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And in that corner… The Stanford Cardinal

Nov 27, 2013, 3:13 AM EDT

Tyler Gaffney, Hayes Pullard AP

The regular season finale takes Notre Dame to Northern California on Saturday, where they’ll face No. 8 Stanford, a program that’s spent the past four seasons in rarified air. With the opportunity to win ten games for the fourth straight season, David Shaw’s Cardinal already have their ticket booked for the Pac-12 Championship game. But to finish off their season, they’ll look to settle a score from last year’s 20-13 overtime loss.

The storylines for the game are endless. Two excellent universities, among the elite football playing institutions in the country, with plenty in common. Players, coaches and administrators, the connectivity between both schools exists on all levels.

To get us up to speed on Saturday’s game is the San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner. Jon has covered college football and basketball for almost 20 years and has had a front row seat watching the revival of the Stanford football program.

On a busy holiday week I threw Jon some questions and he sent back some really interesting answers.

Enjoy.

It’s another impressive season for Stanford, back in control of their Rose Bowl destiny thanks to Arizona’s upset of Oregon. But at this point, are people starting to wonder about the Cardinal’s losses? The loss to Utah stands out as baffling, and the loss to Washington last year looks worse in retrospect. Is this kind of criticism merely a product of continued success?

People are wondering about the loss to Utah, for sure. At the time, it didn’t seem so bad: Utah was 4-2 and outplayed the Cardinal that day. Since then, the Utes have collapsed (largely because of injuries and erratic QB play). I’m not sure the Washington loss has anything to do with anything, frankly. That was 14 months ago and Stanford has a different quarterback – it was a close road loss to a team that finished 7-6.

The bottom line is that Stanford’s approach lends itself to close games. The Cardinal play it old school: ball control, power running, huddles, and stout defense. Down-to-the-wire games are, with a few exceptions, a weekly event, and the Cardinal wins far more than it loses.

Staying on that theme, we’re now three years into the David Shaw era. He obviously inherited a great program (and quarterback) from Jim Harbaugh, but is it too early to include Shaw among the elite head coaches at the college level? Have you seen any weaknesses in his three seasons as the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football?

Based on what we’ve seen thus far, I think you have to include him among the elite coaches, although that depends in part on how you define elite. He hasn’t won at multiple schools like a Saban or Meyer, which doesn’t mean he couldn’t. But based on what he has done with what he has where he is, he’s obviously pretty darn good. The list of back-to-back coach of the year winners in the Pac-12 is short, and he’s on it.

As for weakness, I haven’t seen any. Stanford fans occasionally get frustrated with the conservative approach, but that’s how Stanford is built and – bottom line – that’s how it must be built in order to succeed at the highest level. If Stanford tried to be like Oregon or Baylor, you can forget about conference titles and BCS berths.

Another year, another impressive defensive performance. Trent Murphy is having a monster season. Shane Skov as well. How good is this unit top to bottom? Are there any weaknesses?

It’s one of the top five or 10 defenses in the country. If there are any weaknesses, it’s probably speed at linebacker. But that’s splitting hairs. The Cardinal is a slab of granite against the run, relentless in its pass rushing and very good on the back line. In fact, the secondary has been the most improved unit over the past two or three years – it’s much more athletic, much better in man-to-man coverage and much better at tackling in the open field, as we’ve seen the last two years against Oregon

Irish fans are envious of Kevin Hogan, a guy with a ton of family connections to Notre Dame, but a QB the Irish staff slow played in recruiting. He pilots an offense with some dangerous weapons, namely Tyler Gaffney and Ty Montgomery, who should be a special teams weapon as well. Stanford can beat you in a number of ways. But who is Enemy No. 1 for the Notre Dame defense on Saturday?

Tommy Rees. The last thing a Louis Nix-less Notre Dame defense needs against Stanford’s power game is to have to defend short fields. That means Rees and the rest of the offense must protect the ball. Three-and-outs aren’t going to lose the game. Turnovers on the wrong half of the 50 will lose the game.

In addition to Montgomery and Gaffney, the Irish should be concerned with quarterback Kevin Hogan’s mobility, especially on third down. He has a knack for keeping drives alive.

How important is the Notre Dame-Stanford rivalry to the Cardinal? It’s been a priority for ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick. Stanford AD Bernard Muir spent six years at Notre Dame. As both these football programs stay among the elite, is this a game that grows in importance for Stanford and its fans?

