Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top Ten Moments of 2009

While everyone else is worrying about who will replace Charlie I figured I'd write about the good things of his last season. Yes, there were actual good moments in this disastrous 6-6 season. I tried to only use plays I could find isolated on youtube... Honorable mentions to the punt return, Golden Tate bouncing Taylor Mays to the ground as he scored, Michael Floyd's 80 yard touchdown against Nevada and the first touchdown of the season by Kyle Rudolph.

10. Two point conversion against Michigan. The Boise State Statue of Liberty play. It worked to perfection, the bobbling of the football by Armando Allen only adding to it. While losing to this Michigan team is unforgivable this play was spectacular. If only Charlie had run the ball at the end of the game instead of throwing passes, this team could have been 7-5.

9. Golden Mary against Washington State. Easily the most explosive member of the Irish since Rocket. The young man will be mentioned again on this list. This play would be much higher if it wasn't at halftime of a game against the Cougars.

8. Kyle McCarthy and Harrison Smith combine for a game winning explosion of a hit. Beating Washington in miraculous fashion and I can't pin down a play from the multitude of goal line stands to put here. The defense came up big in the overtime period and allowed the Irish to still think they were good.

7. Kyle McCarthy wins the Michigan State game. Another game winning play by Kyle, this time with his hands instead of his shoulder. Also the last time the defense shows up on this list. Beating Michigan State is third on my list of must win games following FUSC and SCUofM. Thankfully we got one of them this year.

6. Robert Hughes two point conversion against Washington (full game highlight). This play allowed the Irish to force an overtime and was an awesome use of team work as well. The offensive line wouldn't quit and forced HUUUUUUGHES into the end zone.

5. Rocket Ismail at the USC pep rally. What a great job of firing people up. Just an awesome job and what every pep rally needs. Even with the loss to FUSC I still watch this at least once a week.

4. Dayne Crist to John Goodman. A glimpse of the future. The best pass Crist has ever thrown and maybe the best pass by a Notre Dame quarterback all year. Goodman pulling away from the defensive back is almost as impressive as the pass itself.

3. Kyle Rudolph wins the Purdue game. A great job of sealing off the defensive player and stealing a game. Another perfect pass from Jimmy. Perhaps this play would have worked at the end against FUSC.

2 (tie). Michael Floyd's non touchdown against Michigan State and his touchdown against Stanford. This plays are very similar except one was ruled a David Grimes touchdown and the other surprised a Stanford cheerleader. A great job by Jimmy of moving around and being able to throw a pass where only Mike can catch it.

1 (tie). Golden Tate touchdown and the band dive against Michigan State and scoring his third touchdown against Stanford. Everything about this play is perfect. A great toss by Jimmy, a great catch by Golden and a perfect celebration. It also scored the winning points. The picture of Golden Tate hovering above the band has been my desktop picture since I found it. Against Stanford it's just amazing that no one can trip him up and just count the players he runs by on this 80 yard 30 yard touchdown catch and run.

I just don't want 2009 to be remembered only for Charlie's demise. There were great things happening (mostly offensively) but tons of plays that should be remembered for years to come.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breaking News: Charlie Weis Out as Head Coach

Perhaps the worst kept secret in sports over the past week or two, Charlie Weis will not coach a sixth season under the Golden Dome. Weis finishes with a worse winning percentage than both Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham, he also dropped his final ten games against ranked opponents.

No real news on the front of who will replace Charlie next season, there have been strong speculations that Bob Stoops of Oklahoma is interested in the job while Brian Kelly of Cincinnati claims he would walk from Cincy to South Bend for the job. Then there are the hopes of a fanbase that for some unforeseen reason Urban Meyer would leave his post at Florida.

Students and staff of the University were notified by e-mail of the firing, you can read the official release just below. A press conference is scheduled for later today in South Bend where Rob Ianello will be introduced as the interim coach and Jack Swarbrick will address the media. More to come here at Domer Sports Report as news breaks, we'll have instant reaction throughout.

Official News Release:

Weis will not be retained as Notre Dame football coach

University of Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis will not be retained, University director of athletics Jack Swarbrick announced today (Nov. 30).

“We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations,” Swarbrick said. “As an alumnus, Charlie understands those goals and expectations better than most, and he’s as disappointed as anyone that we have not achieved the desired results.”

Swarbrick recommended the dismissal Sunday night to Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

“We have established an evaluation process for all of our athletic programs that, in the end, results in a recommendation from Jack to me,” Father Jenkins said. “I accepted Jack’s decision and look forward to working with him on selecting a new head football coach who is the very best choice possible for the University and especially for our student-athletes.

“I am most appreciative to Coach Weis for his service to Notre Dame and our community. He and his family have my prayers and best wishes.”

Weis spent five seasons as Irish head coach from 2005-09, with his teams achieving consecutive records of 9-3 (Fiesta Bowl appearance) in ’05, 10-3 (Sugar Bowl appearance), 3-9, 7-6 (Hawai’i Bowl victory) and 6-6 in ’09 – for an overall 35-27 mark.

Swarbrick announced that Rob Ianello, the Irish assistant head coach/offense, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, will assume responsibility for football operations until a new coach is hired. Ianello has spent the past five seasons on the Notre Dame staff and previously was part of football staffs at Wisconsin (1990-93, 2003-04), Arizona (1994-2002) and Alabama (1987-89).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

SaturDame Night Live Stanford 09 Weis Out

It's supposed to be a parody of the song Wipe Out, not of the term white out. I'm ripping Simmons off, I'm aware.

