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  • IrishfromA2,

    I would have great reluctance to classify Everett Golson in the same category as a former Heisman Trophy winner at this point. It's way too early in his career. We need to see a greater body of work. However, at this stage of their careers, Golson would be way ahead.

    There is a growth period great quarterbacks have to go through. As a freshman in 1989, Ward was 0-for-5, and then the next season he was red-shirted. Then in his third season as a backup, Ward was 5-of-9 passing. It wasn't until his senior year in 1992 that Ward stepped in as a starter and threw for 2,647 yards, ran for just over 500 — but also tossed 17 interceptions. It was as a fifth-year senior that Ward had his monster season that won him the Heisman.

    Golson has three more years to reach that level, and he already had 2,405 yards passing and 298 rushing as a sophomore. He's way ahead in that curve, but there's a long way to go in his career.

    I can't see him having full control of the offense at this point. If anything, Brian Kelly said Golson is trying to do too much too soon and needs to condense a little bit better so he doesn't get into circuit overload.

    The offense absolutely was scaled back last year, and needed to be. It was the prudent decision by Kelly and Co., with a quarterback who was just a fledgling. The foremost priority was to limit turnovers after committing 29 the previous year (19 of them in the five losses), and it sliced it to only 15 last year. The offense thus was tailored to "living to fight another day." The defense was good enough to where the edict was to play the percentages, don't do anything foolish and manage the game efficiently. I thought the most impressive stat for Golson was that he threw only six interceptions in 318 attempts — although he did lose about four fumbles. Joe Montana threw 8 INTs in just 66 attempts as a sophomore, while Joe Theismann had 16 even as a junior and Jimmy Clausen 17.

    With each year, Golson should see an incremental improvement in being able to handle more aspects of the offense. That's a natural progression. What's amazing to me is he has such a small frame, but that ball just whips out of his hand with so much velocity and pop. The running dimension he adds is a bonus. One of the things that I've noticed is the more a play breaks down, the more dangerous he becomes. He seems many times to be better in the ad-lib situation than in a designed, by-the-book play.

    There is a lot to work with there, and I don't think it's silly to believe he could develop into a Charlie Ward-like dual-threat. Can he remain durable and consistently operate the read option? Can his read progressions continue to improve? Can he see over much taller linemen and throw from the pocket down the middle, while also maintaining good peripheral vision to sense where the rush is, or make the pre-snap reads effectively to see where the rush potentially could be coming from?

    He was in his embryonic stage as a freshman and moved from the crawling to walking stage last season. Getting into more of a trot this season is the next step — and it might come with some setbacks, per usual — and then we should hopefully see a sprinting stage in 2014 and 2015.

    It would not surprise me if he eclipses many of Brady Quinn's career records in passing, but good quarterback play entails far more than stats. As Paul Newman's Fast Eddie character said, there is a difference between excellent pool and pool excellence.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Lou Somogyi 11 months ago

  • thanks very much for such a detailed answer, one that helped me better understand some of the admissions thought process. it also reaffirmed my admiration for ND to identify and "demand" that the right kind of athlete have the academics focus.....or he would be miserable perhaps on the playing field as well as the classroom. and, also in complete agreement that weather and location while not always mentioned deffinitely impact a kids decision on where the next 4yrs of his life will be spent......

    Run the ball. Stop the run. You win, or lose, up front.

  • Lou,

    why did Gio Bernard decommit from Notre Dame?

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  • teo4heisman,

    I never talked to Bernard personally about it, but it's interesting to note that his verbal commitment to Notre Dme came during the weekend of the 34-27 loss to USC at home in late October (sort of like Michael Floyd in 2007 after the 38-0 loss), and then his "decommitment" came around Dec. 12, right after Brian Kelly was hired as the head coach.

    That would lead me to believe that because he didn't know the new coaching staff, he was not comfortable at that point to start over — although he did say at the time he wasn't necessarily eliminating ND. His other choices were North Carolina and Oregon State, where his older brother Yvenson was playing. Kelly did keep RB coach Tony Alford from Weis' staff, but at the time he was switched from backfield coach to receivers coach while Tim Hinton was hired to coach the backs. Maybe that also contributed because now he was unfamiliar with his position coach. Eventually, he committed to North Carolina in late January.

