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IBG: Bring on MICHIGAN! (Loud Noises!)

Sep 5, 2013, 11:43 AM EDT


Quite a week. A rivalry that’s not a rivalry brought out some original storytellers, and added even more focus to a football game that looks like it could be a great one. We’ll break down some match-ups that are worth watching as we lead up to the game, but now’s the time for our weekly Irish Blogger Gathering.

I had the chance to ask Notre Dame’s new resident blogger, Aaron Horvath, some questions about the big game under the lights. I answered some questions from NDTex over at Frank over at UHND joined the IBG as well, so things are getting crazy.

For more IBG, check out the following updates:

Subway Domer
Her Loyal Sons
Strong and True

Let’s get down to my pressing questions. Give your answers below in the comments:

1) So much of the talk this week has been about things that don’t matter. Let’s talk about some things that actually do. For Notre Dame to exit Ann Arbor victorious on Saturday night, name the one thing that both the offense and defense MUST DO?

To leave Michigan victorious on Saturday (or early Sunday morning) the Irish must do a few things well.

First off, on the offensive side of the ball, the Irish must develop the running game early. I think this goes without saying and there hasn’t really been any games in which we have seen Chuck Martin as the offensive coordinator that the Irish haven’t attempted to run the ball early. You may retort that against Temple we didn’t, but you need to remember that the Irish did run the ball and gash the Owls in the early downs before throwing over the top to DaVaris Daniels for the two early scores.

On defense I am going to channel my inner Kory Minor for the key to winning this contest – BIG PLAYS. Kory says that in any big game, the team that makes the big plays (game changers) is the team that will give themselves the best opportunity to win. We didn’t see any big plays from the defensive this past week outside of one sack from Stephon Tuitt, but from watching the game, it didn’t seem like the scheme defensive coordinator Bob Diaco put together was focused around creating pressure. Look for that to change this Saturday.

2) Last season, Notre Dame managed to force Denard Robinson into a career worst game by bottling him up in the pocket. (Up until that point he had become one of the all-time historic villains in Irish football lore.) Last weekend, Connor Reilly(?!?) shredded the Irish defense by scrambling his way to chain-moving first downs. What does the defense need to do to slow down Devin Gardner?

Between the opening weekend win against Temple and this weekend many things will change in the defensive scheme. First off, the Temple game really reminded me of the Nevada season opener a few seasons back that Notre Dame won 35-0. The scoreboard looks like the defense played lights out, but in reality they were gashed for some yardage at times and allowed the Wolfpack to drive down the field.

The Temple game was very similar.

One thing I expect to change is the pressure being brought by the linebacking corps. Additionally, watching the Temple game, it seemed like the secondary was playing a lot of shell/umbrella coverage, keeping the receivers in front and being happy with Temple nickel and dime’ing them down the field.

In short, look for more man coverage from the secondary with a cover two look over the top with safeties and the outside backers responsible for coverage in the secondary.

3) Ever fiber of my being wants to stop talking about this rivalry, so don’t answer what this rivalry means to a guy that didn’t attend Notre Dame. Instead, tell me about a mismatch that the Irish need to exploit on Saturday night.

What rivalry? From my point of view the biggest rivalry between the state of Indiana and Michigan is from the “gum-throwing game” between the Indiana Hoosiers and Michigan … With the Hoosiers down 36-33, they were driving with around a minute left, then this happened… Watch the video, I am still livid to this day.


(KA Note: You know that Indiana football fans take things seriously when the best video Aaron could find looks like this. But that was a terrible call.)

Now that I just took a few minutes to throw koosh balls at plate-glass windows I feel much better …

The mismatch that Notre Dame must exploit is up front. All season long this will probably be a common theme for every Notre Dame football game. Honestly it comes down to the point of attack and if Louis Nix can take two Wolverines with him on every player that will open up lanes for ‘backers to either blitz or get to the running back. Michigan’s all-american tackle will probably minimize the impact of the defensive end on his side, so the rest of the line will need to step up.

