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  • Left Coast Opportunity for Irish

    by John Vannie

    Notre Dame closes its regular season on Saturday evening by visiting fourth-ranked (AP Poll, 6th in BCS) Stanford in Palo Alto. The 8-3 Irish are in search of a victory that will build confidence for 2012 and assuage the sting of disappointing losses earlier this season. Meanwhile, the 10-1 Cardinal have plenty of motivation with a BCS berth on the line as well as quarterback Andrew Luck’s bid for the Heisman Trophy. The game will be nationally televised at 8:00 PM EST on the ABC network. The weather is expected to be cool and dry.

    Stanford has come back to earth recently after steamrolling its first nine opponents by a combined 434-149. Oregon handed them their first loss in Eugene two weeks ago with a 53-30 spanking, and the Cardinal barely edged rival California by three points last Saturday. Injuries have also taken a toll as the season has progressed, but Notre Dame is also no stranger to that situation.

    The Irish will go into battle without Jonas Gray, whose hard running turned the ground game into a strength this season. Center Braxton Cave remains out of the lineup, and backup Mike Golic, Jr. will have his hands full against the physical Stanford front. Defensively, Manti Te’o and Ethan Johnson remain below 100% and Kapron Lewis-Moore is gone, so Coach Brian Kelly will again rely on talented freshmen to hold off the Cardinal. Stephon Tuitt missed last week’s game due to illness and his status is again doubtful. To make matters even worse, the father of nose tackle Louis Nix suffered a heart attack this week. There was no word as to his condition or whether Nix will travel with the team at the time this article was posted.

    First year coach David Shaw’s team is the best opponent Notre Dame will face since USC, whom the Cardinal beat in triple overtime last month. They have scored at least 30 points in 14 consecutive games, and have the nation’s best performance in the red zone with a 98% scoring rate. A missed 33-yard field goal last week marred an otherwise perfect record in 62 tries. A victory over the Irish would likely secure a BCS bowl berth for Stanford. Since Oregon has the inside track on the Rose Bowl, the Cardinal would more likely play in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Stanford will join the ranks of several other schools by donning special one-game uniforms for the occasion. Their traditional cardinal and white will be replaced by deep red jerseys and pants with matte black helmets, courtesy of Nike. There is no confirmation yet regarding the rumor that their band will be wearing hot pink chiffon outfits with matching pumps.


    Kelly has had a week to think about how he will attack a defense that will likely rush only three men and drop the remaining eight into pass coverage. Stanford employed this strategy successfully last year and will be able to study last week’s game film where Boston College stifled the Irish with a similar plan. Notre Dame would normally counter with a greater reliance on the run, but Gray’s absence will shift the burden to Cierre Wood. Freshman George Atkinson may also be called upon to share the running chores, since Wood is not powerful enough to be a 25 carry workhorse.

    The more probably scenario is that Notre Dame will throw the ball quite a bit with Tommy Rees. Kelly will attempt to attack the coverage by creating plays to isolate Michael Floyd or Tyler Eifert against single coverage, and keep Rees from throwing into heavy traffic. This plan will place a heavy burden on Rees to make good decisions and throw accurately, especially if Stanford clogs the short passing lanes because they are not concerned about the deep threat.

    The Cardinal do not feature any superstars on defense now that linebacker Shayne Skov is out for the season, but they have a collection of talented players that blend well together. Nose tackle Terrence Stephens leads a three man front. Linebackers Chase Thomas and Trent Murphy are big, tall and very solid against the run. Each can rush the passer. This group puts a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, as evidenced by their 33 sacks. Another linebacker, freshman A. J. Tarpley, has also come on to perform well recently. The team has allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards per game this year.

    Safety Michael Thomas leads a veteran secondary that is known for physicality rather than cover skills. The unit has only four interceptions on the season despite an effective pass rush. While Rees will have to worry about Stanford’s linebackers dropping into the passing lanes, there will be opportunities if the Irish can isolate Floyd and others against the Cardinal cornerbacks.


