IBG – Stop Denard Robinson Edition

Notre Dame has to bottle up Denard Robinson to have any hopes of ending Michigan's two game winning streak over them this weekend. (Photo / Icon SMI)

Her Loyal Sons hosted this week’s Irish Blog Gathering.  HLS has a special disdain for Michigan and I think you’ll see it come out in their questions.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Head over there and check out all of the other responses when you’re done here.

1) Well that result really sucked. Please describe how you feel about the loss using lyrics from a pop diva (eg Brittany Spears, Rihanna, etc) song. Bonus points for video or pictures. (something good has to come out of last week)

Sorry, but I got nothing here.  Wish I could have thought of something good here but I just spent all day in airports and the brain isn’t working so well right about now.

2) While we all want to move on, last week’s game can teach us many things about the ‘11 Irish. After seeing what Week 1 brought us, do you find yourself more confident, less confident, or still confused as hell about our chances vs the Skunkbears? Why?

I am still confused because I really don’t know what Notre Dame team will show up this weekend.  Will we see the confident group that ended last year 4-0 or the squad that looked unfocused and undisciplined last week?  For as good as the defense looked at times too I am a little concerned that South Florida didn’t really do much to confuse the Irish defense and didn’t really provide the great preparation for Denard Robinson most thought they would.

I really don’t think anyone knows exactly what we have with this year’s team yet.  Notre Dame can obviously move the football between the 20’s, but what happens when they get inside the 20?  I like to think that last week is just going to be an aberration when we look back on the season, but there were too many red flags raised for me to be very confident this weekend.

3) Other than QB, which position group pleasantly surprised you this past week? Which disappointed? What player absolutely MUST see more time in Week 2? Again, no QBs.

Jonas Gray’s fumble aside, I would say I was most surprised with the effectiveness of the running game.  Cierre Wood is much improved over a year ago and looks like he is going to silence any critics he’s had over the years who have suggested he isn’t an every down back.  He ran hard, was elusive, and finished his runs.

The punting team is too easy to list as a disappointment so I will go with the safeties.  Zeke Motta and Jamoris Slaugher were both unimpressive last week and Harrison Smith’s back to back face mask penalties were just unacceptable for a 5th year senior captain.

2020 Notre Dame Football Scholarship Chart

I think Tyler Eifert needs to see more action in the passing game early this week.  He was not involved much at all in the first half last week and with Michigan likely keying on Floyd early, Eifert needs to be heavily involved in the passing game from the get go.

4) Tommy Rees will lead the Irish Offense this week. Do you agree with Coach’s call? Either way, what part of Crist’s game will the Irish O miss the most, if any?

I agree with Kelly’s call to go with Rees.  As much as I’d love for #10 to lead the Irish to a win this weekend, you just can’t ignore the production Rees had in the second half last week.  He gets the offense, plays within himself, and makes quick decisions.  His decision making is the biggest difference between the two quarterbacks in my opinion.  Crist was often too hesitant and that is what cost him in terms of bad throws and drops.

The biggest part of Crist’s game we’ll miss is his downfield arm.  Rees’s arm strength improved since last year, but Crist can really stretch a defense was the cannon he has.  Remember his throw to Kyle Rudolph last year to give Notre Dame a short lived lead in Notre Dame Stadium?  Yeah, Rees isn’t making that throw unless he pulls the trigger much sooner.

5) What’s the key to beating the Wolverines this week? Just 1 thing. Not 2. 1. I have to agree with Her Loyal Sons and say stopping Denard Robinson.  Robinson is really Michigan’s only chance against Notre Dame’s defense and if we are being honest, he does give them a very good chance.  If you don’t think he does, just look at the tape from last year’s game and you’ll be reminded of just how bad he can make a defense look.  If Notre Dame contains Robinson and doesn’t have to go in comeback mode, they will be able to run the ball and wear down the Michigan defense.