    On April 17 he did have an interview with Eric Edholm of CBS Sports. When asked about his recommitment, here is what he said:

    Edholm: Looking back, any regrets about the way that you handled de-committing from Notre Dame and going instead to UNC?

    Bernard: No, not at all. At the end of the day, the biggest question I had was how I was going to be prepared for the next level. Coming into North Carolina, I thought about doing it in three years -- that's the fast lane. I was lucky enough to do everything I wanted to do at the college level except reach the national championship game. But no regrets otherwise.

    He tore his ACL in his freshman year and didn't play, but still opted for the "three-year plan."

  • Lou, I've been seeing some so called 2013 shamrock series spoiler helmets, flat black with a kelly green mask with a shamrock on the side, can't upload the picture i found but can you confirm? Or is this a fan made thing.

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    MLWTI 12-2, Gringo Mafia VP of Irish Fandom POTW Feb. 27 - Mar. 5 2012

  • shamrocknation,

    That instagram that, I think, was released by Louis Nix III, was of a mini-helmet, not something that adidas officially released.

    I don't know if it was officially a hoax on his part, but it was more like a conversation piece. Te'o and Eifert donned the Shamrock Series uniforms against Miami last August during Media Day, and that might be done this year as well by a couple of players.

    Last year's helmet had black on one side and gold on the other, so some black again with a Shamrock wouldn't surprise me. If the helmet were all black it would surprise me, unless the shamrock was gold. I would think they would always want some gold in the helmet.

  • Thank ya!

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    MLWTI 12-2, Gringo Mafia VP of Irish Fandom POTW Feb. 27 - Mar. 5 2012

  • Lou,

    Do you ever see ND becoming the Irish instead of The Fighting Irish?

    My question came about in reading your artice about the stadium improvements and having a Shamrock at midfield.

    The ND commerical says,"what would you fight for "? I would fight to keep the nickname The Fighting Irish

    Jim

  • Kevin McCarthy,

    No, I did not forget about your question. It was a bit of a stumper. Football in the 50s, 60s and pretty much 70s was a little more basic. It really wasn't until 1968 that tight end and split end were demarcated from just ends, or "left end" and right end" who sometimes were right next to the tackle.

    The wishbone was the popular offense in college football in the late 1960s and 1970s, with most of the superpowers such as Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma and others running it, while others such as Ohio State and Michigan ran derivatives of it with the veer or other three-back formations. USC was a power team with student-body right as its staple. Notre Dame was a little more diverse, but even during the 1973 title run, it averaged 11 passes per game and generally had a fullback and two halfbacks aligned with the QB.

    As the game evolved into more passing, the two-point stance made a lot more sense to split out receivers that allowed them to see the field much better. I even recall when watching the Oakland Raiders of the early 1970s how wide receivers Fred Biletnikoff or Mike Siani would be upright and even have their hands on their hip(s) almost nonchalantly.

    Now, it is definitely more of a pitch-and-catch game with three- four- and five-receiver sets commonplace. When I asked former ND assistant Brian Boulac, who played end from 1959-62 and coached for both Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine, about the benefits of a three-point stance for receivers, he chuckled and said there really wasn't much — it's just how the game was played.

    Maybe 40 years from now, somebody will wonder, "Did they really have days where they didn't have a full-video screen inside the stadiums? How on earth did those fans live with that?"

  • Irishjim,

    About a decade or so ago, there seemed to be a movement afoot to eliminate the "Fighting Irish" mascot, the caricature where he has his fists raised while looking to the right . I have to admit I don't see it readily even though it was all around when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. However, even in the 2012 University of Notre Dame Football Supplement, the drawing of that Fighting character is used on the front cover.

    "Fighting Irish" and "Irish" are both used in the Notre Dame media guides and in team stories. Brian Kelly, upon taking the job, put a special emphasis on "Fighting Irish," even having a hand in the 2010 media guide that showed a drawing on the front of Notre Dame players coming out in leather helmets, no face guard and 1920s uniforms to show how their roots are "Fighting Irish." That's caught on more, including the emphasis in today's "what would you FIGHT for" Notre Dame advertisements.

    During an amazing comeback win against UConn this year, Skylar Diggins made it a point to say "we're called the Fighting Irish for a reason."

