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

Monday, October 19, 2009

Irish Rally Falls Short

posted by John Vannie
Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley and his receivers torched Notre Dame's porous defense for 380 yards as USC won its eighth straight over the Irish by 34-27. A furious fourth quarter rally led by Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate fell a few yards shorts of a tying touchdown as the clock ran out.

The Trojans were in command most of the afternoon, but Barkley committed the only turnover of the day when he threw a fourth quarter interception to Notre Dame’s Gary Gray in the face of extreme pressure from Brian Smith. Gray’s return deep into USC territory ignited the otherwise lethargic crowd. When Clausen hit Tate moments later for a 15-yard score at the midway point of the period, the margin narrowed to 34-27. The invigorated Irish defense then managed to stop USC and deliver the ball back to Clausen, but the game ended with Notre Dame a few yards outside the Trojan end zone after three straight passes missed their well-defended targets.

Since I made the 2,000 mile trip for this gut-wrenching loss and just arrived back home, I won’t go into excruciating detail regarding the numerous highlights, lowlights and turning points. What is more relevant is that the Irish scored enough points against a top five opponent to win the game, but once again the defense failed to uphold its part of the bargain. All too often, USC’s receivers faced little resistance in navigating through the Notre Dame secondary. Tight end Charles McCoy recorded 153 yards on just five receptions, many of them coming while he was carrying three or four Irish defenders on his back.

The simple fact is Notre Dame is a flawed football team whose defensive deficiencies have been partially masked by a truly exceptional quarterback and the playmaking ability of Tate. Unfortunately, this pair was not quite able to defeat the balanced and talented Trojans despite a valiant effort and the contributions of other unsung offensive players.

Championship defenses typically have a strong presence at defensive tackle and at least one outstanding pass rusher from the edge. Charlie Weis has recruited some talent at these positions, but the roster lacks difference makers who can be effective against top echelon opponents. USC, on the other hand, has an impressive array of linemen that clearly underscore the gap between the two programs.

A significant problem also is evident at free safety and in the entire coverage scheme. The Irish were beaten multiple times by deep play action passes and repeatedly caught out of position. The Trojans parlayed poor tackling by Notre Dame into more yards after catch than good teams allow in an entire month. The reckless gambling ordered by blitz-happy Defensive Coordinator Jon Tenuta serves only to exacerbate rather than mitigate the weaknesses of his personnel. Against a talented and fast team like USC, guessing wrong had immediate and catastrophic consequences.

Let’s review the answers to the questions that helped determine the outcome:

Will the Irish be able to cover Barkley’s check down receivers (McKnight, Havili) in the passing game? Havili and McKnight caught only one pass each, but it hardly mattered as Notre Dame could not cover Barkley’s primary receivers.

Can the offensive tackles contain the edge pass rush from the Trojans without help from the tight ends? Not really. Paul Duncan in particular had problems in protection but Sam Young also needed help from Kyle Rudolph.

Can Notre Dame sustain a decent ground game with 3.5 to 4.0 yards per carry? The Irish managed only 82 yards rushing in 31 carries, but elected to throw almost exclusively when they fell behind.

Which team will be able to score touchdowns rather than field goals in the red zone? USC settled for field goals twice, but its four touchdowns were scored without much resistance. The Irish did well to score four touchdowns of their own but the last trip to the red zone ended in frustration.

Will the Irish be able to force Barkley into uncomfortable third and long situations? Not often, but his interception provided a glimpse of what can happen when he is pressured.

Is the Trojan offensive line impervious to the blitz? They were very good and generally gave Barkley plenty of time, but Notre Dame managed to have some success against them.

Which team’s leading receiver (Williams or Tate) will be able to make plays despite being shadowed? Both were very productive, although Williams did not have to battle nearly as hard as Tate to get open.

Will the second and third receivers for either team become difference makers? Robbie Parris and Duval Kamara were outstanding for Notre Dame while McCoy was the difference in the game for USC’s offense.

Will Clausen be the first quarterback to throw a touchdown pass against USC this season? Yes, and his third quarter bomb to Tate was a thing of beauty at both ends. The shorter encore wasn’t bad, either.

