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How we got here: A look at the Irish secondary

Aug 22, 2012, 1:59 PM EDT

Bennett Jackson 2

What we know is that presumed starting field cornerback Lo Wood is out for the season after rupturing his achilles tendon in a non-contact drill. What we don’t know is who’ll replace him in the starting lineup.

But maybe Brian Kelly does.

“I’m absolutely sure who’s going to replace him,” Kelly said yesterday when he addressed the media. “It’s just a matter of where and when that decision is going to be made. We know we’ve got four corners outside of Bennett that are going to compete, and we know all of them can play that position.

“Now they’re on stage, they get an opportunity over the next 10 days to determine who that’s going to be.”

For those just getting up-to-speed on Notre Dame football this August, the candidates for the job are sophomores Josh Atkinson and Jalen Brown, and freshmen KeiVarae Russell and Elijah Shumate. Combined, they’ve played a total of three defensive snaps. Three. All taken by Atkinson in mop-up time against Air Force.

The loss of Wood undoubtedly hurts the Irish and weakens a position that already had a magnifying glass on it. But before we clear the deck chairs, it bears mentioning that Wood only played 11 percent of the snaps last season and only saw more than 10 in comfortable wins against Purdue, Air Force, Navy and Maryland, before playing 19 snaps in the defensive slugfest against Boston College.

Still, Kerry Cooks‘ cornerbacks now have little margin for error. Even if Cam McDaniel stays full-time at cornerback, the Irish have little depth and none of it is tested.

How’d we get there? Glad you asked. Let’s turn back the clock and check out the defensive back recruiting classes:

2008 (fifth-year players): Three DBs recruited. 
Robert Blanton — Played four years. Drafted by the Minnesota Vikings to play safety.
Dan McCarthy —  Fifth-year reserve safety. Looked as if his career was finished until surprise 5th year.
Jamoris Slaughter — Hybrid player, multi-year starter for Irish at safety.

2009 (seniors): Two DBs recruited.
E.J. Banks — Left Notre Dame after one season. Now a walk-on DB at Pitt.
Zeke Motta — Starting safety for Irish.

2010 (juniors): Five DBs recruited
Chris Badger — Left on Mormon mission. Now a freshman safety.
Spencer Boyd — Academic and personal issues had Boyd depart before ever taking a snap.
Austin Collinsworth — Torn labrum will likely cost him 2012 season.
Lo Wood — Torn achilles tendon will cost him 2012 season.
Bennett Jackson — Former WR. First year starting cornerback.

2011 (sophomores): Four DBs recruited
Matthias Farley — Spent 2011 as WR. Fighting for time at safety.
Josh Atkinson — Spent 2011 on special teams. Fighting for starting CB job.
Jalen Brown — Redshirted freshman season. Fighting for CB job.
Eilar Hardy — Knee injury cost him freshman season.

2012 (freshman): Six DBs recruited 
Nicky Baratti — Getting strong reviews at safety.
KeiVarae Russell — Moved to CB first day of practice.
CJ Prosise — Playing safety and outside linebacker.
Tee Shepard — Left school in spring after early enrolling.
Elijah Shumate — Shifted from safety to cornerback.
John Turner — Developmental safety prospect.

How the Irish got to where they are is a product injuries, Brian Kelly’s recruiting choices, and the roster management of Charlie Weis. Holes in the 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes, where the Irish only signed five total defensive backs and zero true corners, have come back to bite Notre Dame, with the situation only exacerbated by Banks and Boyd leaving the program and a rash of injuries.

While missing out or losing key cornerback recruits like Ronald Darby, Tee Shepard, Yuri Wright, Bennett Okotcha (now transferring from Oklahoma after a redshirt season) and a handful of others, the shuffling of the roster — and recruitment of versatile players like Farley, Russell, and McDaniel (who will also spend more time in the defensive backfield) — has helped the Irish weather the storm as well as they can while they’ve put their focus on filling other noticeable roster holes (defensive end, outside linebacker, and wide receiver, to name a few.)

