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The good, bad and ugly: Notre Dame vs. Rice

Aug 31, 2014, 5:49 PM EDT

Rice v Notre Dame Getty Images

Upon second viewing, quarterback Everett Golson’s 2014 debut is just as impressive. The senior quarterback, playing his first game in 600 days, didn’t seem to miss a beat, leading Notre Dame with five total touchdowns on the way to a 48-17 victory over Rice.

With Golson behind center, the offense did everything a little bit better. The run game blossomed. The passing game became explosive. Those red zone woes? The Irish converted six of six, with four touchdowns.

Golson’s five total touchdowns capped off one of the week’s best performances. Let’s take a look at the rest of the team before turning the page to Michigan in this week’s good, bad and ugly.

 

THE GOOD

Golson. We already said it. It just needed to be said again.

Looking at his 14 of 22 throwing performance, he probably deserved to have at least 55 more yards and a touchdown if C.J. Prosise didn’t do his best Featherstone impression from Necessary Roughness. Then again, Will Fuller didn’t help out when Golson put a perfect deep ball off his hands that Fuller didn’t squeeze right before.

My favorite throw of the afternoon: Golson rolling left with the pocket moving with him, and hitting Amir Carlisle on a deep flag, in stride over underneath coverage.

That was an NFL throw.

The run game. That’s the way Notre Dame should run the ball this season against an undermanned defensive front. Outside of Christian Covington (who managed just two tackles against Christian Lombard and the interior of the line), Rice wasn’t able to hang with the big boys up front, nor the backs who looked decisive and quick.

Cam McDaniel looked good in his eight carries. Tarean Folston looked as smooth as ever with 12 carries, leading the backs. But Greg Bryant showed the type of explosive burst that makes him tough to keep on the sideline (though mishaps on the goal line is the best way I can think of to keep him off the field).

Obviously, rolling through Rice for big yardage isn’t the same as doing it against Michigan and Greg Mattison. But it’s a great start for the ground game, with Golson also playing very effectively as a runner.

Field Position: Notre Dame dominated the field position battle, averaging over plus-10 in starting field position in each quarter. The Irish’s third quarter was pretty impressive, starting at the 47 and converting 4 of 5 third downs.

Joe Schmidt. Making his first start, Schmidt led the Irish with eight tackles, playing physical and looking active in both the run and pass game. Kelly said Schmidt graded out as the team’s best performer, though thought this was only the beginning for him.

“He was pretty good yesterday. He probably was our best player defensively,” Kelly said. “He’s got some things that he’s got to get better at. But I thought as a true first‑time starter, he was the best player for us.”

Sheldon Day. The defensive tackle finished second on the team with six tackles, a pretty productive day for the junior anchor of the defensive line. He had one TFL and came close to making a few more.

Brian VanGorder’s Run Defense. Credit to the front seven for holding up pretty well against Rice’s run game.

If you had told Notre Dame fans that a front playing Day, Jarron Jones, Justin Utupo, Isaac Rochell, Grant Blankenship, Andrew Trumbetti, Daniel Cage and Romeo Okwara would’ve given up 3.5 yards a carry and only one explosive play, they’d have taken it every day of the year.

The Return Game. Cody Riggs, Greg Bryant and Amir Carlisle did a great job being decisive. And credit to the punt return team for –what a concept– holding their blocks and letting their playmakers make plays.

(Don’t worry Cam, I’m going to forget that I noticed you blocking nobody on the return where Carlisle got stuffed short.)

The Red Zone Offense. Maybe Brian Kelly wasn’t kidding around about a mobile quarterback in tight quarters helping out. Six of six is nice, and four touchdowns is even better. (But another look at the tape will have the Irish feeling like they left one or two TDs out there.)

Matthias Farley. I may have already used it here, but Farley is the Tommy Rees of the Irish defense. Perfect? No. Makes mistakes? Oh, you’ve noticed?

But in one series, Farley basically turned the momentum of the football game completely around, making a tackle, collecting half a sack, and making a really athletic interception with next to no time left in the first half.

