The 2019 season is a good lesson that even though you don’t always get what you want, you can still appreciate the things you have.
For many, the Michigan loss puts a pall over everything that’s happened this season. It’s an understandable feeling; Michigan is the devil, and it’s one thing to lose; it’s another thing to get humiliated. That’s tough. It also clinched Notre Dame losing the two marquee games on the schedule this year, which again, can make the whole thing a bit hollow.
However, losing to the marquee teams usually signals some kind of collapse or a poor overall showing in a season, and that didn’t happen this year, albeit with one game to play. And when looking back on what happened and what could have happened, there is a lot to like about how things have transpired.
So, in the spirit of the season and in appreciating the effort put forth by the players and the program, these are the things I’m most thankful for this year.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, Hamilton is my favorite thing about the team this year, and I’ve enjoyed every second watching him play. The reason we gravitate towards sports is we want to see greatness, to see players do things that can’t be done. That’s why guys like Will Fuller and Jaylon Smith resonate so much. How can Fuller be as fast as he is? How can someone be so big and so athletic like Jaylon? And how can a 6-4, 210-pound freshman be as fluid and smooth as he is, with the ball skills of an elite receiver, and also hit like a truck?
Hamilton has shown us the full repertoire this season, checking off all of the boxes in an elite safety. Can he tackle? Oh, he can tackle. Does he have range? He’s got elite range. Does he play the ball? You know he does. Even on the play against Virginia Tech, when the refs tried to throw him out of the game for targeting, he was shown to have actually played the whole thing perfectly.
They tried to take our beloved Kyle away from us, but all they did was highlight that he is fundamentally perfect. This will be on teaching tapes around the country. pic.twitter.com/ViMSRoAalV
— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) November 7, 2019
You always want the guy on your team that everyone else wants. Every team in the country wishes they had Hamilton. Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, everyone. And we’ve got him, and we get him for the next two years. I can’t wait to watch it, and I’m thankful because it doesn’t happen very often.
Shaun Crawford and Trevor Ruhland
How are these guys even out on any field, let alone playing major college football? The chronicles of Crawford are well known. Two ACL tears, one Achilles tear, and a dislocated elbow which occurred this season. He’s 5-8 and 170 pounds. Maybe. He shouldn’t have been able to come back from the first injury and play at a high level, let alone all the others.
And Ruhland, his journey is less known, but equally impressive, if not more so. He’s got messed up shoulders, a messed up back, terrible knees, and a slew of other ailments. No one on the staff, and even Ruhland himself, thought in the offseason that he’d play this season. But, he wanted to give it one more go for and with his teammates. He thought he’d mainly be a reserve, but that all changed when Tommy Kraemer hurt his knee against Michigan. Ruhland has started every game since, and regardless of how well anyone thinks he’s played, the team is 4-0, ranked 15th, and he’s the starting guard.
These are the guys who make us feel foolish for saying anything negative about any of them, ever. They’ve killed their bodies for their teammates and their school for free. Be thankful they do this so we can be happy on fall Saturdays.
Johnathan Doerer And Jay Bramblett
You sneaky devils. Doerer was supposed to be bad and was supposed to cost us at least one game this year. Instead, he probably won us the USC game and kept the momentum going against Boston College when the offense sputtered in the first half, making four field goals. On the season he is 12-14, has made all of his extra points, and he just looks smooth doing it. Johnathan, we salute you.
Bramblett has been mostly steady as a punter, nothing too flashy, but thank you for those quick hands against Virginia Tech. It was magical.
This is some straight sorcery though. pic.twitter.com/KA6XeJExwl
— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) November 2, 2019
Asmar Bilal, Drew White, Jeremiah Owusu Karomoah
Notre Dame had to replace captains Drue Tranquill and Te’Von Coney, plus moves Bilal from Rover to Buck, and it was all supposed to be terrible. No one believed in Bilal, save for a few bloggers like Chris Wilson from the Rakes Report and Ryan Ritter at Her Loyal Sons, and replacing the production of Coney and Tranquill was not possible. It was going to be doom.
Well, that’s not how it went.
Those are three of the top four tacklers in total tackles and tackles for loss, they’ve gone from question marks to the most consistent high performers on the defense, and they are the reason Notre Dame has the record they have.
Owusu Koramoah has been an absolute beast, destroying plays and players, while bringing an athleticism to the position the staff was waiting for when they recruited him. Pound for pound, he’s up there with hardest hitters like Jaylon and Manti, and man he might surpass those guys. He is thunderous.
