The independent voice of Notre Dame Athletics

  • Not Ready for Prime Time

    by John Vannie

    USC rolled into town as a nine point underdog and left with its fifth straight victory in Notre Dame Stadium, a dominant 31-17 victory over the Irish. Matt Barkley led a perfectly balanced offense and the Trojan defense suffocated Notre Dame’s running game while holding Michael Floyd to four irrelevant receptions for 28 yards.

    Curtis McNeal, at 5’8″ and barely 180 pounds, paced USC’s ground attack with 121 tough yards as he ran through Irish tacklers all night. The Trojans gained 219 yards at a five yard clip while Notre Dame gave the ball to its backs only ten times all night and recorded a measly 41 rushing yards.

    The Irish returned to their mistake-prone ways in disastrous fashion, as safety Jawanza Starling picked up a third quarter fumble and ran the length of the field for a 24-10 advantage when it appeared Notre Dame would tie the score at 17. Dayne Crist, in briefly when Tommy Rees was briefly injured, could not handle the exchange from center Braxton Cave at the Trojan one yard line. Starling grabbed the bouncing ball and ran untouched the other way for the score.

    Notre Dame had spent most of the night attempting to fight back after quickly falling behind by 14-0 as USC ran at will and carved up the Irish defense. The Trojans extended the margin to 17-0 before George Atkinson returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to get Notre Dame on the board in the second quarter. The offense finally started to click late in the first half as Rees began to find Theo Riddick and drove the team inside the Trojan 10. The Irish had to settle for a field goal, however, when Rees missed a wide open Tyler Eifert in the end zone on third down from the seven.

    USC opened the third quarter with a promising drive, but a holding penalty forced a punt. Rees responded by connecting with Eifert, but Crist was forced into action when Rees limped off after a scramble near midfield. Crist kept the drive alive with his own passes to Eifert, and Coach Brian Kelly inserted Andrew Hendrix when his team reached the Trojan three. Hendrix kept the ball on first down and pushed inside the one, but Kelly elected to get cute at this point by re-inserting Crist and calling for a pass.

    After Starling’s touchdown, Rees came back to lead a successful Irish drive to cut the deficit to 24-17 at the start of the fourth quarter. USC missed a chance to put the game away when Andrew Heidari missed a short field goal, but the Trojan defense reasserted itself and forced turnovers on Notre Dame’s next two possessions. Barkley converted one of these miscues into a touchdown pass to Robert Woods, and the game ended with a long, punishing drive by USC to run out the clock.

    The fumble by Crist leading to Starling’s score underscored Notre Dame’s football frustrations during the past decade. It seems that every time the Irish are poised to make a statement that they are returning to football relevance, they find a way to regress. In this contest, however, it was more than one play that did them in. The Trojans physically dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the evening and Notre Dame’s coaches and players were simply not ready to face a team of USC’s caliber.

    Let’s review the pregame questions for additional insight:

    Will Rees be able to adjust to the speed of USC’s defense? Rees had flashes where he was effective, but he was not able to carry the offense by himself. The Trojans took away Floyd and Kelly inexplicably abandoned the running game.

    Can the Irish pass rush make a dent in Barkley’s completion percentage? Not at all. Barkley was a 68% passer coming in, and was 24 of 35 for 68.5% in this game. He was not sacked and even scrambled for a couple of key first downs.

    Will Woods and Lee torch Notre Dame’s secondary? Woods displayed his exceptional talents by making people miss in the flat and with an acrobatic touchdown catch, but the Irish secondary was not as inept as seven players in front of them.

    Which team will be able to sustain its running game? The surprise answer is USC, and by a wide margin. More than any other factor, their success in this area determined the outcome.

    Will the Irish shoot themselves in the foot at an inopportune moment? I hate it when I have a nagging hunch about stuff like this.

    Did Notre Dame’s special teams improve during the bye week? George Atkinson provided a terrific spark, but Woods blew through the Irish punt coverage team to set up an early score.

    Will the night time atmosphere and home crowd be a positive factor for Notre Dame? USC dampened the enthusiasm with 14 first quarter points, and the piped-in music dissolved into black comedy as the evening wore on. The traffic jam following the game added a final insult to my injured sensibilities.

    The Irish dropped to 4-3 and will attempt to regroup against a relatively weak Navy squad. Any lofty goals for this season have been destroyed, however, as Notre Dame’s date with destiny was simply more of the same old song that has played at every meaningful game since Lou Holtz paced the sidelines. That the music was louder and more obnoxious on this occasion almost seemed a fitting complement to the team’s poor effort and the abject failure of the coaching staff to develop a cogent offensive or defensive game plan. The Trojans won by executing the things they are built to do with precision, while Kelly’s Irish failed to stop the run, threw the ball 75% of the time and grab-bagged themselves into oblivion in the game’s defining moment.

    124 Responses to “Not Ready for Prime Time”

    1. ” and grab-bagged themselves into oblivion in the game’s defining moment.” A perfect synopsis of the game, season, and tenure of Kelly todate. I’m beginning to think that, unlike say Michigan State, Kelly’s Irish are just a bad break waiting to happen.

      • steve1814 says:

        I hate to say it but I don’t see us going anywhere with Brian Kelly as our coach. I don’t care how many top recruits he gets, he is just in way over his abilities. I don’t think keeping him for 5 years or 10 years will make any difference. Even with an extra week to prepare for the game last night he was thoroughly out-coached by Kiffin. I think pretty much the whole coaching staff is in way over their head. Defensive line coach, offensive line coach, defensive coordinator, and on and on. This observation is not based on just last nights game. I have to admit I was completely wrong by thinking he was going to bring us back to prominence. What is sad is I don’t see any answer to get us out of this mess. They almost have to stick with him for 5 years and then we start all over again. I’m afraid I am not going to get to see ND as a top 10 football team year in and year out while I’m alive. Kansas
        I hate to say it but I don’t see us going anywhere with Brian Kelly as our coach. I don’t care how many top recruits he gets, he is just in way over his abilities. I don’t think keeping him for 5 years or 10 years will make any difference. Even with an extra week to prepare for the game last night he was thoroughly out-coached by Kiffin. I think pretty much the whole coaching staff is in way over their head. Defensive line coach, offensive line coach, defensive coordinator, and on and on. This observation is not based on just last nights game. I have to admit I was completely wrong by thinking he was going to bring us back to prominence. What is sad is I don’t see any answer to get us out of this mess. They almost have to stick with him for 5 years and then we start all over again. I’m afraid I am not going to get to see ND as a top 10 football team year in and year out while I’m alive. Kansas
        I hate to say it but I don’t see us going anywhere with Brian Kelly as our coach. I don’t care how many top recruits he gets, he is just in way over his abilities. I don’t think keeping him for 5 years or 10 years will make any difference. Even with an extra week to prepare for the game last night he was thoroughly out-coached by Kiffin. I think pretty much the whole coaching staff is in way over their head. Defensive line coach, offensive line coach, defensive coordinator, and on and on. This observation is not based on just last nights game. I have to admit I was completely wrong by thinking he was going to bring us back to prominence. What is sad is I don’t see any answer to get us out of this mess. They almost have to stick with him for 5 years and then we start all over again. I’m afraid I am not going to get to see ND as a top 10 football team year in and year out while I’m alive.

        • rwallenbaugh says:

          People have to remember these players are 18-21 year olds. Anyone try to motivate a teenager?? These players are not 30 year old men they are young kids!!!! Mistakes will happen!! Even the greatest players make mistakes. Excellence takes time, especially when loosing was common place for so many years!! Notre dame Football is a major Corporation and Brian Kelly is the perfect fit CEO!! Go Irish!!

          • Do mistakes happen- yes. It’s not that they happen. It’s the frequency with which they happen. That is fundamentals. That is coaching.

            • I agree Dan…. We were out coached this week, however I believe we need to be more patient with Kelly… Last season he turned one of the most undisciplined teams (under Weiss) in to one of the most statistically discipline teams in the country… This year they seem to be snake bitten. All that being said, if Diaco doesn’t start coming to a game prepared, and learn how to stop the run then he should be replaced. Navy will be a perfect test… He has not demonstrated that he knows how to stop the option attack… The defensive scheme he ran last year, and this season against Air Force, was fundamentally incorrect…

            • rwallenbaugh says:

              Actually Dan, If a coach drills it into their heads..and they don’t WANT it or believe in it even the best look bad. Frequency is in question. I believe that excellence takes time.. I believe in Kelly. On the other had Weis was a waste of time..he never backed up his arrogance. Its easier to motivate a 30 year old millionaire, then it is a 19-20 year old away from home kid trying to balance classes with football!! Go Irish!!

          • Ken Ackerman says:

            Yes, they are 18-21 yr olds, but other elite college football teams also have those 18-21 yr olds with NO PROBLEM motivating them. One caveat I will add, USC always seems to have football players that are WAY OLDER than 18-21. Just look closely at some of them: obvious guys in their mid-to-late 20’s with numerous children, and some of them fresh out of prison terms. If you’re USC, you gotta love falsified birth certificates!!!!!!!!!!

            • Ken –

              That is really stupid. And, I think you know it is too.

