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IBG: Anchors Aweigh!

Oct 30, 2013, 1:55 PM EST

ibg_nokelly3

It’s that time of week again. While I think there might be a glitch in the Matrix, I’m once again chatting with UND.com’s Aaron Horvath, who took the time to answer my three questions.

Every year the Navy game feels a little different than the others. But after a four-year run where the Midshipmen terrified Irish fans, have back-to-back 40-point wins made the Middies any less scary? I doubt it.

If you feel like checking out our friends, or my answers over at NDNation, do so here:

Her Loyal Sons
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As usual, play along in the comments. Here are Aaron’s answers to my questions.

1. The Irish seem to be hitting their stride as the calendar turns to November. What do you want to see this weekend to keep the forward progress going? 

What I want to see this weekend is solid gap discipline from the defensive unit (goes without saying against an option squad) and a continued running game presence.
The running game presence is the key for me as this season continues. The passing game, led by senior quarterback Tommy Rees, has been very solid this season. The running game continuing on the upswing can only help the offense achieve balance. Against a military academy it should be easier to run the ball as there is a big difference between strength and weights along the defensive and offensive fronts. Nonetheless, there needs to be technically sound blocks providing holes for the backs to run through.

2. Brian Kelly mentioned that Notre Dame played 60 guys last week, the most since he’s been here, and I’m guessing the most in a really, really long time. Who were some of the bottom of the roster guys that you saw play that got you excited?

Well I don’t ever get “excited” to see guys play. I feel like there is a reason for them not playing in pivotal moments and coaches dictate that with playing time. The best will play and I give the coaches more than the benefit of the doubt on who they choose to play. I can say that fans were excited to see Max Redfield on the field, that may be an understatement.
Honestly, what I was happiest to see in this blowout was how Coach Martin allowed Andrew Hendrix to throw the ball a few times to continue to mature at the quarterback position.

3. It wouldn’t be an IBG without some rivalry talk. How important is the Navy rivalry to you? Do you think it’s lost some of the historical context that makes it important on a national level? Is there a way to get that back if Navy isn’t among college football’s powers? 

The Navy “rivalry” is actually really important to me. Not really the rivalry, but the game we play each year. When I was younger I was always awestruck by the Naval Academy and I still am to this day. Instead of rivalry, I would call it a “connection.”
It has lost a lot of it’s historical context on the national level, but as someone that works at Notre Dame, we think about what is best for our students, the University and the partnering school. The Navy-Notre Dame game is one that is a “win-win-win” along all those avenues.
As far as getting this to be more important in the national landscape without Navy being among the best in the country, the answer is simply, no.

 

  1. yaketyyacc - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    good old navy saved our butts in WWII. I was always reminded of how the Navy came to our rescue every time we used the Naval Drill Hall(now gone) that was next to Cartier Field(also gone). as a student I never saw us beat Navy, but used to think, I guess as most of us do, that we may win or lose against them on the football field, but, they cannot lose, ever, on the world’s field. Glad to see the Navy undefeated there. in that respect, as a Notre Dame man, I say, Go Navy.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      yak, it’s always nice to hear from someone who knows the history. even aside from the history, it’s an awesome thing to be able to play the service academies every year because the kids that go there are really something. just having the stadium filled with cadets or midshipmen is special when you think about it because they’re all exceptional kids. you think you have to be talented to get accepted into stanford? try west point, annapolis or the Air Force Academy. last time i checked, stanford didn’t require a nomination from congressman.

      based on the above, it rubbed me the wrong way that when BK put hendrix into the game with ND already up 38-10, that BK sends in a play where Hendrix is looking to throw it deep. Now, I get it that Hendrix needed a chance to get his mojo back after SC, and its only a 28-point lead…but come on, it was a 28 point lead over a 1-6 team. If Hendrix needed to regain his timing and touch, and BK called some dink and dunk and intermediate passing plays to do that, so be it. But to huck it downfield in that situation, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

      • bernhtp - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:57 PM

        Hendrix was second string and obviously needed some pass-play experience and confidence. There was exactly zero wrong with that play and a lot right.

        BTW, if you want to get all righteous, Hendrix’s bomb killed infinitely fewer women and children than those of the AF for the past years.

      • mtndguy - Oct 30, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        Bern, the women and children comment is in poor taste. I’ve enjoyed many of your posts on these boards, but that one was definitely beneath you.

      • andy44teg - Oct 30, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        Look at berno….gettin all political up in HEEYA!

      • nudeman - Oct 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        mtndguy
        Come on … bern is one of the best posters here.
        Pretty sure that was a joke.

      • dillonbigred - Oct 31, 2013 at 1:04 AM

        A joke? Not funny.