The Irish can and should win the rest of their games this season if Clausen can carry them on his back, but they will have to battle the odds if each of the remaining games is decided on the last series as has been the case with the previous five. The identity of the opponent does not really matter so long as Notre Dame continues to coach and play the same as they have to date. Now that the bye week has passed, there is little hope that positive changes are coming.
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Blogger DMW said...

This defense is not designed to help an offense that doesn't score a TD until the 3rd quarter.

10/19/2009 02:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Drasail2 said...

Bless ND nation for its travels.

Hwaet. Two years ago we were in the "Notre Dame is never going to be elite again" blah blah blah mode. Relegated to somewhere between the Navy and BYU in the cosmic scheme of things. Now we take on mighty USC on two weeks of collective R&R and nearly clock those undisciplined musclebound twerps and their goody2shoes QB who beat preseason fave Cal 30-3. Now I prefer my FB teams to be a brutal hit delivering phalanx that keeps total O under a century but sometimes you just can't. Bully for Weis and the Irish who've made things fun again. As for the beauty pageant of where we stand I'm not sure why the Buckeyes are above us but we've got some time to sort that out. I just hope we keep playing like this and get to nice BCS bowl so we can torch somebody who forgot we're on NBC for a reason. Go Irish!!

10/19/2009 03:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Holton said...

You're a pessimist. This team has a ton of heart and is fun to watch -- they lit up the best defense in the country! Your columns are neither objective, nor enjoyable to read. You cling to your theories about Weis with an agenda. Done reading this tripe on ndnation, here and on the out of control ndnation message boards.

10/19/2009 08:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes '79 said...

This is the same defense we've had for 5 years.

1. Inexcusably horrible tackling. Doesn't anyone on the coaching staff insist on teaching and practicing fundamentals?
2. Non-existent pass rush.
3. Clueless secondary in which there are often several yards between an opposing receiver and the nearest ND defender.
4. Infuriating, persistent tendency to give up the big play. Again & again & again.

USC's first touchdown drive covered 90 yards in 3 plays. 3 plays!

This defense is a joke and a scandal. Why is it allowed to continue?

10/19/2009 08:10:00 AM  
Anonymous James said...

I sure hope I am not the only one who believes Rudolph's catch should have been a TD. He has big enough and strong enough hands to catch with ONE HAND! He clearly 'palmed' the ball before his knee touched out of the endzone. The ref saw him cradle the ball after hitting out of bounds, and called him out becuase of that. He had possession as soon as the ball hit his hands. How many times have we seen guys make one-handed catches? Another review call goes against us.

You guys have to face the fact that our defense is really quite bad.

Let's pick the 22 best players on the field from this game. How many of our guys do you pick? JC for certain, maybe GT. After that, it's 20 SC guys. There is still no comparison in the talent levels between these two teams.

We play hard, but we cannot overcome lack of skill and bad coaching.

Still, much better than two years ago. Go Irish.

10/19/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Butch said...

I agree 100% Patrick Mike 79! You hit the proverbial nail on the head with all your bullet points! The only thing I would add is that their special teams did nothing special again except get a p.a.t. blocked...infuriating! Bring on Gruden...ND is a non-factor and laughing stock to the college football community. Bring on Gruden...PLEASE!!!

10/19/2009 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger clancy said...

i find it hard to believe that zeke motta is not in a position to start over harrison smith. smith has shown absolutely no ability to play the safety spot, and is one of the reasons why we lost that game.

10/19/2009 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous GR Clark '69 said...

1. Yes Weis is not a HC but if he gets more commitments like Tai'ler Jones and doesn't lose another game til a top Bowl he is here to stay. Could a Brian Kelly recruit as well?

2. Blanton defended a pass Saturday -- 1st one I remember all season -- he was probably benched for it. These defensive backs are being coached into failure.

3. Harrison Smith -- can't cover or tackle. Why is he still playing?

10/19/2009 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree strongly with Mr. Holton's comments. Vannie has been a fair and even handed observer/evaluator of ND football.I think the problem here is that some people, apaprently like Mr. Holton, seem to think that the criteria for a program's success is whether or not a team has "heart" or is "fun to watch." I am an older alum, and was used to watching Parsegian, Devine, and Holtz lead the program. Wins and championships were the barometer of a coach and his program, not whether the lads played with "heart." Our defenses were stocked with players like Patulski, Browner, Frye, Stonebreaker and Zorich. No one ran on us. Ever since Holtz was run out of town by Wadsworth and company, this program has deteriorated to the point of abject mediocracy. Now we regrad 6-6 seasons with "hope" for the future. No matter: the boys are fun to watch, right?

