Notre Dame, Offensive Line Limp into Stanford Week

Photo: Brian Utesch // Icon Sportswire

On Saturday Notre Dame finally began to turn around two units that have hindered them all season: defense and special teams.  Such an achievement was thought to be impossible until an off-season of evaluation and adjustments.  Interim defensive coordinator Greg Hudson’s unit limited an opponent to 3 points and less than 200 yards of total offense, all while holding N.C. State to a 14-percent third-down conversion rate and forcing two turnovers.  Sophomore kicker Justin Yoon, who has struggled this season, even hit a 40-yard line-drive field goal in the face of hurricane-force winds.  Given Notre Dame’s biggest shortcomings finally came through, surely the Irish would win, right?

As has been a trademark of head coach Brian Kelly’s tenure in South Bend, as soon as one unit begins to turn the corner, another falls apart.  Notre Dame only managed to muster 113 total yards of offense and boasted an even worse third-down conversion rate, moving the chains only once on 15 attempts against N.C. State.  Quarterback DeShonze Kizer posted the worst performance of his career, completing 9 passes on 26 attempts (34.6%) for 54 yards and one interception.  The running game wasn’t much better, with Josh Adams (3.6) and Dexter Williams (2.2) both being limited to less than four yards per carry.

Many have questioned the offensive game plan to throw as often as Notre Dame did in the midst of a hurricane, and that plan surely was not helped by the poor performance of Kizer.  But Kelly’s decision to lean on his passing attack despite the weather conditions has brought to the forefront a problem that has only been ignored due to the drama on the defensive side of the ball this year for Notre Dame: the offensive line has been playing very, very poorly.

Kelly choosing to throw as often as he did was a testament to his lack of confidence in his offensive line, and watching N.C. State punish Notre Dame’s offensive front showed Kelly’s fears were well-founded.  On the rare occasion Notre Dame did run its backs were limited to 1.6 yards per carry, and N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb was a one-man wrecking crew that humiliated left tackle Mike McGlinchey, a player many NFL analysts have projected as a first-round NFL Draft selection in 2017 should he opt to go pro.

Chubb’s dominance was so thorough that he appeared to be intimidating Notre Dame’s offensive line.  Down 3-0 in the second quarter, Notre Dame’s offense was driving in N.C. State territory when Chubb was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after pointing his finger within inches of McGlinchey’s facemask to draw attention to the fact McGlinchey jumped early on the play.  Rather than react Notre Dame’s left tackle simply walked away.  Chubb’s penalty gave Notre Dame a fresh set of downs, but Chubb quickly took that second chance away, sacking Kizer two plays later after beating McGlinchey so badly that he was barely able to get out of his stance before Chubb was in the backfield.  Overall, Chubb recorded 5 tackles in the game, three of which were sacks.

It is incomprehensible that with two projected first-round NFL Draft selections in McGlinchey and left guard Quenton Nelson Notre Dame’s offensive line is No. 90 in sacks allowed and has been held to 2.3 yards per carry against Michigan State and 1.6 yards per carry against N.C. State.  And there doesn’t seem to be answer on the horizon.

“There are definitely inconsistencies,” Kelly said after a practice last week.  “I wouldn’t throw it all on the offensive line.  I would throw it on perimeter blocking, decision-making, coaching.  There are a lot of factors there.”

After Saturday’s loss to N.C. State, Notre Dame has transitioned from trying to rebound in 2016 to battling laughingstock status, and that must begin with a win over Stanford.  Notre Dame’s defense will have a fighting chance against a Cardinal offense that has struggled nearly as mightily this season.  Stanford is coming off two straight blowout losses at the hands of Washington and Washington State, and they currently boast one of the worst offenses in the country, ranked No. 122 nationally.  This game will be decided by Notre Dame’s offensive line.

Stanford has the 25th ranked rushing defense and is limiting opposing offenses to 120 yards per game on the ground, and the Cardinal are 33rd in sacks with 14 on the season.  If Notre Dame is to beat Stanford and stop its dangerous slide the offensive line will need to start playing like the unit that was named the preseason No. 1 offensive line in the country by Pro Football Focus.  Unfortunately for Irish fans, that unit has been nowhere to be found this season.

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 or follow him on Twitter.

