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Five Things We Learned: Notre Dame vs. Tulsa

Oct 30, 2010, 9:10 PM EDT


For those looking to bury Brian Kelly after nine games at Notre Dame, they were given the opportunity late in the fourth quarter. After calling a timeout with 42 seconds left, Kelly decided against putting the game on the leg of his field goal kicker David Ruffer, and instead bet on the arm of freshman quarterback Tommy Rees, who dropped back from the Tulsa 19 yard line and targeted wide receiver Michael Floyd, running down the sideline in one-on-one coverage.

Floyd had a step on the undersized defensive back, but Rees’ back foot throw kited into a strong wind, helping 5-foot-9 cornerback John Flanders come down with an unlikely interception, sealing Tulsa’s 28-27 victory on a somber Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.

“We knew we had a one-on-one match up with Mike Floyd, and certainly wanted to give that an opportunity for success and score a touchdown there,” Kelly said after the game. “We took a timeout there to talk about it. But I think we all saw what happened.”

What happened was a heart-wrenching interception that put an ugly ending onto an otherwise great performance by Rees, who became the first Notre Dame freshman to throw four touchdown passes in a game. It also dropped Notre Dame to 4-5 on the season, putting the Irish in the difficult position of needing a win against either Utah or USC to have a chance to play in the postseason.

Let’s take a look at five things we learned during Notre Dame’s 28-27 loss to Tulsa.

1. The new goal for Notre Dame? Win two out of the next three.

Even before the tragic events of this week, Brian Kelly acknowledged that today’s game was one of the most important of his career. Needing two wins to clinch a bowl birth in the final four games, anybody could point to games against Tulsa and Army as must-have wins for the Irish.

But with the Irish losing today, they’ll now need to beat either Utah or USC, as well as an upstart Army team that’s 5-3 for the first time in over a decade.

“The most important thing still is for us to get to six wins,” Kelly said emphatically. “We’ve got to win two out of three now. That’s the number one goal, to win two out of three games minimally to get to six wins.”

The Irish will have a much needed weekend off before playing Utah, undefeated and ranked No. 8 team in the country. The Utes battle an upstart Air Force squad today and No. 4 TCU next Saturday, so they’ll be coming off two physical opponents before facing the Irish.

After that the Irish face another triple-option attack when Army joins Notre Dame for the first ever football game in the new Yankee Stadium, before finishing the season against rival USC, who likely will view the Irish as part one of their two-game postseason, against rivals Notre Dame and UCLA.

It’s an uphill road for the Irish, especially in light of their injury problems, but far from impossible.

2. Bob Diaco’s defense did their job.

After a wobbly first two series, defensive coordinator Bob Diaco slowed down a Tulsa attack that had great speed and a quarterback proficient at running the zone read.

Tulsa averaged just under 7.5 yards per play on their first two offensive possessions, but the Irish defense stood strong after that, holding Tulsa to only 272 total yards on 56 plays, below five yards a touch — impressive work considering Tulsa averaged 491 yards a game and 6.3 yards a play entering the game.

Diaco’s mixed a nice blend of pressure and zone coverage, sacking Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne five times, but ultimately the unit came up empty on Tulsa final offensive drive, when the Irish gave up a crucial 3rd and 26 in deep zone coverage.

Diaco and his defense took a lot of heat this week, but playing without starting nose tackle Ian Williams and insider linebacker Carlo Calabrese, the unit deserves a ton of credit for putting together a gritty performance, giving up only 13 of the 28 points the Golden Hurricanes scored.

3. Special Teams and the big play killed the Irish.

On a day where Notre Dame came up with a big fake punt that extended a drive and led to a Notre Dame touchdown, the Irish special teams killed them, with Tulsa’s two points on a critical returned extra-point attempt the swing in their one-point victory. David Ruffer’s only two misses on the season have come on blocked extra points, and the Irish offensive line gave up the block right off the center, with linebacker Curnelius Arnick scooping it up and returning it to for a touchdown.

Electric return man Damaris Johnson also returned a punt for a touchdown, bringing Tulsa back from a nine-point deficit, thanks to a low punt from Ben Turk, the lack of hang-time all that Johnson needed to weave his way through the Irish gunners.

And finally, the Irish were victimized by the big play, courtesy of linebacker Shawn Jackson, who caught a deflected Tommy Rees screen pass and closed the half with a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown, putting Tulsa back in the football game when it looked like the Irish were capable of marching down the field and extending the lead into double-digits. Some terrible luck for the Irish on a high-percentage play call that looked like a big gainer for Notre Dame, only to have the ball pin-ball its way into the arms of a Tulsa defender and pull the Hurricane within two points.

