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IBG: Sparty on!

Sep 18, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT


It’s that time of week where we fly at 35,000 feet and get our weekly status report on the Irish Blogger Gathering. This week, I’m quizzing the godfather of the IBG, The Subway Domer. I asked him to sort out the running back situation, the Irish problems on defense, and hand out his letter grades at the quarter-turn of the season.

As usual, play along in the comments. And if you feel like seeing the other entries into the IBG, check out the usual suspects here:

NDNation (where I answered Mike Coffey’s questions)
Subway Domer
Her Loyal Sons
Strong and True

1) The running back situation feels like a mess. How would you distribute carries if you were the head coach?

That’s a tricky question for me to answer. I don’t have the luxury of being at practice each day to monitor the progress of the 5 running backs. So, to be honest, I have no idea how I would distribute the carries. I will say this; McDaniel, Atkinson, and Carlilse are not “the guy.” They are the “guy that comes in for the guy.” There’s nothing wrong with that, and those players are actually quite valuable, and that’s just who they are. I believe that Folston and Bryant are those lead backs. They are “the guy.” The problem is, is that they are still only freshmen, and they still may not be ready for that role as of yet.

To answer the question… yeah right.

2) With the Irish defense not looking like it’s dominant self, we’re starting to hear people talk about unmeasurable things like effort, heart, and energy — all the things that make me want to bang my head on a wall. 

You’re Coach Bob Diaco. What do you do to whip this defense into shape?

I think you just have to get down to the basics. Preach, practice, and conjure up fundamentals daily. I also think we need to dial down the number of blitzes. They haven’t had the best effect, and it’s putting the secondary and the linebackers in space in bad positions.

I think the effort is there. I think the heart is there. The biggest issue with these intangibles is finding that emotional focus and having that focus directed by a real leader. The Irish had that in bunches last year, but that isn’t the case this year. There’s nothing a coach can really do about it; that’s for the players to figure out.

3) We’re 1/4 of the way done with the season. Let’s get a Subway Domer report card:

QB: B+
RB: C-
TE: B-
OL: C+
DL: B+
K: B
P: B
Brian Kelly: B
Chuck Martin: C
Bob Diaco: C

  1. seadomer - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Well, you know how we were all excited that 1st team OL gets to go against our first team D and so we should have a great OL … however, the reverse might be true and without a mobile QB (NOT knocking on TR) our D, while talented, may be deficient somewhat and it showed immensely in the UM game to the dismay of all.

    • seadomer - Sep 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      First time replying myself:

      Can’t we get the first team D a few reps with Malik to see if they can sack him.

      Also, can the D practice sacking Troy under center as practice to “ring the BELL” next week

    • dickasman - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      I agree w #1. Now I gotta go do #2.

    • dickasman - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      Actually, I agree w everything subway domer said. He should come on the board more often. Calls it as he sees it. Is dat you dickasman?

  2. 25kgold - Sep 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Any grade regarding the “D”efense should get just that–D!

    • dickasman - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      I agree w coaches grades as well.

  3. irishwilliamsport - Sep 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I’m predicting an impressive win for ND, maybe 34-10. The offense finally woke up in the second half last week and I think we get off to a fast start this week. MSU has played no one, 3 cupcake games. I don’t think the offense will be as predictable and the defense finally stops blitzing foolishly and we win big. The red zone offense is still terrible for the 4th year in a row, maybe a jump ball to Robinson ?

    • seadomer - Sep 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      can somebody explain to me why we can’t let Tuitt or Troy run it in at the 3 yd line?

  4. ndfan4ever - Sep 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Last year we heard how young our secondary was and how we had to protect them and they did pretty good until NC game. So why dont’ we we do it again this year. Stop putting our corners on an island and letting them get beat. cover 2 rush 4 and get better on defense.

  5. yaketyyacc - Sep 18, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    will Brian Kelly’s legacy be, like andy reid, he got us to the championship game, and we didn’t know it then, but that was going to be it.
    during the off season, things seem to become unraveled. transfers of good players, failure on the part of present players. going from who will be the quarterback, to WHO will be the quarterback, oh no. before the first snap, the offensive handwriting was on the wall. the surprise is that the defensive collapse was not on the wall. coupled with poor play calling on both sides of the ball.
    we went to the top of the mountain and found not a National Championship, but an abyss.
    the answer may never be known, like how could the Titanic sink?

    • thefightinfloyds - Sep 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      Transfers, suspensions, etc…all of those things happen at every school, especially when you are dealing with 4 and 5 star recruits. I was one of those fans flipping out this offseason but after some time I came to my senses and realized that thats just how it is. When your bringing in 3 star recruits, they are obviously happy to be anywhere especially ND. When you are recruiting kids who have been recruited since they were in 8th grade, most of these kids dont appreciate the opportunity of an ND offer. No fault of their own, they have been offered everything by every major program so they might be a little jaded. The silver lining in the rash of transfers has been that the kids who left are all studs at their respective schools, it may not sound great but it shows that Kelly and staff dont miss often in recruiting.

  6. papadec - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    It filled up with water.

    • nudeman - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM


  7. nudeman - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks the “answer” to the first question is a waste of cyberspace?

    You asked how the RB carries should be distributed. What followed was a equivocation, statement of the obvious that quickly devolved into overall “nothing-ness”

    – “That’s a tricky question” … It really isn’t. We’re just asking for you opinion on a football issue.
    Examples of a “tricky question” would be:
    “What should we do about Syria?” or
    “Do you think your sister would be interested in a 3-way sometime?”

