Notre Dame vs. Nevada — Live Blog


The first ever Inside the Irish live blog… I apologize in advance for any typos, factual misrepresentation, or unnecessary movie references. Here we go…

3:42 — Alex Flanagan explains to us that Charlie Weis will have his back to the field… I’m not really sure what to do with that.

3:43 — Theo Riddick back to return the first kick of the 2009 season, even I’ve got butterflies. Return of about 15, and more importantly, no fumble.

3:44 — Love the opening play call. Even if they didn’t take the deep shot, the offensive line protected and Clausen made a positive play.

3:44 — Play number two, and the Irish get their first first down. Only 3 quarters sooner than the USC game. We Comin!!!

3:45 — Mike Floyd had his man beat long, but Clausen missed him. This is going to be a shootout.

3:45 — Armando Allen runs for seven. The offensive line is winning the early battle.

3:46 — 4th and 1. The first ballsy decision of the season. Two tight-ends, and the surge gets the first down.

3:48 — Armando Allen gets the corner… TWICE. This is really fun… 3 carries for 24 yards. Very nice.

3:50 — Armando in the Wildcat. Where was Dan McCarthy??

3:54 — Kyle Rudolph… TOUCHDOWN!  I just proclaimed that “We’re back!” Then was quickly reminded that this was Nevada, and they had the 119th ranked pass defense.

3:56 — The first look at the new Notre Dame defense and the vaunted Pistol offense. Kaepernick looks like Gumby had a kid with Randall Cunningham.

3:57 — First big play by the Nevada offense. Robert Blanton might have been beaten… couldn’t tell.

3:58 — 17 yard run, and after the 5th play of Nevada, I’m already getting sick of hearing the word pistol.

4:00 — BRIAN SMITH ladies and gentlemen. Huge play after getting bludgeoned. Missed field goal, and we hold serve. Very nice start, and we’ve learned (and unfortunately, so has the Wolf Pack) that they can move the ball on the Irish.

4:05 — Review time. Golden Tate made that catch… which was absolutely sick. I’m not sure if you can call that indisputable, but I’m going with Pat Haden… he was a Rhodes scholar after all.

4:06 — Pause for a new beverage… There is no way I’m going to keep up this pace, so enjoy it while it lasts.

4:08 — Catch one of the Golden Tate Heisman campaign. (Yeah, I said it.)

4:09 — Phantom hold call on Bobby Burger.

4:10 — Great conversion with Robby Paris. Rock solid playcall and design by the big man.

4:11 — How nice is it to see a pitch play work and the Irish front win the line of scrimmage?

4:12 — End of quarter. Man, this is fun. Irish look in control, and more importantly, have run the ball efficiently, and controlled the clock. First quarter grade: A-.

4:13 — Beverage break.

4:15 — MISTER MICHAEL FLOYD! I’m getting to a very good place right now.
Jimmy Clausen: 9-10, 114 yards, 2 TDs. (One excellent head of molding cream.)

4:19 — Did Lucy pull the ball out on the kickoff?

4:22 — Brian Smith second sack. Kaepernick hasn’t done anything great yet.

4:23 — Nearly jinxed myself. Welcome to the party Manti Te’o. Blitzed, got covered up, then makes his first tackle. Nice play.

4:26 — MISTER MICHAEL FLOYD! I have yet to mention that Michael Floyd went to Cretin-Derham Hall, the home of many distinguished athletes, and one Inside the Irish blogger.

4:29 — Score update — San Jose St. 3, USC 0. (I’m not saying, I’m just saying…)

4:31 — Today might be almost as day a day as when I got Nintendo and Mike Tyson’s Punch-out for Christmas in 3rd grade.

4:33 — Jimmy Clausen: 10-11, 184 yards, 3 TDs. Quarterback Rating: Infinity.

4:37 — Dayne Crist gets a snap. You think Jimmy had to use the bathroom?

