Duranko’s Digest: What did we see against Stanford?

Notre Dame Stanford 2013
Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Prince Shembo (55, center) holds up his arm for a huddle before the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A powerful Stanford team defeated the Irish 27-20, concluding the Irish season at 8-4. The fulcrum of the game was Stanford’s outrushing the Irish 261-65. Out there among the eucalyptus trees in Google’s manger, Stanford is know for producing great software. But there was nothing soft that would wear down the gallant Irish stop troops. The Anvil chorus was Tyler Gaffney running behind= a massive veteran offensive line, the best the Irish had seen since Bama. It was fortified by folks like Josh Garnett disguised as a tight end, more tight ends and fullback types. And the counterpoint to the Anvil Chorus was the whimsical grace notes offered by the runs of Kevin Hogan.

Overmatched in both trenches, the Irish tried to steal the game, but some old sins were repeated, with Stanford scoring their first TD on a coverage bust by a Notre Dame safety. And when the Irish were trying to accomplish a miraculous, Auburnesque comeback, two interceptions were thrown. All four Irish defeats this year had two common elements:

(1) a busted coverage or woefully missed tackle by one or more safeties
(2)at least two interceptions thrown by the Irish

The tilt started promisingly enough with the Irish marching the opening kickoff to the Cardinal Tree Three, Brindza getting the field goal for the only Irish lead at 3-0. Then in a seven minute span Stanford scored two touchdowns, the first after an Alphonse and Gaston pantomime by #41 and #2, the second on a pounding Stanford drive. All seemed lost, but the Irish came off the ropes and managed a field goal just before halftime to close the gap to 14-6 at intermission.

Stanford punched in another, but its final, touchdown early in the third stanza for a 21-6 lead. Again, all seemed lost, but the gritty Irish fought back with two third quarter touchdown passes, sandwiched around a Stanfor field goal. The first was to senior captain T. J. Jones, the second was to Davaris Daniels, and the Irish were within miracle view of the upset, trailing just 24-20 as the fourth quarter began. But the Irish mustered only 17 yards total offense, a sack, and two interceptions in the fourth quarter, for the 27-20 final.

SO ENDETH THE SEASON.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR NOTRE DAME?

Next season begins with the bowl game. Last year at this time, Notre Dame was idle, waiting for Alabama to go through the motions defeating Georgia in the SEC championship. 2012 was about 2012. Fans were pricing tickets for Miami.

It’s different this time, and 2014 begins now. We don’t yet know the bowl site, date and opponent, but the 2014 future is now.

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THE 2014 ROSTER

Before the season we postulated that the 2013 roster would, throughout the whole depth chart, be deeper and more talented than the 2012 roster. “Next man in” is like New Hampshire’s motto “Live free or die” It’s nice to say but you hope you don’t have to back it up. Deep ladles of young second and third string players were scooped up and used this year. Our next postulate is that, with this 2014 recruiting class (we concede that with the exceptions of Justin Brent and Andrew Trumbetti, the commits have not sighed or submitted academic and enrollment paperwork) the 2014 roster will be yet deeper and more talented than the 2013 roster.. We’ll ignore redshirts and just look at the 2010 class. It is a low bar to replace it with better talent.

Notre Dame’s 2010 recruits:

Never participated (mortality/morbidity):(3)

  • Matt James
  • Cameron Roberson
  • Tate Nichols

Left for other programs(3)

  • Spencer Boyd
  • Derek Roback
  • Chris Badger

Perfect attendance, but no impact (2)

  • Bruce Heggie
  • Luke Massa

Never quite got there(4)

  • Alex Welch
  • Andrew Hendrix
  • Justin Utopu
  • Lo Wood

STARTERS(9)

  • Louis Nix
  • Prince Shembo
  • Christian Lombard
  • Tommy Rees
  • Danny Smith
  • Danny Spond
  • Bennett Jackson
  • T.J. Jones
  • Austin Collinsworth

(It is melancholy to note that of the 9 players who started, four of them, Nix, Lombard, Smith and Spond were not in uniform yesterday. C’est la vie!)

Key subs(2)

  • Kona Schwenke
  • Kendall Moore

Please note how many of these players get drafted, this year or next. The incoming class, recruited after 2009-2010’s transition process is stronger deeper, more athletic.

ADMIN BUILDING INTRIGUE

Golson’s getting back in. Right? Right!!!?????!!!!!

