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Other spring headlines (and Lynch Practices!)

Apr 11, 2012, 12:24 PM EST

Atkinson Jackson track

Rest easy, Irish fans. Aaron Lynch practiced with the Irish today. If everything we could possibly talk about wasn’t discussed here or here, well — feel free to fill the comments here or take to the message-boards with your thoughts.

We’re moving on to other interesting topics.

***

George Atkinson spent Easter weekend in Palo Alto, close to his Northern California home and also competing in the  Stanford Invitational track meet. Atkinson won his heat in the 100m dash, qualifying for the finals with a 10.61 sprint. He finished sixth in the final heat, clocking a 10.69. Atkinson also participated in the 200m dash, clocking a 21.53 run, eight in a field of almost 50 sprinters.

Of course, none of the other sprinters in Palo Alto are 6-1, 210 pound running backs in the middle of spring football practice. Atkinson’s elite speed, not to mention his impressive size and ability to play in space, will be a very intriguing piece of the Irish offense next fall, especially with the depth at the tailback position allowing him to play from the slot and move around the field.

Head coach Brian Kelly has made it known that he sees Atkinson as a running back first, and while he doesn’t have an elite set of hands, there will be plenty of opportunities to get the ball out in space and make plays, not to mention create some favorable match-ups when the Irish can potentially put Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, Amir Carlisle and Atkinson on the field at once.

Sure, it’d be great if there weren’t a ton of unanswered questions at the outside receiving positions. But Atkinson — who has the size to line up outside — might be too good of an athlete to keep off the field, playing out of position or not.

***

Just when John Goodman was working his way back into the good graces of ND Nation, he spoke with Blue & Gold’s Wes Morgan about the quarterbacking battle. Even though no Irish fan wants to hear it, Goodman said Tommy Rees was leading the way in a four-man race.

“Coach is still working really hard with each one of them,” Goodman told Morgan. “One day one guy will start and another day another guy will start… Each one of them are doing really well. I think that Tommy is doing the best out of all of them, but that’s just my opinion. In the end it’s going to be the guy that runs the offense the best and also has the best timing with receivers and running backs.”

Any analytical approach to defending Rees falls on deaf ears. But while it pains a ton of Irish fans to hear it,  it’s no surprise that a quarterback that’s started 16 games over the past two seasons would be having the best spring camp among a redshirt freshman, an early enrollee, and a guy that got his first sniff of playing in the offensive system in the regular season finale. Dialing things back to the basics with new offensive coordinator Chuck Martin will only accentuate the advantage Rees has, as his core competency was never the issue. (Rees did walk in as a freshman in garbage time against Navy and march the Irish down the field after Dayne Crist struggled to do anything against the Midshipmen.)

Two years ago, when Rees was a rising sophomore battling incumbent (but injured) starter, the battle went well into the summer and fall camp before Kelly named Crist the starter. If any of the other quarterbacks are going to make a move, it’ll likely be during summer work, when there isn’t a clock governing study hours, and the team does its voluntary work together.

***

Much has been made about a reported fight between Aaron Lynch and right tackle Tate Nichols that occurred during practice before Easter break. Nichols and Lynch have seen a lot of each other this spring, going one-on-one countless times in drills and positional work, not to mention during scrimmages and team time. At 6-foot-8, 320 pounds, Nichols is a massive guy, a road-grader type that’s impressed coaches with his power and feet. Working under Harry Hiestand, who has lit a collective fire under his offensive line, it’s no surprise that Lynch, who practices like he plays, would mix like oil and water with the guy assigned to blocking him, who is also battling for a starting job.

While nobody wants it to happen, fights occur during practice. They’re also forgotten, as players and coaches move on. It’s certainly news-worthy information that an incident occurred. But it’s a pretty big stretch to think an in-practice fight would be enough to get someone to walk away from the football program. Again, nobody wants to see things come to blows, but when a near decade-long search for “nasty” football players has been at the top of Irish fans wish-lists, these kind of things happen.