If you expected Brian Kelly to cry poor in preseason because of his untested depth chart, you don’t know anything about the third-year Irish coach. But if you listen carefully, you get the sense that Kelly knows what he has in his defensive backfield. After expressing how terrible he feels for Wood, who had an incredible offseason and put himself in a position to perform well this season, Kelly spoke of his confidence in the untested depth behind the injured junior.

“I feel really good about the other five corners that we have as well,” Kelly said. “We’ve got five scholarship corners that we believe can play the kind of football necessary for us to be successful. So we’ll move forward at that position. I think we have enough depth there to play very good football.”

In the past Kelly has talked about how he evaluates his roster. There’s a three-pronged rating system that he uses to evaluate players on his roster. If a player receives a three, he’s capable of playing championship football. If a player receives a two, he’s capable of playing winning football. If a player receives a one, he’s not ready to play.

Digging deeper into that quote, you get the feeling that the five cornerbacks might not garner many threes, but their ability to “play the kind of football necessary for us to be successful,” lets you behind the curtain on the internal evaluation process, and gives you a clue of what to expect out of the Irish defense as they protect their liabilities, something defensive coordinator Bob Diaco talked about on Media Day.

“The biggest thing that’s going to impact the style of defense that we play is the secondary and who’s in there,” Diaco told Jack Nolan at “If particular guys are in there, we may need to manage the game which will create a different pattern of calls.”

Diaco made these comments before the loss of Wood, giving you an insight into the thought process even before the junior went down. But with one less hand on deck, it’ll be the defense’s ability to protect the secondary not just by coverage choices but by pressure in the front seven, that’ll determine whether the Irish defense can withstand its difficult 2012 schedule.

Until then, Diaco, Cooks and safeties coach Bob Elliott have some work to do.


  1. 808raiderinparadise - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Although many will hit the panic button, I won’t. The D-line and LB’s have to live up to their potential this year, if they do, that will ease along the young secondary. If they generate the pressure I think they should/can then this unit can grow and make plays.

    • ndlv - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      Hopefully, another reason to not panic is that Diaco’s defense is based on the Bill Belichick style of defense. If you have watched Belichick assemble a defense, he seems to make cornerback a low priority, and at times has even moved wide receivers there too (was it Troy Brown?). I understand that in the NFL he is somewhat pushed into that position because of the salary cap rules. However, Belichick is a respected defensive coach and if he clearly does not value cornerbacks as much as the front seven, then that makes me feel a little bit better about the current situation.

      • 808raiderinparadise - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM

        Being that Belichick is an NFL coach and has nothing to do with the Notre Dame defense, I would say that was a terrible sales pitch … ND has heavily been chasing after the best DB’s in the country under the kelly/diaco regime… so I dont quite think they don;t value DB’s.

      • 808raiderinparadise - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        Also I will use the rationale behind Belichicks defense, he has Tom Brady and can score 32+ points a game …. therefore the offense caters to the defense … until ND can score 32+ a game i dont see diaco’s scheme being like belichicks in any way.

      • ndlv - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:47 PM

        Diaco’s philosophy of defense comes from the Belichick style, read the section under “Chapter 6, Bob Diaco’s 3-4 Defense”:

        Yes, ideally you want to recruit the best DBs from high school (after all, ND does not have to worry about a salary cap like they do in the NFL). That would put you in the best possible position. But, in this style of defense, you can compensate if the cornerbacks are not as talented as you want them to be. However, if the talent is lacking in the front seven, there is not much you can do to compensate for that.

        And despite what you may think about Belichick, the man is a highly respected defensive coach who has assembled some great defenses over the years, and has many respected defensive-minded coaches who have worked for him (e.g., Saban).

      • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM

        Who cares who he supposedly patterns himself after?
        If he doesn’t have the horses, it’s meaningless.
        I pattern my life after Ghandi, but I don’t get the same results.

        Jesus … I nominate ndlv’s Belichick post for the worst ever here.

        Worse than the guy who said we should start Golson or Hendrix against Purdue, but then put Tommy in so we don’t lose the game.

