Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Edited by Mark Allen
Notre Dame Football
Notre Dame enters the Hawaii Bowl desperate for their first bowl win since New Years Day 1994 when I was still seven years old (I am now 22, nearing 23 next month). Since then the Irish have been losers in games of both the close call and blow out variety. What needs to happen to prevent the Irish from finishing with their second straight losing season?
Both offenses bring a very average brand of football to the game. Hawaii and Notre Dame rank 74th and 75th nationally in total offense as they both put up 344.8 yards per contest. Hawaii does however average two or so more points a contest than do the Fighting Irish.
As most remember from Hawaii's Sugar Bowl team a year ago, they like to throw the ball around the field. Although Colt Brennan has moved on to clipboard holding responsibilities with the Washington Redskins, Junior Greg Alexander does the quarterbacking for the Warriors. He has completed 131 passes for 1634 yards and twelve scores during the regular season. He is also a guy who knows how bad turnovers can hurt as he rarely risks throwing a pick, doing so only four times this season.
The favorite targets of Alexander are wideouts Greg Salas (50-755-3 tds) and Michael Washington (56-693-5 tds). Also seeing multiple passes thrown in their directions will be Malcom Lane and Aaron Bain. What scares me about Hawaii is the offense they run as it matches up against the Fighting Irish defense. Notre Dame has a defense that is designed to go after the quarterback; Hawaii has an offense who tries to simply pass their way downfield by dinking and dunking, taking whatever the defense is willing to give them. Not only do the Irish need pressure, but they need to walk away with a multiple sacks against Hawaii. This offense is designed to beat teams who are able to bring pressure, so unless Notre Dame can "Crank it Up", then it could be a long day for the Fighting Irish defense.
I fully expect to see Corwin Brown bring maybe even more pressure if that is even possible against the Warriors. If the Irish can't get pressure, then Hawaii will pick apart the Irish secondary all evening and make it a sad Christmas Eve in South Bend.
If the Irish are able to take away the pass, they will be in great shape as Hawaii ranks 107th of 119 teams in rushing yards. Not suprisingly, former Warrior coach June Jones and the SMU Mustangs rank dead last in that category. For what its worth Daniel Libre leads the Warriors in rushing with a grand total of 431 yards and six touchdowns. Not overly impressive, but then again Notre Dame brings far from a stout rushing game to the contest.
Hawaii brings an average defense into the game from a below average conference. The Warriors allow 27 points a contest and right around 350 yards. Notre Dame will be without all purpose back Armando Allen who is out with a leg injury and Robert Hughes for a half because of the fight he started at USC. What that means is that James Aldridge will get the largest portion of carries for the Irish while freshman Jonas Gray will also likely see carries.
The depth may not be there, but the Irish bring a much larger offensive line to the game than the Warriors defensive front and we all know what that means: pound the ball. Notre Dame won't be trying to light up the scoreboard, not only because they likely would lose such a battle, but also because that does not give them the best chance to win the contest. The Irish will use the run to set up the pass but once again, I am nervous to see what the lack of depth allows ND to do.
Personally, the Fighting Irish bring in much more talent than do the Hawaii Warriors but they still must do three things to avoid yet another bowl loss:
1) Not a Joy Trip - I disagree that 6-6 justifies being rewarded, but in today's game, I understand how it happens. Notre Dame can't take the trip to Hawaii as a reward or just a joy ride. Focus is something I am very scared the Irish will not bring to the matchup.
2) Road Game - Yup, playing in a team's home stadium is never a positive, but when its in a bowl game it makes it that much more difficult. The good news is that Notre Dame travels well and will likely have a strong showing of support in attendance. The fact it is in Hawaii's home stadium can't possibly favor the Irish though.
3) Dumb Mistakes - Whether it was in the SDSU, UNC, Pitt, or Syracuse games we all know that Notre Dame has had an abundance of dumb mistakes this season. If the Irish don't avoid costly turnovers and penalites it will be ugly, trust me.
For whatever reason this football team has turned out to be a major disappointment and just not be very good. Because of that I am afraid that the bowl losing streak will only continue this Christmas...
Nick (The Downing Domer) says: Hawaii 27 Notre Dame 23
Mark (The Faithful Wonder) says: ND 27 Hawaii 21
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Notre Dame Football
If nothing else, the Fighting Irish football team, most likely, will be rewarded with the best post season destination of anyone outside of those in the national championship; Notre Dame is set to accept a bid to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve to take on the host Hawaii Warriors in Aloha Stadium, the Warriors home turf.