***

A minor knee injury to linebacker Dan Fox will give linebackers Kendall Moore and Jarrett Grace a chance to see more of the field, as they’ll likely work in with Carlo Calabrese at the position opposite Manti Te’o. Grace was the first player to be dubbed a “werewolf” by defensive coordinator Bob Diaco (so that has to be a good thing), and has been really impressive this spring after almost working his way onto the field last season through a packed depth chart.

While Moore might have been the biggest loser when it came to Te’o returning for his senior season, he’s too good of an athlete and playmaker to keep off the field, and Fox’s injury should give Moore a chance to end spring with some momentum. The Irish will focus on recruiting insider linebackers, but there’s some intriguing depth that will give the Irish a chance to find a Corey Mays type player, someone who spent most of his career on special teams before earning his shot to start, before heading to the NFL.

  1. dickasman - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Tim who? Sorry, con’t hear ya…I’m an M&M’s guy myself.

    Does Jon Goodman know how to properly carry the water bottles without tripping over his feet and squeezing them into players mouths without any drippings? That is what I like to see him to. I’ve seen enough of Nogoodman.

    Basically, Goodman=Rees so its not ironic that he would say that. Ask a real receiver who he thinks is best QB?

    I like nasty. I have no problems with fighting. It happens. I hope they can put it behind them and be good teammates in the fall is all I care about. What had me worried was this his mom and girlfriend thing. Usually when GF’s get involved in the story, its not good. I thought maybe she got preggers or something.

    Anyways, Keith, if you are listening, I’d love to see you guys do an article/profile on Aaron Lynch. I don’t think too many irish fans know him. Especially this little incident, I’d like to get to better e-know him. I want to root for and like the kid just want to make sure I am not rooting for future scumbag. We know his story but what’s the kid like? Is he a big crybaby brat? Is he a good person? What’s he think about football? I’d love to see his profile or story on him.

    • bernhtp - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      Like it or not, TR has gained a lot of loyalty from the receivers. I hear that one of the worries Eifert had about staying was that Tommy wouldn’t be the QB.

      Dick, you also need to give Goody a break. Hope is a virtue at Notre Dame.

      • nudeman - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        bern
        Your stuff is usually highly informative and reliable, but I have a tough time believing the thing about Eifert and Rees. I don’t doubt they have good chemistry on the field (they definitely do) and all things being equal Eifert would probably want him back.

        But go back to the weeks after the bowl game when he made his decision to stay. At that point in time it looked like it would be anyone but Rees starting at QB.

      • bernhtp - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:23 AM

        I can’t go into things too much, but aren’t you aware that they live together in the same house?

      • nudeman - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Didn’t know that.

    • cameronemclaughlin - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      It’s no surprise that Tommy is sharp in practice. He is accurate when unmolested in the pocket. In practice, he’s not running for his life.

      He won’t be able to increase his 40 time too much, but he can become a significantly better quarterback if his decision making improves while the pocket collapses.

      Run for three yards if that’s what the defense gives you. Feel the rush coming and shift your position in the pocket to avoid pressure while keeping your eyes down field. And know when to protect the football.

      Rees is not our dream. He could potentially become, however, a much better quarterback than he was last year. And that might be our best option.

  2. dickasman - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I say that because I think Lynch is a kid that we can ALL get behind!!! and we all will but I’d like to know tiny bit more about the Aaron Lynch, the person.

    • Keith Arnold - Apr 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      Good idea. Just need to get more access to him as well. (Which likely won’t be easy after this situation.)

  3. fnc111 - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Lacking football knowledge when you write about Rees going down the field against Navy with five minutes to go in a total blowout of a game against a prevent defense. Enjoy 6-6 my fellow Irish fans and writers that are for some reason so in love with a QB that has zero ability against big time opponents. TR would be an awesome starter at Kent State or Grand Valley State. Four quarterbacks mean you have zero quarterbacks. The exact reason ND will get blown out by OU, Michigan and USC this season. Those teams don’t have a worry about the QB position while Kelly’s offense looked lost against FSU while our stud defense got warn down all game being on the field. Going to get ugly this season. This is why I like the off season the best. Can’t lose any games.