              And for what its worth, USC has one of the youngest teams in college football. 60% of the roster are either true freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

        • Every team is dealing with 18 to 21 year old kids and the good, well coached teams find a way to win. Why not ND? We are not talking about a temporary slump here, we are an average team, nothing more. What has happened? Please….no more excuses.

          • rwallenbaugh says:

            They are in a slump it happens!! Most of those teams don’t have the pressure of a Notre Dame either. I’m not making excuses but give it time..Notre Dame Football was horribe befoe BK arrived.

      • rwallenbaugh says:

        People need to have patience!!! I believe that the program was really bad when Weis was fired. I know this is BKs second year, but it takes time. No one can perform miracles. Have faith!! Notre dame has incrediible expectations, but BK is still human. Did Oklahoma run Bob Stoopes out of Norman yet?? They were 28 point favorites to beat Texas Tach and they lost!! How many big games did he loose? I live near State College Pa., Joe Paterno is a God here. He only won 2 national titles and hasn’t won a big ten championship in years! No coach is perfect. I’m sorry to say that the program was just really bad. Brian Kelly is articulate, highly educated, poised, emotional and determined!! He is the right man for the job!! Notre Dames tradiion has to ease up. In my opinion, Nick Saban would be in the same boat if he were coaching the Irish. I have been an Irish fan since I was old enough to remember!! My entire family are Irish fans.. People need to relax and have faith!! Go Irish!!

        • You really think a Nick Saban coached team would have make the same mental mistakes as this team. You really think Nick Saban and his coaching staff would be out-coached time and time again. You really think a Nick Saban coached team would come out and play flat against a USC team.

          • rwallenbaugh says:

            If Nick Saban inherited the same program as Brian Kelly did he would have the same problems. It takes time!! Weis destroyed the program!! I see mental mistakes in Nick Sabans Alabama team all the time..The difference is the Foundation Saban has built. From the ground up. Patience!!

        • I think I have had patience. I was forced to for the past how many tears? I am just tired of the weekly scripted excuses. What the heck has happened to ND football and why can’t we be relevant any more? Now we are nervous about Navy. That is just what I am talking about.

          • IrishRover02 says:

            Ray, I feel the same way and I think a whole lot of us do. 25 years of rooting for ND football and I’m questioning why. Why do we do this to ourselves?

            • rwallenbaugh says:

              I’ve been an Irish fan since I was 5, I’m 40 now!! I still believe!! Weis destroyed the program. I see stuff in Kelly that I haven’t seen since Holtz!!. Brian Kelly is not God. No coach in the country is. He will get the job done.

        • Ken Ackerman says:

          Good point about Paterno: He spent his whole career playing nobody Creampuffs like William & Mary and a host of Directional Schools, and the Coastal Carolina’s of the world. Paterno has no shame, becuase all he ever wanted was cheap meaningless wins to keep up with Bobby Bowden, etc. Just look at PSU now: Ranked in the top 25, BUT THEY HAVE YET TO BEAT ANY TEAM CURRENTLY RANKED IN THE TOP 50!!

    2. As I said after the USF and Michigan disasters, Coach Kelly is in over his head at ND. How many more times are we going to see the Irish not prepared for a game? ND was dominated by a very shaky and still on probation USC team. I like BK but he is not and never will be a primetime coach. He would do well at any Big East or ACC school but these are not and should not be Notre Dame’s aspirations. Or are they?

    3. Bill Rueter says:

      I agree with your final conclusion totally.It kills me to say it. We are finished as a force in college football. No matter who the coach or how many great recruits that we get we just cannot perform when it counts.

    4. Scranton Dave says:

      It’s disappointing, but I still think Kelly has the program heading in the right direction. USC had not played up to their talent level in their first 6 games, but they did last night. I think this game proves that Rees is not the guy to lead us to a BCS Bowl. I believe Hendrix or Golson has to be the QB next year. My heart bleeds for Dayne Crist. He got a chance, made some lazer shot throws, then inexplicably fumbles. This game is obviously a setback, but lets close the season strong. Let’s keep the faith Irish fans.

      • Oh, I will always keep the faith. But my heart simply cannot bleed for a kid who has done this TWICE from the 1-yd line this season. This time, he made a fundamental error which resulted in a 14-point swing to USC’s favor. And, I disagree with you about Rees. Rees did a nice job guiding the Irirsh back down the field to score at the beginning of the 4th quarter after Crist’s butter-finger play. That quick strike cut the defecit to 7, so at that point they still had a chance. The turnovers were catastrophic, though. However, Rees was only responsible for one of them. I hang the fumbled backward lateral solely on Wood. RUN THE DAMN BALL DOWN, CIERRE!! Whether it is incomplete or not, RUN IT DOWN!! USC’s defender kept chuggging because the WHISTLE HAD NOT BLOWN!!

      • rwallenbaugh says:

        Well said Scranton Dave!! Go Irish!!

    5. Three inexcusable losses. After faithfully following the Irish for four decades, I am beyond being disappointed. Players and coaches have to accept responsibility.

    6. irishhawk50 says:

      The Irish were just not prepared for this game and I think that is on the coaches. I haven’t reviewed the tape, but a couple of things jumped out at me during the game. There were a couple times early when ND needed a first down and the receiver tried to make a big play instead of just putting his head down and getting the first down and that cost them. The first series with Hendrix insertion was the wrong time and place just when Rees was starting to find his rhythm and I think that cost them a first down if I remember. The problem at the goal line, speaking of not using your rushing game. Crist was moving the team down. I think it was second and goal at the 2 or 3 when Kelly put Hendrix back in and a more experienced runner would have seen the gaping hole to his left. ND should have used Woods or Gray and tried to jam the ball down USC.
      Anyway we can all second guess, but it was clear ND was out coached and outplayed. Its back to the drawing board, but there will be no excuse for not crushing a 2 win Navy team next week. Time to pick up the pieces and move on. Hopefully the coaching staff is learning as it goes because this is just not good enough.

      • You got it hawk. I had to wonder several times why our receivers didnt use their after catch momentum to get more yards instead of stopping to reverse direction,leading to less yards. You have to know where first down is.

    7. When I saw people on the Irish sideline shaking their heads after the Crist 14 point swing I knew we were doomed. Not just because of that play, but due to the reaction it caused (which I see written all over this board). We expect to fail. Then we do. Many teams battle back from adversity, but we are just waiting for our moment to flop and then the self pity begins. Until this mentality is exorcised our “nagging hunches” will continue to poison the pool.

      Bad things happen sometimes inexplicably. Winning teams don’t look at them as a reason to fold. Time to interrupt the self pity party! A 9-3 season is still possible and winning out and beating Stanford and a decent bowl team would be a move forward.

      • I commend you for your attitude.

        When you lose a game, the only proper response is: let’s do whatever we must to win the rest!

        Yes, I’m drinking Kool-Aid. But it’s my birthday, and I’ve already broken the promise to myself not to visit or post on this board.

      • The “pity party” is due to watching good players and good coaches fail, not because the other team is better, but because of mistakes that are committed by ND. I never go into a game thinking “how bad is this team going to beat us.” I do go into big games thinking “how are we going to beat ourselves.” Until ND players and coaches show that they can play a game–a big game–without self inflicted wounds, then I will always go into a game expecting bad things.

    8. I agree with Steve, Mike and Bill. Repeating my comments to Saturday Night Special Post:

      One of the best ways to spot a good coach is to watch the halftime adjustments. Lou and Ara were terrific at correcting problems at halftime. Michigan’s new coach, as we all saw, seems to have that ability too. I don’t see that with ND. I see no difference between the team’s play in the second half from the first half, other than the defense being more exposed as the game goes on.

      Personal fouls, preening and fumbles are the province of coaches. They may not cause them but they sure have the ability to correct them. I don’t blame Crist for the fumbled snap. There are two people involved in that exchange. I know from personal experience that sometimes it’s the center that causes the bad exchange. And this is not to blame the center, either. The center/qb exchange needs to be constantly practiced. Given the doghouse Crist seems to have been occupying since the first game, I suspect that was the first snap he has taken under center in a month. He clearly had been pushed to third string. He is still our best qb and under a non-screamer would probably thrive (not everyone can play well under a Bobby Knight type of coach).

      The hoopla over a game with our greatest rival was ridiculous. Neither team is going anywhere from a championship perspective. Making this game more than it should have been clearly motivated USC, who beat us like a drum. I had hoped last year’s ND win would have put the series on more even footing. Last year’s win now looks like an abberation. We don’t need loud music to make the stadium loud. We need a team worth cheering for. I remember a very loud stadium when we beat USC in ’73 when the game meant something for both schools. Same in ’93 between ND and FSU. Saturday was reminiscent of the green jerseys being used against Boston College in Willingham’s first season. That was nothing more than the business people in charge of the Notre Dame brand using the gimmick to sell jerseys (which is what it was – those jerseys were available on the internet and in the bookstore a week after the game – very different than Devine’s inspired motivating technic in 1977). I still remember the horror in the stands when the team came out in those jerseys. We all knew it was mistake and it did nothing to help ND and only energized BC to hand ND its first loss of the season. Our fancy new helmets and other “Super Bowl” trappings, clearly were used by Kiffin to successfully motivate his team. However, his reference to ND making this our “Super Bowl” was used to mask the reality that the game was actually USC’s bowl game while they remain on probation – a night game with bowl game atmosphere on national television. And we sure helped him to make it such. I am sure those recruits did not view USC as a program on probation and in decline.

