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Five things we’ll learn: The 2012 Fighting Irish

Aug 30, 2012, 5:00 AM EDT

Kelly tunnel

There’s no better time of year to be a football fan. Everybody is undefeated. The team looks confident and ready for battle. Your coaching staff is confident they’ve filled the holes in the roster and players are ready to step up and have a breakthrough season. In other words, it’s still August.

For Notre Dame fans, hope still springs eternal. It may have been difficult to pick yourself up off the mat again — especially after last season’s demoralizing results — but after nine months of poking and prodding, over-analyzing and critiquing, there’s light at the end of the tunnel: It may be crazy, but (once again) this year could be the year.

Of course, that conclusion could be shot to hell in the next 72 hours. With a football team breaking in a new quarterback that’s yet to play a game, a schedule that feels like your rolling a boulder up a hill, and a roster thin enough at certain positions that there’s little margin for error, the 2012 season could very easily get ugly in a hurry. But that’s what you worry about next week. Until then, it’s all about enjoying the potential. Because it can never last long enough.

As the Fighting Irish make their way across the Atlantic Ocean for its opening game against Navy, here are five things we’ll learn in the 2012 season.

With the weight of ND Nation on his shoulders, Everett Golson will learn quickly whether he’s ready for primetime.

It doesn’t happen often, but the Irish fanbase has gotten their way. After sitting out a redshirt season and getting up to speed on the rigors of college football, sophomore quarterback Everett Golson is now the man in charge of the Notre Dame offense. The talented South Carolina product certainly has the pedigree: Record-setting prep career, athleticism that netted him a basketball scholarship from North Carolina, and prodigious skills on the piano that have him looking like a wunderkind. There may be no better player on paper to throw your belief behind.

But Brian Kelly understands the proposition and believes he can get enough out of his young quarterback to make it worth the effort.

“He’s going to make some mistakes and we know that we’re going to have to overcome those,” Kelly said of Golson this week. “But if he’s not out of character on Saturday, I will safely say, he will do a very good job of taking care of the football. But that’s why they play the game.”

Well said, coach.

After losing three starters, the secondary will decide whether or not Bob Diaco’s defense takes the next step.

For those fretting about the Irish’s rebooted secondary, its worth taking a trip down memory lane. Heading into the 2010 season, things weren’t exactly rainbows and lollipops on the back-end of the Irish defense. Some bum named Harrison Smith was going to get relegated to outside linebacker after two up-and-down seasons. Kelly’s inexperienced defensive staff needed to get Gary Gray and Darrin Walls to play up to their potential. There were a staggering amount of big plays being made by the guys in the wrong jerseys, never a good proposition for a position grouping where mistakes usually mean points for the bad guys.

After a veteran unit had a disappointing 2011 season, Kelly shuffled the deck and brought in veteran defensive coach Bob Elliott to work with Diaco and cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks. He also reloaded the position grouping, adding an influx of young talent to the depth chart. There are plenty of variables, but the staff believes they can play good enough to win games. That’ll mean getting seniors Zeke Motta and Jamoris Slaughter to anchor the group. It’ll mean getting Bennett Jackson to play up to his star-in-the-making ability. And more importantly, getting freshman starter KeiVarae Russell to play like someone that hasn’t spent a month at cornerback.

In today’s era of college football, even the most elite teams have holes in their roster where unproven talent needs to step up. For the 2012 season to be a good one, the Irish need to make sure their holes don’t get exposed.

The Irish have the strength up front to have a great offensive line… as long as nobody gets hurt.

Irish fans have bemoaned the preseason losses of tight end Alex Welch and cornerback Lo Wood. But there’s no position where there’s a thinner margin for error than offensive line. New line coach Harry Hiestand‘s unit has the makings of an elite unit, with Braxston Cave, Chris Watt, and Zack Martin all capable of playing like All-Americans. Joined by first-year starters Mike Golic and Christian Lombard, this unit could be one of the best Irish lines since the glory days under Joe Moore and Lou Holtz. Unless somebody gets hurt.