    • dmac4real - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      Because Michigan just totally blew us out last year when we didn’t even have a quarterback going into that game. They will be a solid team, but to say a blowout is a bit ridiculous.

    • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      Keith loves TR

    • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      In the last 3 weeks we have read:

      1) “The offense will be just fine under Rees if he just throws the deep ball a little better”.

      2) A comparison of Tony Rice and Tommy Rees. (next: Rusty Lisch vs. Terry Hanratty)

      3) Tommy’s drive in garbage time against Navy (NAVY!) is proof of his value as a QB.

      4) Tommy was not even in the top 5 goats vs Michigan.
      To believe that, you have to believe that a QB turning the ball over 3 times including a red zone, 4th quarter “whiff” on a pass is acceptable.

      5) Tommy will definitely improve this year because many QBs do in year 3.

  4. smurphdoggy29 - Apr 11, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Production. It really is that simple.
    The collection of “Werewolves” on defense will be fine projecting from last season.
    Special teams appears to have a chance to be good wit the new mentor.
    And on offense….ah the offense….
    Does anyone else find it strange, or ironic, that we are harping on Offense ?
    Wasn’t Kelly perceived as the “offense” guy ?
    I digress.
    This until is brimming with good old potential, hate that word.
    Just get one guy behind center who can get the production up to Ford Motor equivalency and everything will be fine.
    It truly is just waiting to bust loose, kind of like the Genie in the bottle.

    Production, that simple….GO Irish !

    • irishbornraised - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:36 AM

      There’s room to be optimistic, for all we know THIS year could be the year, I just hope they don’t go in with a mindset of “This year not much is expected, we’re just saving up for next year”

  5. domer77blowsgoats - Apr 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Keith

    While I am a Rees fan, there is no way I would ever cite his performance against Navy as support for anything. First, its NAVY. Second I personally probably could have done something given the game time situation when he was put in and the sheer athletic difference between our o-line and their 3rd string. Third, its freaking NAVY!!

    I am trying hard to point to a complete game in which I would use instead, but even the last 5 wins in 2010 were predicated on a resurgent defense and smashing run game – maybe the SunBowl vs. a maligned UM team….

    Opposing defenses have already written the Rees gameplan (see Stanford, Pitt, USC, etc.).

    Maybe a piece on what is so darn hard about picking up our offense? We see freshmen and sophmores all over the country winning 10 games, Heismanns, NCs, and our student-athletes with 100% graduation rates can’t find the “grasp” – something just isn’t right here….

    • piratey - Apr 11, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Mike Leach claims he can install the Air Raid offense in 3 days. Norm Chow said he can get 2/3s of his West Coast offense in 4 days. Gus Malzahn said he has four base run concepts and six base pass concepts, with wrinkles off each one.

      Playmaker wanted. We’d go 8-4 at best with Tommy Rees. Are you telling me Golson couldn’t beat, with our defense and running game:
      Navy
      Purdue
      Pitt
      BYU
      BC
      Wake Forest
      A gutted Miami team
      And pick up a win from one of the three following? Michigan, @MSU, gutted Stanford

      I want to see the future, Tommy is a stop gap QB and starting him would be another wasted season at the quarterback position in terms of progression. Then we can look forward to another QB battle in 2013. And then another in 2014…ugh.

      • clannahaw - Apr 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM

        better than after 07-08 when we had no one behind clausen to even have a competition with

      • irishbornraised - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:38 AM

        Norm Chow? there’s a reason he’s at that MAC joke UH. (I’m currently about 2 miles from the UH campus so trust me on this)

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:37 AM

        Funny you should mention Leach. He’s one of four college coaches/programs that i’m rooting for this fall. I’ve been keeping up with Leach @ WSU, Bob Davie @ NM, and Charlie at Kansas throughout this offseason and i’ve come to some general conclusions.

