5 Things I Didn’t Like from Notre Dame v. Michigan ’14

For the second week in a row this column is extremely difficult to write because the Fighting Irish didn’t give us a whole lot not to like in their shutout of Michigan.   I even contemplated just publishing this column with 5 bullet points each of which read “Not a darn thing,” but after rewatching the game yesterday (thanks NBC Live Extra) I’m going to give it the ole’ college try though.

Early use of timeouts

Before the game was in hand and the tears started to flow from Michigan fans, Notre Dame’s offense used up all of their first half time outs before the first 15 minutes of time had ticked off the clock.  Brian Kelly downplayed the rapid use of their timeouts on Sunday by stating he isn’t too concerned with using first half timeouts, but at the time it was pretty concerning.

Was the environment a little too big for the young team?  Was Notre Dame just too amped up at the start of the game that it needed to settle down?  I’m not sure which it was, but it is something that Kelly needs to address in practice this week and something that can’t happen once the Irish reach that daunting October stretch.  Luckily for the Irish this didn’t come back to haunt them as they marched easily towards a 31 point shutout of the Wolverines.

Lack of a running game

Lost in the euphoria of the sound beating the Irish delivered was the fact that the Irish running game was largely shut down.  On Saturday night Kelly explained that Michigan decided to commit extra defenders to stop the run and thus the Irish went to the air to combat it but looking at a stat line of 54 yards on 31 carries is one of the very few blemishes in the box score from Saturday.

Overall, Michigan actually out-gained the Irish which sounds shocking considering how lopsided the score was, but they held the advantage in total yards 289 to 280.  Notre Dame will need to have some more sustained offense in future games as they won’t be able to count on creating four turnovers every week.

With a weaker opponent on tap this weekend, look for Brian Kelly to get the ground game going early.

The helmet to helmet hit on Trumbetti

You know a game went really well when one of the things I didn’t like was a missed helmet to helmet penalty on an offensive player, but the hit that Andrew Trumbetti took was dangerous.  In the first quarter Trumbetti got nailed with a helmet to helmet shot that sent him to the sidelines for a little while.  He was able to return to the field, but the hit Trumbetti took on Saturday was much more vicious than the one that Stephon Tuitt was ejected for against Pitt last year.

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Again, this one is nitpicking a bit since there really wasn’t a whole lot not to like against Michigan this weekend.  The only other reason this one made the list is because Mike Mayock praised the block Trumbetti took stating something along the lines of this is football.  Really Mayock?

Dropped passes

Speaking of nitpicking, another area for improvement on offense for this week needs to be the hands of the wide receivers.   Chris Brown, CJ Prosise, and Will Fuller all dropped some very catchable passes – Prosise on a critical early third down in the first half.  For Prosise, it was the second week in a row he dropped a pass that hit him squarely in his hands.  With Torii Hunter ahead of schedule in his return, it would be surprising if the sophomore didn’t see some immediate action once he is ready to return in the wake of the hands Prosise has displayed the last two weeks.  To be fair, this week’s drop was on a laser beam of a pass from Golson, but with a quarterback who has one of the strongest arms in the country, the Irish wide receivers will need to get used to holding on to those.

Side note here.  After rewatching the game, I have to make mention of the work Fuller did at the line of scrimmage for his touchdown at the end of the first half.  It was text book route running and a beautiful thing to watch.  Sorry for sneaking an extra thing I liked into this column, but you know what?  I’m sorry, I’m not sorry.

 The pick 6 that got called back

I have still not seen a great replay of the penalty that was called to be fair so this is not a complaint that the penalty was called.  It may have been legit, it may not.  Not going to argue that at this point.   This one made the list because had the pick 6 stood it would have went down as one of the most epic ways to end a rivalry ever.  As I sat in my seat during the final seconds someone joked it would be great if the game ended up on a pick six and we all chuckled.  Then it happened and Notre Dame Stadium was sent into a state of euphoria I haven’t experienced.  All until we saw the flag.

You still can’t be upset at all with the outcome of the game, but having the last image of the Notre Dame – Michigan rivalry be a pick six capping off a 37-0 shut out would have been the kind of script that even Hollywood wouldn’t believe given the way Notre Dame has played in this series the last few years.

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Special mention for things I didn’t like goes to the line outside the Backer following the win.  I would have loved to toast an Irish victory from inside the Backer but the two block long line wasn’t moving anywhere.

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85 Comments

      1. Did you see him take off on that 25yd run and lower his shoulder into the Toledo DB. That was nice. I was pissed to see him leave but i still want to see him do well.