Then Golson and C.J. Prosise put the dagger in the Owls’ chest, turning a manageable game into a 28-10 halftime lead. The Irish scored 14 points in the final 153 seconds of the first half. Coffee is for closers, and there was Folgers waiting in the locker room.)

Playing a nickel back role that he’s only playing because of KeiVarae Russell’s suspension and Austin Collinsworth’s injury, Farley had the game’s biggest defensive series.

Quick Hits: 

* He wasn’t overly noticed out there, but for a first game at outside linebacker James Onwualu did a nice job in space. And on the fake punt.

* Nice job, slot receivers. Amir Carlisle looks pretty natural at wide receiver. Outside of his drop, C.J. Prosise is a pretty dangerous guy in space… especially at 220 pounds.

Jarron Jones showed up in a good way.

* That didn’t look like a freshman making the big hit when Andrew Trumbetti came off the edge.

* Welcome to college football Malik Zaire. I liked everything about that run except for that high step.

* All the kids played. (Except Jhonny Williams and Jon Bonner). But what a great way to get the young guys some experience.

* Before all of you guys start complaining about Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts, note that Drue Tranquill and Greer Martini both played major minutes on defense. Both were three-star guys with less than impressive offer lists. Maybe defer to the coaching staff on talent evaluation.

 

THE BAD

Communication in the secondary. Rice’s two touchdowns came on blown coverage on the back end, first by Elijah Shumate and the second by Nicky Baratti, a rude awakening for a guy coming back after some bad luck with his shoulders.

With Austin Collinsworth going down on Thursday afternoon, some mishaps were to be expected. But here’s how Kelly recapped the issues on his Sunday teleconference, putting the onus on Max Redfield and Shumate to do a better job working together.

“We got into a very unique situation where we had 24 hours really to get them communicating more effectively,” Kelly said. “We gave up five explosive plays — four passes — three of them directly related to poor communication.”

When asked if Farley was the answer at safety, Kelly feels that Shumate is still the guy best suited for strong safety.

“We can get that corrected. Both those guys are the kind of skill players we want back there. We have to address that issue, which we will this week.”

Slow Starts. It might be nit-picky, but Notre Dame went three-and-out on its first two possessions, something that can’t happen against Michigan next weekend. On second inspection, it looked like a combination of missed blocks in the run game and a bit of hesitancy by Golson on a few passes.

(I also think after seeing McDaniel get the start on the first series, it should be shifted around with Folston and Bryant getting early snaps.)

The Drops. Come on now, C.J. Prosise. Don’t drop gift-wrapped touchdowns. (But nice job working back into the play after Golson broke into a scramble.)

Will Fuller also needs to catch that deep ball if he wants to continue putting up monster yards-per-catch numbers. Not to mention the drop by Ben Koyack. That’s a habit I had hoped Koyack shed when turning into a senior leader.

Diagnosing Route concepts. Hang with me here. When Notre Dame’s defense got burnt on a few passes, it was a product of not seeing the passing concept in time.

The first crossing route that Rice hit the Irish on, Notre Dame had freshman defensive end Andrew Trumbetti standing up in coverage. In his first collegiate game, I can’t truly blame the kid for not seeing a receiver dragging back across to him.

The Irish got lucky when an illegal formation penalty robbed the Owls of another big gainer on a similar concept. But cornerback Cole Luke and Shumate didn’t do a great job communicating on the wheel route that Luke Turner and Driphus Jackson hit on.

As a wise man named GI Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle.” And against Doug Nussmeier and Michigan’s new offense, you can bet the Wolverines will try and bait the Irish secondary into making some mistakes.

Quick Hits: 

* No breakfast balls, Kyle Brindza. This isn’t No. 1 on the Warren Course. Brindza snap-hooked his first field goal attempt left and put his first kickoff out of bounds before righting the ship.

* I’m not putting Jaylon Smith in the bad category, but statistically his three tackles were well below the floor I had set for his box score impact on the game. He was close to turning at least one of those three tackles into another TFL, and his head coach’s comments Sunday afternoon were interesting.

