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IBG: Waiting for the Wolverines

Sep 20, 2012, 12:01 PM EDT

Harrison Smith Michigan

I don’t know about you guys, but this week is moving mighty slow. While last Saturday’s game certainly had a high stakes feel to it, the date with the Wolverines feels amplified. Win, and the Irish go to 4-0, with a much needed week of rest to get healthy and continue into uncharted territory. A loss, well — it gives Irish fans 14 days to contemplate how Michigan once again broke their hearts.

With thousands of fans ready to descend on South Bend for what might be the most important home game since Pete Carroll and the Trojans came to town in 2005, we caught up with Josh Flynt of UND.com’s Strong and True blog. While the other two members of the Irish Blogger Gathering (Subway Domer & Her Loyal Sons) might get a little feisty with their questions, we kept things in check.

I posed Josh some questions, and he answered. On his blog, he asked me some questions and I answered. Funnily enough, they were pretty similar.

1. We can spend all afternoon talking about the match-ups and the supposed advantages the Irish have as they prepare to take on a Michigan team that looked less than impressive against Michigan and Air Force. Does it matter? They’ve got Denard Robinson, who has crafted his lore basically on destroying Notre Dame. What do you think needs to happen to make this Saturday night different than the last three?

I don’t know, maybe I’m delusional, but I think Notre Dame was better than Michigan in each of the past three seasons. Instead of looking to avenge three straight losses to the Wolverines, the Irish could probably be going for their fifth consecutive win over the team from Ann Arbor.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The Irish turned the ball over five times last year and allowed 28 points in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium. They committed nine penalties for 75 yards.

But this season is different. Notre Dame has given up the football just twice, and has allowed only 30 points through three games.

Denard will make a few big plays. The key for the Irish will be limiting both how often, and when he makes them (ex. not on his team’s last drive). If the Notre Dame offense continues to protect the football and the defense plays with the same level of intensity it exhibited last Saturday, I’m confident the Irish will be 4-0 heading into their bye week.

2. During that fateful fourth quarter, the Michigan wide receivers had their way in a few jump ball, one-on-one, match-ups. Most of those guys are still in uniform for the maize and blue, and the Irish secondary will be even more inexperienced. With the Irish front seven pretty stout against the running game, do you expect the Wolverines’ offense to try to make their mark in the air?

While Denard can make plays with both his arm and his legs, he’s not exactly known for his passing ability. That said, I still expect Michigan to try to beat Notre Dame through the air. It just makes sense for the Wolverines offense to try to exploit the less experienced group.

Holding Le’Veon Bell to only 77 yards, I think the front seven showed it deserves to be considered among the best in the country. So hopefully the Irish can force #16 to make some hurried decisions, rather than allowing him to dance around in the pocket before breaking off a big run. If Nix, Tuitt, etc. play like they have recently, even with a young secondary, I really like our chances.

3. Last year’s night game against USC was a success right up until the Irish took the field. Then it turned into a depressing movie many Irish fans have already seen before, with the whole Crazy Train debacle adding in some gallows humor. Do you think the football team learned anything from the experience? Do you think the marketing / stadium P.A. team learned any new songs?

Improving the stadium atmosphere is definitely a work in progress, but the good news is that it has become a collective university effort. The athletic department launched the “Take a StaND” initiative before the Purdue game, and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick has expressed that he wants to bring back the home field advantage at Notre Dame Stadium.

I’ve always felt that when it comes to building a raucous stadium environment, winning cures all. When asked about the atmosphere on Tuesday, Coach Kelly seemed to express asimilar mentality. “I continue to believe that if we play great football, if we do the things we did against Michigan State, then it’s going to be plenty loud enough in that stadium,” he said.

With the Irish sitting at 3-0 for the first time in a decade, I think the House That Rockne Built will be the loudest I’ve ever personally seen it on Saturday (Keep in mind, I’ve only been coming to games since I was a freshman in 2007, but still, I believe this is the biggest home game since USC 2005 – not to say the two are comparable).

For reasons I’ll never understand, Crazy Train is part of our nation’s sports culture and is used everywhere – it was played in Dublin and at Michigan State, and I can’t tell you how often I’ve been watching other football or basketball games on television and have heard it in the background. The main problem against USC was that it was the third down song, in a gamewhere Notre Dame struggled to stop a third down.

I know the Leprechaun Legion has offered its input and against Purdue, I thought there was a good mix of music – a share of classic stadium anthems, but also a few unique tunes that I’d like to see more often. (I can’t remember specific song titles, but I will keep an ear out this weekend).

