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IBG: Is something wrong with ND?

Nov 8, 2012, 11:44 AM EDT

ibg_nokelly3

No matter the record, the Boston College game is always one worth circling on the calendar. (Which leads me to an aside, does anybody actually know someone that circles a date on a calendar? Does anyone actually print out a football calendar? I’m a bookmark kind of guy, and by mid-August, I’ve pretty much got the games memorized. Anyway…)

Getting back to the subject at hand, the No. 4 Irish have a chance to get back to playing dominant football this weekend when they head to Chestnut Hill to take on the putrid Eagles of Boston College, who most likely feel like this game is their Super Bowl. The Irish are heavy favorites, but that didn’t stop Pitt from almost ruining Notre Dame’s season, and the Eagles have the chance to do the same thing, something that would salvage the season for B.C. fans everywhere, though it might not save Frank Spaziani’s job.

Before we get there, I took the time to ask the Subway Domer about the 9-0 Fighting Irish in this week’s IBG. For my answers (in Haiku form), check out the Subway Domer’s website. You can also get answers from the guys at HLS and Josh over at Strong & True.

Onward.

***

1. What’s your take away from the Pitt game? An embarrassing slip up for a team that’s supposed to be top three in the country? Or one of those narrow victories the best teams in the country pull off?

A little bit of both depending on how much much is in your glass, and how quickly you drank it. In a lot of ways, the fans and the media were writing off Pitt before the game got under way. We all basically ignored the fact that this has been a very CLOSE game for quite a few years now and really, there was evidence to suggest that it would be again.

So, yes it was a little embarrassing because of the expectations that were given for the game, but at the same time the Irish were coming off of a huge win that obviously took a toll on the team. Championship teams find ways to win on their worst days. Notre Dame did just that.

2. What do you take from the defenses struggles against Ray Graham? Flu bug? Advanced scouting? Cold sweats thinking about USC?

I think a lot of their struggles are based in the previous answer. Sometimes you just play a little flat after those big wins and when a guy of Graham’s caliber comes along, you could pay the price. Having said that, Graham had a couple of HUGE runs that if took away, provide the normal stats that this defense allows. A mental error or two or three erased and it could have been a lot different. It wasn’t, and that should provide some teachings as to how they handle the rest of the season. The flu was definitely a factor, but not nearly as much as the mental errors causing physical mistakes.

3. Why have the Irish struggled at home this year?

Most of these games have been against teams that you play EVERY year. So, you can look at them as “conference” games. When you look around the country, these types of games can and will give teams fits- even if the home team is a lot better than their opponent. BYU is the lone exception and that was following an emotional and physical win over Stanford.

Another factor is just everything that comes along with playing at home. Tickets, appearances, the “comfort zone”, and just the different mentalities involved. Add all of that together and throw in the home team’s lack of dominance (or any indication of such) and you have a recipe for OMGZ THIS GAME IS SO CLOSE SON!

It may take a few more years to get this team back on track at home, but at least we are talking about WINNING these close games, and not losing them.

  1. barneysbullet - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Like others have said, it doesn’t help that we’re a one-game season for so many opponents… We’re the only team they prepare for. ;)

    • drdannddad - Nov 8, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      This is definitely true. We get everybody’s best game, even during years when we aren’t as competitive. Just part of the “privilege” of being Notre Dame.

    • profootballwalk - Nov 8, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      If you’re the biggest game on your opponent’s season, those are teams you should beat. No excuses.

  2. barneysbullet - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Oops, almost forgot…

    TE’O FOR HEISMAN!!!

    (and) Go Irish :)

    • dickasman - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      Barney, stop that non sense…he ain’t gonna win it. He played like sht because all the nonsense. It’s just a distraction which will become destruction.

  3. lovinthatsomanyhateonnd - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    only reason Graham broke those two runs is Farley had casts on both his hands and couldnt wrap him up when he had the chance (both on the long run, and the 16yd TD run if you watch the film).

    • terryb101 - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      yeah but he still could have rode him out of bounds(on the td run)..