      • 1historian - Aug 23, 2012 at 7:16 AM

        FYI – I am a Pats fan and I still remember the last Giants’ drive last February, so comparing ND’s defensive backfield to the Pats’ defensive backfield – no matter how it was put together – does not make me feel a whole lot better.

  2. nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Honestly, I couldn’t eve read this. The news is that bad.
    Against teams that can throw the ball, this is by far the most frightening part of the team.
    Really, if you take away Navy that includes almost everyone on the schedule.
    Don’t think Denard can throw? Look at the final drive last year.
    And relying on the front 7 to put pressure on to cover their asses just sounds like a Hail Mary.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:47 PM

      Football 101.

      Your front 7 on defense dictates the other teams offense. Stop the run, you can dial up the correct coverages/blitzes to help stop the pass.

      Pressure the QB, forces the ball out early and in predicatble patterns and/or sacks/ints/fumbles.

      Front 7 is everything on defense. you can make a team one dimensional within 2-3 series, shorten their playbook and dominate.

      A great front 7 *HELPS your secondary, its like lube, you may not need it, but in the beginning it helps you before you know how to do it correctly.

      Figure with a name like nudeman that might help.

      • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:52 PM

        With a name like “nudeman” you should know I already know all that
        I’m just saying that if they’re relying on the front 7 to cover for a bad set of DBs, that won’t work for long

        • 808raiderinparadise - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:30 PM

          Long enough to bring them along in covereages/schemes …. no great passing threats till BYU … navy/purdue/mich st/mich/miami/stanford …. its liek a graduall build-up then passing from BYU/ok/pitt/bc/wake/USC

    • dickasman - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:09 AM

      Unfortunately I think we are in for a loooooong season boys. Since we r not taking bout below the waist, long in this case is very bad. Too many transfers and too many question marks. We’ve already lost players outside of injuries we couldn’t afford to lose. I just can’t see how we. Gonna survive this season. This absolutely blows….and on top ofbthat, Obama wins the reelection, omg, dear lord take me now!

      • irishbornraised - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:25 AM

        i gave u a thumbs up, but man, ur just making the GOP look bad.

  3. Herring Bone - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Nice breakdown Keith. It’s a bonus that Kelly has recruited some better “athletes” over the past few classes that give the position more options in light of recent departures and injuries. Diaco has plenty of work ahead of him to scheme the hell out of each team and not leave these guys vulnerable.

  4. Herring Bone - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    I stopped plugging stuff on others sites long ago, but we will be hosting your favorite Notre Dame Football blogger, Keith Arnold, on this week’s show. I thought it’d be ok to post that here.

    If you have any questions you’ve been burning to ask him – here’s your chance. I won’t post spam linkage or anything, but it’s under TNNDN on BlogTalkRadio and becomes a podcast on iTunes available tomorrow night. Those who listen live, we’d love to take some callers during Keith’s appearance if that’s your thing.

    Thanks Keith for great work and since I wasn’t on the show during your last appearance, really looking forward to your take as we head to Dublin.

    • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Ask him if he’s done mourning the apparent demise of Rees

      • Keith Arnold - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        Very funny, Nude. Don’t you know I’ve apparently been driving the Golson bandwagon all along?

      • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        If true, job well done, sir.

    • bernhtp - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM

      Steve, listened to your podcasts. Great job – professional, interesting, different, creative, informative.

      • dickasman - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:12 AM

        Thanks bernsie. You’re one of my all time favorite listeners and i am not just saying that, i really mean it. Thanks for tuning in. You truly are an officer and a gentlemen.

      • Herring Bone - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:58 PM

        Thanks Bern. What Dickasmas said is all true … except I don’t know how to have “favorite listeners”

  5. bearcatirishfan - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    He was able to take former nd QB demetrius jones and make him a linebacker, let’s hope he can do it again for the cornerback position. Hendrix to cornerback nude?

    • gtizzo - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM


    • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      I still maintain the following:
      1) He is too good of an athlete to just signal in plays or take 10 snaps/game
      2) As a QB he’s not good enough to get ND to the next level.
      3) Next year, he’s odd man out with the arrival of Rees and maturation of GK and EG. He won’t beat either of those guys out for #1 or #2 QB

      So the only thing that makes sense is get this guy on the field somewhere else.
      I’ve said safety; many have said he’s not fast enough. OK, maybe so.