      Another season of high expectations is now lost to the reality of mediocre players and coaches. One reason USC won so much under Pete Carroll was you could see how loose his players were and how much fun they had playing for him. Contrast that with our players withering under the purple faced screams they are confronted with everytime they make a mistake. Everyone plays scared. That is one of many reasons this season is now about playing in some third rate bowl in mid-December. In marketing, we are No. 1. On the field of play, we are a mid-major and nothing more.

    9. Kelly outcoached by Lane Kiffin.I’m beginning to think he is a shorter version of Charlie Weis.This is on Kelly and his staff.

    10. Just read where a U.S.C. player said-“they just quit”.Not only did they beat us, they do not respect us.I can think of no more telling comment on the state of Kelly and Notre Dame football.

      • rwallenbaugh says:

        USC has one of the dirtiest programs in College football. Lane Kiffin has the integrity of an earthworm.. Why do you think they are on probation?? Is it because they are a straight edged program?? When you cheat and steal, you will eventually get cought!! NDNATION HAVE FAITH!!! Go irish!!

        • Dirtiest Program????? Wasn’t it ND that got called for the Taunting Penalty and the Helmet-to-Helmet Penalty.
          USC was Classy and Respectful. Don’t blame the USC kids on the field Saturday Night, they could have transferred or picked another school, but they stuck with a school that isn’t even allowed to win their conference. USC had a fraction as many scholarships as ND had on the field, you may not want to admit it but this USC deserves a lot of respect for both their skills and attitudes, ND looked like the thugs.

          • Roamer00 – Did you watch the game?… The helmet to helmet call was a terrible call… The WR lowered his head, therefore, according to the rule he was not “defenseless” and there should not have been a penalty. They actually didn’t even go helmet to helmet, the WR’s helmet hit the ND saftey in the chin. The taunting call was questionable but certainly not worthy of calling Calabrese a thug… That being said, I agree that USC is not one of the dirtiest program… I don’t put them in the same boat as Miami, however Pete Carroll obviously saw the writing on the wall and jumped ship to Seattle. That says a lot.

            • JCNDMBA – I agree. I don’t like that penalty. It’s football. Not two hand touch. Calabrese is not a thug. He just let his emotion get the best of him.

              As far as the USC being a dirty program comment. That is just plain stupid. USC played a clean game, and won with tremendous discipline.

              Pete Carroll left for $30M, and he mentally checked out in 2009. He didn’t leave because of possible sanctions. No one at SC thought Paul Dee’s committee would lower the boom like they did for something Reggie’s parent’s did 100+ miles away.

      • It is NOT Kelly’s fault if his players just quit – It is the PLAYERS fault. USC came to down prepared to give them a beat-down and restart the streak in South Bend and that is exactly what they did.

        I remember Chris Zorich from the NC team – it was said that one of the reasons his defensive teammates played so hard was that they were afraid of what he would do to them if he they didn’t.

        There is talent on this team but there is no leadership and there is no toughness – that can only come from the PLAYERS, and if they haven’t figured that out by now ……

        • It is Kelly’s fault that he quit, too. Finishing a game by letting the other team run out the clock when you have 3 timeouts left is just plain quitting. When you get down to 2-2.5 minutes left, you call timeout after downs and hope you hold them. We held them on the final series but never even tried to conserve clock. Considering we have a kick returner who has 2 return TDs this year, the game is not over just because we get inside 2 minutes. It is over if the coach gives up, though.

      • Ed –

        Chris Gallippo did say that. And its embarassing. He should keep his mouth shut. SC’s play on the field was good enough that for any Trojan to be disrespectful of a worthy opponent only devalues the effort on the field.

      • That right there is the biggest frustration for any ND fan. The nation does not respect us. They laugh at us. They see us on the schedule and lick their chops if they are a top tier team and say they have a chance if they are a lower tier team. WE SHOULD NOT BE WORRIED ABOUT A FREAKING STANFORD!!!! We should not be going into night games with butterflies in our stomachs. This is a storied school with a storied football team. We should be professionals and not cracking under big game pressure. You don’t want to be accused of quitting? THEN FREAKING PLAY TO WIN AND WIN EVERY WEEK!!!

    11. Once again the Irish failed to “seize the day” at a critical moment against a major rival before a national audience and a dozen elite recruits. Their Keystone Cops fumbling was as tragic as it was awkard. The glittering helmets and raucous music didn’t make up for their failure to play smart, fundamentaly sound, hard-nosed football. Was this the result of players who lacked effort and focus, or coaches who called the wrong plays and/or failed to prepare their team, emotionally or schematically, for a talented opponent?

      Clearly, Notre Dame didn’t put the ball in the hands of their best playmakers often enough. Southern Cal did. The Trojans shut down Michael Floyd, while Robert Woods had a (Bilitnikof) field day. Why couldn’t the Irish stop SC’s ground game or generate one themselves, as they had against Michigan State (now ranked number 11 in the BCS standings) and other decent opponents? How do you explain the inconsistencies? How can the Irish regain their form over the next five games before they face Stanford, their toughest opponent this season?

    12. Where to begin. Like most ND fans I looked forward to this all year as a statement game. Unfortunately the statement was that the Irish are not ready for the big time. It begins with BK. Most top coaches learn from plays early the game what would work in the 4th quarter at crunch time. BK insist on trying to beat USC on the edge when it didn’t work. Plays cross up with the QBs afterTommy goes down. BK my man your thinking too much. Game on the line use your superior O line and let them put a helmet on someone from the three point stance. Use your 2 backs then go play action and get the ball to the best player on the field to Michael and Tyler. When it comes down to it in the 4th quarter you get down to 6 plays that work and execute those. Put your players in position to win and let them play. Every play they look to the sidelines like they can’t think for themselves. It’s too much about how clever BK can be. I hate hearing that band celebrate on our field. Nice recruiting classes but you still have to teach and motivate. Forever Irish. JD

      • Last I checked BK wasn’t handling the ball on the one yard line when they fumbled the game away. I would bet Coach Kelly busts his butt to put a good product on the field each week. The players are the ones that aren’t executing. Bad coaching does not explain the turnovers we’ve had all year long. I’d admit the coaching staff has made a few mistakes, but coaching is the least of Notre Dame’s concerns.

        • That is BS in my opinion. BK was on ESPN the week prior talking about how excited he was about the big game atmosphere and talking about ND’s road to a BCS game. He was looking past USC and the players’ performance showed that he was looking too far ahead. I am not screaming for BK to be fired, but I do hope that he realizes that until ND rises to the SEC level, he better take every week seriously and not look past opponents.

    13. Wow. Oklahoma gets upset by an unranked team, and everyone here is upset that we got beat by a team with a better record than us, and was only a few votes behind us in the polls. I bleed Blue and Gold and I’m upset we got beat, but in a rivalry game, and college football in general, you never know what’s going to happen. It would have been great if we would have won, but you all act like it’s the end of the world. To all of you gloom and doom fans, the sun’s going to rise in the morning, most of us will be heading back to work after a disheartening weekend, and I for one will still be rooting for the Irish come Saturday.

      • well said, disappointing yes, end of the world no….actually easy to accept this loss than other two as we were clearly outplayed.

      • Well put! The players need coach Kelly to teach them “How to WIN”. If you remember before the 1988 season, that’s what the players were asking coach Holtz after the Faust era. That was the name of a book after the 88″ National Championship season.

      • Well, after Stoops has appeared in 3 national championship games, won several Big 12 titles and other big games there’s no doubt he’s the right man to lead Oklahoma. Kelley is still proving his worth to the national fan base and not doing a very good job at that.

        • Stoops has taken Okalahoma to 4 title games in the last 10 seasons. How many has Oklahoma won in that stretch? 1 of 4… that is not that great IYAM.

    14. steve1814 says:

      I hate to say it but I don’t see us going anywhere with Brian Kelly as our coach. I don’t care how many top recruits he gets, he is just in way over his abilities. I don’t think keeping him for 5 years or 10 years will make any difference. Even with an extra week to prepare for the game last night he was thoroughly out-coached by Kiffin. I think pretty much the whole coaching staff is in way over their head. Defensive line coach, offensive line coach, defensive coordinator, and on and on. This observation is not based on just last nights game. I have to admit I was completely wrong by thinking he was going to bring us back to prominence. What is sad is I don’t see any answer to get us out of this mess. They almost have to stick with him for 5 years and then we start all over again. I’m afraid I am not going to get to see ND as a top 10 football team year in and year out while I’m alive.

    15. martinjordan says:

      Maybe Brian Kelly should spend less time designing helmets and more time preparing his team.

    16. I like Brian Kelly a lot, however, I saw Urban Myer calling another game, and couldn’t help but think, its still destiny for him to be our coach!! He looked like he didn’t want to be in that press box, ND is not looking great, I just thaught to myself, If he does come, I feel a lot more confident going into a game against USC!!!

      • If you listen to Meyer talk about the PRESENT ND players, you (I) can not help but get the impression that if he were offered the job @ ND he would take it in a heartbeat. I remember reading back then that the reason he didn’t take it when first offered it (ND eventually hired Weis) was that he looked at ND’s roster and saw that due to poor recruiting by Willingham the 2007 season was going to be the disaster that it turned out to be.

