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Five things we learned: Pitt 28, Notre Dame 21

Nov 10, 2013, 2:57 AM EDT

Notre Dame v Pittsburgh Getty Images

After looking like a program that had gotten past the maddening inconsistencies of years gone by, Notre Dame’s 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh awoke all the wrong kinds of echoes on Saturday night. Done in by red zone mishaps and maddening inconsistency, the disappointing loss erased any hope for a BCS bid and ripped at scar tissue that had healed for much of the past two seasons. 

On a windy November evening in Pittsburgh, the Irish took a huge step backwards, playing down to their competition, making critical mistakes on both sides of the ball, and forcing Notre Dame into an off week with a horrible taste in their mouth.

“All losses are disappointing losses,” Brian Kelly said after the game. “But that was especially disappointing in the way that we played and coached.”

Let’s take a look at the five things we learned in Pitt’s 28-21 upset of Notre Dame.

After playing steady football for most of the season, two horrible passes by Tommy Rees doomed the Irish. 

For most of the season, Tommy Rees has played solid football, putting together stats that sat bizarrely high on national leaderboards for a player so loathed by a fairly vocal sector of Irish fans. But on Saturday night, Rees made two catastrophic fourth quarter mistakes, throwing an end zone interception on 2nd and Goal before floating a pass high over Troy Niklas’ head on his very next passing attempt.

The first pass took points off the board for the Irish. The second all but put them up for Pitt, with Ray Vinopal returning his second straight interception to the Irish 5-yard line. 

“My fault. Bad decision. Bad throws,” Rees said after the game. “You’ve got to be smarter than that and you’ve got to get us out of a play. Those are on me.”

The maddening inconsistencies that Rees seemed to have eliminated lately came back at the worst time for the Irish, especially after starting the second half seven of ten, including a perfect strike on an 80-yard touchdown pass to TJ Jones.

Rees’s accuracy was an issue for much of the night, completing just 18 of 38 passes on the night. While he racked up 318 yards and hit on a handful of long completions, Rees missed receivers all night, throwing some balls late and into coverages that the senior has avoided this season.

Lined up inside the Pitt 5-yard line, you could question the decision to roll Rees to his right, turning an already congested area into a half-field read. But Rees has played too much football to loft a pass to the back of the end zone, a mistake he owned up to in a difficult postgame interview session with reporters.

***

A week after starring against Navy, freshman Tarean Folston got lost in the shuffle. 

Tarean Folston scorched Navy for 140 yards last week. He disappeared against Pitt, getting just four carries on Saturday night. The Irish failed to get in any rhythm offensively against Pitt, piecemealing together a running game that featured long runs by George Atkinson and TJ Jones, but was otherwise mediocre against Pitt’s undersized front seven.

Brian Kelly talked about the game plan for running the football, a perimeter driven attack as the Irish tried to stay away from Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and why he chose to give carries to Atkinson instead of Folston.

“There were a couple of times where we felt like George gave us a better opportunity in there because of the kind of runs,” Kelly explained. “We were trying to get the ball on the perimeter. George is a guy that we like when the game is a perimeter game, it fits George’s skill-set, so that’s why you saw him in the game more.”

Atkinson ran for 57 yards on just six carries, breaking a big run around the edge on a quick pitch. But Notre Dame gave nine carries to Cam McDaniel as well, who was completely ineffective with just 22 yards. For those hoping that Folston’s breakout game would rid the Irish from a committee-based approach, it didn’t. Now the Irish head into an off-week trying to answer some tough questions about a ground game that averaged over five yards a carry, but had no identity whatsoever.

For those looking to point fingers at playcalling, especially in the second half, the Irish only ran the ball six times in the game’s final two quarters, gaining a whopping ten yards.

***

With a defense already gutted by injuries, the ejection of Stephon Tuitt was a death-blow to the front seven. 

So much for having the starting trio of Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix and Sheldon Day back together. The group barely lasted a quarter, with the Irish losing Tuitt to ejection after the junior defensive end was flagged for targeting after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Pitt quarterback Tom Savage.

The call was a difficult one to understand, considering Savage dropped the crown of his own helmet as he tried to scramble for a first down. (So was the subsequent replay review, which confirmed the ejection.) But the result was more playing time for unproven reserves like Tyler Stockton, Jarron Jones, and Isaac Rochell, and a Pitt offense that wore out the Irish defense, possessing the ball for over 36 minutes.

