UHND has joined up with give other Notre Dame bloggers for the 2013 Irish Blog Gathering. Organized by Subway Domer, the group consists of some of, if not all of, the best Notre Dame bloggers exchanging questions each week about our Fighting Irish. The group includes Her Loyal Sons,Inside the Irish, Subway Domer, ND Nation, NDSportsBlogger, and yours truly.
Since this is our first week joining the group, here is a real quick breakdown of what happens. Each week Subway Domer pairs up the different blogs and we each send questions to a fellow blogger and receive questions from another. We all answer them and then post the answers to the questions we posed on our blogs and link out to everyone else’s respective posts.
This week we have the following Q&A partners: (all posts will be linked as they are published)
- @NDSportsblogger ask Subway Domer – http://ndfootball.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/irish-blogger-gathering-michigan-edition-subway-domer/
- Subway Domer asks UHND – http://www.subwaydomer.com/2013-articles/september/irish-blogger-gathering-good-bye-ann-arbor.html
- ND Nation asks Her Loyal Sons – http://ndnation.com/archives/4129
- Her Loyal Sons asks Inside the Irish – http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2013/09/05/irish-blogger-gathering-penultimate-michigan-hate-week/
- Inside the Irish asks @NDSportsBlogger – http://irish.nbcsports.com/2013/09/05/ibg-bring-on-michigan-loud-noises/
- UHND asks ND Nation – all of Mike @ NDN’s responses to us are below.
1) Brian Kelly said on Sunday that Notre Dame-Michigan is not a historic rivalry. Do you agree with his statements and in light of the series coming to an end (at least for now) what are your thoughts on where Michigan stands in terms of Notre Dame’s traditional rivalries.
I’m guessing this question is going to be on every IBG entry this week, as I asked the same one. I completely agree with the statement and I wish BK hadn’t back-tracked on it. Not only is Michigan not a historical rivalry, it is completely Michigan’s fault that it is not.
For all the bleating from the Wolverine faithful about how we’re somehow showing disrespect to the series, the fact of the matter is we’ve only played 40+ times. Compared to series like USC and Navy and even Purdue and Michigan State, that’s not long enough to qualify. Sure, there have been some great game in the series, and given the high historical rankings both programs enjoy, it’s a natural game to play. But other than those rankings, these two programs have nothing in common, especially when it comes to academics.
These complaints out of Ann Arbor certainly represent a sea change on the Wolverines’ part. It wasn’t so long ago that Bo and Carr were pooh-poohing the ND game and what it allegedly “meant” to Michigan. Now all of a sudden it’s a hallowed spectacle of sport that must be maintained at all costs. I guess that’s what happens when you’re having trouble selling 105k tickets to tilts against mighty Akron. Hard to get the Go Blue club to pony up ducats when all you’re offering is a steady diet of MAC Snacks, dying rust-belt programs, and Ohio State.
If Michigan wants to get mad at anyone for the series going away, they need to look in a mirror. Thanks to the bigoted stances of the Fielding Yosts and Fritz Crislers of the world, ND isn’t in the B1G (and thank God for that). So if they’ve got a problem with that, get a séance going and chat with the true architects of the problem.
2) Coming out of week one, what is the one thing you saw from Notre Dame against Temple that has you the most optimistic heading into this weekend? And what has you the most concerned?
I’m most optimistic about the offensive line. Taking into account the usual “it was Temple” caveat, they seemed to play very cohesively and did a good job both opening holes and in pass protection. The depth of that unit seems to get better every year, and since my philosophy always has been that you’re only going as far as your line will take you, I’m very interested to see if they can continue the upward trajectory against a better defense.
My biggest area of concern is on the other side of the ball. The defensive line didn’t show me much, especially considering “it was Temple”. I was excited to see what Sheldon Day was going to do last Saturday, but he didn’t seem to do a hell of a lot. If the DL can’t demand multiple blockers outside of Nix, ND is going to have problems. I know some have suggested the defense was kept “vanilla” to hide things from Michigan and the heat of the day may have had an effect. I don’t necessarily buy those explanations, but we’ll see what happens when we get another data point this Saturday.
3) Notre Dame is 1-6 in its last 7 trips to Michigan Stadium dating back to 1997. Terrible coaching aside, why has Notre Dame struggled so much on the road against the Wolverines and what must they do this weekend to reverse that trend and exorcise the demons of the debacle in 2011?
If we’re leaving out terrible coaching, I don’t have much to go on to answer this question because I believe it’s been a prime culprit. But outside of that, I believe it’s because Michigan is a difficult place to win to begin with. They always recruit well, even when they’re down, and if you play enough games at a top-25 program’s stadium, you’re going to lose your fair share.