 

 

32 comments

  1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 years ago

    SteelFanRob

    A Prelate is “above geography” – not subject to diocesan rule. But the prelate can be a monseigneur, a bishop or archbishop, an Abbot, a cardinal or even a lay person.
    The current prelate of the Hospitallers is a bishop picked by Francis from the curia. I don’t know who preceeded him, and I don’t much care.

    Jim Frick was a knight and so was Coach DA’Cicco (Misspelled?) who used to run the tutoring program and track the academic progress of the athletes.

    Bruce GC 77′ 82′

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  2. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 years ago

    30 years ago we heard the same silly prattle when ND awarded the Laetare medal to Tip O’Neil and then to Daniel Patrick Monyihan.

    As for the Bishop, he can order us to do whatever he wants to under canon law, if he really wants to. He has full authority over everybody and everything in his diocese (except the Knights Hospitallers!)

    Saying Notre Dame isn’t catholic enough to be catholic is about as cogent as saying O’Bama isn’t black enough to be black.

    Start talking football again.

    Bruce GC

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    1. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

      Amen, Bruce G, Amen indeed!

      Peace to you.

      As for the relevant football talk, I think we’ll have a better grasp of how far the D has come in this game. Give up a zillion points and yards to this Stanford team, with a young QB and banged up RB, then there’s really very little evidence of improvement. So we’ll see, I guess.

      GO IRISH!

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    2. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

      Bruce G.,

      Sorry to ask some non-football related questions, but you seem knowledgeable on the matter: the Hospitallers are still around? They were/are not under the jurisdiction of an archbishop/bishop? Why? Did/do they have their own, autonomous leadership structure? Just curious.

      Also, of course, I should’ve put quotation marks around “Pope Michael” of Kansas. My bad! Didn’t want to get too muck into “Mikes” turf.

      Pax vobis.

      Go Irish!

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 years ago

        SteelFanRob,
        Yes, they are sometimes called the Knights of Malta, but they are still around! There are actually a half-dozen or so groups that claim descendancy from the Knights Hospitallers, but the original order was Roman Catholic and they are still around, including a group in South Bend.
        When they were a true military order, from about 1100 to 1800, they were one of the fiercest and best armed groups in the Western world. If you were Pope then, would you want any bishop to have authority over them? Of course not. So they always reported directly to the Pope, and nobody else! Today they report to a prelate, who reports to the pope, and nobody else. Sometimes the Holy Roman Catholic Church can be a bit slow to embrace change (LOL)!
        Anyway, there is no friction between the Hospitallers and the diocese, even though they are independent. By the way, the Knights Hospitallers of St. John’s of Jerusalem have sovereign status as United Nations “observers”.
        Also by the way, past bishops HAVE given Notre Dame “marching orders” on issues occasionally. One of them put an end to Mardi Gras because of the gambling. It was replaced by An Tostal, I think. Orders to end Mardi Gras came right from Fort Wayne. Same thing with the old pornography film festival, I think. So as I said, if the Bishop wants to say “yes” (or “no”) on something for ND, he can do it.

        Sorry to Uhnd for the non-football stuff.

        Go Irish.
        Bruce GC (Theology Major 1977)

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      2. SteelfanRob 3 years ago

        Thanks, Bruce G. Really fascinating information indeed!

        Question: Isn’t the current prelate of the Knights of Malta an arch-conservative cardinal, formerly in charge of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments? Wasn’t he demoted (and exiled to Malta?) for running afoul of that “Marxist” Pope Francis?

        I have a lot of friends who are “more-Catholic-than-the-Pope.” They all tell me that Notre Dame is no longer truly Catholic. Many of them attend, attended, or in some other way support Ave Maria University in FL. If I recall correctly, at one point in time, the founder of this university barred the local bishop from campus and prohibited him from exercising any authority over the priests and worship services on the campus. All because the local bishop was too “liberal” allegedly. I do think that hostile situation has been cleared up, however.

        As for Notre Dame football, I truly believe the key to possibly salvaging the season is beating Stanford. Perhaps a win allows the team to recharge and BK to refocus. Then again, may be not. I keep on hoping against hope that the Irish go on a nice run to end the season. Call me insane!

        Go Irish!

        Beat Stanford!

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  3. Mike "King" Kelly 3 years ago

    Now that Football season has been laid to rest by the above distinguished remarks can We change the topic to basketball? I am looking forward to a Final Four appearance this season.

