IBG: Questions before Miami

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Apologies for the lame headline, but you can only look at that blank space in WordPress for so long before you give in. 

It’s an exciting time for Notre Dame football right now. The Irish are undefeated for the first time in a decade. Looking for their first five game winning streak under Brian Kelly and their first since 2006. And heading to Notre Dame’s home away from home, Chicago, to play one-time hated rival Miami.

As alums from around the country hop flights to the Windy City, and Chicago prepares for an Irish invasion, we caught up with HerLoyalSons.com’s GrantlandX, their shadowy, anonymous student reporter.

(Not to be confused with the team over at Grantland.com that continue to rip Notre Dame football whenever possible.)

As part of this weeks Irish Blogger Gathering, I asked GrantlandX some questions and he was kind enough to answer. If you’re looking for my take on three pressing questions, check out the Subway Domer for my answers.

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1. Notre Dame is 4-0 for the first time in a decade. Outside of the QB position, where do the Irish need to improve the most if they hope to make and win a BCS game.

Offensive line play. Part of the reason the offense has had identity problems is because the line hasn’t been getting great push up front. If the Irish can establish a consistent run game early, the whole offensive gameplan opens up, and our inconsistent quarterback play becomes much more effective. The line is pretty well-seasoned, and it isn’t unreasonable to think that they can put it together soon and allow the offense to take a huge step forward. Specifically, Mike Golic Jr. needs to pick up his play, if you are looking for something to nitpick.

2. Let’s take the focus back to quarterback. How do you handle Everett Golson going forward? How do you build his confidence against a defense like Miami’s?

Well, those are two separate questions. If it was up to me, I’d make the switch to Tommy Rees moving forward. But let’s pretend I’m not me for a second, and how I would handle Everett Golson. I think we need to start building Everett’s confidence with a regular short passing game. Run a few more slants and screens on first and second down, instead of putting the offense in passing situations on third down, especially third-and-long. Everett is not completing a high percentages of his passes right now, and a short, safe passing game would allow him to improve in that area and boost his confidence.

3. As a student on campus, is there a different feel this year than in seasons past? Is there a belief that this could be the year, or is the student body still approaching the football like Lucy is the holder.

There’s definitely a mix of both of those feelings. While I figured a win over Michigan would be the final straw convincing a lot of people to buy in completely, the way in which we just managed to squeak out a W didn’t inspire much confidence in many of the students. We all know the defense is there, but not being able to score regularly scares everyone. I think many of the younger students are 100% in and optimistic, but upperclassmen have seen too much losing to put their faith in the Irish just yet. It may take a 7-0 start with a win over Oklahoma before everyone is on board. Regardless, the feeling is different on campus than it has been in years past, that much is for sure. There was never even a possibility of eventually coming on board in recent years. However, the trust just isn’t quite there yet.