4. Tragedy for Dayne Crist turns into opportunity for Tommy Rees.

After starting the game slowly, Dayne Crist stepped up from Tulsa’s pressure rush and darted for the Notre Dame sideline, picking up the first down and then tight-roping along the sideline for a 29-yard gain. But Crist was hit high and hard, came down awkwardly on his left knee, and possibly ended his season with what’s been reported as a ruptured patellar tendon.

“It seems every medical report I get, it ends with, Done for the season,” Kelly said after the game. “The first report I got was a bruised knee, and then it was some with his patellar tendon. It’s a severe injury, I can tell you that, just seeing Dayne briefly.”

Heartbreaking news for Crist, who worked his way back quickly from a torn ACL suffered one year to the day last season in mop-up time against Washington State.

With Crist gone, Kelly turned to true freshman Tommy Rees, who was the lone bright spot in the Irish loss to Navy last week. And Rees responded right out of the gate, going 15 of his first 18 with three touchdown passes.

When asked to assess Rees’ play, Kelly was emphatic.

“Awesome. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t be more happy for the kid,” Kelly said. “True freshman goes out there, hasn’t played. He just competes.”

Still, Rees’ recording setting day with be remembered for his final throw, the back-breaking interception that sealed the game for Tulsa. Kelly walked through his thought process, putting the game in the hands of his freshman quarterback with the Irish in field goal range.

“Why not try to get Michael Floyd one-on-one against a 5-9 corner? We called a timeout and said, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do. Second down, take a shot here. If we don’t like it, let’s throw the thing away.’ Tommy wanted to do all those things. Tommy is a gamer. He knows the deal. He’s the quarterback.”

Pressed on his thought process, Kelly defending the decision to try and throw for the win instead of relying on kicker David Ruffer to make a field goal in a tricky wind.

“This is how we play. We’re going to play aggressive,” Kelly said. “We’re going to play smart… I would make the call again and I would hope that the process of learning would have a different outcome.”

Rees finished the afternoon 33 for 54 with four touchdowns and three interceptions, cementing his role as the starting quarterback against Utah after the off-week and putting the 2011 quarterback position into murky water, something nobody thought would happen entering the season.

5. Football isn’t always fair.

There’s no way to put today’s loss in true context after what the Notre Dame community suffered through this week. While the loss of Declan Sullivan puts the football game in perspective, walking off the field after losing a game like this rings about as hollow as it possibly can for an Irish team that had so much on their plates this week.

“As a football coach, there’s been more difficult weeks relative to the game itself,” Kelly said. “But in terms of the tragedy that occurred, there’s never been a more difficult time in my life.”

On the football field, life won’t get any easier for the Irish. Brian Kelly revealed that the Irish will likely be without leading running back Armando Allen for the rest of the season.

“It’s not a good situation. He may have played his last down here at Notre Dame because of the injury,” Kelly said about Allen’s injured hip. “He wanted to dress and run through the tunnel in case it was his last time playing at Notre Dame.”

The loss of Allen just adds to the nightmare scenario for Kelly’s offense, and is a terrible way for the team’s most consistent offensive player to end his career. Allen walked onto campus tantalizing Irish fans with breakaway speed, but an ankle injury suffered during his senior year of high school seemed to limit Allen’s ability to break the explosive plays many thought he’d bring to South Bend.

Instead, Allen turned into a renaissance man, an all-around performer that ran for the tough yards between tackles as well as possessing receiving skills while excelling in the return game. When asked to transition to the spread running attack, Allen responded with an 514 yards rushing, just shy of five-yards a carry, and great all-around play. Though his career was marred with various injury setbacks during his junior and senior seasons, Allen will go down as one of the top total-yardage player in Notre Dame history.

  1. jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 30, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    5 Things I Learned:

    1) Michigan State trying to plant a flag on your field is nothing compared to the bad sportsmanship displayed by Tulsa’s band in trying to play your fight song louder than the ND Alma Mater. That was truly classless.

    2) This team has more injured skill position players than any in recent memory. Is there no fluoride in the water there or what?

    3) Kelly made the wrong decision……..AGAIN. When is he going to start trusting Ruffer to put points on the board?

    4) The impact of losing Crist was softened by Rees’ play (except for the final pick).

    5) Notre Dame is like any other secular, money-grubbing corporation/institution that goes into ‘limit our liability’ mode when it has truly screwed the pooch.