7:25 Chris Martin is rumored to have committed to Florida, Omar Hunter style.

8:01 You are looking live. Love me some Musberger. Bet he took the Cardinal.

8:02 Herbie confirms that Weis is out.

8:03 They finally mention Stanford's team. Over/under on Toby Gerharts rushing yards is 300. I originally had it at 500.

8:13 Kick off is returned to mid field, not a good start. Kyle McCarthy makes the first tackle of Toby Gerhart, that is no surprise. T'eo makes the second tackle, also not a surprise. A stop on 3rd and short, by T'eo and they force a punt. A surprising start, nice job defense.

8:16 Jimmy his eye black and black eye make their appearance. Theo Riddick playing for injured Armando fumbles and the defense is back on the field, defending the red zone. Where was Robert Hughes?

8:17 Gerhart gets his third carry, well on his way to 50. Scores his 24th touchdown on his 5th carry and 3rd in a row on the drive. 7-0

8:24 Riddick doesn't fumble the kick return, offense gets a penalty for illegal motion. The wide receivers on this team commit more penalties than any team I've ever seen. Brent is giving the points with the Cardinal this game and just explained why. Incomplete shovel pass and a punt. Stanford turns the punt over, maybe Brent can explain that fumble away because of the Harbaugh speculation.

8:27 Third offensive series, fade to Tate, he should have caught that. HUUUUUGHES picks up the first down on third and short. Play fake TD TATE. So good. Brent never called the score. 7-7

8:33 Brent calls Sharpley Shipley, obviously wishing he was in Austin with Colt. What a catch, lucky his feet aren't any bigger. Here comes Toby. Williams gets a pass knock down. SERGIO BROWN with a great blitz and gets Pritchard in the back field. Weird substitution from Harbaugh. Another stop by the defense forcing a field goal attempt. Nate Whitaker transferred from Notre Dame? I don't remember that name at all. Did he lose out to Brandon Walker? 10-7

8:42 Montana (the state not Nate) gets a shout out for their come from behind win in the college football playoffs today. Herbstreit pretends as though he's never heard of a college football playoff.

8:43 Rudy 2.0 makes an appearance, Jimmy avoids a blitz finds Hughes for a first down. Golden Tate is a clone of Carolina Steve Smith. Hughes drags defenders like he's Golden Tate. Great play call from Weis, fake sneak, fire the ball backwards to Riddick and awesome down field blocking by Golden. Then a tremendous Mike Floyd push off/TD catch. AWESOME SHOW SO FAR.14-10

8:53 Herbie assures everyone that Bob Stoops has not been contacted by anyone about any job ever.

8:57 The Gerhart train starts rolling again after a kick off out of bounds. How many freshman quarterbacks can one team play in a season. Cardinal get called for a hold and can't convert a third and 20, must not have watched the BC tape. Another field goal. 14-13

9:03 The number five play of the last 30 years was Kordell Stewart to Michael Westbrook to beat the Wolverines and it sounds like Brent had U of M in that game. That play doesn't get old. Ever. HUUUUGHES is pounding people, I think the Pac-10 might not play defense. Which resembles a team I root for. Third and short and a qb sneak... I don't think it was that short Charlie. Good time out Charlie, jeez. I love using time outs for no reason. HUUUUGHES it or lose it. Theo "Huckstable" Riddick is so quick and quite a change up from Hughes. Everybody that ND puts back there can kick field goals this year... WAZZUPWIDTHAT? 17-13

9:17 Gerhart goes for 17 and then 8 putting him up near 70 for the game. I love when Lisa Salters goes to interview somebodies family member and refers to them as dad or mom, it's so authentic and professional. Pressure is being put on the quarterback today, when did the Irish start doing that, forced a punt.

9:22 Stat comes out that Weis is 20-0 when he out rushes the opponent and 16 and 26 when out rushed. That stat makes sense. Floyd just made the best play a defensive back has made all season, oh wait he was playing wide out. Personal foul against Stanford extends Notre Dames drive. The next play is bomb to Tate for a touchdown. 24-13. Perhaps Weis should have been fired every week (@herloyalsons).

9:27 Another short kick off and on the next play Luck completes a 20 yard pass to inside the ND 40. 3rd down and 8 converted down to the 2. Gerhart stood up by T'eo. NICE! Third down an inch away... Fullback gets in 24-20. 11 seconds left in the half, plenty of time for a Golden Mary. Nope just a kneel down. I'll take it.

10:00 Second half starts with a Golden Tate reverse for 20ish yards. Love actual reverses. Wildcat turns into flea flicker for Clausen TOUCHDOWN FLOYD!!!! Wide. Open. 31-20

10:06 The crappy kicking off works as the returner had his knee down when he got possession at the 20. The Gerhart show is off and running again. Stanford runs a reverse, Brent calls it an end around... End around is direct hand off to a wide out or slot, reverse is hand off to the back who then gets it to the wide out. Ughh it's so simple. Luck breaks out of the pocket picks up a first and goal. Touchdown Gerhart bowling people over. 31-27 These teams defenses are offensive.