The loss of Tuitt forced the Irish into some emergency plans. Linebackers Carlo Calabrese and Romeo Okwara at one point played on the interior of the defensive line in some pass rush looks. But Kelly didn’t lean on the ejection — or the questionable pass interference call against Bennett Jackson (both penalties extended drives that ended in touchdowns) — after the game. 

“Stephon Tuitt not playing in the game, that’s not why we lost this football game,” Kelly said. “That is not why we lost this football game. It had nothing to do with this loss tonight.”

***

After peaking each season in November, the Irish’s self-inflicted collapse is all the more confusing. 

Brian Kelly has gotten a lot out of his teams in the month of November. Perhaps that’s what makes this loss so difficult to comprehend, with the mediocre play of the Irish coming out of nowhere.

Many will put this loss on the shoulders of Tommy Rees, but the reality is that there’s plenty of blame to spread around. TJ Jones coughed up a football inside the Pitt 10-yard line. Devin Street got loose in the Irish secondary. And after Prince Shembo strip-sacked Tom Savage, multiple Irish defenders watched a football bounce free and fail to capitalize on a game-changing play sitting right in front of them.

Those are mistakes that just haven’t happened in Kelly’s four seasons in South Bend.

“This really was about our football team going on the road and executing poorly on offense and not being good enough when they needed to be on defense,” Kelly said. “Coaches are responsible for getting their players to execute. That’s why we’re hired. That’s what we do. We didn’t get that from our players tonight. I’m responsible for that. That didn’t happen tonight.”

With a week off before Senior Day against BYU, it’ll be interesting to see what tactics Kelly uses with his team. The scenario of fighting their way into the BCS is gone. Injuries have taken this defense to a critical place. And young players should be given every opportunity to challenge underperforming veterans with little but pride on the line.

***

Irish BCS dreams may have fallen dead with a thud tonight, but this senior class will be defined by how they finish the season. 

In the ultimate jinx, I wrote about the potential for the Irish to get to eight wins against Pitt, making it four consecutive seasons reaching that threshold, not accomplished since 1993. That eighth win looks a lot more elusive now, with BYU likely challenging a weakened Irish front and Stanford again looking like one of the elite teams in college football.

The Irish bowl options are a mess. They’ll likely need to wait and see how the dust settles, hoping that either the Big Ten or Big 12 leave some vacancies, or else it could be Christmas in Detroit. Add into the scheduling factor final exams, not scheduled to end until December 20. That could provide another wild card in bowl scheduling, Jack Swarbrick hinted to the South Bend Tribune.

(Another wrinkle in all of this is how the early bowl game effects Everett Golson’s return. A January date would’ve given Golson more time with the team after his return, a date rumored to be sometime in early-to-mid-December.)

But bowl discussions can wait. There are still two very important games left for this team, including an emotional final home game for a senior class that’s been through a lot at Notre Dame. After the game, Tommy Rees talked about the importance of turning the page after a bitter loss and preparing for BYU.

“I don’t know how else to say it, it’s a tough feeling,” Rees said after the game. “We’ve got to regroup, we’ve got to come back as a team, and come back for each other.

“We play for each other. We play for our pride. As seniors, we’ve only got a couple games left here. We play for one another, we play for the university, our coaches. We really just rally as a group and get ready to play.” 

A BCS bid is no longer an option. But beating BYU and taking a shot at Stanford in Palo Alto should be enough to keep this team together. Unfortunately that’s all that’s left right now, consolation prizes after a disappointing and shocking defeat.

 

107 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. ihatemistate - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    In the post game interview with Kelly, I notice how he kept saying “poor execution” caused the loss, then at the end says how it’s the coaches fault because that is his job to get them to execute and says “that didn’t happen tonight”. Sadly not one person in the room asked him “and why is that Coach?” I’m getting pretty tired of the “it’s on me” excuse.

  2. Rbmat - Nov 10, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    ACC officiating is brutal. The targeting rule has to change. All you had on that play was two players reacting naturally. The ejection component needs to be taken out, or changed to a warning for the first offense in a game (think yellow card in soccer) or sent upstairs, not to confirm the field official ejection, but rather to look at the reply to decide whether to eject.