It’s important for Stanford, although perhaps not to the degree that the Cal and USC games are important from an emotional standpoint and the Oregon game is important from a division title standpoint. It’s a good game for Notre Dame because of the west coast exposure, and there are tons of connections for Stanford above and beyond Hogan’s ties. (Cornerback Alex Carter’s dad, Tom, played for the Irish.) The schools compete against each other for recruits, especially those in the Midwest.

Last year’s game ended in dramatic (and controversial) fashion. How do you see things playing out this Saturday?

Stanford is better. If the Cardinal loses focus – if it’s looking ahead to the Pac-12 title game, for instance – then I think it could go down to the wire. But if Stanford is fully locked in, it should win by 10 or 14 points. Of course, one or two mistakes could change that. If Nix were playing, I might feel differently. But I expect Stanford’s defense to stop the Irish more often than the Irish defense stops Stanford.

***

Check out more of Jon’s work at the Mercury News and give him a follow on Twitter @WilnerHotline

  1. viktory2013 - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    Arrogant bastards, aren’t they?

    Well kids, the season boils down to this game. A win and it’s 9-3, top 20 ranking, probably a bowl win and we’re rocking and rolling into next season.
    A loss and it’s 8-4, drop out of the polls, who knows bowl result and a grind to get it back next season.

    Now it’s up to those boys to tough one out. Kelly, if you can amp them up, this would be good time.

    • longliveautrydenson - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      I didn’t realize they offered a Smugness 101 class at Stanford, but this guy must have passed with flying colors. Keith, I hope you represent us better on other team’s blogs than this guy repped Stanford. You don’t get to say “Stanford is better” when you lost to ND last year, lost to a 4-7 Utah team this year, and have gone 1-1 against common opponents (while ND is 2-0). Also, saying the only way Stanford loses is if they are caught “looking ahead” is a nice way to make excuses before the game is even played. Last time I checked, Stanford couldn’t fill half the stadium for the Pac-12 Championship, no one is looking ahead to that game, not even your fans. Just some advice Wilner, next time someone offers you a chance to talk about Stanford, try not to come across as such a massive prick.

      • dcjesse2013 - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        This guy is not a Stanford guy. He’s a beat writer for the San Jose Mercury News and has picked against us a few times including saying that Utah would win (though more on a hunch and style of play than anything). But he does call it like he sees it.

        Also note he predicts that margin *if they are fully locked in* which clearly wasn’t the case against USC or Utah — and not something you can count on each week.

        FWIW I’m nervous about this one even though I think we are slightly better than last year (despite the two losses) and the game is at home. As Wilner said, our style of play leads to a lot of close games and Notre Dame is legit. I bet nobody is taking this game lightly on the Stanford side.

      • dcjesse2013 - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        By the way, the Vegas line has Stanford favored by 14 points. Sounds to me like the “arrogant bastard”/”smug” reporter is basically saying that the line feels reasonable to him. It wouldn’t actually surprise me if in his blog he picks Notre Dame to cover. And anyway, isn’t the point of this column to get a perspective from someone familiar with the other team?

      • mtflsmitty - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:49 PM

        DC, we commonly get visitors to this site from other team fan bases. Typically, they are referred to as trolls due to their smack talking, semi-coherent rants. You on the other hand, offered some perspective, stood up for your team a bit without being a jerk.

        The Cardinals are held in pretty high regard around here. Much respect for your institution, and football program. You’re welcome here any time.

        GO IRISH!!!

        (BTW, Just kidding about the extra “s”.)

      • nudeman - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        I guess I missed where this guy was arrogant or smug.
        He picks Stanford in this game, like 98% of people out there who follow CFB
        He says Cal and USC are probably bigger games.
        Having lived in the Bay Area for 23 years I can attest to that.

        I think it’s arrogant for us to assume every opponent should consider ND Enemy #1
        That’s BK’s “This was their Super Bowl” bullsh**

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      No kidding. There’s nothing like an arrogant opponent and sportswriter to unite a fanbase. It seems like we Notre Dame fans spend more time arguing with each other than with other teams’ fans, but this guy is apparently trying to awaken a sleeping giant. Just for that, I hope the Irish go into the land of the trees and leave their fans in a shocked state of “What the f$#@” after the game. I hope the Irish deliver a beatdown so severe that their players develop a distaste for football and subsequently get destroyed in the PAC-12 championship game. I hope that Tommy Rees goes in there and makes the Stanford defense look like a clown show, and I hope Folston runs over their “slab of granite” they call a defensive line, trucking one defender after the next. Dear Lord, if there was ever a time for a blowout victory, let it be this weekend over Stanford.

