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  • Wonder, Think & Know: Shirley Jones Edition

    by Mike Coffey

    As the late great Mike Royko once said, some things you wonder, some things you think, and some things you just know:

    To paraphrase Sally Brown, if anyone had told me I’d be praising a Bob Diaco-led defense in the wake of the Navy veer, I’d have said they were crazy.

    Speaking of defenses, the old adage says a team that wins on its defense won’t have a lot of style points. That’s certainly held up to scrutiny this season. My cardiologist may not be liking this season, but I sure am.

    Another old adage says games and seasons are won and lost based on the line play. Once again, scrutiny is bearing it out. As much criticism as the offensive line gets on gamedays, they’re putting together an outstanding season. Mistakes are being kept to a minimum, and Golson’s getting a chance to make things work. On the other side, the contributions of the Bane-masked Stephon Tuitt get stronger every game, and the front seven continues to allow a young secondary to grow at a pace allowing them to succeed in their own right.

    Imagine what the ground stats would have looked like with GA3 available.

    Michigan’s all-time win percentage lead shrinks by the week. And with Denard Robinson out, it might be history by season’s end.

    As we wait for the trip to SC in a couple weeks, be prepared for our strength of schedule to be harped upon. The trouble with all the Big 10 games at the beginning of the year is if we lose them, the opponent usually uses the victory as a springboard to a great season. If we win, the loss saps their momentum and they end up mediocre. As menacing as the schedule looked at the beginning of year, some of the diamonds are turning out to be stones. That has a tendency to happen, which is why 4-4-4 scheduling is so important.

    Speaking of our Midwestern friends, the fact that the Indiana Hoosiers are still mathematically eligible for the Big Ten title game tells you everything you need to know about that conference this season. I watched the Hoosier/Illini tilt in a bar yesterday, and thought they were televising a Bombardment tournament. When you need football real bad, they’ve got real bad football.

    As long as this trip through the desert has been, it says a lot about the student body that they put together a welcome-the-team-back at 4am. These classes need their Notre Dame Moments, because God knows there’s been a shortage the last 20 years.

    So many youngsters asked on the board last night if “this is how it felt in the old days”. Yes. Yes it is. Now the key is to keep the feeling going.

    8 Responses to “Wonder, Think & Know: Shirley Jones Edition”

    1. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT AT THE BEGINING OF THE SEASON OF WHAT REALTY IS NOW?
      HOW MANY TEAMS HAVE DROPPED BELOW US SINCE WE BEAT THEM. LOOK WHAT THAT DID TO
      THE STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE.
      GIVE ME A TEAM WITH A STRONG LINE ON DEFENSE AND OFFENSE AND YOU WILL SEE A WINNER. THE LINEMEN ARE THE KEY TO SUCCESS OF A GOOD TEAM.
      WELL WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BRIAN KELLY NOW????????????????

    2. Mike Dongvillo says:

      Bombardment!!! Double Bombardment!!! That made me laugh really hard.

    3. The most encouraging aspect of this win is what did not work: Golic (I think) not sealing the edge on a draw by Riddick that would have yielded a big play, the first (incomplete) throw to brown, the would-be int that was tipped by Spond, the missed fg, and Golson failing to recognize a wide open Neal on the Sooner 12 in the first half. This was a great win, but if we clean up these mistakes we can become legitimate contenders for the NC. As it stands, the program is undoubtedly on the upswing. The offense will improve against Pittsburgh (and against the other nameless opponents further down the schedule), and the defense will continue to build upon its efficient strategic foundation: expending the minimum to produce the maximum desirable effect, and inducing mistakes in the opposing offense by selectively taking away seemingly productive outlets.

    4. As great as it is to be having an awesome season, even better is that ND is building a program that will be successful for many years in the future. The defense has been dominating, and we will lose a few good players after this year, but look at what we have coming in behind them.

      Defensive line starters are: Lewis-Moore, Nix, Tuitt, and Shembo. Lewis-Moore graduates, but waiting in the wings are Ishaq Williams and Sheldon Day. We will have to replace some linebackers and losing Manti’s leadership is tough, but we only have one senior playing in the sendary (Zeke Motta) an we have several injured secondary players who will be back next year fighting for playing time.

      Offensively, most of our O-line are seniors, and any time you have to replace big pieces of an O-line, it is tough for a team to be good. But we will have plenty of skill position players back on O.

      So next season looks like we should be decent (at least top 25), and once you put together 2 good seasons, recruiting just steamrolls and I’m hopeful that under Brian Kelly, ND can anually be one of the top teams in the country.

    5. The beautiful thing about Notre Dame having been medicore for 20 years is this moment. They know what it’s like to lose to BC, Pitt, Syracuse, Navy, etc. It is one reason why I do not feel a “trap” game like the media tried to do with BYU. And, if for some reason, the coaches feel the need to “remind” the players . . . simply show them the BC game in 1993 as to what can happen.

      We need a little help to reach the NC game. But in the coming weeks, I’ll be rooting for anyone who plays against Alabama and Oregon. I’d welcome a date with KSU as I think ND can contain Klein enough to have a shot. Playing with Alabama or Oregon would be much more difficult.

    6. Donald Lechman says:

      Notre Dame is on its way back. At least somewhat. I have been following the Irish since Leon Hart (1949), and the days of leahy, Parseghian and Holtz will not be equaled simply because Notre Dame will never get the material they did in the past. The best we can hope for is not to be upset by Pitt, BC or WF and be ready for USC. Check out my new book, Notre Dme Vs. USC: The Rivalry on Amazon or the History Press. You will like it. — Don Lechman.

    7. If you want to look further back in history than 1993, show them Ara’s teams in 1964 and again in 1970 when a loss to So. Cal on the Left Coast at the end of the season marred an otherwise perfect, NC type of season. 2012 looks to be shaping up for that same scenario – hopefully with different results.

      • Gary Canori, '72 says:

        Speaking of defenses. I watch a fair amout of college games, and I don’t see anyone on the football field as dominant & valuable as Manti Teo. He certainly is a Heisman candidate, and if ND runs the table, I believe Manti should win the Heisman Trophy.

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