For Notre Dame this will cap off a disappointing season with maybe its least talented bowl opponent in quite some time - a game the Irish could very possibly be favored to win. Hawaii finished the year with a 7-6 record, good for fourth place in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Warriors wrapped up their regular season with a heart breaking loss to Big East Champion, Cincinnati with a 29-24 defeat on their home field Saturday night. Hawaii took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter, but could not hold off the Bearcats who reeled off 19 points in the games final frame.
Remember to check back often at Domer Sports Report for all your latest Notre Dame news as we will continue to keep you updated with all things Gold and Blue.
Go Irish, Beat Warriors.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Edited by Mark Allen
Notre Dame Football
Charles remains in charge of the Notre Dame football program, this after going 6-6 over the past year and only 3-9 a year ago. Needless to say things have not gone the way the Irish faithful would like during the past two seasons. Notre Dame appears headed for either the Sun Bowl, Texas Bowl , or Hawaii Bowl in the coming weeks, but where is the direction of the team headed? Under the watch of Charlie Weis it is hard to tell.
What is most bothersome to me is not necessarily the record Notre Dame has compiled over the past two seasons, but they way they have compiled that record. The Irish had losses in '07 to the likes of Navy and Air Force, whom the Irish had much more talent than, and then choke jobs against North Carolina, Pitt, and Syracuse with near disasters against both Navy and Stanford in which the Irish hung on for victories after leading by two scores or more.
What bothers me most about Charlie Weis and Notre Dame is why are the Irish out-coached, seemingly, from halftime on? So many times this year the Irish have let teams back into games in which the opponent had no business being in. Where does the responsibility of much of that fall? Some on the defense, yes, but what would burn clock while also putting points on the scoreboard?
The running game. Notre Dame has not been able to run the ball under Charlie Weis. John Latina is in charge of the offensive line and after two train wrecks of seasons in that department, where do the Irish turn? In 2007 the Irish yielded more sacks than any team in college football history. In 2008 Notre Dame averaged a whopping 3.4 yards a carry. Granted, the running backs having quite lived up to their billings of four and five star recruits but the offensive line is much to blame for that.
To me, the O-Line has gotten better in the pass blocking department, but the fact of the matter clearly is that Notre Dame needs to be able to run the football. Charlie Weis promised in his inaugural speech as Notre Dame's head coach that the Irish were going to be a nasty football team. To me, nasty means power football, lining my guys up against your guys and pounding the ball down your throat for the duration of the game. Needless to say we have not seen that under Weis - not even signs of that.
I am not calling for Charlie's head. I am, instead, giving him one last chance. Begin to be able to have a power running game. Start to show signs of this nasty football team you promised. Don't give up so many damn two possession leads that leave Irish fans' heads in their hands after games. It's time to put up or shut up, Charlie. I don't care when you run your mouth as long as you back it up. So far it is safe to say that you have not. I don't like to set a standard barrier for what keeps Charlie around longer than 2009, but there is no reason Notre Dame should not be playing in a BCS game next year.
Does keeping Weis bring Notre Dame any closer to winning a National Championship? Let yourself answer that question honestly and then ask yourself again if you really think Charlie Weis should remain as head coach of Notre Dame.
I backed Charlie after the Navy loss in '07. I backed Charlie after giving up a lead on the road to UNC. Hell, I even backed him after blowing a two score lead at home to Pitt. However, enough is enough! A loss to 2-8 Syracuse and a mind-boggling 93 yards of offense against USC later, I am now understanding where people are coming from when they call for Charlie's head. He is not getting the most from his players and does not have me feeling any more confident in the program after 2008 than I did at the conclusion of 2009. I wish success on Weis at Notre Dame because, first and foremost, that means that Notre Dame football is a legit title contender on an almost yearly basis. I, however, feel that the best we will ever see from Charlie is a run at a BCS game, heck, maybe even a win in a BCS game one day. We will not see Notre Dame play in a title game under Weis, he simply losses to too many teams he should beat. With that said, I do not understand why he will remain as head coach in 2009 besides and because of Kevin White giving Weis far too much to stay away from the NFL...that just days after Weis' finest moment at Notre Dame, which was still a loss to the Irish's biggest rival.
*Nick Shepkowski has been a Notre Dame fan virtually since birth and is a recent graduate of North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. He currently works at both Chicago Sports Radio 670 The Score and the Big Ten Network.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Notre Dame Men's Basketball
- Ayers was incredible tonight. He's caught the 3-pointer bug in a very good way, making a whopping nine shots from the outside.
- The team maintained a comfortable lead without throttling their opponents. For a moment midway through the second half the Coyotes broke the twenty point barrier, but the Irish put a stop to that with another 3 points.
- In the last few minutes, Kopko and Andree both got playing time. It was also nice to see more minutes for Nash and Scott through the second half.
- The leprechaun was throwing free t-shirts into the student section after three pointers, but soon had to stop because the team was scoring so many.