10/19/2009 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Mark, the perpetual inability to beat a good team is "fun to watch". That's what Notre Dame football historically stands for. The idea of winning is for old guard alumni who are living in the past. Enlightened people can accept losing and head back to the parking lot for apple juice, orange slices and granola bars.

10/19/2009 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous beattherush said...

Nice work as usual for this year. One nit - Clausen was sacked, what, 5 times? Take those out of the rushing numbers and we looked about how we have most of the year: a serviceable, but not consistent, running attack.

I'm mystified by the defense. For commenters saying "why is nothing being done", well, we did swap out DCs twice now, DL coaches once, and have been recruiting better there. Tenuta was generally thought to be a good defensive hire. It's not where it needs to be but "nothing being done" is not accurate.

10/19/2009 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. All this did was amuse USC and their fans a little more--ND gave sport and amused the predator. This is crazy. I hate dealing with the feeling that I hope for another Syracuse-like loss so Weis goes. How come it takes Weis 5 years to develop a team that is "fun to watch," while it takes Kelly, Saban...and Holtz...two or three years to be knocking on the door of the NC? I wasn't graded on a curve as an ND undergrad, so why does Weis get the break?

10/19/2009 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick Mikes 1979 says it best- we have been looking at this same type of defense for years going back to Brady Quinn & Co. There is so much pressure on the offense to score every time down the field that it puts an unfair burden on them. If we only had some real talent on the D-line and didn't have to blitz to get pressure ont he QB (doesn't work well anyway!) we would be a top 5 team. The Defense is attrocious and with Weis an offense guy doesn't look like we will get back to where we want ND to be any time soon. Reality- sure wish Charlie would say it like it is about his defense. If really is bad.......

10/19/2009 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused....everyone knows the defense is at least a year behind the offense. The big question mark before the season was the defensive line. Could they pressure QBs and could they stop the run? Most pundits said probably not. The general consensus from fans, alumni etc. was 9-3 or 10-2, with a major bowl(not necessarily BCS) win and a competitive game with USC would be viewed as acceptable and an indication that the program is progressing forward. Well, so far, that is what is happening and yet no one is satisfied. Why is that? Please enlighten me? Don't get me wrong I want to see 13-0 with a national championship too. But programs are not resurrected overnight. It takes time. And there is nothing magical about Gruden or Kelly that would make that time any shorter. So I wish everyone would quit whining and enjoying watching a team that when all is said and done will have won 9 or 10 games and been "in" every game.

10/19/2009 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Holton has a different idea of "fun to watch" than I do. For me, a Notre Dame team that is "fun to watch" beats top-10 teams, demolishes unranked teams, plays stout defense against any team in the country, runs the ball against almost anyone, wins close games, reigns over their home field, rarely if ever gets upset by inferior teams, is as physical on both lines of scrimmage as any team in the country, and makes few costly mistakes. I never thought there would be a day when an ND loss was fun to watch. That concept saddens me.

Also, ND has no deficit of talent in the helmets. That is a closed issue that does not warrant any more deliberation. Every analyst on the planet has said that we have had strong recruiting classes since CW's second season. They have no reason to lie. The disparity that shows up on the field is a matter of how our players are prepared - poorly. There is no question that we have more talent than at least 10 or 15 of the top 25. The problem is preparation and game plan.

10/19/2009 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous SoBend Native said...

ND skilled positions: 4 and 5 stars. Offensive and defensive line: 2 and 3 star caliber. I Clausen had the time
Barkley did, the Irish score two more TDs. If the defensive line could hurry or sack the QB a few more times, the d-backs would look so much better!

10/19/2009 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uncle on Charlie Weis.
I am a big ND fan but have had to live with relative medicority for the past 20 years.
And Weis has done little to improve the prognosis.
Enought already!
Enough of C. Weis!
It is NOT acceptable to simply be good enough to get close to defeating So. Cal.
Since when did Irish football ever settle for that.
I'm tired of losing the only two games on the schedule that had an opponent of any significance - and by quarterbacks who were in highschool last year!!
I'm tired of getting beat by Boston College every year.
I'm tired of mediocrity.
Aren't you folks?
Enough already!!
Go Irish.