    Second, there is an old adage in football – “don’t throw late across the middle”. Given all the options for a play call on the first INT, we get a roll out with the second option route BACK INTO THE MIDDLE!

    Finally, how does Bob Diaco always seem to avoid criticisms of his play calling. I get the “bend don’t break” philosophy early in the game. But when you are losing the time of possession battle you need to find a way to get to the QB. The blitz packages that were used were ineffective against possibly the worst O line in the FBS. Instead of coming up the center around Big Lou, what about coming off the edge with both Jaylon Smith and Shembo together.?

    • danirish - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      I agree with the Diaco comment – why does ever team get to “dink-and-dunk” all the way down the field? It seems we have no one 5 yards past the line of scrimmage and rb’s are constantly making catches on 3rd & 4

  3. jem5b - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    A tale of two coaches.
    Shaw has a mediocre qb in Hogan, he had him throw 13x against Oregon.
    Kelly has a mediocre qb in Tommy, he had him throw 39x.
    I too am tired of Kell’s BS on his team didn’t execute, and it’s on him and his staff, I’m surprised Jack S will continue to listen to that sorry excuse.
    What a disappointment Kell has turned out to be in this his fourth year.
    Kell can recruit, but his coaching expertise seems to be mired in mediocrity.
    BTW, Reese, and Hogan would be lights out if we viewed them throwing a football, just not top notch ability.

  4. nateprez4irish - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    1. Was at the game and The Pitt players were noticeably more pumped then ND players. (Maybe it was the featured 2nd quarter playing of “What Does The Fox Say”) but we looked really flat, especially after Tuitt was ejected. Was right behind the sideline and no sense of urgency or pumping each other up. Also judging by the mental mistake of no picking up the fumble…..there were massive f bombs dropped after that one but didn’t seem to help morale of an already down on themselves defense.
    2. Tommy has to go down as the most polarized players in ND history. We apologized for every bad thing that was said about him after SC, and of course we are all continually frustrated by his decision making because of throws like last night. But let’s not put all the offensive troubles on BKs shoulders. Rees continually checked out of runs last night! Problem was that towards the jumbotron was straight into the wind and throwing the ball was infinitely tougher. The 80 yard strike to TJ was going the other direction and Savage to Street was headed towards the video board was a clusterf&$k of missed tackles. Pitt played against the run all night, especially into the wind, and as everyone else, made Rees beat them. Clearly last night he was beating himself ;) but you can’t put those on BK unless he says to tommy “run the damn play I call”.
    3. Kelly’s plan works, but we are so one dimensional and predictable on offense that the defense has too much to handle. Except the second half of USC, they have put a mediocre performance up at best. Hopefully jaylon smith and golson can reunite this team spirit to where they were last year or despite a better offense, it’s 9-3 again.

    • runners00 - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Against our schedule, 9-3 would be great in 2014. But I am worried about these next two games. We have to play much better to beat BYU or Stanford.

      • nateprez4irish - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Yea I was getting ahead of myself with that comment for this season. Mostly mean not another NC run in 2014. We knew what we were getting into emotionally with Rees this year. I am just really surprised the defense hasn’t made better strides, especially in the secondary. I see 8-4 and possibly opting out of a mediocre bowl game. (Not sure if that is a great idea for recruiting. I’d expect to see a ton of Folston the last 2 games with cam sprinkled in. Atkinson should be special teams only and Carlisle in the slot or out of backfield pass catcher in space.

    • jrct2450yahoo - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      9 and 3??? Have you seen Stanford play? This team is a major disappointment. By the way, am I the only one who thinks Golson would have been better off if he spent the semester working to improve his academics rather than QB mechanics?

  5. djeg07 - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    6th thing we learned brian kelly and notre dame still suck..been hat 10 years since any title hopes with charlie….nuff said

  6. runners00 - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Frustrated like everyone else. One more comment: what I find so discouraging- aside from missed tackles and weak offensive line play – is the lack of commitment to the run. We are starting a backup. He is a good guy, but he is not a division 1 starter. Sure, he has minimized mistakes this year (but not last night), but Rees is a good backup. And so why would the coaches consistently put the pressure on Rees instead of preparing the offensive line to move people so we can get those speedy backs to be effective?

