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IBG: Questions before Miami

Oct 4, 2012, 10:36 AM EDT

ibg_nokelly3

Apologies for the lame headline, but you can only look at that blank space in WordPress for so long before you give in. 

It’s an exciting time for Notre Dame football right now. The Irish are undefeated for the first time in a decade. Looking for their first five game winning streak under Brian Kelly and their first since 2006. And heading to Notre Dame’s home away from home, Chicago, to play one-time hated rival Miami.

As alums from around the country hop flights to the Windy City, and Chicago prepares for an Irish invasion, we caught up with HerLoyalSons.com’s GrantlandX, their shadowy, anonymous student reporter.

(Not to be confused with the team over at Grantland.com that continue to rip Notre Dame football whenever possible.)

As part of this weeks Irish Blogger Gathering, I asked GrantlandX some questions and he was kind enough to answer. If you’re looking for my take on three pressing questions, check out the Subway Domer for my answers.

***

1. Notre Dame is 4-0 for the first time in a decade. Outside of the QB position, where do the Irish need to improve the most if they hope to make and win a BCS game.

Offensive line play. Part of the reason the offense has had identity problems is because the line hasn’t been getting great push up front. If the Irish can establish a consistent run game early, the whole offensive gameplan opens up, and our inconsistent quarterback play becomes much more effective. The line is pretty well-seasoned, and it isn’t unreasonable to think that they can put it together soon and allow the offense to take a huge step forward. Specifically, Mike Golic Jr. needs to pick up his play, if you are looking for something to nitpick.

2. Let’s take the focus back to quarterback. How do you handle Everett Golson going forward? How do you build his confidence against a defense like Miami’s?

Well, those are two separate questions. If it was up to me, I’d make the switch to Tommy Rees moving forward. But let’s pretend I’m not me for a second, and how I would handle Everett Golson. I think we need to start building Everett’s confidence with a regular short passing game. Run a few more slants and screens on first and second down, instead of putting the offense in passing situations on third down, especially third-and-long. Everett is not completing a high percentages of his passes right now, and a short, safe passing game would allow him to improve in that area and boost his confidence.

3. As a student on campus, is there a different feel this year than in seasons past? Is there a belief that this could be the year, or is the student body still approaching the football like Lucy is the holder.

There’s definitely a mix of both of those feelings. While I figured a win over Michigan would be the final straw convincing a lot of people to buy in completely, the way in which we just managed to squeak out a W didn’t inspire much confidence in many of the students. We all know the defense is there, but not being able to score regularly scares everyone. I think many of the younger students are 100% in and optimistic, but upperclassmen have seen too much losing to put their faith in the Irish just yet. It may take a 7-0 start with a win over Oklahoma before everyone is on board. Regardless, the feeling is different on campus than it has been in years past, that much is for sure. There was never even a possibility of eventually coming on board in recent years. However, the trust just isn’t quite there yet.

  1. ndgoldandblue - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    First! You know, I’ve never done that, and now I know why. It’s lame.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      It’s hard to believe there are so many TR supporters after watching that walking turnover/hungover prone joke.

      Golson is struggling with accuracy for sure and all across the board, BUT this MIA D is awful and he will have his first highlight reel type day on the field.

      Kelly & Martin could certainly give the kid some screens, bubble screens, and roll-out bootlegs in to the flats to help him tho.

  2. nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I would not start Tommy Rees yesterday
    I would not start him today
    I would not start Tommy Rees tomorrow, this Saturday, or EVER AGAIN

    And I do not like green eggs and ham

    • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      This is a shocking change in opinion – I can’t believe I am reading this

      I only read it 50 times on Tuesday and still didn’t believe Nude isn’t on the TR train

      But now, the added weight in this statement by invoking Dr. Seuss – I’m sold, Nude is not a fan of TR

      • onebigloadofcrap - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        well their is goat not talking football again, do you ever talk football, my friend? or do you just come here to vent at people because you have a sad life and a bad screen name? why don’t you just once post something game related? nude posts about football, you post about nude, and your stuff is frankly never any good or funny

      • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

        I am estopped from engaging with the Goat (thank God) but will say that I do like the loadster

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        load – I wouldnt expect a newcomer like yourself to understand, but “their their” it will be ok

        So nude comments about football, i comment about nude, you comment about me – so “were” does that leave you?

      • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        I will no doubt regret this (engaging goat) but dude, why not just ONCE post something about ND football without taking a shot at someone? Are you really that angry of a guy that you can’t control that impulse?

        Try it; you might just like it

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        dude, anyone and everyone who has spent more than 5 minutes on this site knows your opinion on TR

        ive been posting about only football long before you ever made your way here

        no anger at all, just sick of reading the same damn comment 1000 times a week – especially since we are freakin 4-0!

        so Ill extend this offer – jump off the TR bashing bandwagon until something THIS season is warranted and Ill jump of the nude bashing

      • ndirish10 - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:57 PM

        Dammit nude, now you have me having to look for my pocket dictionary!!! “Estopped”? WTF? By the way, great way to channel Dr. Seuss.

      • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 6:43 PM

        goat
        I would rather take a kerosene enema than make any sort of agreement with you
        I’ve extended an olive branch to you before, once privately in email
        But you were too small of a man to even respond
        No deal

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

        typical nude response – ill give you some credit for actually posting a comment that had no anti-TR slant

        enjoy the enema, I just sent a pack of matches express mail to AZ, have a great weekend!!

    • ndgoldandblue - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      You do not like them, nudemanIam?

    • tburke9601 - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      First post ever! at least on this site.

      I’ll be honest last year at the beginning of the year I was begging for tommy. at the end, ehh not so much. IMO its either Golson or Kiel, no i dont want to see Hendrix in at QB. But at the same time Tommy still has a very good win percentage and if you look at the UND.com game notes, his completion percentage is at the top of all ND qb’s. He makes for a very reliable backup and I have no issue with him coming in for relief (as long as he doesn’t bring back his other side).

      The best thing ND can do is establish its running game on the back of Cierre “The best running back on the team” Woods. Seriously no offense to Theo, but you ain’t cutting it kid. Give me some one with the speed and cutting ability and vision that can take our running game to the next level and Woods is the only one on the team with that ability.

      • tburke9601 - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:14 PM

        I’ll even admit that GAIII is a great change of pace back, but he is not an every down back.

      • NotreDan - Oct 4, 2012 at 6:34 PM

        tburke; Welcome. Good post and I agree.

  3. tonyricearoni - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Probably an unnecessary nitpick, but if we beat Oklahoma and are still undefeated, we would be 8-0, not 7-0. Hopefully, this doesn’t count as me jinxing things by merely typing that sentence.

  4. bearcatirishfan - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    But he checks us into good plays!

    • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      I feel like I’m missing out on something

      Since so many have repeated that line of BS (and bearcat, I think you’re just messing around), I assume that there is a rather large segment of the ND fandom that actually hears the ND communication between Martin/BK/QB.

      Is there a radio station or short wave frequency that carries this? If so, what’s the frequency (Kenneth)?

      • ndgoldandblue - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        All right. I think nude has used up his pop-culture references for the day.

    • jimbasil - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      Ha

  5. yaketyyacc - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    you do not build a house from the roof down. you do not hold the National Championship trophy and then fill in with the remaining eight games.
    with the first four wins, we have laid a solid foundation. With Miami, we start the framing of the first floor. if the first floor is not built, the house will not be built. as you move upwards, the house plans become more complex. If Notre Dame holds Miami to a few points and then the offense REALLY matures with solid playcalling, then the rest of the schedule becomes even more difficult. How difficult? Just watch the teams ahead of us playing this weekend.
    7-0 or 8-0 is not 12-0. this game MUST be pllayed with more intensity then the last. it will be. blind faith, oh no, confidence in these fine young men and their coaches…..

  6. don74 - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I read Eric Hansen’s chat this am in the South Bend Tribune. About three people asked about the post Keith put up the other day. He hadn’t seen it. It was sent to him and he basically said there was nothing to it.

    His stance is game planning for Golson as a starter opens more of the offense. Game planning for TR signals to the opposing D what ND will be.

    He reiterated Kelly is committed to EG and will liberally use TR as a backup. His view is that both players are cool with the situation.

    So, the drama continues……………..

    • dmac4real - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      So God did hear my prayers last night then. Good to know.

    • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      I like Keith and I like this blog a lot.
      But He seems to have a blind spot here on this Tommy Rees thing.

      Are there some on the team who think Rees should start? Without question.
      And you’d have to believe one of them is Eifert who’s seen his production drop off the charts without his boy at QB. Maybe someone like Cave and Goodman too; both seniors who are running out of time and don’t want anything to do with grooming a new QB.

      Having said that, to write there is the possibility of a locker room “revolt” if Rees isn’t reinserted just seems like a real stratch and I think Keith heard what he wanted to hear.

      Look, Rees threw for 30 yards against Purdue and 100 against UM in nearly 3 qtrs. Not exactly threatening any records there. To his credit he hasn’t turned it over. But I will never be sold on this guy as a full time starter. NEVER. Don’t care what the fu**ing seniors think.

      • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        stretch

      • domer77blowsgoats - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        30 yards vs PU = game winning drive

        100 yards vs UM = game winning TD run

        ND 4-0 and #9

        what better of a start to the season did you imagine – i can probably find dozens of nude-ictions that stated 2-2 or 3-1 for god knows what reason(s)

        we are 4-0 dude – put the automatic bash TR button away and enjoy the ride while it lasts!

      • ndfaithful - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        ugh. with all due respect Nude,

        ya makin me tired about this.

      • NotreDan - Oct 4, 2012 at 6:48 PM

        To be real honest, I think Nude is right on with this one. He’s not advocating to throw TR out of the locker room, he’s been complimentary of Tommy’s play in his current role, and I think he holds the exact same attitude as coach Kelly. Golson is first, Tommy is in relief if we need him.

        For Keith to jump out now with the “revolt” speculation is a little aggressive, but I think we are talking apples and oranges. IF Golson struggles (either very poor incompletion %, turnovers, BAD decisions) and shows that he cannot be the guy for Miami and beyond, I think it is THAT scenario where there would be a revolt (probably among us too, including Nude) if something wasn’t done. Keith is NOT saying there IS a revolt now to put Tommy in.

        The real question is; IF Golson doesn’t stick, then what? Kelly’s dilemma is thus: Burn a year on Kiel and not have him be ready now (Like Golson wasn’t ready last year eh?) and end up with TR, try Hendrix (no in any scenario IMO but maybe) and end up with TR, or just go to TR.

        The tale of the tape is what we will all be saying here if Golson can’t get things together in the next game or two. Based on what we know now, the high probability thing to do is go with TR at that point. I know it, Nude…. I’m talking directly to you here buddy… you know it, and most other people do to. If he’s our best shot, I KNOW you wouldn’t burn the chance at more wins rather than less (nor would BK) just to be satisfied with downing TR.

        And the end of the day, I trust BK. He’s done pretty dang good so far I think with what he has to work with, the tough schedule, the pressure cooker, etc.

        Let’s see what happens in Chicago. I’ll be watching Golson very closely. Let’s hope BK and Martin have installed some great stuff around the kid to help make him successful.

      • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:20 PM

        NDdan
        All true.
        I don’t want Rees up in front of a squadron of jihadists with machine guns.
        Just don’t start him.

        IF Golson struggles against Miami, I’d still start him against Stanf, unless he comes completely unhinged and can’t even take a snap. But I feel for that kid. I sense he’s incredibly sensitive and being yanked twice now has probably really shaken him up.

        As far as Kiel, probably can’t play the guy now, but if you’ve ever heard him speak this is one intelligent and poised kid. I bet he’s doing well with the playbook, as much as is possible without playing.

        And yes, if Tommy plays then I’m all in for Tommy and ND.

      • nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:26 PM

        Hey Goat, you won’t find any “nude-ictions” of 2-2 from me.
        I wrote right before Navy that I thought the Irish had a better chance to be 10-2 this year than 8-4. Go look it up.

        Saw MSU as a potential pothole, but they navigated that nicely.
        I like this team.
        Just need more “O”

      • glowplugv - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:22 PM

        I think it is wishful (and not very smart thinking) to include Kiel into the QB mix. Unless he has substantially improved over his Blue and Gold game performance (looked tentative, accuracy issues and just plane overwhelmed) and his grasp of the offense is better than Golson, Coach Kelly would be foolish to burn a of eligibility (and the learning he could derive from it) when he has Rees and Hendrickson next up. No, the QB will be from one of those three.
        I keep reminding you all, style points don’t count: “Just win, baby.”