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  4. bruce johnson 3 years ago

    I believe in what works
    I believe that nd was unique
    I believe that the above talk about abortion and Obama is malarkey
    Its been a catholic school with a small c for 50 years.
    Let’s get on with doing the best we can, the best grass the best coach the best ad the best players the best we can be

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  5. Terry McManus 3 years ago

    FYI – I went to ND in the 60s but did not graduate.

    Notre Dame used to be the flagship of American Catholic Universities but in my opinion that is no longer the case. In fact many of us refer to ND and other ‘Catholic’ universities as CINO – Catholic In Name Only.

    IMO there are two primary reasons for this – in 2009 they awarded an Honorary Degree to President Obama, the most pro-abortion president we have ever had, and this was over the strong objections of the Diocese of Fort Wayne, objections which the ND administration just ignored. #2 was the awarding of the Laetare Medal to V.P. Biden, and not long after that the Vice-President went on his twitter account to broadcast him officiating at a same-sex wedding ceremony.

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    1. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

      Oh the humanity, how are we ever supposed to pick up a 3rd and long with this news.

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    2. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

      I guess there’s always SSPV or SSPX for those who want the “real” Catholic Church. I also hear Pope Michael of Kansas is welcoming new members to his holier-than-thou version of the “true” Catholic Church as well. Plenty of options for “rad trads” out there who like their Masses in Latin and who don’t like that “Marxist” Pope Francis.

      Welcome to the new “Protestant” reformation! (Recall the the original Protestants thought they also knew better than the Church.)

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      1. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

        But I guess it’s OK for Paul Ryan to espouse an Ayn Randian, “social Darwinist”, “survival of the fittest” ideology and still declare him to be a Catholic in good standing?!

        Wow unto you Pharisees and scribes…!

        Let he who is without (ideological) sin cast the first stone.

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      2. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

        Meant to paraphrase: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matt. 23:14)

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  6. Mike "King" Kelly 3 years ago

    The thing that makes Nore Dame the greatest is that a player can come out of nowhere and attain Greatness.”Huarte, Brown, Hornung” I would still be a fan if they went 2-10. Go Irish! I think BK is burnt out. There are many Coaches across the Country that can come on board and right this Ship.

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  7. Jack 3 years ago

    I love all of this love for the University and the Football team can go and the University will survive. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, but I do have an argument as to why the football team is important.

    There are many Catholic Universities around the US. Some are well known and some are not. Schools like Georgetown, Villanova and Notre Dame are well known. You can say Villanova and Georgetown are well know for their basketball teams, but I’ll say they are well known for being in major cities or around power centers.

    Now let’s look at the Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Both have similar histories are in rural locations, but what is the major difference between the two. ND didn’t start to grow as a University until the early 1900’s and specifically between 1910 -1918. I ask why is that? It is because and alumnus named Knute Rockne started a winning as a football coach as a small Catholic School. He started beating the mighty Michigan to the point they wouldn’t schedule the Irish anymore. This forced the Irish to play anywhere and anytime. It had young Catholic boys dreaming of wearing the Golden Helmet and playing in the stadium.

    Another problem is guys like Bruce beholden to tradition. Rockne was a trail blazer and an innovator. He forced the hand of the University to build the massive stadium at the time and would probably if alive and coaching today want every technological advance to sell his program.

    The problem with ND is that some people want it to be the Harvard of the Midwest and keep the identity of a Blue Chip powerhouse. The administration has not figured out how to be innovative and make the program something that people imitate and no imitate other programs. I think you need to look deep at the players at the University that think you just throw the ND name around and it sells. The Catholic population is dwindling and blind love of the University from people who are just Catholic and not Alums is dwindling. The new generations are beholden to State U and eventually your endowment will run out. Once that crisis occurs it will be hard to get it back. How many Catholic High Schools in major cities are failing? It can happen to ND maybe not in my life time, but it can happen.

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    1. Bruce G. Curme 3 years ago

      Jack,
      Notre Dame, with its Golden Dome, was unique before Rockne coached here. If it wasn’t, I doubt Rockne (and for that matter, Gipp) would have enrolled here as students in the first place. But I agree that football made the university famous.

      On the other hand, this university, under Rockne, made football famous. Rockne took it from being an interesting sport to being a huge weekend spectacle/festival to be discussed all week long after the game and carried live on radio all over the world! That was a quantum leap.