Knock on wood, but there’s no position grouping that falls off a cliff like the line. Trading in a player like Martin for a freshman like Ronnie Stanley would be akin to turning over the keys to the Ferrari for your babysitter’s old Civic. (That’s no knock on Stanley, who will be a good one before his career is over.) With five offensive linemen coming in next year’s recruiting class, reinforcements are on the way. But the Irish need to get through this season unscathed up front. If they do, expect big things from an unproven offense. If they don’t… well, it’s be baptism by fire for some untested players.

With the offense in his hands, we’ll find out if Chuck Martin is Kelly’s ace in the hole.

When a college football coach gets a chance to bring in a new offensive coordinator, promoting from within is fairly common. But when that promotion goes to a defensive position coach, it usually deserves an eyebrow raise. Yet Kelly’s promotion of trusted aide Chuck Martin to offensive coordinator was met with nearly universal approval after Charley Molnar took the head coaching job at UMass. The former Grand Valley State head coach will now be Kelly’s eyes in the coaching box, in charge of fixing an offense that’s been far from extraordinary in the first two years of the Brian Kelly era.

Martin has wowed everyone surrounding the program in his two years on the staff. He’s smart, personable, and acts like the spotlight of Notre Dame is no different than life in Division II. But he’s now tasked with building something great out of a unit breaking in a first-year quarterback. He’ll have tools — All-American Tyler Eifert, game-breaking depth at running back, and a strong line. If he’s able to get the job done, expect Martin to get his own football program sooner than later. It’ll be a promotion well deserved.

After an identity crisis, we’ll find out if Brian Kelly doubling down on himself worked.

Give Kelly credit for this: After a disappointing 2011 season, the head coach did a ton of self-evaluation. After acting like a CEO of a major corporation, Kelly got back to doing what got him to South Bend: Coaching Football. That meant building relationships with players he inherited, and getting his hands dirty as he implemented the Xs and Os that had many believing the Irish hired an innovator when they brought Kelly in to replace Charlie Weis.

Instead of hitting the banquet tour and building the Irish brand, Kelly spent the offseason and summer in South Bend. He implemented a new accountability system with his players that worked as a two-way street, forcing the king of the castle to get to know the players that’ll have the coach’s fate in his hands.

Early reports have been nothing but good. Yet with a meat-grinder of a schedule in front of the team, any cracks in the armor will show quickly. Kelly made tough decisions by suspending quarterback Tommy Rees and Carlo Calabrese. He did the same with starting running back Cierre Wood and defensive end Justin Utupo. You can’t do that without a solid group of team leaders, something Kelly reaffirmed by naming four captains to the team — all recruits from the previous regime.

It’s been said a thousand times, but year three is the defining year for Notre Dame head coaches. Nobody in their right mind expects Kelly to win a national championship like those before him did in their third autumn in South Bend. But for all the good Kelly’s done implementing a system that’s conducive for success, it’s time for the him to get it done on the field. That means putting together a season that surprises in a good way, even winning a game or two that nobody expects him to win.

Now all he’s got to do is play the games.

  1. yaketyyacc - Aug 30, 2012 at 5:41 AM

    keith, if your insights of the past few weeks prove correct, then the murderous schedule will be met by an even more vicious, murderous Notre Dame football team, steeped in excellent talent, smart coaching, and armed with a spirit that allows them to be compared to the race of people they are about to visit, the fighting Irish of Ireland, who for five hundred years, fought for their independence and won it, It is an honor to be compared to them, an honor that we accept with great pride.
    So, go FIGHTING IRISH OF NOTRE DAME.

  2. joeschu - Aug 30, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Fantastic Keith. Well written and I LOVE the Coach Moore reference.

    If you get any access to the staff over there on the Emerald Isle, I’d love to learn more about how Coach Elliott is adjusting to life in blue & gold. While we’re all bemoaning the lack of experience and proven playmakers in the back 4, everything I’ve read about Coach Elliott is that he’s a fantastic teacher. It would be tremendous to see this perceived weakness become a team strength. Perhaps with better hands and ball skills on the outside, we’ll even see a few more take-aways this season.

    I feel the same way about Coach Martin. In retrospect, it doesn’t look like Molnar and Kelly were on the same page with respect to the QB or the breadth and depth of the playbook. I’m hoping Coach Martin’s energy and collaboration with Coach Kelly produces a more exciting and varied offensive attack then what we’ve seen the past two years.

    And yes, it is all sunshine and rainbows right now, so I’m trying to enjoy it.