    At the college level, Luck is to the Stanford offense what Peyton Manning is to the Indianapolis Colts. The Cardinal have multiple options for each play, and it is Luck’s responsibility to call the correct variant at the line of scrimmage. Obviously, he has performed these tasks with great success and his ability to do so sets him apart from his peers. Luck is also supported by an experienced and powerful offensive line, led by Outland Trophy finalist David DeCastro at guard and imposing tackles Jonathan Martin and Tyler Mabry.  Stanford has suffered only nine sacks in 11 games.

    Stepfan Taylor, who like Wood has gained over 1,000 yards this season, is the lead running back. He is supported by Tyler Gaffney, Anthony Wilkerson and Jeremy Stewart, all of whom see action every week. The group has combined for more than 200 yards per game. The Cardinal typically run a two-back set with a fullback, who in this case is the 240 pound Ryan Hewitt. Both Hewitt and Taylor are adequate pass receivers.

    Stanford’s passing game has been impacted by the loss of Chris Owusu, the team’s leading receiver and primary deep threat. Owusu has suffered multiple concussions and is very doubtful for this game. Senior wideout Griff Whalen is a favorite target on third down plays, however the real strength of the team lies with a trio of tall and talented tight ends that create mismatch problems for every defense. The 6’6” Coby Fleener is the most experienced all around player in the group, while 6’8” Levine Toilolo and 6’6” Zach Ertz are not far behind. Ertz has been injured of late and may be back for Notre Dame, while Toilolo left the game against Cal and may not be available this week.

    The Irish cornerbacks match up well against Stanford’s wide receivers with Owusu on the sidelines, but linebackers Dan Fox, Prince Shembo and Carlo Calabrese may be in trouble if they have to stay with the Cardinal tight ends or backs. The chess match between Shaw and Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco will be interesting to watch, as will Luck’s ability to recognize and improvise.

    The most important test for the Irish will come up front. Stopping the run will be a difficult task for an injury riddled group against a bruising offensive line. If Luck is not faced with many third and long situations, it could be a long night for the visitors. He is a 70% passer with extreme confidence, so Notre Dame needs to make things as difficult as possible for him.


    Kicker David Ruffer and punter Ben Turk are performing at a high level for Notre Dame, but kickoff specialist Kyle Brindza’s injuries have impacted his ability to get the ball to the goal line. Freshman Ty Montgomery has done a credible job returning kicks for the Cardinal, although there has been attrition among his blockers due to injuries. Junior Drew Terrell has become a weapon as a punt returner, as evidenced by his 12 yard average. The Irish could use extra yardage on kickoff returns to put Rees in good field position to start drives. The punt return game remains non-existent, and that was no more evident than last week when the offense started many drives against BC from deep in its own end.

    Stanford Special Teams Coach Bill Polian is not sure whether place kicker Jordan Williamson will be able to kick against Notre Dame, but his recent absence has had an impact. Eric Whitaker has neither the range nor the accuracy of Williamson, and this may be a factor in a close game. Punter David Green is rarely victimized by a long return and is unlikely to suffer that fate on Saturday.


    Notre Dame’s chances diminished somewhat when Gray went down, but a victory is not out of the question. The Irish must avoid digging a hole with turnovers or otherwise falling behind early such that Kelly feels compelled to abandon the running game. Stanford does not appear to have the same energy it displayed earlier in the season, and the exhausting win over USC may have taken some life out of them. Luck is still outstanding even without Owusu, and the recent media noise that he has fallen behind in the Heisman race could provide unwanted pressure as much as extra motivation.

    Stanford’s recent history suggests they will score at least 30 points, so Notre Dame must also move the ball well and finish drives with touchdowns. It’s unfair to Rees to have to make the reads and throws to match an exceptional senior, but that’s what it may take for the Irish to win unless defense or special teams can contribute in some unexpected way. Time of possession and fatigue may be a factor, particularly as it relates to Notre Dame’s defense. Rees and company cannot afford too many three and outs, even if they do not score on a given possession.

