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IBG: Life at halfway and Adios Subway Domer

Oct 10, 2013, 2:26 PM EDT

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Our weekly Irish Blogger Gathering is a little late this week, but I’ve got a good excuse. Or not really a good excuse, but so be it — it’s bye week, people.

That said, I did want to take a brief moment and acknowledge the retirement of noted Notre Dame blogger The Subway Domer. He decided to hang up the keyboard after a great run that lasted almost seven years.

One of the greatest parts of my job is the near daily interaction I have not just with commenters and readers but with the blogging “community” that exists surrounding Notre Dame football. There isn’t a day that goes by — or maybe even an hour — where I’m not checking other peoples blogs, messageboards, Twitter feeds, etc. That very well might be a disease that I’ll one day need to kick, but it’s a really cool group to be a part of, even though as a guy that’s collecting a paycheck to do this, I’m just lucky people want to include me.

In an era where thousands of blogs get started and left for dead after the idea wears off, that Joshua was able to keep the train rolling for so long, and do it in such a unique and funny way, is a testament to how good he is at it. He’ll still be on Twitter, and I hope he’ll still be selling his t-shirts (I plan on wearing my purple faced Brian Kelly T this weekend in Vegas), but the blogosphere will miss him, even if he does bring up a few red flags in language filters all across Corporate America’s I.T. departments.

It was Joshua’s idea to start the IBG and it’ll live on without him. But he’s one of the cool people I got a chance to “know” without meeting, a really large group that I’m happy to call friends, even if my wife does think it’s weird.

Onward to the IBG, where Frank over at UHND.com answered my questions. As usual, here are the other participants in the weekly excitement:

Her Loyal Sons
ND Nation
UHND
Strong and True

As usual, play along in the comments.

1) Who’s your first-half MVP on offense and defense? Rookie of the Year Offensive Defense? 

First half MVP on offense would have to be TJ Jones.  Jones has really stepped into the role of being a #1 receiver for this team and has been huge in Notre Dame’s wins over Temple and Arizona State and had a gutty performance against Michigan after getting banged up early on.  Jones is going to crush his personal bests for catches, yards, and touchdowns and in fact he already has tied his career mark for touchdowns.  It’s scary to think of what Jones may have been able to do this year if he had Everett Golson throwing him the football, but even without Golson, Jones is well on his way to the best season of his career and could easily eclipse the 1,000 yard mark given the level of competition the Irish will face down the stretch outside of Stanford.

Offensive rookie of the year is tough because we’ve seen a couple frosh show flashes of their potential but not much consistency yet.  Tarean Folston, Corey Robinson, and Will Fuller have all made a few plays so far but haven’t been too consistent.  With that in mind, I will go with Steve Elmer here. Elmer’s been a very solid backup in the offensive line rotation and should give Irish fans a lot of hope that the left tackle position will be in very capable hands after Zack Martin moves on the NFL after this year.

Defensively, I’ll go with Louis Nix.  Even though his stats aren’t eye popping and his presence may not be as visible as it was last year, Nix has been doing exactly what he needs to do in this defense – eating up space, occupying blockers, and creating opportunities for plays for his fellow defenders.  With the drop off in production from Stephon Tuitt after his off-season surgery and the big plays the secondary has given up that they didn’t a year ago, Nix’s presence might not be felt as much as it was a year ago, but Big #1 is doing his job very well this year.

Rookie of the year on defense is easy.  Jaylon Smith.  Through the first few weeks Smith showed flashes of his 5-star potential, but against Arizona State it was on full display.  This kid is going to be a big time player for the Irish and is going to make a lot of plays throughout his career.

2) Give me your high-water mark after the first six games? What’s been rock bottom?

Sadly, I think the high water mark might be the first five minutes of the first game of the year against Temple. Notre Dame came storming out of the gates during the first five minutes of the season and it looked like we might finally have a high flying offense on our hands. That ended up not lasting too long unfortunately as the offense has struggled to maintain that level of success since then. Notre Dame hasn’t really had an impressive, start to finish victory where the outcome was never in doubt and has fallen behind quickly most weeks.

Notre Dame’s 4th quarter flurry against Purdue was a lot of fun, but it’s tough to qualify that as a high water mark since it came against a pretty brutal Purdue team and the Irish should have never been in that situation to begin with so it was more a sigh of relief than anything else.

There’s been a few great plays that were exciting at the time, but since the Irish were unable to capitalize on momentum after them, they wouldn’t necessarily qualify as high water marks. I’m thinking of Tuitt’s interception in the endzone against Michigan and George Atkinson’s long touchdown against Oklahoma. Unfortunately Notre Dame never got any closer in those contests than they did at those points though so those moments were pretty short lived.

3) You have a magic potion that improves one specific player on the Irish roster 25%. Who are you using it on and what will that improvement do for the Irish?

My initial reaction to this one was Tommy Rees since I really think this offense is an elite quarterback away from being prolific, but I’m not sure that improving him 25% would turn him into an elite quarterback. Still, if Rees were to just cut down on the mental mistakes and had the arm strength to hit the deep balls that he has consistently under thrown all season – especially in the Arizona State game – this offense would have put up a lot more points this season and the Irish would very likely be 5-1 at worst heading into the bye.