        Leach is F’ing HILARIOUS without even trying. I love his interviews and pressers. He answers every question like he just woke up and hasn’t had his cup of joe.

        There’s just no way to root against Bob Davie. He’s like the grandpa that takes you to get ice cream. I hold judgement on his coaching, but hes the type of guy that you just HAVE to root for.

        Charlie Weis will take the Big 9 by surprise. Dayne and the jayhawks will impress. They might not beat the Sooner nation, but they’ll turn some heads. BTW, the official UKansas website absolutely SUCKS when it comes to covering spring football…makes me appreciate my irish and Keith even more.

    • clannahaw - Apr 11, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      all of the best quarterbacks are upperclassmen, its always that way

    • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      I agree with goat.

      This has befuddled me for a while now. A pre Med major who’s about to be a junior; and an early enrollee who’s been around ND for over a year now, going through his second Spring practice … and neither can figure out the offense?

      The possibilities:
      1) The playbook is too big, too complicated for a 19-20 year old kid to learn.
      2) BK is just not the developer of QBs that we thought he was.
      3) The excuse about learning the playbook, blocking assignments, audibles, etc is a smokescreen from the coaches and the real reason is …
      4) … these two guys aren’t that good.

      These are two guys whose skills seem to be PERFECT for this offense. I’d think based on that and the below average guy they have playing the position now, it would be a no brainer for one of them to win the job.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:30 AM

        Nudey,

        What ever gave you the impression that BK could develop QB’s? He’s a system guy. He doesn’t develop QBs, he develops an offensive system and finds a QB that fits it.

        That being said, i’ve come to this conclusion. BK WANTS to start anybody besides Tommy Rees, why else would you start from scratch with installing your offense. But Tommy isn’t gonna make that an easy decision. If he’s a two steps ahead of the other guys, he’ll probably get the job. If he’s one step ahead, BK will give a politically correct reason why he’s going with another guy.

    • bb90grad - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Amen, thanks for asking. I don’t know anyone who gets years to learn their job before being expected to deliver in the working world…

  6. whoknew97 - Apr 11, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    id prefer to see a freshman just step in and take over. can’t keep our defense on the field all game long.

  7. tony34343434 - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    If you are not going to start Rees, you will have to go through some growing pains. We might lose a few games we should win having an inexperienced QB. If you are going to gamble go with Kiel, he is a freshman, we will have him a few years, let him grow. The down side of not going with TR is a losing record, With TR we will def go to a bowl game but beating those elite teams will be tough, Though he did have a great drive at the end of the Michigan game, got to give him that!

  8. nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    tony
    “With TR we will def go to a bowl game but beating those elite teams will be tough,”

    1. “Definitely”? He went 8-4 against a weaker schedule last year
    2. Beating elite teams will be “impossible”, not tough.

    Turn the page. It’s time.

    • gtizzo - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM

      Beating “elite” teams won’t be impossible. First define “elite”? What makes an “elite” team? 11 wins, 10 wins maybe 7 five star recruits? Does BCS wins equal “elite”? Notre Dame has gone through 3 coaches before getting to Brain Kelly is having the right coach make you “elite”? Were the Giants an “elite” team either time they won the Super Bowl? Look what happened to LSU in the title game and they were suppose to be “elite”. Who is the “elite” QB in the SEC? The SEC has won 6 national titles and the most “elite” QB was… Tim Tebow? Keep in mind that the prism by which you define “elite” will over shadow your view of Tommy Rees and the ND season. So choose your words carefully and maybe put some clothes.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:40 AM

        ahhh…i think gtizzo just blew you up nudey. GREAT points gtizzo.

        These guys have a narrow view of history when it comes to QB play. History shows that Junior QB’s with playing experience excel. I won’t go so far as to say that TR will excel, but if he doesn’t, he’d be bucking the trend.