10/19/2009 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the boys played an excellent game. Flawed or not, they hung on and DID NOT give up. We lost by a touchdown, which i think shoulda went into overtime. I still think Rudolph had that TD. I give them a round of applause. Gave Petey a run for his money and he looked REAL nervous.

10/19/2009 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger TimmyIrish said...

I'm military stationed overseas and a Domer...we stayed up late watching the game. It was heartbreaking...again. Is there any magic left for us? Where is that player who says, "Enough!," and makes the big play when we need it (especially on defense)?
I think Charlie has taken the program as far as he can. He restocked the talent, and that is to his credit, now it's time to give the reins to a coach who can take it to the next level (read: Urban).
I think the best we can hope for is for Florida to win the national championship...and then maybe, just maybe, Urban will come.
Unless it's him, I see no reason to change coaches...it would only set us back further.
There's still a good shot at a successful season. We'll be there watching from Germany.
Go Irish!

10/19/2009 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I was not impressed as others with our loss. Seems like USC had their way with us and gave us some help to keep it close (15 yard penalties and the interception).

It seems everyone has forgot how close the games have been against MSU, Purdue, and Washington. Not a bunch of world beaters.

I'm amazed at how many think we deserve a BCS bowl. I understand we will always get the benefit of the doubt for bowls, but our last two BCS bowls were not pretty. Ouch, not sure I want to see us get killed by Alabama.

10/19/2009 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clausen's rushing numbers included some positive yards as well. His net total was minus four yards, so it had little impact on our overall rushing production. Goodman's 13 yard gain from the wildcat is included in the 82 yards. Eliminate Clausen from the equation and you get 86 yards. As a data point, USC held Ohio State to 88 yards rushing.

10/19/2009 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

I dont think Vannie is overly negative, and admittedly, I can be too optimistic when it comes to ND. Some great points were made in earlier posts. The D is at least a year behind the O, but I agree that Smith is not a safety, and McCarthy, while he plays hard, isnt that good of one either. I would like to see Zeke Motta and Dan McCarthy get a chance. That Rudolph play was not a TD, he was out of bounds. Too bad Floyd is hurt, he wouldve made a difference. If we get Floyd back for Pitt and we win out, I consider 10-2 a nice year, especially considering the Michigan loss has an asterisk cause of the officials. The DLine is young and starting to play a little better and with Teo playing fulltime, hopefully the LBs can play better too, although I'm not sure why Filer doesnt play more. We need to stay positive and support the team and help them hopefully win out. Dont get me wrong, I wanted them to beat USC and much as anyone, but I'm proud of the fight. We are closing the gap on USC and we will get there. Also, I agree that Ohio St has no business being ranked ( the computers have them 33rd), and Terrell Pryor may be the most overrated player in College Football in the last 10 years. Go Irish!!

10/19/2009 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

Vannie, I disagree that since the bye week has passed there is little hope of positive changes coming. Tenuta and Brown are supposed to be good defensive coaches, and there is talent on defense, maybe the light switch comes on at some point. With our offense, especially when/if we get Floyd back, the defense doesnt have to be great, just decent to win out. Let's hope the D improves. I liked Bruton, but I didnt realize we would miss him this much.

10/19/2009 06:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND Nation said it all. SC covered us with three or four linemen. ND rarely penetrated the SC front line. We need several difference makers at DT and DE. We can recruit all the safeties, line backers, corners, wide receivers, running backs we want but until we get an outstanding defensive line we will be mediocre except for JC, GT, and KR.

10/19/2009 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Credit must be given to ND for the fight and character they displayed. They never gave up or hung their heads. Just as we blame Weis for the negative he must also ge given some credit for the positive.

Still, as much as ND fought they struggled keeping pace with USC through the first three quarters. Even though the score remained close for awhile SC was firmly in the driver's seat until early in the fourth quarter which was disconcerting.

I believe if Mike Floyd played we would be celebrating an ND win. He's that good and SC's defense would have eventually buckled trying to defend both Tate and Floyd.