  2. mbadomer - Oct 30, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    “Rees finished the afternoon 33 for 54 with four touchdowns and three interceptions, cementing his role as the starting quarterback against Utah after the off-week and putting the 2011 quarterback position into murky water, something nobody thought would happen entering the season.”

    I hate that the young Crist has suffered another injury. Having said that, you don’t deserve to be the beat writer for the Irish if you believe that the QB position was not “murky” when this season began. Crist has never been good and was starting another bad day when he got hurt today. Rees stepping up is the best thing this season out of the offense. He’s young, but Rees is a hell of a lot better than Crist is.

  3. ndfootballfan - Oct 31, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    was at the game today and would like to add my two cents:

    1)we had too many missed opportunities on defense. I counted at least three balls that our d should have picked off.
    2)we lack a playmaker in our return game. Jackson is not bad, had a couple good returns today, but typically you can’t trust him to bring it out past the 20. And Goodman has no business being the punt returner. There were people in our section today seriously applauding him for making a fair catch. Are you serious? that’s his JOB. Tulsa has their fastest, most athletic player as their returner. And look what he did. I know that he doesn’t return a punt for a touchdown every game, but it’s just another factor for the opposing team to worry about. I highly doubt any team we play is worried about Goodman breaking one on them.
    3)my personal opinion, the crowd was asleep for most of the game up until about 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter when people began to realize we could possibly lose. It’s almost as if we just expected to win because it was Tulsa. There were points in the game where the crowd was so quiet I could hear Kelly yelling on the sideline. (My seats were in the 43rd row of the north endzone). Also, there couldn’t have been more than 2,000 Tulsa fans at the game, yet there were points in the game where i could hear them clear across the field over all of our fans.

    Lastly, I also found it classless what the Tulsa band did, but I guess if Notre Dame had taken care of business and won the game, Tulsa’s band wouldn’t have had reason to be playing their fight song after the game.

    Again, just my .02, if anyone else was in attendance, I would like to know what you thought about the crowd…wasn’t sure if it was my imagination or what…

    • hashfest - Oct 31, 2010 at 12:36 PM

      Why shouldn’t the Tulsa band play their fught song?

      The ND band doesn’t play theirs on the road?

      • ndfootballfan - Oct 31, 2010 at 7:37 PM

        the comment was made that tulsa was disrespectful in playing their fight song while notre dame played the alma mater in the student section after the game…

  4. fightinmad35 - Oct 31, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    tough loss. questionable call at the end.. no, terrible call at the end.. you run the ball until they stop you and use your flawless field goal kicker to win the game.. unbelievable… bright side is Tommy Rees looks like a player. He looks much better than Dayne looked all year. Maybe when Theo comes back and the coach realizes he’s costing his players games will the Irish win again…

  5. ndgoldandblue - Oct 31, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    I think that is it incredibly premature to call for Brian Kelly’s dismissal. The guy is a proven winner. He has done it at every stop, and we need to give him time to prove it here. But, I will say that he has made some incredibly questionable calls at the head coach of Notre Dame football. The heave into the end zone at the end of the game was probably the worst call he has made all year. I have two theories about why the Irish have been so bad, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory so many times. 1) This team is really cursed. What else would explain all these heartbreaking losses? 2) This is the more logical conclusion. The Irish are lacking in speed/strength and intelligence. Whenever the Irish display the physical ability to compete, they do dumb stuff like throw pick sixes to defensive linemen, give up first downs on 3rd and 26, or throw interceptions at the end of the game when a field goal will do. However, they have displayed a football intelligence at times. But, when that is the case, they still get beat because they are too slow or they get pushed around because they lack strength. Either way, combining a lack of intelligence with a lack of ability is a disaster for a football team, and it rarely yields success. I will remain loyal to the Irish for as long as I live. Every week, I have hope that they will get the victory. And, I believe that some day they will become great again, possibly great enough to win another national championship. I just hope that I am still around when that happens. I really don’t want to sound insensitive to Declan Sullivan. But, the tragedy that befell him is proof that there are no certainties in life. We are here today, but we could be gone tomorrow. My point is, I hear a lot of people snap on these blogs when true ND fans complain about the poor play. Well, when can we start complaining? I try to put a positive spin on everything, and I am a young man, so I should be around for a while. But, when can we as Irish faithful start demanding better results? I may be young, but, as was the case with young Mr. Sullivan, tragedies often happen to young men. I just want to be around when the Irish turn things around, but I hope it happens soon.

