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IBG: Boomer Sooner

Sep 25, 2013, 6:24 PM EDT

ibg_nokelly3

Better late than never, it’s time for this week’s Irish Blogger Gathering. This week, it was my turn to ask Aaron Horvath, UND.com’s resident sports blogger, a few questions about big non-conference games, Notre Dame attempting a “Green Out,” and an Xs and Os question about the big match-up this weekend.

As usual, for more IBG, you can check out our friends around the blogosphere, including the Subway Domer, who made me write three haikus. Play along below in the comments and let’s get some opinions going.

(After being in the stands for Nebraska’s visit to South Bend, I’m curious to see if the Green Out works.)

Subway Domer
ND Nation
Her Loyal Sons
Strong and True
UHND

1) Outside of the season opener, Notre Dame has had arguably one of the most intriguing football games of the week for the past three games, and that’ll continue for both ASU and USC. All of the Irish opponents get to look at these games as a non-conference affair — a game that’s important to win, but not season defining, like these games tend to be for Notre Dame.

How big of a factor do you think that is? How will it change when the college football playoff begins?

I think you raise a solid point. If ASU loses to Notre Dame it is just a mark on their overall record, but they still are alive for an automatic Rose Bowl berth (hypothetically) with their partnership with the PAC-12.

When the playoff system begins, the games won’t change, how the coaches prepare for them won’t change. Coaches always want to win games, so I see no change. If you are looking at the top-tier competition that Notre Dame faces throughout the year (I.E. Oklahoma, Michigan, USC, Stanford), a loss to anyone can put an end to their BCS Championship game aspirations. In future years, it just means they may be able to have one loss. To put it simply, a loss is a loss and a win is a win. Coaches and players want to win, the game plan doesn’t change in the slightest.

2) The Sooners are coming to town for the first time since 1999. They’ll be welcomed by a Green Out. How effective do you think it’ll be? How much Crimson will we see in Notre Dame Stadium? This coming from a guy that saw a whole lot of red in the stands when Nebraska made their visit to South Bend around the same time.

This is a great question, one I actually had a conversation with a buddy about yesterday. These types of things are very hard to be successful at unless you provide the shirt. The one time in my life I have seen a successful certain color wearing promotion was in my time at Indiana when we had a stripe out. The shirts were not furnished to us, but the ticket office and local community did a great job of getting the word out (and our fan base is quite hip … not really).

Nonetheless, I feel there will be green in the stands, but not enough to warrant an awesome picture or anything. Provide the shirts and it will work. But as you said, we are also going against a team with the color red. Red sticks out a little better than a dark green. If we were using the bright green that the women’s basketball team uses then it would be quite different.

Finally, with all the colors Notre Dame fans wear (green, yellow, mustard, tan, blue, grey, white), I feel like it will be a smattering of different shades. Yet, if the Irish community comes together and all wears green then it will be like a Christmas tree with some red ornaments on it …

3) If Notre Dame’s going to pull out a victory on Saturday, give me one stat on offense and one stat on defense that’s going to be more important.

I’m actually going to start on the defensive side of the ball first and say the Irish need to hold Oklahoma to under 60% completion percentage to give themselves a shot. Oklahoma likes to hit the sideline receiver, go over the top and/or hit deep posts. If the Irish can put pressure on Bell and force him into some lower percentage throws, the Irish will have a great chance in this game. The two games this season where the opposing quarterback has completed 60% of his passes are Michigan and Purdue.

On the offensive side of the ball you have to look at turnovers. This seems like such a simple stat that could very well end up 0-0 in this game. Yet, it is important to Notre Dame because I think they need to win the turnover battle to give them a good chance. Not saying they have to win it to win the game because not all turnovers are created equal, but it would go a long way to moving to 4-1 if they do.

  1. seadomer - Sep 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Here’s me having a little fun with Offense.

    BK/CM calls play A
    next play, BK wants to call play B but lets trick them and calls play A again,
    next play, play A not working, BK calls play C, Rees looks and changes it to play A
    punt

  2. nudeman - Sep 25, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Having been out of the loop this aft and not knowing Keith put up 9 articles today, I just posted this on one of Keith’s articles 4 articles back. So since it probably won’t get read there, I’m copying and pasting it for your dissemination here. The gist is I’m finding myself getting very concerned with this year’s team and coaches.