- Free throws looked much better (7-of-11). Good for them.
- A group of high school-aged kids came to the game in body paint, spelling out Go Fighting Irish. The leprechaun joined them for some cheers in the second half.
- Also spotted at the game: Golden Tate.
- All in all, a solid game for the Irish. We were outshot in the second half, 46-42, but the team had the situation firmly in hand. Others might say otherwise, but I don't see any cause for concern here.
- Final score: Irish 102, Coyotes 76
Laura is a current junior at Notre Dame. A political science major originally from Georgia, she loves cheering for and talking about all Notre Dame teams.
"Aldridge could play a big role in a potential bowl game for the Irish, who may be without their two other running backs for at least the first half. Sophomore Armando Allen suffered a leg injury early in the game Saturday and did not return. Weis said after the game that he was not certain of Allen's status.
Fellow sophomore back Robert Hughes will also miss the first half of his next game because he was ejected in the final minutes after getting in a scuffle with a Trojan defender."
I know a lot of fans don't like Aldridge very much, citing his failure to get a touchdown last year and his sometimes-unimpressive stats. I've always been a fan of the guy, if only for his dedication to the game. He received a lot of play time last year, but has seen fewer carries this year with the advent of Armando.This year he's averaged 3.97 yds/carry, a respectable number given the quality of our running game. Armando only has 4.4 yds/carry and they both have 3 TDs this year. I feel like Aldridge could be a great back if given the chance- and it looks like the bowl game might be that chance.
Laura is a current junior at Notre Dame. A political science major originally from Georgia, she loves cheering for and talking about all Notre Dame teams.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Notre Dame Football
Rumors have circulated among the media and around the various message boards regarding the future of Charlie Weis. Would he stay or be let go? Popular opinion was that, if money could be collected to pay for his buyout, that he would be replaced. Even new athletic director Jack Swarbrick was sort of vague regarding what would happen. He said he'd meet with Weis on December 8 for a review.
Now comes word of comments made to a Notre Dame recruit. Charlie Weis, on the surface, at least, seemed defiant when he said he could not meet with Swarbrick. He said he was staying on the west coast to recruit. But, was he being defiant or out-of-touch with reality regarding his future status as Notre Dame's head coach? Or, did he know something?
Words spoken to recruit, wide receiver Shaquelle Evans, seem to indicate that Weis might have been assured the job was still his in 2009. "I asked him about his job status," Evans said. "He told me he's good to go; he'll be there. He said he made sure he's good before he left and it's just the media spreading that he's going to get fired. He said if he didn't know if he was going to be there or not he would tell me. It makes me feel good that he'll be there."
So, out of Weis's own mouth, it seems that he will be back in 2009. But, stay tuned. The flip side of all of it is that he wants to keep his recruits. Would he say those words in order to keep his recruits? Or, did Swarbrick actually reassure him that his job was safe?
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
This weekend may prove to be a very important one when it comes down to the Notre Dame/USC rivalry in the next few years. Sure the teams do not play for another week but this weekend features an opportunity to take dead aim at the Trojans recruiting class of 2009 with both linebacker Manti Te'o and safety Byron Moore making official visits to South Bend this afternoon.
Manti Te'o is amongst the most highly sought after defensive recruits in the nation, earning a five star rating from both Rivals and Scout at the middle linebacker position. Te'o is being recruited by nearly every college in the nation and has taken a visit to UCLA and has also attended two of USC's summer camps. Besides Notre Dame this weekend, Te'o is expected to visit the likes of Stanford and BYU as well as USC before he chooses a school so unless he is overly wowed by South Bend in the middle of November, don't expect a commit here this weekend. The Irish have been able to land some of the biggest names on the offensive side of the ball in recruiting wars the past few years but Te'o would be the first 5 Star recruit Charlie Weis will have been able to bring in on the defensive side of the football.
Byron Moore, a former UCLA commit and current commit to USC will be on Notre Dame's campus this weekend as well as he has recently sought after the Irish instead of the Irish going after him. Moore plays in the same district as Irish WR Commit Shaquelle Evans and the two sound like decent friends. After Evans committed to Notre Dame it was Moore who actually called Notre Dame, hoping to get noticed by the Irish. It payed off as Evans will also be on campus this weekend and don't think Charlie Weis wouldn't like to steal one of USC's charmed recruits right out from under him. To me Moore seems to have a real interest in Notre Dame and if the Irish are to see a commit this weekend it would most likely be from him.