“He played with great effort. Had some mental mistakes. I think he’s still learning the position. But he plays with great effort and great enthusiasm,” Kelly said. “When it comes to Jaylon, he takes his work very seriously. I would expect that you’re going to see significant improvement from Jaylon from week one to week two.”

* Hey Special Teamers: On pooch punts, look up for the football, don’t just go to the returner pretending to fair catch the ball. Kyle Brindza got robbed on two punts that could’ve been downed inside the five yard line.

Steve Elmer and Ronnie Stanley got beat with some speed moves — Elmer on the Owls’ sack of Golson and Stanley when defensive end Brian Nordstrom knifed inside of him. Nordstrom produced 1.5 TFLs.

 

THE UGLY

An easy opening victory after months without football? Especially after watching dynasty-in-the-making programs like Florida State and Alabama sweat wins out?

Enjoy the Rice victory and get ready for Michigan week.

 

  1. mikec2014 - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Hey Keith, well broken down. There is a lot to like from what we saw. Let’s just temper that to keep perspective regarding the competition. I think we can have confidence now that the offensive line is truly a team strength. Hail Coach Hiestand. Let’s end this rivalry against that school up North with a win.

    • glowplugv - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      Want to echo the kudos for a really snappy and complete review of the key elements game play. Keep up the great work, Keith!

  2. princethunder - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    If Redfield and Shumate can get the communication down, I don’t think Collinsworth should be a starter when he comes back from injury. That would be one of the most athletic duos at safety in the country. Collinsworth can’t cover receivers man to man. Joe Schmidt tackles like a safety and is simply not talented enough for ND. Hopefully Grace gets healthy and can play some Middle linebacker. Maybe Morgan will grasp the starting spot before then.

    • dickasman - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:37 PM

      There definitely are problems to be had back there.

    • 1notredamefan - Aug 31, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      Schmidt has the heart It takes to stand and get knocked over but still get back up and say… Come at me again! Don’t underestimate a hard headed man!! GO IRISH!!!!!!

      • upthera44 - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        Schmidt was one of the best 2-3 defensive players vs. Rice, led the team in tackles, bounced off a couple but at least made initial contact to slow the runner down. I’m higher on him than I was before, but we’ll see how he plays against elite teams.

      • jommy995 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:33 AM

        Loved how Schmidt was there every time and often held on. Way better than the 3 monster hits and 10 couldn’t get theres that last years MLs turned in week after week. A team that runs up the middle 5 yards per attempt is gonna get blown out by this Irish offense. One negative play and the 5 yarders don’t add up to a first down.

    • tucsonfan - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:45 PM

      Being athletic doesn’t overcome being in the wrong place. Both Redfield and Shumate have a lot to prove still. Losing Russel really hurts, because Riggs can play Safety too.

  3. fnc111 - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Ok State > wvu > rice > app state

    Let’s be clear here first. Anybody have any Xanax for next week? I’ll meet you in lot let’s beat the piss out of scUM.

    • johngaltisspeaking - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Ill be in the Joyce Parking lot getting ready for the beat down… I predict a 65 percent crowd by the third Quarter. Michigan always plays tougher than ND even if we did have more talent. If you want to win you have to be willing lay your body out on the field. We still don’t have that Holtz fight in our players.

  4. mtflsmitty - Aug 31, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    Although not at all sexy, one of the “Good” items overlooked is that Golson threw the ball away 3-4 times, instead of forcing something.

    In the UGLY Category:
    The fact that a small group of readers respond, in any way whatsoever, to trolls. Those of you who continue to respond with comments or thumbs down are acting like morons. And if you claim to be having fun making trolls look bad with your ongoing banter, I think I speak for 99% of the rest of us when I ask that you stop. You’re not funny. Its distracting and irritating.

    • tucsonfan - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      well put smitty. Totally agree.

    • danirish - Aug 31, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      The fact that NBC Sports and or Keith Arnold allowing the trolls is embarrassing for the page with the racism, stunted politics, drug references, and homophobia and sexual innuendo – I’m surprised it is not cleaned up more.