10:16 Great screen pass. The Big Uglies get out in front and block for HUUUUUUUUGHES. Riddick would have scored on that play. Watching Toby Gerhart baseball highlights, I don't think I've seen any Golden Tate baseball highlights this year. Chris Stewart just took out Teo Riddick with a helmet to helmet hit, somehow avoided the flag. Bomb to Tate barely overthrown... Punt time.

10:22 Harrison Smith just made a big hit on Toby Gerhart after a pretty good play action. His best hit since the penalty against Pitt last year... Blitzing on third and long is awful, thankfully there was a hold on the play and we re-do third down. HOW DO YOU NOT COVER THE HEISMAN HOPEFUL? Gawdawful. Stanford ran a flea flicker of their own, they are stealing Notre Dames play calls and running them a series or two later. No Gerhart on 3rd and 7 and Stanford runs the ball anyway, ND was due to stop the toss play eventually. Fourth quarter and a four point lead... Haven't had a lead going into the fourth since WSU.

10:34 Another field goal for Stanford 31-30. A close game, very surprsing. Brent explains that Stanford Cardinal is like Syracuse Orange. Not the tree/fruit but the color.

10:38 Bomb to Tate draws a pass interference flag. The fans of color disagree. Heard Kamara's name for the first time today as he blocks for Floyds first down. Another pass interference this one on Floyd and much more obvious. Brent pointing out that Clausen likes to run his mouth to the opponent. GOLDEN TATE IS AMAZING!!!!! OH. EM. GEE. 38-30

10:46 After a penalty on the TD allows the Irish to kick off from the 50, the couldn't force a touch back and allowed a return past the 30. AWFUL. One play later Gerhart is at the Irish 37. A PA waggle on second down picks up the first down. T'eo just missed a pick. Harbaugh is going for it on fourth down, he just announced two downs to the Luck. Let's see if he sticks to it, yep, this a Weis like decision... Fourth and four. Halfback pass touchdown. Musberger and Herbstreet couldn't see the player catch a pass. AWFUL ANNOUNCING. Also the line judge never ruled it a touch down. Going for two. 38-38 KMac got burnt on the td and the two. oof.

10:58 Riddick takes the kick out of the end zone and is stopped pre 20. Hughes picks up nine on first and Weis hasn't wasted any time outs yet. Quick swing to Mike for the first. Same play other way. Paul Duncan makes his first reception picks up 6, Weis is calling passes off defensive players to his tackles now. Schematic advantage. Third and two. Stanford gets a stop. Could be the ball game right there.

11:04 Musberger calls Harbaugh a Meechigan man. Gerhart carrying people or running them over. First down at mid-field. Taylor is the change of pace back that is doing a very nice job. Third and medium, big play here. Watch the heisman hopeful. This is a blitzing down. I mean for normal people. Tenuta thinks every down is a blitzing down. STOP HITTING GERHART UP HIGH. What are they thinking? Another third down pick up. Should have let Gerhart score on that play. Game over. Notre Dame forced to let Gerhart get another touchdown in order to get the ball back for Jimmy, Golden and Mike.

11:16 From the 20. Sack. Final time out. This team can not block at the end of games. Sam Young completely baffled that the ball was snapped. Tate catches a hail mary at mid field. 38 seconds left. Tate again out of bounds, just moved the ball 60 yards in two plays and 15 seconds. Tate again out of bounds, 25 seconds left. Sacked again, gotta get back to the line. 7 seconds left and a spike. Fourth down. Incomplete. 6 and 6. Bye Charlie.

Gerhart was very impressive. Harbaugh gets his first win against the Irish. Did Stanford students just rush the field? That game was exactly what this season was.

If Jimmy leaves, which I expect, there will be no scholarship quarterbacks in spring practice due to Crists injury. Think about that. SEEYA CHARLIE.

Bring me Bob, Brian, Chris or Gary. Urban in a dream. Let's move on to Gody's final season. What? They lost to Northwestern? Umm, how's the hockey team?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Clausen Involved in Bar Scuffle

According to multiple soures, Jimmy Clausen was the victim of a couple of punches thrown by an irate Notre Dame fan on Saturday night/Sunday morning outside of a South Bend restaurant. The event took place hours after the Irish fell at home to UConn on Senior Day, also very likely Clausen's final game at Notre Dame Stadium.

From the sounds of it Clausen was there with some members of the football team as well as with his family. The incident allegedly started after the irate fan made comments to a coed that was accompanying Jimmy.

Clausen is believed to be fine to play on Saturday at Stanford and no police reports were filed over the matter. Most believe Clausen to opt out of his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft this coming spring where many expect him to be amongst the first quarterbacks selected.

Friday, November 20, 2009

End of an Era in Notre Dame Stadium Saturday?

When Charlie Weis came to Notre Dame I bought what he was selling. I bought that Notre Dame was going to out work others on the practice field and in the weight room. I bought that within years the Irish would be that perenial national championship contender we all wished they would be. Unfortunately that has not been the case under the Golden Dome.

What we have gotten is a football team loaded with some of the most sought after high school talent. That football team that for the second year in a row has fallen hard on their faces after a somewhat promising start.

The loss in week to in Ann Arbor looks worse by the week, as does the loss to USC, and the upset at home to Navy. This was supposed to be the year Notre Dame made it back to the BCS, instead its a year where the GMAC bowl is now more likely.

Saturday may be the last time we see Charlie Weis coach a game in Notre Dame Stadium. His attitude made many call for his head early in 2007 when the Irish were in the midst of a 3-9 campaign. I stood by Charlie Weis then.

