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Just a comment. Brian Kelly spoke at the Notre Dame Club of Dallas
today and when asked about the national championship game, he
rolled out his by now familiar "upon an objective review of the film,
we're much closer than I orignally thought." However, he reportedly
added a comment I hadn't heard before but one with which I am
not only in total agreement with but have thought myself
since that less than memorable evening----i.e. "if ND had played
Alabama the week after USC, the outcome might have been
I have been really excited about 2013 and look forward to
sharing it with, among others, my fellow posters in this board. But,
I really think it really could be a season for the ages since we really
may be better than even the most sanguine of us hopes for. And,
maybe, just maybe, the coaching staff shares our outlook.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by hemy 11 months ago
It was obvious that the layoff hurt ND the most. The depth issues on the OL especially as Kelly pointed to hurt them from a physicality standpoint as they did not hit in practice much if at all during the break.
Thanks for sharing that visit.
Considering that Alabama had to play Georgia in the SEC title game the week after the Notre Dame-USC game, I definitely think ND would have had a more reasonable opportunity to win that game the next week, especially if Alabama had to play Notre Dame right after the Georgia game.
Some of the conclusions I drew are:
1) The six-week layoff between the end of the regular season and the championship game does stink.
2) I could better appreciate how No. 1 Texas felt after losing 38-10 to ND in the 1978 Cotton Bowl for the national title. ND wasn't four TDs better than Texas any more than Alabama was four TDs better than ND — but on that particular day, everything went right for one team and everything went wrong for the other. It's just one of those days that can't really be explained.
3) Lay-off or not, Alabama was the better team and is the better program right now. We can spin it any which way, but if those two programs met 10 times on a neutral field, the Crimson Tide probably wins eight. They're not invincible and they're not unbeatable — they lost at home in November each of the past two seasons — but on that night they were flawless and Notre Dame was jolted early and had its confidence shaken.
4) This is just a personal thought: Deep down, I think ND had to feel a sense of awe of just being there and coming so far in such a short time. With Alabama, there seemed to be an attitude, "We're damn lucky we were able to get back in here, and there is no way on God's green earth we're going to blow this second life that was afforded us." Their focus and sharpness was frightening.
5) Nick Saban and Co. are going to be very, very difficult to beat when they have extra preparation time. They had more time to study some of ND's tendencies and took advantage of it. I think that was part of why Kelly may have said if the game had been played the next week, ND would have had a better chance, and I don't disagree with that assertion.
All I know is minutes before the first quarter even ended, I was cursing myself for rooting so hard for Baylor to beat Kansas State on Nov. 17.
I don't think any of us feel that as of 1/7/2013, Notre Dame was the
better program and I share your thought that we go something like
2-8 if the two teams played each other that many times. However,
you are also right that Alabama was not 4 TDs better than us any
more than we were 4 TDs better than Texas on 1/1/78. Alabama's
greatest advantages were an ability because of sufficient depth
to practice physically as hard as they wanted to during the layoff
('76's point above) and your point that Saban et.al. are difficult
to beat given extra preparation time(a little bit like Lou was in
I guess my real point is that when I say I think we "really are
very close", I am not thinking about "a play here or a play there"
nor am I thinking that, necessarily, we will have another undefeated
regular season in 2013. No, what I am thinking is that, for the first
time in a while, the entire trend of the program, from coaching,
to support staff, to the AD, to the university's president, to the
quality of the team, to the quality of the recruits, in other words,
the "whole nine yards" has the same feel to it that the years 1988-
And, for that, I am exceedingly excited and thankful.
This post was edited by hemy 11 months ago
Amen, Amen, Amen!!!!! 100% Right on!!!
My thoughts exactly.
I agree with the more positive vibes about the program's trajectory ... but I have to see a 5-1 record in BCS postseason games and a national title before I start categorizing it with the 1988-93 run. That's very hard to do. A 9-3 regular season or a 10-2 result plus another loss in a BCS bowl would be a letdown in 2013.
This program first really needs to win a BCS bowl as another positive step. 29 others have done it since the format began in 1997, and this year is the last chance before going to the four-team playoff in 2014.
Lou, your last line sums it up. At least once a week, I think about the WHAT IF Baylor hadn't beaten K-State. I think ND would've beaten Kstate 90 times out of a 100 hundred last year. oh well
One week or 6 weeks layoff - ND lost to Nebraska 40-6 ND played bad(didn't look like they were ready or inspired) yet the next year they beat Bama to win the NC. The layoff was the same but the effort and results were as opposite as east is from west. ND had a great year NOBODY saw a 12-0 season yet Bama was the better team that night they blocked and tackled better than ND period! I'm hoping that loss motivates this team that regardless of ANY layoff they now know what it takes to win at that level. GO IRISH!
It was very similar in 1988 too. ND lost its last three games of '87, including a 35-10 clobbering from Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. That too became an impetus to prosper. Of course, several factors needed to be in place.
One was a Hall of Fame coach. ND had it in both cases with Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz. They had already proven in their past they know how to win on the grandest stages.
Next was some difference-making out-of-nowhere young talent. The '73 team added freshmen starters Ross Browner and Luther Bradley, two of the five greatest g freshmen in NCAA football history. Al Hunter also added more speed, while previous year reserves such as Greg Collins and Wayne "The Train" Bullock proved to be an upgrade.
