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The good, the bad, the ugly: Notre Dame vs. BYU

Oct 21, 2012, 7:57 PM EST

BYU v Notre Dame Getty Images

It was a Saturday devoid of style points for No. 5 Notre Dame, who got a victory without playing their best yesterday. On a weekend where the rest of the top five all rolled to easy victories, the Irish slugged it out against BYU, needed to come back from down a touchdown to win in the second half.

Style points didn’t really mean much on Saturday, especially with Notre Dame heading to Norman, Oklahoma this weekend. With the Sooners opening up as 9.5 point favorites this afternoon, it’s clear that the Irish have their hands full this weekend.

Before we turn our focus to one of the biggest games of the last decade, let’s run through the good, bad, and ugly from Notre Dame’s 17-14 victory.

THE GOOD

Theo Riddick. I feel like I deserve to eat a little crow on this one, and Riddick was the spark plug that helped pick the Irish offense up when it was in desperate need of a big play.

Riddick’s 143 yards on 15 carries was a career high and his 55-yard run on third and one was the biggest play of his career. At this point, it’s not worth focusing on the things Riddick isn’t — a breakaway home-run threat for sure, after getting tracked down by BYU defenders — but he’s a complete back that runs hard and seems like a great leader.

Cierre Wood. As much as I liked the game Riddick played, I really enjoyed watching Wood run. He’s without question the team’s best running back, and on Saturday he continued to make big plays all afternoon, including a terrific 22-yard scamper late in the game that helped seal the victory.

The next step for Wood is getting some involvement in the passing game. I’ve got no idea why Wood hasn’t been incorporated into the passing game yet this season. His two catches for nine yards takes away a really important part of his skillset, and almost makes you forget that Wood had 47 catches over the past two seasons.

Getting Wood open in space, especially running wheel routes or easy swing passes would give opposing defenses something to think about, especially considering that role has been made exclusive to Riddick this season.

Tyler Eifert. It was awfully nice seeing Eifert be the most dangerous player on the football field again on Saturday. Even if it was only for the game’s first quarter. Eifert had four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, moving him up in the Notre Dame record books and earning the game ball from head coach Brian Kelly.

Danny Spond. We mentioned it yesterday, but it’s worth hitting on again. Danny Spond played great yesterday, and has been the unsung hero of this defense. I was unaware that Spond was playing cornerback — cornerback! — in the nickel, but that goes to show you what kind of athlete the Irish have in the Colorado native.

Spond will face another big test this weekend, but his ability to step up and seize that outside linebacker job helps keep Prince Shembo on the field and keeps the Irish rush defense stout.

Kapron Lewis-Moore. He’s not quite an afterthought, but the fifth-year senior played a heck of a game on Saturday, racking up a sack, making five tackles and putting constant pressure on Riley Nelson.

Playing opposite Stephon Tuitt has its privileges, and it’s good to see KLM taking advantage of them. This weekend against Oklahoma he’ll need to continue to make big plays and get after the passer.

Stephon Tuitt. The sophomore went back to dominating at the line of scrimmage in both the run and pass game. Another multi-sack game (1.5) and five tackles is a nice day at the office.

Manti Te’o. That’s four interceptions for Te’o and another double-digit tackle game. Both Te’o and Bennett Jackson are tied for fourth in the country with four interceptions, pretty impressive when you think about it.

Winning the close ones. After being 2-9 in games decided by seven points of less, the Irish have turned the tables in close games. This season it has been Notre Dame getting it done in crunch time, not letting something happen to them. Notre Dame is now 7-1 in its last eight games decided by seven points or less.

“When we get into close games, the mentality now is we’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” Te’o said after the game. “It’s no longer just crossing our fingers and saying, ‘Please, please, please,’ and wait for the next shoe to drop. We’re always trying to be that person to go out and act and make things happen.”

That’s what the Irish did in the second half, not letting penalties or bad luck stop the comeback. When Riley Nelson and the Cougars had a chance to go down and win the game, it took two plays for that opportunity to be vanquished.

Quite a change from what things used to be like.

