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Saturday’s loss to South Florida in the opener stymied the momentum built at the end of last year and brought back old ghosts.
I just watched the replay of the game here in Boston on NESN. I am of the mindset that for the program's sake he needs to start inserting Golson this weekend if just to give opposing offenses something to think about. With either Reese ofr Crist at QB you are playing with a limited spread offense. They need to have a QB who can run. Think about how much time our D spent worrying about Daniels and about how we will all be scared stiff of Denard Robinson until the final gun sounds Saturday night. I think we should be targetting another spread QB in this recruiting class. Let Dayne graduate. Get someone that can truly run the spread in there...make the move now.
CMC Quote Master and Director of Football Related Discussions
5 Time POTW & 2 Time WPOTW Winner
Nice recap Lou....
Now that its been almost 24 hours since the game ended I can begin to breathe.
I am a bit concerned about a few areas.
1. Punting & our Punt return teams. We suck! Turk must freeze up once inside the stadium. Have him practice in the stadium. You cant simulate 81,000 fans but for lords sake..do something to improve his game or remove him.
Punt return....wow! If we arent dropping or bobbling the ball we have 5 opponents surrounding our receiver. Dont we block anyone so we can maybe have a return?
2.Kelly's meltdowns. I am a big beleiver in getting on these players when they fail to execute( especially jr's & Sr's) ...however, at some point after Kelly has disemboweled a player and has lit up the caoches..he needs to STOP and compose himself and get the players ready for the next play or the next situation. I saw some discombobulation from him and it came (in my opinion) because he was caught up in the rant. Another observation..when you watch the players on TV during his meltdowns..they look concerned that maybe this guy IS LOSING IT !!
I never wat a Ty Willingham Flatliner approach but I'm not sure Kelly's implosion (on almost every mistake) is the answer either.
3. The atmosphere at ND these days. I would never boo a team. I always treat a team in this way...They dont go out to fail or make a mistake..it happens. If the students ( who i am speaking of) fail in class or fail in something they do..would they want to be booed? Nope. I also rationalize that if my roomate is Dayne Christ or Mike Floyd..would I boo them to there face? Nope. At ND the players and students eat sleep and study together as one..students! Finally on this point ( for students & fans) if your brother or son was out there..would you boo them? Nope. It was a low point for me to hear the boos.
So...we lost. We were really bad in red zone offense etc.
Next week we suit up again and play the game.
We win next week & the weeks after and this game becomes a "too bad we lost" experience.
So the game is over and we have al analyzed & the pain is still there.
I will never give up hope that someday ND will return to the Glory we all want and expect.
Keeper of all Somogyi secrets and swell quotes.
With all due respect Lou, there's no reason to be complacent with John Goodman's fair catches. Theo Riddick may not be the answer on the punt returns, but there has to be at least one of these blue-chip athletes that can return punt for "positive yardage". Other programs have them.
These coaches are professionals in their craft, which is not to say they don't err, just like we do in our crafts. They evaluate and do this daily. Everyone has been out there getting auditions. With all due respect, likewise, you see nothing and I see very little. The one practice I was at that was open during special teams sessions, Davaris Daniels, Cam McDaniel, George Atkinson were all back there, among many others — and I can honestly tell you they struggled more than Riddick. That was with defenders not even rushing at them. All the coaches can go by is what they see. The only person I saw in that practice who gauged or judged the ball correctly and caught the ball securely was Harrison Smith.
Riddick was even tested by catching punts with one hand while holding the ball in the other. Sometimes you can study well for something but still not do well on the test — and I speak from experience on that.
I also speak from experience in knowing how to "choke" athletically even though I had prepared otherwise.
No one has to be complacent with anything. But sometimes it is what it is, and until you find somebody who can do it better consistently and day after day in practice, you have to be more concerned about cutting your losses. It's like the real estate market in recent years. You aren't necessarily content about making less than what you thought you should, but sometimes you just have to do what you believe is right at the time. Sometimes, just catching the ball and having possession on offense is what is most needed.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 9/4/2011 at 10:49 PM
I agree with Lou 100%. As I posted in my thread called "17 sorry years now...next week, next year, if this, if that...":
"At the end of the day, when push comes to shove, we have been a joke since 1994. We played about 200 games over that time. Who have we really beaten that was a legitimately good, national picture team? The haters been on a nice 17 year run"
lennyd I agree with you that we need an addition or boost to the qb position. If Rees is the qb, and I think we all agree he should be based on the USF game, then I think we will eventually see the "change of pace qb" put in to play. I always thought that if Crist were the qb he would be called on to keep the d honest on his own. (Eventually Hendricks getting in to keep him content and on the roster, but not much.)
With Rees as the qb I think that will force a change in the qb approach. During Rees' portion of the game there were a lot of lanes that he could have picked up nice chunks of yardage, were he mobile. (I know they were dropping into coverage based on score and time.) But I do believe if Rees is the qb then we will see Hendricks or Golson being brought into the game. And I know some are opposed to the two qb system but I think it can be a positive. Just not sure I would want to see it for the first time at the bighouse.
Gringo Mafia Strength Coach
Lou - have we tried Bennet Jackson or Austin Collingsworth on punt returns? Both seem unflappable and super aggressive in the few chances they have gotten on kick returns?
God. Country. Notre Dame.
