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IBG: Anchors…Away!

Oct 27, 2011, 12:52 PM EDT

Michael Floyd 3

(Yes, I know the song is titled Anchors Aweigh.)

A four game winning streak had people feeling pretty good about the Irish. But a loss to now 6-1 USC has people ready to jump overboard, just as Navy and its dangerous triple-option attack come to town. While Irish fans might be walking around with an anvil tied to their leg, the guys on the field don’t have that option, with just five more opportunities to play football this regular season.

The gentlemen over at One Foot Down supplied this week’s questions. There’s plenty more to talk about today, so let’s get right after it:

Coach Kelly refused to fall on the proverbial sword after USC.  He felt that some of the players that needed to play with poise just didn’t.  Do you agree or disagree?  Did coaching play a role in our egg-laying against USC?

I completely, 100 percent agree. Football coaches coach. Football players play. Even if the coaching staff didn’t have its best day — and it certainly didn’t — the guys on the field are to blame for that one.

(Yes, I know this is when people comment, “It’s the coaches JOB to make sure that the players on the field are ready!” Only partially true. The coaching staff lays out the blueprint. The players still need to execute it.)

From play one of that game, the Irish didn’t meet expectations. On offense and on defense. That people are riled up that Kelly said he wouldn’t fall on his proverbial sword and change what he’s done for twenty years during bye week preparation, is pretty ridiculous. (Note: That’s what the question was.)

But even if Kelly did decide to call out his players, I’m absolutely fine with it. Coaches use the media to motivate players all the time. I’m 100 percent for it, and I’m 100 percent against coddling players on a football team that’s still trying to properly develop the right DNA. If that means mentioning that Cierre Wood didn’t play well or the defensive front seven played poorly (No. 5 included), so be it.

In their post-game interviews, Coach Kelly, Jonas Gray, Harrison Smith, and Tyler Eifert all called the atmosphere for USC “electric.”  Coincidence?

No. I called it that, too. It was absolutely electric in there, and on campus all weekend.

(I didn’t realize that people had started to think that there was some kind of PR campaign to use the same word or description. That’s ridiculous. It was really the only word you can use to describe that atmosphere, so if you’re wondering why everybody said the same thing, don’t over think it.)

A quick aside: About 90 minutes before the game, I went down to the first row by the tunnel and just watched the swarm of recruits and people on the sideline for about 20 minutes. To a guy, you could see the look in the eyes of the high school recruits visiting campus. Each and every one of them did their best to try and stay cool, but every once in a while they’d take a second to soak it all in, almost picture themselves out on that field getting ready to go to battle.

Sure, it’s special on campus before every big game. But there was something different about last Saturday night. Even if the Irish spit the bit the first time, I absolutely support an annual night game. (Tee up 2012 vs. Michigan right now.)

Is your faith in this coaching staff shaken after Saturday night’s debacle?

Absolutely not.

It’s as if people are forgetting that the Irish had worked their way all but out of a 17-0 hole and were set to tie the game as the fourth quarter was approaching when Dayne Crist forgot how to take a snap, forgot how to fall on a football, and took the Irish’s chances of winning the game from greater than 50% to about 10% in one catastrophic play.

On no planet is that play on the coaching staff.

Back in the olden days (like 1998), an Irish football coach got at least until the third season to have people start freaking out if they didn’t have a national championship run in them. While guys like Bob Stoops, Jim Tressel, Nick Saban, Les Miles and Urban Meyer had people thinking that year two was the season it’d happen, it was only the impressive work that Kelly did with the defense and in recruiting that had people even thinking that was possible this year.

Are these close losses absolutely frustrating? Yes. But I, for one, think the Irish losing because they made mistakes is far more encouraging that watching them get bludgeoned by USC or Michigan.

Should we be satisfied with a mere win over Navy, or does it have to be somewhat convincing?

Any win against Navy should be satisfying. Do people forget that the Midshipmen have won three of the last four against Notre Dame?

That said, as long as the offense rebounds and the Irish win, people should be satisfied. Navy does not have a good enough defense to stop the Irish offense. Notre Dame should be able to run the ball or throw the ball at will, and as long as they clean up their work in the red zone, they should put up all the points they need to.

If they can force a turnover or two with Navy playing a young quarterback, this game could get into Air Force territory, too. But expect to see Navy move the ball between the 20s.

Will the Irish shut down the vaunted Navy triple option, or are we in for a shootout?

I guess I jumped the gun a little bit on this one, but I don’t think ND will ever completely shut down the option. Yesterday, Bill Wagner talked about the subtle changes Navy will likely make with their offense, and the result might actually help the Irish against the option, though Trey Miller is a much better passing threat than Kris Proctor.

