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IBG: Pitt problems and dealing with 8-0

Nov 1, 2012, 11:24 AM EDT

ibg_nokelly3

Welcome to another episode of the Irish Blogger Gathering. This week, I’m asking Twibby of HerLoyalSons.com some questions, and he’s, in turn, answering them. If you’re into this kind of thing, you’ve got my answers over at HLS, and the Subway Domer and Josh Flynt of Strong and True taking turns as well.

It’s a busy travel day in Inside the Irish land, so without further ado, here goes:

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1. Brian Kelly says that history will have no effect on this team. But if you’re the head coach, do you trot in Ryan Grant (or another member of the ’02 team) and remind this team about what happened the last time the Irish were in this situation?

If I were the head coach, I could promise you one thing: the Irish would not be sitting at 8-0right now.

In all seriousness, though, Kelly has made it very apparent to the media that he is cognizant of making sure this team avoids a letdown. As anyone that has been involved in athletics during their life can attest to, trying to come into a game against a weaker opponent that you should be able to dominate just doesn’t get your blood pumping like going on the road against a powerhouse team that people say you have no business beating does.

While the 2002 and 1993 Irish are certainly not the only teams in college football that have suffered a loss to an inferior team while a perfect season is well within reach, I do think it is important that the current players look back at those games and realize that they do not want Saturday vs. Pittsburgh to be a game that Notre Dame fans are talking about as a disappointment for the next 25 years. Frankly, the current players are well versed in Notre Dame history and Kelly likely doesn’t need to be the one to remind them about what has happened in the past.

2. To me, Notre Dame’s victory over Oklahoma was one of those breakthrough moments. In movie terms, it feels like when Neo learned he could dodge bullets in the Matrix. Do you expect this team to close with a vengeance and play its best football? Or do you think the offense will still go through struggles these next three weeks?

I do expect the Irish to close with a vengeance, and that is mainly because they are led by Manti Te’o. However, closing with a vengeance and playing their best football may not be completely entwined. I definitely don’t expect ND to come out flat footed against Pitt, BC, Wake or USC, but it is difficult to expect them to play at the same level that they did against Oklahoma for the next 4 weeks.  

On the offensive side I absolutely LOVED the game plan that Kelly called on Saturday and I couldn’t believe the poise shown by Everett Golson. Sure, I still yelled every time he ran with the ball swinging beside his body, but overall I thought his decision making was excellent. We had all been waiting for the Golson to Chris Brown bomb to connect since the first attempt during week 3 against MSU, and it couldn’t have happened at a better moment. Golson’s confidence should (deservingly) be at a peak, and I expect him to play well and make good decisions throughout the rest of the season.

As it has been all year, though, the next 4 weeks really hinge on the defense. Even if there are a few road bumps along the way, I expect the Irish to be ready for each opponent and fly into Los Angeles at 11-0 (let’s just hope the players don’t expect to cruise and get lazy in their preparation).

3. Let’s talk about Pitt! Is there anything about this match-up that scares you?

The theme of the first two questions and my responses is all about suffering a letdown, and rightfully so. As fans we are very lucky to be in position where having a letdown is a concern, and that is how I feel about the Pitt game this weekend. I don’t think this Pitt team is as bad as it appeared in a 14 point loss to FCS team Youngstown State, but I do think the Irish are far better in every aspect of the game than the Panthers.

Pitt doesn’t scare me, but the talk of the national championship does. While we can all look ahead and start talking to our friends about plane tickets and hotel rooms in Miami, the team cannot. I don’t expect a blowout, but I do expect a fairly easy two touchdown victory for Notre Dame.

  1. dickasman - Nov 1, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Keith, what happened, was Puma from herscumbagdaighter not available? :-)

    ND win 41-0

    • domer77blowsgoats - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      hey at least it wasn’t racist

      and agree with the score w/ exception of pitching a shutout – bound to give up 7 in garbage time

      • dickasman - Nov 1, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        Domer, I try man, I try, I really do…

  2. bernhtp - Nov 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I agree with Kelly on ignoring the history.

    1. Former players, teams and opponents have nothing to do with this weekend.
    2. Focusing on anything but the process – their practice and execution – is distracting.
    3. Worrying about things you cannot control (the results of games years ago) is not productive.

    Everyone on the team already knows that they can lose if they don’t pay attention and play hard; if they fail to do what has caused them to win. They need no lessons from elsewhere – places, people or times.

    I trust that Kelly, his staff, and team leaders will keep everyone tightly focused on doing everything necessary to beat Pitt (and beyond). This team does not suffer from a lack of effort.