      Ignoring won’t work. They will just post more and more and more like a child screaming louder until Mommy finally says something.

      It really isn’t fair to the football fans that this is allowed to happen.

      Keith, I put this on you.

      GO IRISH!

      • irishdog80 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        I agree that it is an NBC Sports/Word Press issue and the line should be drawn when racism, sexual comments and overt drug references are made. All it takes is a moderator to delete or remove inappropriate comments or ban a troll for them to get the message and they will leave or change their tone.

        With respect to ignoring the comments, that is difficult to almost impossible to manaage. All it takes is one person that is not “in the know” to comment/respond/thumbs up or down and it will continue. I have chosen to confront trolls from time to time on the merits of their comments asking them to back up or validate their posts. The result is a toothless troll that has been exposed for the fool that they are. That said, I truly believe that ignoring a troll does not make them go away.

        Net/net, the best weapon against trolls is a successful ND football team.

      • jommy995 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:38 AM

        Good, the big W.

        Bad, internet cop wannabes.

        Ugly, that Rice defensive end trying to sort out what the hell kinda fake Bryant and Golson were putting on at the goal line with that read option misdirection.

      • rationalnd - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        DanIrish,

      • rationalnd - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        Dan,

        Welcome to an internet comment section. It’s not right of you to lay the blame at Keith’s feet. In fact I’m absolutely shocked that he even reads the comments here, let alone has taken the time to respond to them. If you want to blame anyone, blame NBC for not hiring a moderator to remove those comments that are over the line.

        In the mean time, blame yourself for reading the comments from dickasman. It’s on you that you read them, not anyone else. If you truly want to avoid it then go shell out the cash to read and comment at blue and gold illustrated.

        Keith,

        There are many of us out here that realize you have more important things to do like write outstanding articles, that we get to read for FREE, than play nanny to the comment section.

        Keep up the good work and thank you.

      • danirish - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:30 PM

        Rationalnd, no need to welcome me to the internet or the NBC Irish page, been here sense the beginning. Tell you what, next time you are trying to watch football or enjoy something I hope someone yells obscenities in your ear. I guess you endorse racist and homophobic posts.

        I also did mention NBC Sports. I don’t care about football trolls – johngaltispeaking can post all day long. The guy who claimed to be a ‘Bama fan was hilarious (same guy?).

        That is football

        But when 10 out of 13 comments on a story are disgusting drug referenced, racist, political mockery and homophobic, well, I guess you and jommy 995 you thinks cleaning up stuff is “bad.” It isn’t on me. Nice try though.

        That is all I’m going to say – back to football.

        GO IRISH!

      • danirish - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:36 PM

        rationalnd – this is the first time I’ve seen a post by you? Hmmm…..

      • rationalnd - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:38 PM

        Dan,

        I’m not sure how you suppose to put words in my mouth regarding my feelings towards, as I stated, comments that are over the line. Additionally, I’m not sure how a typed comment is an any way similar to being yelled at in your face.

        I suppose we can just agree to disagree on how to deal with the problem.

        As you said, back to football and Go Irish.

    • onward2victory - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      May I add on that when some of you respond to the trolls by trying to disprove their point or comment using logic or insults, this really is just playing into their hand. They are negative attention seeking people and the only reason they post here is to get negative reactions. Logic doesn’t work against them, and insults are what they find amusing. So while you might think you’re really giving it to them with some brilliant banter, they win every time you respond. Please just ignore.

      • irishdog80 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Have you ever seen a blog/website without any trolls? That said, trolls do not just fit one stereotype. I choose to ignore most of the trolls, but from experience I have learned that you have to take on the delusional “bully” type of troll. Once shown to be a fool, they tend to move on.

        Also, consider this, the troll that posts on here the most is clearly an attention starved person. I ignore his posts, as do most people on this thread, and have never even give a thumbs up or thumbs down to his sometimes bizarre comments. He’s still here and wil likely never leave. He’s the “flasher” troll of this blog that gets his thrills from seeing his comments alongside everyone elses. The only answer for a “flasher” troll is having an “internet cop” that deletes the posts when they are clearly inappropriate.