      Oh, and Wilner, your all-world head coach is a crybaby who refuses to take losses like a man. If that’s what blows your skirt up, more power to you.

      • dcjesse2013 - Nov 27, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        I’m confused about the arrogance. He said basically that if Stanford plays their best they might almost cover the spread. And that they have a top 10 defense which I think is backed up by stats against a tough schedule.

        BTW, here is your crybaby who refuses to take losses like a man — after the USC loss: http://instagram.com/p/gzdNiEwCz_/

    • manchowder - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      The Irish consider themselves intellectual but ignore the introduction to the article that states the reporter works for the San Jose Mercury News and is not some “Stanford Guy”? The only arrogance in the posts displayed thus far have been presented by overly sensative Irish fans. The fighting cry babies!

      For those who think Wilner is a shill, he picked Utah to beat Stanford.

      • irishdrg1 - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        learn to spell

    • dcjesse2013 - Nov 29, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Here is the “smug” guy’s prediction for this game against the spread, from his blog: “NOTRE DAME (plus-14) at STANFORD: If the Irish limit their mistakes, this should be close and low scoring. Notre Dame can sweep the Pac-12 with a win; it has already beaten ASU and USC. Pick: Notre Dame.”

      He did pick Stanford as a straight up winner, but that doesn’t seem crazy to me given that they are the higher ranked team and at home. Even though Notre Dame clearly has the better football tradition and won last year (in a close one), a win this year on the road would be considered by most neutral observers to be a mild upset.

      mtflsmitty, thanks for welcoming me here. Much respect to Notre Dame who wins and has true student athletes, unlike most schools who accept just doing one or the other.

  2. rocket1988 - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    Shouldn’t have the tree beat USC by 10-14 pts? This writer thinks they are the. 85 Bears!!

    • dcjesse2013 - Nov 29, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      Yes, they should have. Too many mistakes: 3 turnovers, a blocked FG, couldn’t score from first and goal. Still almost won, but you can’t get away with that many mistakes against a team that good, especially on the road.

  3. rocket1988 - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:51 AM

    I hate to say it but we need to follow USC’s gameplan.

  4. NotreDan - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    I’ve already created an account on wilners blog. I hope to have some fun there on Saturday and Sunday.

    • nudeman - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      God Bless NotreDan

    • manchowder - Nov 28, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Antagonize an AP and possible Harris poll voter. Excellent strategy! *eye roll*

  5. rocket1988 - Nov 27, 2013 at 5:53 AM

    Also, would this writer have been this confident in last years Rose if they had gotten tOsu?

  6. alsatiannd - Nov 27, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    C’mon Irish, Papa needs a new computer password at work. Only monumental victories will do.

    • papadec - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      I don’t need a new password at work – today is my last day, I retired. Yeah, I know you were using the generic “Papa” – but I couldn’t let it go without a chuckle or two, and having some fun.

      • goirishgo - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        Congrats Papa….enjoy!

      • mtflsmitty - Nov 28, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        That’s a lot for which to be thankful!!! Hope you enjoy what’s next.

  7. yaketyyacc - Nov 27, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    ah, visions of sugar plums…. Notre Dame recruits Hogan, and loses Rees to Stanford. the success or lack of it speaks volumes about the coaches, Kelly had his Gettysburg last year. like Lee, it will be all downhill, Golson or no Golson.
    and speaking of Golson, shouldn’t he have spent more time with an academic guru, also. I do not mean to be uncharitable, but it is hard to fix dumb.

    • joeblk10 - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      If your going to make stupid comments at least learn your history. The union won Gettysburg decisively. And though they lost a few battles here and there the rest of the way we all know how that turned out in the end. And I’m sure Notre Dame knows Golson’s academic qualifications better than you. He struggled but he did get in. 90 percent of people cant even do that.

      • wisner74 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        I agree, Joe, re Yak’s bungling of the history there. But I’m generally OK with comparing Kelly to R. E. Lee, since he was the best general in the war (even though he did make an enormous mistake at Gettysburg).

      • nudeman - Nov 28, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Off topic here, but does anyone else wish these southern states that continue to threaten to re-secede (See “Perry, Rick”) would just go?

        Alabama gets $1.81 in federal aid for every $1.00 they pay in fed taxes.
        And they bitch about the US gov’t
        Same numbers probably apply to MS, FL, AR, TX, SC, and a bunch of crap hole states.