  2. shamrocknroll - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    “Why can’t we ever handily beat a lesser opponent?!!!” – ND fans

    *After handily beating a lesser opponent*

    “Why do we have to be so mean to the academies by scoring on them with our backup?! They were 1-6!” – ND fans

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      it’s not about being nice or mean, it’s about class and sportsmanship.

      maybe up 4 touchdowns isn’t quite enough of a lead to say no more deep passes, but then how much is too much to be throwing that pass? 5 touchdowns? 6 touchdowns? 10 touchdowns?

      • shamrocknroll - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        It’s not “sportsmanship” to go easy on the academies when we’re already up by a few touchdowns, it’s called playing soft.

        I wouldn’t start going for 2, or going for a score when you could kneel in the victory formation at the end of the game, but anything short of that is just playing soft, and is not only unfair to the academies for not giving them the toughest challenge they deserve, but it’s unfair to our players, and would only condition them to be soft, think it’s okay to let up, and wouldn’t provide amble teaching moments for players in need of development.

    • shamrocknroll - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      My previous comment was intended to go under 4horsemen’s comment above. Sorry about that.

      Seriously though, there’s a certain segment of our fans who are always “rubbed the wrong way” about one thing or another. It’s so annoying. Yes, we respect the academies, but guess what? On the Saturdays that we play them, they are our enemy and stand in between a BCS bowl or embarrassment. You play to win, and win big. What better forum to try and get Hendrix comfortable throwing a deep ball?

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        if it’s a basketball game and you’re up 20 points in the second half, do you put on your full-court press because you really need some game experience for the second-stringers running your press? probably not.

        i do get your point and i’m one who complains about not being able to “put a team away” but air force had already been put away, put down, put in their place, and put to bed. that TD pass wasn’t about putting them away, it was about grooming Hendrix, at Air Force’s expense.

      • dbldmr - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        Having Hendrix throw a deep ball is hardly a full-court press. (After watching him in the SC game I thought the odds of his completing even a short or medium pass were pretty small.) He threw it up for grabs and our guy came down with it. If AF had intercepted it would have been as good as a punt. It didn’t look like any concerted effort to humiliate Air Force.

      • shamrocknroll - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        Agree with dbldmr about a Hendrix deep ball hardly being a full court press. In fact, anything involving second-stringers is not a full court press. You just keep digging yourself in a hole with this argument. Running up the score by keeping your first string in all game? Yeah, that might be excessive. With your second stringers? Sorry, that’s good coaching. And last time I checked, grooming your players at an opponents expense is also ideal.

  3. bb90grad - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Am wondering why grooming Hendrix is taking place when he has five, maybe six games left in his career. Has he ridden the pine the last 3 years with his head buried in Gray’s Anatomy? What’s another month gonna hurt?

    • upthera44 - Oct 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      It hurts if Rees goes down (and they seem to really not want to use Zaire this year). They want a functional quarterback not a complete head case. Hence wanting to get him some reps and build his confidence.

    • txirish2 - Oct 30, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      Hendrix could potentially play next year as well.

      • nudeman - Oct 31, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        I’d be surprised if he wants to play at ND, if at all
        Yet another year holding a clipboard; might even be 3rd string, and he knows it

        And from what I’ve read there is no love lost between Andrew and BK

        I’d put the chances of a 5th year at less than 50%

    • bb90grad - Oct 31, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      I already understood about having a suitable backup. My post was a sarcastic way of implying he wasn’t groomed in 2011 when he backed up TR and Crist and last year behind EG and TR.

  4. cameronemclaughlin - Oct 30, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Aaron doesn’t get excited to see people play?!?! I love seeing backups get on the field after all the work they put in, or seeing the squad’s young future get an opportunity to grow.

    Excites the hell out of me.

  5. papadec - Oct 31, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    Good freakin’ grief!!!!!!!!! Kelly gets blasted for winning by only a few points – now he gets blasted for winning by a bunch. Somebody please define what the acceptable winning margin should be. One TD over the point spread? Two? Three? Same as ‘Bama? LSU? Any top 10 ranked team playing a team with a losing record? In a way, I’m glad that’s all you have to complain about. Maybe we should give participation trophies to the losers, so they don’t feel too bad. This is college, not peewee, football!!!!

  6. 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 1, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    it doesn’t matter if it’s your first string, second string, or walk-on quarterback, if you’re up by 28 points and still hucking it downfield you end up looking like crap. i don’t care if “hendrix needed the experience,” it doesn’t change the optics of it. maybe your second string defensive kicker really needs some experience kicking onside kicks in front of 50K people, so are you going to trot him out there and kick an onside kick when up 28 points? of course not because you kick an onside kick when you need to get the ball back so you can score, just like you throw a 50 yard pass when you need to score. air force was beaten. ND didn’t need to score.

    if fuller was the only receiver that was open, and if he was running that route to open up something underneath, then fine. it still looks like bobby bowden, but fine. but fuller was the primary option on that play. hendrix locked in on him, and watched him the whole way down the field, so if the best reason for throwing that pass is “oh we needed to build up hendrix’s confidence in case we need him later” that is a piss poor reason for rubbing air force’s nose in it.

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