6) Make your Over-Under Picks:

  • Over-under on Floyd’s receiving total for this coming weekend: 154 – UNDER – I think Floyd could go off on Michigan’s secondary even if they double team him, but I see Notre Dame running the ball a lot more this week.
  • Over-under on Robinson’s rushing total: 100 OVER – I don’t think we’ll see him run wild like last year, but he is still going to get his yards on the ground.
  • Over-under on ND Number of Turnovers: 2 UNDER – This might be wishful thinking but I think (maybe hope) the Irish clean things up.
  • Over-under on Number of Times Kelly is caught Purple Monstering Out: 2 PUSH, You can’t cut being purple cold turkey.
  • Over-under on ND Total Yards: 425 OVER – Notre Dame will move the ball again this week.  Hopefully this week they’ll actually put it in the end zone this time.
Brian Kelly Gives The Keys To Notre Dame's Offense to Tommy Rees, Again

7) Michigan: Just Another Opponent, Enemy, or Rival? Explain. 1 Bonus point for each use of the word ’suck’. Pretty sure I made my feelings about this question clear in an old column I wrote back in 2006.

8 ) It’s Michigan week. Name 1 thing in the world that sucks as much as Michigan, if you can.

The sequel to Boondock Saints.  Has anyone seen it?  I watched, or tried to watch it, on Netflix a few weeks back and it might have been the worst movie I have ever seen.  I LOVED the first one and used to watch it all the time back in college when I was working on projects, but the sequel was beyond awful. 

9) RichRod is back, announcing for CBS. Can’t wait to see how that goes. Bet he’s horrible.

Well he can’t be any worse at announcing as he was at coaching Michigan… can he? What’s really sad about that is he was still somehow 2-1 against Notre Dame. Sigh.


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  1. JC 8 years ago

    We need to be 4-2 when USC gets here and 5-2 when they leave! By then, we should have a very good idea whether we have the potential to finish a strong 10-2. I’ll bet even Skip and Lou enjoyed this win for ND!


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  2. Bj 8 years ago

    what to do with a punt!

    Game: 167 yds Tom Schoen (9 returns) vs. Pittsburgh, 1967

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  3. Bj 8 years ago

    can kelly teach someone to catch a punt, can kelly find a punter? can kelly teach someone to play man to man defense, can kelly stop all the penalties? they still seem so poorly coached to me. and less than motivated! and do not let this bum swarbrick do a kevin white and lower the denominator by going to a conference. what a loser move that would be !

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  4. C-Dog 8 years ago

    Shazamrock and everyone,
    Yes a lot of football to be played. This team shows potential, but with the talent and coaching, they won’t live up to expectations unless they finish 9-3 or 10-2. I hate to set wins for the mark. But here it is. This team cannot reach an elite level without a killer attitude. I don’t mean a mouthy swagger or porr sportsmanship type of thing. I am talking about taking care of the little details and knocking a team out. I was very happy that ND won and big. However, the offense really sputtered in the second half. Two more touchdowns could have been scored. They should have punched the ball in after Blanton’s interception.
    Also, Blanton pulled off a great play when the defensive coaches seemed confused on both that drive and the drive previous. Plays came in very late on defense. Diaco seems not to be able to adjust during a game and I saw that confusion in 2nd halfs last year. Kudos to Blanton who just played great.
    I also would like to see more consistent running. Our line is big. Let them line up closer togather and punch holes up the guy more.
    Rees need to feel more comfortable under center. He seems to like the shotgun too much. That’s not ooptimal for run plays and play action.
    The offense needs to take another leap in confidence while keeping the bar for excellence set high. Be confident but not self satisfied.

    Notre Dame has a promising group of underclassmen and yes Lynch might have made more of a difference against Michigan. But they all still need to prove themselves, each play, each game, and over each season. This game does not change my overall concerns but it does give me hope. And let’s face it, ND might be one of five or six teams not on probation by next year.

    Go Irish!!

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    1. Shazamrock 8 years ago


      Great observations!
      This team is at a cross roads.
      They certainly have enough talent, but as you say, little details will make a big difference.

      Speaking of cross-roads, remember a couple of years ago when the push was on for ND to join the Big East?
      With Pitt and Syracuse now bolting for the ACC, I ‘m so glade that we didn’t get suckered into that mess.