    I don’t know if they’ve jumped the shark in my mind or I just am having a bad day. I opine/You decide
    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    Well I’m a BK believer too, but I’m getting tested here. How do you explain all this:

    – A punt return team that looks like a Chinese fire drill, EVERY YEAR

    – An offense that, despite a pretty good OL and good RBs, has no running game.

    – Complete failure to develop QB, despite having highly rated recruit in your system for 4 years (AH)

    – Delay of game penalties, including one on the first play of the game recently

    – Composure on the sidelines. 18-22 year olds don’t do well being screamed at on national TV every week

    – Consistently playing DOWN to the level of the competition. Despite having a talented roster, there are very few times they’ve pounded lesser opponents who weren’t service academies into submission. Wake Forest and Miami last year. Aside from that, who in last 3+ years?

    – Turning your offense over to a 21 year old kid by letting him change the play 90% of the time. Why even bother with a game plan? Just let Rees be the OC and QB. As a result, the offense has no pace, they’ve thrown 50+ passes twice this year, 27 passes in the first half last week and overall they just look like sh**.

    – No running game but you keep your most talented RBs on the bench because they might miss a blocking assignment. Atkinson misses at least one every game

    Seriously, this season is looking like it could get ugly.

    • wisner74 - Sep 25, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      Agree with much of what you say, Nude, to an extent. Once again, I think you overstate your case in some areas. I agree 100% on the punt return thing, though. It’s an absolute mystery to me. Do they lack someone on the staff who knows how to coach it?

      AH has had his chances and he simply can’t do it, apparently. Who knows why? Lots of 4-star QB recruits don’t pan out. He’s one of them, but I wish him nothing but the best. Seems like a nice kid. We could probably find a dozen or more highly touted QB recruits that Ara or Lou failed to develop over the years. Charlie got nowhere with some of his.

      So, how you can say BK doesn’t develop QBs is another mystery to me. Rees was a three-star with a mediocre arm and no running ability. He was averaging 320 yards passing a game this season before MSU. (Too busy this week to join the post-MSU fray here, but I’m sure you and I would not see eye-to-eye on some of what happened last Saturday. I did see Bern’s comment about the wind, and I agree. I was near the field, row 13 in the SW corner. Lousy view but a decent sense for field conditions. The wind was very funky and unpredictable all afternoon, and frequently stronger than it would have seemed.)

      Name a team that never plays down to its competition, and I’ll show you a bottom-feeder. Sure I’d like to see BK-coached teams grind some of the opposition into dust, but you know what? I’ll take 15-2 over the last 17 games any day of the week.

      Hey, SCOTTATND, let me re-introduce you to Santa Claus.

      • scottatnd - Sep 25, 2013 at 9:13 PM

        Thanks. maybe I need to be introduced to spell check :) * claus

        Another vote for an edit button.

      • nudeman - Sep 25, 2013 at 10:52 PM

        wis
        Yes, there are explanations for each of these, but some cross the line into excuse making.
        No reasonable explanation exists for punt returns still being Monty Python-esque

        Abdicating the offense to Rees because “he gets us into good plays” is a bad idea.
        QUESTION: How many of those long passes on 3rd and 1 were due to his checks?

        Consideration should be given to the “call it and haul it” approach.
        Speed things up, don’t give the D time to change personnel. Do SOMETHING different
        Because the offense now is not good enough to win this Saturday

        Re: wind on Saturday, I don’t think I ever once heard the announcers comment on it.
        So how tough could the conditions have been? This is an excuse. A bad one.

        The fact that AH hasn’t developed is 50% on AH I suppose.
        Same with Ishaq who has never had an impact on even a series that I can recall.

        Are they terrible? No. Are they BCS caliber? Sure doesn’t look like it.
        Could they beat OK? Yes, but I don’t think they will.
        Looks like a 3-4 loss team to me. Maybe more.