        Secession would solve a LOT of problems.
        US budget would be immediately balanced
        FOX would be off the air and Hannity would be too
        Southeastern Conference … gone
        Dr. Phil, Miley Cyrus, Duck Dynasty and the Dallas Cowboys … gone.

        And never again will I have to ask someone “Tell me one more time, wtf is grits?”

      • wisner74 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        Damn, Nude, I really wish I’d been able to stick around to engage in this topic with you. I’ll join your echo-chamber on this point anytime. Unfortunately, with the holiday approaching I haven’t had time to visit here until now. I’d give you more than one thumbs-up for that post if the system allowed it.

        But, certainly it is off-topic . . . .

    • jimbasil - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      “…speaking of Golson, shouldn’t he have spent more time with an academic guru,…it is hard to fix dumb.”

      Thanks for illustrating that point.

      • wisner74 - Nov 29, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        Jim, EG’s problem was cheating, not flunking. Probably needed to spend some time with an ethicist, and certainly more time with his nose in a book.

      • jimbasil - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:15 PM

        That was my point. – note the quotation marks – Yaketyyacc posted a really dumb post – so I pointed it out.

    • papadec - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      and you yak, are the living proof of what can’t be fixed.

  8. onward2victory - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Well what do ya know?? Pete Carroll is running a dirty program, and Golden Tate is callin guys out for it.

    http://m.espn.go.com/nfl/story?storyId=10042070

    “Win Forever. (Until you get caught cheating, then run to the NFL)”
    -Pete Carroll

  9. irishaggie - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    For most of the season I have agreed with Vegas, even those where Oklahoma and Michigan were 4.5 point favorites. I dont agree at all with this game’s line. Stanford is a 14 point favorite. I have not bet on a Notre Dame game all year but I might on this one. Maybe im too optomistic but I have a good feeling they go into Palo Alto and actually win the game.

    • papadec - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      I got 13 1/2 from my friend that lived & worked in Palo Alto. But, we bet $5 on pretty much anything related to sports – especially ND, Yankees/Red Sox, 49ers, NY Giants………… The list goes on.

  10. runners00 - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    This guy knows college football. Tommy Rees is the key to this game. If he plays like he did against Oklahoma or Pittsburgh, Stanford will be us up quite a bit. If we take the game out of his hands and we put it into the arms of McDaniel, Atkinson or Folston, we can compete. And, of course, to do that Rees has to get the defense to respect his throwing abilities by connecting on some deep passes.

    So it comes back to Rees playing well. As he said, three and outs are fine but turnovers on our side. – or in the red zone- are deadly. We also need middle linebacker and safety play to dramatically improve. We have to take advantage of every opportunity Stanford gives us and we have to shut down their running game.

    I don’t feel great going into this game but I can see a path to victory. We need a few deep plays on offense and we need to tackle extremely well on defense. We have it in us but we have to execute.

  11. 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 27, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    whew!

    is this guy a stanford grad, the god son of david shaw or condileeza rice’s boyfriend? he’s a shill, not a sportswriter. granted giving responses to KA’s questions isn’t quite the same as putting the same statements in an article, but this character sounds like the white house press secretary hitting all of his talking points, strenuously deflecting criticism and going on the offensive with his message, which by the way, clearly is that despite its 2 losses stanford is still the king of awesometown and nd i just some lowly gang of punks that should be thankful for the chance to visit and observe all stanford’s greatness.

    enough with civility. i hope calobrese meets gaffney in the hole and rips his helmet off
    like he did to marecic in ’10, and while i’m bringing up old sh!t, this was one of the wooooorrrrsssst spots of all-time.

  12. irishpuma - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Runners right on!! If Wilner was a Stanford guy then smug definitely, however, he is not and he seems to know quite a bit about football. I agree if Stanford plays up to their capabilities we get run out the stadium. 14-21 point window. If they come out flat and we overachieve we can sneak out with a win.

    Wilner hit the point that I have been making all year and trying to convince Knute and Wisner to pull their heads out, yet a newspaper reporter 2000 miles away sees it clearly. THE NUMBER 1 ENEMY OF THE NOTRE DAME DEFENSE IS TOMMY REES!!!!!!!!

    Did the D change a whole lot from last year?? long drives bend don’t break?? This year they were stuck on the field more due to turnovers, 3 and outs, etc which will wear them down. Not saying it is the only reason for the defense drop off but it is a major component.