      It is looking more and more like the “Super Conferences” are going to become a reality. (at the cost of tradition, rivalry, and history, in favor of the almighty TV dollars)

      I like the fact that ND isn’t bound by a conference. Isn’t told what to do, or pressured into making changes that goes agianst their Identity.
      But do we risk falling behind?

      C-Dog, I know we share many of the same views and values about ND and college football.
      So it pains me to say that I’m afraid the golden age of college is gone, and I don’t think it’s comming back.

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      1. C-Dog 8 years ago

        I do hope the ND athletic department look at all these changes and realize that staying independent is better. Consider the next 5 to 10 year stretch for teams such as USC, Miami, Penn St., LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma. These are brand names in college football. Miami and Pann State haven’t exactly electrified a national audience since joining conferences. But they all potentially lose the ability to command a national stage when they exist in 16 member football conferences. In those conferences you need to be a perenial winner at least within your division to even get recognized. Ratings for late games will drop once teams are out of divisional races. The winner take all mentality will prevail.
        So I see these mega confereances not working for football. For basketball, yes, but not football. And once one or two high profile brand names in college football go independent, it will all break apart again. Patience.

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    2. storespook 8 years ago

      Yep, couldn’t agree more with you C-Dog on your observations. Definitely would like to see them put teams away with more of a “killer” attitude when they are in a position to “shut the door.” The time for a conference (as much as I hate THAT) affiliation may need to happen, especially if super conferences dictate future BCS/College Football playoff system unless (as an independent) ND is highly ranked and/or has a perfect record or at minimum, 1 defeat to qualify in that future scenario. Yeah, I’m glad we didn’t go into the The Diminishing “big” East for football.

      Go Irish

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  5. John1985 8 years ago

    Where’s Frank? No post in a week and a half?

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  6. Evan 8 years ago

    two words: AARON LYNCH…….

    what a beast, he is like the honey badger, he doesnt even give a shit.

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  7. Shazamrock 8 years ago

    Love #19 & #9.
    Tommy Rees now has about 7 full games under his belt. Time to start cutting back on the turnovers Tommy.
    MSU spent a lot of time covering Floyd with a safty over the top. Look for TJ Jones to step up. He had a whole lot of single coverage on Saturday.
    After ND finished of the Spartans, I was able to catch most of the Navy vs South Carolina game. South Carolina, with Lattimore at running back, absolutly gutted the Navy defense up the middle. The kid ran hard up the middle. Mostly off the outside gap of his ofensive tackles for 240 yards!
    Just something to keep in mind.
    I hope we have a good week of practice. I want a win. But I also want to make sure Mark May can’t sit there and gloat!
    This kid who was playing Linebacker for us, Niklas, he has good speed but was out of position on a few plays and looked lost at times
    Better work at getting it figured out because I would expect Pitt to try to pick on him quite a bit next week.
    I was hoping we could finish the month of September at 3-1. The team I thought we would have the most trouble with, is the Team we beat by 18 for our first win. Go figure.

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    1. jack 8 years ago


      Troy Niklas only played because Shembo was unavailable. They can also use Filer at that position. I am more concerned about Reese. He doesn’t protect the football. He is forcing the ball into coverage a lot and against a good secondary will be picked. Also, this offense needs a QB that can run. We don’t have that threat and that is killing the offense. I don’t think going back to Dayne is the answer and I think we are stuck this year with Reese. Hopefully he develops, but if not look for the underclassman to pass him next year.

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      1. fxm 8 years ago

        Dayne’s career is over due to one bad half where everyone let him down. Rees now has 7 full games under his belt and averages 1 turnover per half. Mind boggling, he has a charmed life, Dayne is not the answer (he should transfer to a pro set) be he must scratch his head a lot.