That said, the Irish defensive front is in for their biggest challenge of the year. Notre Dame will be starting three freshman (eligibility wise) across the front with Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix and Aaron Lynch all likely getting the call. Chase Hounshell will be next in line at defensive end. Navy has to be licking their chops at their good luck, with both seniors Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson either out (KLM) or severely limited (EJ’s high ankle sprain won’t go away.)

Take us out with a quotation, clip, or photo to summarize your post-USC/pre-Navy state of fandom.

Man, this is far tougher than I expected. Since I’m in this fight regardless of W or L, I’d just ask anybody that wants to keep commenting or reading to just remember that this is football. It’s a hard sport and Notre Dame doesn’t have the advantages they did 30 years ago. More importantly, this is supposed to be fun. We only get this for like 13 weeks a year and then it’s winter.

Then, I’d like to steer everybody to this video, which I can’t host here. The Irish are in definite need of a montage.

  1. nudeman - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Great article Keith.
    You put things nicely inperspective after a torrid couple days where many of us vented frustration.

    Kelly has really only had 1 full recruiting cycle.
    Yes, there a few nice players like TJ Jones who committed in Weis’ final year, but for the most part, Kelly’s guys are all Frosh. So perhaps we’ve all expected too much too soon.

    From here, just get a little better each week, eliminate the mind numbingly erratic turnovers, give Stanford a decent game (maybe even steal one), and it can be called a year of progress.

    • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:09 PM

      Great post Nude (note the sarcasm)
      You put things nicely in perspective after a torrid couple of posts that were just horrendous.

      Glad to see you back on the board, things just aren’t the same w/o your incessant Rees bashing! Must be an on 2 weeks off 1 week schedule at the mill?

      A year of progress? Where is there progress in 4-3? The only progress that has been made is the feeble attempt to make ND like everyone else, watching the production of Saturday nights game physically made me ill, not to mention the regression in the penalty and turnover categories.

      Give Stanford a decent game? So maybe only losing by 10 is progress?

      So to summarize, I guess your measure of progress is as follows:

      1. more turnovers
      2. more penalties
      3. questionable play calling
      4. being dominated in the trenches on both sides
      5. A QB merry-go-round
      6. being a copycat program w/ the bs stunts from Saturday night
      7. coming out flat against your rival
      8. admitting to mismanaging the down time during the bye week
      9. unexplainable defensive alignmnets (i.e.leaving an unexperienced CB one-on-one w/ an all-american wideout – didn’t see Monte and USC make that mistake w/ Floyd, the last drive for UM…)

      The list can go on. The bottom line is that we are not a very good football team and will take at least 2 more years of top recruiting classes to hopefully fully cleanse the snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory mentality that has plagued this program for 20+ years. But hey, here’s to progress, and to you boys at the mill!

      • uawlocal1136 - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        An encore presentation from yesterday’s rebuttal to the Nudesters miserable, condescending article for those who may have missed it…

        “No Pubes, you do take this personally. You have yet to ever say anything positive about Rees. You have been on him since day one (wink and a smile for that one :) ), and quite honestly, you are boorish and becoming repetitive. Now, me and the guys down here at the Mill are big, big, subway alumni, and have collectively reached deep into our pockets (and maybe the union dues account), an have created a “DUMP THE NUDEY” fund. To date..$3.06…that can all be yours my friend provided you drop off this site until 2015, just let us know what trailer park to send it to in Mississippi. By the way, cut the “F” bombs out in the future. You let that rip earlier this week…I recall you stomping on somebody a few weeks back for much less…something about brain farts…Oh, the horror… OOps, gotta go…shift break is here…and you, Pubes, need to grab the pail, your bus pass, and report for duty on the spot welder machine…that is the American way. Buy Union. Buy American. Go Irish!”

      • amwilson18 - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        This season has been frustrating and bizarre to say the least . Mainly because we Irish fans have such high expectations and the extreme amount of turnovers at the WORST possible times. So I take it you @domer77blowsgoats are already out their picketing for Kelly to be fired and searching the Net for possible hire. Let me tackle your condescending points @nudeman

        1.Turnovers: there is no answer, but you can’t put that on the coaches, blame must go on the players.
        2. Penalties: has to be fixed, excusable
        3. Play Calling: You are always going to question a play here and there, especially when it is a close game, but hind sight is 20/20. The only issue I see is Kelly abandoning the run vs USC, other than that what?
        4.Trenches: Offensively has dominated all year, except for first half vs USC, came out flat. Defensively has looked pretty good all year, except yet again vs USC. Didn’t you see 2 true freshman and one red-shirt freshman playing all game. Shows the lack of depth Kelly is building (positive). Two more highly touted D line prospects committed thus far.
        5.QB: Crist was really shaky game one, Kelly needing to win and win now, made the switch to Rees. Rees doesn’t have the ability to fully run Kelly’s offense, but is his best option right now. Hendrix coming in on plays is a good thing.
        6. Gameday Atmosphere: positive step toward a jumbo-tron, get over it.
        7. Coming out Flat: That is all on the players, teams will come out flat on down games, but this time against a big rival is all on the players. They got too hyped in my eyes and chocked under the pressure.
        8. Mismanaging: Kelly never admitted to this
        9.Defense: wow, once did this happen and you make it out to sound like it happens every game. Yes, the coaches should have called a time out and fixed this, but it is NOT an issue every game.