"Oh yeah, one handed catch, this bad boy is going on my highlight ta…" pic.twitter.com/S2Ces8BiFf
— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) November 23, 2019
What else can be said about Asmar Bilal? Is there a more important player on this team? He’s been incredible this year, and it’s a lesson not to give up on any player, ever, because you never know when the light will turn on. It turned on for Bilal post-Louisville, and he’s never looked back. He made one of the best plays of the season against Georgia when he turned in a play even Jaylon Smith would be proud of tracking down elite running back DeAndre Swift.
Can't get over this play by Asmar against Georgia. Thunders the run, reads play action, settles his feet and stays locked to Swift, reacts to the route and runs him down for a TFL. This is the top of the sport. Put Jaylon in there and he doesn't do it better. pic.twitter.com/7UYz5pROJu
— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) October 1, 2019
A real house of horrors would have been dropping USC and Michigan in back to back weeks, and I’m very thankful that didn’t happen. This has extra significance for me as a Southern California native. Life would have been pretty miserable had they dropped that game. And it looks like Clay Helton could keep his job on top of it, so a perfect scenario.
Greg, you did a nice job listing some of the positives from the team.
Gift ideas for any Michigan fan on your list this year.
Wanna make him laugh? Give him a ND shirt.
Wanna make him seethe? Give him an Appalachian State shirt.
I’m thankful for the in game commentary on this board. Truly epic.
Your selflessness in not taking any credit for your personal share of the inanity, or the tone it sets, is noted.
I’m thankful for Chase Claypool!
Btw, NDCRAZYMIKE said that Chase Claypool is not an elite receiver in college football right now. Check the post in the BC overreactions. Unbelievable!
HE’S not listed in the top 25 for college receivers put out by the SPORTING NEWS, or listed in the 5 honorable mention!! But then you know more than them and all of us, UNBELIEVABLE!!
Well unlike you NDCRAZYMIKE, I don’t need an organization to tell me who the best receivers are in the NCAA. If you don’t think Claypool is elite with that size, speed (for his size), hands, route running, blocking, and the ability to break lots of tackles and get yards after catch, then you my friend don’t know your A from a hole in the ground. Happy Thanksgiving NDCM!
CLAYPOOL IS RANKED 46TH IN RECEIVING YRDS!! 7 of HIS 10 TDS came against NEW MEX. , BOWL GREEN AND 4 AGAINST NAVY! Add 1 more in the game against DUKE and that’s 8 of 10 tds against the lesser opponets you talk about! 8 catches 108 yrds and 1 td vs. MICH and GEORGIA! KJ HAMMLER HAD 6 CATCHES FOR 108 & TD against MICH the week b4 ND played MICH.!! DONT LET THE FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR STUPIDITY CHRISSY!! When you and sis were bored at the DUKE game you should’ve broke out candyland hunny!! OR tell us about the % of running the QB sneak the family studied! THROW THE BOMB NOW…..DOPE
LOL because stats don’t lie right NDCM!? If he had a real QB to get him the ball more his stats would stack up to anyone. We all know Book wasn’t looking downfield for the first half of the season but lately has actually been getting the ball downfield and Claypools stats have been amazing. Once again your points are trash.
Everyone here is too nice to put you on blast for thinking Chase Claypool is not an elite receiver. It’s all good. You lost credibility with me a long time ago but this really topped it off. No need to keep arguing with a moron.
Any team that focuses on defending Claypool beats ND.
It’s that simple.
Is that high praise for Claypool’s talents, or a damning indictment of a complete failure of ND offensive gameplanning?
Here’s what to thankful for this season: No inexplicable sleepwalking, brain-fart losses to a nobody. And finally routing some lesser teams they should rout.
But that’s about it. Nothing exciting….just meeting the bar of mediocrity.
I keep thinking back to watching Notredame growing up watching Ara’s Lou’s and Devine’ teams when Notredame was elite winning national championships and being able to win consistently against other elite teams at that time such as Texas Alabama USC Miami Florida Florida State Michigan PennState etc.I would like to think Brian Kelly In his remaining few years can get Notredame over the top.I think on defense and special teams Notredame is there .Offense there not. What will it take for Notredame to have an offense like Alabama Ohio State LSU Clemson Oklahoma.Is it strictly talent or do they need a great oline coach offensive coordinator New scheme structure blocking principles blocking techniques. Seems to me Notredame has the same problems every year being they cannot consistently dominate the line of scrimmage..
Pete-Yes, 100%. Hard to imagine highly recruited players unable to perform…against anyone, thus Mr. Books happy feet.
Whether still the case or not, Kelly’s reputation for ruining and chasing off QBs in his time at ND means he’s never going to get the very best prospects at that position to come to South Bend. He earned that, and deserves it.
That there’s an administration above him that values stability above excellence means he’s going to stay at ND as long as he wants.
And any fan who blindly puts up with “wow, 10 wins!, isn’t that a tremendous feat!” deserves no better.