Defense is a real problem. Every week opposing receivers are wide open. In fact wide open is an understatement. After every game we are treated with the DB's remarking how they were confused or that coverages broke down. If ND hasn't corrected some of these problems by this point in the season then chalk it up to poor coaching. ALl problems seem to point to Tenuta's schemes since I don't think ND's pass defense was this bad last year.

Unless ND finishes worse than 9-3 I'd say we stick with Weis. I think Brian Kelly is a fine coach and is ready for the next level. It pains me because I feel Kelly is starring to hit his stride as a coach much like Holtz when ND hired him. Cincy isn't overly talented but they are well coached and overachieve. They do seem to lack a power running game which could prove to be an achilles heel when you're coaching at ND.

If Urban Meyer wins another national championship at U of FLA then there's nothing left to accomplish. It will be interesting to see what happens between now and the end of the season.

10/19/2009 09:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster who thought we all agreed that 9-3 or so would be a good sign of progress because programs are not resurrected "overnight." Five years is "overnight?" Heck, Holtz had a 5-6 start and turned the program around the very next year with largely "Faustian" recruits! He won a championship the following year! So did Dan Devine. Look: I don't hate Charlie Weis. But he is an offensive coordinator and NOT a head coach! He makes too many stupid in game decisions. He gambles like a high school coach. Just think -- had he gone for the field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter against USC and we didn't miss a PAT, all we would have needed on the final drive was a stupid FG to send it into overtime!

10/19/2009 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SoBend Native:

Are you serious that you think our lineman are 2 and 3 stars. Here are their rankings from Scout.com I just looked them up. Maybe someone can't develop them well but they certainly are among the best recruits.

Sam Young – 5 Star
Chris Stewart LG - 4 Star
Eric Olsen C – 4 Star
Trevor Robinson - 4 Star
Paul Duncan - 4 Star

I will get the defensive line in a minute.

10/19/2009 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Credit must be given to ND for the fight and character they displayed. They never gave up or hung their heads. Just as we blame Weis for the negative he must also ge given some credit for the positive."

You know there are a lot of teams that show fight and character. I'm tired with all these moral victories. You people will never stop apologizing for Charlie. Next year when Clausen and Tate are gone, as well as 3/5ths of our OL, you guys will just have more excuses. I say enough with the excuses.

Hire Kelly Now!

10/19/2009 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger James Leo said...

Here's the bottom line - there are NO MORE MORAL VICTORIES. Either we win, or WE LOSE, and WE LOST. I call UNCLE also - time to say goodbye to Charlie.

10/19/2009 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Holton said...

This team is a broken collarbone away from being undefeated right now. 2 losses in the final 11 seconds and the final second, one on the road. All without the best receiver in the country since Q4 of game 2, and a defensive line largely composed of underclassmen.

ND is 2 experienced defensive linemen, and one injured WR wearing #3 -- from having a truly great team. The end of mediocrity is at the threshold, but the ardent, unyielding, impatient ND fans want to throw away the coach who built one of the top offenses in the land in 2009, and is bringing in the most talented student athletes since the early 1990's. Wow.

I remember clearly the cries about even Lou in 1992, 1993, 1994... it's never good enough, fast enough, often enough or timely enough for some ND fans. It takes more than 4 years to rebuild from the gaping hole left by Davie and Ty. The program is clearly on the upswing.

10/19/2009 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You lay too much of the blame on the defense. The score at the end of the half was 13-7, which meant the defense had done a decent job at holding USC. The defense gave the offense plenty of opportunities to move the ball down the field and score, but the offense could not move the ball against SC's defense. And then there was the stop by SC's defense on 4th and 1 at the start of the 3rd quarter. After that, SC had the momentum and scored.

10/19/2009 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

ND football is like Notre Dame the University...most on this board think it is much better than it actually is and cannot understand the reality that it is both a top20-30 football team and a top 20-30 university. Face the facts...Notre Dame has a number of limitations to being a top program..first of all is its location. It is far far away from where the talent is. Florida, USC, Texas,etc are top teams because they are where the talent is and can get that talent into school. That was one of the reasons Holtz got forced out- too many conflicts with the administration to get players admitted.

