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  • Continuation and Correction: Washington

    by Mike Coffey

    The Fighting Irish sit at 3-1 after escaping West Lafayette with a win, and now have three in a row at home. What must they continue to do, and what corrections are required, if they’re going to build on a two-game win streak going into the bye?

    The biggest continuation is the use of the running game. It bore fruit in the second quarter on Saturday, used to great effect with Dayne Crist in the game. If ND is looking to take the pressure off Clausen, having the backs share the load is one way to do it. Fewer passes means fewer plays where Clausen is pushing off on his bad wheel and fewer plays where he’s opening his body up to potentially damaging contact. According to the latest press conference, Armando Allen will have “no limitations” starting in practice Tuesday, so that’s heartening news.

    Other smaller continuations would be…

    • Expanding Theo Riddick’s role. Ankle sprains are tricky things and can linger, so Allen has a risk factor associated with him now. The more reps we can get Riddick, the better
    • Keeping Jonas Gray’s confidence up. He certainly came through for ND on Saturday, showing a sure-handedness he seemed to be missing before

    The biggest correction is the defensive line play. Although better at times versus the Boilermakers, Huskies QB Jake Locker represents perhaps the most dangerous threat at his position ND will see all year. While he doesn’t have Clausen’s accuracy, his mobility adds a degree of difficulty in defending him. If the down linemen can’t keep Locker contained, it’ll put much more pressure on the rest of the unit. The last thing ND needs on Saturday is a shootout.

    Other smaller corrections would be…

    • Getting Duval Kamara’s head in the game. The illegal formation penalties were inexcusable, and with Floyd out of action, WR productivity must be kept high
    • Consistency in punting. Giving Locker any field position benefits just makes him more dangerous

    39 Responses to “Continuation and Correction: Washington”

    1. I'd add Hughes to the mix in RB. He ran with passion on Saturday that we haven't seen in 3 years from him. -liamg19

    2. Parris and Evans need to step up to. There was no second option at wide receiver for Crist and Clausan for most of the game Sat.

    3. better play from our DBs they played alright in the Purdue game aganist a average QB with under thrown balls and still let a wide out have a big day tighten the coverage their is a better QB coming to town and McCarthy can't do it all

    4. One other thing I would add: be sure to continue to use Tate in various roles and formations. Get the ball in his hands early and often and keep the defense on its heels. The second quarter against Purdue should not be an anomaly.

      Tate is now, by far, the most dangerous offensive weapon we have. Loved him in the wildcat last week. That needs to continue even with Clausen on the field.

    5. More Huuughes!

    6. I would add that Weis needs to be less myopic. When you find something that works, like the Wildcat offense in the 2nd quarter, do not change BEFORE the other team has made adjustments. Also, don't go for it on 4th and long with a 2nd string QB. Punt, pin them down, and give your defense a chance to defend on a long field. This isn't XBOX Madden.

    7. I would have to beg to differ with the Insinuation that the secondary played better against an average QB … I would venture to say that they played substantially better against a quarterback who is on his 4th career start. Joey Elliot is an exceptional quarterback…. and seeing that our secondary shut him down for a better part of the game, id say that our secondary is improving vastly each and every game.

    8. Totally not XBox Madden. And not high school either.

      Punt. Kick FGs. Stop putting your defense in bad situations with idiotic 4th down tries.

    9. Joey Elliott is not an exceptional quarterback. There is simply no factual basis for that statement.

    10. I would also add to the list of areas to improve: managing our timeouts better.

    11. We need to make sure Sam Young stays "on sides" and penalty free.

    12. more tate. more paris. protect jimmy. can we talk about the 4th and 10 in the 3rd, at out own 40, with our backup qb, backup hb, backup fb,and best wide out injured. weis is an idiot and we're wining despite not bc of him.

    13. 4th and 10 from the 34 is not a punting situation, but probably out of FG range as well. i would always go for the 1st down rather than a 14 yard punt in all reality, take your chances on a 1st down, you just cannot take a sack.

    14. the 4th and 10 was at the purdue 34, not the ND 40 and crist was sacked on the play. some people criticize weis for whatever reason, some people do so because they don't know anything about football, and some do it without even knowing what they are talking about

    15. Even if fourth and 10 at our 34 is out of our field goal range, a punt into the end zone still makes the opposition have to earn 14 yards. Or if you are going to go for it is there not a better probability that a field goal could make it then a set of back ups gain 10 or more yards on a short field?

    16. Charlie needs to stop outsmarting himself. Totally agree with the earlier poster who said that he finds something that is working then abandons it before the opposition shows an ability to stop it.

      Penalties have been awful the past 3 games (Big 10 refs obviously part of this issue).

      Clock management has been a problem at times and that really shouldn't be the case with Weis/Clausen in their third year working together.

      The defense really just needs to tackle better. Blitz a lot, blitz a little, I don't care, and it really doesn't matter if you are missing tackles all over.

      The running game looks awesome, love it.

      Clausen made a huge step from last year, he is just awesome now.

      Would be nice to see Paris, Kamara, and Shaq step up some more. I like Paris's hands, he doesn't seem like one to drop balls.

    17. Robert Hughes was the best back not named Tate on Sat. night.

    18. I would love to see more Hughes in the next few games , til Allen is 100%. I'd also like to see Rudolph get more involved in the offense. He is the key to the season with Floyd out.On defense the corners need to quit playing so far off of the receivers and maybe play a little more bump and run coverage so lb 's and lineman have more time to get to the qb

    19. they were really going to spike the
      ball on third down? what is this,faust ball? you cant run two plays in 36 seconds? this is a joke, a total lack of preparation.

