Wednesday, December 8, 2010
How has Notre Dame stormed out of the blocks for their best start since the 1973-74 season? In my opinion, there are three aspects where Notre Dame has greatly improved.
Under Mike Brey the Irish have been known as a team with a high-scoring offense and an apparent indifference to the defensive side of the ball. Now? While the Irish can light up scoreboards with the best of them still, they are getting key stops and doing so when shots aren't always falling. In an Old Spice Classic game against Cal over Thanksgiving weekend, Notre Dame shot 1-20 from three point range. In years past this would have spelled doom for Mike Brey's squad. This game, Notre Dame responded by giving up only 5 points in the first half to a more athletic Cal team (and gave up only 44 for the game). This hasn't been something we've seen in the Mike Brey tenure.
How has Notre Dame changed this mindset so quickly? When looking at Notre Dame's lineup, you won't find uber-athletes or many physical specimens. But Notre Dame does have length. Notre Dame's starting lineup boasts heights of 6-3, 6-8, 6-8, 6-7, and 6-8. They bring guards off the bench who are 6-4 and 6-1, and a big man that is 6-9. While they lack superior height on the interior, the length at the 2 guard and the small forward can be very difficult to deal with and will be beneficial in Big East play. The past couple years we have started two guards that have been under 6 feet, which posed big matchup problems on defense. Now, the tide has turned and we are a matchup problem for someone else.
Another reason for the defensive turnaround is toughness. While we may never see another player as tough as Tory Jackson in a Notre Dame uniform, the teams didn't have an overall toughness when he played. Ben Hansbrough, Ty Nash, and Carleton Scott really set the tone for this squad and you are seeing it throughout the whole team now. This actually is a nice lead into my next point.
Another reason Notre Dame has been able to get off to this great start? Rebounding. I think this is a toughness issue as well. The Wisconsin game was one of my favorite games in recent memory. In recent years, this was a game Notre Dame would have lost by giving up an offensive rebound and getting frustrated with the pace of the game. Notre Dame embraced the pace and out-toughed Wisconsin. Late in the game with the score tied Ben Hansbrough missed a free throw, but Tim Abromaitis was able to get position and get an offensive rebound and a put back to give Notre Dame the lead after being down double digits in the second half.
Notre Dame has had some GREAT rebounders in the Brey tenure. This team has no GREAT rebounders. However they are a great rebounding team. Everyone attacks the glass. It's not Luke Harangody, Ryan Humphrey, or Troy Murphy grabbing every rebound. It's Carelton Scott getting one and then Ben Hansbrough, and maybe Scott Martin get's the next one. Rebounding is a total team effort from this squad. When looking at the box score from the Wisconsin game I couldn't help but smile. Every single starter for the Irish had at least 6 rebounds, with Abro leading the way with 9. Not saying we will get 6 rebounds from all five starters every game but this is definitely something that should help us throughout the season.
Lastly, Notre Dame has offensive balance. Gone are the days of standing around on offense watching Luke Harangody, Russell Carter, Chris Thomas, or Chris Quinn go to work. Notre Dame has scoring threats at all five positions and they aren't afraid to share the ball. All five starters average double figures and they are once again in the upper-echelon of the country in assists per game. Teams can't go into games keying on one player offensively because they options are numerous for this Irish team and everyone is unselfish enough to not have to dominate the ball every night. (Not saying that Gody and others we selfish, I just think the offense was always catered to their skills.) The Irish are versatile. They can play sow, they can play fast, they can win in the pain and they can win on the perimeter. So go ahead, try to stop one guy or make them play a certain way. They can beat you a lot of ways.
With all of this said, Notre Dame has not played the toughest of schedules yet. While Georgia, Cal, and Wisconsin were all tough tests, the Irish will face much stiffer competition in upcoming games, including tonight against Kentucky in Louisville. Hopefully we will see these new trends continue as the competition gets tougher.
On to Kentucky
Tonight, Notre Dame faces a young and athletic Kentucky squad coming off a defeat at the hands of a disappointing North Carolina team. Kentucky's athleticism will be a tough test for Notre Dame. I think we will see the Irish employ a zone against Kentucky's dribble-drive motion offense, utilizing their length and forcing the Cats to beat them with outside jumpshots.
Kentucky will put a lot of pressure on the Irish defensively. We could see freshman Eric Atkins more time at the point to take pressure of Hansbrough and because he is a better ball handler. We may see Mike Brey implement the "Burn" offense to slow the game down and limit Kentucky's possessions.
My Completely Bias and Optimistic Prediction
ND 71 - UK 65
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Enough about me, lets get started.
With the football season beginning it's second half and upcoming games against some less-than-stellar competition, I figured I would take a look at the approaching basketball season. I have read all of the preview articles and see the same questions over and over. I wanted to take a different approach, so here are some questions I have leading up to the season.
Can the Irish be as good, if not better, without Gody?
If anyone has consistently read some of the work of Bill Simmons they more than likely have heard of The Ewing Theory. This theory goes back to when the New York Knicks seemed to play better without their star, Patrick Ewing, in the lineup. Late last season, when Luke Harangody was sidelined with an injury for five games, Notre Dame lost two straight games before proceeding to win three straight games without their star. This was the beginning of what turned out to be be a six game win streak that turned the Irish from barely on the bubble to an NCAA tournament team.
When the three game sequence was completed, my phone was abuzz with emails and text messages referencing the Ewing Theory and how much better the Irish were without their star, Gody. Being the domer that I am I quickly scoffed at all remarks and said they were just stepping up and playing better.
Was that the case? How did the Irish win without their star player? We won't know for sure until this year. Looking back, I don't think it was an addition by subtraction sort of deal (Notre Dame would win three more games with Gody in the lineup). In my personal opinion, I think players who weren't asked to do much before started realizing they could actually score, and maybe got a D1 scholarship for a reason. One of the reasons I think Notre Dame struggled with Gody in the lineup was the offense would become stagnant. After Harangody's breakout sophomore year it seemed as though the offense was give the ball to 44 and watch him go to work. I think you can looking at the 2008-09 season becoming a dissappointment for this very same reason.
Gody's injury forced other Irish players to be more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball. Carleton Scott, who left the team for a couple days and was said to be considering a transfer, became a a solid scorer and offensive rebounder. Tim Abromaitis stepped up his scoring and became the go-to-guy in crunch time. Tyron Nash became a physical presence on the boards and and in the post. Jack Cooley and Mike Broghammer stepped up and became viable options in the post, when called upon. Lastly, Tory Jackson and Ben Hansbrough were solid in the backcourt, taking care of the ball and hitting shots when needed.
