1) My biggest complaint on playcalling was the Mitchapalooza play being run straight rather than a wrinkle. On the jet sweep, I don't see leverage pre-snap. Here's some analysis of the play. Looks like Evans went to the safety instead of the linebacker, and left the tackler untouched.
3) I'm not sure that failing to hit a check-down is on Rees. Pyne has been missing check-downs all season long. It wasn't until the final drive that Pyne started hitting the swing pass to the RB leaking out of the backfield that was open nearly all game.
4) Agreed, as mentioned above.
5) Williams made time with his scrambling. Regardless of zone or man, if Williams is able to hold the ball behind the line of scrimmage for 8-10 seconds, someone is likely going to get wide open. He didn't frequently beat us with runs off his scrambles, it was much more common to beat us throwing the ball. I don't think man or zone really mattered there.
6 & 7) The egregious uncalled holds by SC absolutely changed the game. This wasn't just your every play holding in the interior line -- it was jersey grabs on the edge by linemen who had been beat, and in the interior, it was straight up waist grabs allowing Williams to squirt throw the pocket when it started to collapse. When USC had a penalty called against them, their drive stalled.
Overall this game didn't feel like we were outclassed, it felt like we lost. Losses will happen, especially when we make errors. Pyne's fumble and INT hurt, as did the defense's inability to tackle on USC running plays. But, had they called half of the egregious holds, I think 1 or 2 of USC's 5 TD drives would have likely stalled out. USC is likely a playoff team, and I think we'd beat them 4 or 5 out of 10. The fumble really, really hurt, as a completely unforced error. Assuming we had scored that drive absent the fumble (it was 1st & 10 at the USC 23 when it happened), USC would have faced 4th & 15 from our 36 yard line up 31-28 with, say 5 minutes to go. Regardless of how the game unfolded from there, it would have felt like a very different game than the one that played out.
Bigger picture, on the season, we outclassed a top ten team for the first time in a long time. I'm excited for the next 3 seasons.
For #2 I think ND had wrong personnel pre snap but not sure. I do know however that as ball was snapped the entire SC defense moved toward direction of the play. That is why I think counters would have been effective. Also, other than play where Pyne checked down to Esme, Pyne never did same to with Tyree and SC linebacker who was 6'6" and 200 lbs. Don't understand why except Rees's limitations as a play caller.
You are right about Pyne and doing a check down on jet sweep. But IMO Rees should not have made that call on 3rd down for reasons noted above.
I'm not a coach, but I remember what Holtz did to Florida St in '93. He kept running counters. And Fla St had Charlie Ward and all the speed in the world. Derrick Brooks, their AA MLB, was a non-factor.
You are right about Williams' scrambling behind line of scrimmage. What I don't understand is why ND secondary was 15 yds off receivers when Williams would scramble and then throw downfield.
The no calls were terrible on holding. When Utah beat SC earlier the refs made multiple calls against SC. The SC fans were livid after the game. But SC has had many penalties all season. Against ND they were no penalties until SC had sealed the victory.
Freeman understands ND tradition. ND will never do what SC did with the portal, but the SCOTUS antitrust decision against NCAA will help ND. Notre Dame has greater national name recognition and marketing stature than any other school in the country. And Freeman knows this and will continue to use this in his recruiting.
The future is bright.
against BC. It seemed that the USC game, especially in that circumstance when they had 11 players bunched up in the middle of the line, would be the time to introduce the wrinkle. That would have been clever and creative playcalling.
He wanted to have the wrinkle “on tape” so that teams would have to hedge/play for it rather than just collapsing on the TE taking the direct snap.
and an excellent coaching job by USC. The game was winnable. I also thought USC played much harder than we did.
I am worried that a new era has started and Lincoln Riley is going to own us. Look at where they were a year ago and look at where they are now.
I miss the in-gsme adjustments Lou used to make. They were usually excellent.
Any plausible scenario of ND winning included the Irish outrushing USC, probably by something similar to the margin that USC ended up outrushing them by. We all knew that Williams was highly dangerous and that he would pick up ample passing yardage. Our hope was that Irish would be able to run the ball, control clock, and keep Williams off the field as much as possible.
ND went into the game 7-0 when it controlled time of possession. USC controlled ball for 35:23. Irish lost to Marshall & Stan when they didn't control TOP, and they sure as hell weren't beating USC w/ that kind of TOP deficit.
There's a visible gap between these programs now, and closing it will require visible steps. We all agree that replacing Rees and having a better QB are 2 obvious steps that must be taken. My guess is that the latter step will happen, but I have my doubts on the former step. If Rees does return, that will tell us most of what we need to know about ND's commitment to closing gap w/ USC.
Finally, I will also note that it was a positive to be reminded of BK's obvious limitations on Sat. night. Ironically, in the same season where he finally got the kind of signature win that eluded him at ND, he also had a bad loss to a bad opponent that he managed to avoid once Savvy applied the new coat of paint. That game renewed the desire to see MF succeed at ND.
I think with better play calling ND running game would have been fine. Heistand can only do so much. Rees needed to run counters and check downs to Tyree coming out of the backfield.
As for Riley, his 100 million $$ contract means he will leave SC soon for pros. Plus it's not hard to improve dramatically after bringing in 22 from the portal. Parseghian went 9-1 (should of been 10-0) with a team that scored 105 points in '63 and was 2-7. And there was no freshman eligibility rule in '63.
Riley will do fine going forward but he will never again have a game changing recruiting class like he had this year: I'd rather have my pick of 22 prospects with college experience than 25 or 26 high school prospects, many of which are 5 star athletes.
And with current rules for players making money after SCOTUS antitrust decision, I like ND's chances going forward with Freeman. There is no other school with the name recognition of ND or marketing stature. Alabama's freshman QB last year made millions of dollars. Put the same guy at ND and I would bet he would double his take.