    It is completely mind boggling, especially in light of how we played in 2012.

    • danirish - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      He is not a div-1 starter? Yes he is.

    • starkruzr - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Where does this implicit assertion that “committing to the run” is a thing you just decide to do come from? You run the ball when you are able to run the ball. Pitt was stopping us on the ground, so we aired it out. If they had stopped us in the air and we found that their line was porous enough for us to move it on the ground, that’s what we would have done.

      The run game is a luxury, not something you just decide to do. When you are unable to build momentum on the ground for whatever reason, you throw it a lot to catch up. Everyone does this.

  7. somebadhatharry - Nov 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    It was obvious last night that we got out coached and out played. Not the first time in the Kelly era it has happened, only last night we weren’t able to escape with a win. Once again, what is going on with the play calling?? Empty sets again on third and short?? At least make the defense think you might run the ball!!! And the play calling at the goal line from the 6 inch line?? I know we ended up scoring, but it’s pretty pathetic when you can’t just pound it in from there.

    B jack has got to become the bench captain. If you can’t turn for the ball at this point of the season and at this point in your career, you have no business being on the field.

    Man I’m tired of these games like Pitt, Purdue, Navy this year. Notre dame constantly playing down to the level of clearly inferior opponents. I don’t know, maybe I’ve been in denial all along and we are just a mediocre team that just had a lot of luck.

  8. savejimmyjohnsonsassforme - Nov 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Five things we CONFIRMED:

    1. The coaches have no ability whatsoever to motivate this team as they faill to match the opponents intensity, week in and week out….that, or we’ve somehow managed to collect nearly 100 football players with a complete indifference to the game of football

    2. This team, players and coaching staff alike, is in desperate need of a mean streak….sick and tired of all the Political Correctness, how ’bout Kelly telling that clown Brady Hoke to shove it earlier this year, or a defender leveling the big-mouth TE(I refuse to attach his last name for obvious reasons)last night in a “how do you like us now?” moment?….we coach and play like a buncha pansies

    3. Bob Diaco is the very definition of aloof…..with a general aloofness having permeated his entire defense

    4. There’s not a single play in the history of football, against any defense, that Tommy Rees would be unwilling to change at the line of scrimmage….how ’bout scripting a drive and forcing him to run each and every play, in order, or be yanked immediately if he checks out of a single one?

    5. Offensive skill players converted to the defensive backfield, although somewhat useful in a pinch when hidden behind a stout front-seven, are likely better off left to play offense….and by the way, shouldn’t we be trying to bring in about 3 or 4, or even half-a-dozen CB’s this cycle?….not to mention any able-bodied DT who’s willing to accept a free education?….we’ve got 2 DT’s and 1 corner commited thus far…..for comparisons sake, FSU has verbals from 6 DT’s, SIX! with 9 on their current roster, 7 of whom have eligibility for next year…that’s depth we can only dream of

  9. charlie617 - Nov 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    1. I feel bad for Big Lou. He could be a millionaire right now, instead he came back to this. It’s gotta suck for him being the only player on the defense (I would say team, were it not for TJ Jones) who gives 100% effort on every play. That shot of him and Sheldon Day on the bench after Day threw away (literally) a scoop and score says it all– Nix pissed off, yelling; Day with his helmet on, eyes downcast, not saying a word.

    2. I don’t blame the coaching staff for abandoning the run in this game. The offensive line wasn’t getting any push, the lanes were clogged, and when your best rush is a receiver end-around, it’s gonna be a long day. But I blame the staff for not developing the running scheme better over the course of the season that would have made it easier to run in this game.

    3. No heart. No passion. No hustle.

    4. It’s pretty clear that Pitt’s safeties have better hands than our running backs. Amir had his weekly hands of stone moment, and Cam dropped a pretty easy checkdown as well.

    5. For anyone who thinks we should have started Zaire this season, I submit Exhibit A: there was a shot of the quarterbacks on the sideline after a three-and-out at the end of the first quarer. Rees had the headset on, and Hendrix and Fiessinger (sp?) were huddled around him discussing the game. Zaire was 15 years away, joking around with a GA behind the bench. This may be an isolated incident; he may be checked in mentally 99% of the time. But we know he is NOT checked in mentally 100% of the time. If he wants to beat out Ghoulsteinn next year, he’s got to be involved now– even if he never sees the field.