      • nudeman - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        Listen, I’m going on Rees’ pathetic performance last year against UM, MSU, USC, Stanford and FSU.
        UM: Some nice moments but 3 costly turnovers were major contributor to loss
        MSU: Beat them; played OK. One for TR
        USC: Off the charts terrible
        Stanford: Worse
        FSU: Worse yet

        Frankly he wasn’t all that great against Wake and Maryland.

      • yllibnosredna - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        Good points…I certainly wouldn’t qualify last year’s Sugar Bowl winner Michigan as an elite team that went 11-2–just very well coached, very opportunistic and very lucky (The fact they had no significant injuries and so many of the “500”-esque jump balls Denard Robinson threw were inexplicably caught by UM receivers is just plain luck). That being said, let’s just substitute really, really good (finished the season ranked in the top 7) football teams for elite…And when is the last time Notre Dame beat one of those really, really good teams?…(Thinking, thinking)…Hasn’t happened in the 2000’s. ND had their chances against Nebraska in 2000 and USC in 2005, but for the most part, ND has been over-matched by many of them–See Nebraska (2001), Oregon State (2001 Fiesta Bowl), LSU (2007 Sugar Bowl), Stanford (’10 and ’11), Michigan (2006), and with the exception of ’05, nearly all of the Pete Caroll-led USC teams of the early to late 2000s…So much of the pain, frustration, rash judgment, and impatience that many ND fans, at least myself, have had with ND football for close to a decade and a half stems from the fact that NOTRE DAME HAS NOT BEATEN ANY OF THESE TEAMS IN RECENT MEMORY (post 2000) AND HAS BEEN MARKEDLY INFERIOR TO MANY OF THESE REALLY, REALLY GOOD/ELITE TEAMS. Describe them however you want, Notre Dame hasn’t beaten ONE…NOT (F…ING) ONE of these high-caliber teams since the mid to late 90’s….Given how Notre Dame stacks up in the recruiting rankings every year, those results are flat unjustifiable.

        So it stands to reason that ND fans are constantly asking themselves, “What position(s) or positional group(s) is holding us back from beating or at least occasionally beating these REALLY GOOD teams? For so long, it was the defensive front seven and sometimes inconsistent O-LINE play…Well, Hot Damn! Looks like BK is starting to take care of those former positional hindrances…And for the past 2 years of the new BK era, that position group is unequivocally the Quarterback(s)…And what is maddeningly perplexing is that this position was suppose to be BK’s specialty. So does it mean that Rees just sucks (not necessarily what I’m saying), that Kelly’s system isn’t palatable for underclassmen quarterbacks (perhaps), or that ND fans (and football fans in general) have to find someone to blame for an intolerable level of mediocrity? I really, really don’t know. But I do know that I, for one, will be much happier with the state of the program when we can actually beat one of these really, really good/elite teams, and I need to know that we’ve got a QB somewhere who’s able to help us accomplish this.

        P.S. You could make the argument that Cam Newton was perhaps the most “elite” QB the SEC has put forth in recent years, but Tebow would certainly be a close second.

      • nudeman - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        ylibs
        You state the obvious about not having a compelling win in recent memory.
        They did beat USC in the rain in 2010 in spite of Rees putrid performance, but the point still stands.

        And without question QB is the biggest soft spot. CB a close second.
        If BK starts Rees in Ireland then I’ll conclude that BK is timid and/or the other two clowns (AH/EG) are just that – clowns.

        GK gets a pass for now.

  9. heartofgoldandblue - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    When you can consider the quarterback situation, one of the main themes has been taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers. On one hand you have Tommy whose main strength (and quite possibly his only) is experience and has proven that he is turnover prone. You’d think this would improve with a little maturity within the next year but who knows. On the other hand you have Everett and Andrew (leaving Gunner out for arguments sake). They may be unproven and we’d almost certainly have to live with some growing pains but the main thing that separates them is the ability to make plays. I’ve said before and I think most agree, Tommy seems to have reached his ceiling given his physical ability and he has not shown that he can make the big play especially when it’s needed. With Everett and Andrew you at least a QB with the ability to make a big play at any given moment. I can live with some turnovers if there is a little balance with some big time plays.