THE BAD

Sloppy Penalties. It was an uncharacteristic first half for the Irish on Saturday, with sophomores Troy Niklas and Matthias Farley taking really stupid penalties that hurt the team. Niklas’ 15-yarder backed Notre Dame up early while Farley’s tacked on 15-yards to an already big BYU play.

Add in Louis Nix’s facemask, the absolute worst penalty at a really bad time for the Irish defense and another false start along the offensive line and all five mistakes were mental mistakes, and certainly things that need to be cleaned up before next Saturday.

Kyle Brindza. The Irish’s sophomore kicker has made some big kicks this year. But he left six points on the board yesterday on field goals he needed to make. Brindza knocked two of four kickoffs into the end zone, but he’s got to do a better job cashing in points when he’s called upon.

Settling for Field Goals. Notre Dame converted 3 of 5 red zone opportunities, with Brindza’s misses the two disappointments. And while making the kicks is important to Brian Kelly, not settling for three is even more important.

“Two missed field goals, those have to be touchdowns on those drives. We can’t settle for field goals,” Kelly said Sunday. “As we go through it, what we’re looking for is how we can put more points on the board.  Settling for field goals has really been my focus here the last hour because, again, we just finished up with all of our breakdowns, and we’ll take a closer look at it, but again, I’ll go back and say we left too many points out there.  We’ve got to put more points on the board.”

Spoken like a coach that’s about to take on a top ten opponent.

Hot and Cold streaks. The Irish got off to a quick start in the passing game, with Tommy Rees doing a nice job stretching the field with Tyler Eifert. Yet after the first quarter, Rees and the passing game shut down, with Notre Dame seemingly unwilling to stretch the field vertically until TJ Jones caught a deep throw down the far sideline.

With Tommy Rees behind center, the offense seemed to slow itself down, working horizontally far too often instead of stretching the ball down the field. The only time we saw Davaris Daniels was when a football clanged off his facemask. The only great throws Rees seemed to make were downfield deep balls, a problem area last season, compared to his usually accurate underneath possession throws.

Notre Dame can win by managing the game. But with Rees running the show, the Irish didn’t attack BYU’s defense often enough, with only four players making catches.

Did Rees play great football? No. And certainly not good enough to make Kelly’s decision to go back to Golson as starter something he had to think about. But put some of that on a conservative game plan that made it awfully tough on itself.

Special Teams. Taking the special teams out of Mike Elston’s hands hardly made things better for the Irish. Right now, Notre Dame has been no better than ordinary on special teams, a huge disappointment considering the personnel the Irish have.

Let’s take a quick run through the units through seven games:

Opponent Kickoff Return: 94th.
Kickoff Return: 97th.
Opponent Punt Return: 31st.
Punt Return: 114th.

It’s certainly tougher to return punts in college with the proliferation of spread formations in coverage. But right now, it feels like Brian Kelly seems happy to merely guard against fake punts as opposed to trying to set up an actual return.

Just as important, after taking two kicks to the house last season, George Atkinson hasn’t done anything in the return game, and his blocking has been bad. Against an opponent like Oklahoma, the Irish need to be better than mediocre in special teams, and try to get a big play out of one of those units.

Lastly, Notre Dame needs to stop getting demolished in the punt game. Ben Turk’s 40.9 yard average isn’t terrible, but it’s 75th in the country. But add in the fact that Irish opponents are averaging 44 yards a kick, the 10th best against any team, and it’s keeping the Irish in bad field position too often.

Turk’s punt into the endzone was a terrible boot by a senior that should know better. It didn’t end up hurting Notre Dame, but Turk didn’t do the Irish any favors.

THE UGLY

The victory. That’s the definition of an ugly win. Mediocre red zone scoring, ground it out running, and winning without playing its best.

Fan Mental Toughness. During the live blog, you’d have thought Notre Dame Stadium was being torched by hoodlums and the Irish were losing by double-digits. The hecklers and boo-birds were everywhere, blaming Tommy Rees, Brian Kelly, play-calling, strategy, the announcers and every other reason under the sun. And the Irish were losing by just a touchdown at halftime.

Sure, it’s been a tough couple decades for Notre Dame fans. But man — the Irish are off to their best start in a decade when most were thinking an eight-win season would be a good year. On Saturday, it was doom and gloom and sky-falling stuff, even with the Irish holding on for the win.