The third and final high school senior visiting the Golden Dome this weekend is Tyler Gaffney, one of the most highly touted fullbacks in the nation. Gaffney also lists Stanford and USC as schools he is considering to attend. The Irish have been somewhat disappointing in what Asaph Schwap has brought to the table after playing now in his fourth year and would definitely like to get a fullback in whom they may have more confidence in to do a bit more. Gaffney is averaging over 10 yards a carry for Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego this year as he has scored 30 touchdowns. With a visit already set for Stanford in January I feel it will likely go very close to National Signing Day before Gaffney decides where he will call home the next four seasons.
Also on campus will be juniors Corey Cooper (ATH), Kyle Prater (LB), and Chandler Whitmer (QB).
GO IRISH, BEAT ORANGE
Friday, November 21, 2008
Notre Dame is riding a high defensively of late, pretty much handling both Navy and Boston College on that side of the ball over the past two weeks. This week a Syracuse team comes to Notre Dame Stadium for the Irish's senior day festivities. The first class of Charlie Weis' recruits have been through a lot in the blue and gold and would like nothing more than to walk off the field in South Bend one last time as winners and in a dominating fashion.
Syracuse brings amongst the worst run defenses in the nation to Notre Dame tomorrow. So far in 2008 Syracuse has held just one team to less than four yards a carry for an entire game and that was the vaunted Northeastern rushing attack. The game plan for Notre Dame should be very simple this coming weekend in that the Irish will pound the ball, pound it some more, and then some more after that.
With Michael Floyd out do not expect to see the Irish counting on Jimmy Clausen to win them the football game. Obviously there are still the threats of Golden Tate, Duval Kamara, Kyle Rudolph, and David Grimes amongst others but when a team allows this many yards per contest on the ground I expect to see the Irish counting on the running game to chew clock and score points. This will also set up the play action game if Notre Dame so chooses to go to it.
Cameron Dantley heads the Syracuse offense as their quarterback but has been far from outstanding this fall. So far on the year he has completed almost exactly 50% of his passes for 1117 yards and 9 TD's to go along with only four picks. He may not win the Orange the game but he will not cost them it either.
If Dantley is to throw the ball it will likely be to Dante Davis, a talented sophomore who is Dantley's favorite target. On the year they have connected 27 times for over ten yards a catch and one score. Other than Davis, Mike Owen may see a few passes thrown his way but don't get confused, the passing game goes through Davis for the Orange.
The leader statistically on offense for Syracuse is senior RB Chris Brinkley. On the year Brinkley has compiled impressive totals of just over 1000 yards on the ground and six rushing touchdowns.
On defense Syracuse has been a disaster. Only once this year have the Orange allowed fewer than 30 points in a game, even the Akron Zips were able to put 42 on them early in the season. As stated above the Orange have not stopped the run all season, but the Irish haven't run the ball particularly well outside of the Navy and Purdue games.
This is where the running game comes up big for the Irish as they will "run away" from Syracuse, if you will...
Nick: Notre Dame 31 Syracuse 10
Mark: Notre Dame 35 Syracuse 14
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
By: Nick Shepkowski
Despite a slow defensive start the Fighting Irish Men's Basketball Team found the win column in the season opener this past Sunday night at the Joyce Center. Leading 30-29 with 4:58 to go in the first half the Irish took over in large part thanks to Luke Harangody who scored seven of Notre Dame's final 14 points as they ended the first half on a 14-4 run which put them up 44-33 at the break. From there the Irish put it on cruise control as they came out firing in the second half, going on a 15-2 run to expand their lead to 24. For all intensive purposes the game was over at this point as the Spartans of USC Upstate could only pull within 18 from then out.
Eleven Irish saw playing time on Sunday night with nine of them scoring points. Reigning Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody paced Notre Dame with 30 points and fourteen boards while Luke Zeller came off the bench to add 18 more points. Senior forward Bobby Davis led the visiting Spartans with 14 points while going 7/15 from the field.
Notre Dame moves to 1-0 after the season opening win and now will go west as they travel to Loyola Marymount this Friday before heading to the Maui Shootout. While on the islands the Irish will open with the rebuilding Indiana Hoosiers before possibly meeting the likes of #1 North Carolina and #7 Texas amongst others.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Michael Floyd has been amongst the scariest freshmen in college football this season as he has pulled in 46 receptions, totaling 702 yards, and seven touchdowns so far this season. Unfortunately for the Irish they will be without Floyd or linebacker Brian Smith for the final two contests of the regular season as both were injured in the first half of the 27-21 win against Navy this past Saturday in Baltimore. Floyd injured his right knee on the third play of the game while attempting to block during a run by James Aldridge. He was seen with an icepack on his knee during the first half before eventually being carted off. Without a doubt the Irish offense will suffer a severe blow in the coming weeks without having Floyd as a weapon in their arsenal. Despite not having Floyd as a weapon this past weekend, Jimmy Clausen came back from a rough start and finished the game 15/18 for 110 yards but was still guilty of two interceptions.
