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Kelly previews Stanford

Nov 26, 2013, 11:21 PM EDT

USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports

For the final Tuesday of the regular season, Brian Kelly hosted his weekly opponent preview press conference. And it’s clear that the Irish head coach understands the challenge that No. 8 Stanford presents.

The Irish have played some good teams this season. But Kelly made it clear that he thinks Stanford is the best one he’ll face this season, praising David Shaw’s team to open his remarks.

“We play our fourth Top‑25 team this weekend and our most difficult competition in that Stanford is a veteran football team, well‑coached, plays physical on both sides of the ball,” Kelly said. “I think more importantly, you know, plays with a confidence and a swagger that is apparent when you win as many football games as they have over the past half a dozen years.”

Of course, with two losses, the Cardinal aren’t perfect. They lost to a USC team the Irish beat and a Utah team that’s gone a staggering 1-7 in conference play.

Kelly talked about the similarities between the two teams, pointing out that the Irish also fell to (at least) two teams that on paper seem surprising.

“I think you can make that case for us, as well,” Kelly said. “I think sometimes, it’s not evident in terms of tactically, but simply sometimes just not making enough plays.

“You watch them on film and it’s just a play here or there.  Stanford has won a lot of close games.  That game, there wasn’t anything there that you would watch in Utah and say, well, they can’t do this or they didn’t do that.  I just think that they didn’t make enough plays, didn’t get a couple crucial plays to go their way that had gone in some other games.”

A year after the Irish won a game where every yard was fought for, Kelly talked about the similarities between the two programs, who are fighting for some very valuable real estate. 

“Both teams want to be the smartest, toughest football teams in the country,” Kelly said. “Stanford right now is ranked eighth in the country. We are ranked 25th. We get a chance to decide it on the football field. Last year we were able to get Stanford. Now we’ve got a chance to settle it again on Saturday. It’s a great rivalry.” 

You can watch all 35 minutes of the press conference below.

  1. nudeman - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    I know this isn’t the right place for this, but I got one of those meth inspired train-of-thought things going

    – WPOY (Worst play of the year) … 9 ND guys crash into each other, all of whom end up in the hospital as Jeremy Gallon of UM runs untouched for a 60 yard TD (with Carlo or Fox trailing 10 yards behind, naturally)

    BPOY – (Best play …) After a ridiculous first half against Purdue where ND rushed for 4 yards I think (made all the more notable by Wisconsin running for 800 yards against them the next week), ND comes alive and Tommy Rees (more on him later) hits Davaris for an 80 yard TD.

    WGPOY (Worst game plan of the year) Where does one start? Michigan with 51 passes? MSU with 14 long passes on 3rd and 1? Sorry, those are runners up to Pitt where ND rushed for a LOT of yards in the first half; so many that apparently their RBs were all worn out, because they ran it 6 times after that.

    WIOY (Worst INT of the year) Lots to choose from, unfortunately. Would it be any of the 3 against OK? Or either of the 2 against UM? Or the pick 6 vs. ASU? Wrong. All strong candidates, admittedly, but I have to go with the last one vs. Pitt. I have a 52″ HDTV, but if I had a 98 incher, I still don’t think I’d see an ND receiver in the picture on that one.

    BIOY (Best INT …) This isn’t a team that exactly is loaded with ball hawks, so I guess I have to go with Tuitt’s acrobatic end zone INT vs UM, though Jaylon’s pick against USC is a very close 2nd. What about Bennett Jackson’s INT against Purdue, you ask? Sorry. Trying hard to forget him.

    CPOY (Clown play of the year): Seriously? Sheldon Day’s saying “no thanks” to picking up a fumble and running it in for an INT. Clown HOF. Right up there with the two FLorida guys blocking each other. Except they scored on that play, and, ahem … we didn’t.

    CPOY2 (Clown play … 2) Andrew Hendrix whiffing on a pass against USC. We haven’t seen that since Tommy was spitting the bit against UM a couple years ago. I think if there was any doubt about Andrew being asked back for a 5th year, it was erased right there.

    WDOITI (Worst debut on Inside The Irish); Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, some guy named Getsome showed up here, and made famine, plague, pestilence and death seem like a picnic, complete with a ’74 Cabernet, a hunk of camembert and a 1976 Playboy. In a matter of 6 hours, apparently after injecting straight methedrine he posted 196 messages, 195 of which were in reply to his original post. Remember when Carl Lewis tried to sing the Nat’l Anthem? This was worse. He has since morphed into knutesghost.

    BTA (Biggest Tommy Apologist) Keith isn’t eligible, but even if he was this would go to wisner.