With that being said, the biggest reason for the late season emergence of the Irish may have been Mike Brey. For years under Brey, Notre Dame has been all about up-tempo, high scoring offense, and maybe play a little defense here and there. (Sounds like recent years of Irish football, really) Brey slowed the pace down and instituted a "burn" offense The slow burn offense consisted of good ball movement and working the shot clock, making the defense work for 30 seconds or so before making their way back on offense.
While the "burn" may have benefitted the Irish greatly, Brey's best work may have come on the defensive side of the ball. I'm not sure Brey did anythng spectacularly different on defense, other than shifting his focus to it and realizing that they may need to stop someone to win meaningful games. The "burn" offense limited Notre Dame's defensive possessions, but I think you saw a much grittier defensive team that cared about getting stops.
So were the Irish better? Yes. Did it have anything to do with Gody being out? Probably only from a mental standpoint. Can the Irish be better this season? It really depends on the above factors. Will Scott and Abro continue to improve their scoring? Will the youngens in the frontcourt continue their progression? Will Brey finally learn that defense will win him more games? The answers to those questions will probably be big factors in how this season goes.
Will Mike Brey use his bench?
For any Irish basketball fan, one of the biggest complaints about the Brey tenure is his unwillingness to use his bench. Brey rarely goes more than seven or eight deep, and depends on his starters to log major minutes, which may be reason for some of the late-season collapses during his time in South Bend.
Last season, with Harangody's injury, Brey was forced to use his bench. Is it a coincidence that the winning streak started around that time? This year Brey has one of the most experienced and talented lineups we've seen in South Bend since the days of Matt Carroll, Chris Thomas, Danny Miller, Torin Francis, and Chris Quinn.
Abromaitis, Hansbrough, Nash, and Scott all started at some point last year. Joey Brooks, Cooley, and Broghammer all received meaningful minutes in spurts. If Scott Martin (sat out last year with injury) lives up to expectations he should be a quality contributor, if not a force, for the Irish. Mike Brey went as far as to call him the most talented offensive player he has coached. Brey also has high expectations for Eric Atkins, an incoming freshmen. Many expect Atkins to start at the point from day one.
The pieces are there, will Brey exit his comfort zone and decide to use more of his players?
Is Mike Brey the man for the job?
One reason I decided to start writing this blog was to have a place to vent, if need be. One of my favorite past times is talking ND sports with my mom. Over the last few years, my mom enjoys making fun of me because it seems as though I annually flip flop on my opinion of Brey.
Let me put my opinion into perspective. I am 25, I can only remember watching bits and pieces of the Digger Phelps era. I remember the doldrums of the John Mcleod era. I was there for the short-lived jubilation of what many thought was a resurgence under Matt Doherty. Lastly, I have been here for the up and down years of the Brey era.
I couldn't have asked for more from Brey's first three years: two 2nd round appearances, and a Sweet 16. I guess where I went wrong is I expected more. However, what I got was 3 straight NIT appearances. Not just NIT appearances, but NIT's with players like Chris Thomas, Torrin Francis, and Chris Quinn when many expected deep NCAA tourney runs from the Irish. The next two years, we returned the NCAAs with Harangody, Kurz, Jackson, and McAlarney leading the way. Once again, I expected more progress after this. What did we get? Another NIT appearance followed by another first round exit. This NIT appearance was especially frustrating, because the Irish once again had Final Four aspirations leading up to the season.
Brey seems to be at his best as an underdog. Looking back at most of his NCAA appearances not much was expected. When you look at his NIT years, much was expected from most of those squads. Is brey simply incapable of coaching with a target on his back? Or have those teams been overrated?
I like Mike Brey. As a person, he is one of the best in the business. As a coach, he is not bad by any means, (he has built Notre Dame into one of the more successful Big East teams over the last 10 years), but is he the coach to get Notre Dame to the next level?
While negative at some points, I have been a big Brey supporter, mainly because I can remember the McLeod years vividly. He has done some great things for Notre Dame. I want Brey to succeed and take ND to the next level. Will this year be the year? I think they have some pieces in place to to be a potential second weekend team in the NCAAs. Whether the Irish will do something with their season or not will depend heavily on Brey.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
We will win this game.
I guarantee it.
There are 2 conditions to this guarantee.
1) We are turnover free.
2) We don’t give up any big plays in specials teams (long returns, blocks etc.)
That’s it. The rest will take care of itself.
I did not anticipate feeling the feelings I’m feeling about this week’s game against Stanford.
The Notre Dame section of my brain took the equivalent of a sledge hammer to the temple last weekend, and the dull fog carried over until Wednesday when I became capable of emotionally processing the Irish after 3 games.
After running through a few things I felt had to be addressed in my post Wednesday, I found myself driving home from work listening to the Dome and Domer podcast and getting very antsy.
It dawned on me that we have a tremendous opportunity this weekend to completely flip the momentum of this season by beating the cardinals. As dark as I and the rest of ND nation felt last Saturday night, there is still a chance to get what we all so desperately need.
A quality win.
A win against a top 25 team
A win we are “supposed” to lose
A 9-10 win season.
Thanks to Stanford’s lopsided scores in their first 3 games (thanks even more to Harbaugh being a call-time out-up-40-to-ice-the-opponents-kicker dirtbag) the bandwagon is chugging nationally. Everyone loves Stanford and Luck and marvel how they have “taken on the personality of their head coach” blahblah.
This all plays in our favor b/c the better Stanford is perceived the greater the victory will be.
So I have asked myself why am I getting so ridiculously fired up/anxious/excited about this game? I get fired up/anxious/excited about every game….but this is ridiculous-USC levels.
I think b/c there is such an urgency to get the taste from last week out of our mouth, and I know we have what it takes. Plus I do not like Jim Harbaugh approach to himself, life and football. He needs to be taken down a peg or 4.
Positions vs. Position Breakdown
Quarterback – Edge Stanford
Luck is fine quarterback. He has a strong enough arm (though far from the strongest) and can move his 6”4’ frame fast enough to be considered a threat (He is not a running quarterback though, he is stiff and can’t avoid tackles). What makes him truly good is his intelligence and accuracy. He is one of those valedictorian guys (true) who is just born smart and the coupling of this with above average accuracy for a college quarterback, you can see why so many are high on him.
That being said, the only leg up on Crist he has is an extra year of playing experience. Crist is sharp in his own right and has a stronger arm and comparable poise/moxy/awareness. He is not as fast as Luck, but is plenty mobile. This time next year when his accuracy gets to the next level we will be talking about a possible Heisman much like Luck is being talked about this year.