4:38 — Eric Maust sees the field. That’s not his best effort.

4:44 — 4th and inches. THIS is a biggie…

4:45 — Huge Stop. That was awesome.

4:49 — Unacceptable. Clausen missed an open receiver. Now he’s a mediocre 10-12.

4:51 — Pretty impressive facemask. Who gets the next touchdown catch? I’m hoping for Robby Paris.

4:53 — Nevermind. What a great run by Jonas Gray. Let’s review this…

4:56 — Almost unfair to give it to Armando, but I’m all for it.

5:02 — Nice series for Nevada. If you are going to support the theory that Nevada can actually win this game, it’s pretty important for them to score here.

5:04 — Huge crack block on Darrin Walls. Welcome back to football, Darrin.

5:06 — Garbage INT by Blanton on the Hail Mary… Gotta respect that. That’s what ballhawks do.

5:08 — When’s the last time we’ve had a half that good? (Other than the Hawaii Bowl…) If you’re a Notre Dame fan, you’ve got to be very happy right now.

5:08 — Catch you for the second half — I’m going to get a food break.

5:42 — Come follow us at the second half live blog.     





Restocking the roster: Running Backs

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17: Josh Adams #33 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs for a 26-yard gain against the USC Trojans in the first half of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Notre Dame’s running back depth chart was tested to its max less than 10 minutes into the season opener. The projected two-deep, Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant, were both lost for the year—Bryant out of school as an academic and disciplinary casualty by the start of fall camp and Folston because of a knee injury suffered on his third carry of the season.

Welcome back to Notre Dame, Autry Denson.

The school’s all-time leading rusher in his first season as a running back coach had to be feeling a little woozy. He had a converted wide receiver taking featured-back carries and a true freshman a little over a year removed from his own major knee injury serving as his primary backup.

That the Irish had their most prolific running season under Brian Kelly says quite a bit about the job that Denson did. It’s also a credit to the offensive line blocking, the adjusted scheme that also protected two new starting quarterbacks, and the talent that remained at the position.

Spring presents new challenges. Tarean Folston should be a little over seven months removed from ACL surgery, making him doubtful to do anything more than wear a red jersey. With C.J. Prosise‘s departure, Adams goes from record-setting rookie to spring starter, with Williams likely carrying a large load as well.

Tony Jones Jr. and Deon McIntosh arrive this summer, reinforcements on the way. But before we get there, let’s take a look at the pre-spring roster at running back.


C.J. Prosise (156 carries 1,032 yards, 11 TDs)
Greg Bryant (lost preseason 2015)


Josh Adams (117 carries, 835 yards, 6 TDs)
Dexter Williams (21 carries, 81 yards, 3 TDs)
Tony Jones Jr.
Deon McIntosh 


Tarean Folston,* Sr.
Josh Adams, Soph.
Dexter Williams, Soph.
Justin Brent,* Junior

*Additional year of eligibility remaining.


ANALYSIS: This might be a position battle deferred to fall camp, especially if Folston is still in recovery mode. At this point, it doesn’t make sense to rush back from an ACL tear for 15 practices, so while the rising senior may be chomping at the bit to return, it’s better to save it until August.

Folston will likely be the team’s most versatile back, but keeping Adams off the field will be a hard chore. His breakaway speed was on display multiple times in 2015, with his record-setting run against Wake Forest the team’s longest play from scrimmage. Adams also likely added some mass and physicality to his game in the offseason weigh-training program, giving the Irish someone capable of hitting the big play and also moving the sticks in short yardage situations.

The staff believes that Dexter Williams is a talented back, so with three solid contributors on the roster before Jones or McIntosh hit campus, it’ll be fun to see how snaps get sorted. (From that perspective, you can only wonder how they’d have dealt with the champagne problem of having Prosise around…) Justin Brent remains an option as well, though the attrition from the receiving corps makes you think he’ll be back at receiver.

