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NDNation.com Staff: Scott Engler - Michael Cash - John Vannie - Mike Coffey - Kayo - Bacchus

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cheer, Cheer for Ole Notre Dame?

posted by Scott Engler
(The Rock Report) - For the last two years Notre Dame has fielded some of the youngest teams in college football. In 2009-2010, Notre Dame will put one of the most experienced teams on the field in the college football... on the offensive line (where Notre Dame returns the 9th most starts in the country.)

But surprisingly overall, compared the rest of the country, the Irish will still be a fairly young team.

In Phil Steele's "Experience Chart", which looks mostly at age, has Notre Dame ranked 112th in the country, below everyone on the schedule except for Michigan. FYI, Pittsburgh is 10th in the country.

EDIT: But his new experience chart, released today, which combines age, experience, and returning yards, etc. puts the Irish at 19, behind only Washington and Stanford on the schedule. Steele has used experience as a key indicator that flies under the radar of most analysts. Says Steele (sound familiar?):
"A player gains valuable experience for every year he plays and becomes a better player because of it. Players also mature physically while they are in college and there is a big difference between a raw 17 or 18 year old true Freshman and a mature and physically stronger 22 year old Senior. Some teams that send their players away on missions like BYU, routinely have Seniors up to 25 years old. There is also a coaching adage that for every Freshman starter you have, you lose one game."
The Irish also ranked 91st in the country in number of returning letter men and 67th in percentage of returning tackles on the defense.

It's on offense where the Irish show a big advantage, with the Irish ranked 6th in number of yards returning in 2009.

EDIT: Looking at age of starters it looks like Weis will pay the price for so many misses in this senior class, which now appears over rated. The talent surge is in the Junior and Sophomore classes and those classes return in 2009 with playing time. Expect the Irish to rank near the top in the country across the board in 2010.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting view of where the Irish stand with experience. Where were we in the same evaluation in 2007 when the Irish were so terribly young? I don't recall ever reading such an alert to what was probably waiting for the Irish in '07 due to their youth and inexperience.

I have a problem with this statement, "It looks like Weis will pay the price for so many misses in this senior class, which now appears over rated."

That is a shot at Weis which I do not believe is warranted. How does any HC know whether a 17/18 year old playing high school football will really turn out? The recruits looked good on paper, but some kids simply never turn out like they were expected to perform. Weis takes the blame, but it may also have been a matter of his other coaches who didn't get the most early production from some of the players in that class.

It can also be said that perhaps some of those players will come of age this season. By the way, how many from that class will be eligible for a fifth-year assuming they play in '09?

6/03/2009 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Steele's blog entry for today (Wed. June 3rd). He describes his new and improved experience ranking according to which Notre Dame is in the top 20.

6/03/2009 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another statistic. There will be NO EXCUSES this year for the Irish. Throw all the stats out. It is time to kick some butt.

6/03/2009 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the Irish are 112th (out of 120) in Steele's seniority chart (too few seniors & juniors, 2nd in the nation in freshmen on the 2 deep)...

...but 17th/120 in terms of his newer experience chart which takes into account things like returning tackles, returning lettermen, & returning offensive yards.

So we are young, but experienced.


6/03/2009 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Dannymac said...

Hmmm... looks like both the "leave Charlie alone, we'll be fine," and the "No excuses for Charlie, it's now or never," camps found this one offensive.

I guess that makes this a solid, unbiased post.

This season fills me with optimism. It scares me. I am bracing for disappointment... but I see us doing such good things...

I need fall. Now, please.

6/03/2009 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

While acknowledging the obvious fact that more football remains to be played, anybody who thinks the performance of Weis' first full recruiting class is anywhere near what it takes to be an elite program is kidding himself.

According to the depth charts linked on the NDN front page, just six members of that class are holding down starting positions on offense or defense. Four of those are on the (thus far) underperforming offensive line. The fifth, James Aldridge, is now the nominal starter at fullback after failing to win the starting halfback position away from younger players. The sixth is Toryan Smith, an inside linebacker who has yet to make much of an impact in three seasons.

It is indisputably true that "some kids simply never turn out like they were expected to perform." That is true at all programs, but the best programs have fewer misses than other programs. Weis signed 28 players in that class; that no more than 25 percent of those players would be starting on a mediocre team by the beginning of their fourth season is unquestionably an indictment of that recruiting class.

That pathetic production level is likely a product of several factors -- overrated players, lack of player development, poor institutional fits, etc. The majority and the most important of those factors fall clearly under the job description of the head football coach. If assistant coaches aren't adequately developing talent, that is most certainly the responsibility of the head coach who hired them.

It appears that the classes that are entering their junior and sophomore seasons will be much more productive than this fall's group of seniors; in fact, it could be argued that they already are.

Thus, there is reason to hope that Weis' recruiting/player development has improved. But even if that proves to be the case, that does not change the objective reality that the production from this fall's seniors has fallen far short of what is necessary to build and sustain a top-level football program.

6/03/2009 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another pre-season excuse-fest. We're good, we're bad.