The defense will also be a step slower without Smith who strained his knee as well in the first quarter of Saturday's game. Smith currently has the fourth most tackles on the defensive side of the ball for Notre Dame and is a key cog in the ever improving defense.
The Irish return to action this Saturday as they host Syracuse at 2:30 EST on NBC. They then close out the regular season a week later in prime-time as they travel to take on #6 USC.
Friday, November 14, 2008
So what has to be done in order to make sure this does not happen two years in a row? Let's start with something that has been a positive for Notre Dame in the past few weeks with the defense. A week ago the Irish allowed only 17 (7 of them on a pick 6) points on the defensive side of the ball, despite the offense having four turnovers. This week it is pretty easy to guess what is going to be shown by Navy: Pitch left, pitch right, up the gut, up the gut, pitch left...you get the point. Navy will enter Baltimore looking to run the ball down Notre Dame's throat's and its up to the Irish to stop it.
Navy enters with the number two ranked rushing team in the nation, following only Nevada. With 308 yards a game on average and 5.44 yards a carry coming in, Notre Dame has their work cut out to stop this running attack. Shun White enters leading the Midshipmen with 834 rush yards, having 348 of those come against Towson in week one. Eric Kettani adds in 673 more rushing yards and two scores while quarterback Jarod Bryant has accumulated 440 yards and five scores on the ground this season. Ricky Dobbs will also see carries for the Midshipmen as he has totaled 342 yards and six scores on the ground. Let's hope we force Navy into several 3rd and longs and make them put the ball in the air.
Navy ranks second to last, only ahead of Army when it comes to passing yards per game. However, when your rush offense ranks second its not as major of problem as one would think. Jarod Bryant has thrown only 32 passes all year, completing 18 of them for 265 yards. If forced to a backup, Navy will go with (get ready for it) Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada who is 13 of 18 on the year.
The Naval Academy ranks thirtieth in rush defense as they have allowed only 1047 yards on the ground this season, giving up 3.5 yards per carry. By comparision, Notre Dame has allowed 1187 yards but 4.0 yards per attempt. The Irish must improve overall, much like we saw a week ago at BC in order escape another upset from Navy.
Where you can expect the Irish to find the most success is, as usual, through the air. Navy has had a very tough time stopping the air game this season (which is weird seeing the technology they have these days). So far teams have averaged 256 yards a contest against them and there is no reason Jimmy Clausen should not be able to match or better that this Satruday. Expect to see the Irish really spread Navy out, many four or five receiver sets. Notre Dame really shouldn't have a problem throwing the ball around this weekend, if they do then a Navy streak against Notre Dame is a serious possibility.
How many points will Notre Dame need to score in order to win this weekend? That is the question many are asking but I feel differently as I am gaining more and more confidence in the defense as each week comes and goes. The Irish should be able to put up at least 35 on Navy (heck, Pitt did them in for 42) and that should be plenty.
What I expect to see is Notre Dame try and get up a couple of scores early and see if they can get Navy to go away from the strictly running game. If so it could be blowout city, if not, it may be a last second nail biter.
Nick (6-3): Notre Dame 38 Navy 24
Mark (7-2): Notre Dame 38 Navy 28
Monday, November 10, 2008
Edited By Mark Allen
Notre Dame Football
Charlie Weis might be in his office right now planning on how to take care of the Naval Academy and become bowl eligible this coming Saturday, but in the back of his mind he has to be thinking about the talent that he has coming in next year. Five of the Irish's 2009 verbal commitments were invited to play in the prestigious Army All-American Bowl in January.
The Irish's most recent commit, Shaquelle Evans (WR) will join Cierra Wood (RB) and Chris Watt (OG) on the West roster and Zeke Motta (OLB) and Tyler Stockton (DT) join the East squad. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl features 90 of the best high school football players in the nation.
Another Irish commitment, Zach Martin (OL) will represent the Irish in the ESPN Under Armour game (80 of the nations best).
The Army All-American Bowl will take place on January 3rd at 1pm and can be seen on NBC and the ESPN Under Armour game can be seen January 4th at 8pm on ESPN.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Notre Dame Football
It was a long trip home from Boston last night as the Irish suffered another loss to the hands of Boston College, 17-0. In a battle of the two most prestigious Catholic schools in the country, the Irish were unable to even put a point on the board in a game in which Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen was uncharacteristically intercepted four times. The Irish threw four interceptions, fumbled a punt return and also had a punt blocked.