Running Back – Edge Irish
It is well documented how Stanford has spread the carried out to 8 backs at times to compensate for the departure of Toby-one-kanobi. They have skill and athleticism, but none are above a “B”. The primary reason for their terrific yards per carry is the lack of competition and one of the best offensive lines in the country. None of them can dominate and consistently make people miss/break tackles to the point where they keep any defenses up at night. Of course with their offensive line it doesn’t really matter.
I would argue that Notre Dame’s 4th string tailback is better than anyone Stanford has. I am and have always been a Huge Hughes fan (the misuse of his talent throughout his career is a topic for another post) and have also watched every snap Stanford has played this year. Without question we have better backs.
Wide Receiver – Edge – Irish
By far their best receiver is Whalen who is out for this game. He is the clone of Blair White, Michigan States starter from a year ago and simply catches everything, knows how to get open and has underrated athleticism. Owusu has the juice but is not a pure receiver and is one game back from a moderate knee injury. Baldwin is a veteran who up until this year has not played a whole lot and is a lot like David Grimes…and David Grimes was not very good.
I don’t think I even have to justify ND’s personal b/c that would be redundant.
Tight End – Edge – Irish
We have Kyle Rudolph and you have Conrad Reuland.
Offensive Line – Edge – Stanford
Now ND ‘s line has played exceptionally well, especially considering it has 3 first time starters. But Stanford’s line is very good, like top 5 in college football good. They are all about 6’5” 300lbs and they are all upperclassmen. They move people and do it with an attitude.
That being said, their one weak link is right tackle where they have a senior who is a 1st time started with very little playing experience outside of this season. He is a “C” player at best and can be exploited.
D-Line – Edge – Irish
This is close, but I give the nod to I am Williams and Co. b/c both units have been equally productive but the Irish have a higher ceiling talent wise.
Stanford’s best D-Lineman is Sione Fua their nose and he is legit. All three of them are seniors and play solid.
Williams, KLM and Ethan are more athletic and have played well this season. I must add that they have in no way played as well as they are capable and can potentially dominate
Linebackers – Edge – Push
The Irish have struggled getting off blocks in the run game and generating a pass rush. Although Fleming “flashed” against MSU, he nor his fellow backers have yet to play up to their potential and have overrun their gaps on too many occasions for me to give them the nod.
Stanford backers are led by 2 way super-hero Owen Marecic who is rarely out of position and brings a physical presence. They also have Shane Skov, a young talented player with some athleticism who had his first action of the season against Wake and played alright. He is very block able however once engaged.
Secondary – Edge – Irish
With Slaughter back this week (maybe the most talented safety on either team) ND gets the advantage. Stanford returns 3 starters from last year, but last year they got torched. Walls and GG are both better than anyone Stanford has.
SPECIAL TEAMS – Edge – Stanford
With bother kickers and punters cancelling themselves out, it comes down to coverage and returns. Stanford has Owusu who I think took 3 to the house last year on returns and is the prototypical return man (think Tamarick Vanover….god I loved watching him).
With Kelly publicly putting Cierre “on notice” I would not be surprised if he rips one this weekend. And don’t sleep on John Goodman. He can fly and not just for a white guy…his track times in high school were high 21’s in the 200 which is legit.
So that leaves the final “score” ND–6 Stanford-4
Now here is the thing. Any respectable follower of college football will point out that despite what Nolan Ivers think, it is obvious that Stanford is far superior to ND. They have the 3rd ranked offense and I think 5th or 6th ranked D. On top of that they have the #1 ranked D against the pass.
So obviously the Sum is greater than the parts.
Well they played Sacramento State who is awful even for a I-AA school, then UCLA which is without question the worst offense I have seen this year (5 fumbles didn’t help), and then a Wake Forest team running the triple option (and running it poorly I might add).
You flip the schedules of these 2 teams and damn I would love to see the results.
But that is stupid talk b/c you can’t do that and thus far ND has turned the ball over and given up big plays against 2 good teams while Stanford has played flawless against truly bad teams.
Now I think ND c an flat outplay Stanford if they eliminate the self destruction….but the real reason I think they win this game is b/c I have a feeling. Now this feeling is not totally ethereal, bur based on everything I have heard in every interview of every coach and every player. And that feeling is…
Enough is Enough.
A team/program can only take so much pain before something snaps. Now it can be a bad snap (see 2009) or a good snap, and I think the good snap snaps on Saturday. I think the pain they have endured turns into outright violent rage that will for once and for all put its foot down and say No More.
I think they are primed to fuckin lay the wood this weekend and put together a performance we have all been waiting for.
Its gonna be fun to watch.
p.s. I am well aware that this line of thinking has been thought before only to deepen the darkness in all ND fans hearts after a gutbusting loss. I don’t care, and this is why I am a fan.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
These are my first public thoughts about Notre Dame football. I have run a mailing list comprised of 15 or so friends who I email regularly with info/commentary about the Irish, but have shied away from blogging or even commenting (on other blogs) due to a number of reasons no one cares about and don’t matter.
So I would like to thank Mark Allen here at ND Sports Report for posting the “Writers Wanted” post and inadvertently nudging my over the edge into the dense world of the ND blogosphere.
I was waiting till after our inevitable wins over Michigan’s schools to pen my first post on a high note, but instead I am compelled to write today out of frustration.
Ok, enough with the bullshit.
I am 29 years old. This means I have witnessed some god awful losses to Michigan State in my lifetime (Charles Rodgers you bastard). There is just something about our games against them that always makes me weary. And no game has ever sucked the life out of me so violently than this year’s game.
That being said, I hate them almost as much as USC. When that scumbag Eric Smith planted their flag at the 50 of ND Stadium in 2005 something inside me snapped and to this day I have no respect for him or that entire program…in fact, even though I know it is ridiculous, if I meet anyone who is either a graduate or fan of that school, I assume there are scumbags on some fundamental level. I know this is not the case but I think it anyway (it could be the case I haven’t done enough research).
To the game…
Overall I have loved every word that has come out of Brian Kelly’s mouth since he was hired (I also loved every word out of Weis mouth but that is for another time). As someone who has spent a lot of time playing with good and bad coaches, I felt like he was the perfect anecdote for ND football’s problems.
With that said, he has made 2 calls that are 100% wrong.
1st was not kicking the field goal at the end of the half against UM. Not to re-hash a very hashed subject, but there is no debate about that call. You kick the field goal. Every time. End of story. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong and it is to frustrating and inane to get into the actually “argument” b/c there is no argument. If you think otherwise…better luck next time.