  6. tlndma - Oct 31, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    The play call at the end was horrendous. This is not a second guess, check the blog if you care to see my thought at the time. Rees had already had 2 piks and had almost thrown a couple others on poor decisions. A couple of runs would have made it about a 30yd FG, if we had picked up say 5yds. Now if Ruffer missed, well that’s football. Kelly’s reasoning is flawed. His comments about single coverage are wrong, according to the Tulsa coach. A”learning process”, how about sending the kid to class before giving him an exam.
    With the Tulsa AD being a ND alum, my guess is you’ll see an apology from Tulsa for their bands actions after the game. My guess is it was ignorance of ND tradition and not rudeness on their part.
    I still believe Kelly will get the job done. I do not have the same faith in that statement as I did 2 months ago. Unconventional would be a compliment to some of Kelly’s decision making thus far.

  7. fightinmad35 - Oct 31, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Someone needs to remind BK that the point is to win the game. No matter how it happens. Whether throwing a touchdown to your All American receiver or letting your potential All American kicker chip it in. A win is a freaking win. BK’s postgame comments irritated the heck out of me. “This is the way we’re going to play. Get used to it.” He means insanely ridiculously bad play calls time and time again, even with the game on the line??. Run the ball, let the clock run down , kick the short field goal and get out of there with a win, your freshman quarterback on top of the world going into a bye week, and the entire ND family feeling great after a tragic week. I know every other ND fan was like me on the edge of my seat saying “just don’t fumble, just don’t turn it over”…and what happens??? it’s nauseating… Floyd no doubt is gone to the NFL after not making a bowl game this year. Crist loses this season and his job forever to a freshman (Rees or Hendrix). Looking ahead to next season I feel much better about the qb position. Rees looks pretty good in the pocket, even better out of it. He’s much more accurate throwing on the run than Dayne was. Cierre is blossoming into a very good player. TJ and Theo and Toma solidify the receiving corps with some pretty special teams players looking to crack the rotation (Jackson and Smith) with some incoming freshman looking to TJ their way into the lineup. I don’t know what to expect on defense. We need a severe infusion of speed and athleticism.

    • ndgoldandblue - Oct 31, 2010 at 10:40 AM

      I agree with what you say about these young guys. Most of Weis’ upperclassmen have underachieved big time. The young guys haven’t played with Weis long enough to develop the bad habits that the older players have. Just look at Rees today. Granted, he threw three picks, but his pocket presence, ability to pass on the run, and touch on the football were heads and shoulders above that of Dayne Crist, and Crist has been in the system for three years now. People talk about how he is a first-time starter, which is true, but he isn’t a first-time player. He’s been in the college system, and he knows the speed of the game. Rees is a true freshman, and he looks light years ahead of Crist. Now, I don’t really know about Andrew Hendrix. I hear a lot of people talk about just how great he is. If this is true…if he can outperform Rees, then I think we will have a fantastic quarterback in Hendrix. The point that I’m making is that the young Weis recruits who either never played an official down under Weis or only played limited time are thriving right now. The other players that are thriving are true freshmen that Kelly brought in. These are his RKG’s. So, let’s just give him more time to bring in these guys and develop them the way he wants to. Most of the in-coming recruits are on the defensive side of the ball. I am also excited about a quick, solid receiving corps that is adding big-time blue chippers in Davaris Daniels and George Atkinson III for next year. Atkinson is listed as an athlete, so he could be a multi-purpose guy like Golden Tate. Under Kelly’s player-development mantra, these guys could be just as good if not better than Floyd and Tate. As for the upperclassmen, sometimes you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, like how to win.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM

        Amen to all of the above from fightimad35 and ndgoldandblue. I see a lot of the Charlie Weis gambler attitude in Kelly when he should just stick to fundamental football and win games. Would’ve been a likely win yesterday, even with the wind it was a chip shot for Ruffer. It amazes me that with so much time as a HC and a great resume, he comes out on game day and plays like he’s not even thinking about his options. His comments do bother me also like when the FG before the half vs. Michigan didn’t even enter into his mind. Excuse me, but I think they are paying you to think. Then, to not adjust against Navy and now this loss due to an extremely bad play call. I just don’t get it. He did admit that it was his decision to conduct practice outside on the day of Sullivan’s accident. Wait until Fr. Jenkins sees how much that little mental blunder will cost the university.

      • kidmarc - Oct 31, 2010 at 12:33 PM

        “Most of Weis’ upperclassmen have underachieved big time.”