10/20/2009 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This team is a broken collarbone away from being undefeated right now. 2 losses in the final 11 seconds and the final second, one on the road. All without the best receiver in the country since Q4 of game 2, and a defensive line largely composed of underclassmen."

This team is one over-thrown pass, one misused timeout, and one unearned 2 point conversion away froming being 1-5 right now. All with the best qurterback in the game. And because of Charile's recruiting, a defensive line largely composed of underclassman.

Hey, everyone can play the spin game. What else you want to spin?

10/20/2009 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Robbie said...

You are a total negative Nancy Vannie.

People made some great points below, as well as some people who simply don't get it.

Why are people freaking out about Charlie??

What people don't realize is that most head coaches at the top level already had ONE head coaching job under their belt. Saban at MSU, Meyer at Utah, Rich Rod at WVU....the list goes on and on. Charlie's only major job before coming to ND was being an offensive coordinator and coaching QB's. It is much different when you have to run an entire team vs being a specialist in one area and that's all you have to plan for. He didn't get a practice run before taking his game to the big stage like Brian Kelly is getting right now.

The fact is he inherited a crappy situation. He has shown he can recruit and bring in the talent. He made a great decision in firing Latina and bringing in Frank Verducci, and I'm confident that he will get rid of Tenuta and search for the right man to run a defense. They are one or two horses away. The defensive backs have talent, but it is clearly a product of coaching.

Harrison Smith needs to go. He has been downright awful all year. They probably should have kept him at linebacker.

I think he can get us to 9-3 or 10-2 this year, and get us into a Jan 1 or BCS bowl. We will get another chance to prove our worth....it just won't be against USC. I'm well aware that as long as our defense keeps playing that way we are on the verge of 8-4 at any time.

I think people overlook what we did to this USC defense, and we ran the ball down the strecth when we needed to.

Stay positive man! You have a group of guys who believe in a coach and the school. The recruits feel it too.

10/20/2009 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes '79 said...

Will the anonymous poster please explain how Lou Holtz was "starting to hit his stride" when ND hired him?

He left the head coaching position at Minnesota to come to ND. He coached in the NFL (long enough to know it wasn't the right place for him). He was a successful head coach at Arkansas.

Holtz was an experienced, accomplished, and self-confident man when he came to ND. That's why he was able to turn the program around so quickly.

10/20/2009 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stated before the game the Irish had no shot to the win the game for a variety of reasons, the main one being the Weis could not hold Pete Carroll's athletic wear when it came to coaching/schemes. On this point I feel completely vindicated. USC's play calling was far superior to ND's and the Irish were in a huge hole before mounting a courageous and valiant comeback that succeeds if Charlie can simply make a decent call on the last goal line set of goal line plays. Now, he gets to blame Kamera for slipping on a cut, but great coaches don't put the game on the back of their #4 or #5 best option in such situations. I won't bother running through the assortment of calls he could have made in that last drive and it doesn't matter. A three TD loss would have been much better than that result because now ND is stuck with Weis for years to come unless the Irish unravel down the stretch, which appears unlikely. Weis is a great recruiter, but will never succeed in taking ND to the next level. Brian Kelly would be a perfect fit. Now, sadly, it will never happen.

10/20/2009 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes '79 said...

Hey, Anonymous,

Let's see:

1. You are infinitely more talented than Charlie and are certain(after the game has been played) that YOU could have selected a better series of plays for the final drive than he did. Please tell us what your plays would have been.

2. It was foolish to go to the #4 or #5 receiver. Tate and Rudolph were wide open, and Parris was not injured. Yeah. Again, tell us what you would have done.

3. It's better for everyone--especially the players, coaches, and students--to suffer a humiliating and demoralizing blowout than to fight vallianty and come up just short in the final seconds.

4. We should all become adherents of the "Great Man Syndrome." Brian Kelly is the savior of ND football, and south of the stadium we can build a twin of the library with a mural of him facing north.

10/20/2009 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Holton said...

I completely agree with Robbie. Great points.

"Hey, everyone can play the spin game. What else you want to spin?"

The team is 4-2 with injuries to #7 and #3 (arguably 2 of the best 3 players on the team). It's quite a spin to get to 1-5, considering they WON 4 games!