      So to an extent, they can’t be totally extracted from each other – football and ND. I don’t think too many people would argue that.

      Bruce GC 77′ 82′

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  8. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

    I’m assuming, a dangerous proposition I know, that the ND grads and insiders posting on here are mostly if not all Catholics. I’m also assuming, even more dangerously, that as ND alums and Catholics they have at least a working knowledge of Catholic theology and epistemology. What I’m hearing, however, reminds me less of Catholic understanding of both/and propositions and more like Protestant either/or thinking. On the one hand, we have those who have conflated the football team and the university as a whole and demand either football success or bust. On the other, we have those who seem to believe the football team is a mere appendage of the university and its a matter of picking between either academic or athletic excellence. Since when has ND made academic and athletic excellence mutually exclusive?!

    For those “fac brats”, let me speak as a “Subway alum,” by saying that if you think that the football team at ND has been or is simply some window dressing for the university, you are truly living in a monastic community somewhere. I’m not even going to bring up the amount of money the football team has historically provided non-athletic institutions and scholarships at the university, lest I be accused of mammon worship. I’m going to go a bit deeper, to the soul of the thing.

    ND football has been an important part of American Catholic self-identity for over a hundred years. As a Catholic immigrant to this country many years ago, faced with the double discrimination of ethnicity and religion in a WASP setting, ND football was a source of pride for me once I was able to actually understand and follow the sport. My experience isn’t unique. Countless waves of our Catholic brethren for many decades past have had the same sense of pride for ND football. The thought of anti-Catholic bigots choking on their own bile after every ND football win was a great source of pride and pleasure for the discriminated masses of our religious brethren for almost one hundred years now. (It’s well-known that “Bear” Bryant, for example, despised the Catholic Church and called it the “Whore of Babylon”! How many times did he beat the Irish?!)

    I want to see ND football return to a place of greatness. I truly believe it can do so without having to sell its soul. I want ND football to once again be a source of self-identity and pride for Catholics, who still must face discrimination because of their beliefs in many parts of this country. I would encourage some of the proud alums on here to revisit their ND history and fully embrace the demand for football excellence. It’s a matter of both and, not either or!

    God, Country, Notre Dame!

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    1. Jack 3 years ago

      I think you put it better than I did, but the two can not be divided, they must coexist as one. I just believe the University isn’t innovating, it’s just imitating. It became the pioneer with the NBC contract in the late 80’s and now everyone has it’s own contract. ND needs to come up with a solution not look to other programs for inspiration. I really would like to see them extend offers to players that are good kids, but may be on the fringe of making it into the University. Give these kids a shot at a great education and also benefit the University through diversity and extending the pool of players that it can recruit. It is a win, win for the University. Find Juco’s that have academic standards and allow transfers from those Juco’s. There are ways to be innovative without selling your soul.

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 years ago

        Jack,
        As I noted earlier, transfers from JUCO’s and other universities happen all the time – anyone can set it up for themselves to transfer in if they go through protocols suggested by the admissions officers (these are mostly course requirements and GPA requirements for transfer). But these are all academic transfers – none are for student athletes. That needs to change, in my opinion.

        Also, because of the financial aid packages the university has today, as opposed to Rudy’s day, I suspect that there are fewer slots available for transfer now than there used to be. Financial hardship, though, was only one reason slots opened up for sophs and juniors to transfer in. There are always some slots open. I know this is true because I have successfully advised a few of my High School students on how to get into ND by transfer.

        Our administrators need to take another look at transfers for student athletes. I suggest allowing it in small numbers, say one per class – for a total of four (or five) maximum on the roster – plus a graduate transfer or two. I think that little bit might make a huge difference.

        Bruce G. Curme 77′ 82′

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    2. Damian 3 years ago

      I agree. Football is very much a part of the fabric of ND, as is academic excellence. They’ve made a lot of money from football, and I give ND credit for reinvesting a lot of that into their school. I still think they can achieve the right balance between academic excellence, discipline and winning CFB without sacrificing their core principles. My biggest concern is CFB itself. Does CFB change to the point where it is basically no more than a NFL development league? Their may come a point where ND will have to make some tough choices about their future, though that becomes a moot issue if they win a national championship. Maybe then ND can remind the rest of CFB that yes, you can win a championship without making sacrifices to the football gods.