Also, I know it’s a student favorite, but I really can’t stand Seven Nation Army. Sorry, y’all.

  1. zorichmidriff - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I miss Hayseed.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      Q: Why do Michigan graduates keep their diplomas on their dashboards?
      A: For handicapped parking.

      ND runs away with this game early.

      38 – 7

  2. alsatiannd - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I get back for one game a year if I’m lucky. This year I was at Purdue, last row of the old stadium in the flag pole corner. I don’t know how they did it, but the music out of the sound system was deafening. It was miserable. I’m a stand up and yell fan, but what’s the point if the sound system is going to do the work for you or just drown you out. Instead of the music encouraging or organizing fan noise and being the frame work, it just took over. People in my section didn’t bother cheering at all. They just let the music do the work. They would bring the music right up to the snap then turn it off, then it would take the crowd a couple of seconds to take over. It was weird.

    Music can help in moderation and to give cues to the crowd, but Kelly’s right, the best solution is winning. Winning begets crowd enthusiasm and more winning feeds off of that. You can’t make something out of nothing.

  3. domer77blowsgoats - Sep 20, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    TR sucks
    Goodman sucks
    Motta sucks
    Crazy Train sucks

    Missing anything Nude?

    And your welcome from saving you 20 seconds of your day!!

    • chicagoirish23 - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      He may be a broken record, but I prefer to hear it from him.

    • onebigloadofcrap - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      domerblowsgoats, i have read this site for a couple yrears now and only recently started posting. the nudeman might at times be annoying but he’s frequently entertaining and informative.
      your posts are consistently 100% worthless, it seems you come here not to talk football but pick fights with nudeman and others. even your name is offensive. why don’t you let it go and maybe start talking football, or just leave?

      • nudeman - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Load
        Goat doesn’t do football talk. An angry little man. Just let him go rant

        I just went to my dentist; he happens to be a huge UM alum and a very knowledgeable fan. Contrary to other years, he has zero confidence in them. Says they have no running game and Denard is too erratic as a passer to win games with his arm. Not breaking news, but hearing it from him was significant.

        TIFWIW, but the guy does know his stuff.

        Barring a complete meltdown of a 2011 type, I can’t see ND losing this game.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        thanks load – noted

        and now that there is no way to lose this game (thanks for posting it twice in 14 min) might as well cancel it

        how about:

        1. Denard Robinson
        2. Depleted secondary
        3. 1-14 on 3rd down last week
        4. horreondous second half play calling last two weeks
        5. rookie QB
        6. last 20 years

        the list can go on – to say there is no way to lose this game is ridiculous

        but hey, my doorman from Ukraine who knows nothing about football and struggles with the fact that 99% of the game doesn’t involve a foot touching the ball, really likes the shiny gold helmets – so no way ND loses this game

      • chicagoirish23 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        domer77blowsgoats – Don’t know what your problem is w/ nudeman but in terms of posting on this board it’s clearly more important to you than discussing Notre Dame Football. nudeman may not make the best arguments, have the best reasoning, or present acurate facts but he is clearly a fan and post w/ his heart. I appreciate his poor attempts at humor.

        I keep reading this blog because I think Keith is intelligent and offers a perspective not to many other people offer. I keep reading the comment section of the blog for the wacky angle that nudeman looks at it. Sure most of it doesn’t make sense but tell me someone else that gets as much “thumb” action as nudeman?

        nudeman posted twice in fourteen minutes, thanks for pointing that out. In his two post he gave a reason (maybe not a good reason) on why he thinks Notre Dame cannot lose this game. Either way, he both posted something of substance and used it to express himself as a fan. In your two post which are over an hour apart (since we are keeping track) you attacked nudeman, unprovoked, leaving zero substance and followed it up after onebigloadofcrap defended him with another post where you again attacked and provided substance.

        What I’m saying is take away your first post and you might have successfully contributed. But instead you do come off as an “angry little man” who is more worried about looking tough on the internest instead of providing something worth discussing about Notre Dame.

        Now, on to the Irish! Last week I was not confident in the team but felt they could win. This week I’m confident in the team but feel like they could lose. I’m not worried about the defense, DR is going to make his plays but we already faced three passing QBs better than him in the two against Purdue and Maxwell. The secondary held their own against them, however, plays don’t break down w/ the former like they do w/ DR. So I don’t know how to feel about it. My only saving Grace is I think we can run on this team and I think we have a QB who might be young but is mature beyond his years and can throw the football.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        wow Chicago 250+ words of admonishment – yikes

        “Sure most of it doesn’t make sense but tell me someone else that gets as much “thumb” action as nudeman?” – not sure where to take this one….

        sorry I don’t get off on said “thumb” action and need to post the same bs multiple times every day

        and unprovoked? hardly

        what would you rather I contribute?