    Here are a few questions that will shed light on the outcome:

    Will Wood effectively pick up the slack for the injured Gray?

    Can Stanford pressure the usually well-protected Rees in the pocket?

    Will Notre Dame have an effective answer if the Cardinal drop eight men into coverage?

    Can the depleted Irish defensive line slow down Stanford’s running game?

    Will Notre Dame put a dent in Luck’s 70% completion rate?

    Can the Irish avoid a negative turnover margin?

    Will Notre Dame be able to slow the Cardinal in the red zone?

    Will Luck be holding the Heisman Trophy in New York next month?


    I expect that Notre Dame will not dwell on its injuries and compete hard in this contest. The Cardinal manhandled them last year and the beating did not sit well. The team will respond to the challenge of facing Luck and demonstrate how much it has improved physically and otherwise in the last 60 weeks. In the final analysis, however, Stanford will withstand an early challenge and find a way to pull through, whether by skill or by Luck.


    48 Responses to “Left Coast Opportunity for Irish”

    1. Go Irish…..I hope for a magical victory that occured more often in my youth(60’s-70’s)! Regardless of the outcome, its unfortunate that one of our mobile qb’s was not given more opportunity for development during the last four games. TR is a great back-up qb–not a difference maker and its been apparent all season long that qb play was holding back the team. I can only hope that we develop a better playmaking qb b/w now and next season…..i can’t take two more years of this level of qb play.

    2. As I posted earleir, a Qb is the only thing that seperates ND from being 10-0 vs 8-3. Can not figure out why BK has been determined to go with TR even in blow out games and not give AH any reps. This may be the poorest play by ND Qb in history. I know everyone says he is 12-2 as a starter but who have the victories been against? Only MSU stands out. Pitt and BC confused TR so what do you think Stanford will do?
      If TR is starter next year I will moth ball all my ND memorabilia and cheer for Navy.

    3. austinirish says:

      Especially given the RB situation, we will need to get Hendrix into the game. QB draws should be effective against a drop-8 defense. This is more with my heart than with my head, but let’s call it 34-31 Irish.

    4. You people need to relax. Seriously, “This may be the poorest play by ND QB in history”. What games are you watching? He is not the reason they have 3 losses. Against South Florida he didnt play in the first half and they were down around 16 to nothing. He made it a 3 point game. Against Michigan he scored a touchdown the last time ND had the ball to take the lead. That game was lost by a defensive collapse (primarily Gray) in the 4th quarter. The USC game was a 7 point game when Crist fumbled the ball on the 2 yard line resulting in a USC touchdown and a 14 point deficit (the final margin).

      Here are some other ND quarterbacks recently in their Sophomore years being compared with TR.

      Brady Quinn completed 54% of his passes his soph year for 2500 yds 17 TD/10 INT 12 games
      Jimmy Clausen completed 60.9% of his passes his soph yr for 3,100 yds 25 TD/17 INT 13 games
      Tommy Rees has completed 66.9% of his passes in his soph yr for 2,600 yds 19 TD/11 INT 11 games

      I don’t think TR is anything to write home about but he is the best quarterback on the team and he is not the reason they have lost 3 games.

      • If BQ or JC had the running backs and offensive line that TR has, they might have completed 100% of their passes! Only a nut would take him over those two guys. Of course, TR does not have the opportunity to play for the coach with the decided schematic advantage.

        Face it guys, after watching the LSU-ARK game today, I can only conclude that a BCS game would do us no good.

      • I agree!! TR haters need to get a life.

