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  • Wonder, Think & Know: What Time Is It Edition

    by Mike Coffey

    One of these days, I’m going to figure out that Mike Royko never said, “Some things you wonder, some things you think, and some things you just know.” But I’m too delirious due to Daylight Saving Time to do it today.

    Or maybe it was watching Brandon Wimbush run. I know it’s one of the two.

    I know all of us here at NDN are wishing Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister all the best for a speedy recovery.  I’ve been reading his stuff since I was old enough to purloin dad’s Blue & Gold Illustrated back in the long ago, and Tim’s contributions on the ND media scene have stood the test of time.  I always understand and respect where his opinions are coming from, even if I don’t always agree with them.  Here’s to Tim getting back in the saddle soon, and the Irish giving him plenty of cardiac-soothing blowout wins.

    When you’re fighting for a playoff spot in an environment where “style points” count, I think it’s too simplistic to say only the fact ND won was important. Like it or not, how they win is going to matter. While they can control their own destiny by winning out, being a one-loss team in the land of lots of other one-loss teams means they have to go to the scorecards, and ND will have to land plenty of punches in order to look good there.

    But rather than a return to spread principles, I think the offense was caught between a rock and a hard place against Wake. It was obvious from the get-go they could have named their score; Wake wasn’t going to stop them any time soon. But the defense kept spitting the bit, and with Adams less than 100 percent going in and Jones & Williams getting dinged up during the game, they couldn’t run the ball as much as they wanted and still be assured of moving the sticks. Put it this way: When you have Ian Book running draw plays, you’re really looking for ways to make the ground game work.

    I thought I was watching the Fighting Irish play Wake Forest. Turns out it was a Big XII game. I didn’t know ND missed the record for most yards in a game given up by only 30, but it sure felt that way watching it. I’m still trying to figure out if Wake found something that worked, the D decided to take the game off, or what.

    Having said that, I think I’m going to write this one off as an Elko/Clawson dynamic. When both staffs are as familiar with each other as they were this game, strange things were bound to be afoot at the Circle K. Burn the film, refocus, move on, do not repeat.

    I think that’s 300+ yards on the ground five games in a row. That makes me happy in pants.

    Speaking of rocks and hard places, I think ESPN finds itself in one this week. ND/Miami is the strongest game on the docket (at least among those to which they have access), so much so they’re sending overworked stroke victim Lee Corso down there to put on a hat. To make this work for them financially, they have to talk up Notre Dame in all ways, shapes and sizes — a resurrection from the 4-8 season, Josh Adams’ Heisman campaign, the defense’s resurgence under Elko, it all has to be on the table between now and Saturday night. But everyone knows talking up Notre Dame, a program to whose product they have limited access, usually gives ESPN’s talking heads a stifling case of the vapors. I wonder how much Alka Selzer they’re going to go through this week in Bristol? Better back up the truck.

    Penn State lost in heartbreaking fashion to a team ND beat. I know that makes me even happier in pants.  But as much as I dislike James Franklin, I have to give him credit for chasing down his charges who were leaving the field before congratulating their opponents, shooing them back to shake hands with the Spartans.  He’s just a young man who hates Notre Dame, but in the agony of defeat, seems to keep his head on straight.  So there’s that.

    You know it’s a function of how much you dislike a team or program that even when their success will benefit your team, you remain reluctant. If I was told a cure for all forms of cancer would be made available to the masses if I was willing to spend one game rooting for Michigan, I wouldn’t answer right away. So rooting for Miami last night because a win over them next week would boost ND’s playoff chances had me philosophically throwing up in my mouth a bit.

    Speaking of which, Ohio State fell to an unranked team in Urban Meyer’s worst collegiate coaching loss? I think I need new pants.

    Yeah, I know the hockey team swept the Buckeyes in their first conference series.  Having any ND team associated with the B1G still gives me hives on the unmentionables.

    I think if Josh Adams is going to win the Heisman Trophy, this is the week to do it. Spotlight game on the road with playoff implications against a ranked foe with a good defense? 150+ yards and/or a 60+ yard score in a Fighting Irish win, you may as well engrave his name on it now.

    Which is exactly what I think will happen.  Choo-choo indeed.

    16 Responses to “Wonder, Think & Know: What Time Is It Edition”

    1. Granted, Adams and Wimbush must play well for Notre Dame to beat Miami. But they will not make the difference. The post game headline should be:
      “In a drear, dank, moldy Miami; the Irish “Blocks of Granite” turned a hurricane to a zephyr.”

      QB’s, RB’s, & Wide-outs attract the media, but Quenton should be getting the most publicity for the Outland Trophy and as our best player.

    2. Agree with view on ND defense. I hope it was familiarity due to WF connection with Elko. I missed a lot of the 4th quarter so I can’t form a valid opinion, and “somebody” deleted my recording. But, regardless, Richt and the Canes are another test so I hope it’s not a case of finally opponents finding vulnerabilities.

