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Irish turn page on the loss

Sep 14, 2010, 12:57 PM EDT

it’s been nearly three days since the Brian Kelly era received its first blemish, and we can now officially say that the Notre Dame football season starts. Gone is the unbridled optimism, the belief that maybe the Irish will actually win — quite literally — now.

That’s not to say that this football season is sunk or the lofty aspirations the Irish had for the season are gone. But for the first time since Kelly’s opening press conference, there’s plenty of aggravation out there if you’re looking for it, on message boards, websites, talking heads, and sports-talk radio. Is Kelly surprised that many people think the sky is falling?

“I’m not surprised by it at all,” Kelly said. “There will be plenty of room on the bandwagon when we start winning, too. Those are the expectations that you’re going to have each and every day. I don’t spend much time dwelling on that, other than we have to play the game better. That’s what my focus is on.”

The blame game was pretty prevalent this week, with the usual suspects that have been surrounding this program for the past five years rearing their ugly heads. A defense that couldn’t get a stop or a turnover when they really needed it. The miserable luck of losing the one irreplaceable player on the team after the game’s opening drive. A questionable coaching decision to go for a touchdown instead of a chip-shot field goal. That’s football, folks.

Brian Kelly and the Irish say they’ve turned the page, now it’ll be up to the Notre Dame faithful to prove they’ve done the same. And while the Nate Montana pass that sailed out of bounds might still eat at those Irish fans that are plagued by the clarity of hindsight, it’s nothing that’s weighing Brian Kelly down.

“I never gave it a thought to kick the field goal,” Kelly said this afternoon. “Maybe that’s my problem. If there was hindsight 20/20, I would’ve called a different play. Because that one didn’t work. Field goal or no field goal, that never entered my mind.”

*****

This note from the NBC PR department:

Last Saturday’s Michigan-Notre Dame game was the most-watched Notre Dame game on NBC in five years, and the most watched rivalry game between the two teams in 16 years. It was the highest-rated game of two unranked teams in NBC’s history and the third-most watched Michigan-Notre Dame game ever.

The last time as many eyeballs tuned in for a football game on NBC was the classic 2005 battle between Charlie Weis’ Irish and Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans, where Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush escaped with a last-second victory.

(A victory that USC is no longer allowed to claim…)

  1. Chucket - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    It’s true! Focusing on the job at hand, namely the Spartan game, is The Very Best one can do right now. And there is something to be gained from lessons emanating from the Michigan stench…no good to refuse to learn from that.
    It seems this theme is the recurring one throughout the Weis tenure, too.

  2. Robert - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    This team is better coached, tougher and more determined than any of the teams that CW put on the field during his tenure. As this year goes on it will be more and more apparent that the Michigan game revealed two things. One, that Michigan played as well as it can play. And two, that ND clearly did not play anywhere near its best game. This team is going to keep getting better and better as the season progresses.

  3. ugetwutuask4 - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    I believe that with the loss to Denard Robinson University the Irish can now focus on winning every game that is next on their schedule and not worry about going undefeated. I liked how the team responded to being down but not out. If only Dayne could have kept that last pass in bounds I believe Floyd, Rudolph or Jones would’ve come up with a miracle catch to win the game. I predict that this will be the last game we lose all year if we’re in postion to win it in the fourth quarter unlike last year where we found ways to either lose the game or beat ourselves while trying to win the game.
    Go Irish!

  4. TLNDMA - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    If I were the coach of this team(scary thought), I would tell them the UM game proved one thing, they can beat anyone on their schedule, if they bring their A game. If they don’t, there’s a good chance they’ll lose.
    I agree with Robert, this team is going to keep getting better. I think by thanksgiving, they could be better than good. Better keep #10 healthy though.

  5. Richie R - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    I think that Dayne Crist is injury porne, He got hurt last year and was out for the season. He looks like he got a concussion this last game. His pass to the inzone in the last seconds of the game prove he is still suffering eye sight problems. I hope that Coach Kelly has Montana better prepared for Michigan State next week.

  6. trueirishfan - Sep 14, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    richie r… do you know anything about football?? number 1, its called an ENDZONE… not “inzone”… 2. there was never any sign of a cuncussion, if you got smacked in the head by a division 1 football player’s helmet, you would have a hard time seeing out of your eye as well. thanks for trying though.

  7. mrrandolph - Sep 14, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    Coach Kelly is right.. Hindsight is 20/20. I have never been more optimistic. To lose your starting QB..to throw 3 INTs..To give up a 80 + yard TD run…To have a 30 yard TD drive by Michigan and come within 27 seconds of winning. Sounds Great to me.