The two impact freshmen in 1988 were on offense with Rocket and Derek Brown. Moreover, guys like Frank Stams or Chris Zorich or George Williams and Mike Heldt, etc. came out of nowhere to become vital additions.
It doesn't do any good to finish the season with huge BCS bowl losses (i.e. 41-9 to Oregon State in 2000 or 41-14 to LSU in 2006) if everything else isn't in place. 5-6 and 3-9 seasons followed those collapses, but the infrastructure was shaky, though temporarily masked.
I think the major reason why the layoff hurt ND was it caused the players to really tighten up.
For a group that play loose pretty much all year, they came out as tight as a drum vs Bama. That could be for any number of reasons. The pressure may have gotten to them and the 6-week layoff gave them too much time to let it sink in. They may have realized after watching film of Bama just how good Bama was and how flawless of a game they would need to play to win. Maybe they just lost focus as well, who knows?
Whatever the reason, I think it was a learning experience for Kelly. Whatever he did to try to prepare the team and keep them loose over the layoff didn't work.
CMC Quote Master and Director of Football Related Discussions
5 Time POTW & 2 Time WPOTW Winner
I agree with that too. Sometimes when you have too much time to think instead of stay with the rhythm and flow that got you to the game, it will be detrimental.
We don't really like talking about it because it's not intended to mitigate Alabama's performance. But it became clear early that the team we saw from September through November was not the same on Jan. 7. The Tide played a huge role in that, but the difference in psychology between the two teams was vast.
There are couple of recurriing themes in this as well as other
threads about our 2012 season, the championship game and
the "renewed" resolve to scale the "highest mountain" in 2013,
with hope that our new found plateau will continue in 2014 and
beyond. And, I, too, more out of a sense of fear than anything
else, am champing at the bit for ND to "lock in" the Kelly-Diaco
team similar to Alabama's locking in the Saban-Smart team
(although I'm painfully aware, as Lou has stated, that the term
"locking in" is an extremely relative term in the world of big time
I guess what I'm trying to convey is that, for me, after quite a few
years when Notre Dame football produced more angst than joy,
its fun to be a Notre Dame football fan again. Its fun to feel that
"bounce in one's step", to feel that what happens to the program
actually "matters", that we no longer are condemned to wondering
whether we have the "right" coaching staff, to wondering whether we
will become bowl eligible, to fearing the next article in an endless
series of variations on the theme of "is Notre Dame football relevant
anymore", to dreading the pattern where ND is talked about in
August but forgotten in November.
I distinctly remember feeling when Ty and his ilk were coaching
that whether we had a significant injury, or whether we had a player declared
academically ineligible, or whether we landed a "5-star" recruit
(admittedly very rare in those bleak days) or whether any other negative
thing happened to us, it really didn't matter----we weren't going
Now, I sense it matters; its important whether Amir Carlisle's
health holds up, its important whether we develop offensive and
defensive line depth, its important whether Everett matures to the next
level, its important whether our offense will mature to more
fully compliment our defense and on and on.
Lou, I totally agree that our current on-field achievements continue
to pale as compared to that magical '88-'93 era when the world
seemingly held its breath every Saturday during the fall and even
weddings were interrupted for the pagentry of a Lou Holtz--
directed afternoon(and occasional evening). But, I hope you
will agree that, after everything is said and done, and this
comparison and that comparison made, the joy has been
re-enkindled, the dreams are alive once more and goosebumps
appear on your skin when you hear "We are the Fighting Irish!!"
Thanks for the additional points - well stated. Especially comparing the 2000 & 2006 experiences to the '73 outcome. I'm betting that BK can coach up to the Ara/Holtz patterns - given the great job he has produced last season. It's very important that ND has a successful season with a BCS bowl win which you've already pointed out in a previous post. Also my gut agrees with A2 about the teams mental approach going into that Bama loss. GO IRISH!
I will be interested to see how differently Kelly prepares for his next BCS bowl or NCG. IMO, Saban out prepared him, this time.
But Kelly is the ultimate "Never again . . ." kind of guy.
You can talk about the 6 week layoff , the 5 or 4 week or whatever layoff but has anyone thought about what matters the most-- the mental aspect going into the game. How would you react going into the game with these major distractions.........your Head coach publicly announces that he will be interviewed by an NFL team ( Eagles) , Bob Diaco rumors about taking another job, and most unsettling , the Manti Teo fiasco ( and don't think that team members didnt get wind of the story going into the game! ) . I watched and was present at many of our games last season .... The team that played Alabama was not the team of the 2012 season. Their heads were not in the game.
"Their heads were not in the game." maybe true but Bama played like no team ND had faced before. As for the 'locker room' issues I haven't read/heard from any B&G staff writer or team member that these were issues(all came to light after the NC game) AND this would be very difficult to keep the 'lid' on that stew if what you're saying is, in fact, true. If true it'll come to light in time. GO IRISH!
1>ALA had more talent than ND.
2>ALA had more experience in those type of big BCS/NC games than ND.
3>ALA had more depth which allowed them to hit during pre-game prep.
4>ALA had studs at positions to offset NDs best players: milliner on eifert, barrett jones on nix, warmack on teo.
5>the game was over before ND could catch their breath and adjust to the speed of the game after the 6 week layoff.
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