  4. upthera44 - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    I’ve always had a feeling that the poor performance in home games had to do with the exceptional pressure around Notre Dame football (maybe felt more acutely at home from the demanding and sometimes unforgiving fans) — the sort of pressure that I think USED to cause ND to play timid and lose games they should win, the kind of pressure that fed into Dayne Crist’s and Rees’ numerous mental lapses in the last couple of years, etc. This is just a feeling, no way to prove it. I wonder if the home game play isn’t this same sort of thing. Also I think one of Brian Kelly’s big achievements and the reasons for his success has been his ability to keep this pressure from shaking their confidence, which he does by constantly emphasizing non-mental things like physical preparation, doing one’s assignments on the field, not thinking beyond a single game, etc.

    • dmac4real - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      I disagree with the whole pressure with Tommy and Dayne thing.

      Dayne has proven this year, he just isnt what people expected him to be coming out of HS. Great guy (weve all hear), not a good QB.

      And Tommy Rees is just Tommy Rees.

    • runners00 - Nov 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM

      It’s a lot of factors — home game intensity. For one, look back at the Holtz era. The crowd noise was very loud. LOUD. I watch on TV today and I think it’s the quietest place we play in all season — every home game. I mean, compare the noise w/ Miami in Chicago (a blowout) with the noise at the Pitt game. Everyone is obsessed w/ winning and watching, which is nice, but it weakens the noise.

      Students fill a place like Georgia or Clemson or Florida, large, public universities with massive student bodies. Our students have a comparatively small presence in the stadium.

      NBC makes the games boring by including ridiculously long commercials.

      We are an open book. We’re on TV every week. We’re a fairly easy group to scout and that’s likely an advantage for a visiting team.

      Finally, every team plays its best game against Notre Dame. Everyone. This is the game that is circled at the beginning of August. We just have to accept this and play better.

      Can we please give a rest to the idea that Dayne Crist was/is a good college quarterback? He has a great arm. He’s a nice kid. But there is a lot more to it than a great arm.

  5. domer77blowsgoats - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    can someone explain to me why this game is worth “circling on the calendar” anymore than say Purdue?

    It is only a rivalry to BC driven solely by jealousy

    by default every game can’t be a rivalry game and this is clearly not one of them

    • joeschu - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      Yep… much like Purdue, I think BC puts WAY more in to this than we ever have.

      Rivalry = USC & Michigan
      2nd Tier = Stanford, MSU (post flag planting BS)
      3rd Tier = Purdue, BC, Pitt

      I left Navy off of here because our “rivalry” with them is based on a time-honored tradition and commitment.

      • papadec - Nov 9, 2012 at 3:06 AM

        joe – gotta agree with you regarding NAVY – that game is a tradition, not a rivalry. To me it is part of GOD COUNTRY NOTRE DAME.

    • 9irish - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM

      well, yeah. But that’s what makes them dangerous…we just regard it as another game, they regard it as a season. ND is not all fired up about beating those “dirty Boston College punks!”

      They’ll do fine…last week helped in an odd way. They know that you don’t have to be the better team to (almost) win.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        obviously agree they have spoiled many of seasons

        however there is no argument that will convince me that a 2-7 team is dangerous to the #4 team with NC aspirations if we are truly the #4 team

        we’ve now “escaped” 3 games, mostly attributable to some fortuitous calls and/or bounces

        BK has batted 1.000 (maybe down to .998 after the 2 Rees series vs Pitt)

        Either we revert to the mean or play like the #4 team that wants to dance in Miami

  6. goirishgo - Nov 8, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Yes, the defense let the ball get behind them. Yes, the QB play was middling through three quarters. Yes, penalties hurt. Yes, special teams played poorly. And yes, turnovers almost did the Irish in.

    Bigger than all that, however, is the grit and determination shown in overcoming the mistakes. It has been at least a decade since an Irish team was confident and determined enough to play through such adversity (self-imposed or otherwise) to win. Changing a culture 10 years in the making is not easy but last week’s game is yet another sign that it’s happening.

    We lose that game LY and LLY and LLLY. Not TY though. ND is back….with the ability to be much, much better by the time a bowl game rolls around. How much fun is that to consider?