        Keys to the Game
        1. Defense needs to contain Denard
        2. No turnovers
        3. Defend the punt ball
        4. Score the most points

      • don74 - Sep 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        Goat man

        I think the 1-14 on 3rd down is irrelevant. In the context of the game it didn’t matter.

        To me the key was the drive that started on the 4 yard line. In a very organized fashion they took 6 minutes off the clock, ran the ball against a highly rated run defense and exerted their will.

        I think we fans all too often look at statistics without the benefit of the game situations.

        The coaching staff knew by the middle of Q2 that MSU wasn’t passing successfully and wasn’t going to be able to run as they planned. At that point run the clock and be physical.

        UM will present different challenges. Their run defense is not good. Expect all three backs to be featured. Also expect the speed group for the wide outs to get looks.

        Eifert should be at full strenght. People close to the team thought he wasnt 100% last week.

        All in all I expect a win for the Irish but as Kelly said Robinson is the best player on the field and with that said he will do something remarkable but it wont be enough.

      • onebigloadofcrap - Sep 20, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        domerblowsgoats, please, give it a rest. talk ND football. we can make our own decisions about posts we like and don’t like and don’t need your help pointing out things that rub you thw wrong way. judging by the thumbs up and dwon here, most others feel the same way; do you hvae anything to offer up in the way of football talk? if not go away and pull the wings off flies

      • heisenbyrg - Sep 20, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        You guys want to know what sucks? Getting excited to read 34 posts on the blog, only to find out that half of them relate to an inane argument between commenters.

        Lame guys.

  4. ndgoldandblue - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    What? You don’t like Seven Nation Army? Come on man. The White Stripes are awesome. Personally, I prefer Blue Orchid. I’d love to hear that song played during the game.

  5. zemaniak - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    How about more Irish music like the Murphys? Rumjacks, Tossers, Paddy and the Rats, Flogging Molly all have great songs (Irish Pub Song, Devil,s dance Floor, Freedom, etc) that would sound great in the stadium!
    And while you’re at it, add a section of bagpipe players, that should send chills down opponent’s spines!

    • fitz79 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      I agree 100%! And add some Pogues to that list too.

    • chisports14 - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      i do not think that would sound good at all…

      We need more modern music mixed with the oldies (All I do is win, etc.)

    • alsatiannd - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      if we’re throwing out suggestions, you have to include ND alum Ted Leo. Not gaelic, but his post punk alt music is awesome. some of his songs would light that place up.

    • chisports14 - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      Sorry, but playing the “Here come the Irish” is piercingly bad before the kickoff and then they play that song into Shipping up to Boston. Who are we? Boston College?

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM

      I vote for Unstoppable by Foxy Shazam which will be a classic stadium song once it catches on.

    • lorneoreilly - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      My vote is Spirit of the West’s “Home for a Rest”, preferrably starting at 0:45 mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPJD3qcIL7s

      Regardless of the play of a young and inexperienced Irish secondary, if the front 7 bring the game they brought for the Spartans then you will see another solid win (hopefully established by the contributions of Wood, Riddick and Atkinson III).

      Go Irish!

  6. seadomer - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    My previous call of 42-13 would be awesome for many reasons.
    Here’s the thing, our defence must its thing.
    Of course a win will be satisfying.
    The hard part and I say this because we all want to pay back, not embarress, just pay EVERYTHING back this time must include 3 elements
    1. There must be a quarter that we score 28 points
    2. There must be NO scoring in the 4th quarter by UM
    3. At no time should we help UM score.

    Bonus: Bama beat UM 41-14 … get it?

    • seadomer - Sep 20, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      Arrgh … “defence must DO their thing”

  7. nudeman - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    I have a feeling BK has done something unique to motivate them this week
    After the MSU win he’s no doubt petrified of a let down

    Did he make them watch the 4th qtr of last year’s game?
    Did he make the loser of some sort of fun competition in practice wear a wolverine hat?
    Sing “Hail To The Victors”?

    I see no way they lose this game

    • NotreDan - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      Nude;

      That is the undercurrent here in Ann Arbor, they are not confident.

      • nudeman - Sep 20, 2012 at 4:14 PM

        NotreDan,
        Right
        Just spoke with a guy I work with who’s a huge UM fan. Knowledgeable.
        Says they still suffer from RichRod legacy of small/quick OL and DLs. Very “un-Big 10″ like

        He also has no faith in them. Says ND by 2 TDs.