  3. schuey73 - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Jason Sapp at Blue and Gold Illustrated is reporting that Cole Luke has committed to ND! Another big piece.

    http://twitter.com/BGI_JasonSapp

    • dudeacow - Nov 1, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      YAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

      I’m sorry. I just had to do that
      http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&p=9&c=8&toinid=704&yr=2013

  4. nudeman - Nov 1, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Just saw that. Check out an interview of this kid if you can find one.
    Well spoken kid, smiles a lot, seems like an ND kinda’ guy

    • dudeacow - Nov 1, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      We got Davonte’ Neal last year, Cole Luke this year and maybe Priest Willis. Let the top-15 Arizona CBs just keep on coming!

    • fentocamarillo - Nov 1, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Nude

      Hundred bucks says you curse the kid out when he either (1) commits, then decommits to go play at your Alma mater, Wayne State or (2) simply decides to go play at some lesser institution, say Stanford or Northwestern, and then your usual follow-up about washing cars for the rest of his life and what a piece of crap he is…yeah, we all know the drill by now. You, dikasman and goat blower are all cut from the same cloth, only difference is, you live for this blog, the other two live simply live to irritate you. Hysterical if you really think about it. Can’t wait for your genius reply. Twenty more says you do so in the next 5 minutes.

      Fento

      • mtndguy - Nov 1, 2012 at 6:39 PM

        Wow, who pi**ed in your Cheerios this morning?

      • NotreDan - Nov 1, 2012 at 7:17 PM

        wtf is a fento? gimme a break rookie.

      • NotreDan - Nov 1, 2012 at 7:33 PM

        oh, and any dumb ass kid that decommits or leaves the Irish deserves the pimply pregnant girlfriend that awaits.

        THAT’S where I’ve heard that term… Fento. 1. n. the cheesy substance that forms under the sweaty breasts of a trailer park teen wife with a loser BF at USF.

      • ndgoldandblue - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:24 PM

        Who the f@#$ is this guy? The first time he shows up on this blog and he’s already talking sh$t about one of our own.

  5. gtizzo - Nov 1, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    We understand where ND has been, but all that matters is where ND is going. Notre Dame doesn’t have to pull out a rabbit to beat Pitt. They can run the ball and play good defense and win is assured. I think the Irish 35-3 in a third quarter explosion by the offense.

  6. brothertrip - Nov 1, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Avoiding a let down is simple and BK has preached what it takes all year. You don’t go out there on the field and play not to lose, you keep going out there each and every week and you take control of the game. Don’t wait for the opponent to give the game to you, Go and take it. I think the staff has done a great job of reminding the team about this all the time and I think that there will not be a let down they will go and play Irish football like they have all year.

  7. alsatiannd - Nov 1, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Another good thing about “next man in?” If you are blowing it and losing to Pitt in the third quarter, you’re coming out. Some one who can win it is going on. Helps the starters stay on task. Also, pride and heart which this team has.

  8. fitz79 - Nov 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    T’eo for Heisman! Looking for more sacks and ints. I’d love to see him in the end zone a time or 2. Would really bolster his chances.

  9. NotreDan - Nov 1, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Here’s MY take. We have yet to see the full potential of this IRISH team, even at OU. A let-down? Hell, I think we’re still building. If we play how we are really capable of playing, the red elephant is in serious trouble.

  10. norcalirish - Nov 2, 2012 at 6:05 AM

    I like his moxie. If you’re gonna come in, come in swinging.

    No field turf!

  11. runners00 - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Pitt is an improving team, and not one to overlook. They started 0-2, after losses to Youngstown State and Cinci, but are now 4-4. How did they do it? Defense. Clemmings, Murphy, Donald and Ezell are the four down linemen that anchor Pitt’s defense. Defensive Tackle Donald leads the group in tackles for losses and sacks. Nobody else is particularly dominant, but they seem to have grown a bit together and are now holding most offenses in check (of course, L’ville put up 45 on them, so they’re vulnerable).

    On offense, Pitt averages 280 passing yards/game. Senior QB Tino Sinseri has matured into a very consistent passer who takes care of the football. Against his 13 TDs, he has just two INTs. Sinseri also completes around 70% of his tosses, which suggests that he gets some real protection. He often finds the junior receiver, Devin Street, who is averaging around 14 receptions/game. Special teams doesn’t appear to be anything dynamic. Pitt’s leading rusher, Ray Graham, will likely be out of this game, as he was recently charged with criminal assault. This should increase the pressure on Sinseri, who is a decent quarterback, but is playing on a team that’s not quite as strong as he is.

    Pitt’s schedule strength is fairly weak, as it struggled with Youngstown and 1-7 Buffalo (a game it won, btw, 20-6), while beating up on 2-6 Gardner Webb 55-10. We should win this game and we should do so handily. But Pitt has played better of late, staying with unbeaten Louisville and burying Temple last week 41-17.

    In the end, while I have no score predictions, I think we have too much for this Pitt squad. We should head to BC 9-0. Go Irish!

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