10/20/2009 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, this is really quite simple. Just look at the players USC lined up across from Notre Dame. They were clearly bigger, faster, and stronger than we were. I don't care what these recruiting "experts" have said about our last couple of classes - we don't have very many NFL type athletes. We have a few on offense without a doubt; but not defensively. Our defense is mostly undersized and constantly overmatched. I think we are fortunate to have a offensive coach in Weis who can at least put some points on the board. Or no wait, Gruden, Saban, Meyer, etc is going to swoop in next year and make us an elite program again. Wake up - this is what Notre Dame has become and there's probably no going back at this point....

10/20/2009 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

Could we please, please put a moratorium on Brian Kelly talk? Everyone loves to say Weis doesnt have a signature win, well, look at Cincys schedules the last 3 years and tell me who Brian kelly has beaten. One of the bigger problems with this years team is the 2006 recruiting class, which was thought of as a top 5 class at the time, turned out to be largely unproductive. This is a team that most of the best players on it are sophomores and juniors. I think they can close strong this year and if Clausen and Tate stay in school, we can be a BCS Title contender next year. I think Weis should get next year and we should really try to stay positive and support our team. Go Irish!!

10/20/2009 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hey, everyone can play the spin game. What else you want to spin?"

The team is 4-2 with injuries to #7 and #3 (arguably 2 of the best 3 players on the team). It's quite a spin to get to 1-5, considering they WON 4 games!

Wow, I thought you were smarter than that. You said we were one play away from being undefeated and I countered that in each of the other games we squeaked by in, we were one play away from losing. It's not that hard, please try to keep up Mark.

10/20/2009 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

I disagree with the anonymous post at 5:38. Everything runs in cycles. Remember we beat USC, what was it 14 times in a row from 1982-1995? The Irish will get back to glory

10/20/2009 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am flummoxed by this team. I certainly do not apologize for a loss. And I do think we are WAYYY behind where we should be at this point in CW's tenure (I think that we should be beating USC and crushing that totally mediocre Michigan team). That said, I feel like we are getting better. I think this was the best we have looked all year. If not for our secondary (especially one player who I will not name), I think we win that game. We were OK against the run and our offense is good. Our defensive front 7 has made, what, four critical stands in two weeks? As I say, I am perplexed. Great recruits and improving v. wayyy behind schedule...Let's just kick the everloving shit out of BC and see how the remainder of the season pans out. GO IRISH!

10/20/2009 09:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess we won't find out this season whether CW can win a big game.

10/20/2009 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous j said...

is it still too early to say...BRIAN KELLY.

10/20/2009 11:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK so now it is all about next year, next year. It is funny but as I move into my 50's I measure my longevity in terms of how many more ND football seasons I will have to endure.

10/20/2009 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see Notre Dame win.

10/21/2009 02:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone realize the starting defense is actually younger as a group than it was last year. In fact on average they have only slightly more years in college than 07's offense.

Throw in the switch from 3-4 to 4-3 and you have a confused group that gets beat up.

Stop blaming the coaches.

10/21/2009 06:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scranton Dave:

If a top recruiting class is unproductive, it is the coaches' fault. There are only three options: (1) all the recruiting analysts are wrong; (2) all the analysts are lying; or (3) the recruits are not taught properly. It seems unlikely that all the analysts are wrong or lying.

10/21/2009 08:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the touching articles about Charlie and Golden Tate befriending a Boston College player that is suffering from cancer. Too bad that this is not the attitude of Notre Dame's usher program. I heard from an usher that Cappy Gagnon announced at the usher pregame meeting that a boy, suffering from cancer and going blind from his disease would be with the USC team on the field. He was there with the "Make a Wish" program. A female usher asked if she could give the boy a ND souvenir. Cappy yelled back "NO. He is one of SC's. Let them deal with him!" How would ND fans respond if they heard a boy from ND was treated that way by USC? The only thing that has changed with Cappy and the ushers is that it is now worse than before. ND alumni and fans should be ashamed of how they are represented and demand a change.

10/21/2009 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Irish lost more than a game against the Trojans. ND's furious comeback masked the fact that the team was badly outplayed and outcoached most of the afternoon. The gap between the two programs is a crater. Weis is incapable of getting the program to the next level, but the failed comeback ensures that the most arrogant overrated coach in ND history will be here for years to come, instead of the guy who would be perfect for the program, Brian Kelly. True.