  3. Jennifer - Aug 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Great post Keith. I’ve always appreciated your “Five Things We’ve Learned”, but really like the “Will Learn” take you used for this Opener. Especially appreciated was your take on Kelly “settling down and focusing back to his roots, and what he was hired for…Hands-on-Coaching. The rift felt last season by Weis recruits never would have happened had he applied this theory last year. “New-Beginnings” are always the best for Irish Fans ~ we aim high! It would be great if everything gels for this team ~ they’ve been through a lot, and worked so hard!
    GO IRISH!

  4. 1historian - Aug 30, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    I’ve been saying this for years and I repeat it here – We need a signature game, a game that we’re not supposed to win, a game we win in enemy territory, a game that has ND fans watching on TV in tears at what they are watching, a game that people watching it in person has them spellbound – a game that says Notre Dame is BACK!!!

    The last game like that I remember was when we beat Southern Cal in 1886.

    It’s time

    • audomer - Aug 30, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Why not beat Oklahoma like we did back in 1957 to end their 47 game winning streak. If theirs a streak to broken, ND is usually the team do it!! Go Irish!! Beat Everyone!!

    • papadec - Aug 30, 2012 at 7:36 PM

      1hist – I pretty much figured you’ve been around awhile (by some of your posts) – but 1886? Then I saw your whoops – yeah that was funny.

  5. 1historian - Aug 30, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    1986

    whoops

    actually it’s kind of funny if I do say so

    And I do

    • halfwhitey - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      Your being a historian is way less impressive now that we know you are immortal.

  6. NotreDan - Aug 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    I rarely do this (sorry Keith) but everyone HAS to read this story:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–notre-dame-won-t-compromise-values-for-wins–so-deal-with-it.html

    I felt like Pat Forde was dictating the story from my thoughts.

    I hope and pray that one thing we will NEVER learn, is that the Irish have compromised their standards.

    GO IRISH!!!

    • mwmg42 - Aug 30, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Loved that article too.

    • ndlv - Aug 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Great article! Makes me think about the days on campus and how this school really is different than a lot of other schools.

    • joeschu - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      Now that Forde is no longer with “the worldwide leader” he isn’t obligated to turn in the required “ND sucks/is-irrelevant” drivel.

  7. runners00 - Aug 30, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I think the biggest question is on defense. Honestly, I’m not that worried about Golson and the offense. We’ll move the football with some returning offensive linemen and let’s face it, lines win games. While Lombard and Golic are “new,” both guys should be fine with the experienced unit that’s around them. Lombard’s 6-5 and 300 pounds. He’s fairly quick and agile. He’ll be fine. Golic, I am somewhat worried about but the guy’s a fifth year player. He’s decent and got some good PT last year. So, on offense, if we take care of the football (more on that below) and we’ll score a lot of points.

    Defensively, with the exception of the big kid Aaron Lynch departing — no small loss — the Irish’s front seven are all experienced and they’re coming off a pretty strong season. I mean, in college football with the number of recruits and the number of kids leaving a program and joining a program, it’s very difficult to put together a cohesive unit. This front seven, I think, is pretty together. And though there are some backups who are young, these kids are very talented kids (Day, Jones) who will see some time and make some plays.

    The one obvious question mark, I think, is in the defensive secondary — and it’s primarily w/ cornerbacks. There are two starters who are unproven. One is a freshman who is new to the position. So, given that we have decent front seven and a pretty established pair of safeties, we should be able to survive the cornerback struggles. Who knows, perhaps Russell will be the best freshman CB we’ve had. But it’s going to be tough going against teams like Southern Cal who pass early and often.

    The one less obvious question mark: will we take care of the football? We put it on the ground all year last year – in virtually every game and in almost every key moment. We’d either fumble or we’d throw an INT. We were 118th out of 120 teams in turnover margin. It cost us at least two games. Given the strength of our schedule — with games vs. Miami, Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford, USC and Oklahoma on the road — we have to do a much better job of taking care of the football.

    As for Navy, I won’t predict the score. But, I think that Navy is alright. They have a decent quarterback and they are a scrappy bunch who want revenge. They’re not to be taken lightly — at all. But we have much more talent. We have much more drive. We should pull away in the second half. . . . Go Irish!