SPRING INTRIGUE

We never know when injury will strike, but these three areas look like fun battles in the Spring,

SAFETY – we must improve dramatically at safety, and there are players to work with. Should wind up with an effective three deep, but something’s got to give.

ILB – Carlo and Danny leave, but the cupboard is not so bare as the chicken littles suggest. Who can the coaches trust to start next to Grace, and who are the preferred backups?

OL – this will be a donnybrook, with Martin and Watt leaving, Lombard recovering, and Nick Martin out for the Spring.  The studs that came in with Elmer: McGlinchey, Montelus, McGovern and Bivin will be jockeying for playing time and possibly entrenching themselves in the starting lineup. Wally Pipp references will abound.

Spring non-intrigue

No matter what, we will have a quarterback with at least some mobility from this point until Blake Barnett’s senior year.  Remember this-we’re right next to 8-4, but we’re not a year removed from 12-0.

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Go Irish!

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38 comments

  1. Sheldon 6 years ago

    FXM- THANK YOU SIR!!!

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  2. fxm 6 years ago

    We could not run the ball this year, TR’s limitations play out in that realm as well. However, Look at the size and skill of Elmer and Stanley. Additionally, Let’s see if Monteleus at 6’4″ 340 lbs. with a rumored explosive first step can help us start pushing people around like Stanford and Wisconsin. Obviously, if Golson or Zaire can add that element that gets people off balance that will help. And please, I like him for a role, but let’s stop this weird desire for Cam to be the starting back. Let’s have Folson and Bryant please.

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  3. Jerry Seppanen 6 years ago

    The defense always plays soft with the safties 10 yard back out of the
    play. It worked last year because of Teo. How BK handles the running backs
    is a disgrace. It will hurt recruiting RB. 8-4 next year.

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  4. Bruce johnson 6 years ago

    Lou was 37-11 in his first four years comparable to Kelly’s record but then we were on the cusp of a national championship every year for six years without a few rocket clipping penalties a series of being the very best the very best and I forgot that bcl field goal. We all just want that. Kelly will have to learn to adapt change and grow for that to happen. He has the chance of a lifetime.

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  5. BJ 6 years ago

    urban meyer 25-0 in two years, kelly 36-15 in four, no comparison

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    1. Drivetrain 6 years ago

      Urban has not played near the same schedule. The schedules don’t compare either.

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    2. fxm 6 years ago

      The fact that Urban is a better coach is not debatable. But, one wanted the job and the other didn’t. And, one does benefit from a very weak schedule and due to sanctions did not have to compete against the bully he ran away to Ohio to escape. And, If he beats MSU, let’s make sure they don’t lose to FSU by 50 points before we anoint him as anything.

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      1. duranko 6 years ago

        Meyer INHERITED Braxton Miller
        and Carlos Hyde. INHERITED.

        Compare legacies.

        Simply, and further, Meyer coaches thugs. I have been close to the Michigan/Ohio State series for a long time and have attended four of the games. The rivalry was fierce, but honorable. Especially in the Bo/Woody ten year war. But no fisticuffs.

        Sure enough, in a mere two years Meyer trashes tradition and turns it into a brawl with his offensive linemen, instead of being ashamed of his stupidity and lack of discipline, walks off the field flipping the bird to the Michigan fans. Under Meyer, honor is dead, thugs are in. Soon, the Will Hills will arrive.

        And one other thing, fxm, I believe you nailed it. And
        I will state it less subtly.

        NICK SABAN DROVE URBAN MEYER OUT OF GAINESVILLE.

        nO IF

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      2. C-Dog 6 years ago

        I agree. Meyer seems to play that saintly card, but look at the rotten apples he’s coddled. You are good to point that out.

        Frankly, I like Dantonio this week and feel like he runs a cleaner program. He may be a better coach. We’ll see.

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      3. Carl3 6 years ago

        I believe ND offered Will Hill.

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  6. Storespook 6 years ago

    Durango, actually agree with a lot of your points. One more game with the fair hair wonder boy at QB. I will not miss the T/O using audibles, over throws, under throws, slow footed, red zone picks, etc. Golson has not been confirmed he is being allowed back and QB for 2014 may be uncertain. I would to see more devotion to a running game. FOLSTON is a bear of a back. I also hope we devote time to SPECIAL TEAMS. As we hopefully prepare for the Stay Puff Marshmellow Bowl (whatever no name low level piss bowl we are offered) lets use those practices wisely and hopefully Kelly doesn’t go interview with a NFL team, you know, not a REPEAT like last year.

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