    5. I agree with Jeff B. Rees is by all means limited, but the guy knows how to win games. Yes, he turns the ball over and cannot seem to throw the long ball, but the guy is an incredible game manager. How many times have you seen an offense that he directs not leave itself an opportunity to win the game? When they score in the 4th quarter to take the lead, it is either with 6 minutes left or with 30 seconds left. I tend to think that is by plan. He always seems to either 1) leave enough time on the clock to get the ball back if they go up late in a game or 2) leave too little time on the clock after a score to give the opposing offense any realistic hopes of scoring the winning points. That is probably his true talent and, perhaps unfortunately, it outweights the greater physical talent that the other quarterbacks on the roster have right now. Compare this “mental superiority” to Clausen. Clausen was perhaps the most talented QB we have had for the game plan ever. Yet, the guy could not win games because he would always leave an opportunity on the field for the opposing team to score and take the lead.

      • I’m not sure why every post on Ndnation needs to have a litany of people complaining about Rees. No one is suggesting that Rees is going to win a Heisman and have a long professional career, but we should acknowledge the fact that Rees has played well enough to win (or at least has found a way to win) throughout the last year and a half.

        What exactly is gained by dwelling on the things you (someone outside the locker room and with no collegiate coaching experience) think should be different? More importantly, the complaints have been consistently contradictory throughout the season. When Kelly gave Hendrix a shot during the USC game, people were clamoring about how this one decision ruined Crist’s rhythm and caused the eventual fumble. Now, Kelly is supposedly incompetent because he is limiting Hendrix’s time in favor of the senior and locker room leader Crist.

        I’m always baffled about what people on these boards expect. I hear that nothing short of a National Championship is acceptable. I wholeheartedly agree that this is the eventual goal, but this doesn’t just materialize out of nowhere. So you go from a pathetic squad that finds a way to lose to Connecticut two years ago to a team that is a failure because they aren’t going to a BCS bowl? Something doesn’t add up. I understand the desire to win immediately, but to say these expectations are ridiculous doesn’t justly portray the sheer lunacy of it.

        Stop listening to the ESPN hype. This team is building towards a National Championship, there are lots of opportunities for success that lead up to the ultimate goal. Relish these successes for what they are.

    6. Bill Rueter says:

      I really hope that I am wrong but I see us getting “blown out” in this one.With the protection that Luck gets I think that our secondary is in for a long night.

    7. rockne, with all due respect as I really do enjoy your posts, I do not believe USC, Utah, or Miami finished as ranked teams last year.
      What about USC this year? TR came out flat and confused just like against Pitt and BC. ND should have rolled BC and would have with a MOBILE QB. Many times TR could have picked up a first down with his legs against BC but chose to throw ball away or force a throw and ND punts.
      Jeff B,to compare TR to Brady Quinn or Clausen is absurd. If you think there is a comparison, tell me where in the first round he goes in the 2013 NFL draft.
      As for Michigan this year, yes he had a nice dirve at the end but what about the wide open Floyd in the end zone earlier from the 8 and TR lets the ball fall out his hands. ND settles settles for 3 instead of 7. How many wide open recieivers has he missed this year? How many times have great catches saved poor passes? Weak arm, no legs, and poor decisions spell disaster vs quality opponents and will keep ND ranked in the second tier of top 50 teams if there is no change next year.

      • If there is no change next year? That’s a big if and there’s no reason to worry about something before it happens. If Kelly has shown anything, it’s that he is not going to carry the depth chart over from year to year. Each player earns a spot based on performance during spring and fall practice.

      • It must be awesome to be a ND QB. You get no credit for wins (like 12 of them in 14 chances) but all the blame for losses. Rees was obviously the only player that came out flat and confused against USC, BC and Pitt. Wood looked outstanding catching the lateral and hit the holes (or lack thereof) with authority in his statement game against his hometown Trojans. Golic has been tremendous re-establishing the line of scrimmage since the Penn Kingsman grad went down. Tommy – keep winning. I don’t care how it looks. It is better than the alternative.

    8. irishhawk50 says:

      I think that this game will give us a good view of how far ND has progressed. I am not overly optimistic but in college football many things can happen. I am interested to see if Kelly can come up with a game plan to counter these teams that drop 8. I don’t think that Stanford on paper looks that much better than the Irish, except for Luck. Really look forward to this game.

