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Five things we learned: Notre Dame vs. Nevada

Sep 5, 2009, 6:49 PM EST

The Irish’s 35-0 dismantling of Nevada has a lot of people wondering what this means for Notre Dame this season. I’m not quite ready to project the future, but it was certainly a good way to start. Here are five things we learned:

1) Jimmy Clausen is ready for his close-up.

Clausen was in complete control today, looking composed in the pocket, decisive with his reads, and deadly accurate with the football. Even his three incompletions were nice throws. Clausen did a nice job early stepping up in the pocket, especially on the first play of the game when the deep ball wasn’t open. Clausen’s passer rating was in the mid-300s, which I think qualifies as a pretty nice day at the office.

2) The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage.

Stat of the day: Notre Dame averaged 8.8 yards a play in the first half. For the first time since 2006, the Irish looked competent running the ball, which is especially encouraging with Nevada’s run defense ranked so highly last year. Armando Allen consistently got the corner when the Irish stretched the field on the ground, and the ability to run really opened up the play-action passing game.

3) The offensive weapons are legit.

Michael Floyd should be a first round draft pick. Golden Tate probably could be as well. And tight-end Kyle Rudolph might evolve into one as well. Add in Jimmy Clausen to the draft projections, and the sheer artillery is a sign of things to come. We won’t know quite how good Notre Dame truly is until next week when they play in enemy territory, but today’s impressive output was quite an airshow. Floyd’s touchdown catches, Tate’s explosiveness, and Rudolph’s first-quarter TD grab might be a sign that the vertical passing game that Weis established in his first two seasons has been resurrected.

4) Jon Tenuta is going to bring the house.

Tenuta served notice that he’ll be bringing the house early and often. With a 35-0 lead in the fourth quarter, Tenuta still brought the heat, not sitting back and playing it conservative, but attacking with linebackers, defensive backs, and anybody else on the field. The change back to the 4-3 seemed to go smoothly, and Tenuta’s the perfect coach to lead the transition. Expect even more heat next weekend, when Michigan breaks in a freshman quarterback against a team that doesn’t have a direction in its name.

5) Manti Te’o is a stud.

The freshman made quite a debut today. He was all over the field, running down Kaepernick from behind after blitzing off the snap on his first play. He made a great read on a middle screen and blew up two different Nevada players with some very big hits. Te’o will most likely see the field often against Rich Rodriguez’s Wolverines next week, utilizing his speed and ability to move in space to run down Michigan’s spread offense.

  1. robertg - Sep 6, 2009 at 5:57 AM

    1. we thank you for your list of 5.
    2. our list consists of: 1. awesome, 2. righteous, and 3. most excellent.
    3. unlike notre dame’s fine student athletes and charlie weis and his staff, who start work for the michigan game at the big house sunday moring, we can ride our great waves from the nevada game all week.
    keep up the great work

  2. robertg - Sep 6, 2009 at 7:23 AM

    keith,
    1. we have a modest proposal for vastly improving mnnbc’s and nbc’s audience shares and revenues from nd central.
    2. although notre dame has a worldwide fan base, nbc does not reach the entire world, but, via the internet, msnbc does reach the entire world, minus north korea and a very few other places.
    3. in addition, many notre dame fans who are in areas which nbc does reach simply cannot watch every notre dame game broadcast by nbc in real time.
    4. your current setup at nd central does make it possible for notre dame fans to watch every entire game worldwide and when their time permits and your addition of the halftime band segment is a great new feature.
    5. however, your current setup of the nbc tv feed is tough to follow.
    6. if you make the access easier to pick up and follow and leave the commercials in the msnbc feed, nbc and msnbc and the advertisers will get much more business for their advertising dollars.
    7. in fact, if you coordinate with jack nolan of und.com, he and his staff will put a link to nd central at und.com for the full game replays, including the halftime band and other activities and all of the advertisements.
    8. the obvious objectives of nbc and msnbc and its parents are to maximize exposure and revenues and you can keep track of the hits for reporting to advertisers.
    9. obviously, with respect to notre dame away games which are not broadcast by nbc, jack and und.com will have to make other arrangements.
    10. with those few minor 21st century technical adjustments, we are certain that you and your staff and nbc and msnbc and their parent companies will find advertising revenues and sales by advertisers that pay for adds for notre dame games will expand by a factor of at least 100.
    thank you and good luck