The Irish out gained the B.C. 292-246, but turnovers were the difference but miscues were the difference. Boston College took a three point first quarter lead after kicking a 27-yard field goal. Then, on a Jimmy Clausen interception, Paul Anderson returned it 76 yards for a touchdown to give B.C. a 10-0 lead going into the half. The Eagles put the finishing touches on Notre Dame with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Robinson from Chris Crane.
The Eagles were led on the ground by Montel Harris who rushed 23 times for 120 yards.
Next week Notre Dame will again look to become bowl eligible as they travel to Baltimore, Maryland to take on the 6-3 Navy Midshipmen.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Notre Dame Football
Earlier today, during a press conference in which he was officially invited to participate in the Army All-American Game, wide receiving prospect Shaquelle Evans also made his college selection. Evans' choice came down to two schools, the Irish and in-state USC. The time came and........Evans donned an Irish baseball cap and committed to be a part of an already talented Irish receiving corps.
Evans has game changing speed (4.45 40 yard dash) and is one of the top ranked receivers in the 2009 class. Evans said the Notre Dame fans were a huge part of his decision. We all know the Irish have some of the most passionate fans of any team in the country and it is nice to know that recruits are noticing that as well. He also said that South Bend was a place where he felt he could accomplish all of his goals and he cannot wait to step foot on campus.
Evans is the second receiver for the Irish in the 2009 recruiting class, the other being Nyshier Oliver. Looks like the Irish could have one of the most talented group of receivers in the country next year.
Now lets go take care of BC!!!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Notre Dame Men's Basketball
Coach Mike Brey and the Irish received a commitment today from Thomas Knight. Knight, a 6'8 245lb power forward/center from Dixfield, Maine, chose Notre Dame over Rutgers, Northeastern, Maine and Davidson.
Knight is a very good scorer down on the blocks and also brings a lot of strength to his game. Last year, Knight averaged 17 points and eight rebounds as he led his high school team to the state semifinals.
He took his official visit to South Bend October 31st and came away very impressed. Once he arrived on campus for his visit, he connected immediately with the Irish players and Coach Brey.
Knight adds an added dimension to his game that not many men his size bring and that is his ability to hit the three.
Welcome to the Irish family Thomas, you will look good in a Notre Dame uni. Knight joins Joey Brooks (guard), Jack Cooley (power-forward/center) and Mike Broghammer (power forward) in Notre Dame's 2009 recruiting class.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
After a giveaway of a game a week ago Notre Dame goes on the road this week to take on the hated Boston College squad who has won the previous five contests against the Irish, dating back to 2000 when Notre Dame upended the Eagles while being led by the likes of and Matt Lovecchio and Bob Davie. Yeah, its been too long and the Irish are in need of a win in this series. With the obvious stated, what must Notre Dame do in order to walk out of Chestnut Hill victorious this Saturday night?
The fact of the matter is that the Irish, although very unimpressive in six of their last eight quarters of football, are playing a team they are very likely better than. They were the better team a week ago and squandered a two touchdown lead and are a better team this coming weekend against the 5-3 Boston College Eagles.
BC comes into Saturday losing their previous two, a 45-24 shellacking from North Carolina, before a 27-21 loss a week ago against Clemson. In those games BC has allowed nearly eight yards per pass attempt in both as well as right at three yards a carry. Against better offenses this defense has struggled this season, but after the second half a week ago, it is obvious this Irish offense is far from exceptional.
Chris Crane will be under center for Boston College and to say that he has struggled this year would be a major understatement. Crane has completed 56% of his passes for 5.6 yards/attempt while throwing eight touchdowns to twelve interceptions. Crane is a far cry from Matt Ryan, PS3's NCAA Football '09 cover boy and NFL first round draft pick from last April.
Crane's favorite targets include Brandon Robinson (27 Rec, 444 Yds, 2 TD's) and Rich Gunnell (26 Rec, 236 Yds, 1 TD). Like most teams Notre Dame has faced, the defensive secondary should be too strong of a match for these gentleman. What that means is that the game will once again come down to if Notre Dame can stop the running game or not.
In the three Notre Dame losses, the likes of Ringer, Draughn, and McCoy have run wild. It is of utter importance that Montel Harris (411 yds, 5.6 ypc, 4 td) and Josh Haden (273 yds, 4.3 ypc, 1 td) do not get into a groove and pace the Eagles offense on Saturday night.
The Eagles bring one of the better defenses to the game this Saturday, ranking 10th overall in fewest yards allowed per game and 27th in points per game given up with 19 being allowed per contest. The good news for Notre Dame is that the defense has not been as good as of late for BC as they have allowed 27, 45, and 23 points in their last three contests, respectively. Much of the reason for such a high ranking, statistically, is because of matchups against Kent State, Rhode Island, and UCF who combined for seven points in three games against BC. Outside of those three contests BC gives up an average of 29 points per game, much better looking for Notre Dame.