        I also read that the administration tried to lowball Meyer – it was public knowledge that he had an escape clause in his contract with Utah that enabled him to get out of it w/o paying a penalty if he went to Notre Dame. The story does make a lot of sense, and it does not surprise me.

        Florida, on the other hand ….

    17. frank carpin says:

      kelly and the pretenders

    18. I am with you, JB.

    19. I said from the first day Kelly was hired that he was over his head at ND. With that said I predicted the Irish 8-4 this year and still think they can finish there. The mistakes this team makes is mind boggling. I’d also live to have a tape of the missed tackles by Manti this year and throughout his carrer at ND. Love the kid but he is so undisiplined on the field at times. Oh well just another mediocre Irish football season.

    20. This was a loss due to poor coaching.

    21. Crist’s fumble was no worse than Rees’s at the goal-line at Michigan.

    22. USC and its fans and friends regard last year’s defeat in L.A. as a mere bump in the road. They came to town fully expecting to do just what they did – start the streak back up with a good beat-down in South Bend.

      Right now Notre Dame football – moral superiority aside – is stuck on mediocre. Playing stupid music into the P.A. system and writing 7 or 8 articles about the pretty new hats the boys are wearing with the lovely GLITTERY color scheme that matches the color of the golden dome – even going to the extent of having Alex mention them on the air – isn’t going to change that.

      The talent is there but there is no toughness.

      (Especially when the players are FORCED to wear pink)

    23. The Curse of Lou has taken hold in South Bend. Ever since ND administration ran Lou out of town, we have sucked. We may have to wait 80 or 100 years for the Curse to wear off.

    24. All games are won or lost up front – ND was DOMINATED on both sides of the ball. USC and its fans look on last year’s game as an abberation, and they came to SB fully expecting to start the streak up again with a beatdown, frilly new glittery hats and stupid music on the P.A. notwithstanding.

      And that is exactly what they did.

    25. After 23 years of holding season tickets; it’s time to let go. For the amount of money the University is charging for them, I want to compete! I am so tired of a three hour ride home full of disappointment. I truly hope that ND can once again become relevant in the world of college football, but I for one am tired of waiting. I will always cheer for the Irish, and they will always be “my team.” I just can no longer justify the money, time and energy. With the level of talent that exists on this years team, there is absolutely no reason to have 3 losses thus far. I hope that in my lifetime I once again will have the pleasure of experiencing a FIGHTING irish football team.

    26. FearlessFlea says:

      Face it, boys. Notre Dame has become a women’s college; i.e. women’s basketball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, etc. We play football like a bunch of girls. They ought to put on skirts and have some sequins and rhinestones stuck on our shiny new helmets. Oh, those new helmets were just spiffy. Bring back the Meat Squad. Any men left out there? Pardon me while I puke.

      • I think there is some truth to what you say. There is no toughness on ND any more. No Chris Zorich types.

    27. As frustrated as we all are by the game on Saturday night we can’t get the “itchy trigger” finger in condemning BK. Yes, he is now 0-6 when trailing at halftime which was obvious Saturday but this program cannot continue to hire a new staff and implement a new scheme every three years. There has to be some continuity in the program. Perhaps that will help. IDK, let’s hope we can turn things around because watching them fumble on the goal line AGAIN was nauseating.

    28. That game was hard to watch, coaching decisions were questionable, turnovers again decided this game, and was that “crazy train” by Ozzy being played loud during the game? Isn’t that like sacrilegious or something? Come on ND, Ozzy?!?!

    29. President Rome says:

      Dayne. What could have been?

      Tommy. Efficient. Able to win when your D plays like the Baltimore Ravens. When they don’t, eh, not so much. I miss the days of chucking it long to Golden Tate and he would somehow come own with the ball. Floyd is bigger and better. Tommy just can’t get it down field.

      Andrew. I think we have a stretch of 4 games that should not be too taxing. Good games, but there isn’s an Alabama or LSU on the schedule. Saddle up kiddo. You’re up.

      ND Stadium. Crazy Train? CRAZY TRAIN? Seriously. CRAZY TRAIN!!!!! Ozzy’s best days were around the time that song came out. Who ever chose to play THAT song on 3rd downs should be fired immediately. I have yet to hear it in a stadium or arena anywhere but if you want to pump up the crowd, play Super Charger Heaven by White Zombie. That tune makes you want to put your fist through a wall.

      ND Stadium. I heard that they passed out 80k towels. I only saw about 40k being waved in the air. I guess the people holding the other 40k’s arms weren’t strong enough to wave the towels. Herbert from Family Guy comes to mind.

      I have faith in Kelly. And we should thank the Almighty Father that Jack Swarbrick has been given the okay to give the program an enima. This program has been broken for a loooooooong time. 15+ years of broken. You can’t put new paint on the same old POS and expect it to win races. And I’m not talking about the helmet color. The program, in my eyes, is being built from the ground up.

      • I entered 22 minutes on the clock before kick-off and did not get a towel…the 2 SC fans to my left (a completely different beef) had 8 and which sat on the ground the entire game…

      • Senor Presidente – Your spelling Senor. It is spelled ‘enema’, not enima.

    30. Larry Delaney '60 says:

      Sadly, our record is what we are!

      At the start of the season, my hopes were very high. I thought Kelly was the answer, and still think he is a great recruiter.

      I say give Kelly one more year. A good season or goobye.

    31. I sometimes wonder where some of you have attained all of your football knowledge. Saturday night was disappointing but not the to a point where you can say Brian Kelly is in over his head. To say we don’t make halftime adjustments is ridiculous. In our last 11 games we have given 13 points in the 3rd quarter and 7 of those was on a fumble return Saturday Night. I am sure Brian Kelly will admit is was not his best coaching job but anyone can see that we were physically dominated at the point of attack. Based on what I had seen this year from both squads I did not expect this but it was the reality, Turnovers are sometimes just unexplainable and the fumble that turned the game was one of those. I Have seen significant improvements in the Irish since the first game last year and I believe we will get to where we want to be but it is going to take time and everytime something does not go right does not spell the end of the world. You need to look at Kelly’s track record as a whole and see that he is a winner and it is about his program and getting the right people and mindsets and this is going to include some frutrating setbacks until we get there.

    32. I agree with the writer that says next year should decide the fate of the coaching staff. As the story goes, Ara said he only needed 3 years to win. If he couldn’t do it in that time period, more time would not improve his chances. All of ND’s great coaches won in 3 years. I hope Kelly can do it but I see only improvement from the disaster that was Weis, not true progress towards the standards of the guys with statues outside the stadium.
      As regards Urban Meyer, he is said to have purchased a home in Columbus, Ohio. Earl Bruce was his mentor. If he coaches again, I expect to see him roaming the Buckeye sideline.

    33. Flyin Hawaiian says:

      Not to worry Irish fans, we gave you the win last year without Barkley unable to play and Johnson’s butter fingers! You just don’t wake up a sleeping giant by acting like it’s the “Super-Bowl”, playing loud music, talking smack to our players when they are getting off the bus, and never ever invite recruits with a game against USC…..LOL! “I LOVE THE RIVALRY”! you folks hate us and we think u “suck”! The game is won on the field and not through loud music, hype, hope, mystique, and all that yada yada yada! Until next year, see ya in LA!

    34. For what it’s worth and for how poorly Notre Dame played there were several opportunities during the course of that game where the Irish could and should have seized control of game changing momentum and they didn’t. To me this seems to be the signature of Notre Dame football over the past 15 to 20 years. By my calculations ND had four chances to turn the tables on SC but without a hitch they shot themselves in the foot yet again. These aren’t in any particular order:
      1. Atkinson’s return: Got them back in the game, turned the fans and the stadium upside down while the jolt of electricity shooting through the air missed the entire Irish “D” and they were shredded yet again not long after.
      2. 4th & 1 stop: The ball on SC’s side of the field and the “D” comes up huge only to the see the offense trip over itself. If SC gets a 1st here and goes into score this game is over by halftime. Time and time again, countless opportunities over the years to take advantage of and ND walks away empty handed again.
      3. SC’s missed field goal: Playing at home against your biggest rival and their kicker misses a chippy late in the game. These are opportunities that must be taken advantage of to win these games. Another chance that went by the wayside.
      4. The goal line fumble: Instead of going in to tie the game you’re now looking at a 14 point hole again. This whole sequence I just didn’t understand. Crist goes in for Rees and gets them down there. Kelly takes Crist out for Hendrix who runs left and gets stopped. Kelly then puts Crist back in. This is where it gets a little sketchy for me. Maybe someone can help me out with this. The ball is on the goal line or 1, whatever. Why do the quarterback shuffle? What is Crist going to do that Hendrix can’t or vice versa, the ball is on the one. Hand the friggin ball off and power it in.

      For how bad they played and how ND got shredded for most of the game there were several golden opportunities for them to take advantage of and they didn’t. If they make good on 1 or even 2 of these this is an entirely different game. Is ND where they need to be?…! If they were they would have taken these chances and walked out a winner.