      2. I am happy for him. It was best for him to go. I just can’t see him taking the job off of Golson. He is playing in a silly game right now with over 1,100 yards of total offense.

      3. He does look like a Beast out there. It wouldve been real interesting if he had stayed. He may have taken the job away from Tommy last year and that wouldve made this year real interesting. Glad it worked out the way it did though.

  1. Sean, I like the fact that you watched the film and did your analysis.
    this board ought be more about football and less about badinage.

    So, Sean, I guess I am requesting that you keep analyzing the film and keep posting your analyses. Now, I am confident that posters will disagree with your conclusions from time to time, but this is about Notre Dame. We whould be classy and adult enough to speak our opinion, and when we disagree, agree to disagree agreeably.

    “Nobody can take away your dignity-or your class-without your permission”

  2. And more to look at

    (1) “We could be 6-6” Chicken Little

    (2) I heard a nasty rumor that there are some people, some of whom actually play football for Notre Dame, that actually have a lot of confidence in Kelly.

    (3) Some dude, on some website wrote “We all know that poster X is in love with lobbing grenades at Kelly.”

    (4) You only get one chance to make a first impression.

    We report, you decide!

  3. I also was not impressed by the run blocking. Here are some things to look at:

    1. Line has no come together. They lost a Great leader in Martin and need to find their rythym

    2. I watched Bryant cut back against the grain on a run that he should have followed his blockers

    3. We all know BK is in love with chucking the ball

    4. I would say BK hasn’t made running a priority. I have not seen a lot of Option read. I don’t know if Golson has had more than three designed runs.

    After two games there is a concern with the run game. We shall see if thus line can become one and have an effective run game

  4. Broke down the game film (I’m a psycho), fun game to re-watch. D is very good (not great), but a blast to watch, love the aggression and attack/swarm mentality.
    Ok, I’m gonna say it, O-line is terrible. Really some pathetic plays out there. Kelly said they were stacking the line, they really weren’t, mostly 6 guys, rarely saw more than that. They couldn’t open holes, sustain blocks, or get to the 2nd level on a consistent basis.

    Saw 74 get knocked on his butt by a small linebacker, Stanley was too slow on the end rush and got pushed around. Weak UM d-line got good pressure, ND had a lot of quick throws and 3 step drops, plus Golstons elusiveness, that is hiding the weakness of the line.

    I like Hiestand, great recruiter, not positive on his talent in coaching. Might just be young guys, growing pains, learning to play together. Regardless, we got problems up front, big time, imo, and when we play the big boys, especially Stanford, Golston better play lights out, cause we are 1 dimensional right now.

    Then again, what the hell do I know…

      1. What’s ur problem? So what, I like to do it, I coach football and enjoy looking at film. This board is to express your opinions, not to troll and rip on people. WTF dude?

      2. You’re gonna need a thicker skin d-bag. Since you coach then you will understand you can’t break down film unless you actually know the play being called. How could you possibly grade anything? Your just watching it like the rest of us, quit making it sound so official.

        So lighten up Francis and enjoy the ride. I come to this site for the humor and to read what you morons post.

    1. I think the O line is primarily and working together process, maybe a little youth as well. I don’t buy the stacking the line issue either, everyone knows what Wisconsin is going to do, but they impose their will on all but elite defenses. Maybe need to McGlinchy tight end formation and let that nasty Quentin Nelson unleash his 325 lbs. out there.

  5. There was a Georgia tech game I
    remember where they kept running straight at em, they stacked the line against us on 4th and 1, bob gladieux slipped behind the whole gt defense and caught a touchdown pass, the run can set up a passing game
    now and then, still waiting for a halfback
    pass!

    1. Rudy played in that game. The game has changed and if you don’t adapt you will be left behind. Did you notice the smoke when they came out of the tunnel

  6. He is an average receiver but with Daniels absent we are thin. But I am really excited about the season Amir may have. I would say he is our go-to right now. Corey will see more catches too.
    Go Irish!

  7. Has anybody noticed that Chris Brown is on pace to eclipse his total receptions of 15 last year. At his current pace his total receptions this year will be 18. Always a lot of hype surrounding this guy in the spring then he disapears in the fall.

  8. You are right BJ. It will come. Whatever happened to a RB getting 20-25 carries per game. A RB needs time to get a feel for the game. How can they with 8 freakin carries? Oh but we need fresh legs. Garbage!!! These guys are young and conditioned.
    If they will listen to me? Lol. Jk.

    1. Tell that to Michigan….

      Thier game plan as you suggest, was focused around a main primary offensive player in WR Devin Funchess.