The wildcard in all of this is Folston. He’s a unique talent with natural ability you just can’t teach. If he’s fully recovered and ready to engage in a position battle, there won’t likely be a drop off even with the early departure of Prosise.


Notre Dame gets 10 invites to NFL Scouting Combine

2013 NFL Combine
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Notre Dame will send ten former players to the NFL Scouting Combine. The annual event in Indianapolis serves as the unofficial apex of draft season, a meat-market where the best professional prospects are poked, prodded, questioned and tested in a variety of on- and off-field drills.

Heading to the festivities from Notre Dame are:

Chris Brown, WR
Sheldon Day, DT
Will Fuller, WR
Nick Martin, C
Romeo Okwara, DE
C.J. Prosise, RB
KeiVarae Russell, CB
Elijah Shumate, S
Jaylon Smith, OLB
Ronnie Stanley, OT

For a prospect like Smith, it’ll be teams first opportunity to talk to the elite prospect and check his progress medically as he returns from a Fiesta Bowl knee injury. Russell will also be a non-participant in physical drills, waiting until Notre Dame’s Pro Day to go through testing.

Invites to Chris Brown, Romeo Okwara and Elijah Shumate are crucial in finding their way into the draft, as the three former Irish starters participated in the Shrine Bowl, where scouts had an early look at them. Likewise, Nick Martin and Sheldon Day continue their ascent, both coming off strong Senior Bowl weeks.

For Irish fans, it’ll be fun to watch early-enrollees Fuller and Prosise test. Both are expected to be some of the fastest players at their position. Brown may also have the ability to surprise teams, with his track background and leaping ability capable of earning him an extended look. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley will look to impress as well, hoping to check out as one of the draft’s most impressive athletes at offensive tackle.

Ohio State led all schools with 14 invites. National Champion Alabama had nine former players invited.


WR Corey Robinson named Notre Dame student body president


On Wednesday, wide receiver Corey Robinson added another impressive title to his resume as a student-athlete at Notre Dame: Student Body President.

The junior, paired with classmate Becca Blais as his vice presidential running mate, won a majority of the votes cast by his fellow students, a runaway winner with 59.4% of the votes, nearly triple the next highest vote getter.

Robinson posted the following on Twitter, thankful for the opportunity to serve his fellow students:

Robinson’s time at Notre Dame has been filled with accomplishments both on and off the field. He was named an Academic All-American as a sophomore. He’s a six-time Dean’s List member in the prestigious Program of Liberal Studies and is also pursuing a sustainability minor. He’s won the team’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award as well.

That’s quite a bit on the plate of Notre Dame’s lone senior wide receiver. But as you might expect, Robinson is well prepared for the next challenge ahead.

“I’ve planned ahead, gotten all of my hard work out of the way this semester, and I’m finishing up my senior thesis,” Robinson told The Observer. “I’m doing all the hard stuff now so in the fall and the spring, I just have to take two classes pretty much.”

Robinson’s other contributions as a student-athlete at Notre Dame include One Shirt one Body, an opportunity for college athletes to donate their athletic apparel to local communities. Robinson has presented the plan to the ACC as well as the NCAA, earning immediate support from both organizations.


Mailbag: Now Open (scheduling input requested)

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 01:  Actors Mike Myers (L) and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World" onstage during the 17th annual MTV Movie Awards held at the Gibson Amphitheatre on June 1, 2008 in Universal City, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Okay folks, we’ve had enough semi-positive encouragement to keep the video mailbag going for another week. With that said, I’ll need some reader participation to keep this thing rolling on.

As always, submit your questions below or on Twitter @KeithArnold. You can also ask your questions live via Facebook. You’ll need to LIKE THIS PAGE first, and then at the appropriate time, head on over to watch and participate.

To that point, let’s pick a time that works for everyone. Right now, here are the options that work at Inside the Irish HQ.  Weigh in and the best time wins. (How’s that for a democracy?)