Defensively, the Eagles are led by BJ Raji who enters with four sacks, Mark Herzlich who ranks seventh in the ACC with 68 tackles and three interceptions, and Paul Anderson who has also picked off three passes.
Notre Dame needs to establish the run this week if they hope to win. They must establish it with themselves and stop Boston College from doing so. It is as simple as that for Notre Dame if they want to become bowl eligible this Saturday night.
One thing is very true and it is that BC sees this game as their Super Bowl to some degree. They dislike Notre Dame more than anything in life and like nothing more than ruining, or further frustrating, Irish seasons. Another thing that is true is that Notre Dame brings in a more talented team to this Saturday's game.
Notre Dame is winless against above .500 teams this year and in need of a win against one sooner than later. Boston College presents a great chance to win on the road and I feel that they will walk away with one, albeit by skin on their teeth.
Nick (6-2): Notre Dame 27 Boston College 26
Mark (7-1): Notre Dame 31 Boston College 24
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Notre Dame Football
Notre Dame Football
Looking to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2006 when they were in the Fiesta Bowl, the Irish fought hard for four quarters and four overtime periods only to fall short 36-33. Notre Dame had the first possession in the fourth overtime only to have Brandon Walker miss a 37 yard field goal. On the Panther's next possession, they drove down to the Notre Dame six yard line and Conor Lee hit a 22 yard field goal to give the Panthers the win.
The Irish took at 17-3 lead into the half behind a Brandon Walker field goal (39 yards) and two Michael Floyd touchdown receptions (18 and 4 yards respectively).
The Panthers, led by LeSean McCoy (32 carries for 169 yards and one touchdown), outscored the Irish 21-7 in the second half to take the game into overtime.
The Irish had a 24-17 lead with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter when Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick found Jonathan Baldwin in the end zone for a 10 yard touchdown on fourth and six. Both teams exchanged field goals through the first three overtime periods before the Panthers sealed the deal with Lee's 22 yarder in the fourth overtime.
Clausen led the Irish, going 23-44 for 271 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Michael Floyd led all Irish receivers with 10 catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Golden Tate caught six passes for 111 yards and one td.
The Irish try to go for their sixth win next week when they take on Boston College (5-3).
Friday, October 31, 2008
Notre Dame Football
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
As Notre Dame welcomes the Pitt Panthers and Dave Wannstedt to South Bend, the Irish will be playing with a chance to become bowl eligible with a victory. Both teams enter the game with 5-2 records, but are coming off polar opposite outcomes. A week ago Notre Dame defeated Washington 33-7 in what turned out to be Tyrone Willingham's final game before being let go by the Huskies (It should be mentioned, however, that Willingham will coach the rest of the season). On the other hand Pitt lost its second game of the season at Heinz Field, a 54-34 contest against what is now a 3-5 Rutgers team.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Notre Dame Football
The Irish have two verbal commitments at tight end already and have their eye on a third. The Irish, who already have good depth at the tight end position have their eye a few guys that could come in and play multiple positions.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Notre Dame Football
After a big win this weekend against former Irish coach Tyrone Willingham, the Irish hope to close in on some key recruits at the Wide Receiver position.
One of the most recent verbal commitments Notre Dame has received was that of athlete Nyshier Oliver. Oliver projects to be a wide receiver when he steps on to campus at South Bend. Oliver, (5'10 175lb 3-star recruit from Rivals.com) originally committed to Tennessee in June, but then decommitted in mid-August. Oliver said he felt like he rushed the recruiting process when he initially committed to the Vols.
Nyshier was on campus taking his official visit to watch the Irish manhandle the Michigan Wolverines in September and committed to Notre Dame on October 1st. Oliver, who plays for St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey, said that the academics, the tradition, and the fact that Notre Dame has the best fans in college football was a deciding factor in his decision. Charlie Weis currently sees Oliver playing slot receiver.
Nyshier is willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field, whether that means playing safety, running back, or wide receiver.
Besides Tennessee, Oliver had also received offers from Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Maryland. Nyshier, who runs a 4.4 forty yard dash, will join an already solid group of wide receivers. Here is his scouting report from ESPN.com:
"Oliver should be nicknamed Houdini being he can slip through the smallest of places without being touched by the opposition. Even though he's not the biggest skilled athlete in the country, he is a very talented football player. Colleges might tend to recruit him as a safety, but he is very good running back and overall offensive skill player. He is equally as effective running inside or outside. He can cut the isolation play back against the grain for big yards or bounce it all the way out to the perimeter then use his great speed to take it down the sideline. Sometimes can bust a run up the middle and go completely unscathed and often times maintains his balance when hit by would-be tacklers. Hits and spins for extras yardage showing great balance and body control. Can catch the football out of the backfield and turn a short reception into a homerun. Very light on his feet; his quick moves and agile feet often leave defenders flat on their face after they miss. Equally as talented as a return specialist. Shows a real burst in the open field and makes his cuts going full speed. Reads his blocks well as a returner. Oliver has great hips and can change direction in an instance. The colleges like him as a safety but I think it's going to be impossible to keep this talent from handling the football."