      Yeah, he had his catches, his yards, and at games’ end he hobbled off the field beaten with his team shutout!

      No doubt he had a feel for the game… be it a bad one!

      1. We appreciate your spunk and tenacity but when you utter four words never before spoken on here you sort of lose credibility.

        “You are right BJ.”

  9. IT WAS 1966 AND THEY HAD SEVERAL SHUTOUTS IN A ROW GOING, SOMEONE SCORED ON THEM AND THE NEXT SERIES THEY RAN THE BALL 8 TIMES IN ROW DOWN THEIR THROAT UNTIL THEY SCORED. I KEPT HEARING CONJAR 8 YARDS, CONJAR 6 YARDS, CONJAR, CONJAR. CONJAR! GIVE THE BALL TO BRYANT AND LET HIM RUN. WE NEED A RUNNING GAME. IRISH STYLE. HERE IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX5dk3XvzYs.

    1. bj,

      I think you should give up the horse farm (and uhnd) and go to work for the CIA.

      I bet in no time you could squash ISIS, provoke unconditional surrender from Assad, and drive the Russians out of the Ukraine in one fell swoop!
      (I’m not even in the Syrian army and I know that I want to surrender!)

      Terrorism? Mere child’s play!
      Dirty bombs? They pass right through you!
      Beheadings? Fearless! As if you have nothing to lose!

      Sir… YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU!

      NOW!

      RIGHT FREAKING NOW!

    2. bj,

      If the defense has 8 in the box it dictates a run. If you are up by 21 there is no need to keep pushing the ball. Take the foot off of the gas and coast. I have no problem with the game plan on offense against Michigan. Now if teams start dropping 8 and playing nickel and dime than pound the ball down their throat.

    3. This isn’t 1966; the game is completely different now. If you can’t throw the ball, you can’t win. Fatigued players create a higher likelihood of injury. Playing one back an entire game is going to hurt recruiting of backs. Running the ball every time is going to hurt recruiting of quarterbacks and receivers. I’m sure this list goes on extensively.

  10. You must have post-James Aldridge syndrome. But this 5 star RB is different. You will soon see. I am glad you hope so I was beginning to wonder.

      1. If that’s how you prefer it, to each his own. Just wait until the “higher intellects” start attacking. Do you enjoy Latin phrases and Christian diatribes? If so, you are in luck. Just make sure to have google nearby. As JDH said…..it is your friend.

  11. Oh I guess you havent seen him run yet. Explosiveness, speed, ability to spin out of tackles,and a confidence that he knows his potential. I mean look at him. He looks like he should play for a top SEC team.

      1. Reggie Brooks avg 8 yds per carry for his career.
        I think the kid is a stud as well but to say he’s the best we’ve seen based on nothing is silly. I truly hope he is but I’m going with the coach.

  12. Give the rock to GB. He would be the featured back on any top SEC team or any top 10 team, right now. He is unlike anything we have seen at this program.

    1. I’ll give you he looks like a beast in a uniform but agree with Ron, based on what?

      Maybe he doesn’t know the plays, can’t catch, can’t pick up a blitz. There might be a dozen reasons he doesn’t play more.

  13. Michigan had 7 men up front. You take what they give you. Great game plan!
    We have to get some of the 5 back. It hurts the depth and will be costly
    later in the season.

  14. Right now the only things that worry me minus the 5 suspended players out are the drops and lack of being physical from the O Line. They are pass blocking well and I know Michigan’s gameplan was to crowd the box and make Golson beat them with his arm but the line just couldn’t get any push at all at times. Maybe I was expecting to much heading into the season because I don’t our line would be a elite unit this year.

  15. I could not disagree more on the Redfield hit to Gardner. Gardner became a defender and was running toward the ball carrier. Redfield hit him with forearm and hands pushing him over because he was the closest defender to him. Clean play, leagal hit, bush league call. The ref’s got this wrong robbing Shumate and ND fans of a historic finish.

    1. You can disagree all you want but that’s the rule. After a pick you can’t hit the qb unless he is trying to make a tackle. You can tell yourself all you want that Gardner was trying to make a play but he wasn’t. Be grateful they learn this lesson on a meaningless play and not in a close game.

  16. if the last second ND touchdown had counted why wouldn’t ND get a chance at the point after conversion? I know time had expired but the clock doesn’t run for the point after conversion.

  17. The “feature back” deal is a relic of a bygone era. Go back to look at even the great Todd Gurley of Georgia. While he was ripping up Clemson,
    Richt was still getting multiple carries for Sony Michel, Nick Chubb and Keith Marshall. And we don’t have a Todd Gurley.

