seemed to be since the second half of the FSU game.
    Since BK has often stated he’s opposed to two QBs, and since he’s convinced a pocket-passing attack works best with his offense, be it Tommy Rees, or Everett Golson, or Malik Zaire, (BK recently said he’ll pick whomever runs his offense best), the question will remain mute.

    Who would have guessed the OL would provide the biggest disappointment when the year started?
    The two who left both became NFL starters in San Diego and Dallas, and their replacements, along with those returning, never established the consistency or dominance a successful elite program needs.
    As a poster above said, until the OL (and DL as well) become elite, the team will not be either, be it Golson or Zaire or whomever.

    One last thought: Would we all have been as delighted had ND under EG scored 14 points ( seven in the second half) against a less than impressive Trojan D’? No way- posters would be demanding scoring that little against the Trojans would require “next man in” as QB. But now that we scored a whole seven points against the Trojans in the second half under Zaire, he’s the guy! One bit of consolation for whoever doesn’t start/play most against LSU is they’ll become the fan favorite if the score is as lopsided as the experts predict.

    1. I’d be happy if Golson would keep his turnovers to an acceptable level. Until that happens next QB in.
      In BKs offense the quarterbacks main job is to distribute the ball to the skilled playmakers. Golson does this..unfortunately he also has taken it to a new level distributing the ball to the opposing teams skilled players also.

    2. Not to mention with two active QBs there might be a healthy dose of competitive pressure and a consequence for doing something really stupid.

  26. Nobody listen to Mike T. Him saying that Clausen has a better arm than Golson did him in. The difference between Golson and Clausen was that it takes a great effort for Clausen to put a lot on his ball where Golson just flicks it and it’s a rocket. Look at their throwing motion and tell me that I’m wrong. Also, Zaire does have as strong, if not stronger, arm than Golson does. If you went to the Blue/Gold game this spring, you may remember it being a windy day and him throwing a BOMB 60 yards through the air directly into the wind. It’s impressive and the USC game should have shown you that too.

    I do agree that you start Zaire for this game to see what the kid has against one of the best pass defenses in the country. If he is struggling badly, pull him for Golson in the 2nd half. I think it would be a good move by Kelly to see what he has starting a game, especially against a legit defense.

  27. A lot of Irish fans have been wanting Golson out and Zaire in. I don’t like the idea of playing two QB but I understand with all the turnovers that EG has had that Kelly pretty much has no choice but give Zaire some playing time versus LSU. I still believe EG gives us the best opportunity to win. I think fans forget that Golson carried this team to that 6-0 record. If we have any hope of making it to the final 4 next season it will be with Golson leading us.

    1. When the O-line starts playing well and they really havent all year the starting QB for ND will shine. As for the Defense they really havent been the same since Joe Schmidt got hurt. Once the injuries started to pile up during second half of season the lack of depth and experience on defense was exposed. Just the way it is.

    2. Kenny,

      I see nothing wrong with it. If Zaire is better than Everett he should play. They are going to lose this game anyways, so why not see who is better, who handles adversity better and who will be a better leader. The defense is going to give up about 40 points, so why not see who is better on offense. They can’t stop the run and all LSU can do is run.

      1. I think both QB’s can benefit from direct, on field competition.

        If, for no other reason, than the off season motivation it is sure to provide.

    3. Maybe the only reason you feel Golson gives you the best chance to win is because you haven’t seen Zaire actually play in a game much. I don’t doubt that Golson has a better arm, but in an offense like BK’s there’s more to being a QB than just a great arm. Clausen had a great arm, better than Golson’s and you see where that got ND.
      BK has platooned QBs at almost every place he’s coached. It worked at Cincy for him. I think in todays climate especially when you may be chasing a playoff spot you want your back up to have plenty of experience. If Tommy Rees wasn’t on the team in NC season ND would have never played in the NC game. So how’s this. play Zaire and keep Golson as your backup.
      Then if halfway through the season he gets hurt the next man up has plenty of real game experience..It’s the prudent thing to do when you use dual threat QBs. Injury risk goes up considerably.

      1. I think ND HAD the personnel to beat LSU. They don’t anymore. They are either hurt, suspended, or mentally unreliable. I can see the logic behind playing both QBs. It’s somewhat of a desperation tactic in ND’s case. That system rarely works. I’m a believer in the idea that, “if you have 2 quarterbacks, you no quarberback”. I have certainly been wrong in the past, but I don’t see this game going our way.

      2. Looks like we will get to see Clausen this Sunday as he has been named the Bears starting QB when they play Detroit. Seems like he has been carrying the clip board for like 15 years now in the NFL. Hope he does well.