    9. If Clausen was behind this offensive line he would have thrown for 60 TDs and over 7000 yards.

    10. My pre-season prediction was the Irish to be 8-4 and losing to Stanford. I will stick with that prediction.
      Stanford 28
      ND 23

      Just another season mired in mediocity.

    11. Scranton Dave says:

      Rees is terrible. To the guys that continue to stick up for him I ask, what games are you watching?

    12. Prediction: Stanford: 42 ND 17

      I Think Rees will be badly exposed in this game as well as our defensive schemes. Diaco is likely to be intimidated by Luck into playing almost a prevent type defense where we allow receivers 10 yard cushions and put minimal pressure on Luck

      Diaco will figure it out by the 4th qtr. and unleash some ferocious blitzes after the game is already well out of hand.

      Best result: We will probably have a new starting QB next year – either Everett, Kiel or Hendrix w/ Rees
      as a competetent #2. Great kid – just not mobile or sufficient arm strength, and seems a little confused
      in the face of disguising defenses. With a new QB, ND could go 11-1 in 2012

      • Jim Prisby says:

        I’m sorry. No disrespect, but this team with TR at QB does not go 11-1 against next years schedule. I don’t think the greatest team in the world goes 11-1 next year with the teams we have to play. Even before this season started I thought 9-3 in 2012 would be an accomplishment. Have you really looked at the schedule? Brutal! SEC schools wouldn’t want this schedule week in and week out. They like playing Furman and Alabama State. Borrowed from the NDNation site, you tell me which teams will be the “cupcakes?”

        Navy (IRE), PURDUE, Michigan State, MICHIGAN, Miami (Chi), STANFORD, BYU, Oklahoma, PITTSBURGH, Boston College, WAKE FOREST, Southern Cal

        Are you telling me that you can guarentee 11 wins next year with TR at QB? I’m sorry but I am really tired of the insanity when it comes to Rees. He is NOT going to lead us to the promise land of a NC or even a BCS game, but more importantly we have done NOTHING to prepare for next year. Even if Kelly, and others on this site, truly believe that Rees is ‘The Guy’, he has done NOTHING to get ‘the next guy in’ ready for next year, and he has had several golden oppurtunitites to get Hendrix playing time. So next year, hypothetically, IF Rees goes down against let’s say Navy, with an inexperienced Hendrix, can we going to go 6-6? No way! As much as I think Kelly has done some positive things, I think the handling of the QB position has been a huge mistake. It would not suprise me to see Hendrix transfer at this point…

        • …Actually, the post you’re replying to basically agrees that Rees isn’t the guy and will likely be a number two next year.

    13. TR is lucky he doesn’t have more interceptions, he throws late and into double coverage way to much. He also hangs his receivers out to dry allot. We need a QB that can at least run the ball for 5 yards when everyone is covered. Quinn, Clausen and Crist would all take off when their receivers were covered. This adds a new dimension for the D to worry about. TR will not and cannot run.

    14. I myself fell in love with Rees after his semi successful start to his career last year and thought he was the guy for this team. I have now come to believe that this was because Dayne Crist was so detrimental to the team that Rees seemed like a superstar. Looking at where we are right now I can say I do not think Rees is the guy. I know he is young and strong willed but he is not the playmaker and leader we need. All of this could be Kelly’s fault for traumatizing him every chance he gets but who knows. I love ND and cant wait for them to be a national powerhouse but ND and TR will once again have trouble with one of the BIG BOYS in college football and will struggle to show the ND Nation hope. I hope I’m wrong though.

    15. We played poorly and were out coached against USC. Stanford was lucky to beat USC. First we have to think we can win – if we get a well coached game, we can play with this team. If they don’t believe and bad coaching: 45-13. If we do believe and the coaches bring their A game – maybe an OT win.