      Is OLB a possibility? He’s 225 – 230 now, and definitely fast enough to play there, even with another 10 lbs.
      TE? Maybe, but they’re loaded there, as usual.
      Safety seems the obvious place if he can hack it speed-wise.

      And maybe I’m just dead wrong. Maybe he stays at QB.

      But it will be a shame if his college career ends and all he’s done is be a change-up QB. He’s way too good of an athlete for that. Threw 95 MPH as a pitcher in HS.

      • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:29 PM

        In #1 above, I meant “the arrival of Zaire”

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:23 PM

        Freudian slip, i’m sure

    • dickasman - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:15 AM

      Uh bearcat, he had some African American studies majors on that team that he could work with. We ain’t got jack, other than swarbrick. Only if we can substitute a essay question for touchdown in every game….a man can dream, can’t he?

  6. andy44teg - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I guess I’m not nearly as worried as some (nude) might be about the current DB situation. If Lo Wood wasn’t able to push Gary “Don’t Turn Around” Gray for playing time last year then he pry wouldn’t have been that great this year. I know he was being lauded by everybody on the staff, but that might be an indictment on how bad he was last year. When he did play last year he just seemed like every other DB we’ve had since Davie; un-athletic, slow, and short.

    • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      The only thing is that they talked of him having put on like 14 lbs of muscle and having had a great camp. Everybody develops at a diff pace and as average as he might HAVE BEEN, the staff had him ahead of everybody else and slated to start.

      So, anyway you square it, he was one of the best two CBs on the team, and now he’s lost.

      It can’t be a good thing.

      • dickasman - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:19 AM

        Playing db is all about the hip movement so I’d suggest whoever on the team gets laid most and put em there. Dancer works too. My first coaching tip of the season.

      • irishbornraised - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:30 AM

        Definitely not the last either

  7. gtizzo - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    I agree with you Keith,

    I think Kelly already knows the answer to replace Lo Wood. I read the transcript of his press conference. It was asked if he would move Slaughter to the other corner spot and Kelly said “not unless more injuries happen”. My thought would be if Slaughter ends up at corner then Kelly is hitting the panic button. I suppose should that move happen then Dan McCarthy would be the other safety spot. I wouldn’t be so quick to point out the loss of Darby. Darby could have easily ended up in the same roll as Neal. Maybe Russell isn’t the only back moved to the defensive backfield to make way for Darby who played tail back in high school. The recruitment of Yuri Wright would have been a double edge sword after his twitter. Course it is all water under the bridge at this point.

    • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      I don’t get bringing up Darby. Regardless of his “commitment”, he never intended to come to ND
      I know he committed without visiting; and don’t think he ever did visit.

      Bottom line: You can’t miss what you never had. And we NEVER had Darby, just like we never had Laquon Mizzell, Ty Isaac, Matt Barkley, and a hundred other great players and prospects

      From The Desk Of Nudeman
      And remember, you can’t spell Nude without “ND”

    • nateprez4irish - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:38 AM


      1. Diaco made all corners watch Forrest Gump run til he felt like stopping. ‘Sprinting, Back-peddling, Head-Turning, and Jamming at the Line’ was just added as a fitness class to the curriculum so they can get in more practice. God forbid another one gets hurt.

      2. The Belichickesque defense (whatever) will know to blitz on the side opposite of Jackson (let’s hope and assume he is solid and dependable) and the QB will be rushed to throw with Aaron Lynch in his face …. oh wait…….

      3. “Right now Tommy Rees gives us the best chance to win” = “I know exactly which corners will replace Lo Wood and I think they are capable of playing good football” (Sorry not an exact quote)

      4. Rudy has been scheduled via Skype to give the Gipper speech to the entire secondary before every game

      5. Rees and Calabrese are conspiring hit and runs on Robinson, Jones, and Barkley to give our secondary a chance

      6. ND – 16 Robert Woods – 35

      Maybe it will work out and we won’t get thrown on all season. Trying to keep the faith…..Probable 6-6 but hoping for 8-4. GO IRISH!!!