    NDMVP: TJ Jones. Easy

    ND MIP (most improved): GAIII.

    GIML (Guy I’ll miss least): Take a wild guess

    BP2014 (Breakout Player 2014): Troy Niklas.

    PWNTSMO (Person we need to see more of): Alex Flanagan. And no one is close

    Good night

    • mtflsmitty - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:43 AM

      You’re right. Wrong place for this. But an interesting take anyhow. Some agreements. Some huge misses (most notably criticizing the MI St game plan). But I laughed so hard on the WDOITI section I woke my wife up because I was shaking the bed trying to contain the laughter.

      Well played, sir.

    • dickasman - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:55 AM

      Dam, good memory nude. You ever smoke pot, drop acid, take ecstasy, done nitrous or snort ungodly amounts of cocaine? I can’t remember yesterday…gawd I miss my freaking brain cellz.

    • don74 - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Missed one:

      CWTMTOTH (commenter with too much time on their hands): Anyone of us that reads all the comments.

      CWWTMTOTH(commenter with way too much time of their hands) Any of us that comments

      CWNBTD (Commenter with nothing better to do) 14 Award categories???? Need we go any further.

      CWBMSTA (Commenter with biggest mid season turn around) Dickasman

    • wisner74 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      I loved this post, Nude. Made me laugh in several spots, and I agree with almost all of your awards. Sorry I was not able to sign-on sooner to post a reply.

      I’d vote for TR’s pick-six at Michigan as the worst, and his late-in-the game INT when the Irish were coming back in the same game as #2. We coulda, shoulda beat that sorry-ass team.

      Thanks for the BTA award. I’ll display it proudly on my mantelpiece. Does that make me eligible for the Poster HOF ballot?

  2. irishaggie - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    A win against Stanford would erase all the pain of this season for me. It would make my drive home from Palo Alto much more enjoyable and would make a 9-3 season with Tommy seem very pleasant, especially with a bowl win away from 10 wins. Notre Dame should have higher expectations than 9-3 but that would be good given this year’s limitations.

    Reason 9-3 is still a good year;
    We can see this team is made for 12-0 runs year in and year out and I hope whoever starts next year at QB is good, I don’t care who it is. Beside the UM game where there was a total defensive collapse, all games were winnable with a good QB.

    Injuries and a backup QB have limited our fun all year but even if they finish 8-4 I will be optimistic. 8-4 in 2013 is much better than 8-4 in 2011. 2011 had so many excruciating losses with horrible QB play and very little momentum going into the offseason. 2013 has bad losses but we know were getting an experienced Everett Golson back along with 7 returning starters on offense, and the defense should be better especially if Tuitt gets fit and comes back.

  3. ndirish10 - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    nude, I’d go with co-breakout players: Niklas and true-freshman Smith. Everything else is spot on.

    • dickasman - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:56 AM

      Are they that zitty? Oxycute’em!

  4. fw190wuerger - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    Great to see that the All Time Div 1-A Winning Percentage stat was rectified by last weekend’s ND win and Skunkbear loss:

    #1 Notre Dame 865 – 302 – 41 73.303%
    #2 Michigan 903 – 317 – 38 73.291%

    The source for this is the College Football Data Warehouse:

    http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/misc/div_ia_winning_pct.php

    • papadec - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      190 – thanks for the update. It’s nice to see that ND is within striking distance of Texas & Nebraska for 2nd place in Total Wins, also.

  5. padomer - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    I truly do think this game is highly winnable. I haven’t been sold on Stanford all year. Of course it depends upon which ND team shows up, but I predict an ugly win for ND, a la the BYU game. Not only is this game important for morale and the 9-3 momentum carrying over, it’s important to start silencing these negative sound bites about our record against the top 10 throughout our rebuilding years, and eventually our dismal bowl record post Holtz. This on-field success leads to better PR which leads to a more positive future. I’m more optimistic this week than last week against BYU because I wasn’t sure if we would mail it in after the Pitt loss. After showing some brass out there against BYU, I’d be shocked if we came out flat. Or unsure as its been par for course for this year’s team to take one step forward and two back. In any event, Im praying for the best, go irish!

    P.S. has any of y’all heard about any pertinent recruiting news concerning this year’s class? I know we had some big names in attendance last week, and was wondering if any news was imminent or at least positive…

    • papadec - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      padomer – irishsportsdaily is reporting that Jhonny Williams (LB/DE) has flipped from Missouri to ND as the 20th verbal commit for the 2014 class.