    35. Joe Schaefer SJHS'55 ND'59 says:

      Kelly has been a highly successful Div II coach. His Div I record not impressive. Yes, he took Cincinnati to the BCS. Then what happened? He stated there will be four days of tackling this week. What punishment has he decided for himself and the defensive coaching staff? Lately he seems to be referring more often to his 21 years of coaching experience. That doesn’t cut it. Some people have 21 years experience. Others have one year’s experience 21 times. He’s in the big leagues now. Time to clean these guys up. It’s Boot Camp fellows. Goldilocks Dever, you’re first in line. Joe Schaefer Universal City, Texas.

    36. The pressure on the team built up for 2 weeks (ever since JS stood up in the café and announced that the team needed help). The bye week killed us…just too much time to over-think. Rees is pretty cool under pressure but he was “tight” in that first quarter. Complied with a “stuffed” running game and the first quarter was a disaster.

      It was game-on just seconds before the ball squirted through Crist’s legs. But you cannot blame him for being “tight” either. He hadn’t sat under center (at the goal line) under immense pressure in a long while and it was loud.

      It is a game of breaks and the breaks went SC’s way.

      What we needed was a well-timed sprinkler malfunction to break the tension of these boys.

      • President Rome says:

        I think we had a sprinkler malfunction against South Florida. It didn’t help then either.

    37. Oh, for the days of humility and understatements from Lou Holtz, all while he was building a quiet and tenacious confidence in his team and coaches. Less is more! Does anyone remember Hesburgh?! Seemed to be a nice fit with regards to leadership culture. Brilliant, high expectations, confident, yet quiet and humble. Hey, there was a Hesburgh sighting today! Now, we get Weis with his arrogant vibrato flashing 3 superbowl rings. Kelly with his cocky, tough talk, and dark sunglasses at pep rallies. The hype and changes for this game a coincidence?! Shut the hell up…everyone at Notre Dame! I’m so sick of the returns to whatever! Please stop talking and just start doing! Surprise me. For once, exceed my expectations even if that means lowering the expectations to start building confidence. The institutional arrogance started with Malloy and has been building ever since. Institutional…not just football. Our lady has become pretty narcissistic. That culture starts at the very top…way above Kelly! Davie, Willigham, Weis, Kelly. Is there a pattern? We still think we’re pretty darn special at football, while the rest of the nation (and former coaches) just laughs and keeps cashing our checks! Expect more of the same regardless if it’s Kelly or the next brilliant coach. Go back and listen…their press conferences all pretty much sound the same after at a certain point.

    38. Notre Dame does not do humble well at all, and for a place that even calls itself catholic (small c) that’s not a good sign.

    39. Mack – I’ll take your season tickets! I still can’t get the knot out of my stomach from Saturday’s game, but believe that we’re ultimtely going to be on the right track. At the game, a small handful of so-called fans were ripping on ND and the players/coaches almost from the start. These kind of fans are much worse in terms of giving up and not exhibiting the right attitude than any of the players or coaches. Look in the mirror before you rip on the players and coaches!

    40. RUN THE FOOTBALL. 14 rushing attempts for 41 yards???? Head scratching game plan, execution, and use of personnel from head coach, who I can’t even bring myself to mention by name. I’m totally disgusted.

    41. Ohioirish says:

      I read on another board that BK’s regular season is 11-8, and based on the entire post by this person, it seemed to be a slam on BK. Lou Holtz’s regular season record at the same time was 12-7. Pretty similar.

      While I don’t like to say the two coaches are the same, they have some similarities. They have both had winning records as a head coach. They have both had significant head coaching experience and they both build programs from the ground up.

      Another similarity is that both coaches came to Notre Dame and had to change the mentality of the players(i.e learning how to win, being more disciplined). Penalties and turnover stem from lack of discipline. Until BK gets these players to be more disciplined, he will be no better than any of his predecessors that failed.

      Go Irish!

    42. After 59 years of being a ‘Loyal Son’ of ND re every facet of the university, not just football, I find that like a lot of things in the USA today, ND is not what it used to be, and is not likely to ‘Return to Glory’. As a management consultant, I have recognized the tell tale signs of this steady deterioration of leadership quality at ND, just as I have in many other U.S organizations.

      Like our country and like the Catholic Church itself, ND’s problems are systemic. It’s not the students or the players, its the management. Since the departure of Fr Hesburgh and Moose Krause, ND’s management has steadily declined. Fr Malloy, Fr Beauchamp, Fr Jenkins, AD’s Wadsworth, White, and the current ‘Brick’, are not cut from the same cloth as those who authored ND’s greatness. Neither are Davie, Willingham, Weis,Kelly,or the next coach that the ND management will hire after the current one finishes bumbling thru the rest of his 5 years. The only current coaches that display any resemblance to what ND used to be are the leaders of the women’s basketball and soccer teams.

      Under ND’s senior leadership this once great university that reached out to all americans (i.e., ND’s Subay Alumni, of which until last Saturday night I had been a proud member for over a half century) has redirected the future toward the elite and the wealthy, and away from the common person. With the current stampede toward supersized conferences for college sports, the only accurate fit for today’s ND is the Ivy League. When I review ND’s men’s athletic achhievements over the last decade, I find their greatest success has been in the all american sport of fencing.

      Coach Kelly has dispayed several key traits of his failed predecessors, but he is right about one thing: ND needs the RKG’s. Unfortunately, neither he nor his superiors are those kind of guys.

    43. Another kick in the groin. At soon to be 42 years with two small children, I need to learn not invest myself so emotionally in ND football only to be severely disappointed. I will have to turn down tickets to Stanford Notre Dame as I not emotionally mature enough to watch a beat down live. Hopefully Notre Dame can somehow salvage the rest of their season and play to the level of their talent. I don’t expect them to be competitive against Stanford.

    44. I’m a Kelly guy, but he got completely out-coached by Kiffin. Plus, he was way to “cute” with the QB changes and abandoned the run too quickly. How many carries did Jonas have after his big TD run? Zero! That’s crazy.

    45. The most worrying thing for me is our defense. 4 fourth quarter touchdowns against michigan, >500 yards against airforce and a pathetic performance against USC. They are not even close to any of the BCS-quality teams. ND is considered to be a BCS contender every year only because of their history. Kelly is alright but am afraid will lose his job for the same reason Weis did! NOT HAVING A GOOD DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR. Plus, I do hate kelly’s calls on key plays! Like deciding to throw against Tulsa last year instead if kicking the winning field goal and taking the strong hendrix out from the 1-yard line for a pass play by a rusty Crist!!?? No excuse for such errors. One more mediocre year like this and Kelly is gone for sure! May be then we can get Urban to reconsider coming to ND!!!

    46. I think our losing is a mixture of both poor coaching and poor play from our players. I think that we should have been tackling 4 days in a row every week to instill a sense of toughness in our players. I don’t see that toughnness in us like it was for the USC players and teams like Alabama and LSU. I want us to be as dominate as LSU and Alabama and in order to get become like that we need to practice tough. I would rather for us to practice too hard all week and be tired then to practice weak and soft and not be ready to take the pain. As for Dayne Crist fumble on the goal line, thats pathetic. I don’t care if he isnt the starter or not, the first thing a quarterback is taught is to handle the ball. I would say it could be the centers problem if there were more bad snaps exchanged thru the game but there wasnt. Only with Crist. If Crist is so good like all of you say he should be able to handle 1 snap. He is no quarterback. He needs to transfer to Miami of Ohio and be with them. He would fit in well. He may be a good guy and all but being a good guy isnt what its about. It’s about winning games. Now as far as the coaching we definitely should have ran the ball more, thats a coaching problem. We did not set up any runs, play action to soften the defense to help our recievers or quarterback buy some more time. We have a solid running game we should have used it more. I think that our team can not handle the pressure of big time games that decide our season. I can easily see us now that the pressure is off, we can easily win out, and as crazy as this seems we very easily will beat Stanford because ND has absolutely no pressure on them now. No one thinks they are worth anything. So they will feel comfortbale and win like they are suppost to. Just like in the Michigan State game. We handled Michigan state and we all see what Mich State did to Wisconsin… It’s crazy how the mentallity of it all works in the players heads. But bottom line is the coach has to fix that crap and turn them into winners now. I’m tired of the coach saying before the games, ” We aren’t quite where I want them to be yet but we are making progress… GEt them there! I want them there now. LSU Alabama arent making exscuses saying we arent quite where we want to be. They are already there. We have every oppurtunity to be a national football power again. We can be. We just need someone to instill our players with this philosophy that we can win and win NOW! We do not need time. I want them to beleive that it is possible now not later. Hopefully Brian Kelly believes this and conveys this to our players. I still believe in Kelly but he needs to start re evaluating how he approaches things and come through. ND is completely different than Cincinnati or Central Michigan.

    47. George…..if you think you have a knot in your stomach after this loss; believe me when I say that it is magnified greatly by the fact that I spent $6,000 to continue this pain. It hurts even more when you write the check for what you hope to be an exciting season; and end up continually losing big games on your HOME field!! Time to spend that money on vacations with my children while wtching the games on TV.

    48. Crushing losses to USC and Michigan this year. Just awful. I do think Kelly is the right guy, though, and I believe when he gets his guys in there, ND will start winning the tough games. I am driving up to South Bend from SE Tennessee this weekend for the Navy game. The last time I made this trip ND got crushed by Georgia Tech. I am hoping I will still be an optomist on Saturday night, and not pissed off, and freezing cold. Go IRISH!