    I am hoping for a big upset but not very likely. Keep killing it on the recruiting trail BK!!!

    • irishpuma - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      FYI to all

      ND time of possession 2013 ranked 93rd

      ND time of possession 2012 ranked 11th

      Do the math!!

      • knuterocknesghost - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:38 PM

        PUMA: Really?

        Time of possession in 2012: 31:44 ranking ND 19th. In 2013 28:37 ranking ND 93rd. SO WHAT?

        Question: Do I want to cry crocodile tears over 3 lost minutes?

        Question: If I’m scoring the same number of points as last year, do I care if I score more quickly with less time on the field because of more TD passes this year than last?

        Fact: TD passes this year? 25, all by Rees, and still counting. Passing TD’s last year, only 14, with 12 by Golson and 2 by Rees. Total points through 11 games this year, 305. Last year through 11, 299. I did the math too. But your math is irrelevant, don’t you think?

        So Kelly’s fondness for the pass happy spread offensive has nothing to do with ND’s time of possession and its rankings? Incompletions stop the clock so time of possession does what?

        Fun fact: When ND runs the ball 30 times in a game, it has won 20 of those games in a row. Defenses have seen the TR to DD connection on film now. Stanford plays a 3-4. I would guess BK would use the double tight-end set again as he did against BYU, and turn back to the running game. I got to believe that there has to be something to that fun fact I cited as far as running the football.

        But, you’re right. The downgrade in ND’s time of possession is ALL TOMMY REES’ FAULT. Yep. No doubt.

      • knuterocknesghost - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        BTW, where I keep my head is just fine by me. How ’bout yours?

      • knuterocknesghost - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:14 PM

        One last thought PUME ….

        Your line: “Did the D change a whole lot from last year?”

        Hmmm. Skipping over the whole thing about the impact of injuries this year to the defense. Very convenient to overlook. So it’s the same defense right? No major injuries, and Tuit was ready to play 100% from the get go when the opening bell for the season was rung, right? It’s all because of Tommy’s inemptness at running the offense that the defense is sucking air this season. How many three and outs did we have against the UM last year with Golson at the helm. Did the defense lay down in that game?

      • knuterocknesghost - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:14 PM

        Good night Pume. I got to put my head back now where it belongs.

      • irishpuma - Nov 28, 2013 at 12:03 AM

        knute you simpleton… now who is crying over 6 points more scoring which is only .6 points a game and I don’t recall losing a game by .6. Now three extra minutes with the ball per game is huge. And I am crying about 3 losses that may have been affected by this.

        If you ask 100 knowledgeable fans and said you would score the same amount of points would you rather score faster or take longer with the other teams offense not on the field…I believe the answer would be clear.

        On a more subjective note I also think this year’s schedule is weaker.

        Oh thanks for backing me up with your fun fact about 30 rushes a game = 20 wins…… time of possession wins games…rushing takes longer and everyone knows it. If you actually read your own posts you might be able to figure somethings out….disregard the hundreds of sentences you spew and lock in on the one where you make sense.

        Stay frosty Knute.

      • knuterocknesghost - Nov 28, 2013 at 6:34 AM

        Pume: Read what I said again:

        “So Kelly’s fondness for the pass happy spread offensive has nothing to do with ND’s time of possession and its rankings?” Who calls the plays, TR or BK?

        In its three losses this year, ND had averaged only 24 run attempts and had averaged 38 rushing attempts in its 8 wins. So, it’s still more to the point to observe: Who calls the plays? Does TR stand on the sideline and signal the plays into himself on the field? But your big point is third down conversions. Ok, let’s look at that.

        Third down conversions: All of last season: 2012: 177 attempts, 82 conversions, = 46%, including 8 attempts and 2 conversion in the NCG. So for the regular season last year, ND had 169 attempts for 80 conversions = 47%. 2013: ND had so far had 148 attempts with 62 conversions or 42% over 11 games.

        Now, compare – 148 attempts through 11 games this season x last year’s conversion rate of 47% = 70 conversions. So BK’s play calling and TR’s execution of the offense versus last year’s 3rd down conversion rate are 8 conversions shy over 11 games of last year’s pace faced with a third down (70 less 62).

        NEWS FLASH: That’s 8 fewer 3rd down conversions over a 11 games. That doesn’t even average out to a difference of more than 1 per game.

        That’s the peg on which your argument hangs in pointing the finger at TR causing the defense to more than double its opponent’s points allowed this seasons through 11 games from 111 to 248? That’s a difference of 137 points over 11 games, or 12.5 points per game. That’s two touchdowns. Do you not think that spotting your opponent 12 points in each game makes any difference over a season?