  8. nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    By the way, rumor ND is breaking out some wild new unis for the Shamrock Series

    • gtizzo - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Yes there was picture of them on this website…did you break your glasses nude?

      • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        Dude … kidding

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM

        Gtizzo, when does fall camp start? Nudey won’t tell me

      • nudeman - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        Already told you
        No Fall camp this year. Just straight to Dublin and wingin’ it

        Tommy gives us the best chance to win

  9. mtflsmitty - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Our guys need to play through the pain. I’m ordering up 125 rubber bracelets with WWKSD printed on them. Should be in BK’s office next Monday.

    What Would Kerri Strugg Do?

    Remember the SNL skit on that? Awesome.

  10. mtflsmitty - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    If you live in an area with 5A HS football, think of the one kid who’s head and shoulders above any other player in the district. Those are the quality of players now competing for the starting CB. Freakishly talented kids. I realize that they will be playing against opposing WRs with similar talents and more experience, but I suspect someone will elevate their game and will be serviceable in weeks 1-4. By week 5 they’ll be completely comfortable.

  11. irisheyesnate - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    I think that since all the guys who come into ND say that the only difference is the game being faster that actually is in favor for us! Yes, I will agree that the loss of lo wood sucks! But, on the bright side we have a few guys that have been through this training for the last couple of yrs. now it’s time to prove them selfs! I don’t doubt that you can get a Sammy Watkins type of corner their first yr..Sammy is awsome but, if anyone said to you that he would do what he did as a freshman last yr you would have said bull…everyone would have said yeah he’s good but not that good.. Now on the other hand I live in grand rapids Michigan.. I have watched Kelly at grand valley university and watched him win titles with half a team.. Yes the caliber is different. So, then u have central mich..he turned them around and went to Cincinnati. They had good but, not great players and once again look what he did there. So, what I’m getting at is the injury sucks yes! But, Kelly has a way of finding the key players who need to be in key spots…every school recruits differently depending on how big the school is. Kelly couldn’t have got the Atkinson brothers to play for central or grand valley hell prob not cincy either. But, when it’s all said n done Kelly doesn’t recruit weak players as the past two yrs have proven. No, we didn’t go 12-0 and no we didn’t hit a CBS bowl. But, he also didn’t go 3-9 or 6-6 with clauson, tate,Floyd, Rudolph,Allen,Hughes,Fleming,kappy,te’o,and many more with a complete veteran line. So bottom line is have faith..NOTRE DAME WILL BE FINE! GO IRISH!!!!!

    • mtndguy - Aug 22, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Amen brother!

    • nudeman - Aug 22, 2012 at 7:31 PM


      Let me

      introduce you

      to the

      “paragraph” function

      • dickasman - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:22 AM

        Hahahaha, he’s fairly new give him time…at least he got the 3 dots down already. Clearly LSU convert.

    • audomer - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      I’m pretty sure Nate just drank 5 5-hour energy’s and he had a whole hour left over to write his manifesto.

  12. irisheyesnate - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Oooops bcs

  13. mtflsmitty - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Phew! Thanks for the correction, Nate. The other 18 run on sentences and grammatical errors were no biggie. But the CBS/BCS error was, indeed, unacceptable. :-)

    • dickasman - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:23 AM

      C’mon now this ain’t e university of notre dame.

      • dickasman - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:24 AM

        This makes me wonder how many posters on herevare actual nd graduates.

  14. irisheyesnate - Aug 22, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I phone spell correction sucks

  15. irisheyesnate - Aug 22, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Spell check on IPhone. Lol. But, never said I was an English major. I don’t care how it looks as long as the point gets across!!!!

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      The point doesn’t get across because nobody wants to try reading your 600 word sentence.

  16. mtndguy - Aug 22, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    I think we’re going to see Jalen Brown step up and be better than Lo Wood would have been anyway. He has the size and athleticism. Josh Atkinson is going to be interesting to watch as well with the incredible speed he brings to the field. Both Jalen and Josh are the types of athletes that fit the profile BK looks for in a corner.