10/21/2009 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick Mikes '79:

1. I am not more talented than Charlie, but since you asked, the plays I would have run on the final two or there plays, in no particular order, are the play they ran on the two-point conversion against Purdue, the play New England used to run successfully all the time UNDER CHARLIE where threw the pass to Vrabel, or a Wildcat run pass option with the ball snapped directly to Tate. All three of these plays had a higher likelihood of the success than the plays Charlie called.

2. It WAS foolish to go to the #4 or #5 receiver. I don't dispute that Tate and Rudolph were covered and Parris was injured, which is precisely why you go with the calls I identified in 1.

3. No, it's not better for ANYONE-- the players, coaches, students, alumni or our parents--to suffer a humiliating and demoralizing blowout. I'm simply saying the result ensures that Charlie stays and that's disappointing.

4. Brian Kelly would get ND to the next level. He has UC to the next level RIGHT NOW and he's getting kids to go to Cincinnati. I grew up in Cincinati. It's not ND and it's not South Florida, and yet the kids come. He built the Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati programs into powerhouses, players love him and you know what, he's frickin' humble. Weis has ran the ND program into the ground and is the most arrogant coach I have ever seen.

10/21/2009 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Holton said...


I'll leave alone the 'theory' about Kelly (which i disagree with).

But how has Weis run it into the ground? That is such a ludicrous statement. He has built the best recruiting classes ND has had in 17 years, they have the 12th best offense in the country, he has developed offensive players like Golden Tate into top receivers (when they were recruited as 'athletes' or running backs). They have a culture that is a tight knit group of people, which every recruit remarks about. The offense just obliterated a top 10 defense in the country in the 2nd half.

That's just an absolutely ridiculous and out of whack. There is still work on defense and special teams, but saying this program isn't moving forward under Coach Weis is disingenuous.

10/21/2009 09:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Holton:

I said Weis ran the program into the ground. The facts:

The 2007 season (3-9) was THE WORST SEASON IN THE HISTORY OF THE PROGRAM, and included various negative milestones: the MOST LOSSES IN A SINGLE SEASON (9); two of the ten worst losses EVER (38-0 losses to both Michigan and USC); and the first 6-game losing streak for home games.

ND's losses to Navy and Air Force marked the first time Notre Dame had EVER lost to two military academies in the same season since 1944, and the first time in the BCS era that Notre Dame went winless against mid-majors.

Navy recorded its first win over the Irish since 1963, breaking the NCAA-record 43-game streak.

In 2008, the Irish ended the season with a 6–6 record, including a 24–23 home loss to Syracuse, the first time that Notre Dame had fallen to an eight-loss team EVER. The combined 15 losses from 2007–08 marks THE MOST LOSSES for the storied program in ANY two-year span EVER.

That my friend was Mr. Arrogant, the greatest coach in his own mind, running the most storied program in the history of college football into the ground.

10/22/2009 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

Ugh, I thought we were done with this subject, but most of the blame for 2007 goes to Tys abysmal recruiting efforts at the end of his tenure. There was a big improvement from 2007-08 and an improvement from 08-09 and this years team has Sophomores and Juniors as a high number of the best players. To the person who addressed me about the 2006 recruiting class, there was a lot of bad luck in that class. James Aldridge was thought of as one of the best 2 RBs in that class, but he never recovered from his injury in High School, and we had a ton of defections. Carufel, DJones, Frazer, Reuland, and Richard Jackson just to name some.

10/22/2009 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Bern said...

I hope they beat BC because if they do not I think the talk about Weiss being replaced is legitimate.

They argue that the talent gap with SC has closed because of the close game but the only real way of determing where they are is the whole season. How is it that BC has such a competitive team year after year despite all kinds of change? They never get top rated recruiting clases yet they have have there way with ND year after year.

How is it ND had such a difficult time beating Purdue and Michican State even though ND has superior talent.

The bottom line is -win this week and get on a roll for the rest of the season or the talk of Kelly is a fair.

My concern is that Clausen and
Tate leave after this year without ever really accomplising anything significant in terms of victories. Then we hear we need to be patient as we lost such talent from the prior year.

10/22/2009 05:54:00 PM  

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