    49. USC has no class! Their band was playing when they were announcing an award for a professor at ND making a difference in the world and then they played during the Alma Mater, “Notre Dame Our Mother.” That was so disrespectful!! Then they played after the ND band left the field. USC always plays the song and I quote: “UCLA sucks.” Very classy, USC, NOT!!!!!! UCLA is a classy program and would rather play them every year than USC.

      The officials were awful and I am sure SC paid them off well just like the rest of their cheater program. Oh and by the way, You can’t spell SUCKS without U S C. University of Spoiled Cheaters!!

      Their band and students and fans are obnoxious and are the Oakland Raiders of College football. They do not have the Raiders in LA anymore, so USC has to be the Raider equivalent.

      Notre Dame fans are loyal even when the chips are down we are still filling up our stadium. USC only supports their team when they win (cheat), and if they are having a down season, like they were back in the late 90s and 2000, the only games they would sell out were ND and UCLA.

      SC folks should not even be posting on here. I do not and have no desire to go to their websites, so please stay out of ours. GO IRISH beat Navy and go Stanford, break the Trojan condoms at the crappy coliseum next week!

      Great Dane

    50. “Great Dane”… WOW, pulling out all of the old tired “cheater” references, and even- older than time- “SUCKS” reference. If you watch the tape of the end of the game, you will hear that the UC band began to play their fight song and then about 8 seconds into it, the ND band began to play their song.
      Point being, when they started playing, the ND band was not playing. So no intent was made to play over the ND band. It just happened.

      From a sportsmanship standpoint, the loud music played when USC had third downs designed to make it hard to hear signals was bush league… the first time I have ever heard of such a stunt. Almost as bad as letting the grass grow deep about 6 years ago.

      My experience has been that both schools have a lot of respect for each other and that is what makes the game so special. It is also much bigger than the ignorant comments made by a bitter subway alumni like you.

      Regarding sell outs, we have a lot more to do in Socal than you folks in South Bend do. I doubt if you ever have been to the coliseum, but about 20,000 of the seats (east end) are so far from the football field that they are not worth sitting it. This (to continue my education of you) is because the stadium was designed for the Olympics and not football so fans would rather watch on TV vs sitting in these very poor seats, many of which are 100 yards from the closest end zone.

      Bob Golic of ESPN who has 2 players on the ND team was asked why ND did not use their remaining 3 time outs when USC was running the ball in the final 6 minutes of the game and he said that he to was surprised that everything was not done to try to win the game, including using these 3 time outs.Some USC players thought ND quit by not doing so and one of the ESPN announcers said correctly that if a ND player was to give up on a play, his coach would have reamed him but yet he gave up by not calling the the 3 time outs.

      You can thank Lane Kiffin for not trying to put the ball into the end zone at games end (USC on the 5 yard line with 30 seconds to go – first down) but rather just run the ball into the middle of the line. This is out of respect of ND. You should try to show similiar respect yourself and drop of the hate. It might make you feel like a decent guy but I doubt it.

    51. IrishJack says:

      I think everyone is overreacting. If we score on the drive to the one, the score is 17-17…….The game could have had a much different conclusion. Kelly is the guy, right or wrong, so let’s give him the time and support to get it done. This knee jerk reaction, by most ND fans over the last 20 years, is getting to be an albatross around all of our coaches necks. The players are only 30% Kelly’s and 70% Weis’……The spread offense needs to be run by Hendrix or Golson, not Rees. Brian will get us there, folks……

      • couldnt agree more rees/crist are square pegs in round hole. rees is an adequate backup option. spread offense needs to be run by someone with mobility….four week opportunity against less talented opposition to figure out who should start in 2012…time s/b split equally between rees/hendrix. i’d say golson, but probably worth saving a year of eligibility. yes rees has heart and lead legs and a subpar arm…good kid, just cant believe this is the solution for next two yrs?

      • That is what I’ve said. at 17-17, ND siezes momentum.

      • Losers say ‘if’.

        • Agreed. My comment was that we could (and should) have siezed momentum in that situation. The fumble at the 1-yd line was catastrophic (along with the two turnovers which followed).

    52. Great Dane … Nice to see a good loser and sportsman. LOL
      PS: very old and tired references.
      ESPN just used the word “bludgeoned” to describe the beatdown.
      Until next year 😉

    53. Having just returned from SB today, i have a message for Jack and Brian. You have taken away our traditions one by one over the last few years. No player walk from the basillica. No Pep rallies in the JACC. You decided after a gazillion years that the helmets were the wrong color, so now no student managers paint them any more.

      I am going to stop a few of mine. No more annual stops to the bookstore to drop 500 on ND stuff. No more Sorin Society dues. No more trips to help the South Bend economy once or twice a year. Its progress after all, right guys ?

      Lets face it, you need to belong to a conference to get to a BCS game. You have no leverage in the negotiations any more. Save the Big East now before they dont even want you.

      • Great response! ND is becoming irrelevant in major college football. The administration keeps hiring unproven coaches. Ara, Devine and Holtz had won in major conferences, and won at ND. Kelly won in the Big East, which is a basketball conference, not football.

        Hire an experienced, big time coach and we will win again. Urban Meyer should be available.

    54. Irish/knight says:

      Mack I agree for the last twenty years we have traveled there to enjoy the weekend and more often than not you come home with another bizarre,unexplainable,gut-wrenching loss. Its hard to be an ND fan when so many times Nd gets the tar beat out of them every week. Crist has taken thousands of snaps over the years and he fumbles near the goal line? Unexplainable? Why does this keep happening to Nd? The USC dominance,the Mich State dominance,the Mich dominance? The Tulsa loss,the syracuse loss,the academy losses? Whats wrong there? I don’t want national titles every year I want to be competitive…is that to much to ask? I still want to believe in Kelly but im tired of losing and spending all that money to go there and see your team get embarrassed….dammit show some pride ND! Make it fun there again because right now it is not!

    55. The good news is that the Curse of Lou should wear off in about 80 years, if the Boston Red Sox Curse of the Bambino is any guide. Yet, it could last 100 years, if the Chicago Cubs are the standard for measuring a curse’s duration. So we members of ND Nation should just chill, relax, and enjoy the losses, offset, of course, by the happiness that our new helmets and stadium music will bring us. For those who doubt that the Curse of Lou is real, look no further for evidence than to our opening game loss this year to his son, Skip, who is also a former ND player! Maybe the Football Gods are telling us something: “Hire Skip and all will be forgiven” or something like that?

    56. Arnold Einfalt says:

      Coach Kelly needs to re evaluate his QB’s. Rees is an average QB who can’t run which is the system Kelly is running. It’s like oil and water mixing. Rees is a good back up at best much like Crist. Rees will never take ND to the “Promise Land”. By the end of the yr his interceptions will outnumber his TD passes. Throwing into double coverage several times a game seems to be his specialty!

    57. South Florida, Michigan and USC. In every game ND was out coached. Totally unprepared game plan in all aspects. This is just this year not going into last year- Jim Harbaugh took BK to school last year, Tulsa, Navy in every game he was out coached. Who is more arrogant Charlie or BK? ND Football really is the Chicago Cubs of college football-the are both terrible, but people keep buying what they are selling and wait until next year we are going to be really good.

      Did Dantonio’s recruits make BK look like he knew what he was doing at Cincinnati?

      • I agree.He thinks just because HE calls a play it will work
        He put Hendrix in at the goal line and every USC player
        and everyone else knew it was going to be that little counter run.Now, if he passed it would have been a surprise.What a freakin mess.There are now 3 losses that should have been wins.

    58. Yeah Kelly has never beat any team worth mentioning. If he is fired the AD needs to go too. I really think Meyer was sick of all the stupid stuff that went with his players at Florida, I think he loved his players but everything got to be to much.

      To me I think he would love a place like ND, its not like ND doesn’t have issues but not nearly as much. I’ve never been one of those “we just need Urban” ND fans but now I don’t care, I just want to wake up on game day a see an actual defensive scheme for Notre Dame.

    59. Joe Schaefer SJHS'55 ND'59 says:

      Kelly’s biggest mistake occurred last spring when he refused to pick his starting quarterback then so that the entire Fall practice could be devoted to getting Reece’s timing and play calling down. Instead he continued the competition for two and one-half weeks in to the fall practices. The result is now obvious. The manly thing for him to do last Spring with three quarterbacks (one experienced, another with high school spread experience, and another option high school quarterback) was to let Crist know that things had changed with regard to the offense. Crist could have transferred to Stanford, sat out this year, and replaced Luck next season with two year’s of eligibility and played in an offense more suited to his talents and abilities. But, that would have taken some class on Kelly’s part. He has none. He’s a talker all right. He really believes he is a good big time football coach. What calls of his are we going to have to “get use to” for the rest of this season?

    60. StayInYourSeatsLemmings says:

      After the Crist fumble on the one-yd line, I experienced both game (1) deja vu and amnesia. Did they at least give Crist a police escort out of town after the game because I know I was plenty mad at the kid? That one play simply knocked the wind out of the sails of Notre Dame for good and regardless of ‘rust’ from not-playing, receiving the ball from the center should be football 101 for a supposed all-star QB.