And the fact that BK said he never even considered kicking it is either A) a lie or B) a really really troubling statement.
The 2nd call was going for it on 4th down against MSU in the 4th quarter. I don’t care if Jesus Christ himself signals you a call from heaven, you don’t go for it there. Not some of the time, not maybe….you punt the ball every single time. Again this is such basic football I feel stupid even justifying the punt. But even if you didn’t have a young inexperienced quarterback, and even if you weren’t on the road, and even if your defense wasn’t playing well at the time or you were on the 50 instead of your own 40-something….you still punt every time.
Unless you are a bad coach. And this is where things get dicey.
Call it cognitive dissonance or just call it pure confusion, but there is something incongruent with the way BK has represented himself and his coaching style/football philosophy and the way he has coached in games that has left me truly stupefied.
This has been said already by others, but if you are truly trying to win the game, not make a “statement”, you do not make some of the decisions BK has made (including the 4th down @ MSU).
And you know what, that 4th down was a perfect play call. Floyd and Rudolph crossed at the snap and Big Mike was sitting 4 yards up field WIDE the heck open. The outside backer completely ignored him and jumped Rudolph immediately. Unfortunately Dayne decided to throw it to Rudolph as soon as he broke the huddle.
Even if he had hit Floyd for the 1st it still would have been a 100% bad call (although I would have been happy as shit).
Now there has been debate about other calls made by BK that are legit. For example I did not have a problem with him going to overtime against MSU instead of trying to get a field goal. Given the field position, the inexperience at QB and our defenses momentum, I had no problem with that call.
And in case you were unaware, we had the fake field goal covered assignment wise. They did not “catch us sleeping” but Harrison Smith and Carlo got tangled up and couldn’t keep their feet. Assuming their exhaustion (especially Smith’s) I’ll toss that up as stuff happens.
As far as the play clock and the phantom clipping call and receiver forced out of bounds no-call, I’ll say this… I don’t want to hear it. ND fans (actually all fans, but especially ND) do not realize their ridiculous bias that filters everything they see. I know we have gone through an extreme rough 15 years or so, with some terrible calls not going our way, but if you tracked it, their has been many many calls that have gone our way. In the end there is no football karma that is against us and to suggest otherwise disrespects the integrity of the game (when we win is it b/c of karma or b/c we earned it?). Does everyone forget the absolute GIFT MSU handed us last year? Cousins missed the back out of the backfield wide open then threw a brain dead pick when all they needed was a field goal for overtime. We should have lost that game.
I was going to go on about my thoughts about our entire team and look ahead to Stanford, but I realize this is already to long. So I will cover that stuff in another post tomorrow most likely.
Final thought of my virgin voyage into ND blogging…
I read everything, literally everything that is published about the Irish. So it goes without saying that I have great familiarity with all the blogs and writers out there. I just want to say that I have the utmost respect for those writers/sites that share my interest in ND football. I would say a big factor in me delaying the decision to start writing about the Irish is that most of what I think/feel is already articulated somewhere out there on the internet.
That being said, I still feel there is room for one more voice.
I was born a Notre Dame fan thanks to my father and have had an unconditional love for ND football for my entire life. I don’t buy jerseys or have a ND welcome mat or anything, but I truly feel like I am watching family every Saturday.
I played for just over 10 years before hurting my neck my sophomore year of college (keep your head up when tackling kids) and have logged more hours watching football than I can admit without feeling embarrassed.
I hope to provide some insight and perspective that related directly to what happens on the field rather than the perception of what happens on the field which is so common.
Tomorrow I will talk about how Stanford is not as good as you think.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Only two penalties all game. I love teams that don't make the game harder on themselves than it already is.
Dayne Crist does not have the same touch on his deep balls that Jimmy did. It's probably just rust but it's something he needs to do work on. Just giving Floyd, Rudolph and Jones a chance at a ball could be the difference in some games. Brian Kelly gave him a lot of short routes and he completed almost all of those.
Armando Allen looked like a different player out there.
Cierre Wood looked Vierre Good. Probably should have seen the field last year, but I'm sure Brian Kelly appreciates the extra year he gets with him.
David Ruffer did not fade after earning the kicking gig. A touchback and three field goals including one that put the game out of reach.
Manti T'eo's hits sound different when he lines someone up, I think it happened twice today. Need more of that.
Darrin Walls played an outstanding game, changing the momentum with the early pick and making tackles as well.
Can Rudy2.0 get a pass thrown to him at once a quarter? Is that too much?
The Dash scores a touch down in his first game. Tai-ler Jones appears to fit in nicely.
Michael Floyd is still Michael Floyd on jump balls.
The defensive line made more than enough plays, well the starters did. Thought the interception before the safety would be a game ender.
I liked Brian Kelly taking responsibility for the safety, by saying that they have to coach the line better. Very few coaches teach their team not to block people on a running play is all I'm saying.
The grab by Floyd on third down that enabled the team to run out the clock, was an awesome reach back for a poorly thrown ball catch.
I will happily never see Ryan Kerrigan in college again. Monsterish, have fun Big Twelven Quarterbacks.
Would like to see Theo Riddick get some more chances in space.
Carlo Calabrese had a good game in his first start at ILB.
Going to be interesting next week, with Michigan beating a supposedly pretty good UConn team handily. The biggest game under Brian Kelly is the next one, at least the first 6 weeks of this year.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Michigan State (East Lansing)
Going on the road for the first time under Brian Kelly, playing a rivalry game for the third week in a row, and playing maybe the best passing QB, Kirk Cousins, they'll play all season. This is Michigan State's first tough game of the season and maybe that helps ND out, but the Spartans should also be able to play very vanilla in their first two games and win easily, so maybe we'll see a new version of the 2007 fake fumble. If the schedule worked out better for the Irish I think this would be a middle game, but I think the Spartans might be able to beat up a team that has to play into the fourth quarter to put away it's first two opponents.
Dion Lewis and Jonathon Baldwin are maybe the best RB-WR combo the Irish will face all year and covering a 6-5 wide receiver is hard enough when you don't have to worry about an All-American type running back too. Pitt has won two games in a row in the series, and those games were close enough that maybe being at home under Brian Kelly would be enough to swing the game into a toss-up. Except the schedule steps in again, and places Pitt at the end of a hard six game open to the BK era and immediately following a road game at Boston College. It just seems like to much to soon for the Irish.