    • irish13pa - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      you dont blame the coaching staff for abandoning the run??? 25 caries…. 133 yards… thats 5.3+ yards per rush. Oh…. and by the way…. the best RB on this active roster (Folston) had 4….. yes thats right…. 4 carries. How is that not on coaching???????????????????????

      • starkruzr - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        There are two ways to read those numbers. The first one is your way — “we were successful on the ground and decided to just abandon it just because,” which is nonsensical. The second one is that the times we ran the ball were places where we saw opportunities, and the opportunities paid off in spades. Apparently you’re forgetting the times we got stuffed over and over at or before the LOS. 5.3ypc includes the big streaks where we exploited opportunities.

  10. joewilliesshnoz - Nov 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Haven’t seen an Irish team this bad, in the 4th Qt., in a long time. Terrible playing, coaching, etc. .

  11. frankb51 - Nov 10, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    The injuries surely do not help the cause. But last night’s tackling was a disgrace, especially by experienced players.

    Latest installment of the continually saga of bennett jackson, someone needs to rip that C off of his jersey. He is an absolute disgrace, zero leadership quality and it shows. Clearly has no sense of his position and gets continually beat, time and time again. In a very “minor” defense of this guy, the pass interference call was horrible with multiple nd players going for the ball. Other than that whenever he is beaten he either complains to an official or cries like a baby. There has to be somebody on that bench that can replace him.

    We all knew what we were getting with Rees, the media the coaches, etc. can hype him all they want, they can flash statistics all night long, but in the end, it is the score that counts. He is a great kid but he is about a C average quarterback, at best.

    BK is really starting to make no sense; decisions are becoming highly questionable. A couple of times the look on his face appeared to suggest he was wishing he was “somewhere else” in the state of pennsylvania, and not in the city of Pittsburgh!

  12. 25kgold - Nov 10, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Many people haven’t noticed this, but BK has been coaching this year all the while looking forward to next season when he gets his QB back! It’s becoming more evident now. Of course he’d never say it–his actions are screaming loud and clear! The second he found out that Golson wasn’t going to be on this years team, he chalked it up and his play calling and game planning is proving that. Why do you think he named Rees his starter so quickly??? It wasn’t that he has so much confidence in Rees or that Rees’ knowledge of the playbook is better. BK was basically saying “screw it!! On to next year”

    Sure, if ND ended up going 10-2 and to a BCS bowl game, great! He’d take that, too! BK’s (offensive) mind is WELL into 2014 where he’ll have 3 very capable mobile QBs (I pray Zaire stays, dear Lord), and he can open up his playbook! I’d bet his plan this year was only to make it to a decent bowl game and keep everyone healthy…That’s it!

    • irishpuma - Nov 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      Ridiculous comments. If he was playing for next year seniors would be benched and the young guys would be getting huge reps. Nuff said.

      • irishdrg1 - Nov 11, 2013 at 7:54 AM

        Kelly won’t play Malik WHY? He is a freshman? He played Rees as a FR. Other schools play FR. Maybe they can coach them up to play. What does Folston have to do? What does Max have to do? Don’t act like they can play now that you Coach have BLOWN the season. You had all summer and this season to build your team.

      • danirish - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        Er, the young guys are getting a lot of playing time and reps

      • starkruzr - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        Nuff is not said when the thing you are arguing is demonstrably wrong.

        Have you forgotten all of the hype about how much playing time freshmen have been getting?

  13. cpfirish - Nov 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Wisner74…

    Okay so explain to me why out best all out running back only had Four carries?.. You have guys like Farley missing tackles and blown coverages every week, and Max Redfield is no playing more back there? Who we all know is ten times the safety Farley is.. And Malik Zaire… I mean it can’t get any worse than Rees. We all knew our season was an 8-4 at best so why not get Zaire some reps?.. And yes Jaylon smith is a true freshman and is already one of the best players on out defense..? Go Irish!

    • wisner74 - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      No idea why Folston didn’t get more carries last night, but he got 140 yards-worth of carries against Navy. In addition to Jaylon Smith, Cole Luke and Devin Butler got meaningful minutes on defense, along with Rochell on the D-line. On offense, Fuller and Onwualo both caught passes. That’s seven true freshman who played on offense or defense (i.e. not just special teams). What do you want?