        That’s quite an apology you offer for a defense whose performance is better explained by how it’s been riddled with injuries – not by ND’s 3rd down conversion rate. But you ignore the injuries. Why? Why?

        And remember as the “closer” last year TR stepped in and made some critical 3rd down conversions.

        Pume: I did the math again and yours math doesn’t add up.

        And the above shows I’m a wee bit beyond being a simpleton as you apparently feel a need to label me. But hey, if it makes you feel good? But labels mean nothing. Facts do. I think that the analysis I’ve made of the facts makes all kinds of sense. ND is spotting the opponent an extra 12.5 points per game because of injuries and some poor tackling infecting the defense. And that’s not because of ND having 0.7 fewer third down coversions (0.7 = 8/11). Your chosing to ignore the downfall of the defense does not make any sense at all.

        And if the schedule is weaker for the offense, it’s also weaker for the defense which allowed more the double the points it allowed last year after 11 games.

        At least are you’re passionate about ND.

        Have a great Thanksgiving. And mellow out with the family.

      • knuterocknesghost - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:11 AM

        Pume… forgot your point on turnovers and I only covered play calling and 3rd down conversions in my response regarding TR’s contributing to the defensive shortfall this season at ND. So……..

        Last year, 23 turnovers gained, 15 lost, a net plus of 8. But we had 1 turnover lost in the NCG without any turnovers gained, so a total of 14 lost turnovers in the regular season for a net plus of 9.

        This year, 11 gained, 14 lost, a net loss of 3.

        Now…. we have one more game for sure as far as looking at turnovers committed by ND. But, look at the shortfall from a defensive standpoint. This season we have seen the defense drop down with 12 fewer total take aways. Again, how in God’s green acres is that TR’s fault when I have also shown that per game we have only had 0.7 fewer third down conversions per game to equal last years 3rd down conversion rate?

  13. knuterocknesghost - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    How well did Tommy Rees handle USC, and how well did Stanford handle USC?

  14. ajw21 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Puma: Your not gonna change Knute’s mind. Knute: Your not gonna change Puma’s mind. Get over the Reesus discussion already. Find something
    else to fight about. Rees is who he is, enough said.
    Go Irish!

    • wisner74 - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Gave you a thumbs up, ajw, but please stop calling him Reesus. What’s the point of that?

  15. rpbags - Nov 28, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Gonna have to hold up against the run or this game will get out of hand. I sure hope they are working on open field tackles this week! Think we have a 60/40 chance and should really play loose because this is our “bowl” game this week, so lets go out there and let it all hang out! Go Irish!

  16. irishpuma - Nov 28, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    60 40 which way? I agree they are going to run and run and we need to tackle…..very scary proposition for this crew. We definitely need some long drives too!

  17. goirishnashville - Nov 28, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Hey nerds…enough with the rambling. Golson > Rees, last years D > this years D. Leave it at that

    • wisner74 - Nov 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Nashville – My wife’s a Rambler (Loyola U/Chicago), my Mom, Dad and an aunt were Ramblers, my daughter and my grandfather were also Ramblers (Loyola Academy, which BTW is playing for the Illinois state football championship tomorrow). I can’t help but ramble!

  18. goirishnashville - Nov 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Hey nerds…yes you Knute and puma…enough with the rambling of statistics. You are making my head hurt.

    Golson > Rees
    Last years D > This years D

  19. kmspasadena - Nov 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Keith, have enjoyed your work over the years. Another link between Notre Dame and Stanford is Joe Ruetz, graduated cum laude from Notre Dame in 1938. Played guard for Irish. Athletic Director Stanford 1972-1979. See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Ruetz

  20. irish4life79 - Nov 28, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    ND will win if they can have early success they cant get behind double digit early ala um and ou and expect to rally in the 2nd half behind a all pass attack stanfords D is too good for ND to get itself in a one dimensional attack get BIG Troy the balll early I really believe he can make some plays when they try to stack the box tht said still must be patient with the run No early gift pts and a few shots down the field to keepim honest there not night and daybetter than us we can win if we make some plays earlier to get the confidence going and defensively we must come up with some redzone holds and since were such big underdogs i think BK should employ the ole lou holtz approach nobody belives we will win to get the kids to play with a chip on there shoulder go irish fight fight fight oh yeah they better not sleep on DD and ofcourse TJ

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