  28. I think this is really a no lose for ND. Everyone expects ND will get it’s head handed to them. So if they get blown out, it’s what everyone expects and they will move on to the next game.

    But if they do show up and make it a game, that could set them up nicely for next year.

    Plus most of this team is back next year. Take the extra practices. ND has to be better next year. They can afford nothing less. I say the more practices the better.

    This isn’t the 40’s or 50’s, where you can decline bowl bids without any cost. Nowadays there are very few reasons I’d say you decline a bowl bid. One was ND when Weis was fired. No coach, your QB and star WR both leaving for the NFL. Yes, in that case a bowl was pointless.

    But that is not the case this year.

    1. I know what you mean…very confusing.

      There was this adult film actor who went by the name of Tu Peters.

      You never knew if he was coming or going.

  29. Hey, Shaz, I hope you realize that the above post was from that unoriginal pretender and troll “SteelFanBoob.”

    Having said that, any Stillers fan that thinks that team is going to the SB is as delusional as any ND fan that thinks the Irish are a NC caliber team. At least as “fxm” pointed out, Stillers’ fans have a couple of SB wins in recent memory. That’s a hell of a lot better than we have as Irish football fans!

    I just hope ND shows up against LSU. To go out there and play like they did against USC just means that this team really shouldn’t have accepted a bowl bid, since the extra practices would’ve meant absolutely nothing and ND would have nothing to show for them.

    The risk of getting humiliated frankly doesn’t offset the alleged benefits for this physically and emotionally wrecked team of playing a bowl game. But that just my opinion.

    Regardless, we’ll make time watch the game and root on the Irish!

  30. There is no reason to believe that ND stands a chance against LSU. Hopefully, Kelly
    will let Zaire run the show and find out just what he has in the lefty. It is obvious that Golson cannot stand up against the pressure of the big time teams. He throws too many interceptions and fumbles way to many times. This could be a spring board if Zaire performs well enough to at least keep the game close. Unfortunately with the injuries on defense, some of which will hopefully have recovered enough to play, the Irish will probably get their heads-handed to them! Let’s just hope they can muster enough guts to at least not embarrass themselves and their loyal fans because the last seven games were a complete embarrassment to everyone! Go irish!

    1. I’m not defending Golson for turnovers but he stood up just fine to the best team they played this year in FSU. I’d also say your math is off because the last 7 games were not embarrassing. Anyway Rich, thanks for the pep talk.

      1. and how did that game end Ron?
        Another Golson interception.
        Just remember, it’s a new day in CFB, if you don’t win all your games the committee takes into account how decisively you win against non ranked opponents etc. Look at FSU, undefeated but because they had a ton of close games they ended up seeded third.

      2. Other than having to travel to the west coast I think the committee did FSU a favor by seeding them third and matching them up with Oregon instead of Alabama.

  31. Injuries happen. What is bad luck is those left available were noticeably deficient because “next man in” had to replace those most key to the DL (Day, Jones), CBs (Cody, Russell), and MLBs (Grace, Schmidt). Those depletions put undue pressure on the safeties left standing to stop both the run and the pass.
    The key to ND becoming an elite program is both acquiring and developing quality depth. The numbers who went to the NFL last year showed BK and staff have done well with that. The fallout in readiness from the key injured and missing to those who replaced them has been painfully obvious. Maybe the youth who were forced to step in with substantial playing time will also step up and be able to compete in a year or two, maybe even next season, but I don’t expect that to take place in three weeks.

    As for “laying it on the line”, I know, Burgy, you’re not implying ND doesn’t do the same. But to lay it on the line, you also have to be confident in knowing what you’re doing, so you can go all out and not be as tentative as ND appears to be each week since FSU, especially on D. Restoring a swagger in 15 practices will be hard to do when you lose 5 of 6 to close a a season. Great effort and excellent practices have been what I’ve heard from BK each week; neither have translated into victories, except the escape versus Navy. Has ND ever faced a greater challenge in preparation than they have this month? I don’t expect a miracle turnaround against an elite team with what will be available the end of this month.
    And for Burgy, a long-awaited haiku:

    Turning it around
    With fifteen practices leave
    Expectations low.

    I hope I’m wrong. Fortunately, according to those who know my sports predictions well, there’s a good chance of that.

    1. I think we’ll all agree practice is important but what really matters is game time.
      BK has said Malik Zaire doesn’t practice well but performs when “the lights are on”
      Isn’t that what’s important?

      While I am a ND fan, I am under no illusion what they are facing.
      Over half of the SEC west could be one of the 4 playoff teams and probably be favored to win it all.

