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After big Purdue win, focus shifts to Air Force

Oct 3, 2011, 12:23 PM EDT

Brian Kelly Purdue

The Notre Dame victory over Purdue was an important one. For the Irish to play the kind of football they know they can, they need to have games like last Saturday’s, where the superior team enacts its will onto their opponent. The Irish did that, and they took a big step forward, pushing them to 3-2 and putting the offense back on track.

For a tremendous inside look at Saturday’s game, the guys at have you covered with their Irish Connection episode. It’s the kind of behind-the-scenes stuff you can’t get anywhere else, and really gives you a look at the mindset of Brian Kelly’s team.

(If you’re wondering whether or not this team respects and listens to Brian Kelly, just listen to the halftime speech about personal foul penalties. Kelly said in his postgame comments that he addressed the situation. We see him do it here… quite impressively.)

Still, if you’re wondering how important this Saturday’s game against Air Force is, just listen to the postgame talk Kelly delivers to his troops.

“We laid down on Monday what you needed to be focused on. We said you had to match their intensity. That had really three weeks off to prepare for you, and you matched their intensity. We did the right things during the week, we prepared the right way. We made sure that practices were short so you would have your legs and we could execute and win this football game. All of that happened and that’s the way it works each and every week with winning programs. They continue to do that. You out physical-ed them, you out hit them, you played smarter, and you won the football game on the road against a Big Ten team.

“So congratulations and enjoy it, but let’s understand this. We have not arrived yet. We have not arrived. You know that and I know that. And we need to beat Air Force. Because we then go on a bye week. We’ve got one week that we have to commit ourselves to playing our very best. One week, and that means our focus is on Air Force. Enjoy this win, you earned it. But everything now points towards that home game against Air Force and playing our absolute best.”

The Irish saw first hand a few weeks ago what Denard Robinson can do to a defense under pressure. Now they’ll prepare for Air Force’s Tim Jefferson, a guy who couldn’t have played better last weekend in the Falcons’ overtime victory against Navy. Jefferson completed 9 of 10 passes, including one for a 52-yard touchdown pass and also ran for two touchdowns in the hotly contested victory.

It’s clear Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun respects the Irish, he’s got Notre Dame as the 19th best program on his coaches poll ballot this week. It’s also clear Kelly and the coaching staff know what Air Force can do — and this Saturday marks another proving ground for Bob Diaco and his defensive staff’s gameplan against the option.

For those expecting just another service academy match-up, get out of your time machine and get ready for a big football game. We’ve got a lot to cover this week before a really important Saturday on the Irish schedule.


  1. nddomer2 - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    The man’s name is Gary Gray. Show some respect and dignity.

  2. dickasman - Oct 3, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Gawy Gway you thay?

  3. gtizzo - Oct 3, 2011 at 1:44 PM


    I would have agreed with you before the season started about Air Force being a problem. The Navy game changed my mind entirely, Air Force gave up 18 points in the last 9:35 of the 4th quarter to Navy. Navy isn’t exactly a quick strike attack. Navy’s poor red zone play (sound familiar) really killed them and cost them the win. Big games from Wood and Jonas Gray and a balanced attack should lead the way to a big Irish win. The defense has been solid (outside of 4th quarter at Michigan) so I don’t see much worry there. Michael Floyd should be open much like he was at Purdue…matter of fact if the Irish play exactly the way they did against Purdue they will BIG,

    • 808raiderinparadise - Oct 4, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      you obviously haven’t watched enough ND football over the past few years if you are knocking NAVY and then saying we can win big against AIR FORCE? Navy has had ND’s number and we have never been able to stop the option. Ait Force will battle hard and tough. This will the biggest spotlight and game for many of those kids lives on Air Force, I guess some of you don’t remember losing at home to” NAVY, TULSA, UCONN, SYRACUSE, USF, in recent years?

      • terryb101 - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        i agree, we have had big time problems with teams that run run run,, we know they are going to run ,but yet cant seem to stop them, poor tackling has been a big part of it, and just not being in position to make a play..hopefully we will play as good as we have been, and if so we shouldnt have too much trouble with them..

  4. brendanunderscoreg - Oct 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    I think it’s great that ND gives the academies some exposure especially during wartime. But, can we drop them from the schedule already? It’s a no-win situation for us, and we always seem to leave the game with several injuries from chop blocks.

    • go1irish - Oct 3, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      Learn your Notre Dame history. The Naval Academy will appear on the schedule for as long as the Naval Academy wants to.

      During WWII when men were in short supply, the only college ranks that swelled beyond capacity were at the then 2 service academies. The Naval Academy sent out a request for space and teaching facilities to several colleges and universities.

      Notre Dame responded with open arms with but one condition, the men in South Bend don Notre Dame football uniforms and play for the Irish maintaining the Irish football tradition.