With the Irish heading to Norman nearly double-digit underdogs, it’s a perfect situation for Brian Kelly and his Notre Dame team. You can play the nobody believes card, and get one of America’s most popular teams to actually think it’s just them against the world.

So while many of you take to the internet to blow off steam, suffer among like-minded fans, or enjoy the group therapy aspect of it all, here’s a pleasant reminder that things are good in Notre Dame nation. As good as they’ve been in a long time.

Now enjoy it already.

 

 

  1. mentoneirish - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    I’ll “enjoy it” when this offense plays to its full potential for 60 minutes.
    This Saturday will need to be that day.

    • mikemcmack - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      If you can’t enjoy 7 and 0, you probably don’t enjoy much of anything.

      • joeblk10 - Oct 21, 2012 at 9:06 PM

        Agreed mike! Some people like to complain just to complain. Its ridiculous. Reading the comments on the five things column you’d think we were 1-6 losing by 30 a game. The team definitely has things to work on and clean up but its 7-0 people! Haven’t been there in a while so be happy!!

      • mentoneirish - Oct 21, 2012 at 9:36 PM

        Playing a team with these numbers will not be a joy if Ben Turk runs out early and often, as was the case against Purdue, Michigan, Stanford and BYU.
        Execution has to get better.

        PASSING YARDS
        288.5 – 25th Overall
        RUSHING YARDS
        199.73 – 4th Overall
        POINTS FOR
        44.7 – 5th Overall
        POINTS AGAINST
        15.3 – 12th Overall

        7-0 is great.

        8-0 will be a joy.

      • irish9314 - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:50 PM

        mentoneirish while I do think we need to play better… Those numbers are against a fairly easy schedule. With their only true test being from Kansas state, which they lost too. KSU held OKLA to 88 rushing yards and took the ball away 3 times. Also kept them to 40% conversion rate on 3rd down. The one stat that does stick out is their passing, which KSU gave up 298 yards in the air. This is the part we should be concerned about, although I do believe our passrush is better than KSU’s.

        My vote is to have our best game of the year and blow them out. Really make a statement. Like miami style.

        GO IRISH!

        PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION

      • c4evr - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM

        As long as the 7 aren’t points that the offense gives up, then yes, I’ll enjoy 7-0 as well.

  2. ER Jedi - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    The biggest difference for be between this one and the past 15 years “successful” irish teams, is the fact that we’re winning the 4th quarter. Evident, especially in the last two weeks, is the fact that the ND lines were tougher, stronger, and had more endurance and steam when it mattered most. The basketball on grass may never come, but when you can out tough the other team, it doesn’t always have to.

    • joeschu - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Yeah… the Te’o quote is SO telling:

      “When we get into close games, the mentality now is we’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” Te’o said after the game. “It’s no longer just crossing our fingers and saying, ‘Please, please, please,’ and wait for the next shoe to drop. We’re always trying to be that person to go out and act and make things happen.”

      Sounds like we finally may be eradicating the stain of the Davie era.

  3. kgirish - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Keith,
    I totally agree…the return game is terrible AGAIN this year. I keep waiting for Davonte Neal to rip a huge play….why play him this year if you don’t/can’t set him up for some sort of return. We’ve been missing guys with speed for a long long time…now we’ve got some guys with great/elite speed….we need to use it. Theme of the week (from the movie Polar Express)…BELIEVE!

  4. irish9314 - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    HELL NO… We are FREAKING 7-0. Quit all the BS. Be happy!! Hell even if we “lose” to USC and Ok we will be 10-2. With a possible BCS bowl bid. It amazes me that there are fans that complain sooo much. I wasn’t worried yesterday because I knew we had the best defense in the country. We are know for our halftime adjustments. Keep fighting Notre Dame, because I am fight for you!

    WE ARE THE FIGHTING IRISH.

    PS… Funny you bring up the announcers, because they do suck. Even though we are home, they seem to hate on us every home game. But let the haters hate. Feels great to be 7-0!