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      2. Shazamrock 8 years ago

        Lot of football left to be played.
        Hopfully everyone stays healthy.
        But if Tommy Rees should go down, having a senior at QB, who has good experience and is hungry to prove / redeem himself, might be a pretty nice thing to have.I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

        Interesting stat: Looking the fourth quarter of the last 3 games, ND has given up a total of 38 points (28 of those in the 4th quarter of the michigan game)
        PITT, over the 3 fourth quarters that they have played in, have given up a total of 41 points,(spread out over Buffalo(6), Maine(14), & Iowa (21)
        Anyone see a trend here?

        I would like to see an up tempo set by ND.
        If we can do that, I think there is a good chance that Pitt may run out of gas by the time the fourth quarter rolls around.

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    2. storespook 8 years ago

      And NAVY gave the Gamecocks a challenging game. NAVY could have won that game against them. ND hopefully (Especially Coach Diaco)will be ready for their scheme-more so than last year. BEAT PITT, GOOOOOOOOO IRISHHHHHHHHH

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      1. C-Dog 8 years ago

        The 4-4 Defense.

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  8. lester diamond 8 years ago

    Sh*t man. Wasn’t trying to be a dick or anything. Never mind.

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    1. joey d 8 years ago


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  9. lester diamond 8 years ago

    First things first joey d, we gotta go to ketch-up field and take care of those traitors (to my beloved big east) pitt

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    1. joey d 8 years ago

      thanks calendar cop!

      sorry for the miscalculation on my dates. Can you give nudge if you see me yelling trick-or-treat on October 24?
      Thanks again!

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  10. ndforever 8 years ago

    Obviously Aaron Lynch is talent and really helps our d line the thing i really like is he plays with attitude and doesnt take sh#t from anyone. The fight is coming back to the irish give it time and the attitude will spread, no more nice players on the field.Change is happening maybe a little slower the some fans want but we will be back and for longer then one season. GO IRISH!!!

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  11. joey d 8 years ago

    I AM EXCITED!!!!

    To the posters above me that are worried about pass defense and open recievers yesterday…get over it! I was at the game and the defense, with mulitple freshman and sophomores on the field at the same time, looked pretty damn good! The pressure that Lynch was putting on the quarterback was ridiculous. The kid is a STUD. Tuitt, Williams, Niklas, Nix, all played well. The defensive line now has enough players to rotate in and out for certain situations as well as for getting a fresh player in. The depth is finally there. Unlike our miserable experience with Chucky who didn’t think it to be important.

    Once Gary Gray gets his head straight, the secondary will be really good too.

    For all of you that watched on tv yesterday, you missed the biggest blown call of the game. And you wouldn’t know it because NBC didn’t mention it on the coverage. On the punt that Goodman fumbled, MSU did not get the snap off on time. There was zero on the clock, for probably a second, and no flag was thrown. That would have bailed out Goodman (but he still needs to catch the ball). If you watch the game again on tape, listen for the crowd they start yelling because time expired on the play clock. People were going crazy!!!

    The kick return and the interception return sent the crowd into a frenzy. But the play that made me go nuts is when Lynch buried Cousins and caused that fumble…
    From my very small seat, I felt ND completely dominated that game. Of course they gave up some yards and receivers may have been open, but that’s to be expected. MSU isn’t Youngstown State or Florida Atlantic, they have talent!
    LET’S GO IRISH….Purdue is in for a long day next week!!!

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  12. lester diamond 8 years ago

    Running 3 times after blantons interception was absolutely the right call. We made them use all three of their time outs and the field goal put us up by 3 scores with only about 3 minutes left. No need to try and do something crazy just to get another TD —–dont ever forget tulsa coach kelly!!

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  13. JC 8 years ago


    What about it, being at the stadium and seeing Atkinson’s break-a-way speed. Any flash backs??


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    1. C-Dog 8 years ago

      Oh man!! But from my vantage point what set that up was one of our guys blowing up two MSU guys in one block. I mean they went airborne. Atkinson was smart and ran fluidly just up inside that block and then it was bye bye baby!
      That block and then Atkinson’s run really made the difference because everyone was starting to think implosion up to that point. The “Yes We Can” attitude flowed through the stadium and the team at that point.

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  14. Ep 8 years ago

    This site is run by fair weather fans. Not a single post since the Michigan game. WEAK!

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