    • txirish2 - Sep 25, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      Of all your points I think the lack of a running game, and Tommy calling audibles is the biggest problem. I think we all hoped that since Kelly knew Golson was gone, we’d have an offensive attack that focused more on the running game. It didn’t seem to happen.

      What really seems like it happened is the Kelly installed the same base offense as we’ve always had, except that Kelly has drilled into Tommy not to turn the ball over. Tommy now doesn’t make riskier throws, and it’s just limited the offense even further. Golson at least kept defenses honest with his mobility.

      Unless something clicks with the running game, or we script a few more plays to keep defenses off balance, I think it will get ugly. With Kelly’s focus on “repping” plays, I worry that it’s too late in the season to actually see any new wrinkles. Hopefully he will prove me wrong.

      Did anybody read the latest presser? They asked Kelly about tipping plays and he said “Well everyone knows what we’re going to run on third and long.”

      WTF? they tip plays by formation and personnel groupings, not by down and distance. He even admits that Bryant hasn’t played because there hasn’t been a game situation that called for the plays Bryant is “scripted” in.

      I haven’t given up hope yet, but I am getting close.

      • nudeman - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:07 PM

        I hadn’t seen those answers. Ridiculous.

        The thing that’s at the core of my annoyance now is the answers BK is giving.
        Using the pass to set up a running game that doesn’t exist.
        Bryant is by all accounts a major stud and I can’t believe he’s not capable of playing more. Script some MORE fu**ing plays for him. Get his ass in there. Folston too. Redfield as well.

        Everyone knows what we’re going to run on 3rd and long? Dude, everyone knows what you’re going to run on 3rd and 1. The D will fake Rees into checking into a long pass.

      • ndgoldandblue - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:58 AM

        Are you serious, txirish; he actually said that? Has Kelly gone bonkers? He’s starting to sound like Spock. The statistical likelihood of successfully obtaining a first down on 3rd and 7 is blah, blah, blah. Man, I’ve been one of the biggest Kelly apologists on this blog, but now I’m seriously starting to lose confidence in the guy. You’re not a robot, Brian. You don’t have to follow a script for every different situation. Man…

      • ndnphx - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        I hadn’t seen those BK comments either, txirish2. I think now I have given up hope…

      • mattnef - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        Did YOU read the last presser? From the transcript:
        COACH KELLY: No. I think everybody knows what we’re trying to do on 3rd and 1. If you know what we’re doing on 1st and 10 or 2nd and 4, then you know a lot more than we do. But I think if it’s the fourth quarter and you don’t know that we’re running the ball out of two tight ends, then you’re not paying attention. We’re pretty predictable in those kinds of situations. We have to find a way like I said, I think Tim asked a question, there wasa 4th down situation where we threw the ball and we didn’t pick up a blitzer off the edge for an easy 1st down where we threw the ball. Yeah, there’s always going to be predictable situations within the game where it’s a run versus a pass, and I also think there are going to be times in the game where you’re going to be predictable if you’re going to manage the football game. But I don’t believe that we’re at a point where people say, well, we know what we’re going to get on this play.
        “I think everybody knows what we’re trying to do on 3rd and 1″ is a lot different than what you thought he said.
        I have many questions about BK and the coaching at this point, and there is definitely some predictability to the offense, but there is no need to make things up to get fired up about.

      • ndadvocate - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        I love the Irish more than any sports team in the world. I grew up in Northern Indiana as a Catholic and have watched every game since I was 8. However, recently I have become completely disenchanted with the fan base and their opinions. I went to the Wake Forest game last year and heard nothing but complaining about the play calling or the substitutions being made. This was during a blow-out win during an undefeated season. I got to at least one game a year and hear nothing but negativity from the fan base. I cheer my butt ff and root for these kids to succeed and I am basically the only one. I am young enough to pass as a student still so I try my best to get student tickets. They are the only people I can stand sitting next to. They are’nt pathetically trying to hold on to past glory and appreciate the funa game can be. Brian Kelly has lost exactly 1 regular season game in the last 15. He knows what he is doing. He went to bed last night and forgot more than any of you ever knew about football.

    • mtflsmitty - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      Nude I am also playing catch up after KA kicked it into high gear in the last 36 hours. I was going to post the following several posts back, but thought better of it. This seems like a fair place to share my take.