  6. padomer - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    offensive MVP: Jones would be the obvious pick but I’m going to go a different route and say Z. Martin.
    defensive MVP: J. Smith has been better than advertised and has my vote
    Spec. teams: I credit Brindza for being the first kicker in a while who hasnt made me hold my breath while attempting any kick, as well as some beautiful punts.
    Freshman Award (outside of Smith): Admiral Jr…if we weren’t so loaded at that spot he may have Freshman AA numbers. Can’t recall him dropping any passes.

    • dickasman - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:58 AM

      You just reminded me of Jerry Sandusky, yuck!

      • standingdomer - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        WHAT?! Apparently you haven’t smoked as much pot, or taken as much acid, ecstasy, nitrous or cocaine as you claim. Get crack’n

  7. knuterocknesghost - Nov 27, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    Nude: I’m tempted to paraphrase Oscar Wilde by posting here that “Ridicule is the complement or tribute that mediocrity pays to genius.” But I withdraw that quote as being too self-serving and undeserved by me. Still, I take full credit, and am honored to be your WDOIT, and offer that quote for you to use against me, because it’s my turn to match your ridicule (Yes, I’ve decided to stoop down low too.).

    I see that the “stinger” I inflicted on your ego over the season is still smarting. Well, I’ve had more than a fair share of thumbs up here, particularly on the last go around about Tommy Rees versus your own alter ego, Irish Puma. I post far less frequently here (weeks have gone by without my jumping into the fray) than you and the other side of your own split personality, Puma. I mean, this is your world, your turf, your domain, and for a time you posted as if none should even think of challenging your remarks. You were called out by others on that one. Do you remember that? Fortunately for you, you seem to have a convenient memory. I also have to ask, did you really go back over history here and count all the postings made by myself? Not sure if you really did that (But if so, do you have a real job?)

    Glad to see some here share my assessment of how ridiculous it is to be largely blaming Rees for all things wrong this season for ND (I accept your invitation to guess by mentioning TR as your GIML). I don’t take credit for having won converts to my position at all, but instead assume readily that what can be seen from this season is as obvious to others as it is to me.

    There’s this from ndgoldandblue posted Nov 26, 2013 at 10:43 PM. “I’m not the biggest Rees supporter, but I still think he’s a “solid” quarterback. And I’m very hesitant to believe that he, alone, is the reason the Irish have three losses. Johnny Manziel is on a team with three losses as well. A quarterback can only do so much.” That has been my point exactly along with others opposed to your dumping constantly on TR. 100 thumbs up from me for this post by ndgoldandblue.

    Nude: Both you and your other self, Puma, have conceded the point to my criticisms of your put downs of Rees by the constant resort made by both of you to hyperbole – that hyperbolic defense being that I see Tommy Rees as the second coming of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. That was something that was posted in response to my defense of TR — like the same broken record you accuse me of having been (What was your count total again? 196? Can you go back and count your own?), but with more ridicule laced in for good measure. But if you really comprehended that I thought that TR was the second coming of Brady or Manning, then I think you need a reading comprehension course or two.

    Not to cause any problems with the community here for ndgoldandblue by my pointing out his post, but I see TR the same way. It’s unrealistic to expect that TR and the offense should make up for the defense so far this year giving up 248 points to ND’s opponents in eleven games versus last year’s defense yielding a stingy opponent’s point total of 111 in eleven games, more than double last year’s performance by the defense. A difference of 137 points. Bottom line: This year the defense just hasn’t showed up this season as expected.

    Case in point: How many yards and how many INTs did Golson throw against Michigan last season at home, though ND still won the game with TR playing his “closer” role? Golson was 3 for 8 passing for 30 yards, with no TDs and 2 INTs. If that had happened this season, what would have been the score of this year’s game against MU?

    And as much as you and Puma complained that TR cannot stretch out defenses, this year has shown otherwise, especially the TR to DD connections that have been made, one of which you recall above in your post as your BPOY. Puma’s favorite putdown of TR in the preseason was to repeatedly post (like a broken record on this point too) that TR was incapable of throwing anything but “wounded ducks.” His favorite description of Rees’ throwing prowess. How true has that been proven and aren’t you contradicting yourself as Puma by extolling TR’s pass to DD in the Purdue game as your BPOY?

    Nude, you’re an intelligent poster here. (No. That didn’t hurt to write that, though my hands trembled over the keyboard.) I share many of your opinions. (Still trembling, but less so.) But when it comes to your dumping on TR it’s almost like you need to do this for some psychological cathartic relief. It’s really a disconnect from the view I have otherwise gathered about your football smarts.