  3. robertg - Sep 6, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    keith,
    1. a few additional technical suggestion to increase vastly the exposure and productivity for nbc’s and msnbc’s advertisers.
    2. during the nbc tv feed, the notre dame games are interrupted by advertisements and cut outs to replays and to other games.
    3. in addition, the advertising does not include any real information about the products and services of the advertisers and how to find out more about those products and services and how to order them.
    4. obviously, notre dame fans watching entire games at nd central do not need or want any interuption of game play for replays or cutouts to other games.
    5. on the advertising side, interrupting the flows of games are both bothersome and, in their current formats, give zero information about how to find out more about the products and services of the advertisers and how to order them.
    6. in reformatting the nnbc tv feed, you have already elimated the cutouts to replays and advertisements with no real content.
    7. 21st century advertising should be customer friendly and should be delivered in 4 segments. the 1st should be before the 1st quarter. the second should be before the second quarter. the third should be at halftime before the band and other halftime events. the fouth should be before the 4th quarter.
    8. in each case, it is not difficult to make watching the advertisements in those 4 packets preconditions of watching the game segments.
    9.the advertisements should be restructured to provide information on each product and service and telephone numbers and web site addresses where notre dame fans can order those products and services.
    10. it really is time to bring into the 21st century both advertising and game format.
    11. nbc’s and msnbc’s and their advertisers will easily be able to track the millions of dollars in new business which notre dame fans bring in.
    12. as you may be aware, nbc’s current notre dame game game commentators are extremely unpopular with notre dame fans. we turn the sound off so that we do not have to listen to them and this adversely affects the results that advertisers get for the time they pay for.
    13. if you contact jack nolan at und.com, we are certain that he can provide you with some notre dame alums and some alums of notre dame’s oppoonents for each game who will provide really professional game commentary at little or no charge to nbc.
    14. again, it is all a fairly simple matter to bring tv sports broadcasting into the 21st century.
    15. given what you and your staff have already done to bring nd central back from the dead, you should get all of the credit and large bonuses.
    we wish you and your staff immense success

  4. Kyle - Sep 6, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    Is anyone else worried about Michigan? I love the Irish, but they should have been scored on at least twice.
    There offense was impressive (a few hard hits to Clausen aside). But the defense seemed to be pushed around a lot. Nevada was marching up and down the field for most of the game. Nevada didn’t score. But that isn’t really the point. The point is that a team who let’s offenses march on them eventually do begin to give up points.
    I hope I am wrong. But I am concerned.

  5. manny - Sep 6, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    kyle,
    yes you are correct that nevada did move the ball, but as in the past ND has shown that bend don’t break style. Remember, this was a good nevada offense. Many projected this game to be a 40-20 type score, so from that standpoint I feel our defense did an outstanding job. Tenuta needs to keep bringing the heat, i loved seeing our guys charging that line the way they did.

  6. BigRo - Sep 6, 2009 at 12:11 PM

    I agree with Kyle. The ND offense was impressive to say the least. The dominance of the O Line warmed my heart. Clausens displayed confidence in th pocket. He displayed a strong arm and spread the ball around. Floyd is a classic possesion receiver and Golden Tate–a budding human highlight reel–will continue to please fans and pro scouts alike. However, the defense is suspect. Nevada’s RB Taua (sp?) ran all over the field all day. The D Line was getting consistently blown off the line of scrimmage. The linebackers and especially the secondary that saved the day. Whatever pressure that was put on the NV QB came from LB and Corner blitzes. They got very little push up the middle. This may be a bigger problem against the Big Blue.

  7. hop - Sep 6, 2009 at 12:33 PM

    Nope not worried and yep your wrong.

  8. Keith Arnold - Sep 6, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    robertg — I’ll pass these suggestions along to the brain wizards and tech guys here. Getting the game live and online would be pretty great.
    I’ll also send along the message about getting “all of the credit and large bonuses!” That’d be very nice!

  9. Fink - Sep 6, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    What happened to the witty guy that blogged and did webcasts for NBC last year? I’m glad NBC carries the football games, but they could do a better job of keeping their talent other than Pat Haden.

  10. jrs - Sep 6, 2009 at 5:40 PM

    I have never seen a more over-hyped football team or coach in my life. What do I expect from the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation – NBC? Can we at least wait for them to beat someone other than a patsy, oh wait their entire schedule is full of patsies except for USC. I include Michigan in that as well. Why not give Weiss the Coach of the year now. Certainly he is in deed a genius coming up with such a great game plan to beat Nevada school for the disabled. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with to beat St Rose’s girl’s school. These blogs about how impressive they were are a crock. They better be play well against Nevada. Nevada’s record over the pass few years is horrible. I guess the past few years of Weiss and his less than stellar teams don’t count. HEY PLAY SOMEONE WORTH A DAM AND THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT HOW GOOD THEY ARE. HOW ABOUT A DIVISION 1 SCHOOL WITH A WINNING RECORD. Oh yeah I forgot there are none on the schedule except one. Can’t wait to see USC kick their butts.

  11. Justin - Sep 6, 2009 at 6:17 PM

    jrs – most football teams have easy schedules. ND usually has a strength of schedule in the teens, while big schools like OSU, Florida, and Michigan tend to have SoS in the 20’s or 30’s. When they beat Michigan will it be because ND is legit or because Michigan sucks? Sure the SoS is lighter this year, but compare it to others and I think you’ll find it a bit similar. And, why can’t I enjoy this win? OSU barely scraped by Navy, Iowa almost got embarrassed on opening weekend. Are you gonna slam those fans too?

  12. arh - Sep 6, 2009 at 9:19 PM

    Robertg– I completely aggree with all of your points and I really hope that they are heard! Thanks!

