5 Things I Didn’t Like from Notre Dame’s Appearance on Public Access TV

Notre Dame beat Duke last weekend in a rather convincing fashion.  It was in many ways, the most complete game Notre Dame has played all year long.  It wasn’t, however, without a few things not to like.  Thankfully this week, though, the things not to like were a little harder to come by, and some are even more of the nit-picking variety.   It’s a nice change following the last few weeks.

Apologies on the late posting of this column this week, work has me on the road all week and free time has been tough to come by. 

1. The coverage by the ACC Network

Let’s get this one out of the way.  That coverage was terrible.  And terrible in a “shut up, Flutie” or a “what the heck were you watching, Terry” sort of way like the typical NBC coverage we’re subjected to regularly.  For starter’s, the video quality was terrible.  You’re not going to get too many people to fork over extra money towards their cable bill when you’re delivering poor quality video.  It’s 2019.

The hilariously bad commercials prove just how hard of a time ESPN and the ACC are having trying to sell that second rate network.  They are scraping the bottom of the barrel for sponsors right now, and nothing said that louder than the public access level ad spots.

And of course, the ACC Network had to dig up footage of Boston College beating Notre Dame in 1999 because Tim Hasselbeck was the color commentator.  Pro tip ACC Network, nothing will enrage Notre Dame fans more than needlessly inserting video clips of the Irish losing to Boston College.

If you signed up for a free trial to some service just to get that network for the game, please remember to cancel.

2. Notre Dame’s lack of a running game outside of Ian Book

While it was great to see Ian Book running for 139 yards as the Irish rediscovered the QB keeper off the zone read, the lack of a running game from the Notre Dame running backs was concerning.  Sophomores Jahmir Smith and C’bo Flemister did flash some promise again, but Tony Jones Jr and Jafar Armstrong both looked less than 100%.  Brian Kelly has said the duo is healthy, but they looked anything but healthy on Saturday night.

Notre Dame is going to need to keep drives alive and can’t waste possessions if they want to beat Navy, and they’ll need the running game to do that.  They can’t just rely on Ian Book to pace the rushing attack again this weekend.  Hopefully, that means more Jahmir Smith, who has looked like the back with the best vision on the roster most of the season.

Notre Dame got 27 yards on ten carries from Jones and Armstrong.  Flemister and Smith, on the other handed, combined for 73 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.

3. The game nearly turning in the final four minutes of the 1st half

Lost in Notre Dame’s comfortable win over Duke was the last four minutes of the first half in which the game nearly turned in favor of the Dukies after almost a half of dominance from Notre Dame.  The Irish lead 21-0 and looked like they were on the verge of going up 28-0 before a questionable holding penalty negated a 78-yard pass from Ian Book to Chris Finke.

That’s when things nearly went awry for Notre Dame.

After the Finke pass was wiped out, Notre Dame ultimately punted with Jay Bramblett netted just 22 yards on a punt.  Duke, who did nothing all half to that point, scored two plays later when Donte Vaugh stumbled and let Aaron Young get behind him for a 29-yard touchdown.

Okay, not great, but not terrible, right?.  Well, two plays into Notre Dame’s ensuing drive, Ian Book threw an interception that set up Duke at the Irish 45-yard line with 2:09 left.  It felt like Groundhound Day for Notre Dame fans at that point.  After jumping out to a 21-0 lead and looking like there were on the verge of 28-0 and were now suddenly staring at going into halftime up maybe only seven points.

Luckily for Notre Dame, Duke couldn’t move the football and then missed a field goal right before the half to keep the lead at 21-7.  In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t impact the end result, against a better team it could have cost Notre Dame dearly.

4. Notre Dame losing Julian Okwara for the season

Perhaps the most disappointing development from Saturday night’s win was the damper that came on Sunday when Brian Kelly announced that senior defensive end Julian Okwara was lost for the season with a broken fibula.  Okwara came back for what most thought would be a monster senior season, but outside of a brief glimpse of him being a game-wrecker against Virginia, Okwara was relatively quiet most of the season.  His season ended, and Notre Dame career, ended on Saturday night in Durham with just 4.0 sacks this season – 3.0 of which came in that Virginia game.

Notre Dame entered the 2019 season with unprecedented, for them, depth at the defensive end position, and it has been tested.  After losing Daelin Hayes for the year earlier this season, Notre Dame decided against redshirting Jamir Jones.  With Okwara now lost for the year, Jones will be a full-time starter for the final three games and the bowl game. The only positive spin on the defensive end injuries is that Notre Dame will get Hayes back for a 5th year since his injury took place so early in the year.

5. Not getting Phil Jurkovec more reps in the 4th quarter

Brian Kelly has said repeatedly that Phil Jurkovec isn’t ready yet and needs more experience.  He had an opportunity to get Jurkovec some experience on Saturday night but decided against sending out the sophomore quarterback with a 31-7 lead and nearly 9:00 minutes left on the clock. Instead, he sent out starter Ian Book for one final drive.