        That would be 51%. The 49% have achieved. :-)

        The older players don’t have bad habits given or learned from Weis. Quit blaming Weis for BK’s mistakes.

        Crist and Rees have 2 different packages. When Rees was given the same package as Crist, Rees’ was out of there quickly. [Michigan game]

        Kelly brought in the only thriving freshmen? The 2010 class was already recruited by Weis. Kelly had little impact on the class. Kelly’s class is 2011.


  8. oldnd1fan - Oct 31, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    I’ve sat in this stadium too many times & seen this type of game against top ten teams, but with a different outcome. Coaching, & accountability. I have to agree with jerseyshore. Also no defense, no discipline.

  9. notredamegrad - Oct 31, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Before we get TOO excited about Rees, who really did do an excellent job yesterday when poor Dayne Crist went down (no thanks to his offensive line on the first two possessions), let’s remember that Rees looked good passing against the WORST pass defense in the Division I football (Tulsa is ranked 120th).

    While I’m excited about our freshman quarterback’s future, yesterday isn’t a performance I want to bet the farm on. I love watching Dayne Crist play – he seems like a respected, maturing leader among his offense, and I’m confident that he’s developing consistency and a good report with Kelly – and hope that he can come back next year to the starting QB position. Rees and Hendrix will get their shots.

  10. 9irish - Oct 31, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    I’m sorry here, folks….ND has lost more games in the past 2 yrs in the last minute than is imaginable (What? 10-12?) Is Charlie Weis still the coach there? You really can’t tell. This reminded me of the game against Michigan last year, when they had the game in the palm of their hand, throw 3 long passes incomplete down the field, giving Michigan the ball back to win with more than a minute left to win it (they did).

    If there had been say, 2 min left in the game or something, or if Tulsa was up by 3 instead of one, I could understand the decision to have a Freshman QB lob the ball into the end zone…neither applied in this case. It was an incredibly dumb decision, and if Kelly won’t admit it, he’s lying.

    ND has a great record in beating ND


  11. jimkress - Oct 31, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    BK should be severely, publically reprimanded by the University for that last pass play call. That was utterly stupid. There’s aggressive and then there’s dumb. Calling for a pass in that situation was dumb, dumber than many of the “4th down go for it” calls by Weis.

    BK is showing that he does not belong as a coach at this level of football. Indeed, if you viewed the truly embarrassing video by Dicao from Oct 26, where he admitted he didn’t know what to do about, or how to adapt to, the alterations in the Navy offense, what you begin to see is a coaching staff that’s too inexperienced and in way over their heads, to compete against well coached, high level programs like Stanford, MSU, Utah, USC and even Tulsa.

    That coupled with the obviously poorly conditioned team members (i.e. I have NEVER see this level of hamstring injuries in any football team) makes you understand that BK is just not up to the challenge.

    The kids are playing their hearts out for a coaching staff that reminds me of a combination of Charlie Chaplin, the Marx brothers, Abbott and Costello, and Jim Carey – i.e. dumb and dumber and dumbest. They deserve better than this.

    I predict our final record for the season will be 5 wins, 7 losses, unless Dicao can’t figure out Army, either. Then it will be 4 and 8.

    This is a tragedy for the team and a travesty for the fans and the University.

    • fightinmad35 - Oct 31, 2010 at 2:19 PM

      5-7 is exactly what SHOULD happen.. Army has a chance against a Diaco coached defense. That option offense mystifies him, as he openly admitted. Did you see yesterday how Navy lost to Duke… Duke.. Navy thrashes ND one week then loses to Duke the next. That should be affirmation on how far ND football has fallen. BK has his work cut out for him. I have given up on all expectations for the team this year. It’s been an injury riddled overcoached debacle. BK would be smart to put those young guys that he knows will be back next year and let them get some competitive minutes. The ND fan base won’t be so tolerant next year. I also keep in my prayers that some of these highly regarded verbally committed recruits don’t change their minds to come infuse this team with some size, speed and HEART.

    • c4evr - Oct 31, 2010 at 4:58 PM

      Funny that BK should be “severely, publicly reprimanded” for calling the pass play and not for allowing a 20 yr. old to stay 50 feet in the air on a scissor lift LONG ENOUGH TO TWEET REPEATEDLY HOW SCARED HE WAS before he fell to his death.

  12. vegasirish - Oct 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    The biggest mistake Brian Kelly made yesterday was that pass call at the end. If his stated goal is to get to a bowl game, then he must make every effort to win football games by any means possible. Also, the Irish lost valued defensive commitment Aaron Lynch today, which can be directly related to this loss against Tulsa.