  7. mimefrog - Nov 8, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    I’m not sure anyone (even BK, players, and staff) can definitively answer the Pitt performance question. This is football: Good teams don’t always play up to their ability; bad teams play beyond their ability. Fans like me need heartburn medicine and the occasional session with the ol’ ND Defibrillator® but so far have emerged upright and damn proud!

    GO IRISH!

    … and … TE’O FOR HEISMAN!!!

    • dickasman - Nov 8, 2012 at 6:54 PM

      Stop w the heisman thing…it’s becoming a distraction, soon to be destruction. Lets go and horsepound some teams that we are suppose to be horsepounding and between final game and bowl game, we can talk heiswoman. Until then, lets stay focused on the task at hand.

  8. nd1975fla - Nov 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Does the ND team stay off-campus at a South Bend area hotel the Friday before home games? Seems that might make it a bit more like a road game, which they apparently LOVE this season.

    • dickasman - Nov 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM

      Yeah, I dunno you tell me. Is something wrong w drinking bunch brewskis, trying to get into virgin Mary’s pants and then wake up next day for 230 game and playing down to 89th ranked teams level only to be bailed out by gods breath? Honestly, I really don’t know.

      • 1historian - Nov 8, 2012 at 9:51 PM

        Speaking for most of us – We expect much higher levels of goofy from you that this rather numb-nutted crack.

        DON’T LET US DOWN!!

      • Jennifer - Nov 8, 2012 at 10:27 PM

        Dick. Stop being such a Dick.

      • dickasman - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:22 AM

        Hey Jen,!(waves hello, winks, catcalls then promptly grabs badonkadonk).

        P.s. I made you say dick, VICTORY!!! Asman for the Internet Heisman!

      • dickasman - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:23 AM

        To avoid another shtty game, I’d pass out ambien to the entire team at 10 pm sharp on Friday night.

  9. jpwills19 - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Forgive me for looking forward (I didn’t allow myself to before last week because I was genuinely worried about the Pitt game), but here is some food for thought. If both USC and UCLA win this weekend, the following week they will play each other at the Rose Bowl for the PAC12 South title… all the marbles, so to speak. Living in SoCal, I can say that this game will mean everything to USC (can’t lose control of LA, etc.) and they are going to lay everything they have on the line. Bodes well for a Notre Dame team coming in the following Saturday.

    • 1historian - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      Shirley you are not implying that with the chance to be blip #1 on Notre Dame’s record, to ruin the undefeated season of a team with whom you have the longest intersectional rivalry in college football – going back almost 90 years, and the chance to make up for a rotten season that started out with such high hopes – USC will not be sky high no matter what the result of the UCLA game.

      Shirley you are NOT implying that!!

      Tell me it isn’t so!!

      PLEASE

  10. papadec - Nov 9, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    Maybe Kelly should set up a bunch of cots or throw mattresses down on the floor, for the team, in the GUG player lounge or the locker room or anyplace away from the regular campus distractions for the night before a home game?

  11. 1historian - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    I get the feeling from reading a lot of these posts that the vast majority of you have never been there – as a student or as an alumnus (or alumna) when ND wins the whole shooting match.

    I have

    (I never graduated but) I was in the mideast when they won in 1966. I listened to the USC game on a short wave.

    I remember when they won in 1973. I was at ND in 1961 and Dave Clements from McKees Rocks, Pa. told me about his little brother Tommy – what a hotshot QB he was.

    I remember the green shirt game against SC in 1977. I was living in Maine at the time.

    I remember 1988 when they had Tony Rice and the rocket and Chris Zorich and a whole bunch of others.

    What does it feel like?

    Think I would spoil it for you? No way!!!

    Find out for yourselves.

    And you will

    • 1historian - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      When it does happen, and it will – you’ll feel just as much a part of it as do the students in the stands who are sitting in the seats YOU used to sit in.

      Trust me

    • kapnd73 - Nov 11, 2012 at 5:44 AM

      Great posts, 1historian. Thanks!

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