      1. and we in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice. Not a game.

  32. Just as much of an opportunity for LSU as it is for Notre Dame for a statement win. Should be a good close game, but I would bet on LSU’s defense getting the job done and the offense doing what they did against Texas A&M.

  33. How do you train for a broken leg? You can give me an argument for weakened muscles that put pressure on your joints causing the injuries. I think the issue with the injuries other than Joe Schmidt is age. Playing a lot of young kids that have never gone play for play against kids their own size or bigger.

  34. I’m more concerned about Coach Van Gorder’s playcalling. He knew he didn’t have his best players out there and continued to call the blitzes teams were prepsred for. I don’t recall the defence holding after the offence’s mistakes this year. I realize they got put in tough positions but they also let a lot of big plays go down the stretch.

  35. As a Tiger fan I am looking forward to another great LSU-Notre Dame clash.
    Many Tiger fans are disappointed in our record this year. But it’s a very young team, and has done about just what was expected.
    The LSU-ND games have almost always been a highlight reel type game. The 5-5 series shows that it will be very competitive again. I can’t think of an opponent I’d rather see us play in a bowl game. Hopefully this will be a precursor to next years playoffs.

  36. It seems to me that there’s a singular reason for LSU as an opponent, and in a way, it’s very Notre Dame… Perspective.

    Even with banged up return players, Kelly can’t be expecting good odds. But, what he can teach the entire team is the level of player they need to become to even consider championship dreaming. The players they’ll face will be near the same recruitment level as they were, and their ferocity and commitment will test them every play. LSU will bring every blood filled pound, and won’t feel the bruises until the game is done.

    It’s a great anchor point for a very young team, and so a great teaching tool as a coach. It’s also a chance to rehab so many players… Again. I’m curious people’s thoughts on Longo. He’s a great trainer, but ultimately it’s his job to control and design the training regimen so that the team is resilient at the end of the season; which we haven’t ever been under his guidance. The team loves him, and players make excellent strides. Watching 3 star players become NFL prospects is always gratifying. But, if the guy can’t keep the team from being decimated by injuries at the end of every year, is the rest worth it?

    1. Jury is still out on Longo. Previously, I felt BK’s teams used to be better in November, but this year they regressed due to health. Don’t know if it is bad luck or poor training design.

      As a side, I know many of you whiners on here love to complain about playing Navy. Watching them play yesterday makes you proud to be an American. The best kids in the country laying it all on the line. And not one complaint about cut blocks.

      USA USA USA USA

  37. Yur kind of right and I am one of the ones that was calling for Zaire. Golson is broken and u can also blame the coaching staff for not fixing it. Instead they left him in way too long and let him self destruct. There was plenty of opportunity to sit him and chill a bit. I do not believe the QB postion was managed properly. Now it has become an all or nothing situation for Golson and the QB position. You could also argue they are not handling Zaire very well either because of the above. Gotta give the Buckeyes credit – going to the playoffs with their 3rd string QB at the helm.

    1. Seems ridiculous that once the season was beyond salvage that we didn’t manage to get Zaire maybe 100 throws to evaluate that aspect of his game live. You are correct, a very mismanaged position. BKs alleged strong suit, arggghhhh.

    2. I think you might be underestimating Kelly’s coaching, and the complications of Golson’s game; which are mental vs pgysical errors. The physical can be practiced, the mental has to be resolved…in real time. Golson was left in because he has all the physical, and some of the psychological ability to be great; but sadly has some fatal handicaps that remove him from consideration as an elite college quarterback.

      I agree that Zaire should have been played earlier. But, it’s hard to fault a coach for sticking with a gutty QB. He’ll be a good backup for a year, and get an education if he can stay the grades.

  38. Golson is maddening. Unlike Tommy, he is hard to give up on. Those 3,000 yards and 29 tds are nothing to sneeze at. But, he totally imploded. Makes it seem like curses exist although I don’t know what we did to deserve this. Makes Kiel come to mind and more importantly I am so glad we got Winbush. I like his 72% completion, 3,000 yards passing, 37 TDs, 5 Ints and 9 rushing TDs on the season. Welcome!!

  39. Yep! Couldn’t agree more.

    I just don’t think this ND is up to the task of going against this LSU team.

    It feels so much like Weis going into the Sugar Bowl but without a decent season as the backdrop. I hope I’m wrong.

    The big question is who will be QBing for ND? With the lousy season Golson has had, I see no reason for him to be the QB. We didn’t like it when Tommy gave it away why should we see it any different now? I guess it’s MZ time.

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