  10. mtflsmitty - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    I enjoy my nightly read of Keith’s story and much of the feedback offered in the Comments section. You guys make an effort to be pretty informed and I enjoy your passion for the Irish.

    And then there’s fnc111. Aren’t you the guy who told us about your sources last week and that AL’s playing days at ND were over?

    And now you slink in with more baseless assessment of the upcoming year. The total lack of humility in the face of so little first hand knowledge is amazing to me. I know it may seem like I’m calling you out, and I guess I am. Though I’m not try to be a jerk about it. But did it ever strike you that BK might be slightly more informed than you about the players he works with day in and day out? And do ya think he might be better qualified than you to run the team?

    I’m not saying bold statements aren’t valuable in this forum. I get it. It’s part of the fun. But have a fact-based foundation for your assessments, and maybe include the mildest hint that BK and staff might know just a tad more than us knucklheads about how to run a team.

    And for the record, I admire TR. His competitive nature, intelligence, and composure will probably make him a big success in life. However, I sure as hell hope we have a more talented QB to lead the team this year.

  11. fnc111 - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    mSmitty,

    Can you read? I made a point of responding to nudeman letting him know last week I was joking about Lynch. Was being sarcastic about the on going AL saga…..Pull out your glasses and read before you write. It’s great that you trust in Kelly. Basically it’s the only argument people like you have is I think coach Kelly has more ability to lead a team than you jargon. Ya think? But That’s how far ND has fallen. Communist fans hate when others have opinions. By the way everything I wrote in here is fact. Just because you don’t like what I write doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The jury is still out on Kelly and he couldn’t develop Crist and is still trying to decide between a bunch of average quarterbacks now. Seat gets hot after this season and Kelly potentially having a 2-7 record against USC, Michigan and MSU. I’m pulling for him but he has made a lot of head scratching decisions in two years and not a lot of them have worked. That’s fact!

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:43 AM

      “he has made a lot of head scratching decisions in two years and not a lot of them have worked. That’s fact!”

      That’s OPINION……………………..but i agree

    • nudeman - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      gotta agree with fnc
      I like BK a lot, But his handling of the QBs has been suspect at best.
      If we are to believe what we’ve heard and seen, 3 out of 4 can’t even read the playbook.
      And so the coach’s son who’s just awful will continue to be the man.
      Something is amiss there.

  12. degosavage23 - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    I totally agree with the earlier post about teams with freshmen quarterbacks winning 10 games. The top 2 teams in the nation last year had mediocre QBs at best. Jordan Jefferson looked lost in the NC for LSU last year and AJ McCarron was less than stellar for Alabama until that game where he looked pretty damn good. See there’s this new concept where when you actually see playing time, you get better. Crazy, I know. You can only get so much better in practice, and if there’s anything I’ve learned from 13 years of wrestling, it’s that in order to make any real strides in your game, it’s participation in actual competition, or what we called, “mat time.” Hendrix has seen limited action and EG has seen none. TR has proved he has hit his peak and there is no room for growth (at least from a physical standpoint, a.k.a. arm strength, accuracy, mobility, etc.). The only way to truly assess how good EG or AH can really be is to get them on the field on gameday.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:45 AM

      TR hit his peak? I doubt it. He might not be the best option at QB, but if he is, he’ll be improved.

  13. cpfirish - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    We all need to trust in BK for the time being. I would like to see EG step up in to the clear number 1 cause he is young and has tremedous athletic ability!!. But who ever gets the starting job I will be cool with it! win or lose I will watch every game.. No doubt about it that tommy is very smart hello. But that will only get u so far, like against an OU defense. Yea we are goin a QB who can make big plays! A great arm, speed, mobility, etc. is tommy that guy?? Is everett the guy?? Is andrew the guy?? Best of luck to all three!! Go Irish!!