      I’m lucky I live in an area with a heavy Catholic presence. I don’t experience the anti-Catholicism you still see in other areas of the country. My area has a lot of subway-ND fans because of how it represents Catholicism.

      I’m a fan of ND in general, but particularly football and basketball. I’ll celebrate any NC championship they win though. But I have no illusions about it. I know football is their bread and butter.

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  9. Joey 3 years ago

    I for one will be happy when ND returns to the style of play required to win at a place like ND. ND must be able to run the football and do so to the tune of 250yds per game on about 45-50 carries. Have a D that can stop the run to the tune of 100 yards or less per game. Teams that can play tough, physical football are consistently successful teams. I don’t care if its old-fashioned football, it works and ND needs to get back to the style of football it was successful at playing for decades until the pass happy stylings of Weis and Kelly became in vogue.

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  10. bruce johnson 3 years ago

    Here is my proposal
    Give swarbrick responsibility for non
    football activities
    Fire Kelly

    Set up a committee to hire a new football ad and at the same time
    a new coach

    Committee; Jenkins, a member of board of trustees, Lou, Alan Page

    Or just go get Meyer or Saban

    Sent from my iPhone

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  11. Bob Rodes 3 years ago

    I think your post is very well written, and makes a lot of great points, many of which I agree with. However, I also think it blows the importance of our football team out of proportion. That is NOT to say that I don’t think it’s important. I do. But the Lady on top of the golden dome isn’t wearing a golden helmet, and I am sure that she never will.

    “For more than two decades, Notre Dame has neglected its greatest teaching instrument-its football team.” My late father taught at Notre Dame for 58 years (1956-2014, when he died), and he wasn’t a football fan. Never even bought a ticket, not once. (We did, of course, once we grew up.) So, he didn’t spend his life teaching there because of the “team’s striving for incredible excellence.” As he once told me, he was working for the Lady on top of the dome. I think he would say that she is Notre Dame’s greatest teaching instrument, after her son. And I think I would agree with him. I would also say that Notre Dame could endure the complete loss of the football program, but it could not endure the complete loss of its faculty. Football is part of the curriculum. Therefore it needs to be the best it can be.

    But let’s not go overboard. Since you’re quoting Father Ted to back up your point, here are a couple of other things he said: “A university is first, foremost, and always dedicated to higher education. That is why it was created, why it exists, why it does everything else, including football.” And “Those who favor intercollegiate athletics praise it out of all proportion to its merits.” Sounds like your post is doing that, when you say that our football mediocrity means that nothing less than “our sprit, our legacy is at risk.” (To be fair, he also said “And those who decry sports in college are quite blind to the values that do exist on the playing field.” Which is implied in your post as well.) I should remind you that Father Ted dismantled the existing football program when he first became president, “easing” Frank Leahy into retirement and holding scholarships at a paltry 18. 11 years later, he re-emphasized the football program on his terms, hiring Ara and increasing scholarships to 34. Notre Dame was none the worse from it, and as far as I’m concerned much improved.

    Athletics are important. Not as a source of revenue, prestige or visibility, but because they are an art form, and as such have educational value. Striving for perfection in an art form brings out the best in a person, and the result of that striving put on display is an inspiration to those who observe it. That’s what matters about athletics, and why it’s important to be as good as you can be. That’s what has educational value.

    However, there are plenty of students who bring out their best in other ways, too. One of my brothers has a Fine Arts degree from Notre Dame, worked every night on his paintings from about 9 pm to 4 am in a rundown studio in the Old Fieldhouse (using a two-foot warp in the floor for an easel), held down a full class schedule, walked several miles a day back and forth from school. Couldn’t have cared less about athletics. Still doesn’t. I don’t see a guy like that as in some way peripheral to Notre Dame’s core values, simply because he isn’t interested in athletics. While it is true that “the team’s striving for incredible excellence permeated everything at Notre Dame,” it’s only true in the sense that every student was familiar with the team. It does NOT mean that there weren’t plenty of students that didn’t think it was important, and that there still are.