  5. irish9314 - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Also sitting here watching the BCS countdown, watching them hate on ND. They just said they would take an undefeated Kansas team over an Undefeated ND team at the end of the year. Man it is crazy how much ESPN hates ND.

    • c4evr - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      I’d take an undefeated Kansas team over ND as well, but seeing as how KU is currently 1-6, I don’t see that happening… unless you are talking basketball.

  6. mannydomer61 - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Jesse Palmer is an idiot, he must not have a clue of the schedule the Irish have faced week in week out.

  7. ndfanwabashman - Oct 21, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    The Good: The fans in the stadium. Everyone was standing and making noise on important downs. Also, BYU gets a lot of jokes hurled their way because they represent the LDS. However, they have the classiest nicest fans in America. It really makes you see the right way to act as a visiting fan.

    The Bad: The vertical passing game. Opponents are now content to single cover ND’s wide receivers on the edge. If they can’t throw the ball deep with no safety help over the top it’s not going to matter how good the run game is. Notre Dame can’t block 9 guys on every play.

    The Ugly: Mark May.

    • irish9314 - Oct 21, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      Mark May is a punk for sure.

    • seadomer - Oct 21, 2012 at 11:43 PM

      Mark May is 0 fer 7.
      But I do like the silence from him recently

      • gtizzo - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:29 AM

        Mark May picked Navy…even after the Irish destroyed the Midshipmen last season!! He picks just so he can argue with Lou.

      • irishgal - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

        Let’s be sure and show Coach Lou the love though. He picks Notre Dame every week, no matter what May says. It will be really fun to see them together for the ND-Pitt game.

        Go Irish-beat Sooners and Panthers!

    • gtizzo - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:27 AM

      Don’t pick on the ND offense or the passing game. Why? Here your go there was a team that went 2 for 16 on 3rd downs. There QB threw for just 97 yards total! There was another team that won by 33 points and had only 183 yards of offense. Can you name the two teams? The first was LSU and the second was the Florida gators. Defense wins! ND plays a little defense just like those teams in the SEC!

      • c4evr - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        Just not against other SEC teams.

  8. mtflsmitty - Oct 21, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    In terms of the season as a whole, I never read anyone here in the spring/summer predict 7-0. Most, including me, were hoping to get out of sept with only one loss. And yet, so many here have become infected with success and have lost perspective. I hope we win this weekend. But if we don’t, it doesn’t mean we’re not for real. It will mean we’re 7-1 which, preseason, anyone of us would wagered Keith’s left arm to have at this point in the season.

    I have a feeling BK did not have the offensive frontal lobotomy some of you are claiming. I think BK has a game plan each week, and a plan for the season. He’s game planning for a W each week, but not using the whole playbook for every opponent. I guarantee the lack of screens, quick slants, draws, vertical passing, and punt return game are not accidents. Like the fake end-around over and over, each previous play sets up what is coming next. I expect we will see several brand new looks this week, and the fact we haven’t given Bobby S and his retarded brother hours of game film to study will be to our advantage, and will give us the best chance for the W.

    And if we don’t W this weekend it just means 10-2 is worse case scenario, though 11-1 more likely.

    What a fun season! If only some of you could start enjoying it. Try some antibiotics. Should work wonders for the success infection you’re suffering with.

    • irish5045 - Oct 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      I have actually stated on numerous sites and blogs that ND would go undefeated and win the NC this year. I based this prediction on the eerie similarities between this team and the 88 Championship team as well as the incredible team chemistry this team has. Let me show some examples: A mobile QB from South Carolina…Rice & Golson, a great nose guard like Zorich & Lewis-Moore, great linebackers such as Stonebreaker, Bolcar & Teo & Fox, stout DE like Stams and Tuitt. Then you have converted DB’s like Terrell & Jackson. Throw in our RB’s like Watters, Brooks and Johnson & Wood, Riddick, and Atkinson. The only difference is special teams where I believe Holtz was a genius because 2012 has Neal…if given the opportunity could be as good as Ishmail, but Kelly wont come out of punt return safe. I have a feeling that may all change this weekend though because Stoops doesn’t run many trick plays and Kelly is scared of the trick play! Overall, the Irish are due for a perfect game and after the locker room reaction after BYU I wouldn’t be surprised if it came this weekend!!!