    20. Locker will torch ND on saturday. Huskies by two TD's

    21. And what is going on with Duval Kamara? He has not contributed much. Is that failure of recognition from the coaches? Is it Kamara who slacks off?

    22. Kumara needs to stop dropping every other pass.

      DB's need to play up tight. They give up ten yards every play and that's where all the passes are going. Also Walls seems to be getting torced each game. Balnton and Gray should be on the field more.

      Utilize Hughes and Rudolph more. Too many opportunities lost in the UM game by not throwing to our TE over the middle (see replay of 2nd/3rd down calls with two minutes left).

      And if CW wants to go for it on 4th and ten from the 34, go ahead. Just don't run the ball on third and ten and put the backup QB in a bad situation.

      Team will improve, but play calling and players need to step their game up a notch or two.

    23. "Even if fourth and 10 at our 34 is out of our field goal range, a punt into the end zone still makes the opposition have to earn 14 yards. Or if you are going to go for it is there not a better probability that a field goal could make it then a set of back ups gain 10 or more yards on a short field?"

      NDs playmakers are on the offensive side of the ball, i will take my chances 100% of the time at this point trying to gain 10 yards rather than giving up 14 yards.

    24. Charlie should have attempted a field goal on the 4th and 10. You have a kicker who's confidence is growing and who drilled a 46-yarder the week before. A 51-yarder was not impossible. Even if he misses, Purdue would had to start 10 yards further back than they did after the sack.

    25. With Floyd out ND is mediocre once again. Not really a knock, since Floyd is the top WR in the country. Welcome to 7-5 (at best).

    26. Would like to respond to a comment to the a previous NDN column. It was claimed that although OSU won the championship game that followed the 2002 season, because it was played in 2003, that was considered the 2003 chmapionship. I don't think so, nor do the lists I consulted. Nor did the Super Bowl played earlier this year determine the 2009 NFL champion, but rather the 2008 champion.

    27. We know Charlie will always go for it on 4th and whatever inside the opponent's 40. But in THIS game situation with a new QB you have the chance to pin the other team deep in their own end. A net of 14 yards is the worst case scenario (punt in the end zone). If we had a kickoff returned to the 36 versus the 20 we would be complaining about special teams coverage and how we gave the other team field position that was too good. But some people don't apply the same logic to going for it on 4th down. Again, the situation should determine whether we go for it, and I agree that with a new QB and on the road you don't give the other team momentum (as we did when we didn't make it).

    28. How are we "three in a row" at home? Last I checked, we are on a two game home win streak.

    29. Nevermind… we HAVE three in a row at home… not "have won" three in a a row at home.

    30. i totally agree about the criticism that weis was calling to spike the ball on third down. he continually makes dunderheaded game management mistakes when the pressure is on. any competant head coach would have been thinking two steps ahead when he called the run, the next play should have been in place as a quick pass with explicit instructions to the qb to get rid of it within 2 seconds and throw it away if necessary. then you regroup for a 4th down play if it was an incompletion. fortunately for Irish fans, another rookie coach choked under pressure and called a timeout.

    31. Weis will get outcoached again this saturday, the defense will get burned all day long, and no wide receivers will step up-just like every saturday the Irish play a team that isn't Nevada.

      It would be better for ND fans if the team was 1-3 right now and Weis was looking to be fired. This team needs Brian Kelly as its head coach.

    32. I live in sec country but am a die hard irish fan . All of you need to stop crying and look real hard .Things are getting better. You just have to give things time . Fast improvment leads to probation . Yes alabama is winning but they are just one step away from the ncca hammer falling hard.give it time and let coach weis do it right.

    33. With Maust punting, kicking it from the 34 isn't a bad idea. He can only kick it 26 yards and pinning people inside the 10 is a good thing.

    34. I'm tired of hearing about Brian Kelly. What has he done exactly? Win games in a bad Big East, and get torched by any good competition out of conference.

    35. atlantadomer says:

      I guess I'm going to have to say this again Hughes lovers. Purdue is a wretched run defense team. Hughes could not beat Paul Duncan in a footrace. There I said it. The kid is great for 3 yards but c'mon.

    36. Anonymous says:

      Scranton Dave: You are describing CW.

    37. Anonymous says:

      We have played four (4) games and the prediction is we will only go 7-5 at best. You may be right, BUT you may also be quite wrong.

      The talk of hiring any particular coach to be the HC next year is, to say the least, terribly premature. However, if that talk is going to center on Brian Kelly, while I know he has a ranked team the most important element in any HC candidate is going to be not only the ability to win but to recruit. Cincinnati is not Notre Dame.

    38. More running, more Tate, more Rudolph, better tackling, better tackling, better tackling.

    39. As far as Brian Kelly or ANY other coach goes, when I hear people taking about the talent level of the team as justification for a different coach, I have to wonder if they forgot who got that talent level where it is.
      Hell, Urban Meyer saw the empty cupboard Ty was leaving and didn't want anything to do with it. Weis did, and has consistently landed top talent. The ND football program is in MUCH better condition – talent wise – than it was when Charlie got there. The program is back to being hated – and that is a hell of a lot better than being mocked, or worse, ignored.
      I know we all want the Irish to be in the National Championship hunt every year, and with the roster of players at Notre Dame today, that could happen. I don't want to take the chance on some other guy who MIGHT get ND a national championship, but might not – especially one who has never recruited at this level.

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