      To this day the Naval Academy wears a uniform that looks remarkable like the Irish version.

      As a measure of thanks Notre Dame will honor that debt for as long as the Naval Academy wants to play.

      West Point and Air Force will come and go again as a respect for tradition.

      I much prefer the Irish taking tradition and honor to play the Service Academies then taking the easy route that all others, with the exception of USC and UCLA, and play FCS schools.

      • brendanunderscoreg - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:24 PM

        I know the same history that you know. I also know ND extended the Navy series for another 15 or so years. So, my comment was more of a sigh than something that might actually occur. I’m a SM (Army) and appreciate the exposure that the ND game provides. But, as a ND football fan I see no benefit for ND playing the academies.

        Quick question: Why would we only be able to play a FCS school if we drop any of the academies from future schedules?

      • nudeman - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:22 PM

        I have no problem with Navy on the schedule for the honorable reason mentioned here, AND Navy has proven itself a fairly worthy opponent in the last few years.

        They’re hardly the layup for ND that they once were.

      • brendanunderscoreg - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:52 PM


        They aren’t a cupcake anymore. I totally agree with you there.

  5. rambler09 - Oct 3, 2011 at 3:46 PM


    Is there any way to ban this troll? If so, please do so ASAP. Nice article, by the way.

    • dickasman - Oct 3, 2011 at 3:50 PM

      Rambler, is there anyway you can “unplant” yourself firmly from Keith’s sphincter, pronto? You’re not the only one with a opinion. What do you call yourself? You’re not a troll? It takes one to know one. Only opinion that matters is that of yours, correct? What a commie.

      • rambler09 - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        If I thought you contributed an iota of intelligence or insight to this conversation I would say you should definitely be kept around. Feel free to disagree with me. I studied philosophy and I love a good argument. In fact, I would love to rip you apart in a debate… but you aren’t interested in debates or opinions. To call you a troll is far too kind. You deserve much worse. Enjoy your ban, clown.

        • dickasman - Oct 3, 2011 at 5:43 PM

          You just soooo “OooOoOOOOZZZzzZZZz” of intelligence, let me tell ya buddy. You are what you claim myself to be just as much as whatever it is that I am on this board today according to your A$$hatness. You are no better than I or anybody else on this board. You could’ve just as well studied acute sphincterness for all I care. Call me whatever you want buddy, I don’t really care? Oh you called me a troll and a clown…WAAAAHHHHHHH! Let me go home and listen to Eric Clapton’s tears in heaven to make myself feel better. Please, don’t hurt my internet “e” feelings…pleaseeee don’t….I don’t care what you studied scumbag. If anything, I’ve outsmarted your stuffy ol a$$ on this board. Debate? I’ll bury your @ss in the ground so deep that your great great great great great grandparents will be rolling in the graves.

          Ciao and XOXO homeboy~!

          • rambler09 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:49 PM

            I’ve been told that responding to idiots allows them to win. Well, you’re clearly an idiot… and I’m going to respond… so I guess you win.

            First, I recommend that you check out this blog:

            Second, using $$ every time you write the word ass does not make you cool- contrary to popular belief among middle schoolers.

            Third, I would love to hear your opinions and have a good debate- they would be much more pleasant than these personal attacks. You’re all talk. Scum bag? Stuffy? Who are you kidding?

            Of course, you will only continue to post personal attacks and will never write anything of substance. You’ve made it clear that you have no interest in contributing to any sort of discussion.

          • jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 3, 2011 at 10:51 PM

            That’s funny rambler……i especially liked the “sea lice” sign on that site.

            With regard to the service academies, I go to every ND-Navy or ND-Army contest held on my side of the country and their fans are the best. They know the game, they zealously support their team, they like to party (often with the opposing team’s fans and they buy the beers) and they are helpful and polite. They treat guests the way you would expect to be treated in someone’s home, not to mention that some of their boys do make the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us in times of war. I say keep ’em on the schedule for good.

          • nudeman - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:23 PM


            Tick, tick, tick …

            I’m scheduling your Last Rites as we speak. .

          • bernhtp - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:27 PM

            Re: “Tick, tick, tick …”

            That’s the last season of Dexter. You need to move on.

  6. Keith Arnold - Oct 3, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    @dickasman —

    I’m willing to put up with differing opinions. I’m not okay with homophobic and ignorant comments. Not to play internet tough guy here, but consider this your only warning before your IP address and comments are banned here.

    Not sure why you thought any of your comments on this article were even close to appropriate.

    • Jennifer - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:15 AM

      Thanks, Keith. Well said. (p.s. ~ This guy makes Robert G. look like Bambi.)