  14. yaketyyacc - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    I’ve seen this movie before. Notre Dame hires new coach. He proomises the National Championship in the (I’m not waiting) first year’ fattens his pockets in three or four, and is (shock shock) fired, and this is repeated ad nauseum. Poor Brian Kelly, stuck witht the best group of college football atheletes in the country. Who will quarterback, will Aaron Lynch return, will the corneerbacks improve, will….. Oh, and look at the brutal schedule.
    Rock, which of your four backs will you chose as the starter? All four? You’re kidding, right? NOtre Dame has four quarterbacks… Which one? Why not two or three in the game? Ah yes, but Brian Kelly is not Knute Rockne. He is too busy with his accountants weighing the money.
    What does this Notre Dame team lack. One word…. DISCIPLINE. lack of it causes turnovers, stupid personal foul calls, interceptions, false starts, etc. Practice means to IMPROVE, NOT REPEAT.
    The screaming meme. Don’t you know Brian Kelly that when you scream, the player only hears noise, not advice. Hey, you’re only human. NO, you’re the Notre Dame Football coach. act like it

    • bblack55 - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      Sounds like you fell asleep during the movie. ND’s dubious recent history with coaches falls in the lap of the former AD, Kevin White. You may recall that Bob Davie inherited the job from Lou Holtz (in spite of Lou’s tepid endorsement). After the inevitable failure, Dr. White hired, then quickly fired, George O’Leary (for fibbing on his resume) and turned to Tyrone Willingham as ND’s savior. Willingham’s track record at ND and thereafter speaks for itself. For reason’s unknown to me, Dr. White failed to hire Urban Meyer, who has described ND as his “dream job” and, instead, got Charlie Weis, who had no college head coaching experience. After a reasonably successful season, White extends Weis’ contract, whereupon ND football starts a downward spiral. Exit Dr. White and enter Jack Swarbrick, who is quick to realize ND needs a real coach and hires one of the best. Whether the w/l record shows it or not, the football program has vastly improved over Kelly’s tenure. The very fact that you can complain about having four QBs and four RBs to choose from is evidence of the talent arriving in South Bend recently. The improvements on defense have been impressive, even using Charlie’s players, and the defensive talent has increased ten-fold in Kelly’s time. The overall conditioning has also shown significant progress, along with a more positive demeanor.
      I think, even with at least three top-25 teams on the schedule this year, ND fans are in for a pleasant surprise. And Tommy Rees is most likely the guy who will be the biggest surprise.

      • irish4006 - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        Oh, boy! You had me until the Tommy Rees comment in the last sentence. Do you mind elaborating how?

        Everything else you said, I too believe in… except maybe the Willingham part. He had a good track record and all, but, for some reason could not bring the recruits in. He seemed like a low key kind of person and ND circus seemed to have overwhelmed him. Yes, he recruited Quinn, but he looked completely transformed under Weis. Unfortunately, that made Weis look too good and, while we were willing to forgive the defensive miscues in the first couple of years, it just became worse in the years that followed. Weis was not a complete coach, he would work on one thing with the team the whole week and something else would go wrong on the game day. He didn’t have the ability to plan a complete game, it was all about offense and the QB.

    • mtndguy - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Personally I think part of the problem with Notre Dame football has to do with impatience. The win 10 by year 3 and win a BCS Bowl, or you’re on the hot seat mentality is counterproductive in my opinion. It forces a coach to do anything he can to win in that given year without thinking about the future, because God forbid if you don’t win immediately, you’re going to be out. If you’re the coach at ND you have to play the QB you think will win you the most games this season, you can’t afford to invest in a QB with the future in mind, because you probably won’t make it that far.

      BK has made changes at ND that are without a doubt positive even without winning 10 games. He’s building for the future, while trying to balance the “win now or you’re out” mentality. I’m no Reese fan, but I have to believe that Reese was the best option available last year.