Book led the Irish to a touchdown, so it’s hard to argue with the result, but at this point, Notre Dame isn’t playing for style points, so did that touchdown ultimately matter? Wouldn’t getting real, live snaps for a sophomore quarterback who Kelly has said time and time again this year needs to play more?

Jurkovec finally did enter the game with just over 4:00 minutes left as the Irish ran out the clock.  He did not attempt a pass in the seven whole reps Kelly got him.  Two of those seven, by the way, were kneel-downs.

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  1. NBC isn’t good enough…and now ACC network gets belittled.
    Guess what? ND football is bush league garbage, and people want better entertainment.

    Get over your smug, elitist, entitled, navel-gazing BS.

  2. With regards to catching Irish games:
    I have a regular antenna that you buy from bestbuy or something, it was a one time $75. That gets like 35 channels, ABC, CBS, FOX NBC, which covers most of the big games every Saturday. Its nice because FCC mandates the major networks broadcast via old school antenna for free for emergency broadcast services should they be required.
    In August I signed up for sling TV, an a la carte service. Theres two channel options, orange and blue, I opted for both of them ($40/month) this gives me ESPN and most of its affiliates. I also added the sports package for an additional $10month which has… ACC network. It also has NFL redzone. Theres no contract, so I can cancel after the season, so like $200 for the year total.
    It’s a big ad hoc and pieced together, but since I vehemently despise the major TV services with year long obligations, I’ve been very happy with this, and i recommend it to others looking to catch the Irish on all stations.

  3. Jurkovec should have been given the entire 4th quarter. He needed the reps in a live game. If Book gets hurt and Jurkovec is rusty due to a lack of live reps, who’s fault is that?

  4. Frank, you are pretty much by yourself on the first point. If ND asked their fans if they wanted to stay on NBC for no additional cost or pony up $5 for Comcast, Verizon, Hulu (or any other provider) the overwhelmingly majority of ND fans would pay the money for the ACC Network. Everything about the game was so much better than NBC. From the commentators, to the camera angles, to the presentation, it was all heads and shoulders better than NBC.

    1. I didn’t see the game since I currently don’t get the ACC network, so I can’t comment on their quality.

      But in all fairness, it’s a brand new network and we may have to give them time to get up to speed on everything. They’re probably still working out all the kinks and I’d expect there to be some improvements as time goes on and as more cable networks sign on.

      Does anyone know, did anything carry over from the previous ACC network incarnation. I know in my area one of our local TV stations carried the ND Basketball games that were broadcast over the previous “ACC Network”. I don’t believe that was affiliated with ESPN but was it’s own sort of thing. I never had any major issues with that version but I don’t know if any of that was absorbed in the new ESPN-ACC Network and was curious if anyone knew anything about that (or did they start from scratch)

    2. Kelly had a chance to get the backup QB some meaningful reps late in the 4th quarter and he shit the bed. I don’t care whether its PJ or Clark but get them in the game and let them run the offense. I cant think of any other way to get the backups some quality reps and BK puts PJ in with just under 5 minutes to go and has him bleed the clock. Book is one hit away from being replaced and when or if that happens ND wont be ready for it. Kelly has done a horrible job with the QBs in his 10 years at ND. Its the main reason why they haven’t been able to beat the top tier teams.

  5. “Wouldn’t getting real, live snaps for a sophomore quarterback who Kelly has said time and time again this year needs to play more?”

    It would, and shouldn’t Kelly have allowed Jurkovec to PASS the ball once or twice.

    More and more it’s looking like Kelly, in his mind, needs to post 9 or 10 wins a season to justify his staying on past his contract year…next year?

    I’m personally rooting for Navy and BC to upset his grand ‘scheme’. This season is lost. A bowl game is in the cards, but meaningless in all regards.

    I’ll take a ‘come what may’ new coach rather than watch Kelly lose the one or two ‘big’ games every season.

    1. Regardless of how any Notre Dame fan feels about Brian Kelly or any single coach or player, we should never root for our team to lose.

    2. I think it’s time for BK to go too. I tried to keep an open mind after he overhauled his staff and philosophy after the 2016 fiasco. I lost faith in him, but still took a wait and see attitude. But it’s not happening. We might have the occasional playoff appearance, but we’re not beating the elite teams. I said before 2012 told us how far from elite we are. 7 years later and we are no closer (and some years further away). It’s just not in the cards for BK. He’d probably be great at Purdue or Illinois or some school like that, that don’t expect NC’s, where the bar is a good bowl game and the occasional conference championship. But for teams whose goal is NC’s, he’s just not elite.

      I haven’t quite crossed that bridge to rooting for ND to lose games, like I did in Weis’ final season. Partly that was because at that time I wanted BK and their was a limited opening to get him and the time was right. Perhaps if there was some coach out there I saw that ND was in line for who had that elite mindset I might feel differently. Right now I’m not seeing anyone (that can be reasonably be expected to come to ND—for instance Urban Meyer is never going to coach at ND so he’s not on my radar).