    At Alabama, most of the carries go to Yeldon and Derrick Henry, but
    some other players get a few. And we have neither a Yeldon or a Henry.

    At LSU, star recruit Leonard Fournette is sharing carries with some upperclassmen.

    At USC, Buck Allen gets the most, but Justin Davis gets his share too.

    You can complain about the feature back all you want, but you won’t see it South Bend or in many of the other places in college football.

    It’s the way of the world.

    1. Gurley had 15 carries while the others had 4-5 carries. Allen for USC has 45 carries thru two games. Just my opinion but i would rather see Cam get the ball 25 times than an equal work load for all three. Plenty of teams out there using the featured back deal.

      1. jeff, good stuff, keep it coming.

        But if, perchance, next year, if we have Bryant, Folston, Jamobo with Adams redshirting, do you want a feature back or to feed all three?

        For SC, Buck Allen does have 45, but Justin Davis has 20 and Toland 12. So that’s a 45/32 ratio for the feature back. 58% of the tailback carries. Does that meet your standard?

      2. I will answer your first question next year IF those two guys are actually on the ND roster. The way recruiting goes for ND these days I doubt both of them will be there.

        I believe Greg Bryant is the most talented of the RBs and should get the bulk of the carries. Like you have pointed out we wont see a featured back at ND. I think BK wishes GA111 was still here so he could divide it up four ways. 18/6/6

  18. Another that had me nervous was that first string was in there longer than i thought was necessary. Skunkheads was only going to get madder at the shut out and I didn’t want EG getting hurt a la Funchess for a game that was well in hand!

  19. The one thing i didnt like and continue not to like about BK is his refusal to find a feature back out of the three studs that he has to choose from. I dont know how a RB is suppose to get into the flow of the game when he is in for one series and then sits for the next two series. If Bryant or Folston were to get 20 touches a game they will break one. Instead everyone gets 8 carries. Surprised BK doesnt rotate QBs every other series.

    1. one more thing i dont like. Five suspended players still not on the field. How F ing long does it take to investigate these allegations and render a decision. Its going to really suck if some are found innocent and they miss 4 or 5 games.

      1. How long? Too long!

        42 days . . . and counting . . .
        And some accuse Obama of being indecisive!
        Maybe appeals have been filed by the players, which wouldn’t be a good sign . . .
        Instead of JFK’s’ which way did the head go’, we sit and wonder ‘which way will the honor code heads go ?

      2. They will announce the suspensions and the final verdict after the Purdue game. This way it can be released during a bye week and it won’t effect game prep. I have thought this all along.

  20. I do not think the Trumbetti hit was nitpicking. I was at the game so I did not see it until I got the DVR going, but he was clearly hit in the head with the TE’s helmet! I think that is a big deal. What if we had lost another guy on the d-line? We have handled the thin depth pretty well so far, but the depth cart can only take so much!
    A couple things I would like to add is when speed options plays are called, i.e. read option or off-tackle option, use the speed backs and not Cam. I love Cam do not get me wrong, but no matter how much he does not want to be labeled, he is situational back and those are not the situations to use him.
    Also whould like to see the O-line a little more together. Now this is being picky, but Hanratty and Elmer had some mistakes that will need to be cleaned up if they want to be a playoff team. At least that scenario can be thought about even though it’s only two weeks into the season! Awesome start Irish!

  21. Is it just me or is Mayock infuriating to listen to during these NBC games? I can’t tell if my judgement is clouded as a ND fan, or if he is really that bad. Help me out here. Interesting side note, Mayock replaced Pat Haden in the booth a few years ago. What an embarrassment for USC that was this weekend.

    Additionally, Mayock’s pal Dan Hicks got Michigan and ND mixed up twice during the game.

    I would go as far as to say, NBC needs to consider some better announcers.

    1. Like Haden (from $C) before him, Mayock, a BC grad, is a closet ND hater (the worst kind). His subtle minimizing of ND week-in-and week-out
      leads me to turn on the radio.
      When I watch replays of the game, I’m reminded what Mayock is, and what role he serves for NBC.

      Remember, both Haden and Mayock fulfill their role to keep ND haters tuned in, since ND fans will be there regardless of the subtle diminishing of ND by Mayock.”Michigan has two starting DBs out” he bemoaned over and over again, until FINALLY Hicks reminded him we did,too. Then the helmet-to-helmet hit on Trumbetti was hailed by Mayock as “That’s what college football is all about.” Really?
      He wasn’t so sure when Redfield cleanly belted Gardiner at game’s end, was he? Mayock is a tool.