    – “I don’t have the luxury of being at practice every day …” Uh, I’m guessing Keith knew that. Jesus …

    – “I have no idea how I would distribute the carries”. Well thanks for playing along here. Seriously … wtf are we talking with you for?

    – “McDaniel, GAIII and Carlisle aren’t ‘the guy’ “. OK, now we’re getting somewhere

    – “I believe that Folston and Bryant are those lead backs. They are “the guy.””
    OK, so you DO actually have an idea here as to how you’d distribute the carries? Read on

    – “The problem is, is that they are still only freshmen, and they still may not be ready for that role as of yet.”
    So we’ve ruled out everybody but Will Mahone.

    Keith, seriously when you get someone to answer these questions, rule #1 should be “Take a position. ANY position”. This is like Tom Jackson on ESPN.

    Q: “Tom, who do you like in this game?”
    A: “Well Boom, the Eagles have that up tempo offense and will be very hard to stop. But you know those Steelers: They hit hard and always come to play.”
    Boomer: “Thanks TJ” (rolls eyes, while America collectively pukes)

    • mtflsmitty - Sep 18, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Alright, Nude. I have to tell you that lately you’ve had so many admirers fawning all over you, raving about your insights, interesting posts, etc that I’ve been wanting to puke. And while your feedback is a bit discourteous, and clearly fails to heed the adage, “if you don’t have something nice to say…”, I do have to say your post was pretty damn funny.

      • nudeman - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:26 PM

        Well sh** … took you long enough to get around to the compliment part of it.

        That was like rolling in a 37 footer for a 7

        In the hood we call that “Whip cream on sh**”

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:35 PM


      • 4horsemenrideagain - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:39 PM


        what i meant was so are we to believe that nude has some inside info on subway domer’s sister wanting to try check out a three way?

      • nudeman - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:48 PM

        If I did, seriously, would I be messing around here?

        Hey, want to hear something interesting about Mitch McConnell?
        So does Mrs. McConnell

    • irish4006 - Sep 19, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      I provided similar feedback on a pre-season article Keith wrote on the running backs. It is one area where no one has any clue for the things that Subway Domer is saying. We *think* that we know one thing for sure – GA III is not the guy. For me, I am not sure that we can be that sure about GA III either.

      There are two possibilities for this general cluelessness:
      1. They are all ok, there is no right or wrong answer. Regardless of who you are putting in, you are likely to get similar result
      2. Our coaching staff hasn’t given us enough to even get into those what if scenarios, let alone draw a conclusion. The playcalling has been boring, predictable. Too much running outside and ‘0’ reliance on OL

      I would say it is #2. Based on what we have seen, can any of us say with any conviction how we should handle the RB situation?

  8. alsatiannd - Sep 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    If it’s MSU, the Irish will be OK as long as they eat pudding at halftime. At least according to Mike Valenti.

  9. scottatnd - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Did anyone get a count of how many times we blitzed against Purdue?

  10. lambda02750 - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I think that this weekend would be as good a time as any to throw the freshman RB’s in for about 10-15 carries. A game like this one will be smash mouth and we need bigger and sturdier bodies to throw at them…especially if they try to run through the line instead of to the boundary all of the time. Keeping my fingers crossed and preparing my insides for another nail-biting ND weekend…GO IRISH!

  11. sdemp - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    The real question should be, what is ND going to do next year at the running back position?

    AC is a 3rd down back, Cam is who he is, & GA is a track guy trying to play football. . . Bryant & Folston will be transferring unless they get more playing time. And who can blame them when you’re stuck behind a bunch of “average joes”.

    • nudeman - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      I wouldn’t be so fast to conclude Folston and Bryant will x-fer.

      First, you’ve got to believe that as the year goes on their PT will increase.
      Secondly, as we all know, x-fer = 1 year guaranteed on the sidelines. Doubt they want that.
      Last, they see what everyone else sees: GAIII can’t get it done and an undersized Carlisle and Cam.

      Doubt they’re going anywhere.

      • ibleedirish - Sep 18, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        Glad you are confident. I’m not. If I was Bryant, sitting behind GA3 while everyone on the team knows I’m better, I’d be pissed.
        You said GA3 “can’t get it done”. And yet Bryant/Folston still don’t play. Why would it be different next year?

      • bearcatirishfan - Sep 18, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        Because next year they will know how to pass block.

      • mtflsmitty - Sep 18, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        AC is in the slot.
        GAIII returns kicks.
        Most loveable white guy in college football sits.
        Bryant and Folston, now with a full year of elite FCS experience under their belts, form a two-headed monster.

      • nudeman - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:24 PM


        You referenced his skin color!!!!!! That’s off limits here, man
        Keith – BAN THIS GUY

        But you’re right. HIs white ass will be sitting

      • ibleedirish - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        bearcat, how do you know they can’t pass block? Inside info from practice I guess, I’m jealous of your access.

        I can count at least 3 times offhand GA3 has missed a blitzing LB or safety this year. So, nice theory anyways.

  12. bb90grad - Sep 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    You don’t have to sit out a year if you go to UCLA and have a granny at hospice. These guys aren’t that lucky.

    Everyone is also just someone else’s bad ACL, MCL, etc. from moving up the depth chart.

  13. ndfenian - Sep 18, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    There are a lot of BCS college teams using multiple running backs. I don’t see that as a problem. What I do see as a problem is that none of them seem to be making people miss or breaking tackles. The offensive line and tight ends need to create bigger holes. Look, if Bryant or Folston are good enough, they will play sooner than later, and they should know that.

    Saturday: Go deep early!

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