  17. irisheyesnate - Aug 23, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    Nude man let me introduce you to clothes put some on when you are around your niece.. You prob did jail time for being a pettifile so go somewhere else if you want to take jabs at me. Cause I’ll light you up!

    • dbldmr - Aug 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM


    • nudeman - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Dude, seriously … mix in some bran and decaf

    • mtndguy - Aug 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      Iriseyesnate, you gotta loosen up a little. Okay, a lot.

  18. irisheyesnate - Aug 23, 2012 at 6:06 AM

    Oh, we are talking about my IRISH. Not my English grammar

  19. irisheyesnate - Aug 23, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    Also, my grandma is tough on a computer as well. Is my English good enough for you know nude girl?

  20. 1historian - Aug 23, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    We’ve been fretting about the lack of experience in defensive backfield for what seems like ages. So far I haven’t seen too many posts deriding the talent of those back there, so is it fair to say that – once they have a few games under their belts – we should be ok? With the talent and depth of the front 7 and the first few games against Navy & Purdue (Len Dawson, Bob Griese and Drew Brees have all graduated) by the time things get serious they will have at least that much experience back there and we SHOULD be ok. We have some serious talent in the db and with some experience we should be fine.

  21. 1historian - Aug 23, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    nate & nudie – get a room.


  22. alsatiannd - Aug 23, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    For corners especially, it’s more than just the talent or athleticism on the field. It’s what they’re coached to do. It seems to me that for years ND corners have been coached to NOT look for the ball. Ask my wife how times I yell at the tv to “Just turn your head.” I don’t notice other teams’ corners doing that. Maybe it’s more complicated than that. But it seems logical to me that if you don’t know where the ball is you can never make a play on it.

    That’s all to say, will the new secondary coach teach them to look for the ball, or tell them to keep their backs to the QB and their eyes only on the receiver. If the latter, I’m afraid it’s more screaming for me this year as Dennard lobs wounded ducks over our corners’ heads and into the arms of the one person with his eyes on the ball: the receiver.

  23. bearcatirishfan - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Pollack is calling for a purdue upset of ND, he said so yesterday on college football live. Because they have an experienced QB

    • audomer - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      Is he from Poland??

  24. audomer - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    ****NEWSFLASH**** Rick Reilly still hates Notre Dame….that is all.

  25. ndgoldandblue - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    I was watching College Football Live on ESPN, and they were doing a bit on Purdue. The one thing they kept talking about was that there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Boilermakers this season. I don’t know…everywhere I look, everything I see and hear is about other programs being up and the Irish being down. “It’s a down year for the Irish” they all say. Oklahoma is up, USC is up, BYU is up, Michigan is up, and even Purdue appears to be up. Everyone on our schedule seems to be in an upswing. The way the analysts talked on CFL made it seem like Purdue was going to come into South Bend and beat the Irish.

    I know that this is a little off-subject, but with all our injuries lately (see the above article on CB’s), combined with a new quarterback and possible jet lag from the Navy game, should we be looking at the Purdue game as a likely loss? I’m telling you, this was not the year to fly overseas for a football game. If you’re going to have a game in Ireland, do it before a bye week.

    This brings up another point, though. What sort of expectations (realistic) should we as fans really have for this year? If everyone’s up but us, how many games should we expect to win? I’m not getting down on my favorite team; I’m just throwing out a legitimate question. People have said that if this Irish team finishes 8-5 again, Kelly should be fired. Really? With this schedule, with our injuries and defections, and with our quarterback situation, I’m starting to think that 8-5 would be a success. What do you guys think?

    • nudeman - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      I don’t get the “8-5 will be a good year” stuff

      Last year was 8-5 and:
      1. We had a lousy QB (REALLY lousy)
      2. We had less talent than this year
      3. We played UM and Stanf at home
      4. We literally GAVE AWAY at least 2-3 games

      If you assume that the QB is better this year, there is more talent, schedule is tough but UM and Stanf are in SB, and they stop giving away games … then there is no excuse for an 8-5 year.

      It needs to be 10-3 to make me happy

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