    I look for "Fighting" to stay, although it's not necessarily incorrect to also state "the Irish."

  • Lou,

    As you must know in last 10 years 25% of players drafted into NFL have come from only 12 schools--
    usc w/70 picks leads the list w/usual suspects from Ohio St. all the way to Tenn. at #12 w/42 picks, but ND is not listed, and ND has two flame outs in Brady/Jimmie.

    So, it seems ND recruiting has been over rated. Help me but it seems that all but two classes were in Top Ten over those years and even some in Top Five [ratings before performance not pundits rating after the fact].
    So is it the coaching of players not up to helping them play to potential ? Seems to me ND has not been getting the horses.

  • rgunner,

    The 10 years I am assuming you mean are 2000 through 2009, because the 2009 one, led by Te'o and Eifert, is the most recent one to get drafted.

    in 1998 and 1999, ND had back-to-back top-5 classes, led by people such as Anthony Weaver and David Givens in 1998 and then Jeff Faine, Julius Jones and Gerome Sapp in 1999. Those two classes had a total of 18 players drafted by the NFL, including a walk-on from the soccer team, All-America corner Shane Walton. Many were seniors during the 8-0 start in 2002. But then the worm turned.

    • Notre Dame's recruiting started going downhill some at the turn of the century, after Bob Davie's 5-7 season in his third year in 1999. Neither the 2000 nor the 2001 hauls made any top 10 rankings in recruiting, a first at the school since we began tracking them in 1978. The 2000 harvest had only two players drafted (Vontez Duff and Jerome Collins, who was backup TE), and the 2001 had only two as well (Justin Tuck and Dan Stevenson).

    • The 2002 class was decent — around top-15 caliber — but still not quite up to ND standards. Five players were drafted from the class: Anthony Fasano, Maurice Stovall, Derek Landri, Mike Richardson and Dan Santucci.

    • The 2003 class was the best (after the 8-0 start in 2002) and was ranked anywhere from top 5 to as low as No. 11. It played a huge role while carrying ND to BCS bids in 2005 and 2006 during their junior and senior years. It featured one 1st-round pick (Brady Quinn, three in the 2nd round (Victor Abiamiri, Trevor Laws and John Carlson), two in the 3rd (Ryan Harris and Tom Zbikowski), and two other late-round guys who became NFL starters, if not a mainstay, in center John Sullivan and center Chinedum Ndukwe. Jeff Samardzija also would have been drafted had he not opted for Major League Baseball.

    • The 2004 and 2005 classes were, hands down, the two worst classes in ND history. The 2004 class signed only 17, lost 10 people to attrition and had no one drafted. The 2005 haul was the smallest ever at the school and had one player drafted (David Bruton). This is one of the main reasons why Ty Willingham was fired after just three years. The program was imploding, and it was manifested during the 3-9 season in 2007 when these two classes were juniors and seniors. Neither class was ranked in the top 25, which is unprecedented.

    • The 28-man class in 2006 was ranked anywhere from 3 to 11 and considered top-10 overall, but it was probably the most overrated group I've ever seen. It seemed to get its high rating mainly because of volume. The only two players to get drafted were sixth-round offensive linemen Sam Young and Eric Olsen.

    • The 2007 class also was top-10 but while it had a lot of french pastry with Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate and speedster Armando Allen, it had no meat and potato in the lines.

    The recruiting rankings could be a little misleading in 2006-07 because the Irish struck out on pretty much all their top targets along the defensive line and were constantly grab-bagging at the end. It had solid players, but none other than Ian Williams would have been on the two-deep of an SEC power over those four years. Recruiting rankings don't always take into account the need factor, and often just look at star rankings. The Irish badly, badly missed along the defensive line during the four years from 2004-07, but it didn't always show in the "ratings."

    • The 2008 group, led by Michael Floyd, Kyle Rudolph, Dayne Crist and Trevor Robinson — plus five DL prospects, including Ethan Johnson and Kapron Lewis-Moore — was rated No. 2 by three of the four major services (behind Alabama), and No. 9 by ESPN. Alabama's class won two national titles; Notre Dame's went 29-22 in the four years from 2008-11. (KLM, Cave and Golic Jr. did help the 2012 team as fifth-year seniors).