      1. I have to turn off the sound it’s so infuriating sometimes. No question in my mind they hire haters to bring those fans in to watch these games. No question. Let’s face it, we’ll be watching these games no matter who’s calling it so there’s no loss in viewership there. Very frustrating to say the least

    2. Guys, Mayock tells it like it is. He’s actually very knowledgable of the game and you can tell by the way he analyzes the plays. I haven’t ever felt like he is an ND hater and if anything, I’ve always thought he really enjoys talking up the ND players. I was at the stadium but watched the recording and all I kept hearing was his praise of Golson, Fuller’s route running and speed, etc. I actually really like Mayock in the booth.

      1. Call me stupid (Hello stupid!)but I’d rather win games and have lousy announcers than have Great announcers and an 0-2 start.

        By the way, the state of the art, for my vote, is Danielson and Lundquist. They are light-hearted and FUN when appropriate,but they really dial in and analyze
        like no others.

        I once had an argument with a
        business associate and called him “a princess on a pea.” He hollered, ranted, threw board markers and erasers and then he calmed down and we went to lunch.
        “princess on a pea.”

      2. Stupid might be a little harsh, although it’s unclear as to why ND can’t win games AND have great announcers. I can’t think of any reason the two would be mutually exclusive.

        Chris, Mayock may be knowledgeable about football but that doesn’t make him a good announcer for the Irish. From the Michigan game alone, I can give you three great examples of why he’s terrible:
        1. Time after time in the first half, he kept going on and on about how nearly everything Michigan does is “Big Time”. Oh really? I don’t remember them looking particularly good at any point during the game. If you think he would ever say something like that about ND, I think you’re mistaken.
        2. How about his incomprehensible “a guy vs. a dude” discussion? WTF? When pressed to explain what he meant, it still didn’t make all that much sense.
        3. To set up a compliment for Golson, Hicks said something to the effect that ND is 12-1 with Golson as the starting quarterback. When he asked Mayock what he thinks that means, he says “Stay away from Alabama.” Are you freaking kidding me? I would fire his ass in a heartbeat.

  22. I agree that a pick-6 finish would’ve been the ultimate way to end the game and series. I think if the hit by Redfield wasn’t on the quarterback and near the head, maybe it wouldn’t have been called.

    My biggest concern, besides the drops by receivers and our defenders dropping in zone blitz seeming lost,, was offensive line play. I know it’s supposed to be our strongest position group and they generally played well but it was concerning how ineffective the running game was. It wasn’t just the extra player in the box blowing up the run, it was our o-line unable to create holes by moving the defenders. Also, both tackles, more so Elmer, had a hard time with the outside speed rush. While it didn’t lead to sacks, you can see the tackles basically chasing the defenders without the proper footwork or form to pass-set. Last week against Rice, the defender used the speed rush to get Elmer off-balance and then bull-rushed him out of the way. Against a more talented defensive line, that could become problematic. I have faith in Elmer as he transitions back from guard but we need to shore that up.

  23. I felt the same way when I heard Mayock say that was a great football play. Running game needs works but when you have half the field to play with and passing game working not a giant concern for me as of yet.

  24. Let’s be clear, the Irish weren’t depending on 4 turnovers to win this game. They had this game locked with total control before one turn over was even committed. I think they were up 28-0 before the first one. They were very much in control.

  25. Redfield’s hit on Gardner was NOT a cheap shot. It wasn’t a head shot or anything like that. Still, it was a legit penalty. I don’t like the current rules, but that is going to get called the way the game is today. The shot on Trumbetti was a cheap shot. He was targeted. The UM guy lead with his helmet. Even though it wasn’t flagged, there should be some action taken by the Big 10.

    I don’t think the dropped passes concern is “nitpicking.” That will cost us down the road if it isn’t fixed.

    1. Agree on the hit on Gardner. Those are the rules right now. Seeing the replay, Redfield looked like he gave a little shove there too. Very nitpicky here considering it was a 31-0 drubbing, but in a close game it could have been costly. Maybe just a little work there to make sure emotions don’t cause any penalties.

      1. You blame emotions. I blame a LACK OF MATURITY. Maturity is able to swallow one’s emotions for the good of the team.

    2. I disagree, the game was in hand, Gardner was not going to make the tackle. Redfield went after him instead of the closer player to the runner. It just wasn’t needed. I call that kind of a cheap shot, jmo.

      1. When the defense gets a pick they are coached to hunt the QB. Its not a cheap shot its good aggressive defensive coaching.

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