    16. A ND win at the gun makes the Stanford jersey’s the “3 Stooges- JVan, Coffey, and Cash” purchased for this game as worthless as this site.

      Go Irish!!

      • Just wanted to let one of these past the trash so everyone who complains how we “censor opposing viewpoints” can get a look at what we actually censor.

        This is just as stupid as anything perceived as “anti-Kelly” can be, so….

        • John Vannie says:

          I’m fine with it, Bonger. This guy is obviously a member of the Stanford band.

        • Nobody expects you to allow these kinds of posts – nobody should be taking direct shots at one another and that includes you who run the site.

          This is not the type of post that causes people to complain.

          It’s having opposing viewpoints censored. It’s, as in my case, people getting banned for saying something like ‘Kelly’s getting at least 3 years’ because it doesn’t fit with what you want and what your agenda is.

          Outsiders would like this site to be more welcoming, open-minded, and less negative.

          • No, you got banned for posting that one hour after the Tulsa loss when we had enough to deal with as it was without people making inflammatory remarks that just made things worse.

            It’s not our job to be “welcoming”. This isn’t Sesame Street. If people bring their opinions, they need to back them up and have a thick skin while doing so.

            No one was complaining about us being “negative” on October 14, 2005, or any other time the football team was actually giving us something to cheer about. Methinks if we reach that point again, the “be less negative” complaints will magically disappear.

            • My point on the above is you’re trying to show why you ‘censor opposing viewpoints’ when you’re using the wrong example. Your board rules indicate there should be no name calling – so the above example post you reference should absolutely be censored. That’s not the same censorship people complain about here.

              The banning of someone who says what I said is a better example of the type of censorship people complain about. I obviously remember it the best because it was my own.

              You are absolutely within your rights to censor whatever you want. If you don’t like Olbermann or Limbaugh, you can just change the channel. You shouldn’t even necessarily care what the outsiders think. I’m just trying to give you the perspective on where the complaints come from.

    17. Just got done watching Rudy yesterday. Gave me some inspiration for the game against Stanford. Hopefully we are able to recover from the injuries and move forward. Not going to be an easy game to watch, but i will watch the game in its entirety.

      Thanks for a great synopsis of the game plan JV. This will put TR in the pressure situation. If he succeeds then ND has a good shot, but if he fails then I might have to drowned my sorrows in some adult beverages.
      Cheer, cheer for ole Notre Dame.

    18. Scranton Dave says:

      Huetown- Please explain to me how Dayne Crist was detrimental to the team. Thanks

    19. Tuitt-out


      Jonas Gray–out



      Teo -hurting

      Ethan Johnson -hurting

      Collingsworth -hurting

      Riddick – hurting

      Lynch – hurting

      Whoa!! Stanford should win by 3 TDs.

    20. Confirmation: The Cardinal Band will be wearing hot pink stilettos, and will perform a special tribute to Billy Joel.

    21. Looking forward to this game as a measuring stick for the Irish to see how good they really are this year. They have continually shot themselves in the foot this year — let’s see if they can play some mistake free football tonight. If so, I think they can win as their talent will match up nicely with the Cardinals.

      Let’s just hope that ND does not let Luck with the Heisman tonight like often the Irish have when they played USC as the last game of the season.

      Good times.

    22. Scranton Dave,

      It was apparent that Crist didn’t have “It” a few games into his first starting season in 2010. You just got that feeling that he couldn’t handle the job. He made some nice plays don’t get me wrong but he just seemed somewhat robotic back there and lacked moxie. I can understand why Kelly went with him in 2010, because he was the safe choice, but not the start of 2011. Crist was not a proven winner and he still went with him anyways. Luckily we only wasted a half a game before we realized we made a mistake. Since then the only thing he has done is hand USC the ball while we were in scoring territory that cost us any shot at that game. Things just seem to crumble with him at the helm. Like I said before I still don’t think the right guy is in there. A championship team starts a quarterback and we lack that.