  8. BigE - Sep 14, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    I am little concerned with Kelly’s statement about not even thinking of kicking that field goal. How can he possibly say that and mean it. How do you not consider all your options, especially when you are playing your shaky back-up qb and they can put up 3 points for some momentum going into the half. No doubt he is a successful coach, but that explanation is hard to accept.

  9. #1irishfan - Sep 14, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Has anyone even thought about an eye gouge? Now I’m pretty sure we all remember the punch that was never noticed last year (Mouton). So just a thought to the mystery and I’m researching the film NOW!! If any already have please post! GO IRISH!!!

  10. #1irishfan - Sep 14, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Psychological warfare against the press?? Maybe??

  11. thinkirish - Sep 14, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Did you actually see Crist’s injury last year at the Alamo dome? Accident prone, really?

  12. JT 1478 - Sep 14, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    Lets be honest folks, the irish defense played well, they played well enough too stop Mich on their opening drive of the 1st half, and unfortunately we answered back w/ an offense – D Crist, 8 offensive possessions w/out Crist and we scored 0. Were lucky to only be down 21-7 at half, but defense stood well….. Second half we stop Michigan’s open drive, Crist back, offense and defense now become explosive….Call it what you want but if Crist is in the game the entire 1st half, game is over at half time….

  13. JT 1478 - Sep 14, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Lets be honest folks, the irish defense played well, they played well enough too stop Mich on their opening drive of the 1st half, and unfortunately we answered back w/ an offense – D Crist, 8 offensive possessions w/out Crist and we scored 0. Were lucky to only be down 21-7 at half, but defense stood well….. Second half we stop Michigan’s open drive, Crist back, offense and defense now become explosive….Call it what you want but if Crist is in the game the entire 1st half, game is over at half time….

  14. CJW - Sep 14, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    It is hard to believe we played so well on D and forced so many punts and still gave up over 500 yards and lost.
    I can honestly say I was wrong about D-Rob….he is legit and if he stays healthy he will terrorize everyone they play…..enough said other than that I hate them both but I will like to see how he matches up against a top flight D like tOSU.
    I do not think Crist is fragile. MI is a bunch of cheap bast*rds. He was clearly hit with a helmet to helmet hit on his nice 11 yard run and ofcourse it wasn’t called.
    Montana was starting to settle in and do some decent things and the run game was picking up as well. Think about it if the same thing had happened with Chuck and co we would have colapsed in the first half and been blown out. Kelly did a great job of managing the 1/2 half and if not for the 87 yard scamper late in the first 1/2 we would have won.

  15. Art Vandelay - Sep 14, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    I just watched the full replay of the game on the YES Network and I can’t let go of Kelly’s decision not to take the sure 3 points at the end of the first half. As BigE points out above (post#8) the FG would have provided some much needed momentum going in at the half and we’d only have been down by 11. More importantly, assuming that the rest of the game played out the same way in the second half, we then would be down 28-27 with 27 seconds left. Then, with 6 seconds left, we are on the 27 yard line, well within Ruffer’s capabilities to bang another 3. You can legitimately argue, then, that Kelly’s decision at the end of the first half (which he now says he didn’t even think about)lost that game for us. I know that hindsight is best sight by a damned site, but come on, you never take those points off the board….its Coaching 101. Look, I like Kelly and think he’s doing all the right things and I have nothing but high hopes now that he’s here trying to right this ship. It’s just that I think, having watched it again that it was a bonehead mistake. He had all kinds of time to consider his options as the refs were reviewing whether the prior catch by TJ Jones(?) was in bounds at the 3 yd line. Even Mayock says at that point something to the effect that it was a big decision for Kelly, new coach, down by 2 scores, yada, yada, yada. And now he says that it didn’t even enter into his thought process? WTF?

  16. IrishFan315 - Sep 15, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Richie R,
    Obviously a name in reference to Rich Rod, but I won’t go there… first, ditto to everything trueirishfan said. But second, I doubt that final pass had anything to do with poor vision. You can’t use that excuse when Crist just threw a 95-yd touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph; a pass that was right on the money. The throw at the end of the game was simply a poor toss. Oh well, better luck next time.
    Go Irish!

  17. Meggie2323 - Sep 15, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Can we please drop the discussion over Kelly’s decision to forgo the field goal kick? Hindsight is 20/20.
    If ND took the field goal, made said field goal, and Crist never returned to the game then everyone would be complaining about how Kelly wasn’t playing to win. Frankly, did anyone else really believe Montana was going to march the Irish that close to a TD again in the game? Kelly was doing the best with the hand he was dealt.
    And any coach with any sort of media-savvy is not going to appear at a press conference bemoaning his decisions on the field.
    Seriously, can we all take a deep breath, hug it out, call our moms, and start talking about the Spartans?

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