    Nude: I don’t see how ndgoldandblue’s observation should be so unfathomable to either you or your own alter ego, Puma.

    • ibleedirish - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      Knute. Do less. Do waaaaay less.

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      “Not to cause any problems with the community here for ndgoldandblue…” ghost, we’re way past that. I dug my own grave a few weeks ago when I tried (over and over) to post my thoughts on the Navy game. My comments weren’t posting, and then all of a sudden…BAM! Every single attempt showed up at once. I should have taken a hint after the first few attempts.

      And I apologize for taking a shot at you a couple days ago, but I just think that no one is above criticism–even a class-act like Tommy Rees. The guy has definitely contributed to the three losses, but he’s not the only one who has. The offensive approach (too many passing attempts vs. rushing attempts) and a Swiss-cheese defense were the primary contributors in my opinion. Take the BYU game as an example. The offense leaned on the running game, and the defense stepped up when it needed to. A team can overcome an int. when the defense plays well, and that was the case against BYU.

      It still doesn’t excuse Rees, however. He played his part in contributing to the losses. All I’m saying is that he wasn’t the only reason, and I’m not about to say that, with Golson, the Irish would have beaten Michigan, Oklahoma, or Pitt. Team effort in those losses.

      • don74 - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        Wow, I now give you the CWWTMTOTH Award (Commenter with way too much time on their hands)

        Also in the running for CWTS (commenter with thinnest skin)

        Congrats for the double win.

      • don74 - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        meant for rocknesghost

    • bernhtp - Nov 27, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      Ghost: You made me get a bandaid after rubbing my fingers raw scrolling through your post.

      There’s getsome with his 87 posts in the same hour, most of which are replies to his own post, and then there’s you doing the same thing but without the periodic click of submit/reply.

      Please let’s stop with the Rees panegyrics (you win a special prize – you enabled me to use this word for the first time in at least a decade). Yes, Rees is a gamer, does all he can, checks us into all the right redzone interceptions, yadayaddayadda, but I do believe that we would likely be a zero or one loss team absent Goulstein’s academic misjudgments.

      • wisner74 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Great post, Bern. And I probably haven’t read or heard “panegyric:” in at least a decade. (Did you have to look it up to be sure of its spelling? My immediate reaction was that there is no “e” in that word; but you got it right.)

        Golson’s mistake made an incredible difference to this season, but with the defense’s backslide and all the injuries suffered on that side of the ball, I have a hard time seeing how this team would be undefeated after 11 games if EG had played. One or two losses, I’d think.

      • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        I actually wrote it correctly the first time, though it is tempting to omit the e given that it doesn’t affect the pronunciation. However, I did look it up after I wrote it to ensure I was using it precisely given its unusual nature.

        Given the closeness of our losses and that they were affected by miserable QB play on the part of Rees, I stand by my opinion. Goldstein would have had his share of mistakes, but the extra dynamism of his feet, arm and instincts make for a big difference in scoring outcome.

  8. irishpuma - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Nude great post!! May I add best time out of the year!! Brian Kelly in full sprint down the sideline trying to get to the ref because Tommy checkdown changed the play!! Priceless.

    Knute thank you for the post. You finally revealed to all what some of us already knew….You need help bro I used to think it was funny but now I think you should check yourself in somewhere for a 48 hour hold.

    It is amazing that you seen no correlation with a poor performing defense being linked to an absolutely inept offense with a QB completing 54% of his passes???? Even the reporter in the most recent article from San Jose can see that causal relationship. Have you watched any of the games this year?? Ducks and floaters a plenty coupled with his worst accuracy year ever. The ball is constantly late….sure there have been some good passes and plays as well but not enough to counter the picks, fumbles and missed opportunities. DO you think if Manziel was on this team we would have 3 going on 4 losses….your answer better be no…

    If ND blue and GOld had said REES is a solid backup then that I agree with and that would have made sense. Regardless what are you going to do now knute? It is over his reign is over. What mediocre player are you going to worship and defend next? Maybe Massa gets an extra year??? Take off your tommy skin suit and seal it in glass on your alter and move on.

  9. irishpuma - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    FYI to all

    ND time of possession 2013 ranked 93rd

    ND time of possession 2012 ranked 11th

    Do the math!!

    • irish4life79 - Nov 28, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      Beatiful stat t.o.p is a big factor in how a defense perform usually

  10. mikes1160 - Nov 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Good stuff nude. Have to go with J. Smith though.

    As for Tommy, total qb rating for ’13: 75.7. Golson in 12? 68.0.

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