  9. nudeman - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Lots of stupid stuff here. Why does anyone care what Jesse Palmer or ESPN thinks of ND?

    Let them hate on us. Fine by me.

    BTW, want to know something GREAT about Ishaq?
    So do I.

    • joeymagarac - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      Last season, Nudeman offered thoughtful, insightful commentary that always included at least one shot at Tommy Rees, whether or not it has anything to do with the rest of the comment.

      This season, Nudeman is offering thoughtful, insightful commentary that always includes at least one shot at Ishaq Williams, again whether or not it has anything to do with the rest of the comment.

      The transition has been absolutely seamless, and I just wanted to compliment you on that.

    • ctfivula - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      He had one of the best missed tackles I have ever seen.

  10. dmac4real - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Sigh. I hate being critical, but every article theres at least on little subtle thing:

    “But put some of that on a conservative game plan that made it awfully tough on itself.”

    So when Tommy Rees starts, conservative is what kills the offense…Am I the only one who remembers the article last month on how conservative offenses can be good AKA Oregon.

    When Rees starts theres excuses like this. When EG starts its “well we have to play conservative because he cant check us into the right plays”……Give me a break.

    • georgegipp - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:50 AM

      TOTALLY agree, dmac. It’s no news to anyone who reads this blog that Keith has a huge TR bias.

      From what I saw the “TR checks us into good plays” argument was TOTALLY destroyed by TRs checks after Theo’s 55 yard run. We had first and goal from the 9. Three straight runs that went nowhere. BK admitted on his conference call that we were in the wrong play.

  11. irishdodger - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    The only chance Rees has to excel in a game like yesterday is if BK commits to a run-first mentality that can open up the pass game. Otherwise, you get what we saw yesterday…or worse.

    Rees is three years into this offense & he still has trouble getting plays off before the play clock expires. The one attribute he supposedly possesses is accuracy & that was nowhere to be found. I will say the INT was on Daniels…ironically that was one of Rees more accurate passes.

    I think ND is at least a year away. I predicted 8-4 before the season, so this 7-0 start is like playing with house money. They’ll be underdogs vs OU & SC, so if they lose those it won’t be a shock. That said, 10-2 should be attainable as there is zero excuse in losing to Pitt, BC & WF. I’ll take that w/ a chance at 11-1 or 12-0 all day long.

    • seadomer - Oct 21, 2012 at 11:48 PM

      But ,,, but …. we HAVE to beat USC, we really have to, I need to get that Barkley-smiling-sword-rasing picture out of my head that’s there since Aug, … we have to somehow

    • georgegipp - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:52 AM

      I am starting to suspect that a large portion of the blame with regards to getting plays off on time comes from the sideline. For whatever reason, BK just can’t seem to get the play to the QB (Rees or Golson) on time.

      • bb90grad - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        Agree completely. Can we go back to the arm bands already?

        Also, not complaining (well a little) but can we hit a receiver in stride? Would like a few yards after catch if possible.

      • bb90grad - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:56 AM

        Oops, forgot, we’re a running team. Never mind…

      • c4evr - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        GeorgeGipp said it, not me…

  12. jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Keith, I tried to stay positive during the live blog. In fact, I even pointed out that the D still did not yield a rushing TD. The game had a weird vibe in that, even when we captured the lead, it still felt like we were losing. As much as people tried to say this game wasn’t a trap before it was played, that’s exactly what it became. Glad we escaped the trap with a win. I really like us as the underdog this weekend. I think Kelly will have them come out focused and as a cohesive unit after hammering home the us against the world message all week long. I think this will be a great motivator for this team. In fact, I think ND wins big, makes a real statement in Norman and gets one step closer to the NC game. I think our offense will no longer be vanilla, showing some looks that haven’t been seen yet, which BK has been saving for this occasion. I think our D plays true lights out defense and we all come away saying Holy Sh**, I can’t believe what I just saw, I shoulda put money on that game! I’m telling you, there’s something special about this year.

    • ndfaithful - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:21 AM

      “The game had a weird vibe in that, even when we captured the lead, it still felt like we were losing.”