      The “Crazy Train” song every 3 minutes was a splendid touch, especially on national television. Eye-eye-eye… How about Aye Carumba? I don’t know whose idea that was, but consider it a bust. Quit turning ND stadium into a bad rock concert. Everyone on this team was responsible for this loss, especially the coaches. The players seem undisciplined and lost at times. True, the coaches aren’t fumbling, but stressing the fundamentals at all times can’t be understated. Didn’t Coach Holtz make players carry a ball with them at all times, with a penalty if they set it down or dropped it? Perhaps that’s overkill, but it seemed to drive the point about holding onto the ball.

      The coaching staff, IMO, gave up on using Floyd and his height advantage way too early. If Floyd is your go-to guy then go to him already. Still, Floyd reminds me of Randy Moss – doesn’t seem to play every down to his potential. Sometimes, he’ll make that awesome catch, other times he seems uninterested and even bored.

      I love Notre Dame football, but I guess we still have to give Coach Kelly some more time to both implement his program and get the type of players he needs to succeed here. Yet, sadly, the days of ND being a college football powerhouse seem to be over. The bigger schools have the money and the power to manipulate the system and get what they need. True, once-in-a-while a team will get caught and made an example of, but it’s a paper tiger. It’s like Fort Knox: it appears they’re guarding the gold, but the illusion is the gold itself… it doesn’t exist but it’s important we think it exists.

      Advise to Coach Kelly: winning builds tradition and maintains excellence, not your reputation or the promise of a better tomorrow. We’ve already heard all that noise from the previous few coaches.

      God Bless ND, their fans, and our patience.

      PS. Telling people to “stay in their seats” is the kind of Gestapo crap that has infiltrated even the NFL of all places. Where did this ridiculous rule come from and why are the minority always getting their way over the majority anymore? PC, I guess.

    61. For Skip…The only tradition I want to see is a winning tradition. I am 52 yrs old and have loved the Fighting Irish since my gradeschool football years. I am not an alumnus of this fine university, but I am a loyal fan..down to my fighting irish leprachaun tattoo. I grew up watching Theisman, Montana, Tim Brown, Ara, Devine and Sweet Lou. I have suffered through the past 20 or so yrs of mediocrity.Faust, Davie, Tyrone and Charlie…. I don’t care if a student paints a helmet, or what direction the team comes from when they go to the stadium, or where a pep rally is held at. It really gets tough being a loyal fan, flying my Notre Dame flag, wearing my Notre Dame apparel. I just want the winning tradition to come back to South Bend. I want them to win with integrity, bringing players and coaches to the University that won’t tarnish the Golden Dome.(Tressel, Pete Carol, Miami U thugs, the Bush scandal etc..).
      To Irish Jack, I agree with you to this point. This is Kelly’s second year, at least Tyrone got three. Give the man a chance. He seems to be getting top notch recruits. However, I definitely don’t agree with everything he’s doing. He has got to find a way to get Floyd open. USC had no trouble getting their top receivers open. Putting a slightly used defender on their top receiver, yes we had an injury, but do something to protect the new kid. Bringing Hendrix in for 1 play at the goal line on our biggest opportunity etc..Run the ball…We have two very good runners, use them.But that is typical fan stuff though, monday morning quarterbacking, questioning the playcalls, after all, we know more about this game than these coaches with 20 some years of experience.
      To every ND fan out there: Is it me or what. I am so tired of our announcer, Mayock, making verbal love to the opposing team. I thought he was acting like a school girl talking to Pat Haden and talking love about USC. It was very annoying. Last thing I want to hear while my team is getting beat down is how great the opposition is..over and over..This isn’t the first time he’s acted like that.
      As for Mike: seems to me none of the big name coaches want to come here. After all, that is one reason Meyer left Florida. I know he talked about all the outside pressures of coaching at ND when he was just an assistant. I know it was rumored he turned down the ND job when it was offered to him. Not sure if that is fact or not..but why would he want to when he could recruit any type student and compete in the SEC. You actually think being a member of the Big East would draw successful big school coaches? Maybe the big Ten, but we missed that boat. I personally like seeing them play some different teams each year.
      Look, I get just as frustrated as anyone. I am losing patience also, but maybe we need to forget about the past. Not forget it, but accept that it was the past. Many years in the pat. Maybe we will never be a contender for a national championship. One or two loss seasons would be nice at this point. A top 20 ranking.. I’m not saying we settle for mediocrity, but people need to calm down a bit. As a coach or player, you always shoot for the top spot, but as a fan, you can think a little more realistically while wanting more.

    62. USC was the better team. Line of scrimmage, running and moving the ball, total gameplan–I think if we played them 10 time we lose 7.

      Thinking that we were somehow worthy of a BCS bowl game (and are therefore a top 10 team) MAKES ALL OF THIS VERY DISAPPOINTING, especially for those of us who might have believed were were good when we whipped a MSU team that went on to beat a good Wisconsin squad, that humiliated Nebraska, and on. But top 10? You have to be delusional like Lou Holtz–we lost to a now unranked South Florida team, and Michigan squad beginning to show it’s true mediocre colors in the Big 10.

      This year, we just are not that good.

      And at times, it’s beyond painful to follow this team. I understand the anger.

      But I’m confused by the continual call for a new coach, a new AD, a new president–I think this intolerance of the process of rebuilding is part of the problem.

      Albeit at a different level, I remember when teams I played on turned the ball over in high school football. When we played bigger, better, faster teams in bigger games–we coughed it up. This pattern of turnovers, as much as I hate to believe this, is not random. It’s just another symptom that we really are not very good. Kelly is right about that. Better players and teams handle the pressure of 1) Opening game, 2) 1st Michigan Night game and 3) 1st ND Night game 20 years. We clearly, have not. I would not be surprised to see the fumbles largely disappear for a few weeks, until the end of the season when we are poised to show the nation why Andrew Luck is a Heisman contender. Recurrent Fumble-itis. National stage. Night game. Big pressure.

    63. What I saw on Saturday evening was deeply disturbing, even in the context of nearly 20 years of disturbing sights associated with Notre Dame football. I saw a team not in the least prepared emotionally to take on its arch-rival in a heavily-hyped home game. I saw a coach and staff completely befuddled by the opposition strategy and utterly incapable of responding to it. I saw mistakes by the players both in execution and in deportment that a good high school team should not make.

      What I did not see – again in yet another game this year and ad infinitum since the 90s – was anything resembling Notre Dame football, at least as it was for most of about 80 years.

      As an alum from the Hesburgh/Parseghian years, I have been dismayed as a succession of mediocre presidents have hired a series of mediocre ADs and mediocre head FB coaches. I have been appalled from a distance by the emphasis on building the physical plant and packaging the football program as an income-producing commodity at the expense of the commitment to excellence (a phrase that Ted the Head employed a decade or more before the late Al Davis) in all fields of endeavor, athletic as well as academic, that would lead as it did in the Ted/Ara era to genuine and not merely cosmetic achievement in both regards.

      As far as the football component of this goes – it would be unrealistic to expect that a sports team would flourish in a university that seems far more interested in its image than in its performance. Swarbrick commented as he fired Weis that it was a really difficult decision for him because so much of what Charlie was doing was good – though what ephemeral good Swarbrick thought that he was seeing was visible only to him. Weis’s teams provided fans with many such Saturdays as last….games in which Notre Dame teams were humiliatingly unprepared and hopelessly outplayed.

      I had thought that Kelly might well be the best of recent hires since he had the kind of pedigree that the most successful of our coaches historically have had – dramatic success at a small college to a mid-major to a low level FBS/BCS program, and whatever the outcome of Kelly’s tenure at ND, his record of prior achievement is beyond question.

      But the similarities to the Weis era are beginning to become too obvious to overlook. Lack of team discipline and motivation. Inability to make in-game adjustments. An offensive scheme alien to what had worked best over many decades for our best coaches. A refusal to take the blame full-on after a loss – and worst of all and hand-in-hand with that, such a refusal or inability to change that the same scenarios of defeat recur like a nightmare. Has anyone ever seen a fumble from the opponents’ 1 returned for a TD once in a decade at a major football power, much less twice in a year…so far?

      I suppose that Kelly may yet prove that he is able to field and coach a competitive football team, and he should have more time to do so. However – Ara’s original contract was for three years because, as he has been quoted as saying, if you can’t do it in three years at Notre Dame you can’t do it at all. And quite a bit is riding on this – we are already a long-running irrelevancy in major college football, an irrelevancy whose brand is derived from an increasingly-distant and ever-fading glory from decades ago.

      Next year is the 100th anniversary of our emergence as a national football power, following the fabled Nov.1, 1912 Dorais-Rockne conquest of Army at West Point. The top football programs in the nation at the time, in addition to the Black Knights of the Hudson, included Harvard, Yale, Navy, Penn (not State), Colgate, Holy Cross and others who have slipped into small-time anonymity. We are much more perilously close to that status than most of us who love what Notre Dame football used to be care to admit.

    64. JimK71 has stated my feelings eloquently. And, the fact that there are only 109 comments to this news story (as of Tuesday, 9:30 AM, EST) means, to me, that more and more fans have just accepted the painful truth rising out of the mist. I am truly beginning to the think the Irish are cursed.

