Saturday, December 28, 2013
Yes the score was only 29-16, but that does not accurately give a picture of how dominant Notre Dame was. Mistakes really allowed Rutgers to stay in the game for longer than they needed to be. An early muffed punt return by TJ Jones led to a field goal. Then dropped touchdowns by William Fuller, DaVaris Daniels, and Jones kept points off the board.
But the running game took over in the second half thanks to a dominant line anchored by game MVP Zach Martin. Cam McDaniel led the way with 81 yards while Tarean Folston added 74 yards and a touchdown. Going forward, these two need to be the featured runners next season.
It was a nice game for Tommy Rees to go out on. He threw for 318 yards and more importantly no turnovers.
Defensively it wasn't really anything spectacular just another day at the office. They held the Scarlet Knights to just 16 points and only 3 after halftime. The Irish forced 4 turnovers. The most important stat was that they were able to get off the field. Notre Dame dominated in Time of Possession. The Irish had the ball for 35 minutes to 20 by the Scarlet Knights.
The game wasn't really all that exciting to watch but it is always nice to end with a win. I cannot wait until next season. The offense will be deadly with the return of Everett Golson and all the returning weapons he has. We just need to keep Coach Kelly away from the Detroit Lions.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
In the last year of the BCS and before the landscape of college football changes dramatically, from top to bottom there are some really good bowl match ups this year. Unfortunately the Pinstripe Bowl is not one of them. I am not talking just the BCS Bowls, there are some good match ups. Boise and Oregon State in the Hawaii Bowl is a nice match up. BYU and Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl will be a good one.
Although Notre Dame does not have a good match up, there are two other bowls that day that will be worth watching. Miami-Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl and Michigan-Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl should be great match ups.
Oregon-Texas in the Alamo Bowl should be a great one. That is Mack Brown's last game. What about Duke-Texas A & M in the Chick Fil A Bowl? That will be an interesting one.
Then we get into the bigger bowls. As usual there is a Big Ten-SEC challenge on New Year's Day. Expect the SEC to dominate it again. But Michigan State can give the Big Ten some hope with a win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl. That will just be a tough physical game.
Then honestly all the BCS games are good match ups. It will be an exciting bowl season. It all kicks off this Saturday with 4 games. The headliner is USC-Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl. I honestly cannot think of a better way to start the bowl season than with a USC loss. And maybe another locker room fight occurs and Marqise Lee announces he is leaving minutes later like Robert Woods did last year. That would be great.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
I write this blog with mixed emotions. Bob Diaco came with Coach Kelly from Cincinnati. In his four years he has been one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation. Nobody will ever forget that defense he put together in 2012. There is no doubt that his departure leaves a huge hole on the coaching staff. He will certainly be missed and we are sorry to lose him.
At the same time, I am really happy for him. He has earned his right to be a head coach. While Connecticut may not be a big time program, it is a good opportunity for him to get his feet wet and it is one where he will have time to build it without immediate pressure to win.
The downside he is going into a conference that is really a rag tag league. The American Athletic Conference is leftovers from the Big East and former members of Conference USA. Two of those teams, Louisville and Rutgers are leaving. While that is bad for the league, it could put Connecticut in a more competitive spot.
Congratulations and good luck to Coach Diaco. I hope he sticks around for the bowl game but I will understand if he has to go now.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Not a lot needs to be said about Louis Nix. We all know how important he was to that defense. One thing that stands out was last season when Manti Te'o was asked if he had a vote for Heisman, who would it be? He said Louis Nix. Nix often took two blockers or even three which freed up not only Te'o but that entire linebacking crew.
It is a fact that in a 3-4 defense, if you don't have a good nose tackle your defense will not be that good. Nix was just a rock for so long. He will be missed.
Thank you Louis Nix for all you did for Notre dame. Get well and I will be rooting for you to do well in the NFL unless you get drafted by the Jets.
Monday, December 9, 2013
My last blog was how I wanted to see the team play at Yankee Stadium because of the history involved. But I was really expecting and hoping to play Houston. The Cougars haven't really played a tough schedule but they have a very exciting offense. It would have been fun to watch.
As it is, we are stuck playing Rutgers. Although Rutgers has been a good program lately, they struggled this season. They did get off to a pretty good start. They started the year 4-1 but their best game in that stretch was the loss. It was an overtime loss to Fresno State opening weekend. Their wins were against an FCS team in Norfolk State, a really bad MAC team in Eastern Michigan, an awful Arkansas team, and a SMU Team in overtime who did not make a bowl game.
Then the Scarlet Knights went on a stretch were they lost 5 of 6 games. That one win was against Temple whom they beat by just a field goal. We all remember how bad Temple was.
They needed to win their last game just to be bowl eligible and to their credit, they did win impressively. But it was against a South Florida team who not only won just two games but also had no offense all year.
Based on that, this is really a no win situation for the Irish. This is an opponent who they should not only beat but just destroy. It would be embarrassing if the Irish lose and even if they win in a close one it won't look good. But Notre Dame can't control who The Pinstripe Bowl picked for the opponent. What they can control is how they prepare and how they play. To build momentum for next season, Notre Dame needs to settle for nothing less than making Rutgers sorry they were ever born.
Friday, December 6, 2013
I know it is likely to be cold and snowy, but there is something about Notre Dame playing at Yankee Stadium that just makes sense. It is often stated that the two best jobs in the country are the Head Coach at Notre Dame and the Manager of the New York Yankees. I really thought it was awesome when they played Army a couple years back at Yankee Stadium. We are talking about two of the biggest brand names in all of sports.