    “Something is terribly wrong. Not just football, but the University’s acceptance of this bumbling toward pathos.” If so, then something was terribly wrong with the university when Father Hesburgh, upon becoming president, virtually dismantled the football program, “easing” Frank Leahy into retirement and slashing scholarships to a meager 18. Those were different times, of course: Leahy had a win-at-all-costs mentality that was at odds with Hesburgh’s perception of the value of athletics from an academic perspective, and so did the rest of college football. (Hesburgh’s SI article “The True Spirit of Notre Dame”, wirtten in 1954, is a great read on the subject.) Eleven years later, Hesburgh brought football back on his own terms when he hired Ara and started increasing scholarships again.

    “Its time to regain our legacy of winning and make sure that the spirit of Notre Dame never perishes.” I don’t believe that the spirit of Notre Dame is bound up in our legacy of winning. However, it is the driving force for excellence in whatever one does, because that is a principle of education. So I agree with you partially. While mediocrity is contrary to Notre Dame’s spirit, losing football seasons won’t destroy that spirit. As John said (1 Cor 9:25): “Every athlete concentrates completely on training, and this is to win a wreath that will wither, whereas ours will never wither.” The spirit of Notre Dame is the wreath that will never wither, and may it always be so.

    So, I agree with much of what you say. But football just isn’t as central to Notre Dame as you make it out to be here. What is central is, as my father said, the Lady on top of the dome. That has to be central to football, too. If it no longer is, then the program needs to change or go. Our Lady can survive without it.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 years ago

      Bob Rodes et alia,
      My father, God bless his soul, also used the phrase “for the Lady on the Dome” to describe why he did the things he did, including working for ND when he could have made twice the money teaching at any state university satellite campus, and four times the money working for DOD. Since we became a “national catholic university” pay is a lot higher at ND – but not back in the day.

      Leahy himself used that phrase. He used to tell his players they were playing for the Lady on the Dome.

      Football today is neither the cornerstone of ND’s “spirit” nor is it in anyway inimical to the character of the university, nor to its standing in academia. All true “fac brats” know this.

      But as Mom used to say “if you are going to do something at all, you might as well do it right.”

      Hiring Brian Kelly was an attempt to do it right. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way they could have, should have, would have, etc. It looked awesome after 2012, but now it looks like that was a peak point, not a taste of things to come.

      Trying to pressure administrators at ND on this matter will fail (all faculty brats know that, too). Yet this is the age of social media…so maybe administrators can’t insulate themselves as much as they could in the old days. The football team is just one way of “Bringing Notre Dame to the world, and bringing the world to Notre Dame.” I doubt that the program is going to “go”, or be given up on, – so its time to make it good consistently.

      In my opinion, Brian Kelly was an attempt to make that happen, and he will be followed (at some point) with another hire in an attempt to make that happen. Hopefully, it will pan out. The talent is here, thanks to Brian Kelly. Whether or not this is the time to make a change, or after next season, or at the end of Coach Kelly’s contract, the decision will be made by the administration based on all sorts of factors, not just what happened in the first half of this season.

      But Bob Rodes is right about the spirit of ND – when I was a student at ND I went to only 1 game per year…far fewer than I went to in high school or grade school, and fewer than I go to as a graduate! That is because I was a volunteer for Council for the Retarded of SJ County on Saturdays and Sundays. Does that mean I lost my “spirit” – I don’t think so.

      In my opinion, it’s time to do something – I’m not sure exactly what though. That’s why I started posting. Right now, all the drama going on in the eye of the public, starting with mad max, and culminating with some player and coaching dramas, MUST STOP. Play the game (and it is just a game) and play it as well as you can. Then let the chips fall where they may.

      And get a fullback on scholarship!

      Bruce G. Curme 77′ 82′
      La Crosse, Indiana

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      1. Bob Rodes 3 years ago

        Hi Bruce, nice to hear from you. Same with my father, who grew up in New York, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, and was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He could have practiced law pretty much anywhere, but came to ND instead. Back in the 70’s, there were quite a few years where he had to decide each month which bills to pay and which had to wait.

        My post was supposed to be a reply to Robert’s, but I messed that up somehow. I’d sure like to be able to edit posts here; it’s no fun to find out that you reorganized what you wrote and kept the same thing in two paragraphs!

        I have faith in Swarbrick. (I didn’t in White.) If it’s time for Kelly to go, then he’ll make the move.