Last year when the Irish blew two possession leads to North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse I stood by Charlie Weis and thought it was just the growing pains of a freshman and sophomore dominated team.

This year is another story. The Irish redzone offense has become a laugher, struggling mightily to find the end zone the past two months. The defense hasn't stopped a thing. Heck, outside of a Golden Tate punt return a week ago the special teams have even turned into a joke.

Does it all fall on Weis? No, in fact I still see a way where he could one day be a legitament head coach in college football. His offenses work, execution has been a whole other issue.

At this point it would take a minor miracle for Charlie Weis to keep his job as the head football coach at Notre Dame. After five years, even I who gave Weis far more time than most feel the same.

Notre Dame welcomes UConn in a game that could be the last for many at Notre Dame Stadium. Senior day was a poor showing a year ago with a blown lead to Syracuse, this year UConn comes a calling.

This could possibly be the final time we see not only Charlie Weis but Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate, and Armando Allen at Notre Dame Stadium. When all of them came into the University of Notre Dame we thought we were headed for glory, instead we went straight towards mediocrity and stayed there.

UConn is no slouch, much like Notre Dame they have played a schedule full of nailbitters. Yes they come in 4-5 overall but the 5 losses are by a total of 15 points. Play poorly and this one will likely be another loss for the Fighting Irish.

UConn likes to throw the ball with quarterback Zach Frazer, the same guy who was once seen as the possible "future" at Notre Dame. Frazer has thrown 6 touchdowns to 13 picks on the year and eclipsed 1300 yards passing. Not the most feared passing game around but the yardage numbers as a whole for UConn rank them in the top 40 in the nation.

Jordan Todman heads the running game for the Huskies, he has 826 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns this year, Andre Dixon has carried for 730 yards and 7 scores.

UConn on defense allows roughly 23 points a game. Not a ton by any means but enough to make you worry as a Notre Dame fan due to the redzone inabilites of the Irish of late and their mistake-prone defense.

The Huskies pass defense ranks in the 70's for yards allowed a game, expect perhaps Jimmy Clausen's final game at Notre Dame Stadium (all speculation) to be amongst his finest.

I fully expect the Notre Dame offense to put up lots of points on Saturday. Next week won't be easy but many of these players want to go out with a bang. Because of the inability to stop the run the defense will keep UConn in this game.

I supported Charlie Weis for a long time but this will be his final win as the head coach of the Fighting Irish.

Nick (8-2): ND 27 UConn 24
Mark (8-2): ND 31 UConn 24

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturdame Pitt 09

Really, that was a fumble. Really?

Golden Tate is amazing, if he comes back next year he will have a chance at Rocket like stardom.

Notre Dames score at halftime of the last 4 games, besides Washington State are 7, 13, 0, 3. Nice schematic advantage.

Another stupid offensive line penalty.

What was the game plan exactly? It seemed like Weis was a nine year old kid on his X-Box just randomly picking plays hoping they would work.

The interception on the pass to Floyd was an awful pass that should have been thrown.

What's the deal with wasting time outs early in halves?

Why didn't Charlie send the punt team out immediately after Jimmy's incompletion? With over two minutes on the clock and two timeouts punting is the right call. Instead he uses a time out lets the booth look over the play and then steal the ball.

Michael Floyd has to make that catch on third down, the drop was indefensible.

Can the offense please wake up in the first half at some point this season?

Brian Kelly or Gary Patterson or Bob Stoops. Now. Brian Kelly is my choice though.

I saw Kyle McCarthy miss a tackle, I've now seen everything.

The punt return by Golden was scary good, I say he's not allowed to fair catch any more punts.

Did Notre Dame really give out scholarships to a freshman kicker and punter and then not use them at all? Awesome.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Notre Dame Faces Must Win in Pittsburgh

A week ago there was chatter of Notre Dame going 10-2 in the regular season and reaching a BCS game. Those chatters have been silenced with the 23-21 defeat at the hands of Navy in Notre Dame Stadium, now the calls for the head of Charlie Weis gain even more steam.

The Irish travel to Pittsburgh this weekend, ironic enough probably the site of Charlie Weis' biggest win to date which was his very first at Notre Dame. A loss to the Panthers (8-1, 5-0 in Big East) and Notre Dame's hopes for the Gator Bowl may even appear to be dead with the likes of Connecticut and Stanford still on the schedule. It truly hurts to mention those two as major scares at this point in the season but sadly facts are facts.

What needs to happen for the Irish to take a win from the Panthers in Pittsburgh this weekend? Two things especially come to mind, both have cost the Irish big time in all three of their losses this season.

1) Stop the Run

Run the ball and the clock runs, we saw a week ago how valuable each possession is when a team controls possession like Navy was able to do. Pitt offers perhaps the best offensive freshman in the nation in Dion Lewis as the true freshman has put 1139 yards and 12 TD's this season. He has averaged 5.61 yards a carry and been a major problem for opposing defenses. If the Irish don't get a better showing from Ian Williams and Ethan Johnson then we have seen the majority of this season then it will be another long day at the office for ND. I really hope to see the Irish use primarily a 4-3 defense and perhaps a 5-2 at times and take my chances with less blitzing.