    • mwmg42 - Aug 30, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      I totally concur with all you said about the position breakdowns and respective confidence in them…The thing is and I was talking with my brother just the other day about this is, being born in 86, I feel as if ND’s biggest position weakness almost every season has been our secondary. I can’t understand it….
      Regardless, GO IRISH, can’t wait till Saturday morning!

      • irish4006 - Aug 30, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        It really wasn’t last year, at least on paper. Both Gray and Walls were highly touted recruits poised for lights out play; the meltdown against UM and the repeated mistakes (mostly from Gray) were something hardly anyone saw coming before the season. BK did have a few big names coming in at CB this year, we all saw how that went. It will likely continue to be our weakness in 2013 as well… (sigh)

    • 9irish - Aug 30, 2012 at 9:38 PM

      I agree, runners, with everything you said. But let me add to it. First, it wasn’t just the turnovers, it was the bizarre nature of them. When the hell does any team have TWO fumbles run back from the opponents 1yd line for a touchdown? Too many in the endzone as well, going back to the stupid interception in the endzone against Tulsa when all they had to do was center the ball and kick a field goal. Just so many blown games.
      Michigan…this talk of Robinson being a Heisman leader is also bizarre. He was so bad that even ND’s weak secondary couldn’t even figure out where the hell the ball was…the receivers were coming back for the ball! like 15 yards!
      So many little adjustments, and better luck, this team is stacked to win

      So we shall see
      Go Irish

  8. nudeman - Aug 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    If I want to be CYNICAL:
    – “Less of a CEO and more of a coach” sounds like blather. Said the same thing before the Bowl game when Molnar left; raved about how great it was to spend time with the QBs for nearly a full month. Then, well … FSU happened. No change. In fact, it got worse.

    – It is not “if” an OL guy gets hurt; it’s “when”. No stats to back this up, but does anyone really expect ANY OL to go through even a few games w/out injury?

    – The secondary: We’ve heard some great things recently. Bennett Jackson looks great; KR came in as a Frosh and grabbed a starting job; Josh is fast. Jamoris will be playing on Sundays. Bob Elliott sounds great. Fact is, they were weak last year and will probably be – at best – “a little less weak” this year. (Though I realy do believe Elliott will get the absolute best out of them)

    If I want to be OPTIMISTIC:
    – Chuck Martin sounds like a future NFL head coach. Coaches switch sides of the ball all the time. Landry, known for being an offensive guru in Dallas, was (I think) a defensive coach with the NYG. I think we’ve got a major upgrade here over Charley Molnar.

    – Between the strong OL and the depth at RB, they have the oppty to take pressure off Golson by running the ball. A LOT.

    – Special teams, a frequently overlooked aspect of a winning program, just HAVE TO be better. GAIII has proven he can take it to the house; and when we get a look at Davonte Neal returning punts, we’ll gorget all about last year’s .6 yard average

    – Speed: Kelly says this is the fastest team he’s EVER had, ANYWHERE. By itself, that means little. Al Davis recruited nothing but track stars the last 15 years and they played like a group of track stars. But this seems to be a group of speedy guys WITH FOOTBALL TALENT. Manti has lost 10 lbs and is faster; Brown has apparently won a starting job; GAIII, Neal, Josh, Russell, and let’s not forget a QB who can outrun a cabbie doesn’t suck.

    So you decide. Overall, I’m leaning toward toward optimistic side.

    • ndlv - Aug 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      I agree with a number of your points. Like it or not, odds are that someone on the o-line will get hurt. Hopefully Nick Martin, or whomever is the backup, will be ready to step in. Another thing to be concerned with is that I think B Jackson has a lingering shoulder problem (I think I remember reading that), which could test the depth at CB.

      BUT, it’s the beginning of the year, so let’s try to be optimistic. It is possible that the o-line will survive the season unscathed, and hopefully Golson is the real deal. And, we still have Manti!

      Go Irish!

  9. irisheyesnate - Aug 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I can’t believe that the open line is only 15 1/2 PTs!!!!

    GO IRISH!!!!!

  10. oldestguard - Aug 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Great read, Keith ! Makes me want to fast-forward to Saturday morning.

    Last time I was in Ireland, the Guiness was always served at room temp and went down smooth as silk – Hope you get to enjoy a few victory pints.