  1. NotreDan - Sep 5, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    You nailed it. If Nix, Tuitt and Day can overwhelm their front 5, we shut them down and win the game.

    The part I think will be really interesting to watch is what does the Michigan offense starts doing (like, how desperate, how quickly) if we do manage to shut them down.

    I’m sticking with my theme of the week that we need more emotion. We need some charismatic leadership that can get (and keep) guys fired up.

    • shamrockos - Sep 5, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      QUCK – someone steal a bicycle seat…

    • dwp1991 - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      I don’t think emotion should be a problem coming into this game. After some of the opening day debacles of the past few years, it was good to see the players just doing their assignments and getting things done against Temple.

      That said, the atmosphere at the Big House will have every fan in the stadium ready to run onto the field for a tackle, and you know the players will put that much more into every hit and block. When Prince runs onto the field with his sledgehammer, there’ll be no need to worry about emotion or effort.

  2. baldyscotsman - Sep 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    You are correct Dan, last week it seemed as if our players were just having another practice…no pump up the crowd plays or smacking the other teammates around for a good play….hell even the TD throws were a little tempered…I am not expecting that this week…I am expecting Prince to go all KINGDOM COME on scUM and Tuitt to lay some wood with Grace and Fox/Carlo cleaning up.

  3. nudeman - Sep 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Was hoping for something a little more enlightening.
    Saying “they need to run the ball” is about as insightful as saying “they need to bring their A-Game”.
    Keeping with tht theme, some other things ND needs to do:
    – Bring their A-Game
    – Give 110% (and the good Lord willing …)
    – Be on the same page
    – Limit the mistakes
    – Limit the big plays
    – Fill the gaps
    – Block and tackle well
    – Score more points than Michigan

    • baldyscotsman - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      you forgot

      Don’t believe the Hype
      Play their Game
      Ignore the noise
      One play at a time
      and my personal favorite
      Don’t let them score more points than us.

    • ndgoldandblue - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      “It’s a little boring, isn’t it?”
      “Of course it’s boring. That’s the point. Write it down.”

    • irisheyesinsd - Sep 5, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      I loved this one from Dabo Swinney post Georgia game interview with Heather Cox: “It’s only unthinkable if you don’t think it.” That is genius.

  4. Laughing Tulkas - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    I think we really miss Springman a lot more than people say. For all the talk of the ILB’s being not as good, we really miss having another quite capable defensive lineman for the rotation and keeping players fresh. I really think Springman was going to continue his growth this year and be a very solid player for us, and with him out, the rest of the guys have to take more reps and aren’t as dominant as maybe they would be.

  5. irishaggie - Sep 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Looking at the Las Vegas sports book Vegas is giving Michigan 4 points. It opened at 3 and has moved to 4. Just like last year against Oklahoma it is going up. I’ll take the Irish +4 thank you.

  6. goirishgo - Sep 5, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    While it may not be terribly insightful, ND’s ability to run the ball (or not) will be the difference in this game.

  7. irishlee10 - Sep 5, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Need to have a big performance from the notre dame defensive front (especially the 2 deep guys) which I wasn’t overly impressed with in the opener. Ishaq beat the tackle outside on one play with a free shot and couldn’t break down to make the tackle.

  8. papadec - Sep 5, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    For absolutely no reason based on thorough, thoughtful analysis – I think we will see T R, Cam, Tuitt, Daniels, and a few others involved in ND scoring to the tune of 35+ points; while the defense holds um to 10-14. If I’m wrong – I plead age onset dementia & prescription drugs for a nasty infection the past few weeks. No Dick. I won’t share the pain pills with you!

  9. clearwall - Sep 5, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    So, NCAA football rule 7-3-6 states that when simultaneous recovery of a legal forward pass occurs, the ball belongs to the passing team. So yeah…that was a horrible call

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