    65. Mike Martinez says:

      The problem we are having is that we do not have studs at the linebacker position. Say all you want about TEO he is not a difference maker. It does no good to make a tackle for a 3 to 5 yard gain and say they are great because they have 10 tackles. Barkley made us look like rookies on his runs. Just like everybody is saying you gotta have heart to win the big games and my blessed notre dame was out played, out executed, and out coached. I never seen a Lou Holtz team come out of 2 weeks to prepare that flat. he may have lost but the team was ready and had heart…

    66. USC is a talented team — some (not all) losses to teams of this caliber are inevitable given where the Irish program is currently at. No one expected this team to finish 12-0. However, with the talent on this team, 10-2 or 9-3 was certainly within our grasp.

      The issue with Kelly is not that he lost to USC — its that via his game management, he manages to lose games that should be wins. Then, by the time he gets to a USC game, rather than being 6-0 or 5-1 with a “cushion” in his record, he’s 4-2 and in a must win position against a quality opponent.

      If I told any savvy football fan that I’m going to give you a 17 point lead going into the 4th quarter, you are going to go in averaging 6.5 yards a carry, you are also going to get an interception and score a touchdown in that quarter and you are going to lose — you would reply “that’s not even possible — I’d run it out on offense, drop 8 and let Robinson run for 10 yards a carry and just take the win.” However, we managed to manage away the Michigan game.

      Go back over two years — 2 Michigan games, the USF game, the Tulsa game, the Navy game — all of those games we were overmatching our opponents from a talent perspective and we managed away the game. Nobody is asking to win all of them, but the difference between average teams and very good teams is putting away games and grinding out victories.

      The difference between Kelly and his recent predecessors is that he actually knows how to develop talent and is fielding talent that is easily within range of the teams ranked 15th to 20th– that’s what makes these losses such stomach punches — they are totally winnable.

      The difference between Kelly and Holtz is that Kelly wants to win a game his way, and Holtz wanted to win a game. That’s what makes the arrogance of the post game interviews so unbearable to watch.

      In terms of round pegs and square holes — the only other recent coach that uses that excuse is Rich Rodriguez. The clock runs the same in a spread or a pro set. And bagging on Rees isn’t the answer — Rees may not be the guy, but this is the only team I know of that complains about having someone on the team that is so determined that no matter how you try to bench him he just keeps being good enough you have to play him. When you manage a group that has the talent this bunch does into mediocrity thru arrogance, or stubbornness or simply not being smart enough to adapt, the criticism is going to be justified.

      • Agree completely. Lou was a great coach, developer of young men, and motivator. Mix in a little self-deprecation and always building up any opponent, and you have a NC and are 2 wins away from 2 more (equalling Pete Carroll’s tun at USC over a 10 year period). And speaking of Kelly, I feel sorry for his wife if he publicly throws his players under the bus after a humiliating loss. I may be wrong, but if I were a young man, I’d rather play for a leader who is fully accountable – and I’d be more likely to play harder for a guy that has my back even if I did drop the ball, so to speak.

        • Sorry, left out why I feel sorry for his wife… you know, the whole public criticizing thing when you make a mistake thing ; )

    67. Mogollon Mike says:

      Lou always said: Things are not always as bad as they seem, nor are they as good as they seem.

      Evaluation should wait to the end of the year………in the interim we just suffer………..hope we can win 8.

    68. Dear BOBC,

      I am not some bitter subway alumni but a graduate student who has been to the Coliseum 5 times. The crappy reference is more about how ND people are treated there and it is not good.

      I went to the UCLA-ND game back in 2007 and it was a very classy venue and I did not feel like my life was in danger as when I used to go to the Coliseum.

      Comparing South Bend to LA is like comparing apples to oranges.

      ND fans are from all over the US and flock to ND. I came from a long distance myself. A USC graduate told me back in 2000 that the only games USC could fill up were ND and UCLA. The “lots” to do excuse is just that an excuse. The bottom line is that USC are fair weather fans. They only go to games when they are winning.

      As far as the cheating thing, that is not old but rather recent. It went to the basketball program and women’s tennis too.

      I was at the game Sat. and sat right behind the USC band I know what I heard and they did drown out the alma mater and also played their song about UCLA.

      I usually do not hate, but I do like USC.

      That being said, I was very disappointed in ND’s play. I think this giving up thing is being played up more than it should be.

      GO IRISH Beat Navy!

      In the end, it is just a game. And our heart forever Love thee, Notre Dame! (Our Lady).

    69. First, stop the Run . . . and other ramblings

      You only had to watch the very first series with USC in possession of the ball to know we were not well prepared for this game. So, did we change our defense? Second series for USC, same result.

      We really need to stop believing the hype and understand that we play two entirely different tiers of opponents. Performance against the service academies and the also-rans really is not the same as performance against traditional powers. Too often, it seems, we derive expectations from our play against the former, and then we fail against the latter.

      Now we will go beat up on Navy, Wake Forest and other less fortunate outfits and again blow expectations all out of proportion. We should live for the likes of USC and Stanford. Is this not what we aspire to?

      And can we please have an end to the pious self-serving blame-shifting statements of our head coach? Stop blaming the players. Admit that you failed to prepare our players. Stop telling the world you know how to handle a bye-week (obviously, you do not . . . if you did, USC would not have run all over you, and you might have had something new to present on the offensive side of the ball. As it was, it seemed like USC knew every offensive call you were making . . . just be the adult in the group and take some pressure off the fine players and admit that you screwed up.)

      I played football and sometimes we lost. I never needed some stuffed-shirt telling me that practice would not be fun the next week. We all went out and kicked each other’s butts out of frustration and disappointment and did not need anyone tearing us down. We all understood that redemption would come only from kicking the ass of our next opponent. We all appreciate the character of the Notre Dame players and you belittle them by telling the world they are not going to enjoy practice this week. Fool, the only people who enjoy practice are the biggest and meanest on the squad. Normal players hate practice almost as much as they hate losing.

      Your pontification on what a tough leader you are does nothing to motivate the players. You neither elicit nor deserve respect. Your players deserve better. And USC deserves some credit for being better prepared and more focused. Those things are on you. Own up to your responsibility . . .

    70. JimK71 is on point in my view. The similarities to the Weis era are very troubling. The elevation of Rees to the starting job over the guy who won the job is not unlike Weis elavating Clausen as starter over the first and second string qbs after only three quarters of football in the first game. When you make a move like that, it would seem to me that it could affect the team’s confidence in the coach’s decision making and their perception of the fairness of the process. The talent on Weis’ team in his third year was expected to compete for a national title, not go down as the worst team in ND history. All indications are that he lost the team with that decision and never recovered from it. I hope the same thing is not happening to Kelly with this team. The performance of Rees in the USF, Michigan and USC games would have put most qbs in the country on the bench – permanently. Whatever the reason, Crist will never be given a real opportunity to show what he can do, despite beating Michigan last year with a likely concussion, only to watch the brilliant defensive scheme we employ give the game back to Michigan. As soon as Kelly gave Crist the vote of confidence before the season opener in his press conference, I knew he was in trouble (any vote of confidence given to a coach or manager usually occurs only a few days before they are fired). No one likes looking over their shoulder. For some reason, Rees doesn’t have to.

      On another issue, I do not view a new coach signalling a rebuilding process. Between Weis and Kelly, ND has allegedly had at least 6 top tier recruitting classes. How can teams with such alleged talent be so bad? The answer begins and ends with one word – coaching. ND was awful for 7+ years and said to have no talent until Ara took that talent to within one bad call of a National Championship and an undefeated season. I still believe that can happen. Stoops and Tressel both won in their 2nd year. While Tressel inherited a loaded team, I don’t recall that being the case with Stoops at Oklahoma.

      As regards USC, we all have experienced boorish behavior by fans. I have always been treated well by USC fans, especially when visiting the Coloseum and think they are a classy group of people. However, I did have some drunk college students smart off to my wife and kids while we were heading into the stadium only to have other USC fans come to our aid and chastize the drunk students. Those fans then apologized to us and said, “unfortunately USC sometimes stands for University of Spoiled Children.” I like USC. If not for them, ND’s schedule would lose a lot. If you don’t like your biggest rival you are missing the point. Rivals need each other. Many USC fans actually want us to become good the same way many ND fans wanted USC to become good again after our long winning streak against them under Lou. A one-sided series does not make for a good rivalry. One final point on this fan issue, years ago I took my in-laws to the ND v Navy game with my wife and four young children. I purchased before the game 2 Navy sweatshirts for my wife’s parents to wear since her father served in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. We arrived at ND very early (between 7-8 a.m.), parking near the bookstore with very few cars (or people) around us when the 8 of us exited the van – 2 people in their late 60s wearing Navy sweatshirts and 6 people in ND gear. We toured the campus, had steak sandwiches, shopped the bookstore and watched the first half of the game. When we returned to my car, it had “Navy S*CKS” written all over it in white. I was embarrassed and humiliated by the so-called ND fans that felt a need to show their team spirit on my car by expressing their disdain for a retired World War II veteran wearing a Navy sweatshirt. Hard as it seems to believe, even we have boorish and obnoxious fans. I don’t paint any school’s fans with the broad brush of hatred for their team and fans. Colleges are cool places and they used to be places where you could wear the opposing teams colors and only contend with spirited and good natured teasing. More and more, its like going to an NFL game in certain cities where you take your life in you hands if you even cheer for the opposing team.