        To rebuild a program takes time, especially after 15 plus years of mediocre. We simply don’t have the talent on the field necessary yet to have a winning program. If we are still folding in big games year 4 and 5, then Kelly needs to go, but not now. So if you want to jump of the ledge, by all means. Fans like you cause these high expectations and create this negative aura that goes with the Irish.

      • nudeman - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:51 PM

        That’s great goat. Thanks. I always learn so much from your posts. After all, you went to ND so it’s obvious you know more than anyone else. Major in PE? Have you had your first date yet? You seem like an unhappy little troll who sits in his pajamas in the basement and find excuses to get even with the world with your little Radio Shack keyboard.

        As for uawlocaldipstickwhacker1136, if you take the time to actually read my posts, you’d see I always try to balance my criticism of your man crush Rees with positive observations. If you think he’s the best qb on this roster, then that’s your opinion. If he throws up a stinker against USC, expect some criticism.
        Or did you think he played really well? All I need to know is that you’d like me off the board. I just signed a 10 year contract to stay. Come back in 2021.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        amwilson18

        - please show me where I said Kelly should be fire

        what was condescending about my list – where are my facts wrong, so to summarize your rebuttal:

        1. you agree
        2. you agree
        3. you agree – not to mention not getting Floyd involved somehow someway
        4. you agree and I stated recruiting is the only fix
        5. you agree
        6. When did I say anything about a jumbotron? – I stated playing the same songs as Mich and every other school is a disgrace – keep the idea – change the songs and make it an ND thing
        7. you agree
        8. please read all ND football news before trying to go point counterpoint, he did so yesterday
        9. you agree – these descisions cost us Ws – there is no room for mental formation problems in a one and done format that is NCAA football

        You are stating what I said just in different words. – So thanks for posting and agreeing w/ what I said!

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

        Yes goat.
        Everyone agrees with you. Because you went to ND.

        Hey, isn’t Golden Girls coming on soon? Better hurry up with your posts. You don’t want to miss that.
        I know how sweaty you get when Bea Arthur comes on. Or is it Betty White?

  2. notredamegrad - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Keith, I love the post and what you have to say here. Also love the IBG answers at OFD.

    One thing I don’t get is the need to attribute the USC loss to one bad play when ND played so poorly on both sides of the ball throughout the game. I get the “shift in momentum” thing, and I get the desire to remember the loss as not as bad or the collapse as not so complete as it seemed at the time. To me, though, it’s irresponsible and inaccurate to attribute any loss in football to a single player or play or play call (you write “Dayne Crist…took the Irish’s chances of winning the game from greater than 50% to about 10% in one catastrophic play”). I’d say the same about the Tulsa game last year (no “curse that Tommy Rees!”) or the MSU game last year (no “down with Harrison Smith!”). There were plenty of chances to “tie the game up” (we had 8 other offensive possessions) or stop USC from scoring on Saturday. It takes 60 minutes to lose a football game, and even if the one play that gave you a shot doesn’t go well, that doesn’t mean we should unendingly fault that single play(er).

  3. 808raiderinparadise - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Just win the game. Pathetic expectations and TV coverage every year. This team won’t be good until Everett Golson or Hendrix is the QB. The ONLY way this season is somewhat saved is if ND wins out and Stanford is undefeated last game of year and ND plays spoiler.

  4. madmick69 - Oct 27, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    This game came down to who brought their A game. USC brought their’s, this was probably the best game they played all year. We’ll see how the USC/Stanford turns out.

    As for the how BK deals with his team, call them out, challenge their manhood, force them to step up and hold each other accountable for that game and learn from it. The thing I’m seeing is that the light isn’t coming on for some of these guys, they aren’t getting it. They continue to turn the ball over, take stupid penalites, the added wrinkle in this loss is that they didn’t show up, felt like they were going through the motions. The Air Force game showed what they are capable of on offense when they execute. The MSU game showed what the defense is capable of doing. Pitt and SC games showed that the special teams has hope. When they can put it all together consistently, watch out, they’ll have turned the corner. What’s done is done, need to move on!