      —————————————-

      Regarding Rees checking in or out of plays: So how do you guys know he’s actually checking out of the play? Please save yourself the embarrassment of saying something like “Because the RB moves to a new position”.

      I’m truly not trying to sound like a jerk. But some of you guys are so sophomoric in your thinking on the intricacies of executing the offense. I’m not football genius, and didn’t even play in HS. But I love the sport. I do know that audibles in BK’s offense may simply be an adjustment to the blocking scheme; not a change to the play.

      Do you really think you, or all of us posting on this site, are the only ones noticing that 9 times out of10 the defense adjusts after the audible? Don’t think BK or CM may have picked up on that trend?

      I’m sure many of you are in professions that are complex in their nature. For those of you who have been practicing your craft for 15+ years, wouldn’t you agree there are subtleties that the average Joe would never appreciate. Now consider the amount of film time these guys are investing. If the whirlwind of your business is as challenging as mine, you probably forgo the amount of research you’d like to perform and just go sometimes. These coaches are not cutting corners. They abandon their families completely during the season. Trust me, they have thought through the way TR checks into and out of plays (or doesn’t) with more insight and knowledge than any of us could hope to.

      So please, save us all from your ridiculously over-simplified view of ND’s offensive woes.

      • bb90grad - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        Agree with most of this but one nit to pick in next to last paragraph.

        I don’t know how much film time, family abandonment etc. goes on. Don’t care. All I see and can comment on is the play on Saturday and some things are lacking.

        Lots of professionals with 15+ years F up, happens every day, even with due diligence.

        Believe me, I know, I work for the government (but we’re here to help).

    • mtflsmitty - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:59 AM

      Now to reply directly:

      – Punt Return: Agree

      – On offense and lack of run game: I think your being highly influenced by MSU. Game was always in control and BK was looking to pound the ball and run the clock.

      – On AH: As you’ve pointed out many times in the past, some guys never develop no matter how many stars they had. Happens at all programs, and has been happening for decades. Nothing to see here.

      – Delay of games: TJJ ran out on the field then ran off too late. His fault? Who knows. BK always responsible. I get that. But they guy is 15-2 in last two seasons, and everyone would agree ND waayyy over-performed last year going 12-0 way ahead of schedule.

      – Composure: You rarely say things that I think I stupid. But this is a dumb comment. 1) you can’t think of a single time BK was purple-faced screaming at a player in 2012. 2) He did it once this year. 3) two of our best coaches in last 50 years Devine and Holtz commonly screamed at players. Lou grabbed their face masks even and got in their faces every week.

      – Consistently playing DOWN: Agree. “Everyone plays up for their ND game is BS.

      – Turning your offense over to a 21 year old: you know darn well that’s not what happening. TR does not have carte blanche control. There are a limited number of checks TR can call when presented with defensive looks they studied film on all week. Those checks all fall within the plan. You know better. But you just got on a roll, and couldn’t help yourself.

      – Most talented RBs on the bench: Maybe these guys aren’t developing as fast as we’d like to hope they are. Again, maybe the coaches with infinitely more opportunity for informed opinions than us know better. Yet, I must admit I was hoping to see GB and TF as a two headed monster like “Gershall”.

    • shamrocknroll - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Nude,

      I normally enjoy reading your thoughts on here, but it really feels like you’ve gone ’round the bend lately. Take a deep breath, have a beer, go for a walk, whatever. Your posts are starting to read like someone who locks himself in a room, tin foil hat and all, watching replays of the games all day, talking to yourself and screaming about why the coach won’t listen to you and all of your first hand expertise.

  3. scottatnd - Sep 25, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Reading all of that makes me feel like I did when someone told me there was no Santa Clause.

  4. seadomer - Sep 25, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Yeah ,,, nude gone a little dark side on us ..WAIT … there is no Santa???

    Anyways, most teams have this DPS (down playing syndrome) even Bama.
    Yeah we killed Miami, wake forest, BC when we’re suppose to but why did we mess up with Purdues and Pitt.
    The most consistent example I can think of in recent memory that consistently play their game is the Oregon Ducks. Their scoring, pace and speed is impressive but I am consistently more impressed by their attitude which is almost like “How soon in the 1st quarter can we score 28 pts” then they change to “If you dare to score on us we will score right back in 2mins or less”. Its methodical, aggressive to the extent that they are emotionless.