I had asked a question which seems to be answered in this article so you can ignore it.
However, I'm interested in your take on the team's psyche. I was surprised and disappointed in how the team was unable to move on from the early fumble.
I agree with you Lou, ND needs to just start getting it done on the field. After 18 years of we will turn it around, it is getting very old.
First time POTW for 4/18/2011-4/24/2011.
Michael Floyd should be returning punts - anyone who saw him do so for four years in high school would unanimously agree - even though it puts him at rish for injury, yada yada yada. Tell that to Lou and Tim Brown. Good God, it's obvious.
"Welcome to Notre Dame" - Sweeter words were never spoken.
I would say MF has the best hands on the team
It's difficult to "move forward" with your feet when you keep shooting yourself there. The defense had a good game, other than not forcing a turnover. It kept the team in the game when it could have been much worse, almost like USC last year. The offense moved up and down the field for 508 yards, and the line executed fairly well overall. But when you have five turnovers and they don't have any ... what can you do?
Other than not having a strong rushing attack, USF won by playing "Lou Holtz Ball:" Win special teams, win the turnover battle, and bend but don't break on defense.
There is no way anybody can answer team psyche without being in the locker room or in the meetings every day. And the answer that players give about team psyche to media is the standard company line of "we're confident and we'll bounce back." Everything is answered only on the field when the lights go on, not in what we want to believe or want to hear.
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 9/5/2011 at 3:44 PM
I was surprised when Hendrix/Golson didn't come in to run the 2pt play, especially the second one from the 1.5 yard line.
My luck w/the Irish 18-6...GO IRISH!!!
Good analysis of what we saw and like you said we're not in the locker room to really get a feel for the psyche of the team.
Seemed to me, that as soon as the fumble occured with goal to go the game was over because the offense never really got it back together.
If Dayne starts again I doubt Mike Floyd lasts the season because the throws to him seem to make him a slow mover or a stationery target for the defense.
Not venting but it seems as if we the fans have been sold another shot of flat soda colored with optimism.
Luther, you have hit your stride as a writer. I agree with all your comments and insight in the aftermath of the 5 turnover bonanza. We gift wrapped that game for S Florida.
I also owe Tom Hammond an apology. I was quite certain he alone was the reason Notre football sucked. Turns out there are other forces in the universe at work. Me and coach Kelly will continue to try and figure out what those are.
Bennett Jackson has not been tried on punt returns. I believe I did see Austin Collinsworth get an audition there, but maybe I'm confusing it with kick returns. They could be potential options, but I think Brian Kelly's first goal is to get Theo Riddick comfortable and not give up on him after one game.
That's not to say other auditions won't be forthcoming. Those two could fit the profile. Sometimes you need a situation like this to really appreciate what a difficult, underrated task it is to return punts.
Thank you for the nice feedback.
Thank you. I am honored that you approve.
The fundamental thing wrong with the offense, in my view, is the way it seizes up in the red zone.
I have been watching ND football since the 50's, and the one thing that made the ND ground game what it was, was that there was never any doubt that when they got near the goal line, they would almost always punch it in.
Remember all those slowish, thick-legged backs Ara had? Or, if the middle was clogged, Joe T or Clemens would dart outside or cut off tackle, often scoring standing up.
And how about the Dick Lynch quick pitch against OU? Fourth and three. Bang. TD.
Kelly must develop a confident short yardage game and stop trying those high percentage interception throws in the red zone. There's too much pressure down there. I am also not a fan of hit or miss fades. They require too much precision at a time when you should be leveraging superior mass.
As respects Riddick returning punts, the fact that Kelly didn't yank him from the role during the game was deeply troubling. Riddick's footwork was so bad that it should have been obvious to the entire staff that he has trouble judging the wobbly spin of a punt. It's not like a kickoff. It's a well known fact around the Yankess tha A-Rod can hardly catch real high pop-ups, so judging the trajectory of a punt may something the otherwise talented Riddick may not be able to do. Just look at the tape. There are guys on this board who could probably have done better.
All of that said, let's see how they face the coming adversity of UM at the Big House in the first night game ever, wearing goofy uniforms and white shoes. Holtz always said that the most progress a football team makes -- if, indeed, it makes it -- is between the first and second games. If there is real progress -- and that would have to include a victory, as opposed to a moral one -- this team stands a good chance of shaking the USF loss and becoming a force to be reckoned with.
If there is no progress and the same tendencies show up, we could be looking at one of Joe Kuharich's very good on paper 5-5 teams or, again, a very good on paper Gerry Faust 7-5 type outfit.
Will this team be able to perform under the pressure that is ND football or not? We shall see.
Great article and like I said before, you have a BIG "I told you so" coming after you corrected my Kool-aid comment! We still havwe a long way to go. This is a good team, but they still aren't settled yet!
Proud Member of "Gringo Mafia"
Punt return yardage has gone down a bunch the last few years in college football since teams started employing that spread punt formation. At this point, get someone back there that can catch the ball first.
On punts, we don't even need to have someone who can catch the ball. Don't put anyone back there. Just let the ball bounce around. We may be guaranteeing ourseves never to return one for a TD, but we're also guaranteeing we'll never have a turnover on a punt.
This is a stupid suggestion and is meant to be stupid because of recent punt-returning blunders.
11-Time POTW / Co-Founder, Gringo Mafia
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