      • joeschu - Sep 20, 2012 at 8:08 PM

        Bill Simmons reverse jinx all the way… Until that clock hit’s 0:00 in the 4th, I’ll be on the edge of my seat, regardless of the score.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:37 PM

        Hey nude I said ND by two TDs, don’t let your work buddy horn in on my prediction. I have been pretty good so far this year. I was saying we’d cream MSU while most of the girl scouts on here were predicting how many scores we’d lose by. This team is good, with the potential to be great and we are gonna kick Michigan’s ass. It’s payback time.

  8. phillyj - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I always thought The Shondell’s “Crimson and clover” would make a great 3rd down song. Or maybe “Purple Rain” by Prince…

  9. fitz79 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Seven Nation Army is a good song but it’s been too overdone by various Big Ten schools. I don’t want to hear Irish fans chanting the same tune that they do at Ohio St and Penn St games. Shipping Up To Boston, Dropkick Murphy’s is always welcome as far as I’m concerned. I know it played before the bowl game last year in Orlando. Other than that I’d like to hear something fresh and new. Crazy train has too bad of a memory now I’m afraid.

    • dudeacow - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      They should start playing “Home” by Philip Philips. Great song to get your blood pumping. Either that or Enter Sandman.

      Take your pick.

    • chisports14 - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Shipping up to Boston is constantly played by Boston College at their games. We aren’t Boston College.

    • bernhtp - Sep 20, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      I still think that we should play a snippet from “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” for a for defensive stop, in recognition of Allen Pinkett. For a let’s get going on offense, I might use something even more hard core, e.g., the beginning licks of Tool’s “Bottom” (or at 0:27) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdIAg1k40uA

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Sep 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      Unstoppable by Foxy Shazam. I’m tellin ya. Awesome.

  10. dudeacow - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    I’m more stoked for this game than probably any other ND game I’ve watched. I hope the Irish go out there and punish the skunkbears for the last three years. In fact, if ND won the last three games against scUM, they would have a higher all-time win percentage and the highest in all of CFB.

    • NotreDan - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      how about Blur – Song 2?

  11. mountunionirish51 - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    The white stripes is a Michigan band. Cannot or shouldn’t use them. Agree with the drop kick Murphy’s. Also love enter sandman but that’s Kind of Virginia techs thing

  12. oxnardpat - Sep 20, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Based on the anticipated advantage ND has with their front 7 vs. the Michigan OL, I’d expect the ND game plan to use a lot of zone defense to try to help protect the d-backs while also allowing those d-backs to be facing Robinson while in coverage. That should help keep Robinson’s runs from getting too far down field while giving ND a chance to pick off some of those poor throws he tends to make now and then. I have confidence that KLM, Nix and Tuitt will get good pressure on Shoelace, and that the backers can contain his runs.

  13. nudeman - Sep 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Slightly off topic, but Spond played a great game last week.

    Interesting article about him in the ChiTrib today. When he had his recent migraines and was in the hosp, he actually lost feeling in one side of his body, thus the rumors of him actually having a stroke.

    BIg body and quick. He’ll be a big help in containing Denard.

  14. yaketyyacc - Sep 20, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    noise. rock ,usic. gimme me a break. MSU made lots of noiseand keys jangling; THEY LOST. at Notre Dame, we cheer our team, and have a little tune that has thundeed the hell out of opponents, for over a hundred years.. it is called THE NOTRE DAME VICTORY MARCH. by the way, who knows the fight songs for Central MIchigan or Cincinnati? they can have the rock music.
    The NOtre Dame team won’t let T’eo down, and he won’t let them down and they won’t let us down. and the leis, worn by thousands of cheering NOtre Dame followers will create a thunderous souund that will be heard all the way in Heaven by Two new souls in the heavenly choir.
    go irish, beat michigan. rah. oh too low? GOOOO IRISH, CRRRUUUSSSHHH MICHIGAN!!!

  15. norcalirish - Sep 21, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    The music is dumb. Shipping up to Boston? I LOLed when they played that against BC last year. If anything just amplify the band or get dr dye to actually allow the Bagpipe Band around the team.

    If you think that music is required for a loud stadium YouTube ND vs um crowd noise. 30,000 less people and it was so loud the refs threw a flag on the FANS. Ridiculous.

  16. bb90grad - Sep 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Nude,

    You let a UM doc work on your mouth? Brave soul…my father-in-law’s a UM dentist (with a daughter married to an ND architect) so I know what they’re like.

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