The same old, same old. Another very good, young QB, Matt Barkley and he has plenty of weapons to use. Notre Dame finally has the edge in coaching as Lane Kiffin is kind of the bizzaro Brian Kelly, in that he keeps losing games and getting hired at better jobs. I think the Irish are probably one year away from ending the streak but I expect this game to be the first close game in LA since 1997 when SC won by 3.
I can see Brian Kelly being able to win one of these games as he's a better coach than all three opposing coaches and winning games you're not supposed to used to be something that happened for the Irish. Maybe I should re-read Resurrection as it might apply better to Kelly's first year as opposed to Weis' last.
Purdon't is almost here. Can't wait for the 4th.
Monday, August 9, 2010
One of the best games, well most exciting, games of 2009 will be without the three standout offensive stars of the game in 2010 (Gerhart, Tate and Clausen all left early). This year Stanford will be passing more with sophomore Andrew Luck at QB. They will also start a soph at running back either Stepfan Taylor or Tyler Gaffney. Former Domer Konrad Reuland is a TE along with Coby Fleener while their starters at wide out are also split with a sr. and a jr. in Ryan Whalen and Chris Owusu. Another Irish transfer kicks for the Cardinal in Nate Whitaker. Owusu doubles as a KR and tied a Pac-10 record with 3 KR TD's last year. The defense is switching to a 3-4 and both starting DE's from last year have moved to outside line backer. The defensive backfield returns 2 or 3 starters from last year as one of the returnees lost his starting spot after getting injured. Without Gerhart you'd expect the running game to struggle but they return 4 Ofensive Linemen and their defense will take some time to adjust to the 3-4, unfortunately I think about the 4th game is when both sides will figure things out. I'm expecting a back and forth battle and the fourth quarter will decide this one.
Boston College (Chestnut Hill)
Another close game from last year that should be the same way this year. Mark Herzlich is expected to be as close to 100% as he can be this year and BC shot themselves in the foot last year with five turn overs. They return their sophomore qb Dave Shinskie, RB Montel Harris, a Flutie at WR and 4 of their starting offensive linemen. The defense returns 4 players that have started in the past on the line and 5 starters at LB with Herzlich back. They only return 2 starters in the DFB so that will probably be the weakest part of what should be a good to great defense. I don't have a good feeling about this game, but I expect it to be close and probably low scoring.
Navy (East Rutherford)
The Midshipmen return a sleeper Heisman candidate in Ricky Dobbs and their version of the option has given ND fits recently. The full back is the workhorse in this offense and SR Vince Murray appears ready for the work, Marcus Curry and Gee Gee Greene are the slot backs. The offensive line features 4 upper class men but having only 3 line man to cut could hurt their offensive game plan. The strength of Navy's defense should be their back field where they return 3 starters which is good because they lose 6 players from the front 7. I expect a grind it out game with Navy chewing clock as The Irish try to score as fast as possible which could equal some mistakes by ND's defense.
The team that probably sneaks under most Irish fans radar but that could change after their first game of the season, at home against Pitt. Their starting QB is Jordan Wynn a sophomore that was expected to red shirt last year until they needed a spark to beat Wyoming last year, he remained the starter for the rest of the year. They have to replace a lot in the receiving core but they have two SR running back's that should help the offense. They return 5 DL that started last year which is hard to do when you lose two starters. The line backers are very inexperienced but should be up to to speed by November and their DFB has only one player that started full time last year. I expect a game that is decided in the second half, but we'll know more after both teams have played Pitt.
These are the games that will swing Brian Kelly's first year and I think the BC game is probably the toughest of the four with Stanford a close second.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The hit by Bryan Westbrook is still one of the best hits I've ever seen and the two games in the mid-nineties are great memories I have of an ND that wasn't scared to play anybody. That didn't include Tulsa and Western Michigan, Army is a historical match-up that I don't mind but shouldn't be an annual game by any means. I like that The Irish play Michigan, Navy, Michigan State and USC every year, if you include Purdue, BC and Pitt in annual opponents it's hard to schedule under the current 7-4-1 schedule. I wouldn't mind going to a 6-5-1 in the future but I don't think Swarbrick is interested in more road games (somebody has to pay for the non-revenue squads to go to South Florida). Notre Dame is dropping Stanford and I fear that they are going to schedule a weaker opponent in their place.
I prefer the toughest opponents we can schedule and I think the Big Ten is going to have openings in November now that they are going to a Championship Game in December. Hi, Wisconsin/Iowa/Nebraska/Penn State/Ohio State would you care to play a home and home? How about a 4 game series with two home games (one each) and two neutral site games? UConn/South Florida/West Virginia/Cincinnati would also be interested I imagine. The Big 12 outside of Texas is going to need some good non-conference games as well so say hello to Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/Texas Tech/Texas A&M welcome them to South Bend under the same agreements.
The Irish should not be playing Western Michigan and Tulsa under any circumstances, even trading them in for lesser teams from BCS conferences isn't a terrible idea. Oh, hi, ACC, Virginia Tech/Florida State/Wake Forest/Georgia Tech/Clemson could probably find a way to sneak ND onto their schedule. The SEC houses multiple teams that would enhance any teams schedule while Alabama/Georgia/FLORIDA/Ole Miss/LSU have not shown a real interest in playing road games out of conference, putting The Irish on their home schedule should be enticing enough for them. If ND is going to play non-BCS teams, how about BYU or Boise State? Build on the Utah game as well.
Play the best, beat the best. I think this is how ND became ND. They should continue this. A schedule featuring SCUofM, MSU, BC, USC, Navy, an SEC team, a Big 12? team, another Pac-10? team, however many Big East teams we have to play and wildcards of another ACC team, another Big Ten? team, or an extra Big East team should be who ND plays.
Texas and Miami should be just the beginning on future schedules, not something to fall back on.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
One of the few teams on the schedule that had a worse record than Notre Dame (5-7), although they also had one win better than any in the Weis era, beating Ohio State. They return an All-Big 10 wide receiver in Keith Smith and add a QB that started his freshman year at Miami, in Robert Marve. A torn acl for Ralph Bolden leaves the Running Back situation a question mark and there are numerous holes in the defense, including filling all four defensive back spots.
-Notre Dame 38 Pudue 13
Western Michigan (Home)
A that lost 4 games in the MAC and went 5-7 overall, finished third in the MAC West last year. They will be lucky to finish similarly this year which means the Irish should win big.
-Notre Dame 56 WMU 7
Another team from a non-BCS conference, who had a 5-7 record last year that comes to Notre Dame Stadium. They return their leading passer and rusher from last year in Texas transfer QB G.J. Kinne. Last year they lost close games to Boise State (28-21), Houston (46-45) and UTEP (28-24). The offense should be much improved with four returning wide receivers including Damaris Johnson one of the most explosive players in C-USA.