  13. ha - Sep 6, 2009 at 11:30 PM

    You read the blog, didn’t you. By the way, there are no schools other than D1 on NDs schedule.

  14. mrf_7 - Sep 7, 2009 at 1:46 AM

    jns is a typical Domer-hater, doesn’t know his facts. Nevada’s offense was 5th in the NATION last year. FIFTH!. How many points did they score? Oh, ZERO.
    Western Michigan, big “blue’s” opponent was 28th, and they scored 7. San Jose State was 113th and they got seven on SC.
    And need we mention the Gators opponent? Oh, yea, they’re not even FBS!
    But alas, what’s new with “hater-nation”? Get used to dissappointment this year!

  15. robertd - Sep 7, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    robertg:
    I agree with all your points, particularly #12. Notre Dame commentators are not popular with the general public, not just Notre Dame fans. They just continueally rehash the first half plays and their comments are so boring I turn them off during the half time break by pressing mute. Also, I would like to see the bands play during halftime. The many band members put in hours of practice and their family members, friends and general public who could not be present at the games cannot see them excellent performances. After the end of game and the boring after game comments by Pat Haden and Tom Hammond only a 10-15 second piece of the band playing was shown and by that time most viewers probably swicthed to other stations.

  16. ND for ND - Sep 7, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    ditto on the band. They are fun to watch and with sports highlights on 24-7, why not show something fresh.

  17. texas leprechaun - Sep 8, 2009 at 12:16 AM

    As an ND Fan for 40 plus years and an ND alum – I have to say that I was totally encouraged by Saturday’s win. Before the game I said that Charlie would have to win the National Championship before I was ready for him to come back in 2010, but I was encouraged by him focusing on the offense and leaving the defense to Tenuta. I’m still heartbroken that we lost out on the chance to hire Urban Meyer.
    It is hard for ND to recruit top players. In the old days top players wanted to get on National TV every week and ND was the place that usually happened. Now with the advent of ESPN 1, 2 and pay per view college football packages, players can get on seven or eight times per season. Back when I was in high school and a student at ND there were only a handful of “premier” college football programs. That is hardly the case today.
    Great Play by Jimmy C at Quarterback, Golden Tate at Wide Receiver and what a great performance by the Freshman Linebacker Manti Te’o. On a side note – my family had dinner at our friends who are Mormons and they watched with great interest the ND game because they personally know Manti Te’o who is also a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. They kidded us and claimed that the Irish “stole” Manti from BYU and there is still a strong possibility that Manti may leave ND after this year to go on his Mission for two years.
    I truly believe the Irish can go into the Big House and beat the Wolverines. I am more concerned with the following week when Michigan State comes to South Bend. They have had our number as of late especially in South Bend. I have missed being at only three ND home games in the last 30 years (one when my daughter walked down the aisle, one when I had knee surgery and the third when I couldn’t get a flight into Chicago due to a snow storm). I am happy to see them come play in my now home state of Texas this year so I will get to attend 8 regular season games this year and hopefully a BCS bowl game in early 2010! GO IRISH.

  18. ND_a_top_40_team - Sep 8, 2009 at 11:12 AM

    mrf_7…re: “Nevada’s 5th best offense last year”…whatever. Look who they played. I’m holding out on my eval. Yes, it was promising, but Nevada had, what, the 120th(+) ranked passing “D”? Clearly many hopes for the year were based on a soft schedule, though I think it is a bit tougher than thought. The Ugly Hats (UMich) are better, Washington may actually try to play football, Navy is always a thorn, USC is a likely loss, and there are a few games that if ND doesn’t show up, they could have issues. I’d prefer to wait until we see the crew play a top team. USC will definitely be one, UMich…well, the jury is still out.
    As for the comment on recruiting…well, having the ND diploma on the wall should be enough. Playing quality opponents and competing for the glass football make it even easier. Sometimes (and the shouts will begin) it seems becoming the 12th team in the Big 10, forcing a Big 10 championship game, would ensure even more visibility.

  19. NDBrian - Sep 9, 2009 at 1:08 AM

    Is it me or was Pat Haden jumping up and down with joy during the postgame show? I LOVE IT!!! As a loyal and dedicated fan of ND since the Ron Powlus years, it’s about time this team started looking like a legit contender. And no I don’t wanna hear all this bull$hit about the schedule and the competition. If you followed this team closely then it was obvious that they were going to be great this year. Just sit back and chillax and enjoy this season and let the haters hate. It’s ND. What do u expect??? GO IREEESSSH!

  20. mrf_7 - Sep 9, 2009 at 7:35 PM

    And Nevada was 6th best in the Nation against the run. It’s convenient to us the pass defense stat when it’s convenient for your point, eh?
    Look, you all can “poopoo” Nevada all you want, but the fact is to *average* over 500 yds per game over a 12 game season is respectable.
    And ND looked very respectable against an above-average opponent. Of course the test will come via MSU & USC, but it’s a 12 game season, not 3 or 4.
    At least they are *all* FBS!

  21. andrew - Nov 21, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    They need to fire charlie weiss

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