      As far as yaketyyacc’s comments about having the “best college athletes in the country”, come on. The athletes we have and the depth are a direct result of BK’s staff. Are they the best in the country? Given ND’s location, high academic standards, and poor performance over the last decade, I find it hard to believe. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a great bunch of kids, and incredible athletes, but there is no doubt that there are times that ND steps onto the field against some elite talent that ND can’t/won’t recruit.

      This year will be an incredibly tough schedule. Are people seriously going to start calling for BK’s head if he doesn’t pull out a 9-10 win season? Personally I’d like to see progress in all areas, including, but not exclusively wins, particularly given the tough schedule ahead. I’d like to see a top 10 defense, a top 25 offense, a better turnover/takeaway percentage, better special teams play, and a stronger recruiting class, in addition to 8+ wins. If BK can do that, he’s well on his way to bringing ND back to national prominence.

  15. ndgoldandblue - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Could it be that, when it comes to football intelligence, Rees is just smarter than the rest of them? That has to be the only explanation. I’m just going to put it like this: everyone knows how great of a practice player Goodman is. Where has the production been on the field? Maybe Rees is the same type of guy. Great practice player, but that doesn’t always translate to on-field success. Look, the teams with above average-to-great defenses have found out how to successfully defend a Tommy Rees-led Irish offense. They have realized that our offense under Rees is just too darn predictable. Rees’ throws are predictable, his reads are predictable, his cadence is predictable. Even the runs–plays that Rees isn’t involved in–are predictable. Defenses have figured out that there are only so many things they could expect with Rees at quarterback. Frankly, I would rather have a quarterback who is a little more raw leading this Irish team than an overly predictable one like Rees.

  16. runners00 - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Where are we on the quarterback situation? Is there a quarterback yet? I know many of us have picked on Rees these past several weeks. Is someone better than Rees? More than anything, we need a quarterback who can rise to the occasion in the big games. Rees played fine against inferior opponents. He was knocked around pretty well against Florida State, Stanford, Southern Cal. What I think we all want and need is a Q who can play well against strong opponents — good defenses. We need a Q who can read the quick defenses and hold on to the effing football in the red zone. Kiel, Golson or Hendrix have to be more effecive than Rees, it would seem, but Kelly should know.

    • nudeman - Apr 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      Yes, it would seem.
      However …….

  17. nd2002 - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Who was the quarterback of ND the last time we were ranked #1??

    Kevin McDougal.

    Hardly a household name at the time. You don’t need an ‘elite’ quarterback to dominate and run the table. You need a guy who can minimize mistakes, be solid, and fit into a system with other solid players/playmakers. Sprinkle in a dominating defense, good offensive line and a motivating coach who can make competent in-game adjustments and you’re on your way. We’ve got the D I think, the O-line is more a positive than a negative, and this is Kelly’s year to show us something.

    Rees MUST eliminate the turnovers. But he doesn’t have to be elite. Maybe I’m naive, but Kelly’s job is at stake (although not on a true ‘hot seat’ yet) over the next 2 years, and so I doubt he’ll start a guy for allegiance sake or whatever. He’s going to start the guy he thinks has the best chance to win, based on practice reps (that us bloggers don’t see!) and prior performance (if you think the turnovers didn’t drive him red in the face, you were on the wrong channel).

    Go Irish!!

  18. Keith Arnold - Apr 12, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Man, you guys seem very heated in these comments.

    RELAX. It’s Spring. And college football. Two wonderful things.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:23 AM

      Oh, Come on Keith, not heated…..passionate :)

      Seriously though, jump over to the Kansas FB website for some less than impressive reporting/editing/video/etc.

      There’s actually a page where they have a link to an interview with Kansas D-Coordinator “Dave Campo”, a link to the transcript for that interview that proclaims “Dave Camphead”, and a link to another page about the D-Coordinator “Dave Camp”. All on the same page.

      So, it appears heated, but it’s really passion.

  19. fitz79 - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Lynch is gonna have a monster year!

  20. papadec - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    I think it was nudeman who predicted that Lynch was gone – Irish Sports Daily confirmed that today. He’s leaving after the Spring term. Friday the 13th.

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