    • danirish - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      We know that Redfield is 10x the safety Farley is after complaining that he has not getting play time? If he is not getting play time then how do you know he is a better safety? Redfield’s development has been well-documented.

      Folston got 140 yards running against Navy – the running game was abandoned not Folston.

  14. irish4me - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    1. Bob Diaco needs to be let go. His Bend don’t break scheme is complete crap. It seems that his whole idea is keep everything in front, hopefully the other team will implode on the drive with penalties, missed opportunities or that last vestige the old goal line stand ( anyone here remember those from what seems like a bygone era, last year). With the exception of the second half of the USC game, this “D” has been sleepwalking between missed tackles. The sheer numbers of missed tackles EVERY game screams out for attention to fundamentals, I am completely out of my mind over this. Horrible execution.

    2. Tommy Rees is what he is, over the top with inconsistency, Tommy if it were actually worth anything as a commodity you could bottle it and sell it. He’s all we got so nothing to do this year. I really hope Goulsen
    is learning something from his private tutoring at QB, he was better than Rees last year but he wasn’t a skilled passer whatsoever, look at the stats, they do not lie.

    3. The offensive game plan is ridiculous, passing 40 times with talented running backs sitting on the pines and a pretty damn good O-line to boot. If Martin can’t get his act together, then it’s time for him to hit the bricks as well. The key is we keep making the same mistakes over and over, pass over run all day every day and I just don’t understand the rational.

    4. I’m sick and tired of the “This is their Super bowl” drivel. Anyone think Nick Sabon thinks this way, teams get up for Alabama not run of the mill squads like ND, what a joke that line is. You seriously think any team is afraid of a team that can barely squeak by Navy and loses to Pitt that was hosed by Duke?

    5. I thought football was a sport played with emotion, I see hardly any spirit among this group, some player on Pitt said that ND players were cocky, there’s no fire, intensity or emotion here, especially on the defensive side of things. If I had to choose one word to describe this teams attitude it would be “tentative”. I’m so glad we will not be completely embarrassed in a BCS bowl game, we’ll have to settle on being completely embarrassed by Stanford. Thoroughly disappointed in this Notre Dame team. Thumbs down option is just below for all of you eternal optimists.

    • nudeman - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      Gave you a thumbs up even though I don’t agree with everything.

      1. Disagree. 12 months ago everyone was worried he’d leave. The biggest problem is the talent level, as there are guys starting on that D who wouldn’t start for any other top 25 team. Bennett Jackson, Farley, Calabrese and Fox are individually awful and collectively fatal. So blame Diaco for not being a better recruiter if you want. But he’s the same guy with the same schemes as 12 months ago.

      2. I have read this 3 times now and don’t know what your overall point is.

      3. Agree. But you need to also blame Rees as he’s constantly checking out of plays. Who knows? Maybe Martin called 40 runs.

      4. Agree completely. That talk is very tiring and an excuse.

      5. There has been no emotion since the second drive in the first quarter against Temple. None.

      • irish4me - Nov 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        Re:Nudeman and your reply to my rants…

        The thing about the Diaco defensive scheme is your team is executing well, there is no possible way you won’t be at least in field goal range on every drive. He plays too far off the ball for my tastes (even last season). He keeps it all in front sort of a Prevent defensive effort on a full time basis, I don’t like it, never have , never will. Look at the Navy game he repeatedly had his defense well back off the line of scrimmage as we all know Navy is just PASS crazy. That’s insane to me, maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s a complete waste of manpower, rather than bringing up at least one more man so we weren’t constantly one man short on the option.

        As far as number two goes, I’m not sure why you don’t understand, my point is simple, no use beating a dead horse, Tommy Rees is the best we have and he’s patently inconsistent, there’s nothing to be done about it this year. Next Year most people are drooling over Goulsen coming back, I’m simply stating that he isn’t the GREAT QB that everyone (myself included) is giving him credit for, his stats in the passing part of his game aren’t all that terrific and I’m merely thinking out loud that I hope he’s getting something out of the QB tutoring that I read about in an article that had a link posted by you last week. Thanks for that by the way. I really hope they can win out I’ll always hope for that but my head and my heart are in two different worlds this year for ND as compared to last year.