    I made fun of the O earlier but I feel that’s all we need, a little variety and we’re set. All we need is 4 or 5 plays and within that it could go left, right or middle. For permutation and combination fans, that’s 20 different plays. Then JUST E.XECUTE.

    For D, just play with more fire, I am not asking for illegal hits but we need to see opponents falling BACKWARDS.

    This I pray in Jesus name. Amen

    • ndgoldandblue - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Excellent point. The teams that execute the spread offense the best are the ones that employ more pace and tempo. They keep the offense moving quickly, they don’t allow the defense to substitute players, they don’t give the defense time to get set and read the offense, and they get the players on the defensive side winded. A lot of teams use the spread, but the most prolific of the spread offenses push the tempo.

      We do the exact opposite. The play clock winds down to 1 on nearly every offensive play. When the Irish do that, it gives the defense time to substitute players, read the offense, and ultimately catch their breath. The offenses that employ a slow-down, clock-eating strategy run a pro-style offense that is heavily focused on the run. I hate to use Minnesota as an example because they’ve been so bad over the years, but they are 4-0 this year with every win being a route, and their offense has been 70% run and 30% pass. Maybe things will change when they get into B1G play, but I assume they will use a similar strategy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they knocked off Michigan. If they lose, I’ll eat my words, but I think their game plan would work well against Michigan’s defense. After all, when we tried to run against them, we had success. To bad we gave up on that strategy.

      My point is, if we’re going to run the spread, it might be a good idea to pick up the pace. If we’re going to slow it down and use clock, why not go with a more pro-style offense? This finesse stuff doesn’t lend itself well to the tempo we currently use.

    • dudeacow - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      I’ve noticed how Oregon never falters against inferior opponents as well. My guess is that they work their butts off each week in preparing for these guys in hopes to score 100 points. We kind of take the whole, “We have better players, so we’ll win. Time to relax and eat ice cream” approach.

      • seadomer - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        Yup, the Ducks come out and do set A, if you don’t stop them, they will continue, otherwise set B … you get the point.
        It almost seems that they do not care if your front 7 is whatever or if your secondary is your strength. Because on any given week, THAT particular strength may not play as advertised, so we’re gonna test it anyways thus we will do our thing.
        Well, Stanford showed the way to stop it … err but has anybody since then?

  5. yaketyyacc - Sep 25, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    gimmicks(green shirts) or loud rock music only tell that there is a lack of confidence in a team/s ability to perform. I think Nude hit it pretty well on the head. the rest of the season can be ugly.
    we have sure learned that while the name is the same, the teams playing under that name are definitely different.
    I bought into the hype and said in prior posts that Notre Dame was no paper tiger. I was wrong.
    I wish us luck on sat. Irish, do the best that you can.

    • shamrocknroll - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      “Waaahhh, rock music, loud noises, get off my lawn!”

  6. shamrocknroll - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    I’m really tired of coming on here and reading all of the incessant negativity from supposed ND fans. Particularly from people who aren’t posting anything 8 months out of the year and then come out of the woodwork to crap all over our team.

    You’re all horrible people. That is all.

    • ndgoldandblue - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      God, I love posts like this. It brings so much to the discussion. That is all.

  7. bb90grad - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    I think what the site is saying is…yeah Nude, you’re just having a bad day. The universal negatives in the post (EVERY YEAR, no running game, Complete failure) give it away.

    Turn that big brain off for a while before you hurt yourself.

  8. runners00 - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    The question is whether the defense can hold up. I know that everyone’s frustrated with the offense and with the running backs and with the running game. None of it matters if Oklahoma puts up 40 because that’s just going to be a bloodbath. If the defense can get to the quarterback, we can win. But if OU’s line is blocking our guys all day and Bell is able to pick which receiver to toss it to, we’re in for a long afternoon.

    So the defense has the answer to our limited running game. No defense; no victory.

    Know defense; taste victory.

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