-Notre Dame 45 Tulsa 24
Army (Yankee Stadium)
Another 5 - 7 team from last year. Army should be improved from last year as they have 16 returning starters. Playing them after Navy makes adjusting to the option easier (which is why ND should play them before Navy) but it's still a completely different defense then The Irish will use the rest of the reason. Army's QB Trent Steelman was their first freshman starting QB in the modern era and while no Ricky Dobbs is a good option quarterback.
-Notre Dame 42 Army 10
Michigan (Notre Dame Stadium)
Why not list all the 5-7 teams from last year. I don't expect Michigan's defense to be any good especially after losing Brandon Graham so another big offensive game is expected. Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson are back at QB and are joined by true freshman Devin Gardner, who was one of the top QB recruits in the nation last year. The rest of specialty players are new to the starting line-up outside of TE Kevin Koger. On defense they return Obi Ezeh and that's about it, but they should still improve as they continue to adjust to the Rich-Rod 3-3-5.
-Notre Dame 35 Michigan 24
Those all the guarantee games, I'm willing to make and putting Michigan on this list scares me just because of last year. 5 wins or bust for The Irish you heard it here first. I'll be back with my coin toss games and scare tactics games.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010
Dayne Crist (SO) is rated 83 Overall (OVR). He has a Throw Power/Accuracy (TPW/TAC) of 92/86 and Speed/Acceleration (SPD/ACC) 68/62. His injury rating is 76 while Awareness (AWR) is 70.
Andrew Hendrix (FR) is rated 74 OVR, with TPW/TAC of 87/86, and SPD/ACC of 88/71. AWR is 40
I'm guessing Luke Massa (FR) is QB #8 but it could just as easily be Tommy Rees (FR) a 65 OVR with TPW/TAC of 80/80 and SPD/ACC of 78/89. AWR is 40.
Nate Montana (JR) makes the cut as a 59 OVR. TPW/TAC of 77/74 and SPD/ACC of 65/68 and AWR of 45.
Much like the actual football team, the video game team needs Dayne Crist to stay healthy to be good/great.
Armando Allen (SR) is a 90 OVR, with SPD/ACC 95/96, AWR of 89, Catching (CTH) 75 and Elusiveness (ELV) of 92.
Robert Hughes (SR) is an 83 OVR, SPD/ACC 85/90, AWR of 72, Break Tackle (BKT) 80, CTH 72.
Theo Riddick (SO) is in the game at RB and is a 77 OVR, SPD/ACC 88/85, an outstanding Stamina (STM) rating of 97 and CTH of 68.
Jonas Gray (JR) is a 75 OVR, SPD/ACC 85/83, nothing else stands out and a CTH of 67.
Cierre Wood (SO) is a 75 OVR, SPD/ACC 93/87, STM of 94, ELV of 79 and a CTH of 68.
Cameron Roberson (FR) is a 74 OVR, SPD/ACC of 90/90, STM of 96 and a CTH of 65.
Bobby Burger (SR) is in the game at FB a 69 OVR, SPD/ACC of 70/74.
With Theo Riddick actually a WR, which roster editors will attend too, the RB depth isn't as good as it is in real life. I expect Cierre or Jonas to break out this year, in that order.
Michael Floyd (JR) is the highest rated of all the Fighting Irish at a 97 OVR, SPD/ACC of 90/96, AWR 90, STM 98, INJ surprisingly is at 88, CTH is 92, while his Spectacular Catch (SPC) is 94.
Duval Kumara (SR) is 85 OVR, SPD/ACC of 88/88, CTH of 84, STM of 99.
Shaq Evans (SO) is a 82 OVR, SPD/ACC 97/83, CTH 78, STM 96, and an AWR of just 55.
Deion Walker (SO) is an 80 OVR, SPD/ACC of 95/90, STM of 98, CTH of 74 and an AWR of 56.
Tai-ler "DASH" Jones (FR) is a 77 OVR, SPD/ACC of 88/97 CTH of 80, STM of 94.
Daniel Smith (FR) is a 69 OVR with SPD/ACC of 96/80, CTH of 70 and STM of 95.
Bennett Jackson (FR) is a 68 OVR, SPD/ACC of 87/90 and a CTH of just 68.
Notable absences include John Goodman and Robbie Toma.
The receiving depth and talent in real life is much better that represented in video game form. John Goodman is poised for a Treme like breakout and DASH should fit into this offense better than Shaq, Toma and Deion did as rookies.
Kyle Rudolph (JR) is a 90 OVR with SPD/ACC of 82/86 an 80 BTK and 88/87 CTH/CIT (catch in traffic).
Mike Ragone (JR) is a 82 OVR, SPD/ACC of 84/85 and CTH/CIT of 79/76.
Tyler Eifert (FR) is a 73 OVR, SPD/ACC of 80/75 and CTH/CIT of 72/71.
I like the relative depth at TE and Rudy 2.0 is a stud who I might have to win a Heisman with.
Matt Romine (SR) is 79 OVR, with a 78 Pass Block (PB) and 76 Run Block (RB) and a 80 Impact Block (IB).
Lane Clelland (JR) is a 74 OVR, with 80/75/89 PB/RB/IB.
I think they left Matt James in the game. RIP.
Chris Watt (SO) is a 83 OVR with 82's across the board.
Braxston Cave (JR) is 74 OVR with 80/80/79.
Mike Hernandez (JR) is a 72 OVR with 75/75/72.
Mike Golic Jr. (SO) is a 81 OVR with 78/78/80.
Jordan Cowart (SO) is a 72 OVR with 75/75/70.
Trevor Robinson (JR) is an 80 OVR with 80/85/85.
Tate Nichols (FR) is a 73 OVR with 77/78/77.
Alex Bullard (SO) is 73 OVR with 78/85/78.
Taylor Dever (JR) is an 80 OVR with 87/87/83.
Zack Martin (SO) is a 70 OVR with 77/74/69.
Offensive Line is the biggest question mark on this teams offense in real life so the corresponding stats aren't a surprise. Dayne Crist will be rolling out a lot to stay safe in video games.
Defensive Line (B-)
Defensive Line (B+)
Kapron Lewis-Moore (SO) is an 81 OVR with 79 SPD, 80 Strength (STG), 82 Power Move (PM), and 78 Tackle (TKL).
Emeka Nwanko (JR) is a 72 OVR with 62/85/85/78.
Christopher Skubis (SR) is a 66 OVR with 77/72/60/70.