2) Convert Red Zone Chances

Early in the season it was obvious to all that Notre Dame would walk away with points anytime they got inside their opponents 40, let alone the red zone. The Irish wasted red zone by leaving loads of points on the field against Michigan, USC, and Navy this year. A week ago against Navy the Irish put up a 0-spot in the first half after 3 trips inside the Navy 25 yard line. That would be suicidal against Pittsburgh on Saturday. If the Irish don't get in the end zone when they drive the ball deep they will not win the game.

The Pitt Panthers as a team are a 38-31 loss to North Carolina State away from being in the national title hunt. Obviously this isn't a slouch of a team, what else do they have to offer besides the ability of all-world freshman Dion Lewis?

The offense is run first but too much commitment to the run is going to burn the Irish without a pass rush. Bill Stull has thrown for 1879 yards on the season with 17 TD's to only 4 INT. His favorite targets include 6'5'' sophomore Jonathan Baldwin (35 rec, 698 yds, 4 TD) and Dorin Dickerson, a senior tight end with 39 grabs for 450 yards. Dickerson is Stull's favorite red zone target as the senior has pulled in 10 touchdown receptions.

On defense Notre Dame is going to have to find a way to get Jimmy Clausen time to throw the football. I don't want to see the Irish going strictly downfield like they often do but intermediate routes will play a huge factor in the outcome. Pitt gets great pressure on the quarterback, leading the nation with 39 sacks on the season. Greg Romaus leads them with 7.5 sacks while Myles Caragram and Adam Gunn each add 5.

The Panthers pass defense ranks 38th in the nation as they allow 204 yards a game. Notre Dame must get Clausen time or find success in screening the ball to its backs because throwing downfield won't be a great possibility.

This is a game that Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish must have. A loss very possibly ends the Irish's hopes of the Gator Bowl and sends them to even a lesser bowl game. A win keeps the hope for Jacksonville alive and the dream of a 10-win season (with a bowl victory) existent.

We will see an emotional Irish team on Saturday night the defense doesn't do enough.

Prediction time:

Nick (7-2): Pittsburgh 27 Notre Dame 21
Mark (7-2): Pittsburgh 31 Notre Dame 27

Saturday, November 7, 2009

SaturDame Navy 09

The end of Charlie Weis should have been last year. Maybe the Irish don't get Manti T'eo, maybe they aren't 6-3 right now (8-1), maybe this team doesn't die inside the red zone. I don't know, it seems to me that we enjoyed that Hawai'i bowl a little too much, and thought that a win was a win no matter what this year. Is this a bad Navy team? No, in fact this might be the best Navy team Weis has faced. However, that isn't an excuse, this Navy team doesn't have anywhere near the amount of talent ND has, that's why they run the triple option. It's an offense that is hard to adjust too for defenses, that's the point of it. That being said the Irish held them to three touchdowns, I think everyone expected this Navy team to score at least 21 points. No one expected the Irish to struggle offensively. Whether it's Nick Tausch finally looking like a freshman, or Mike Floyd blocking on a pass that is thrown directly to him, the offense is at fault for this loss. Perhaps I should have saved my red zone inefficiency joke for this team instead of using it for Michigan last week.

Chris Peterson, Brian Kelly or Gary Patterson? Someone else? There will be a new coach in South Bend next year, if only because of the home schedule... Have you seen it? The new coach should be able to cake walk to 9-3.

How does Navy get those last two sacks only rushing 4?

Mike Floyd looked rusty, all the more reason to get Golden Tate the ball IN THE FIRST HALF.

I don't understand why Jimmy loves the fade pattern isn't a slant or an out route a better play in the end zone?

Did you see Golden catch the pass that didn't happen in the end zone with one hand, Willie Mays style?

Running the ball with Robert Hughes should have dominated the play calls. A huge dude running behind a huge offensive line against a small defensive line. Am I missing something?

The defense actually stepped up and got the offense the ball back at the end of the game, that might have been the most shocking development of the whole game (besides the offense imploding).

Can someone explain why the kicking only sucks in games when we need it to be good...

A TOUCHBACK ON A KICK OFF!!!! Is that allowed?

Harrison Smith gets the Eric Olsen award for stupid penalty of the day.

How did Notre Dame lose to Michigan?

I don't feel good about the Pitt game or the Stanford game, it's probably for the best.

"Nine and three isn't good enough" Charlie Weis.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Notre Dame Hosts the Naval Academy

Two years ago Notre Dame's 44 game win streak against Navy was broken in Notre Dame Stadium as the Midshipmen pulled the upset of the Irish in triple overtime by way of the triple option. This Saturday should not have the same end result and I don't anticipate that it will come down to the final moments like we have seen in so many games with this Irish team in recent memory.

The 19th ranked Irish welcome Michael Floyd back to the fold as he will play for the first time since September 19th when he broke his collar bone against Michigan State.

The offense for the Fighting Irish should roll once again, I am curious to see how Jimmy Clausen targets Golden Tate now in comparison to how he did previous to Floyd being injured. Tate has emerged as one of the most dangerous threats in college football, having Floyd will allow Golden and Kyle Rudolph to each lose some of the extra pressure they have had to deal with recently.

Navy is not a slouch coming to South Bend but they are far from a powerhouse, either. They took Ohio State to the max earlier this season before falling late in the Horseshoe but this is the same team that lost to Temple a week ago. The Midshipmen have to win at least one more game before reaching bowl eligibility with a 6-3 overall record due to playing a 13 game schedule this year. They are yet to have a week off this season and had won five straight previous to the Temple loss last week.