    The 2009 and 2010 hauls were generally rated between 15th to 25th, while the 2011 group was generally around No. 7,.

    Last year's was around 10th to 22th — but that was with Gunner Kiel, Justin Ferguson and Tee Shepard, and no DaVonte' Neal (who is gone anyway), so I doubt it would be top 25 now.

    It's a chicken-and-egg question about is it the coaching or are the players overrated. Had Ara Parseghian and his staff not arrived in 1964, ND would have finished maybe 3-7 to 5-5, instead of 9-1, and people would have said "they don't have the talent."

    Frank Leahy was as good a football coach as there ever was, but when he suddenly lost all his horses in 1950, the Irish went from 36-0-2 to 4-4-1.

    You need both. You need the talent and you need the coaching. You can't win without talent, but you can lose with it. How do you maximize it to its full potential and using the right system (see Navy or Air Force, which has been competitive with excellent coaching, specifically with the triple option).

    This post was edited by Lou Somogyi 11 months ago

  • Lou,
    Gracias for reply. I really thought ND was in Top Ten most of those years and did not know how poorly they were doing in recruiting.
    I assume your ratings were all before they entered ND not after the fact.

    I guess I only looked at or read the good rating news.
    Your rankings are way off what I thought ND was getting and although I have only been on this site for 6 mos. I received Blue & Gold paper for 10 years and I swear I was led to believe ND was almost always in top ten [pre-actual play] not rankings after performance.

    Gracias again !!

  • rgunner,

    The first recruiting rankings I saw was 1978 in Sports Illustrated, when Joe Terranova was the maven of the recruiting industry. From 1978 through 1999, ND was in the top 10 in at least one of the recruiting services (which back then mainly was Terranova, Tom Lemming, Allen Wallace of SuperPrep, Max Emfinger and BlueChips).

    There would be some years like 1984, 1986, 1991 and 1994 where it would not be a consensus top-10 class, but one of the services would always have ND in the top 10 (perhaps to help boost subscriptions because Irish fans were the most prevalent and always wanted to hear good news on recruiting).

    Like I mentioned, 2000 was the first time I saw where ND finished outside the top 10 among all the services. Other than 2004 and 2005, most of the classes were more so in the 11 to 25 range from 2000 through 2010. That's still doesn't justify losing to Navy or Tulsa or UConn or South Florida or 2-8 Syracuse, all at home no less. So yes, leadership within the ranks also was an issue.

    Again, though, something sometimes overlooked in recruiting rankings is the "need" element. In four straight years from 2004-07, ND mostly struck out on the defensive line, did a lot of grab-bagging and was somewhat desperate. When you can't control the line, it's difficult to hide that liability.

  • Gracias once again. This clears up my misperceptions and you are spot on about losing to Navy, Tulsa, etc.
    Yep, about the 'need' element in all this---that cliché about weakest link coming true.

    thumbsup2

  • rgunner,

    Another aspect that has improved recruiting ratings some is the rise of scouting services such as 247Sports which sponsor combine camps. They're not flawless by any means, but it might help distinguish premier prospects a little better.

    In the 1980s and to a degree even in the 1990s, there was a little more politics involved in recruiting rankings, especially based on constituency. For example, a service would always ask a subscriber, "which is your favorite team?" Let's say someone has 5,000 subscribers, and about 1,500 are ND, 600 Michigan, 500 Ohio State ... and then may 40 for Nebraska, 10 for Miami, etc.

    Who do you think will get more publicity? So many times back then, people would say, "How does Miami win all these national titles (1983, 87, 89, 91...when it never is ranked high in recruiting?" as Notre Dame. Same with Nebraska when it won it in 1994 and 1995 and shared it in 1997. Not that their classes weren't good, but the publicity was generally not going to be the same. Nebraska also had an ideal system. It didn't care about "preparing quarterbacks for the NFL" while running the option with people like Tommie Frazier or Scott Frost." Meanwhile, ND would recruit the National Player of the Year like Ron Powlus, when in reality a Frazier was a better fit for a Lou Holtz offense. But when you get a Powlus, that enhances recruiting rankings.

    I'm not trying to single out Ron because he was a darn good player who comported himself well under tough conditions, but it's an example of how publicity trumped other factors.