      But that being said I am step closer. I may not be rooting for losses to get BK fired at this point (I’m not sure that would even work anyway under the current PTB), but I’m not excited about the upcoming games. I’m just more whatever.

      1. The point is that ND is not beating the elite teams.

        If ND is to win NC’s then they have to be able to beat the elite teams and be an elite team. That’s the only road to a championship.

        Now if you’re someone that doesn’t care if ND wins NC’s then you’re probably happy with BK. My point is that BK is not going to get you NC’s.

    3. WOW cheering for losses, how low can you go? Cheer for the kids bustin their ass for 4qrtrs who play for the pride and respect of ND FOOTBALL!! C”MON!! GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. That’s one reason I’m not rooting for losses at this point. I was there in 2009. Weis was a bad coach and he needed to go, and we had a short window of opportunity to get BK, who at the time I thought would bring it all home, foolish me.

        BK isn’t THAT bad. He’s better than 6-6. But I don’t believe he’s elite. We’re not going to win any NC’s with BK at the helm. And unfortunately 9-3, 10-2, the occasional playoff game is good enough for the powers at ND. Even if we get embarrassed in those games.

        So I can understand where Subway Alum and some fans are coming from. Simply put, if you ever want a national championship to come to ND it’s not going to happen under BK. But because 9+ win seasons is enough for the PTB’s at ND, the only way to get a better coach is if ND does worse than 9 wins.

        I’m also a huge Star Trek fan. In Star Trek we’d refer to that as a Kobayashi Maru scenario–a no win scenario. You want a new coach, a better coach. But to get that you need ND to lose a bunch of games because that’s the only way that’s going to happen. Yet as a fan you really don’t want ND to lose games, if for no other reason than for the players sake. So what do you do?

  6. I have Hulu live tv instead of any other carrier. Directtv just got way too expensive. So luckily I get NBC for home games, ESPN for some away games, FOX and the ACC network, which does blow, but I get to watch when they will be playing on it. If only Hulu carried ABC I’d be set for all the Irish games.
    I made the mistake of saying we have a great stable of backs this season earlier in the year so I will eat those words and apologize for letting them come out of my mouth.Smith needs to be the featured back the rest of the year. Jone Jr. is a good back that’s like a bowling ball when he runs. I love watching him punish DB’s and safetys but he hurts himself just as much. Armstrong tries to run people over more and more now but doesn’t have the low center of gravity and hurts himself more than them. Next season Jone Jr, Smith and Tyree. Give the young man some touches and use that speed. Armstrong can bounce back to a slot receiver or flip him and Tyree in the 2 back sets.
    I hate that Okwara had his career ended like this. Maybe it wasn’t a monster season like people predicted but they game planned around him and Kareem. Quick hitters and misdirection run plays have kept both at bay this season.
    I’ve said enough this week about Kelly and not using PJ more against Duke. I see Navy hanging around until the 4th quarter and PJ not getting any time this weekend.

  7. Big surprise, BK mishandling another QB with not getting Jurkovec meaningful reps. On the one hand BK says he needs more experience, then when given a chance to get him that very experience he fumbles. You get so few opportunities to play your next QB in line, why wouldn’t he in this case? I would not be at all surprised if Book ends this season as the clear starter for next year that we lose Jurkovec to a transfer. I don’t think he came to ND just to maybe play one season if he’s lucky. And if he sees he’s not going to start next year either why would he stay?

    And unfortunately Book at his best is not an elite QB ND needs to win NC’s. He’ll help the team beat the teams they usually should beat, but facing a top elite defense, he just doesn’t have the skill set to win those types of games.

    But then I no longer believe Swarbick, Jenkins or the true powers at ND care about NC’s. It’s all about the Benjamin’s. As long as ND has winning seasons, the money keeps rolling in and they get in the conversation now and again that’s all that matters. I’ve lost all hope that ND will ever win another NC again.

    1. Damien, I ‘liked’ your overall comment, but I’m less concerned with losing Jurkovec than losing the guy behind him…#7 Brendon Clark.

      First, even from as little as he’s allowed to practice with the first team, and from as little as I’ve seen him in game action, including Spring, he looks to have tons more talent than either of the QB’s ahead of him.
      So, as he witnesses how little time Jurkovec gets this year, he’s got to be thinking…”at best next year, thats all I’ll be getting…”

      I seriously am just watching these remaining games just to get another glimpse of him playing. After last week, with the way he managed Jurkovec’s playing time…it ain’t gonna happen for Clark. He should and will transfer.

      1. Subway Alum, I am also excited about what Brendon Clark brings to the table. I think he sticks around, especially if Jurkovec transfers. Clark didn’t come in with all the hype so being the backup in his second season probably won’t bother him much.

  8. Public TV. What trite, petty, elitist, entitled bullshit.
    NBC isn’t good enough for you clowns, either.

    But calling out zombie Brian Kelly….hey! watch it, bub!

    Sober up.

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