Vince Murray leads Navy with 638 yards on the season while quarterback Ricky Dobbs leads the team with 16 rushing touchdowns. Navy is obviously a run first team, they rank 3rd in the nation as they put up just under 280 rushing yards a game.

Don't expect near those numbers this week for Navy, I don't anticipate the bigger line of Notre Dame compared to most of Navy's opponents to have much of a problem slowing the Navy offense. If Navy wants to stick around with the Irish they will have to use playaction passes well again, much like they did against Ohio State this season and against Notre Dame a year ago.

The Irish have weapons to throw to as we all know and with Michael Floyd back, Charlie Weis will want to use his toy he hasn't had in a month and a half. Notre Dame has a chance to make this game a blowout early by running the football due to the size difference in the teams lines. Notre Dame is averaging over forty pounds more per player on the line, Navy will have no choice but to stack the line if they hope to slow down Armando Allen who returns again this week.

Once Navy stacks the line it will be open season on the secondary of the Naval Academy. The Midshipmen have allowed only 178 yards a game through the air, I fully expect that number to increase with the respect Navy will have to give the Notre Dame running game.

This game shouldn't be close, it should be a game where Notre Dame fans can breathe easier late in the game compared to what has happened most of the season.

Expect Manti T'eo to have another strong showing as this is the kind of offense he can feast on with his style of play. Also expect Ethan Johnson and Ian Williams to step up and have one of their stronger outings on the year.

On offense, I would be shocked if the Irish don't try to welcome Michael Floyd back with a touchdown reception.

Prediction Time:
Nick (7-1): Notre Dame 41 Navy 16
Mark (7-1): Notre Dame 34 Navy 20

Enjoy a clip from 2007 that shows the true uniqueness of this college football "rivalry":

Sunday, November 1, 2009

SaturDame Wazoo/Halloween 09

I didn't give this game my full attention because of the sporgy going on around it, did anyone see Tennessee in black jerseys? They ruined Halloween.

I hate writing the same things about Golden Tate every week, actually that's a lie, I love writing the same things because that means he is performing fantastic feats.

Golden Tate may steal Jimmy Clausen's Heisman Trophy.

Duval Kamara is trying to convince Jimmy he is worth a couple of targets when Mike Floyd comes back and is doing a pretty good job.

No Armando Allen and no Robby Parris, no big deal. Robert Huuuuuuuuughes was pretty dominant.

Seriously, did you see that touch down run by Golden Tate? I think he may have adamantium on his skeleton...(Tim Tebow dressed up as Golden Tate Saturday night)

Golden Tate is also the first five foot ten guy to be expected to come down with every jump ball.

Dayne Crist finally showed off his arm with that laser to John Goodman, who then pulled away from the DB as well. Hopefully Dayne will be okay at least Evan Sharpley came back.

How about the hustle from Mike Ragone after the blocked extra point, ridiculous. I was kind of hoping to give up another two point play after the safety last week though.

How does Nick Tausch make every field goal and miss three extra points? I'm aware that they are blocked but how does that not happen on the field goals?

Robert Blanton
made a spectacular catch on the interception.

Eric Olsen needs to control himself, it's getting old. Also cut your hair (that's for my mom).

Theo Riddick and Jonas Gray showed some game.

How about that WildCat running game. I also think Golden wanted to throw the ball to Jimmy in the endzone...

Finally stopped a freshman QB from putting up huge numbers... Also the Cougars started a freshman at LT that weighs 240 pounds, those two things may be connected.

Ben Turk rebounded from his near backwards punt and had a sweet coffin corner kick.

USC and Michigan got blown out. Also after that Indiana Iowa game I think all instant replay officials went to Purdue.

Follow me on twitter. You can also follow these Irish tweeters.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Notre Dame vs. Washington San Antonio!

It has already started off to be a good weekend in San Antonio for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame as they picked up a commitment from defensive back Toney Hurd, Jr. on Friday. Saturday night brings on one of the least anticipated Fighting Irish contests in recent history as they play in the Alamodome against Washington State.

Neat for those in Texas, sure. For those who like to take in a weekend in South Bend, this is one that can't be spent there yet count as a home game in every other regard. What to expect in the coming hours from the Alamodome?

Washington State is a very talent-deprived college football team. They rank in the bottom twenty of nearly every defensive category, Notre Dame should have no problems moving the football.

Expect the Irish to come out throwing the ball more than usual early on. Notre Dame will be without Armando Allen this evening and Robbie Parris sounds like he won't be able to go, either. Robert Hughes will get the bulk of carries for ND while we should see plenty of Jonas Gray as well.

This is a game that Notre Dame should blow out the competition. Its not that I'm looking past Washington State, its the fact that in all regards the Irish have much more talent.

4 of 7 times this season the Cougars have allowed more than 30 points in a game. In two more they have allowed 38 and 39, Notre Dame will put up points, look for Charlie Weis to try and help Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate out in the area of postseason awards. He will try to let those two both make plays tonight not only to win, but to pad some stats along the way.

Weak preview, I'm well aware. Needed to get something up and had a very very busy week, please don't hate me.

Prediction Time:
Nick (6-1): ND 48 Washington State 7
Mark (6-1): ND 38 Washington State 13

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

SaturDame BC 2009

Beating Boston College is a huge relief. It feels like something that should happen every time.

