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Notes from the Geetar: Every Book is Made of Trees Edition

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For two games in a row, all three facets of Notre Dame’s football team have operated at peak efficiency.  My cardiologist is disappointed, as he only has a couple boat payments left and is counting on me to get him there.

The Bible tells us if you have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are and knowing everything, and have faith in all its fullness to move mountains, but are without Love, then you are nothing at all.  St. Paul must watch Stanford football.

The team I watched versus Ball State and Vanderbilt would’ve been steamrolled last night.  Fortunately, I watched the team that beat Wake Forest.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if you’re going to run the offense Brian Kelly & Chip Long run, you have to have a quarterback like Ian Book to run it.  The short passing game, including the behind-the-line receptions, are crucial to making that engine run smoothly.  If the last two games have shown us anything, it’s this team can be really fun to watch when that happens, even if you’re not a pass-first kind of guy.

Having said that, I commend BK and the staff for giving Brandon Wimbush every possible opportunity to show himself capable of succeeding in that role.  He’s been a good soldier, reportedly has handled this transition with maturity and grace, and is someone I’ll be proud to call a fellow alumnus.  But his skills don’t mesh with what this offense does, so it was either revamp the offense or make the quarterback change.  Sometimes the shortest path between two points has to be the straight line.

Now having said that, people who are gushing about Kelly’s bravery or acumen or whatever in making the quarterback switch need to hold on thar.  It’s not like Ian Book was an unknown commodity — the kid won the freaking bowl game last year.  Though the first three games were wins, a need for a more efficient quarterback was obvious to anyone watching.  It would have been an indictment of Kelly had he continued to pound the square peg into the round hole.  So any accolades for the change, to me, fall into the “stop punching yourself” category.

Whoever had 18 in the “Number of Quarters Before a Notre Dame Defensive Lineman was Held” pool is the winner, although it should be pointed out that foul happened on a failed third down so it didn’t end up helping.  The under for the season probably still is the safe bet, the efforts of the Pac-12 crew to make up the shortfall in one half notwithstanding.

Hellooooo, Dexter Williams.  The only thing with better timing than your return this week is Jerry Tillery’s pass rush.

Like Huarte to Snow and Hanratty to Seymour, Book to Boykin has a nice ring to it.

Seriously, though, has anyone on this team benefited more from the QB change than Miles Boykin?  The kid was on a milk carton two weeks ago, now he’s leading the team in receiving yards.

When you can put pressure on the quarterback with four rushers, good things tend to happen.  And they’re happening now for the first time since 2012.  Unlike 2012, though, the talent is spread more evenly throughout the entire group.  Back then, Manti Te’o was elevating everyone else’s game.  This time around, it looks like more of a group effort, which is easier to sustain over the course of 13 games.

Speaking of that gap in defensive prowess (referenced in reluctant terms last night by human mute button Doug Flutie on the NBC broadcast), Brian Van Gorder’s was on display in Louisville yesterday, as the Cardinals coughed up a sure home win against Florida State thanks to a last-minute 52-yard pass on a play where the defense … wait for it … employed a slowly-developing blitz.  I know, I’m stunned as well.  I’d sympathize with Louisville fans, but not only is that against my DNA, I can’t help people who can’t figure out birds don’t have teeth.

Anyone else thinking the decision to play that stupid Shamrock Series game in New York looks even dumber now?  Notre Dame allowing its greed to get in the way of success — again, stunned.  If that game costs Notre Dame a playoff berth, Jack Swarbrick better get the Lane Kiffin tarmac treatment.

According to people who watched the game, there are billboards in Happy Valley Stadium (or whatever that erector set is called) about Penn State Online, informing us you can get a degree “without ever having to set foot in a classroom”.  Softball-pitch observation about their football players aside, I think if they changed that last word to “shower”, they’d have something.

And rest assured, I realize I’m going to hell, and it’s going to be for a lot better reasons than that last sentence.

On the topic of the afterlife, I was going to credit the turnaround this season to divine intervention on my dad’s behalf.  But then I remembered how the Phillies crumbled down the stretch in pursuit of a playoff bid, and realize that if such a thing were possible, first things would have been first.

When good things happen, the conversation is good.  Go Irish, beat Turkeys.

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  • You can take my word for it or go to the ND Nation archives, but I said way back that it would be sad if ND's unnecessary greed in moving the Syracuse game off campus cost it a run at the playoff. Really sad knowing how much these kids put into training and all the work to prepare for the season and then have a lawyer potentially pull the rug from under you. Speaking of unnecessary. What was with that ND cyber propaganda ad they ran during the game?

  • Mike,

    Great article!!!!!!!!!

    I also mentioned a couple of weeks ago (in JVAN column that Boykin and
    ALL of the WR/TE were being wasted)..

    How about BOB DAVIE losing to Liberty??

  • I knew from the start that ND would win. Stanford won the coin flip and decided to take the ball. What a stupid coaching mistake. I only know one other coach who consistently makes that strategic error.

    I think I enjoyed this win even more than the Michigan win. That's hard to believe, considering how much I dislike Michigan and their stupid looking helmets and dopey song. But this Stanford win was so incredibly enjoyable because every position played well. There were great performances by: Q, WR, RB, OL on offense, DL, LB, and secondary on defense, and our special teams were good. And this wasn't just again any opponent, but a top 10 team. Great job Irish!

  • Re. the discussion of Brian Kelly's bravery or lack thereof, please keep in mind that, in 2017, Ian Book was 46 out of 75 (61%) and threw 4 TDs vs. 4 INTs. He did win the Citrus Bowl, no doubt, but what we knew about him was that he was, at best, marginally better than Wimbush, and he had poise. It's not like he was an untested three-star quarterback taking over for an athletic freak; he was a PARTIALLY-tested three-star quarterback taking the place of athletic freak who's got a chronic case of the yips. It wasn't like Eisenhower on June 5, but you can bet it wasn't the easiest decision.

    Also, my wife told me to shut the hell up last night after I said "Book to Boykin" for the 794th time while watching the highlights.

    Also also, is anyone else scared as hell like I am about Alex Bars' injury? As the offensive line goes, so goes our season.

  • It is correct to have Book leading this team. But I do not think Wimbush should just stand there and chew his mouthpiece on the sideline with his helmet off. He is a gifted athlete and Kelly needs to play him as a RB or wide out or tight end or something utilizing his talent.
    He is a NOTRE DAME FOITBALL PLAYER. Play him.

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