Looks like I’ll have to go find this and buy it. Nice move Sports Illustrated…nice move.
Image from: Manti Te’o Twitter Feed
Overall (Grade B)
Sloppy and heroic. Those 2 words keep popping in my head. Sloppy because both teams set offensive football back 3 decades and heroic because the Irish D carried this team on its back. Heroic because once again, LB #5 showed why he is one of the top players in the country and willed this team to not surrender.
I did not think that this D was going to be as dominant as it is showing. In my opinion, they were 1 to 2 years from being elite. Everyone is playing at a very high level, including the coaches. It is refreshing to see pressure while only rushing 4 and the d-backs turning to look for the ball. The backers are playing well in space and speed is not an issue. Can the Manti for Heisman begin?
On the other hand, the O seems to be taking a few steps back. Run blocking has become atrocious and there was no imagination from a play call perspective. Maybe they were playing close to the vest since the D was so dominant. This will not work for the entire season. At some point, the playbook and handcuffs need to come off…
Now, the real tough part begins. How will the coaches and players react? The pressure is on. Will the coaches create more conservative game plans? Will theygo into a shell? The dreaded ‘play not to lose’? Will the players succumb to the hype and all the slaps on the back and news clips? Remember, this team has not been 4-0 in a decade and these players have not experienced this kind of spotlight.
The Bonehead Call(s) of the Day:
Handling of QB#5. The HC is not putting him in a position to succeed. He was asked to make too many difficult throws very early on, which shook his confidence. How about easing him in? A few screens and zone reads…
Offense (Grade C+):
QB (Grade B-):Golson: Worst outing of this young career. Looked overwhelmed and confused. Because of his frustration, started to make mistakes. The question here is can #5 handle this offense or D1 QB play? The road is not going to get easier. Teams are starting to get film on him.
Rees: Everyone know his limitations and strenghts. Was cool and delivered when it mattered the most. Good back up to have. It seemed clear that the big play was out of the question with him in. Solid in relief
RBs (Grade B): Where was GAIII? Where was Wood in the 2nd half? Riddick can get the tough yards. ND has very good RBs that are being wasted, week in week out…
O-line (Grade C-): OK performance. Once again, no run blocking. Looking very weak at the point of attack. Slow and not athletic at all. Should we be concerned that this is the 3rd game in a row of being man handled?
WRs and TEs (Grade C+): Not a good performance. Had difficult getting off press and finding the open areas in zone. Besides the wide open play for Eifert, where the CB slipped, no one was open. Improvement is needed, fast
Defense (Grade A-):
DL (Grade A+): Again, the main reason ND is 4-0. We all knew that they were very stout against the run. We discovered that they can rush against a drop back passer and now we know that they can apply pressure against a mobile QB. They displayed great gap control and situational agressiveness. Great push and collapsed the pocket when asked. Great closing speed.
LBs (Grade A): #5 – 2nd best all around athlete on the field, but played like the best. Incredible football instincts with ridiculous closing speed. Unsung player here, Danny Spond. Good speed with instincts. I am comfortable playing spread teams now.
DBs (Grade B): Played well within the scheme, which was to not give the big play. Solid tackling with the right dose of physicality. They are all developing fast.
Special Teams (Grade B-): Good game by the FG unit. Punts was a miss and kickoffs starting to worry me.
Coaching (Grade B-): Good move by putting Rees in relief. Lots of work on O to ensure that they do not put the D in such a predicament.
Here are the videos from Notre Dame Athletics that were posted after the Michigan day.
My wife is always poking fun at me because the media is always stating that this ND game and that ND game is a rivalry game. I think a lot of people say that because everybody wants to beat Notre Dame (it hasn’t been to hard in the past few years). If you were to ask me, I’d say USC and Michigan are the rivals.
Anyhow, just to give you an idea of the ND – Michigan game importance, here is a brief clip from The West Wing. It was a show from years ago about a US president that was an ND grad. Here is a scene that taps into that ND/Michigan feeling.
Image from: South Bend Tribune
Overall (Grade B+)
Please don’t do this to me. ND, I beg you. Don’t inject my heart with hope and excitement. The nation has been beaten down so many times that most (including me) are a bit lost.I must confess, I don’t know how to react. It has been such a long time when the Irish last displayed this level of defensive dominance and all the while remaining relevant in the national picture that I am lost. We are in unfamiliar territory…
This past game was truly a beauty to see if you are into old school football. The Irish front 7 took control of the game and gave ND a big advantage. It was not unexpected, everyone saw flashes of its potential in several games in 2011 and 2012. The surprising aspect was the level of dominance over such a physical team as MSU. ND beat MSU in its own game.
With the LOS in control, the secondary was not exposed and QB #5 was protected. The offense was average at best. But in these type of games, average will do.
Notre Dame has a few things to clean up, but good line play hides those flaws till they get addressed.
Not much to breakdown in this game. It was just physical dominance at LOS.
The Bonehead Call(s) of the Day:
Can Kelly find more touches for #4? This player is special and when he is on the field, good things happen.
Offense (Grade B):
QB (Grade B-): Hit less than 50% of the his passes. While no turnovers, still had some bad decisions that could have turned to INTs. Surprisingly inaccurate on short and to the flat passes. Takes a split second too long to read the progression. Needs to learn to just throw the ball away on certain instances. Throws a very catchable and pretty deep ball.
RBs (Grade B+): Nice game by all. Riddick got the tough yards. GAIII just got some wheels. Wood showed why he is the starter. Great burst, very decisive and great vision.
O-line (Grade C): Against another tough physical D-line, it performed ok. Got beat a few times and fought to a draw on a lot of run plays. It was definitely better than last week but needs more consistency if ND is going to go far this season.
WRs and TEs (Grade B-): TE #80 was taken out of the game and the WRs rose to the occasion. Is WR#9 our version of Wes Welker? Great player with outstanding hands, vision and wheels. TJ Jones had his best game. They all had good separation and provided more options to the offense. This just proves that opponents will no tbe able to just focus on #80.
Defense (Grade A):
DL (Grade A+): The stars of the night. They clogged up the running lanes and pressured the QB when needed. They were held throughout the night. Very quick and active. The most athletic defense that I have seen from a ND team. If MSU couldn’t run the football, no one will.
LBs (Grade A): Best game from a pass coverage perspective. Everyone knew how great they are in run support. They took away the short passes. Very physical. Shembo was unstoppable. Nothing else can be said about Manti. Will go down as one of the most revered players.
DBs (Grade B): Solid game by all. Good coverage and they all displayed agressiveness and athletic ability. You can coach technique but can’t teach speed. Of course having an amzing d-line helps as well
Special Teams (Grade B): Great game by special teams. Hit all the FGs. No shanked punts. The onky thing to work on is punt returning blocking.Give Neal a chance to showcase his speed
Coaching (Grade B-): Worked within the confines of the players. Good mindset of slugging it out with MSU. Need to find more touches for GAIII.
I’m glad I found these guys. It’s pretty cool for the ND crazed fan.
Pre-Order: Friday, September 14, 2012
Actual Purchase: Friday, September 21, 2012