  15. irishdodger - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Rees is capable of a five step drop…nothing more. He should NEVER be allowed to execute a play that calls for a roll out. I’ll acknowledge he can execute the bootleg rollout to the TE, so he just can’t throw across his body to a receiver headed the opposite direction.

    Savage was sacked on average of 4 times per game….ND only got him once & ND refused to capitalize with an easy scope & score.

    Bennett Jackson & Mattias Farley have no business being starters. I’m sure they’re great kids but neither can tackle and Jackson is reminiscent of Gary Gray in one on one coverage as he refuses to look for the ball. His PI penalty was a no-brainer…that pass wasn’t tipped. He’s also 2-4 yds behind his receiver. I’ve heard Farley is playing through a shoulder injury which may explain the missed tackles but begs the question, ” How bad are the backups?”

    If u watched the Stanford/Oregon game, you saw their Holtz-like commitment to the run. Gaffney average less than five yards per carry but they stuck with it and it accomplished two things: moved the chains needed for sustaining drives & winning time of possession. We as fans need to accept that BK has a pass first philosophy regardless of personnel. Convincing him otherwise is like convincing a Democrat that Keynesian economics doesn’t work. It’s a philosophy…and BK subscribes to it.

  16. ndirish10 - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Alright, ready for some Irish football today. Going to finally blow out Pitt, at their house, on national TV…wait, why is my wife saying it’s Sunday today? Was that not a bad dream last night? Abandoning the run before it’s even established? Burning timeouts early that would have been crucial late in the game? No execution, urgency, COJONES?!

    I won’t reiterate all of the comments nude, runner, jimba, c4, and many other have said. Question that is now raised: is there a chance of beating both BYU and Stanford, and end at 9-3, or will it be 7-5? Either way disappointed…

    Well now on to the NFL and watch the Niners hopefully beat up on Cam and the Panthers.

  17. elkona - Nov 10, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Greetings maniacs. We will not beat Stanford. Anyone who thinks we will has been partying with Carl Pelini. We will see next week if BK has learned his lesson, by virtue of whether we run Folston or continue to have Tommy heave balls into the arms of DBs. It also would be nice if Diaco could develop an alternative to Farley before Baratti returns in the spring. But that is almost certainly asking too much.

  18. papadec - Nov 10, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    I’ll root for the Irish to beat BYU, I’ll root for the Irish to beat Stanford, I’ll root for the Irish to win whatever bowl game they go to, I’ll root for the Irish. Great plays, crap plays, win or lose, I’ll root for them – but, then again I’m just a thick headed, stubborn Pollock, too old to change. emmmm are there any other kind?

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      great comment and it’s nice to see some love for Pollocks on his board since most of the time it’s just the Micks yammering away.

      (Full Disclosure: I’m half Pollock and half Mick)

  19. dbldmr - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    I went with a friend to the A&M game on Saturday. (They played Mississippi State.) What I learned is that one exceptional player on offense can transform a team. Texas A&M is a very average football team. It reminds me a lot of Notre Dame. The defense consistently demonstrates its inability to cover the wheel route and if you put blue jerseys on their defensive backs you would be convinced that it was Notre Dame d-backs missing tackles. The rushing attack was sporadic at best. What A&M has, however, is Johnny Manziel. He keeps plays alive. I have never seen a college quarterback do the things he does. He threw three touchdown passes across his body while he was running left. Amazing.

    The Aggies gave up over 500 yards (and rang up some stupid penalties on offense and defense…sound familiar?) and still won. The one difference between ND and A&M was the play at quarterback. He provides the team with an identity.

    I don’t think this ND team has an identity at all.

    • starkruzr - Nov 11, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      We lost Golson, Te’o, KLM, Slaughter and Motta. Are you shocked we’ve lost our identity and leadership? I’m sure as hell not.

      Not sure why the rest of the commenters here seem to be devoid of patience. BK, Diaco and Martin are working with what they’ve got.

  20. 1historian - Nov 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    After Saturday night I would hope that we have seen this team – from the coaches and the players – at its worst.

    We have not seen them at their best.

    It’s time.

  21. ihatemistate - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    I think the players can’t stand BK and they secretly just want the season to get over with so they can get away from him, that’s why they’re not fired up anymore.

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