    The key to Saturday is to make every touch offensively count! Score a lot of points, put Navy in a position to play catch up. Navy is methodical and like to snack on the clock for 60 minutes, they aren’t really built for speed, for striking quickly. Their football program is more like an aircraft carrier rather than a F-18. Takes a while to get it going, stop it or even turn it around.

    GO IRISH!

  5. don74 - Oct 27, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Coach has a 24 hour rule with celebrating wins and dwelling on losses for the team. Not saying all of us need to employ the same but how about the 96 hour plan. Nothing anyone says about SC is going to shed more light on what happened. The team laid an egg (coaches included). Time to play Navy and they, like SC has beat us 3 of the last 4 meetings going into this year’s game. It’s time all of us realize just how far the program fell. We have been a mediocre team for many years. Yes, TW got his first team off to a good start and yes CW had a great year 1 and ok year 2 but we have not recruited well, we have not developed well and we certainly werent paying attention to all the details like a first rate 21st century program. I think BK is on the right track. He has not been mistake free but I see a program moving in the right direction. They are better conditioned. There are individuals, Jonas Gray for example that have stepped it up. The coach is holding his players accountable. Getting to the promised land is going to take longer than I would like but then again I didnt think we had to climb out of a hole as deep as the one we are in. 47-10 irish win on saturday. Beat Navy.

  6. uawlocal1136 - Oct 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    Nudechild,

    Me and the boys are disappointed that you did not take our offer for you to simply go away. Our recommendation, “Don’t go alone on this decision.” It’s a big one and you may wish to consult with your shift supervisor or union steward for their educated advice.

    Second, we did not see an apology for your recent “F” bomb…in the immortal words of Judge Smails, “Well, we’re waiting…”

    Third, your response to the above rebuttal from the goat blower was amateurish. He countered all of your points with indisputable facts and your total rebuttal is centered on some lame reference to golden girls… Well done.

    Fourth, contract until 2021. YES….that gives us another 10 glorious years to keep lancing your thin, liver spotted skin and pouring hot “spot welder grease” on it. Now get to work. Your Union needs you. Buy American, Buy Union. Re-elect President Obama, friend of labor, mentor of men.

    Brotherhood of UAW1136

  7. nudeman - Oct 28, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    uawdicksmoker1135
    I’m here
    Deal with it.

    Never levied an “F Bomb”, son. You got me confused with some other well informed, bright, compassionate, erudite man.

    Peace be with you.

  8. uawlocal1136 - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Really….try this on for size….SON.

    “Oct 24, 2011 at 6:55 PM
    Who gives a fu** about another high profile recruit right now?
    The 5 star guys they’ve brought in haven’t exactly been lighting things up.

    Something needs to change here.”

    Now cut the f-bombs out….you have been warned. Don’t mess with organized labor :)

    • nudeman - Oct 28, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      uawasshead1136
      Technically not an F Bomb, if you look at the **s.

      And exactly who the fu** are you? The blog hall monitor? I must have missed the memo.

      And don’t threaten me with Union violence. I was once tight with Tony Pro and Chuckie O’Brien and know where Jimmy is buried. Want to join him? Keep it up.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:12 PM

        typical pube hypocracy – say one thing one day and 180 it the next

        he was simply pointing out what 100s of others have on this board, which is that you are dillusional

        but now resorting to physical threats?? again you maturity at the ripe age of 65 is, well, ripe

        UAW never stated anything about violence, implied or otherwise – again another dillusionsal pube conclusion

        if you make bold statements over the course of 7 games, expect to take some heat for it, man up – what fun are message boards where everyone agrees?

        you ridicule name calling, but look at your posts

        man i cannot wait for the 1 week off to be over…

      • nudeman - Oct 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        goat and uawassman

        Sorry, I’m here non stop from now on. Being away … I just felt so empty. So incomplete. So we’re still “one”. Relax. Go have a cigarette.

        OK, better now?

        I feel nothing but compassion for both of you.
        Two sorry souls, adrift, with little or nothing going on in life; your days are made by arguing with some anonymous guy on a blog named “nudeman”. I guess I should feel honored. But not really. Sort of like having the ugliest two girls in the class telling me they want to hang out, maybe go to the malt shop after school. (Get that 1950s reference? Malt shop? Sorry; Being 65, I’m stuck in the 50s)

        Will there be a big gathering at the Rees family reunion this week?
        Tommy gets to start another big boy game and you’ll both be there with all the other Rees family members, I’m sure. Or are you all getting together in South Bend?

        Let me know. Maybe I can stop by and say hello.

        God bless you both.

        Your buddy,

        Nude

    • nudeman - Oct 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM

      Hey goat and uawassextraordinaire,

      One more thing: Can I bring anything to the Rees get together this week?
      Potato salad? Chips? Beer? Interceptions?

      Let me know.

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