The Irish also have offered a scholarship to the #2 overall prospect in the 2009 class and the #1 ranked wide receiver Rueben Randle. Randle (6'3 195, 5-star Rivals.com), plays for Bastop HS in Bastrop, Louisiana. Randle has offers from Alabama, FSU, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Ole Miss, Oklahoma as well as Tennessee. He is the do-it-all type, similar to Terrelle Pryor last year.
Currently, Randle is playing quarterback for his high school team and is completing 74 percent of his passes. Beyond the incredible arm and accurate touch, Randle is blazing fast. Through five games this season, Randle has thrown nine touchdown passes and only one interception.
Reports say that Randle is currently leaning towards in-state favorite LSU, but time will tell. I personally think he would look good donning a Gold helmet and smacking the "Play like a Champion" sign in South Bend. Here is his evaluation from ESPN.com:
"Explosive and fluid for a size receiver, Randle resembles a taller Josh Jarboe (class of 2008). He is big and strong, but athletic for his size. Plays fast and has explosive playmaking skills. His size and speed make him a legitimate deep threat. He's versatile and able to play multiple spots in a formation to create mismatches. Struggles to get off press coverage against talented, savvy cornerbacks--like most young receivers. He's tough and fearless over the middle. Makes tough catches in traffic and secures the ball even when absorbing a big hit. He's a bit high-cut, but shows little stiffness in his hips. Has more explosiveness running vertical routes than he has after the catch, but his initial burst and second gear still make him a threat to go the distance. Shows surprisingly fluid athleticism with the ball in his hands and isn't strictly straight-lined in his movements. He isn't exactly shifty in space, but he has natural cutting ability. Catches the ball in stride and has enough elusiveness to make multiple defenders miss. Can turn a short catch into a big play. Has very long arms and can high-point the ball in traffic. His size gives him natural red-zone tools, and he can make the acrobatic catch. Has a wide catch radius and very impressive focus. Has very good return skills and vision in the open field. Needs to polish his route-running skills, but that should come with time and experience. Randle has the blend of size, speed and playmaking ability to create mismatch problems on the perimeter or in the slot at the college level."
If you hear whispers of "Shaq Diesel" on campus at South Bend, it's not the students of Notre Dame reminising about former L.A. Laker Shaquille O'Neil, it's that of standout wide receiver Shaquelle Evans. Evans is a 6'1 203lb wide receiver from Inglewood, CA, a 4-star recruit from Rivals.com and most recently a decommit to the coveted brain trusts at USC. Evans is the number 3 ranked receiver in a very talented 2009 class. Evans was in Trojanland to watch USC rout Ohio State earlier this year and reportedly gave coach Pete Carroll a verbal commitment. However, those close to the situation report that Evans' commitment was a "soft" commitment, meaning that he was still going to visit other schools.
Evans was on hand September 27th to watch the Irish defeat Purdue 38-21. At that game, Evans was hoisted in the air by the fans and followed the tradition by doing pushups after Golden Tate scored a second quarter touchdown. Evans said the tradition, the academics and the overall comfort level he felt in South Bend are a big reason why they are currently his favorite for next year. Here is Evans' evaluation on espn.com:
"Big, fast and explosive are the three words that best describe Evans. He is a true difference-maker in the return game and moves like a smaller, quicker receiver in the open field. Has good size and has room on his frame to get even bigger. Shows an explosive surge off the ball and eats up a cushion quickly. Uses his body effectively to shield defenders from the ball. He isn't afraid to go over the middle and can catch in traffic. Has big, soft, strong hands. Can pull the ball away from defenders when fighting for it in the air. Can catch over his head and pluck on the run. He's a smooth and fluid route runner and shows some explosiveness out of his breaks. Possesses a good feel for finding soft spots in zone coverage. Shows good body control and balance. Can adjust to poorly thrown balls and is effective working the sideline. He's a vertical threat because of his size and speed. Has the wide wingspan and leaping ability to be a weapon on fade routes, especially in the red zone. Like most young receivers, he may initially struggle against press coverage when matched up with cornerbacks who are better equipped to face him. Needs to sharpen his route precision and become more crisp into and out of his cuts. Evans rates among the best in his class, regardless of position. He's a very good player and an outstanding prospect."