Kerry Neal (SR) is a 79 OVR with 81/74/65/80.
Kona Schwenke (FR) is a 64 OVR with 80/68/60/65.
Ian Williams (SR) is an 86 OVR with 65/85/73/86.
Ethan Johnson (JR) is an 84 OVR with 76/86/85/76.
Louis Nix (FR) is a 76 OVR with 68/85/84/79.
Brandon Newman (SO) is 70 OVR with 58/77/73/78.
Hafis Williams (JR) is a 77 OVR with 68/74/74/70.
Sean Cynwar is a 63 OVR with 59/76/70/72.
The Defensive Line has a couple of very good players and a couple of players that could make a huge leap this year. There is enough depth that switching out players due to fatigue shouldn't be a huge drop in talent.
Left Outside Line Backers
Darius Fleming (JR) is a 78 OVR with 84 SPD, 82 ACC, 80 TKL, and 86 Pursuit (PRS).
Dan Fox (SO) is a 76 OVR with 79/85/79/67.
Justin Utopo (FR) is a 73 OVR with 87/80/75/75.
Right Outside Line Backers
Manti T'eo (SO) is an 89 OVR with 86/85/88/94.
David Posluszny (SO) is a 73 OVR with 81/70/76/79,
Kendall Moore (FR) is a 70 OVR with 83/80/79/72.
Middle Line Backers
Brian Smith (SR) is an 86 OVR with 85/86/86/ and 82 Hit Power (HTP).
Prince Shembo (FR) is a 73 OVR with a 83/82/81/78.
Anthony McDonald (SO) is a 73 OVR with a 79/84/77/74.
Carlo Calabrese (SO) is a 66 OVR with 78/88/77/65.
Brian Smith and Manti T'eo are the two standouts at line backer with Prince Shembo having a great chance to grow into a player that's as good as his name.
Robert Blanton (JR) is an 86 OVR with 92 SPD, 95 ACC, 76 TKL and 93 Pursuit.
Gary Gray (JR) is an 85 OVR with 96/88/73/94.
E.J. Banks (SO) is a 75 OVR with 94/90/67/68.
Lo Wood (FR) is a 68 OVR with 90/88/68/79.
Spencer Boyd (FR) is 67 OVR with 90/88/65/74.
They seem to have left Darrin Walls out and in his place is a guy who I have no idea who he is. Even after scouring through the roster. Without Darrin Walls the Irish still have two very good cover corners and should be able to play with even the best wide receivers.
Jamoris Slaughter (SO) is an 80 OVR with 90 SPD, 95 ACC, 72 TKL and 88 PRS.
Dan McCarthy (SO) is a 77 OVR with 90/86/75/89.
Derek Roback (FR) is a 66 OVR with 82/89/66/70.
Harrison Smith (SR) is a 78 OVR with 90/82/82/89.
Chris Badger (FR) is 70 OVR with 88/85/77/70.
With no Kyle McCarthy to take charge in the defensive back field this could be a bad year for the safety. Harrison Smith might be the biggest question mark on the entire team, he needs to know what he's doing at all times.
Nick Tausch (SO) is an 89 OVR with 92 Kick Power and 89 Kick Accuracy.
Ben Turk (SO) is an 84 OVR with 89/82.
The kicking game looks like a strength in virtual games, so winning field position battles should be easy.
Shaq Evans 90
Michael Floyd 94
Armando Allen 88
Robert Hughes 87
Cierre Wood 90
Tai-ler Jones 88
Deion Walker 82
Daniel Smith 85
Robert Blanton 81
Dan McCarthy 82
Jamoris Slaughter 90
This is the base Notre Dame roster so all your complaints can go straight to EA. I'm just the middle man. Their are some very, very good roster editors out there who will fix Notre Dame (and those other teams) up. If you're interested in a game some time my 360 gamer tag is NDeezlo.
Game officially comes out Tuesday although some stores have begun selling them early so you might be able to find one this weekend.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Kyle Brindza, Kicker, 6-2 195, Canton, MI. Most important he plays his home games in the same high school stadium I played mine, although for a school that didn't exist while I was attending (wanna know how to feel old?). A junior on path to graduate in June and is interested in skipping his senior of high school to attend Notre Dame in September. He brings touch backs into the conversation on every kickoff. He also punts which could be big if Eric Maust decides to play pro baseball and Ben Turk is the only returning punter. Possible nicknames "20" or "Human Touch Back" or "Gus".
Brad Carrico, DE, 6-6 255, Dublin, Ohio. The first commit for the 2011 class came from the state of, you guessed it, Ohio. A position of need as defensive line is seen as a weak point at this point. He also had offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Purdue and West Virginia and comes from the high school that gave Notre Dame Chinedum Ndukwe and Brady Quinn. Any nickname suggestions?
Matthias Farley, Ath, 6-1 195, Charlotte, NC. Mostly being recruited as a wide receiver, the Irish coaches Bob Diaco and Chuck Martin have convinced him that corner back is a better place for his talent, and maybe a quicker road to the field. He caught 37 passes for 900 yards and 12 touchdowns in his only year of organized play, passing up soccer for football ala Shane Walton, although he chose it a little bit earlier than Shane. I'm thinking something Chris Farley related, "Black Sheep" or "South Bend Ninja" possibly "Dirty Work"
Jarrett Grace, ILB, 6-4 235 Cincinnati, Ohio. A player that Brian Kelly and Company began recruiting while still with the Bearcats and finished with him committing to the Irish during the festivities for the spring game. Chris Berman would suggest we call him Jarrett Grace "Kelly" so lets no do that. I like Jarret "Say" Grace
Ben Koyack, TE, 6-5 230, Oil City, PA. Another spring game visitor that committed this pasat week. He must have seen something he liked with Kyle Rudolph and Mike Ragone catching multiple passes in the spread. He chose ND over Ohio State, after trimming his choices to two, and continues the run of talented pass catching tight ends in South Bend, started oddly enough by Greg Olsen... I have nothing good here, maybe Ben "Not a Canoe" Koyack. But I don't like it.