      • danirish - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        As I said before – the football trolls are awesome. I think it is hilarious when johngaltispspeaking posts!

        It is the non-football posts that give the board a bad name. We have some brilliant conversations here. Whether we agree all the time or not, there are some knowledgeable fans on this site doing a better job then some ESPN crews when it comes to football.

        But if an outsider were to visit – what would they see?

        GO IRISH!

    • mediocrebob - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      You truly are the bigger man. I commend you. Thanks for shedding light on this topic.

  5. 9irish - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    I don’t know. Just seemed to have a lot of confidence that has been missing. Rice is not a powerhouse, but a good team. Almost a perfect season opener.
    Michigan is always a deciding factor in the season (we have given them so many over the past 5-10 years), so that is a litmus test.

    Go Irish

  6. yaketyyacc - Aug 31, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    having watched the Michigan game, playing Rice has provided the type of quarterback that we will see with Michigan. We have to constantly remember the ability of the quarterback to take off. and Michigan’s quarterback is more experienced then Rice’s. Michigan’s weakness lies in its offensive and defensive lines. BUT Michigan is going to play hard, determined to take the last game of this grudge series.
    Notre Dame’s Football team is ahead of Michigan’s. Still, as Brian Kelly has rightly stated, the game goes to the one that fights for it most, and wants it…. Don’t let Michigan embarrass Notre Dame, not on our brand new super fast gridiron. got to admit, it looks great. and what will look greater: Notre Dame backs shredding the Michigan offensive line, Notre Dame kick off returners going for a td, Notre Dame receivers catching every pass from a quarterback that is the living example of ….. what though the odds be Great or small, Golson and the Irish will win over all.

  7. tkbrowns - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Seemed to be a lack of a pass rush from the d line.

    • dickasman - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      Y good observation. The blitz didn’t get through either.

    • dickasman - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      I hope this guys not like bob Diaco sr.

      • matymus - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:02 AM

        I also hope this guy’s not like Jon Tenuta.

    • gtizzo - Sep 1, 2014 at 3:13 AM

      Yeah, ND needs to attack the left side of the Michigan offensive line. Michigan’s left tackle is a true freshman.

  8. indyirish91 - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    I would add the new turf in the good category. It was nice to see our team speed was not lost on poor field conditions.

  9. deadman3020 - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    I’m already getting my high blood pressure meds ready! I love Cam, but Bryant and folsten need to be on the field more. God I love ND football but damn it gives me anxiety attacks watching them!

    • upthera44 - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      Speaking of the running back debate, Cam is solid but there is a key difference between him and Bryant & Folston. Cam got stuffed 2-3 times against Rice, for zero gain or 1-2 yards, whereas I don’t remember Bryant and Folston ever getting stopped short in that way. That’s going to be a key difference between them — Cam’s prone to that because he can’t juke defenders in the same way when he’s caught in the backfield, and he’s got a slower first step.

      That’s a key difference between Cam and the other 2, and why they should be getting 70+% of the carries I think.

      • ekalderf - Sep 1, 2014 at 9:05 AM

        1 and 25 got 20/28 touches, which i believe is slightly more than 70%. 33 is cute and can borrow for yards, but he simply doesn’t have the parallel movement and restart that 1 and 25 do. That dou should get 80+% and Cam should carry the rock in clean up.

  10. goirishgo - Aug 31, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    One more good – the turf. There’s no way Bryant and Folston make some of their cuts on LY’s field.

  11. jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Thoroughly satisfying win all the way around. There were punt returns, big chunk passes, big chunk runs, an INT, some decent tackling by Schmidt (who I thought did some weird kind of Disney movie role reversal with Jaylon) and most importantly, a statement victory. Everybody on this board complained about that last year…..it’s Temple, why can’t we beat them by 30 points and make a statement? Well, here was a statement game and people still bitch and moan. We are never satisfied as fans. I was as pleased as punch and can’t wait to see UM humiliated next week to close out this series on a high note. Gardner? Dead. Isaac? Dead. Funchess? Dead. Who’s with me?