    • nudeman - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      I didn’t see the offending post, but have seen enough of his “work” that I can imagine.
      If you’re taking a vote on dickasman, I suggest the following options:
      A) One more strike
      B) Out of strikes/Bye Bye

      Put me down for “B”

  7. domer77blowsgoats - Oct 3, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Anyone care for 8-1 as a starter?

    • joeschu - Oct 4, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      You’re joking, right? Please tell me you’re joking.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:25 AM

        So you would rather have 7-2?

    • dbldmr - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      Happy about the record. In dread that we’ll start last week’s exchanges over again.

  8. rambler09 - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    I’ve been told that responding to idiots allows them to win. Well, you’re clearly an idiot… and I’m going to respond… so I guess you win.

    First, I recommend that you check out this blog:

    Second, using $$ every time you write the word ass does not make you cool- contrary to popular belief among middle schoolers.

    Third, I would love to hear your opinions and have a good debate- they would be much more pleasant than these personal attacks. You’re all talk. Scum bag? Stuffy? Who are you kidding?

    Of course, you will only continue to post personal attacks and will never write anything of substance. You’ve made it clear that you have no interest in contributing to any sort of discussion.

  9. ndgoldandblue - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    There has been a lot of talk amongst those who follow the Irish and even amongst those in the national media that Notre Dame has a really good run defense this year. I have to admit, it has looked fantastic. The Irish have stymied really good running teams all year. They have held each of their opponents to well below their national averages. I must admit, this defense has looked impressive. That being said, I have continued to withhold judgment on this improved defense until I see them take on the academies. For some reason, the academies (with the exception of Army, and even they aren’t too shabby) run a really disciplined offense that centers around the run. Each of these teams employs a version of the triple option, and they seem to run it to a very fast perfection. I went to the Meadowlands last year and saw the Navy game. I don’t think I have ever been so upset about a game in my entire life. Navy took the Irish behind the woodshed and laid a serious beating to the Irish. Heck, they practically beat the Irish with the woodshed. That game has irked me since last year, and I really, really hope that the Irish exact some revenge on Navy and every single triple option team they go up against. I want the Irish to pound both Air Force and Navy. With all due respect to both programs (my dad was in the Navy and my brother is in the Air Force), I hope that the Irish D hurts their running backs. I don’t mean injured. No one wants to see someone get injured. But I want to see the Irish hurt them and make them think twice about running their way (left, right, up the middle, it doesn’t matter). I hope Alexander Teich gets bruises from the Irish defense that don’t go away until the end of the season. I want to see quickness and toughness out of this defense. Here’s the thing, however, that I remember about that Navy game last year. Ricky Dobbs attempted around the same number of passes as Jefferson did last week against the Midshipmen. However, he completed nearly all 10 or 12 of them. Navy beat down the Irish by running the football. The stink of it is that Irish knew that Navy was going to run at them. They knew how Navy was going to come at them, and they still got embarrassingly trounced. And when the Irish stuffed the box, Navy passed it over them. How much of this defense (with the exception of Lynch and Tuitt) is different from last year? They are better, but they haven’t needed to play incredibly smart against the run. Teams like MSU and Purdue employ a really predictable run offense. There is no misdirection. And yes, Pitt, Michigan and USF use an option running game with the quarterback, but it’s easier for a defense to focus on two guys rather than three. The Irish haven’t had to deal with a running fullback all year, and they are going to get that against the academies. Plus, the Irish haven’t had to deal with a lot of misdirection this year. To make a short story long (which I often do, I guess), let’s wait to coronate this Irish defense as great until they get through the next three games. If our favorite team can get through the next three games with wins and look impressive on D getting them, I think they run the table and get to a BCS game (and likely win). If not, it’s just another case of fool’s gold.

    • bernhtp - Oct 4, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      I suggest a new defensive strategy. Upon the snap, have Louis Nix pick up the center and throw him in the QB before the ball gets pitched. That should slow down the option.

      More seriously, our size and strength advantage should be used to push them back and disrupt their offensive system. I want to see their o-line get beat up the same way that Purdue’s Ricardo Allen got smacked around by Floyd. God, was that an ass-kicking or what? I actually started feeling sorry for Allen, especially after the humiliation coup de grace: his whiffed tackle as Cierre leaped over him.

    • nudeman - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:20 PM


      Paragraph function work on your keybd?

      • ndgoldandblue - Oct 5, 2011 at 8:50 AM

        This is a blog, not a composition class. Don’t be a jerk.

      • bernhtp - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:52 AM


        No, it’s not a composition class and we all make typos. With that said, it is a sign of respect to everyone else here that you make your posts as readable and literate as possible, which includes a modicum of good English, grammar and writing style. I expect to see more of that on an ND board.

    • nudeman - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:46 AM


      No one’s being “a jerk”. Relax.
      People post here because they want their comments to be read and debated. I assume that’s the case with you too.
      When you post a solid block of text like that, it decreases its readability. There’s a tendency for readers to skip over something like what you’ve written, not because of content but appearance. Call it a natural “reflex”.