    I have soured quickly on Brian Kelly, mostly because of the fact that 20 years of winning experience does not justify the atrocious decisions he has made at Notre Dame.

  13. brendanunderscoreg - Oct 31, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    and we just lost aaron lynch for next year. the hits keep on coming.

    • fightinmad35 - Oct 31, 2010 at 2:56 PM

      my prayers have gone unanswered.. though I’m never surprised when the Florida and California kids change their minds.

  14. 9irish - Oct 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    I think the underlying theme here is just frustration…they HAVE the talent. they have lost so many games over the past few years that were well within their reach it is just ridiculous… give coaches some time to do their thing (Lou Holtz) but when you see them making just absolutely insane calls that make you spit beer out of your mouth, we have a problem

    • 9irish - Oct 31, 2010 at 2:38 PM

      that defense on the 3rd and 26 almost left me bald from pulling out my hair, too. Looked like they were trying to prevent a touchdown, not 26 yards…should’ve given up 10 yds, with pressure, and got the punt. I was very puzzled

  15. c4evr - Oct 31, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    BK’s coaching calls from the beginning – Montana throwing instead of kicking v UM, going for it on 4th down against MSU, and throwing the last pass yesterday – have bordered on criminal. But let’s face it, there more of a misdemeanor than a felony – it’s Tulsa after all. Is there any wonder the recruiting class is dropping like flies. These are smart kids and they are watching the same game we are. There’s no sugarcoating it – it’s TULSA. The tradition and lore can only get you so far with high school athletes, you have to win, or at least be moving in that direction. And I thought CW’s decision to let Stanford score last year was the low point in Irish history and pride. But BK has brought a new ‘floor’ to Irish disappointment. By the end of this season, Holtz will be a full on deity. SInce Holtz’s departure, ND has had a slow and steady slide toward football irrelevance finally cemented the day after a loss to the mighty Golden Hurricanes. Funny, they used to be known as the Golden Tornadoes, but after conquering the Fighting Irish at home, they’ve earned their hurricane status. Perhaps Oct. 30th, 2010 will be the day that Tulsa University looks back on as the start of their football rich tradition. Hate to say it, but tradition and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds. All good things must come to an end and it’s been a good run, and that’s no trivial thing – just ask another South Bend resident, Studebaker.

  16. 9irish - Oct 31, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    I’ll tell you my feelings about the Declan Sullivan accident…First, terrible and tragic and just sad. I think that it is one of those “out of sight out of mind” things that comes back to haunt you. I really don’t think that BK spends alot of time monitoring the field camera photographers…other responsibilities…someone else’s job. I will say, not to sound insensitive, that if I were in that place, under those conditions, I wouldn’t be tweeting people about it, I would be going down and saying “Hey you, guy in charge, this is crazy to be up there!” this isn’t the Marine Corps, for God’s sake, he wasn’t monitoring a wall or something….don’t know why he didn’t look out for himself in the absence of guidance.

    lot’s of blame to be shared and very sad

  17. bryanwtx - Oct 31, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    I’m not calling for BK’s head. You can’t fire a guy after 1 year. I will say though, it is getting harder and harder for me to defend him these days. If this was year 3 or 4, he would be in a realtor’s office on Monday morning. I can’t imagine any situation in which it is okay to trust your freshman quarterback over a kicker that has never missed when all you need is a field goal to win. Even if we would have scored a TD on that play, I would be scratching my head. Let’s hope he can settle down going forward.

    • 9irish - Oct 31, 2010 at 5:36 PM

      I couldn’t have said it better myself….I will say that I didn’t like his comments about this “wild” and “cowboy” approach (or however he put it)…they have lost so many games under 2 coaches from so many just “not likely to work” calls…they beat themselves all the time

  18. ejsjr - Oct 31, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    After the Tulsa game, I’m about ready for Notre Dame to give up football. Not really, but it’s getting close. I don’t understand how you have an inexperienced, unprepared freshman QB throw the ball 54 times to begin with. If ND couldn’t run the ball against a team like Tulsa then we deserved to lose. The offensive line play was pretty lousy. On that last play, the right defensive corner back blitzed, leaving whoever the ND guy split out to the left was wide open. I couldn’t see his number. If Tommy Rees had recognized that he could have thrown it to him immediately (assumng the guy was looking) and the guy would have run unopposed at least to the 10 yard line. The winning field goal would then have been a chip shot. Isn’t that what’s called the “hot” receiver? What I think they should have done on that last play was line up with Rees under center and then run a short play action pass. I’m positive that as jacked up as Tulsa’s defense was they would have sold out to stop the run on that play and the completion would have been easy. Even if it was incomplete, the clock stopped and no harm done. Throwing the ball long into the end zone to a double-covered receiver was just reckless and foolhardy. I blame the coaching staff, not Tommy Rees. Rees actually played well and with 2 weeks to prepare should play a good game against Utah.