Kyle Rudolph misses Michael Floyd more then Jimmy Clausen does.

Robbie Toma is a surprise right?

Kyle McCarthy as good as he ever was. Let's hope Dan is at least half as good as his brother.

Did anyone see the end of the Iowa Michigan State game? Iowa used all four downs to go for and get the win...

Armando Allen is a consistent if not spectacular back.

I could have sworn I heard Chris Tucker from Friday after Robert Hughes got hit on the fourth and goal play.

Golden Tate is making a case for his own invitation to New York.

Perhaps Notre Dame should make all their baseball players try out for the football team.

Manti T'eo just makes things happen, he's so much fun to watch.

The run defense actually seemed like it was good this week instead of just benefiting from the awfulness of the pass defense, although that helped.

How good was the last touchdown pass from Jimmy? I didn't think that pass was making it past the line backer.

These close fourth quarters are barely fazing me now, I think I'm getting used to them.

So this is what it's like to have a reliable kicker. I like it. Slick Nick Tausch.

Duval Kamara played his best game since his freshman year, more of that please.

The lack of turnovers on offense is nearly as big a deal as causing the turnovers on defense.

That was an atrocious first half, worst of the season at least offensively.

Robby Parris is everything a football player should be.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eagles, Possible Let-Down Stand in Irish's Way

A lot of things have happened since the fall of the year 2000. Notre Dame has gone through two head coaches while a third continues to sit on the hot seat many Irish fans have designated for him. The world saw George W. Bush get elected and serve two full terms in the White House, the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

Heck, the Fighting Irish football team has even beaten USC since the fall of 2000. One thing that hasn't happened since then? Notre Dame has not beat the only other Catholic School in division one college football, Boston College, since November 11, 2000. I was a freshman in high school and saw it with my own eyes that day in South Bend. For those wondering, I have since graduated high school and college and have grown nearly a foot while packing on far too many pounds since then.

Boston College is not nearly as talented of team as Notre Dame is in 2009. This game will be huge in telling how Notre Dame will be in the second half of the season. If they start it with a bang then the BCS is still a strong possibility, if the Irish have major issues or fall against BC, that will be just about all she wrote for Charlie Weis as Notre Dame's head coach.

Many have talked about how poor Boston College has played at times this year, specifically a 48-14 defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech two short weeks ago. As poor as the Eagles have been this is still a team that sits in the drivers seat when it comes to who will represent the ACC Atlantic Division in the Conference Championship Game.

The Eagles bring great balance to South Bend this Saturday, averaging 326 yards of offense a game with 155 coming on the ground and 171 through the air. With the consistent weak showing of the Irish secondary, expect the defensive backs to be tested yet again.

Freshman Dave Shinskie will do the quarterbacking duties for BC, he has passed for 815 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. The freshman has also shown great maturity, throwing only 4 interceptions while playing in all 7 games for Boston College this far.

Shinskie will target Rich Gunnell and Colin Larmond, Jr. who have combined for 39 receptions, 628 yards, and 7 touchdowns. If Notre Dame's secondary fails to show up like has so far this season, it will be yet another game the Irish will have to outscore their opponents instead of bury.

Boston College should also be given respect in the running game as Montel Harris has rushed for 756 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. He could very well be this team's offensive MVP in 2009 but don't expect him to be the go-to-guy on Saturday, BC will try and beat the Irish where Notre Dame is most susceptible.

Boston College has been blown out of the water twice this season, once a 25-7 loss at the hands of Clemson and the other the 48-14 defeat to Virginia Tech. Don't get me wrong, Notre Dame will score their fair share of points this Saturday but this will go down to the wire yet again because of the inept Irish defense.

Yes I expect Jimmy Clausen to have another banner afternoon on Saturday but expect to see more from the running game than we saw a week ago. Grant it USC has perhaps the best run defense in the nation, Boston College has a very average run defense, ranking 39th nationally. The top half yes, but still closer to "average" than "very good".

Linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the Eagles with 69 tackles. The good news for Jimmy Clausen and Notre Dame is that the pass rush for BC has struggled this year, picking up 10 sacks so far in 7 games, no player has more than 2 sacks for Boston College.

I don't feel that Boston College can stop Notre Dame when the Irish have the football. I fully expect Charlie Weis to come out running the football early but he won't be afraid to let Jimmy pad his numbers, either. BC will have major matchup problems with Notre Dame's talented targets and if BC at all commits too much one way they will be burned severely the other.

For whatever reason this game scares the hell out of me. Boston College enjoys ruining things. They ruined 1993, they ruined the magical start to 2002, they were responsible for at least contributing to ruining Tyrone Willingham's career at Notre Dame in 2004, they can add to the pile by ruining Charlie Weis' hopes of getting Notre Dame back to the BCS on Saturday.

They can do that but they won't. Irish in another squeaker...

Nick (5-1): ND 38 BC 34

Mark (5-1): ND 34 BC 27

Saturday, October 17, 2009

SaturDame... USC 09

You have to isolate Rudy2.0 at the end of the game.

Remember the Purdue game, run that play again. TWICE!!!!

The running game was virtually non-existent.

John Goodman has to throw a pass out of the WildCat otherwise there is no reason to have him there.

Jimmy did what he had to do in the second half, but the first half was empty.