    3. To me, ND’s defense took the day off and why not ? It’s been a long season made longer by the Heisman and playoff hype. All the better for the team to invest their emotional energy in the coming weekend. You can not sustain the level of intensity required to beat top ranked teams all year-too many long practices, pep rallies, press conferences and real games to play on full go every day !

    4. Good comments. I agree there was something to the Elko/Clausen connection. Plus, their Qb had one of those close to perfect days. Think of all our drops since Georgia.( In fact, if EQ made the catch against Georgia maybe we score on the first possession and win) But yesterday, its another 150 yds and 2 tds.

      So we still have that perfect day ahead us.(Wimbush says as much each week!)

      I think we will play great this week and will certainly have no problem being focussed.

    5. Actually glad Miami is a road game … the team and coaches need to get out of a ND-centric routine … need a new atmosphere … no hype … probably not favored by Vegas … need serious humility … practice on a high school field in the Miami area and start over.

    6. OneAtAtime says:

      Stanford won’t be chopped liver. They are very tough but with atypical inadequate quarterbacking which their excellent coaching might be able to replace in advance of playing the Fighting Irish.

    7. Doc Savage says:

      My opinion on this matter is on hold for the rest of the campaign…..ND wins out! As long as our star players stay healthy we should win out. Even though ND has some amazing back-ups chomping at the bit, I hope we stay healthy. The game that bothers me the most is Navy. Not too many years ago and due to their chop blocking style they knocked out 3 or 4 of ND’s cream of the crop with injuries. Stanford has 3 losses already so why not a 4th courtesy of the Irish. The only way ND loses is if the players lose that spark that they’ve been playing with.

    8. We have been here before. Under BK in eight years we have a few teams
      With great talent not coming to fruition at the end when it counts. WF ripping our defense at home does not bode well. Miami and Stanford will be the last tests. I only hope that if we win out we will not be blown out in a playoff or bowl game like the history of BK in his tenure. Let’s just watch and see. Love the Irish …but I wonder how we beat Alabama or Georgia or anyone without convincing wins the rest
      of the season. WF should have been dispatched. I don’t see how the best teams in the nation would have not crushed WF.

    9. I wonder think and know it’s all about Miami. Go Irish Beat Hurricanes!

    10. Bocceman2 says:

      Mike, great read! Please do this more often. You cut through the hide, the muscle and straight through to the heart of the condition of our beloved Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
      Godspeed to Mr Prister.

    11. What always scares me are two things: turnovers and injuries. I have not watched a bloody minute of Miami so I’m talking blind. However, from pre-season I have said to lose we’ll have to give up a ton of points (sans UGA) as if we take care of the ball we’re going to put up 40. And remember, we scored five effing times against UGA and only posted 19 points. This is unequivocally the most explosive offense BK has ever had with four or five RB’s beside Josh who can flat out eat up yardage. Now, if only our wideouts would apply a bit more stickum, well, you get the picture. And oh how I’d love to see our D line do something, anything to get the announcers to say their names. How ’bout meeting at the QB once and awhile. 38-21, sports fans.

    12. Style points will not matter this coming weekend. Any kind of win will do the job. Miami hadn’t played much of anyone before VT last wekend. To those worried about NDs status we are fine. I mean the reason we opened at 3 is because we have trahsed a lot of ‘good’ teams and lost to #1 by 1. When teams ND trashed BC, NCST, Wake all gave Clemson closer games than us, I think we are fine image wise.

      To me this is the biggest test in the history of Kelly @ ND. Not biggest game but the biggest test. We are #3 going on the road against #7 (likely) in a season defining game. The resulsts have not been good in the 25 years since the days of Lou. Yet this team is different. This team runs and plays sound D.This team has electric players on both sides. This team is deep and willful. I thimk this team may breakmthe curse but only 13-1 and a NC will do.

    13. I don’t think ND’s defense took the day off. More correctly, they took the second half off after the outcome of the game was well in hand.

    14. Regarding our play in the WF game, BK says the players were distracted with things like exams, academics, studying for engineering exams, our D captain was up until 3 a.m. studying Friday night before the game, and he concludes that this is life as a college student at ND. I don’t think the Hurricanes would understand that. In any event, BK says those distractions will not occur during the Miami game. Look out Canes!!

    15. Ghost of Joe Moore says:

      I found the 2nd half defensive performance shocking to say the least. I have a familiar feeling of doubt creeping in
      and find myself wondering if this is the beginning of bad things to come on defense. The second half was
      deplorable and inexcusable after all the yeah yeah stuff on how focused the Irish were this year….blah blah blah. The killer
      mentality still escapes the Irish – they still have yet to get that signature win. Will it be this Saturday night?
      Were they looking ahead and why on earth why, if that was the case?

    16. Miami’s QB is subject to numerous mistakes/turnovers. I’m certain ND’s defense will take advantage of this. plus, I just looked up the Canes schedule and they haven’t played anybody. I don’t want to jinx the Irish, but being realistic, this game won’t even be close.