    23. Uncle Joe's "nephew" says:

      The Irish win this game is Kelly pounds the rock, but not with simple off-tackle and sweeps. They won’t work against this stout front. The Irish will have to rely upon Oregon Duck-like creativity … and schemes the Cardinal have never seen before. If this game comes down to Tommy versus Andrew, good Luck. By pounding the rock, going no huddle and have five-wide receiver sets, the Irish will control time of possession and keep Luck where he belongs, on the sidelines and out of the end zone. On D, the Irish need to take a page from the Green Bay Packer/Dom Capers playbook, by consistently bringing at least 5 (preferably six rushers, including at least one DB, and jump as many routes as possible. The Packers do this all the time, with far better athletes of course, and while their D gives up a lot in the air, they typically get two or three picks. Playing Luck with a base D is stealing for the Cardinal. Luck will throw for 6 TDs and 400+ yards. If the Irish gamble all day, he’s still throw 3 TDs and 300+ yards, but the Irish can win if he has those stats and the TOs could be big, especially if you see some pick 6’s. George Atkinson should also be the sole punt and KO returner. Every alternative or complement not named George Atkinson is weak sauce. He’s may not be the Rocket … but on this team, he is the Man. Irish 42 Cardinal 40. 9-3 … same as it ever was. Go Irish!!!

    24. FredFarrell says:

      Tommy go deep quick And….blitz…blitz…blitz!!! like drawing for an inside straight. However, our best chance would actually be if we were at home and Luck could not transmit his signals for the clicking of the rosary beads. But we are there and while I too am waiting for a miracle, I don’t see us defying reality.
      This will be remembered–I hope—as an heroic effort, but….Stanford 35 ND 13.

    25. Stanford 42 ND 10

    26. After the first drive they might not even score 3!!!

    27. Brian_96 in Cleveland says:

      Rees has single-handedly lost this game for the Irish. Please, please, please replace him now. Nothing personal, but he has reached the point where I cringe more when he’s in then I did with Crist. Honestly, could Crist do any worse?

    28. Uncle Joe's "nephew" says:

      The Irish were so-ill prepared to play … it really makes no sense; but Brian Kelly clearly looks nothing like the coach he was at Cincinnati. Where to start? No silent count? Two false starts on the first drive? Rees was clearly hurt on the first series which was a disaster … after the game, ND will announce Rees suffered a concussion. He looked awful in the first half … consistently missing open receivers. Crist clearly was not the #2 QB going into the game and Andrew Hendrix looked far more like Jimi Hendrix. Really really awful. Gerry Faust, Jr. … oh, sorry, Bob Diaco … dialed up some really nice D-schemes … if that is he wanted Luck to win the Heisman. Mike Golic’s kid also single-handedly put the Irish in some deep holes with whatever he was doing. Sad.

    29. Get tr outta there

    30. If Kelly kept his poise all year, his teams might not have played tight. Might have felt they had a chance to win. When he looses his cool, the team comes unhinged–So. Fl, Mich., USC, Stanford.


    32. 1) Rees is a flake, doesn’t compete in big games, and didn’t lift weights in the offseason.

      2) The team has ZERO leaders: Floyd doesn’t lead, no QB leads, not even Te’o or Harrison lead, so how do you expect the team to compete in big games!?

      3) The team had multiple opportunities to come back, but neither the players or the coaches stepped up. The O-Line makes their D Line look like LSU, the didn’t challenge Stanford on the outside, especially with a running QB and Cierre who is an outside speed back, and Eifert dropped an 1st down when they were driving for the comeback, then the next play the receiver falls down on a first down WR screen. CHOKE!!!

      4) BK, quit blaming your players and motivate them like Knute and Lou, or prepare them to death like Frank. Your play-calling mediocre at best, and you haven’t had one decent win. STEP UP!!!

    33. really, wanna continue to defend tr? I’m not a hater, just a realist. we will not beat good reams with him at qb.