  12. degosavage23 - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Keith,
    I wholeheartedly agree with you on two points:

    1. Golson’s best throw of the game was the flag to Carlisle. Definitely an NFL throw. With the kind of cannon he has for an arm, that was some great touch on that pass. Looks like his work with Whitfield is paid off.

    2. Although he was unblocked, that was a textbook hit Trumbetti made on his TFL, and it came decisively with some force.

    All in all, great game offensively and on special teams, and good defensively. Bring it on Michigan.

  13. getsome99 - Aug 31, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    Cam has more overall value than Bryant and Folston right now because of pass protection and pass catching. He’s also a pretty damn good runner himself. It’s a long season. There will be plenty of games where the player with the “hot hand” will have to carry the load.

    • jommy995 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      Hot hand seems dumb to me. Wear em out then sic Folston’s brawn on em, now that makes sense. Loved his extra carries in the third.

    • matymus - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      Personally, I see Cam more as the fullback you wish you had when you need one. Granted, he doesn’t quite have the size of a fullback. However, he has the guts, heart and determination of one. No, he’s not going to juke & dance & cut like the other guys. But if the game is on the line, and you need 4 yards or you lose, he’s the one that will come up and say, “Give me the damn ball!” That’s what I love about Cam.

    • nudeman - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      getsome … racist

      • mtflsmitty - Sep 2, 2014 at 12:13 AM

        To me, that’s good satire. Clearly playing off the past discussions/accusations of racist motives for Cam supporters. And a friendly ribbing.

  14. nl1088 - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    Keith I think your assessment of Jaylon is fair. I’m sitting here watching the game for a second time and was just wondering the same thing. Example: If you go back to early 3rd quarter. Rice’s first possession. 2nd and 4 from the ND 28. Rice runs a center-gaurd power play out of shotgun. Jaylon was head up over the center but kinda of hesitated. You can tell he is still learning how to play inside out vs outside in. I would like to see him come screaming down hill and make that tackle for a loss of two. He kinda slow plays it down the line. Although Shummate made a great stop there in run support for no gain.

    To your point that’s just an example. I think he’s much more comfortable on the edge. BK and BVG both know if he’s on the edge, teams will simply check and run away from him.

    • johngaltisspeaking - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:15 AM

      Non SEC Players don’t have that instinct.

  15. johngaltisspeaking - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    The Good – WE Beat Rice
    The Bad – WE only have two top quality SEC Players on the team.
    The Ugly – Michigan puts a beat down on us and we max out with six wins. Defense is AWFUL and Navy will stick it to us among others. Recruiting is the name of the game when it comes to competing at the highest level.

    • don74 - Sep 1, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Since you can see the future I assume you will personally guarantee my bet for the Mich game. Let me know of a way to be in touch so I can get the paperwork to you.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Sep 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        Michigan is a better team has a better offense and Defensive line has better running backs and Gardner and Goldson are about even. You do the math its pretty simple ! Take Michigan and the points this is a slam dunk win… Also take Oregon and parlay them ..

    • mediocrebob - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      What about OL? I’d say if NDs OL is as good as they could/should be , michigan’s DL advantage is has (in your opinion) is canceled out. michigan’s OL on paper isn’t close to the Irish OL. You seemed to leave that out.

      • johngaltisspeaking - Sep 1, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        Our offensive line looked average at best against a med tier team. Purdue would hammer Rice.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        If Purdue hammered an owl, PETA would protest their campus

      • mediocrebob - Sep 2, 2014 at 8:52 AM

        You didn’t watch the Michigan game. The OL looked very average against App State.

  16. viktory2013 - Sep 1, 2014 at 1:38 AM

    Getting Golson back has righted the ship. The whole feeling of the team was different; you weren’t expecting the next disaster to hit at any moment. The offense expected to score. Even when Rice connected you could see the team was unfazed and knew it was unimportant. Michigan is a decent team but routinely lose 2 or 3 games a year. Next week will be one and they know it.