    I really think Golson is going to be something special and agree with Runners that the lines win games and I think we’re solid on both sides there.

  11. ndfan4ever - Aug 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    What bothers me is our secondary. Golson completes 125 passes with only 1 int during live 11 on 11 action! He is either the best QB in college or our secondary is the worst in college football? I hope that it is the first. Teams are going to try and shut down our running game and make Golson an untested QB throw the ball. If we can’t run we are in trouble and if the coaches call bone headed pass plays when we should be running the ball we will be worse than last year. Here is hopeing we shock all the teams we play this year and run 10 -2 would be awesome and do able with ND getting some breaks that we gave away last year. Can’t wait lets get it started. GO IRISH..

    • irish4006 - Aug 30, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      I agree with most of what you said ndfan and have the same fear. I recommend you watch Golson’s HS highlights on youtube, if you haven’t done yet. He does have a (guided) missile launcher for an arm, hopefully he will play to his potential and not succumb to nerves or play scared (of Kelly). If he is able to overcome the initial jitters and build trust with Kelly, we may see something really special once the playbook opens up. Fingers crossed.

      Go Irish!!

  12. jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I’m loving the optimism I’m reading here (yes, that means you Nudie my boy). Keith, I agree with your analysis of our defense and particularly the secondary……..seems like a good general rule to live by: We all need to make sure our holes don’t get exposed.

    • irish4006 - Aug 30, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      Yes, keeping the holes covered is generally a good idea. ;-)

  13. c4evr - Aug 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Strip everything out of the article except the last 2 sentences and you have all you need to know about this next season. Also, the “…had many believing the Irish hired an innovator when they brought Kelly in…” line was an interesting reveal. In poker, we call that a ‘tell’.

  14. 818irish - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I know the schedule is brutal, but I’m genuinely looking forward to the season because Kelly has decided to infuse the team with the young talent to mix with the veteran leadership. Not much is expected of them this season, so why not let them learn on the fly against great talent?

    For better or worse, we’ll get our best glimpse to date of what a Brian Kelly program looks like on the field.

    With all that said, I do feel like they will win at least one game this season that they aren’t “suppose to win”. Turning point for the program?

    Can’t wait for Saturday (no matter how early it is)!

    GO IRISH!

    • runners00 - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      Not much is expected of them? It’s Notre Dame. Every year they’re expected to win games. There are a lot of tough ones this year but I think we’ll see how good a coach Kelly is. . . .

      • 818irish - Aug 30, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        To clarify, I meant they are not expected to compete for a National Title this year. I’m sure a lot of people don’t expect them to be in the BCS discussion period. But yes, there are ALWAYS expectations as it is Notre Dame.

  15. nd14smitty - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    anyone know if the game will be on TV locally in Dublin?

  16. irishpuma - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    The 5 things we need to know are:

    1. Can we cover anyone.
    2. Can we get plays in on time.
    3. Can we not look like we are in total chaos when we have the ball on offense.
    4. Can BK stick with one QB and grow that QB.
    5. Can we return to Glory!!

    That having been posted, I am optimistic. (if Nude can be anyone can be) The talent is there the recruiting is awesome and the message is sound. Now we just need to put up on the field. Go Irish.

    • nudeman - Aug 30, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Love it when I get ripped here.
      But other than my admittedly incessant ragging on a certain QB, “pessimist” bad rap

      I don’t cheerlead, because there’s no need to among a group of ND fans.
      I also am not like those who think this will be a 6-6 season and BK should be fired.

      Overall for this year, just can’t see how anybody has ND losing 4 games, unless they resort to giving games away again and finish118th (out of 120) in turnover margin
      Since I don’t see THAT happening, I’m thinking 9-3 with a better shot of being 10-2 than 8-4.

      • irishpuma - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        Nude I love your takes man and I have been with you on the Rees hate fest from the beginning. Just can’t comment from work lol. Took a few days off to rest up for the annual start of my real life….Irish football season.

      • dickasman - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        I’m just wondering if Irish puma is anything like Puma Swede? If so, I’d love to get beat up everyday. Horse pounded even…

      • nudeman - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        Leave it to the dickster to know about PumaSwede

      • joeschu - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        Irrational exuberance is the enemy of true progress

    • dickasman - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Puma, can you beat me up please? I’m all HOTT n bothered n totally jealous now. You’re soooo HOTT! I’ve seen every one of your videos!!!