One other name that popped into my head was Stephon Tuitt since I think it’s pretty clear Tuitt is feeling the effects of his off-season surgery and the time he lost in the weight room. He just isn’t the same dominant player that he was a year ago. If he was, this defense would not be giving up points at the rate in which they are right now and the Irish pass rush would not have been one of the worst in the country heading into last week before their 6 sack breakout against the Sun Devils.

  1. 4horsemenrideagain - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    magic potion hypotheticals? now we’re talking.

    if you could have a magic potion that would turn tom hammond’s head into anyone else’s head, whose head would that be? (note: the voice, mannerisms and comments would still be vintage hammond, it’s just the appearance of the head that would be different).

    –for my part, it’s got to be Loni Anderson, no question about it and I don’t mean current Loni, I mean vintage Loni when she was Jennifer in “WKRP.” That would make listening to Tom Hammond much more palatable.

    • dickasman - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      #3 is given but agree nonetheless. If I had a magic potion, I’d give myself a painless penis reduction surgery I’ve been shopping around n apparently it’s pretty painful.

  2. getsome99 - Oct 10, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I think we have the best sideline reporter in all of football. That may not be saying much with the likes of Michelle Tafoya and Pam Oliver working the sidelines but Alex Flanagan has a very underrated hotness about her.

  3. dudeacow - Oct 10, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    So long, Domer, and your unnecessary and overused expletives. Now that you’ve probably moved onto greener pastures (meaning browner pastures, obviously, because what could be better than blogging for ND? I suppose now you have to get a real job.), we need a new bloke in this here setup. May I suggest Whiskey from SB Nation’s One Foot Down blog? That guy had tons of insight.

  4. mtflsmitty - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Very nice comments about SubwayDomer, Keith. I have read his stuff for the last few years and have enjoyed his comments as well. But especially gracious of you to offer him a bit of a dedication.

  5. mtflsmitty - Oct 11, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    Jaylon Smith is outstanding. My wife and three kids were in Dallas for ASU. On D, I took great pleasure in focusing on that kids doing his work. Although he still can look a little off balance on play action as he drops into zone coverage (I’m really splitting hairs there, btw) he just looks awesome. Sheds blocks well, seems disciplined, and as a result forces running backs to respond to him, as opposed to the other way around.

    6’2 230 is such a tweener. Will be interesting to see if he remains in that area, or if he ads 25 lbs to be a more physical run stopper.

  6. yaketyyacc - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    USC lived up to my post, and showed what a difference a coach makes. evidently, we will have to wait til next year to find out what a difference a quarterback makes. the problem is that while the rest of the team is gaining field experience, Zaire is not, and that may prove to be a disconnect hard to overcome, and cause the remarks, I told you he was overrated. not a good decision to pink shirt him, in support of breast cancer.
    we are going to have a fight on our hands with USC, as they now know how limited our offense is at quarterback. again, not a turnover tommy hater, just facing realism…..

  7. getsome99 - Oct 11, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    SC’s defense didn’t look good at all, particularly against the run. The offense came out flying all over the field in the first half but Kessler didn’t impress me much after the 1st (2) TD’s. USC’s O-line has had their issues this year so if we keep pressure on the QB, we can keep #15 from going crazy on us. A full week for Diaco to study film and get the D ready. I think we’ve got this one.

    Early prediction 34-16

    GO IRISH!!!

  8. mattnef - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    I was hoping to see some University of Spoiled Children analysis on here. I didn’t get to see the game, but ESPN made it sound like they were a team possessed ready to march to a PAC-12 title under the interim head coach. Yet, they only beat Arizona by 7 points.

  9. getsome99 - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    @ Matt,

    They played lights out in the 1st half (28 points) but came back down to earth in the 2nd. SC throws the deep ball a lot (unsuccessfully) and Agholar looks like the real deal but that’s about it. Not sure if Marqise Lee will be back by next week.

    RB’s looked just ok so we’ll shut that down. We should be able to run and throw against them with no problem. Their DB’s can’t cover very well. Arizona’s QB is actually worse than ours but he ended up having a decent game.

  10. irishwilliamsport - Oct 11, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Unlike most of our other opponents to date, ASU didn’t seem to know what we were doing before the play started. I hope the coaches have figured out how to not be so predictable. I think BK is a good coach but just didn’t get consistent play from Christ, Rees, Hendrix and Gunner leaving. Except for the 12 – 0 season from a redshirt freshman last year. Boy I hope Golson comes back, but what if he doesn’t ? That would leave Zaire, a recruit who hasn’t signed a letter of intent yet and possibly Hendrix for a 5th year, ouch.

    p.s. I do like Brian Kelly but I’ll always have a bug up my ass about the NFL flirtation the day after the NC game.

  11. viktory2013 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Pretty accurate assessment of the situation so far. I live in SoCal, so unfortunately I see more of SC than I care. ND and SC are fairly similar teams; neither will have huge success running the ball, and both protect the passer well. What it will come down to will be SC betting Kessler can beat ND’s secondary consistently, and their defense betting Rees cannot. That’s the game in a nutshell. Whichever team’s qb steps up and avoids screwing up, wins. Simple as that kids.

  12. getsome99 - Oct 11, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Looks like Marquis Lee will be playing next week so we’ll have our hands full back there for sure with him and Agholor.

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