  17. nd42fn - Sep 1, 2014 at 2:05 AM

    I was pleasantly surprised with all facets of the team. Golson looking great, Defense (yes need some help in secondary) but for the most part looked better then last years. We have a punt return. Not jumping on the we’re going undefeated bandwagon but yeah tighten a few things up and we’ll be in the talk for sure.

  18. tampabayirish - Sep 1, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I think we need to be careful in our assessment of game one.
    1.) Golson looked great. But he shouldn’t have “had” to make as many plays as he did. A “game manager QB” should have been able to put up 40 on Rice. Still Golson looked phenomenal.
    2.) I have major concerns on how the Irish defense will contain a more formidable offense. The secondary had well documented issues. The pass rush from the front 4 was weak and the blitzes were ineffective. I will always remember a quote from Tony Dungy. I paraphrase, some teams just aren’t blitzing teams. They don’t have the right players to blitz or their players don’t have the right mentality to be blitzers. I fear that with Notre Dame. I fear that BVG will be John Tenuta Part Two.
    Blitzers are crazy, athletic people on the fringe of society. Notre Dame recruits student athletes who graduate and make their families proud.

  19. nudeman - Sep 1, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Maybe just me but every time any team, not just ND, has a white player who can actually play a little fans fawn all over him.
    Last year we had CamMania. This year it’s SchmidtFrenzy.

    I like them both. Don’t care what color they are. But if either was black the chatter about how “gritty” or “tough” or what great “leaders” they are would be reduced by about 89%. Of the two btw, I think Cam can play but think against better teams Schmidt will be exposed as just not quick or strong enough. He’ll make a play or two and the Frenzy era will continue but opponents will go right after him.

    • danirish - Sep 1, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      I think you may have a point. I think Schmidt gets his props because he was a walk on who earned his scholarship if I’m not mistaken. Isn’t he the one?

      Perhaps McDaniel just falls under the category of Hughes or Gray – some fans love the “3 yards” guy.

      Don’t know.

      GO IRISH!

    • viktory2013 - Sep 1, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      Correct. Schmidt made a couple of good hits, but was run over on a number of plays. He puts in good effort but would fall into the small but slow category. I can’t imagine him starting for long when you have Morgan waiting in the wings, and runningbacks from SC and Stanford coming at him.

    • johngaltisspeaking - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      nudeman are you a homosexual ?

      • nudeman - Sep 2, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        No, not yet

  20. liv4nd - Sep 1, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    I know it was Rice but EG looked like a Heisman candidate. Like Superman at the goal line. Looked soooo much better than 2012. Awesome! I am stoked!!!

    • johngaltisspeaking - Sep 2, 2014 at 1:12 AM

      you can say the same for Gardner… We played nobody !

    • nddude - Sep 2, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Was wondering how long it would be before we heard the Golson Heisman comment…

      • nddude - Sep 2, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s ducks quite yet…
        Winston Wolf

  21. shaunodame - Sep 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Overall, I was a fan of the defense. I loved how the new attacking style resulted in more than a few TFL’s. Obviously the breakdowns in the secondary are unacceptable and will have to be addressed before playing Michigan this week, but I’m not as concerned as maybe I should. I just really enjoyed seeing sooo many of our defenders end up on Rice’s side of the line of scrimmage!

    Also, Im wondering if anyone else seemed to notice that after the Irish got the lead, Brian Van Gorder took his foot off the gas peddle a little as far as deploying those exotic blitzes we saw many times to open the game and instead favored to play a mostly Zone/Softer coverage’s without as many blitzes? I’m not complaining because I think it was a great effort overall for his first game, but I’m just interested to see how his play calling unfolds as the season progresses.

  22. ndirish10 - Sep 2, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I’m glad to see that I was not the only one on this board who noticed that Elmer was getting beat badly on Saturday. If it wasn’t on the outside, it was to the inside. Pretty sure most of the runs came went away from him. I’m sure coaches took note of this and discussed it during film study, affording Elmer some constructive criticism.

    Overall a good win by our Irish. On to scUM. GO IRISH!!! BEAT THE wolverines!!!

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