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    2. bruce johnson 3 years ago

      Dear Bob: I am not a rabid football
      Fan but in my years there the university leadership
      was something from a monastic world. They
      were smart but sometimes naive about how the world works. Any person from a cosmopolitan less monastic life style would have realized the mistakes being made and done something about it. What is galling is the ability to live with such
      Incomptence year after year after year. No one wants an incompetent plumber, doctor or president. prayer and faith can’t get you a good life in this world alone except in a monastery and the leadership at nd still lives in one. You Need to act on your beliefs and make the things happen. Hesburgh’s greatest quality was his ability to change his mind as things evolved. He was always reversing course when it was the right thing to do. It’s time to change course now.

      I was a long haired hippie president of my dorm advocating parietal hours, co education and protesting against the war in Vietnam. But I respected Blier, George Kunz and Alan Page.
      I don’t feel the respect for the school now from others. It seems more like our government in DC where incompetence and self interest and money prevail over wisdom and the goals of our faith.

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      1. Bob Rodes 3 years ago

        I hear you on the respect thing. Symptom of the times, perhaps; we Americans have become disrespectful of one another in a more general sense, and haven’t much respect for ourselves these days either. (See “Sandbox: The Infantilization of American Society”, Robert Rodes, Oh that’s right, I haven’t written it yet. Maybe I will someday if I decide it’s really important. Meanwhile, we can get the short version by googling “2016 presidential campaign.”)

        In the end, what matters is self-respect, not the respect of others. So I don’t much care if people disrespect Notre Dame, so long as they don’t do anything that shows a lack of self-respect. One could argue that ND’s tolerance for mediocrity shows that, but I don’t see it. I’m seeing a place that gives a guy more time to succeed than most places. I respect Notre Dame for giving Faust his five years, and for giving Kevin White his eight. I respect Notre Dame’s willingness to give a guy time to get his act together.

        I don’t think it’s time quite yet to move Kelly out of here, but it’s an increasing concern to me that he is stubborn in his approach to playing offense to the point that it impacts his ability to take the team to the top. I’m concerned that he’s burning out instead of correcting that, especially when he seems to have a blind spot to it. We’ll see what happens this season, and afterwards. But I don’t see the present as an extension of the White regime. I have faith in Swarbrick. If Kelly isn’t the guy to win us a national championship, he’s been the guy who has made us “relevant” again, no matter how this season shakes out.

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  12. Michael the Archangel 3 years ago

    Maybe each Spring, ND looks good/promising because ND scrimmages against ND all Spring.
    Maybe the young DBs looked good because they got to scrimmage vs. NDs WRs, or vice versa.
    Maybe the OL looked dominant because they scrimmaged vs. NDs DL.
    Maybe next Spring we need to temper our optimism until ND proves they can compete with and execute against their opponents’ starters. I admit I bought into the hype that the OL would be a strength.
    Maybe the team’s tentative play and inability to make the key stop or final score just reflects the doubt and fear of their head coach. I’m reminded of the dismal Faust days of him racing up and down the sidelines during big drives reciting the rosary (according to a Sun-Times article aside from, may he R.I.P, ND and Bear legendary DB Dave Duerson) instead of the head coach adjusting an obvious failed strategy.
    Looking more like that history repeating itself, much like CWs crash and burn concluding seasons.

    Maybe it’s time for plan C.

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  13. George 3 years ago

    Just blow up this garbage O-line and play the freshman. Plan for the future. BK has been raving about Tommy Kraemer since day 1 anyway. Time to grow a pair and play your most talented guys. He already said his center is atrocious. Bench his ass then. Liam E. and Parker B. can’t be any worse than our starters anyway. ND football has nothing to lose at this point. Play some guys who have something to prove. Play some guys who have the desire to dominate.

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  14. bruce johnson 3 years ago

    For more than two decades, Notre Dame has neglected its greatest teaching instrument-its football team. At one time the team’s success made Notre Dame unique. You learned that on any give day you could rise to the challenge and beat anything, or anybody, no matter what the odds. Everyone learned Rudy’s lesson: you never ever gave up. You learned about teamwork and that people who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society. The team’s striving for incredible excellence permeated everything at Notre Dame. Every graduate believed that in his life he could take all those lessons and apply them to politics, to public service, to his family life and his faith.