Looking at our other options, we could go to Detroit for the Little Caesars Bowl and play a MAC team. not to sound like a snob or anything but that game is beneath us and we prove nothing by beating up on a Mid major.
Another possibility is a trip to Florida for the Beef O'Brady's Bowl against a C-USA team. While the weather is nice I still think we can do better than this one.
A trip to San Diego to likely play Boise in the Poinsettia Bowl is a little more appealing. Boise is not the program they used to be but still a good matchup. I can live with this one but still I want to see them at Yankee Stadium.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
With Chuck Martin moving on to be the head coach at Miami (Ohio), Notre Dame now has to fill that position. We all know that Brian Kelly is not going to allow an offensive coordinator come in and run his own system. Kelly wants the quick spread. Therefore, The Irish need someone who knows Kelly's system well. After being in the system for four years, I think it is safe to say that Tommy Rees knows that system and the playbook inside and out.
I know suggesting something as radical as this will create a lot of debate and doubters. Some will say he may be a good coach but he is too young for a job like this. That is ridiculous though because either you know football or you don't age has nothing to do with it.
Then there will be those who are so hell bent on hating Rees, they will totally scoff at the idea. But that is also ridiculous because playing ability has nothing to do with knowledge. Not only does Rees know Kelly's system inside and out, but he also is a coaches son meaning he was raised around this game.
The fact is that during his four years, Rees has shown signs that he could do a great job of coaching. He was a great mentor to Everett Golson during the magical season of 2012. Golson said he was blown away at how much football knowledge Rees has.
Rees showed that this year as the starter too. How many times did he see what the defense was doing before they did it and audibled out. He had a lot of success with that. His knowledge in many ways made up for any physical limitations.
Not only is Rees smart, but he also has the respect of every player in that locker room. They followed him as a player and trusted him as their quarterback.
So to those of you who think he may be too young or just are too anti-Rees to be on board with this, I ask you these questions. Who is out there that knows this offense better than Rees? Who is out there that has more respect from the team than Rees?
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
So I can certainly understand why Pat Haden would have reservations about making Orgeron the permanent coach. We have seen this before where a new coach takes over who is a polar opposite of the guy who was fired and not well liked by the players. The team goes on an emotional run but that emotion runs out. The name Larry Coker stands out and to a smaller degree Charlie Weis. We will never know if that would have been the case with Orgeron or not.
My take on it was they might as well just give him a year and see what he does. He earned and there still is sanctions for a couple more years. That was unless there was a big name coach out there that wanted the job like Jack Del Rio.
That is why this hire of Steve Sarkesian just makes me laugh. I know he had success as an offensive coordinator in their recent glory days under Pete Carroll. But as a head coach at Washington, he did an OKAY job. He did decent but nothing to really get excited about. His record in five years 34-29 and he was 1-2 in bowl games. The program is in better shape now than when he got there but it is still nowhere near Oregon, Stanford, or even UCLA.
In fact, there was even some rumor about whether or not Sarkesian would be fired had they not beaten in state rival Washington State.
Another thing that is funny about this is that he actually mentored the guy Haden fired in the first place. That alone should say something.
The USC players seemed to really like Orgeron and played really hard for him. So if you are going to replace a coach like that, you better had a guy whose name already demands respect. But I am sorry but Sarkesian is not that guy.
I don't blame Orgeron one bit for resigning. He could have been a really high paid assistant, but it was not about the money. I am sure he wants to get back at Haden and USC. So if I were him I would apply for the Washington job and really stick it to them if Washington wants him.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I had to take some time to think on this one because the Stanford loss was one that just seemed a little different than the other three. In the first half the effort looked just pathetic honestly. Stanford was running the ball at will and Notre Dame could not run at all. That once again put way too much on Tommy Rees. Looking at Coach Kelly's demeanor on the sidelines and he honestly looked disinterested in the game. It is true that our bowl positioning probably would not have changed regardless of the win or loss, but still it is a rivalry. It is not USC, but it is still a rival.
Then came the second half and the team played a lot better at least on offense. The defense never did figure a way to stop workhorse Tyler Gaffney who ended with 189 yards and a touchdown. But the offense did get going as Rees threw two touchdowns that got the Irish back into the game. Unfortunately for Rees, there are too many idiots that call themselves fans. They will not remember the two touchdowns. They only care about the two interceptions late that sealed Notre Dame's fate.
Clearly these fans know very little if anything about football. They pay no attention to the fact that they were asking way too much of Rees because of a lack of a running game. They also pay no attention to the fact that if you have to pass that much, interceptions will happen regardless of who the quarterback is. The fact is that Rees this season threw more than twice as many touchdowns as he did interceptions.
In his career, Rees has thrown 61 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. That is almost double the total. In fact, that is a difference of 24. For those idiots who probably don't understand basic math either, that means he threw 24 more touchdowns than he did interceptions.
I appreciate everything this young man did for Notre Dame and I hope he stays on as a GA. I especially appreciate the fact that he was committed to stay at Notre Dame even though it looked like he would be the back up. He could have very easily have transferred to an FCS team his senior year and said "screw you" to all you ungrateful fans. Quite frankly, I would have done that. That is why I really appreciate this young man.
Now moving forward, it is looking like we will be making a trip to Yankee Stadium to play Houston in the Pinstripe Bowl. Although it is not official, that is what the experts are predicting.