Soft schedule, win now, win big or goodbye Charlie, go get Chucky from MNF, now.

"Losers make excuses, winners F the prom queen"
-movie, The Rock

6/03/2009 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous valpodoc said...

No excuses. Win or get out.

6/03/2009 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger jim / Redondo Beach said...

...strange that the comparison of this year's entering freshmen class was not brought up and categorized along with the three other classes...

6/03/2009 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have thought for several years that the 2010 season would mark the real turn upward for the Irish.

That is not to say the '09 season will be bad. I don't buy that at all, but I believe we are one year away from a defense that compares to the offense in depth and ability.

The Weis haters will never be happy as long as he is the HC at ND.

The Irish will be 9-3...maybe 10-2 this year. Challenging games will be MSU, USC, Pitt, and Stanford, but I believe the Irish will not have the collapses we saw last year. The Stanford game will have much riding on the outcome.

They will play in a quality bowl...maybe even the BCS if they have no more than two losses, and they will win their bowl game.

6/03/2009 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steele's article states a reality for all college sports and I'm not sure ND gets it. Athletes are entering college after 5 yrs of HS and then taking 5&6 yrs before they leave. Everybody thinks BYU but everybody's doing it. Schools including "top" schools who compete for athletes with ND are routinely offering grad school classes and degrees worth $50 or$60,000 to keep them around longer. Wouldn't it be an advantge to offer a kid not just a ND degree but and ND BA/BS & MA?

6/03/2009 08:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much of the seniors not starting is a factor that ND had the #1 recruting class with their Juniors who are taking spots.

6/03/2009 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Young, Old, whatever. Time for ND to kick people in the teeth. No excuses do the work. Our Lady of Victory pray for us. Go Irish.

6/03/2009 11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous ND92 said...

Nice article, good insights. Too bad it was diminished by the disrepectful add bouncing around at the top of the screen "Beat Up Obama".

6/03/2009 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All we know about the senior class is that they are (as a whole) not as talented as the juniors and sophs. This either means Weis sucked in recruiting the seniors or Weis did a tremendous job with recruiting the juniors and sophs. We won't know for sure till this year plays out...

6/04/2009 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that this year's senior class would start a lot more players if the juniors and sophomores weren't so great. Zach Frazier is starting for CT. Aldridge would be a good halfback if he had Armando's playing time. I liked him when he was in there. Players like Sergio Brown and Ryan would be starting and playing. Maybe a receiver, maybe a tight end that left the team due to competition, etc.

6/05/2009 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several of these posts say it all. No excuses for Charlie Boy! With the soft schedule my beloved Irish are sporting, a minimum of nine wins is essential. Otherwise, they will be viewed just like their graduation speaker, WEAK!

6/05/2009 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What it boils down too, Charlie is not a good head coach right now! It will show again this season especially since he named himself the offensive coordinator. Even though TRUE ND fans know CW was the OC this past season. We have the talent but CW teams lack discipline, fundamentals and offensive coaching. Can’t continue running the same damn plays!!! I was born and raised in south Bend and a passionate fan that’s extremely disappointed.

6/07/2009 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the whole "Charlie missed on too many recruits in the senior class" issue, does anyone know how that entire class is doing in the NCAA?

Is it possible that the entire 2009/2010 class was just weak and had to be overrated as a result?

*is too lazy to do the research*

6/08/2009 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND must win now. Schedule + no more Willingham recruits = no more excuses.

I give Coach 1 loss only. 2 losses push me over the fence to the "NEW coach's grass is greener" side. Good Luck Coach. I will be rooting hard for my favorite team.

6/08/2009 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND must win now. Schedule + no more Willingham recruits = no more excuses.

I give Coach 1 loss only. 2 losses push me over the fence to the "new coach's grass is greener" side. Good Luck Coach. I will be cheering hard for you, my alma mater and my favorite team...

6/08/2009 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love the guy saying charlie 'haters' will never be satisfied. well, maybe we'll start feeling a little bit better if the fatas$ brought us back out of the laughing stock of the world category that he's single handedly put us in! 3-9 6-6 38-0 38-3 sc loss to 2-8 syracuse. should i go on ahole? then he follows it up with his prognostication that we'll win 9-10 this year. how many did you predict last year momo? i bet it was the same wasn't it? then there's the other guy who wants us to research how every athlete in d1 football in the senior class has done in comparison to other classes to excuse wies' job in recruiting that year because maybe the entire country was down! no my friends, it is the charlie apologizers that will go to any length to support this guy. it's like they're all chuck jr rather than fans of the school. you people make me sick to be associated with you as fans of the same program!!

6/13/2009 05:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Don in LA said...

To the last poster. What are you? In junior high? Don't call anyone names in this blog. Anonymously calling CW a fat ass makes you a coward. He is in the public eye listening to crap like that every day, and you can't even identify yourself. Grow up.

6/14/2009 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Francis O' said...

Notre Dame 94% grad rate, the highest in the country! USC 54% grad rate. nough said. GO IRISH !

7/01/2009 05:47:00 PM  

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