      • matymus - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:24 PM

        I’ve not posted here for a very long time. Nude, I’ve read many of your posts for quite awhile. Oh how you make me laugh. :-) In all seriousness, though, I have to disagree with you–I don’t think Keith has a blind spot regarding TR. I think that Keith, like most of us Irish fans, just BK to put his team in the best possible position to be successful. Thus far, EG has been inconsistent, as much as I love his upside potential. Keith seems to be a pragmatist in this situation. I think it’s a tough call.

        Personally, I can’t stand the idea of starting TR again; however, if he has to come in and win games, while EG is still improving, so be it. We need to stop the QB carousel, but this year we’re in a QB purgatory, apparently. Anyway, just my two cents. Keep bringin’ the entertainment!

  7. c4evr - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Hey, I know how to build EG’s confidence… GET A FREAKING RUNNING GAME.

    • tburke9601 - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      The only way to do that is with wood running the ball. Will never happen with # 6 in the backfield.

  8. mtflsmitty - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Have you noticed how momentum for an opinion/idea gaines momentum in the blogosphere without any additional data to support the view…other than posters restating what previous posters wrote before them?

    While Golson has not been a star thus far, I think much of the “he looks shaken, inconfident” and “he’s inaccurate” talk is blown way out of proportion. I trust you all have more facts at your disposal than I, but going into the UM game wasnt his completion percentage quite good? If I recall correctly he was taken out of that game after only 3 series. I agree he did not look impressive in those snaps. But how many times have you all seen a very good QB start a game slowly, only to turn it on once the game settled a bit?

    Im not arguing BK was wrong in his decison to bring in TR. But I do think all the concern over Golson is dramatically overblown.

    (sorry for typos. on fone at airport)

  9. bearcatirishfan - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    What? Me joke? Never! Actually there was a question about that in BK’s presser this week so I couldn’t resist. The other thing he said what about the white noise. I’m pretty sure after the 180 mega comment thread the other day we are part of that white noise.

    One other thing about the two QB’s I’ve not seen mentioned, in college football how often does a head coach have a more experienced backup to turn to when needed? Everyone is saying he should pick one and stick with them, but outside what the espn pundits say to drive up their ratings, why not have a guy learn on the job and another contribute when needed. I don’t think you ever see this because it doesn’t happen in college football. Usually the best guy starts out, get’s experience and is the guy for a year or three because none else has experience. NE has a circumstance that does not happen in college football too often.

    One last thought, it’s not unprecedented in ND football history. Davie did it with Ron powlus and Jarious Jackson once he realized powlus was done. He swapped them In and out pretty liberally.

  10. seadomer - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Since I joined this fun (actually commenting) this August, the past few threads made me wonder what it must be like when ND is down.
    Thus, I think I will check out Alabama’s site and learn the modus operandi on bitching going forward.

  11. bearcatirishfan - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Two words nude “check” and “good-plays”. Well two with the liberal use of a hyphen.

    I honestly hate this line of thinking Rees is not Andrew luck.

  12. nudeman - Oct 4, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Just heard a great stat:
    ND has allowed 3 TDs this year
    Miami has allowed 21, including 14 on the ground

    Wow

    • bernhtp - Oct 4, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      I heard the same stat on the II podcast. Yes, wow!

      Sampson and Prister are expecting ND to blow them out. If the Miami line can keep Morris from being crushed and dismembered by the ND pass rush, he will likely make big plays and put up some points. Golson has a big opportunity to have a big day. My guess is that Miami will try to load the box to limit that ND running game against their pathetic rush defense. This will leave lots of 1-on-1 matchups that Golson needs to exploit. He should be able to make a video from this that favorably compares with his high school highlights.

      • NotreDan - Oct 4, 2012 at 6:52 PM

        Let’s also remember that Miami is ALWAYS fast… I am really looking for some creativity on misdirection in space to take advantage of the fact that they are going to over-pursue… these could result in some huge chunks and get the game out of control for Miami quickly.