      This is all a matter of attitude. I never felt like we were losing even when we were losing. I’m not preaching to you jersey, but it’s as simple as your attitude and others around here too.

      • ndgoldandblue - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:46 AM

        ndfaithful,
        I know we’ve gotten into it before, so I want to let you know that I’m not trying to be confrontational for the sake of being confrontational. It’s clear that you are a very positive dude (even more so than Keith), but I just want to respond to your statement about jerseyshorendfan1. You mentioned his attitude. If you follow his history of comments, jerseyshore isn’t an overly negative guy. Just looking at the comment that you responded to, it was actually very, very positive. He just made a somewhat negative comment at the beginning of his post. He doesn’t need to be chastised for it and labeled as having a negative attitude.

        ndfaithful, you seem like a sunshine and rainbows kind of person. I hope that you are an elementary school educator because I would love for my son to have such a positive person as a teacher. And I will admit that being 7-0 brings out a lot of sunshine and rainbows. But, as Keith pointed out, our team still has a lot of things to clear up, particularly on offense and special teams. We’re not a perfect team, and even a very positive guy like Keith recognizes that. I would say that a BCS bowl game looks like a certainty, but I am not expecting Pitt, Wake Forest or BC to roll over for us and go down easy.

        That being said, I fully expect ND to give Oklahoma a run for their money, and I think a tough, ugly win over a gritty opponent like BYU prepares the Irish for this game much better than an easy win over a bad team like Kansas would have. Oklahoma is feeling really good about themselves right now, but we’re not Kansas, and if the Sooners think that they are just going to blow us out the way they did the Jayhawks, then they are going to be in for a beat down at the hands of the Irish. Remember the MSU game? A lot of those Spartan players were talking a lot of trash going into that game. I could see the same result happening to the Sooners.

      • c4evr - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        It’s like ndgoldandblue is inside ndfaithful’s head or something… only he forgot the unicorns.

      • ndfaithful - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM

        For the record, I liked jersey’s comments. As for what’s in my head – no unicorns, but lots of appreciation and optimism for the current Irish football program.

    • don74 - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      I can understand what you felt during the game. The folks I watched with never thought the team would lose. There is a very different feeling watching this team after watching for the last ten years and that in my opinion is this. As the game wears on ND gets better. The players are better conditioned, there are more of them rotating in and because of those two factors they can take the coaching and corrections better than in the past.

      Most of the predicted scores were 27 or so to 10 or so. The usually reialbe Brinza (sp?) misses 6 points. ND owns the fourth quarter and finds a way to win close games. That’s enough for me.

      Kelly knows what he has and doesn’t have on offense. He and Martin are giving the team the best chance to win. Some are complaining guys like Chris Brown are getting shots downfield. ND has a great D. Kelly has said he wants to give them a long field to defend. Translate….no turnovers.

      Take notice with all the ball carriers. First contact they have two hands on the ball. They are coached not to turn it over.

      At this stage of the season the O is the O. Golson may continue to develop but I am not counting on it. Winning is going to be as it’s been. Close games that feature the running backs with just enough passing to keep it interesting.

      I think the biggest in season improvement needs to be special teams. ND is ineffective in returns, KO’s and punts. If ND can swap field position with OK through special teams they have more than a puncher’s chance. If the special teams continue to lose field position we fans are in for a long night.

      • don74 - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        aren’t getting the ball to C Brown.

        Golson may continue to develop this season…………I think he will continue to grow and be a success down the road. As far as this year goes there may be incremental improvement but there won’t be exponential improvement…so what we have is what we have.

      • nudeman - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        don
        Give me your prediction for Saturday

      • don74 - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        Irish will score 28. I will go with my heart. 28-23

    • ndfaithful - Oct 22, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      For the record, I liked jersey’s comments. As for what’s in my head – no unicorns, but lots of appreciation and optimism for the current Irish football program.

  13. cpfirish - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    The UGLY Tommy Rees.

    The UGLY Tommy Rees..

    Sorry I am just saying. Loving life right now!! 7-0. Lets beat down OU. Love you all!! GO IRISH. !

  14. jcarrillo7828 - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    I forget? Is this week also a trap game?