  • Lou,

    Mucho gracias once again and your latest post brings recruit rankings into even better focus.
    About Powlus:
    You are 100% correct about Holtz bringing him inagreed And it started Holtz's decline IMO.
    I never felt that Powlus was very good---it was obvious from first game and Derrick Mays catching under thrown balls vs Northwestern. IMO.
    Seems Holtz was tryin to keep up w/changing landscape of college football and even he got caught up w/recruit rankings I see now.
    Your post implies that BK should stick w/his type of college QB. Like a Johnny who will probably never play pro, but will put up wins.
    Seems that instinctive type athlete at QB ---almost an art not so much a science.
    I hope BK reads your posts and listens.
    bow

  • rgunner,

    I appreciate your kind words but let's be clear: If Brian Kelly starts listening to me, then I would have great fears about the future about the program and Kelly's mental faculties.

    I'm not trying to impugn the career of Ron Powlus, who I respect, but merely pointing out that just because you are the No. 1 QB doesn't mean that he's the best overall fit for what you want to do (although he might have been if Randy Moss could have teamed with Derrick Mayes at wideout in 1995). Do you think Tony Rice would have started at QB at Miami in 1988-89? Of course not. He would have been shifted to another position. That doesn't make Rice any less an athlete or the Miami coaches like Jimmy Johnson incompetent ... it's just a matter of what fits.

    Brian Kelly won big with Tony Pike at Cincinnati, and Pike was not a dual-threat QB. My preference is to have one who can do both, but if everything else is in place at the program, including an excellent staff, you can win with "regular" QBs like Nick Saban has had at Alabama the last few years.

  • Lou,

    Gracias once again.
    LOL about BK listening to you----Yep, about Randy Moss !! Can you imagine ?!?!
    Powlus would have been a top ten pick in NFL Draft.
    Which makes me think about the receivers Quinn had that made him look good, IMO.
    Or.........I am sure ND had some others like Jack Snow for starters that made their QB's look better then maybe they were.
    I have so much info now to use in my next conversations w/amigos.
    Stay thirsty clap

  • Lou,

    Who were all the former ND players that beat the Irish as HC at another school?

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  • borromini63,

    The four I know of are:

    • Skip Holtz (Class of 1987, walk-on for father Lou) and South Florida stunning ND in the 2011 opener, 23-20.

    • Gerry DiNardo (Class of 1975, All-American) leading LSU to a 27-9 win in the Dec. 28, 1997 Independence Bowl.

    • Eddie Anderson (Class of 1922, All-American end under Knute Rockne) coaching Iowa to a 7-0 victory in 1940 and 7-6 in 1939, his first year on the job.

    • Jack Chevigny (Class of 1929), who in his second career game as head coach of Texas defeated Notre Dame in former head coach Elmer Layden's (one of the Four Horsemen) debut in 1934, 7-6. Chevigny was named Notre Dame's "junior coach" after Rockne's death in the 1931 plane crash, while Hunk Anderson was the "senior coach." Unfortunately, there was some insubordination during that time, which later led to Chevigny apologizing to Anderson. Chevigny died while serving in World War II, Iwo Jima I believe.

    I don't know of any ND graduates defeating Rockne from 1918-30, so that would be my list. Many others like Slip Madigan and Harry Stuhldreher coached against ND, but lost, as did DiNardo earlier in the 1997 season.

  • TOS has a trivia question and asks to name the (6) former players who in 7 instances beat the Irish as HCs at other schools. You got 4 with Anderson winning twice. Two others I suspect are both pre-Rockne era.

  • boroomini63,

    I doubt it's pre-Rockne era.

    Noble Kizer, I know, is a fifth. He was one of the Seven Mules for Rockne's 1924 national title team and graduated in 1925. He took over as head coach at Purdue in 1933 and beat ND on his first try, 19-0 in 1933 before losing his only other two games to the Irish.

    I'm embarrassed I can't think of the sixth one at the moment. My guess is it would have been in the 1930s also because Rockne had dozens of former players coaching then.

  • Got it!

    Rip Miller, who also played for Rockne and is a Hall-of-Famer, in his third year at Navy defeated ND, 7-0, which was Hunk Anderson's last year. So that year Anderson lost to both Kizer at Purdue and Miller at Navy.

    There are your six who beat ND seven times total.