  19. willmose - Oct 31, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    The game was decided by the blocked extra point.

  20. ndgoldandblue - Oct 31, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I have been defending Kelly because he is a player-development guy and it looks like he can recruit. But, losing Aaron Lynch has caused my confidence in the guy to fall quite a bit. That’s three recruits in the last month that have de-committed. The guy needs to bring in talent in order to improve, and it looks like he’s losing it left and right. And with the 2011-2012 schedules, I don’t see this team doing any better than 5-7 for the next three years if they can’t bring in talented recruits. At first, this class looked unbelievable. The value is decreasing by the day. Slow, weak, and poor-tackling defensive recruits won’t cut it anymore. This coaching staff needs to realize that if they get a blue-chipper, they have to do everything they can to keep him.

  21. vegasmike74 - Oct 31, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    The number one thing we learned from the Tulsa game is that the Notre Dame coaching staff is not ready for prime time. Consider the following:

    After having witnessed BK’s two previous humiliating, public vilifications of Nate Montana and Dane Crist for overthrowing receivers in the end zone at end of a half, does anyone actually believe that a FRESHMAN is going to chance committing the same offense at the end of ANY half in ANY game AGAIN?

    Is the precious hurry up offense so inflexible that we can’t use one of our remaining timeouts to help spell it out one more time for the inexperienced freshman?

    Can you imagine players throwing the now infamous BK “What were you thinking?” taunt back in his face (behind his back of course) further undermining his credibility with the team?

    After 18 consecutive field goals, didn’t Ruffer earn his chance to win the game? What must he be thinking now?

    Will this easily avoidable loss spell the end of Notre Dame’s bowl hopes? Recruiting hopes?

    If the erosion of faith in the head coach by students and alumni (the core of team support) continues to accelerate, how long will it take the program to recover?

    Is it at least possible that after going from hero to goat in one play and suffering a huge blow to his psyche, Tommy Reese elects to transfer before his sophomore year and Michael Floyd leaves before his final year?

    I’m still in shock – did we really just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – against Tulsa!?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but do the above outlined manifestations, ramifications and implications surely rank this play call as the worst in Notre Dame living memory? Coach Kelly needs to put his enormous ego in check and let the Fighting Irish win, not just fight.

  22. papadec - Oct 31, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    I agree with your comments. Right or wrong – Coach Kelly comes across to me as a stubborn, spoiled brat screaming “We’ll do it my way! We’ll do it my way! We’ll win again – but only MY WAY”. There is no way in hell I’d let any of my children play for him. Looks like the families of three recruits agree with me, so far. Looks like we got the wrong coach Kelly. The coach Kelly @ Oregon seems to be able to recruit talent in a conference with usc & Stanford. Is Eugene, OR that more attractive to recruits than South Bend, IN?

  23. jerseyshorendfan1 - Nov 1, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    Lynch is gone and I hope Tuitt doesn’t follow. I had heard that Lynch had helped to recruit Tuitt. That would be 2 DE’s that this team really needs to put pressure on opposing QB’s so they can’t convert on a 3rd and 26. I think the recruits were collectively scratching their heads (as we all were) after the blowout loss to Navy. Then the next week we lose to Tulsa while Navy drops one to, wait for it………………….. DUKE. If Navy can butt rape us like that, Utah is going to be a bloodbath with more recruiting defections to follow. Kelly was the shizz in the MAC and Big East. Wait until he’s playing Oklahoma and Miami and USC and Mich State and Stanford and Navy and …….oh God, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

    • 1notredamefan - Nov 1, 2010 at 2:45 AM

      Hello….hellllloooo is there anybody there? This whole deal with lynch was started at the end of Sept. so for you to correlate the two is utter ignorance! Bad timing for those who DON’T KNOW whats really going on!!

  24. tc68 - Nov 1, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    There have been a lot comments about the way BK chose to end the game. How about his choice about ending the first half. Why not practice the running game and eat up the clock. We really had no chance to score in the last minute of the half, and had a two score lead. The pick gave Tulsa another 6 points, more than the final margin of victory. And it undoubtedly gave them a huge boost in morale, that they could hang in there with Notre Dame.