  15. ndirishfan1 - Oct 22, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Part of me feels like this could end up similar to Ohio State’s 2002 championship, but I think a couple losses are more realistic considering the Irish don’t have a true “game manager” like Craig Krenzel.

    The Oklahoma game will tell us a lot – can the Irish stop a legit passing attack? Can they score enough to beat a high powered offense? Right now I don’t know the answers to those questions.

  16. footballleprechaun - Oct 22, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    I’m really ecstatic that we are 7-0!!!!! In fact, noting the conservative play coming in from the sidelines to the offense, I’m shocked we’re 7-0. , But what really shocks me is the fact that are descriminant participants on this blog really think that it’s okay for offense to be so dormant. What about going into the fourth quarter leaving by 3 touchdowns? Why is it that every game is a struggle? WVU climbed to number 5 in the polls…. had an alleged Heisman Trophy candidate leading voters at number 1!!!! I noticed theirfirst 4 games was filled with cupcakes & all their stats got padded until they played some real football teams that executed on both sides of the ball….. then POOF they disappeared. Practically every real knowledgeable person on here that leaves a comment verbalizes the fact that our offense is lacking in slant plays slot receivers, reverses, screens, etc. They make excuses that the team was flat and that’s all the part of the PlayBook we wanted to show, or a win is a win is a win. We’re 7 -0 so let’s just be satisfied and if we end up 10 and 2 or 9 and 3 and still go to a bowl game that’s cool. What the hell!!! We can be undefeated!!!! We can run the table BUT ONLY IF THE OFFENSIVE CORD & STAFF REALIZE THIS IS DIVISION ONE FOOTBALL AND NOT HIGH SCHOOL I won’t settle for mediocracy or complacency especially since the talent is in place!!!! You bloggers that are happy to be 9-3 or 10 -2 and are extremely happy to be 7-0 and state it would be okay if Oklahoma beat us we’d still be 7-1 Are comatose. Heres a drastic simile…… if you had 7 kids and lost……. and lost a child at birth ( God forbid) then you would be 7 and 1……….then, 6 months later as you looked back…….. you realize that if the surgeon had taken a different approach you would have never LOST that child!!!!! it’s time for our offence to SET THE PACE of the game. Instead up playing down to the competitions level …. instead of taking what the defense gives us……LETS MAKE THEM ADJUST AND STAY OFF BALANCE just like Oregon does!!!! LETS GO IRISH!!!!

    • mtndguy - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Just because you agree with their assessment doesn’t mean they’re “knowledgeable”.

    • dillonbigred - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      I was with you until the children analogy. This is about a game. It wasn’t a drastic choice, just a wrong one.

  17. NotreDan - Oct 22, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    I agree with the comment above…

    Burying TR’s hideous performance in a “conservative game plan” is nothing short of retarded, no offense to retards.

    TR at the wheel felt EXACTLY like last year.

    The “locker room revolt” is showing itself to have been another brick in the “TR” wall for KA. After that performance, there better be a revolt if he starts again.

    TR was just plain awful and for his name not to headline at least a “bad” section is STUPID.

    The only person in the stadium happy about TR was Eifert. TR’s dumb little junior high intro about Eifert proves the bromance that kills the rest of the passing game when TR is in there. I can just hear the dorm room conversations about how TR will get him the ball….

    Ugh… this game felt like last year for one giant stinking reason and it’s KA’s cousin TR.

    • c4evr - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      The only thing I would say in TR’s defense is that he manages the situation a little better than Golson at this point. But with Golson, there’s always the potential of a big play happening at any time. And I agree it felt a lot like last year – good drives, moving the ball, then coming up empty. The main differences I’ve seen between this year’s team and last is a lights out defensive effort and improved running game – QB position is still very fluid.

    • irish4006 - Oct 22, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      Exactly like last year, you say, NotreDan? That’s exactly how I felt – the same queasy feeling in the stomach. Good thing the defense is better than last year and was able to pull it off.

      KA’s affection for Tommy does defy any and all logic. There has to be some sort of connection at a personal level with TR, and, by association, with Eifert. If I had to take a wild guess, I would say it was Eifert who was KA’s locker room “source(s)” on the revolt news.