    But two decades of neglect have put all that the University stands for in jeopardy. Who could not watch dumbfounded as the University let one athletic director hire one loser after another. The first an assistant coach- you never ever hire an assistant coach for the toughest coaching job in the nation. He then tried to hire the rambling Irish wreck, who was not even much of a coach, and didn’t even vet him properly. It was a huge embarrassment for the University. To save face he hires another, whose uniqueness as a black head coach makes him initially immune from criticism; but ultimately he is not a great coach. Finally, he tries to buy a big time professional coach, whose waddling across the field is an embarrassment to all great athletes. Even more embarrassing watching him yell at Brady Quinn on national tv. In the end the players gave up on him. The result was the worst football season in a forty years year. Someone was a completely poor judge of men.

    We get a new athletic director who says maybe Notre Dame might win a national championship one day. Hardly a commitment to excellence, when at one time the team fought for the national title every year. Then he hires a new head coach from a second rate football school in ten whole days, hardly an auspicious beginning.

    If you want to be the best, you take time, you prepare, you find the best coach in America. Even then the odds are long.

    It becomes quickly apparent that Brian Kelly is no messiah. There is no quick return to glory. The defensive coordinator the new coach brings allows the opposition 25 points a game on average. There are no shutouts. They lose more games in half a season than Ara Parseghian lost in four years. And this coach too humiliates his players on national TV by yelling at them. Such a lack of dignity and grace under pressure. Imagine, John Wooten, having ever having done such a thing. If they had been coached and trained properly, there would have been no need to yell. I praqy that he can grow into the job.

    Even worse the new athletic director says the new coach is like a great corporate ceo. I am reminded of the JFK quote: “My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now.” The team’s integrity has been sold: a new plush stadium, a TV show for the athletyic director, gimmick helmets and shoes to promote sales, even a commercial where the sacred fighting Irish leprechaun is used as a prop. Shades of the gecko. Notre Dame football has become a business, not an instrument for learning, self sacrifice, excellence or teamwork.

    Imagine how the players must feel. When I was there you never ever criticized the team. That was gospel. I do not do that now. But, many of the best players in the nation believe Notre Dame has lost its will. And go somewhere else. Jimmy Clausen left early and I heard him say on national TV, he never lost a game until he came to Notre Dame and they went 3-9. And he was a great quarterback.

    Something is terribly wrong. Not just football, but the University’s acceptance of this bumbling toward pathos. Vince Lombardi said it this way: “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” This failure, this acceptance of failure, this benign neglect affects all the University does and the way it presents itself to the nation.

    Father Hesburgh once said: “ My belief is and always has been that the University
    ought to do everything, academics, athletics, you name it in a first rate manner.”

    But, the athletic director, the University’s President, the Board of Trustees and the Holy Cross Fathers have accepted something less.

    Unless that changes, what set Notre Dame apart and above, Duke, Yale or Harvard or Stanford, was its belief in itself. At one time the University’s team was an inspiration for poor and middle class kids all across the country, and no other school had such a faithful feeder system or a subway alumni. No other school had such a rich legacy. No other school had Notre Dame’s true grit, or its indomitable spirit. But that is all at risk now. Espn’s definition of Notre Dame football, mediocrity.

    America’s greatest President Franklin Roosevelt knew the value of spirit:

    “It is not enough to clothe and feed the body of the nation, and instruct and inform its mind. For there is the spirit and of the three, the greatest is the spirit. Without the body and mind, as all men know, the nation could not live. But, if the spirit of America were killed … the America we know would have perished.”

    Our spirit, our legacy is at risk.

    I have been hard. Dale Carnegie teaches us that genuine appreciation and seeing things from the other fellow’s point of view are the keys to personal success. All the efforts of every member of the Notre dame family are appreciated and we can see that many of these people did their best and often above their best. But, another coach said it this way: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

    Its time to regain our legacy of winning and make sure that the spirit of Notre Dame never perishes. It takes a great leader, a motivator, someone who can inspire. Its not Brian Kelly.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 years ago

      Come on BJ,
      You don’t even believe yourself when you say the football team is ND’s “greatest teaching instrument”, do you?

      The football team is the most visible sign of the university and its uniqueness to millions of people who have never simply walked around on the campus (because they’ve never had the chance). And that is what it should be, and has been.

      But it is the men and women who go there for an education and the men and women who teach there (and coach there) who are the greatest teaching instruments.

      So we need to restore the winning ways of the team, for sure, and not be mediocre in football, or anything else. As the Wicked Witch of the West once asked herself “but how to do it, my pretty?”

      Bruce GC
      La Crosse, Indiana

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