  17. Patrick Hannegan - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I hate when people count games as victories and losses before the start of the season. People already have us getting blown out by Oklahoma and USC. Yeah, they are better teams than us right now on paper. They are valid top ten teams and deserve the respect they get, but how have we already lost. You have no clue who is going to produce and who is going to stay healthy. What if Jones or Barkley gets injured? Also, this is the thing about College Football that is so great. You never know until the clock reads 00:00. Any team can win any game. We have a chance against USC and OU, maybe not as big as against Wake Forest, but we still have a decent chance. But then again, who’s to say we wont lose a game to the likes of Wake Forest? It can go either way, but no game is certain yet, so why not aim for 12-0 until that becomes impossible. Not saying we will win the games, just saying we have the chances to win those and all games.

    • halfwhitey - Aug 30, 2012 at 7:51 PM

      Agreed. The only thing any one can predict right now is simply who would be favored, based on our current perceptions, if both teams played today. By the time Notre Dame and USC play on November 24, you simply have no idea how your perceptions will have changed, and they almost certainly have changed.

      Anyone who genuinely thinks they know the W’s and L’s should go to Vegas and become independently wealthy by betting on the games.

  18. bw1980 - Aug 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    It seems like a waste of time to even say it but great stuff from Keith, as per usual.

    I would only suggest that the title attached to the post is misleading because, as Keith accurately points out, what Brian Kelly needs to do this year is definitively show that the barometer is pointing up all year–no let downs or inexplicable losses. To say that it’s a defining year is true in a way but that also would lead one down the road to believing that it’s make or break for Kelly this season when, in truth, nobody expects a national championship or even a BCS game (the traditional, if unrealistic at this point, sign of success at ND), but, again, we just want to see the team fulfill its potential whether that means 7-6, 8-5, 9-3, et. al.

  19. dickasman - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Did you guys see what Allen pinkett said? I know what he’s saying but that don’t work either cuz they ll just transfer out or get suspended. I feel ya Allen but that don’t work either.

    • runners00 - Aug 30, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      yes — it’s all over the place. He better come out with a decent apology.

      I think what he was saying was this: every football team needs a few guys who push the limits. They’re not actually criminals but they’re willing to push the envelope.

      But that’s not what he said and he should clarify. He’ll have to clarify to keep his job.

      • 9irish - Aug 30, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        I know what he’s saying too….just worded it wrong. He’s talking about getting a few Chris Zorich’s in there. He was talking slang that did not translate well.

  20. nudeman - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Here’s a little from the old sod to help us all get in the mood

  21. italianirish - Aug 30, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Pretty good article about Notre Dame ticket prices on the secondary market for this season. Lists game-by-game the average ticket price and the cheapest tickets available.

    http://goo.gl/9r3gX

    • papadec - Aug 30, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Great, thanks! I have Mike Leach’s first Wazzu game @ BYU as a tune up tonight. You can’t go wrong yelling “GO COUGS!!!!!!!” for this one. You think it’s been tough being an Irish fan? Try being a Wazzu fan.

  22. madmick69 - Aug 30, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Keith, again great article. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. 12-0, 11-1, 10-2 all very much within the realm of possibilities. ND last year beat itself, they earned every defeat…turnovers…stupid penalites…turnovers…defensive breakdowns…turnovers. It’s one thing to give a game away and another thing to get beat. Giving a game away is the result of making more mistakes than the other team and having them capitalize on your mistakes. Being beat, is playing 60 minutes of mistake free football against a team that is better than you, they get the W you get the L. Just that simple.

    Saturday it begins…one game at a time. Mistake free for 60 minutes and lets see what happens.

    GO IRISH!!!!!

  23. fnc111 - Aug 31, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Chuck Martin was the offensive coordinator while he was head coach at GVSU- D2 powerhouse. Some people didn’t understand the move for him this off season but he has plenty of experience running the offensive show. The two guys that keep me going/energized for this season are Chuck Martin and Davonte Neal.

  24. loadofwash - Sep 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    ND sucks. Anyone see where ND placed in the world academic rankings? Good luck trying to find it….

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