  13. irishinmich - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Hard to get too critical of much at 4-0, but how many more sputtering Offensive performances until Martin starts taking some heat? I think we have the horses on O to be a lot more productive then this. I haven’t found myself yelling “Great Call” at the T.V. much this year. I was impressed with some of misdirection against MSU, and the Rees draw against Mich. Even nude dug that draw. Ha

    I appreciate relying on the D, and bringing EG along cautiously. I just hope the extra week pays some dividends q.

    • dudeacow - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      I agree, but I was happy with the play calling until the second half of the MSU game and the scUM game. Actually, I bet I jinxed the Irish as I made a comment during halftime of the MSU game, “I’ve been very pleased with Kelly’s play calling so far this year.” Oops.

  14. dnice024 - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    An interesting comment from E. Hanson yesterday during his live chat about C. Wood – and I’m paraphrasing -”finding other ways to put himself in the dog house.” I have to believe there’s something to that because, as some other folks here have pointed out, he’s clearly the #1 RB in the talented stable and not getting the carries I would have thought after coming back from suspension.

    I’ll go ahead and wager that CW breaks out this week (100+, 2TDs) and if ND gets a “MSU-game” Golson performance, it’s “goodnight, nurse” early for the ‘Canes.

  15. bernhtp - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Kelly’s media session addresses many of the issues raised for the last few days.

    • ndfaithful - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:05 PM

      Nice. “Win Right Now”
      Go IRISH!

  16. plact11 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    hey everyone, long time reader/first time poster on this particular site.

    For the first time since he has been here I think Coach Kelly is handling the QBs perfectly. TR is great as a middle reliever / closer when needed. We do not want him starting. Shame on Eifert if he is the one crying to reporters. We’re 4-0.

    Lots of chatter here, but trust me, the people advocating TR starting would not be happy if he did. If you look at what he runs when he is in, it is about 20% of the playbook, if that. his strength is in what Kelly is using him for, which is a steady hand to run the offense and make the right reads when EG becomes shaky or overwhelmed, which is going to happen with a first time starter who is struggling with ND’s tough school/football schedule as well as Kelly’s three-phone-book-sized playbook. He is allowing EG to learn on the job, but isn’t willing to lose a game doing it. Nice work, I say. The proof is in the pudding.

    If TR starts this year, and I hope he doesn’t, opposing DCs will be jumping for joy. Believe me, when Golden says there’s no difference, that’s BS gamesmanship. He is PRAYING that Rees plays. Sure, he can sneak in a play-extending run or two (the MI TD was a good call because NO-one expected it), but over the course of the game he is not going to beat you running and he is not going to hit the long ball with any consistency. He simply can’t. EG HASN’T, yet, but he can and will, given enough reps. Big difference. Look at the tapes and compare the velocity of the ball when it’s in the air. When we go against real defenses in the two weeks after the Miami game, any TR passes hung up like that will be eaten alive, just like they were last year.

    EG was the sixth best all-time passing QB in national high school history. He has touch and velocity that TR will never have. The ONLY advantage that TR has for Kelly right now is that his temperament is even and he has the experience to be able to get you into the right plays and make the right reads and not to get flustered. That’s it.

    If you are an opposing DC and TR is starting, it’s party time. You rush 3 and drop everyone else into shallow coverage. That’s all. Game over – especially if you have practiced those looks all week. Even last year, with the greatest receiver in school history to throw to, that was not nearly enough to beat anyone good. We barely squeaked by a crappy BC team who did it. If you do that against Golson he will roll out and get the corner like he did for TDs against Purdue and MSU, or he will find someone behind you and get the ball to them, like he will do tomorrow at least 2 times.

    The THREAT of running is what this whole offense is predicated on, and the opponent being able to plan for the absence of that threat makes for offensive performances like we saw last year against BC and FSU. Look at the Cincy tapes. When a mobile QB rolls out, he forces the safety to make a decision: cover my man or come up to prevent the QB getting the corner.

    Go back and look at the Purdue game, there is one perfectly executed play where EG rolls, looks like he is going to take off, then finds the coverage hole to hit the TE (Niklas I think) for a huge first down.

    That’s the Kelly offense. You’ll see it tomorrow, and hopefully the rest of the year.

    ND 44 Miami 17

    GO IRISH

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