      But no skin off my teeth – continue to write however you want.

      • ndgoldandblue - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:24 AM

        All right, all right. Point taken. I’ll try to remember my paragraphing. My apologies.

        • nudeman - Oct 5, 2011 at 11:26 AM

          No apology needed.
          I’ve been writing in business for decades and just wanted to pass along a thought.
          Sometimes I overstep.

  10. spartan31fan - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    I just read all the comments about the service acadadmies, and air force in particular. Let me clearly state that I am a die hard Irish fan for every game of the season except air force. After 28 years in my beloved af I can say this..”air force clearly belongs on the Irish schedule. They play with more passion and pride than any other school the Irish will play this year or any year. AF is not a push-over team and we will play with all the heart we can. If ND wins it will be because they matched it. And belive me they better match it or dont show up!

  11. irish2011 - Oct 3, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    I agree with keeping the service academies on the schedule…. I just wish they weren’t I seem to always have a headache after those games!!

  12. Jennifer - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    I have ESPECIALLY loved the longstanding class-act-rivalry between ND & the Academies. Whenever I think of the great Notre Dame traditions, these games rank among the best. I’m not sure I’ll phrase this right, but I always have felt that this particular tradition somehow “Elevates” all ND fans. (And, face it, you can’t beat the Flyovers!)

  13. trbowman - Oct 4, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    Some interesting comments……..

  14. ndgoldandblue - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    I just have to say, I generally post on another blog (a very popular ND blog which will remain nameless), and the posters over there are just mean. I like coming back to Keith’s blog for some actual discussion about the Irish. Over on the other blog, instead of discussing issues related to the Notre Dame football team, bloggers insult you and pick apart your writing as if they were all English professors. It makes posting completely unenjoyable. What’s my point? Let’s just keep Keith’s blog classy. Far too many Irish blogs out there are classless. This is the last place that I can go to for intelligent discussion.

  15. smurphdoggy29 - Oct 4, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    I hope the progression of the defense continues. Also I hope they play their assignments properly against Air Force, resist all Ball Fakes, and tackle the man at all opportunities without allowing them to slip by.

    Mental lapses against Air Force or any Service Academy team are deadly and lead to big plays. If the defense follows its keys, plays disciplined, and wrap up on each tackle we’ll be fine.

    Offensively they need to be focused and driven to exploit any advantage at any time to create a score gap the Falcons cannot overcome in their base offense, forcing them into a situation that makes them uncomfortable and will lead to sloppy play the Irish can exploit, hopefully for turnovers.

    The BYE week will be most welcome with a win. The the team can prepare in earnest for USC.

  16. tpdsdomer - Oct 5, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    It’s always an honor for Notre Dame to play the service acadamies and it’s a tradition I hope ND holds on to forever. For those of you who think ND has no business playing Air Force, did you happen to see how the mighty Sooners of Oklahoma did against them last year at Norman? Air Force scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and narrowly lost by just three points!!! ND will have it’s hands full on Saturday going up against a bunch of highly intelligent and driven future leaders of our nation’s military who never quit!

  17. fitz79 - Oct 5, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    I think ND rides the momentum from last week and wins big. As much as the defense was a big part of the collapse against Navy last year, the offense was just as much a part of the problem. Crist couldn’t even sneak the ball in from 1 yard out! Then we went 3 and out time and again. As long as the defense plays disciplined enough to hold AF to just a couple or few touchdowns there’s no reason our offense shouldn’t be able to execute and score 5 or 6 touchdowns in this game. Furthermore I’m not sure the comparison’s between AF and Navy are exactly apt. The main reason Navy lost last week was their QB got a boneheaded celebration penalty and they missed the resulting extra point from far back. It was a tough break for Navy as to be frank, I think Navy’s a better team than AF and playing against Navy makes me more nervous than AF. Especially since we have Navy the week after So Cal, which will hopefully be a big emotional win for us. Still a lot of you are correct that AF can not be simply overlooked as they are very disciplined and methodical in their approach. I really hope ND jumps out to a big lead early and makes AF have to try and throw the ball all day and play catch up. I know the AF QB was 10 of 12 last week but the only way AF is successful throwing the ball is if they can sneak them in masterfully when you’ve been up at the line playing the run play after play.

  18. 1historian - Oct 5, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    dickasman & rambler – thanks for the laughs

    • dickasman - Oct 5, 2011 at 6:41 PM


      Let’s give credit where credit is due….when you say dickasman & rambler, you mean me only, right? I did not see one got dam thing he said that was funny at all and I tore him a new one. Believe me, I would have ripped this guy apart on here but out of respect for Keith and other members begging me to stop, I backed off.

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