Conor Hanratty, OL, 6-4 305, New Canaan, CT. The son of Terry Hanratty, who played QB on the 1966 National Championship team and committed after conversations with Brian Kelly over spring game weekend, his first time meeting the coach. Conor had double digit offers including Florida State and Clemson. "Honey-baked" Hanratty
Matthew Hegarty, OL, 6-5 285, Aztec, New Mexico. Matt is interested in enrolling in January and has he'll be joining the coaches in recruiting for the Irish. He is a U.S. Army All-American who will not be playing the dreaded hat game during the break in the action after committing this past week. "Six Eyes"
Jordan Prestwood, OL, 6-6 265, Plant City, FL. An early April commitment from Jordan seemed to kick off a run on offensive lineman for the Irish. He also had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Tennesee and USC among others. "Right Direction"
Tony Springman, Ath, 6-6 257, Fort Wayne, IN. Another spring game Saturday commit, Tony joins former high school teammates Tyler Eifert and John Goodman at Notre Dame. The Irish have Tony pegged as a defensive lineman, where his speed and quickness should give him an advantage over offensive lineman. Someone named Springman does not need a nickname.
They have offers out to a Pro-Style QB Justin Worley and Dual-Threat QB's: Bubba Starling, Marquise Williams, Braxton Miller and Kiehl Frazier.
Running Backs that have offers are: Aaron Green, Justice Hayes, Malcolm Brown, Mike Bellamy, Demetrius Hart, Savon Huggins and Jameel Poteat.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends that have gotten offers from the Irish are: DeAnthony Arnett, Victor Blakwell, Phillip Dorsett, Rashad Greene, Charone Peake, Devin Smith, Ja'Juan Story, Ray Hamilton, Troy Niklas, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Davaris Daniels, Hakeem Flowers, Richard Rodgers, Evan Spencer, Dan Tapko, Nick Vannett, Kasen Williams, and Jay Rome.
Offensive Lineman that have received offers are: Brendon Austin, Brey Cook, Michael Bennett, Watts Dantzler, Cyrus Hobbi, Cyrus Kouandjio, Aundrey Walker, Jay Whitmire and Antonio Richardson.
The Irish have offers out to Defensive Lineman: Sterling Bailey, Ray Drew Ishaq Williams, Brennan Scarlett, Clay Burton, ANthony Chickillo, Aaron Lynch, Giorgio Newberry, Jermauria Rasco, Chris Rock, Stephon Tuitt.
Linebackers we could see in the future that have offers are Rob Hankins, Montese Overton, Denzel Perryman, James Vaughters, Anthony Wallace, Stephone Anthony and Trey DePriest.
Defensive Backs that have offers include Jalen Brown, Blake Countess, Doran Grant, Josh Turner, Quincy Aldridge, Eilar Hardy, Lyndell Johnson, Chris Jones, Wayne Lyons.
These players don't have set positions but they do have offers from the Irish: George Atkinson III, Rodney Coe, Christian French and Brandon Phelps.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The offenses combined for 744 yards, which was to be expected since the defenses ran a simplified version of the game plan.
That number is more impressive after the 2nd half featured 12 minute quarters and a running clock (due to the weather).
The offensive showcase featured many players that will probably not be heard of again including Pat Coughlan, walk on running back who ran for 80 yards and a touch down.
Dayne Crist will only get better (hopefully) but looked a little rusty and didn't move as much as he should in the fall.
Nate Montana should be a good back-up until Tommy Rees, or others, are ready.
The running back battle between Jonas Gray and Cierre Wood was fun to watch, Cierre broke a 44 yard touchdown run (1 of 2) and was almost immediately followed by Jonas breaking off a 38 yard score.
Tai-ler "Dash" Jones, Shaq Evans and Deion Walker all appropriated themselves nicely in the offense.
Kyle Rudolph and Mike Ragone made multiple nice catches in traffic.
The shovel pass appears to be a staple in the offense and Armando should be able to pick up some yardage.
The place kicking needs a lot and I mean a lot of work. Multiple missed extra points and a horrible field goal attempt brought that to the forefront.
The no-huddle offense was a lot of fun to watch (even though it took the people sitting around me nearly the whole first half to realize it was even going on).
I'm expecting a lot of rotating of receivers in the fall and not just to keep players fresh, but because there is a plethora of talent there (thanks Charlie).
Duval Kumara, who used to hold some freshman receiving records, showed glimpses of that talent again.
There isn't much to write about the defense in a game like this but they got some interceptions and made some hits that were loud.
I can't imagine Brian Kelly being unhappy about the offenses having to deal with the rain and it wasn't awful for the fans, although umbrellas seem rude in the stands.
Of course it rained, I was at the game. I was also at the Washington game last year, downpour at halftime, and the Syracuse game the year before, freezing cold and sitting in snow. So if you're going to a game next year try to make it one that I'm not at. I don't remember the weather at the Air Force loss in the 3-9 season but it probably wasn't good.
A trip to South Bend is never a bad thing, and I got to introduce my sister (MSU grad) to the stadium and somehow she only bought two things in the gift tent, which I'm sure her husband appreciates.
Purdue can't get here fast enough. My sister referred to this game as a tease and I agree.
My Golden Tate Seahawks jersey will be ordered soon.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Advancing to the Sweet Sixteen is a huge deal for mid-majors while at Notre Dame it should be accomplished more than once every 23 years. Making THE TOURNAMENT should be a near annual thing in South Bend and there should be little doubt instead of watching Selection Sunday with crossed fingers every year. Mike Brey seems to have built teams that would win in the MAC and the Mountain West, but struggle against teams in the Big East. Even that is arguable since losses to bad teams have become commonplace the last few season (Loyola Marymount, Seton Hall at home this year, at St. Johns last year and at Seton Hall and Rutgers this year).
To compare Mike Brey to a football coach is to compare him to Bob Davie probably. Bob snuck into a BCS game where they got embarrassed, Mike snuck into the Sweet Sixteen and got embarrassed by Arizona. His basketball teams seem to not know how to win close games and with the players he recruits are regularly in close games. His reluctance to play freshman leads to sophomores barely being ready to play in the Big East. Harangody forced his way into the line up and Tory Jackson benefited from a marijuana suspension for KMac. He wasted Tim Abromaitis' sophomore season to a red shirt because he wasted his freshman season with minimal minutes. Does anyone really think Abromaitis wouldn't have been the difference between last years team being in THE TOURNAMENT as opposed to being in the NIT.
Jack Swarbrick may have waited a year to long to change his football coach and can't wait any longer with his basketball team. The expectations surrounding next years team will be as low as they get, perfect for a new coach. Young players and players that have gotten minimal minutes will surround Abro, Ben and Nash, hopefully a new coach will spring life into a program that is danger of falling back into the 90's disaster. Mike Brey sprung to his own defense by comparing his team to the worst ten years of Notre Dame basketball. That screams to me of desperation and trying to save his job. Mike Brey would be better served as a head coach of a mid-major where making the tournament is a big deal, if Notre Dame isn't careful they are close to becoming that school.