      Eifert, however, is an all american talent and Golson needs to trust his abilities to pull in improbable catches a little more so that the “locker room” does not revolt again.

  18. yaketyyacc - Oct 22, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    after my last post, the expected reaction came, ” yak yak yak puke”, “pessimism”. Anger! yes, and that is why I wrote it. To make the ND team get angry, livid, and go to Norman and run the sooners out of their stadium. I am looking for 12-0 and I am looking for ND to beat Oklahoma and what’s that other team… hmm… ND is a “loser, a quitter”..oh yeah, usc.
    You guys go down to Norman, and show them, you are not Florida, Kansas State, Oregon or Alabama. You are NOTRE DAME!

    1

    • mtndguy - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      NEWSFLASH the ND team isn’t reading your posts.

  19. tibeachguy - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:12 AM

    Early line…..ND 9.5 pt dogs…..piece of cake….GO IRISH!!!

    • alsatiannd - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:09 AM

      Always take the underdog in ND football. ND scores 14 points in the 4th as they wear out the Okies. Okies have either blown out teams by the 4th, or got swamped by KSU in the 4th. They can’t go 4 quarters. Our RKGs can go 5 if they have to.

    • yogihilt - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:15 AM

      Ya, just saw +10 Wow

  20. dbldmr - Oct 22, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    The good: Continued tough play by the whole team. There’s no panic, just a workmanlike approach. One play at a time…just get the job done, on offense and defense.

    The bad: An average offense. I’m not expecting some huge revelation after seven games. Do you really think we’re going to see the second coming of Oregon this week? ND has a good running game and, whichever qb plays, a challenged passing game. Golson brings mobility and that takes a lot of pressure off the offense. That will help.

    The ugly: The way 2012’s Irish win the average ballgame. Let’s hope for more of the same on Saturday in Norman. The uglier the game the better I like ND’s chances.

    This is the toughest Irish team in years. Winning ugly is this team’s trademark.

  21. alsatiannd - Oct 22, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    Rees’s red zone production is not his strongest suit. That’s the way it was last year, that’s the way it was against BYU. As the field shortens and tightens, his reads (i.e. gaps in coverage) disappear. And he’s no threat to run. A running QB opens up the field when it’s getting tightest.

    God help me for thinking it, let alone saying it, but if EG can’t go because of the concussion, and Rees is the QB, Hendrix (if he can just be sharp on 5-10 yard passes) should be the red zone QB.

  22. dmacirish - Oct 22, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    The Good:
    Brian Kelly taking into account the health of his number one quarterback. Realizing that the team could win with Tommy Rees PLAYING THE WHOLE GAME and not have to risk the adverse effects of having Golson take another hit to the head. The defense of the team they were playing hits hard, plays tough, and is ranked in the upper levels of the FBS.

    I think we all would rather hear the bs ramblings of nudeman on how horrible it was to see Tommy Rees in there against BYU while saving the health of Golson so that he can lead us to victory over Oklahoma then to see Brian Kelly push the issue and lose Golson for the rest of the season.

    • dillonbigred - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      Amen!

  23. steincj36 - Oct 22, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    THE UGLY: Replay official calling BYU’s second TD a catch.

  24. jcarr124 - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    The Good: 7-0

    The Bad: The feeling of deja vu watching our offense. At one point I turned to my wife and said “I’ve just time-warped to 2011.”

    The Ugly: My wife’s reaction when I “politely” asked her to leave the room when she brought up cleaning the gutters while I was white-knuckled on the couch. (still working on smoothing out that one)

  25. irish91088 - Oct 22, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Irish fans. I’m from Texas and will be making the trek to OU for this game. I will be attending Game Day and plan on making several signs to hit the big screen. Here are my ideas.

    Sign 1: Stoops, how many of your players can read this sign?

    Sign 2: Landry Jones has a FUPA

    I’m open to ideas and suggestions.

    GO IRISH!!!

    • bb90grad - Oct 22, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Sooner or later you play a real D.

      • irish4006 - Oct 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        Meant to add here, somehow ended up in another section –

        “There are posers (OU’s O) and there are exposers (ND’s D), you’ll see sooner rather than later”

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