    What else did we learn? The coach we should have hired last year was in the house. Todd Graham turned the Rice football program around in a single season and had three pretty good years at Tulsa.

  25. irishfan2791 - Nov 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    I’m sorry but I completely agreed with the call that was made. You have Mike Floyd 1 on 1 with a C-USA corner who is giving him at least 6 inches. The ball was grossly underthrown, it should have been put 6 feet above that back corner flag, but it wasn’t. Now that one is on Tommy but, from what I saw from him was great in the situation he was put in. Would I rather have the 6-3 Dayne Crist who has the arm and the legs? Of course but unfortunately his knee gave out again on Halloween. Gosh if this team had any sort of consisent health this would be so much easier to put in a system that is extremely complicated and needs to be run at a much faster pace for it to be effective. And, I’d also like to see coach get the ball into the hands of Cierre Wood a little more often. On the other hand I think we should have some major depth at the wide receiver positions with all these injuries, I liked what I saw out of Robby Toma if we could get him and Theo Riddick on the feild at the same time it would be hard to stop because they both have some make-ya-miss in them. It’s hard to watch on Saturdays because when our defense takes the field we get no pressure and we have no depth on the defensive side of the ball (thanks Charlie). I honestly believe Notre Dame will be in the top 25 by the end of next year and in teh top 10 the year after. We have a lot of young playmakers with game experiencce and over the next two years when this offense is fully installed and run the way it is supposed to be it is going to be scary. Remember the last coach who had a sub-par first year? o yeah Lou Holtz the last ND coach to win a National Title. fear not my fellow Irish fans I think we’re going to just fine.

    • c4evr - Nov 1, 2010 at 12:13 PM

      Hey bud, can I have some of that Kool-Aid you are drinking.

      • vegasmike74 - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:41 PM

        Coaching 101 – wait, forget that – in utero Coaching 101 (headphones over the abdomen, etc) says that you NEVER put a freshman in a position to lose a game – EVER! We have a coach whose ego will not let him admit his error. THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS for the team and the program because an egotist who will not admit his mistakes cannot learn from them and will continually repeat them.

      • irishfan2791 - Nov 1, 2010 at 7:42 PM

        Hahahaha of course by all means pull up a chair I’ll pour you a glass my friend. But, when Tommy Reese throws that ball where its supposed to be and we win the game, stick to yours guns on why we should have kicked a feild goal on second down rather than take the shot. But, hey I’m just drinkin the Kool-Aid.

      • c4evr - Nov 2, 2010 at 3:21 AM

        Well, there’s Kool Aid, and then there’s THE Kool Aid that many Irish fans are looking at to put them out of their misery. BK’s coaching calls from the beginning – Montana throwing instead of kicking v UM, going for it on 4th down against MSU, and throwing the last pass yesterday – have bordered on criminal. And there have been other bonehead coaching decisions that somehow are forgotten when the team wins a game. Is there any wonder the recruiting class is dropping like flies. These are smart kids and they are watching the same game we are. There’s no sugarcoating it – it’s TULSA. It should never have come down to “Do we throw, or do we kick?”. The tradition and lore can only get you so far with high school athletes, you have to win, or at least be moving in that direction. Let’s just hope Kelly’s RKG’s are hidden amongst the 2 and 3 star players that still get starry eyed at the ND tradition. And I thought CW’s decision to let Stanford score last year was the low point in Irish history and pride. But BK has brought a new ‘floor’ to Irish disappointment. By the end of this season, Holtz will be a full on deity. SInce Holtz’s departure, ND has had a slow and steady slide toward football irrelevance that recently seems to have ground to an unceremonious halt. Although… we still have Army to push us further down the slope into college football obscurity. As for giving Kelly another year or 2 at the helm, just keep in mind that, although his team finished 5-6 in his first year after inheriting a similar team from the now not-so-horrible-by-comparison Gerry Faust, Holtz lost to 4 top 10 teams (excluding Alabama, they lost by a TOTAL OF 7 POINTS to those ranked opponents). They finished the year beating #17 USC. And I’m pretty sure that in similar positions, Lou ran the ball north/south until he found a way to control the line of scrimmage – thereby sidestepping the curse on one dimensionality. If Kelly continues, and arrogantly I might add, down this same “get used to it” path, he’s likely to inspire his very own version of the Tea Party in the hopes of somehow holding this ‘proven winner/program turner arounder’ accountable while simultaneously catapulting Holtz to sainthood.

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