The defense finally showed up in the fourth quarter.

I knew what USC was running on almost every big play they had. How does Tenuta not know that.

Why is the defensive backfield not able to cover anyone?

Let alone a tight end?

Golden Tate still awesome.

Kyle Rudolph needs the ball.

The offensive line was plainly awful in the first half or three quarters of the game.

On a day when every opponent played well this was the day for the Irish to step up. (Washington late)

Figuring out when Manti T'eo takes his mission is going to be a big deal.

I don't want to hear any what if's about Michael Floyd.

I don't want to hear about twelve seconds either. I'm already sick of it.

John Tenuta is not helping things. At all.

This team seems like they will play a close game with every team ranked from #5 to #65. I don't think that's a good thing.

I'm disgusted with the losses to rivals but I don't think Weis' job is at stake right now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The End of The Beginning

Ryan Williams, Domer Sports Report

Notre Dame Football

After all is said and done at about 8pm this coming Saturday night, the future will be clear. Charlie Weis’ internship will be over. No more excuses of youth, no more excuses of inexperienced coaches, no more excuses about lacking team depth. When Notre Dame defeats Southern Cal this weekend the turn will be complete. The process that Charlie Weis, the alumni, the fans, and everyone associated with Notre Dame football started four years ago will be back on track. The painful Beginning we have all endured the last four years will be over. It will then be time to build again. Build a name, build a reputation, build a dynasty.

Our detractors say we cant live in the past. It is time to build a present. A here. A now. It is time to put Notre Dame back on the map where she belongs. In the elite heap at the top. It is a call to arms for all. The coaches, the players, and I think to an extent, most importantly the fans. It has been said as of late that playing in South Bend offers no home field advantage.

It has been said that Notre Dame stadium is full of an older generation that is content sitting on their hands to watch football. This is unacceptable. Have you ever seen a game at “The Swamp” or the game this past weekend at LSU? There is no sitting. I equate it to the famous line by Tom Hanks back in the day, “There is no crying in baseball”. Well “There is no sitting at big time college football games”. Implore your fellow fans to stand and cheer and put as much effort into the game as we are asking our young men on the field to. No matter their age. And if they are too old, tell them you are sincerely sorry, but you are about to go nuts. And scream and clap and stomp like your life depended on it.

I’ve been told before to calm down because there is more to life than football, and that is true. But not on a Saturday in South Bend. Football is Life. That’s how I’ve always known it and that is what we need to get back to.

Saturday Showdown: USC Comes A-Calling!

We circled October 17th on our calendars immediately following Notre Dame's thrashing of Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl last Christmas. Saturday is the day that Irish fans have been looking forward to all season, a day we will learn just how far Charlie Weis and his crew have progressed.

Everyone is aware that Notre Dame has dropped 7 in a row to Pete Carroll's USC Trojans, only being within striking distance late once in those games. A year ago the Irish dropped a 38-3 contest in the Los Angeles Coliseum, a game Notre Dame didn't pick up a first down until the second half. All signs point to the Irish getting prepared to get run out of their own building, right?

Notre Dame sits as a ten point underdog as I write this, that down a bit from the nearly two touchdown spread the game opened up as earlier in the week. How big of an obsticle stands in the way of an Irish victory on Saturday?

Notre Dame Defense vs. USC Offense:

We all know the struggles the Irish defense has had this season, stopping the run will be the biggest concern on Saturday. The Irish rank in at 100th overall in team defense, allowing 403 yards per game. On top of that they have been giving up 29.75 points per game since shutting out Nevada in week one.

USC brings a very strong running team to South Bend, averaging 208 yards on the ground per game so far (good for 17th best in the nation). Matt Barkley, despite being a freshman has been no slouch, putting up 958 pass yards in his four starts this season. The only game he missed was on the road against Washington, the only game USC has lost so far this year.

Barkley has led USC to a come from behind victory in Ohio State this year, a game that kept USC unbeaten at the time. Barkley has gone 63/107 this year with three touchdown passes and two picks.

Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford lead the USC running game that has been the USC bread and butter this year. McKnight has scored six touchdowns while going for 473 yards, Bradford also has a touchdown and 183 yards on the ground this year. The biggest thing for Notre Dame will be slowing down USC on the ground this week, if they can't do that then this will not be much of a game.

The Trojans are also no slouch throwing the ball, putting up 222 yards per game through the air. Barkley will look to Damian Williams as his go-to guy, Williams has 24 receptions for 359 yards and a score this year. Joe McKnight often catches passes out of the backfield and USC will use Stanley Havili with regularity as well.

I am aware how bad the Irish pass defense will be but Pete Carroll is smart enough to make sure the Trojans use their strong point, not only the Irish weakness. Slow down the run and Notre Dame will be in business, I will take my chances against a freshman quarterback on the road (even if he has already won in Ohio State this year).

Right now Kyle McCarthy leads the Irish with 49 tackles. Part of it is the scheme, sure, but if he leads Notre Dame in tackles on Saturday it will mean USC running backs are constantly getting to the second level and picking up 4 or 5 yards with regularity. If Kyle McCarthy leads Notre Dame in tackles by a wide margain on Saturday, the Irish will be in bad shape.

Notre Dame Offense vs. USC Defense

This is where the flash of the game will be seen. Notre Dame's high powered offensive attack with the punishing defense of USC. Can Charlie Weis crack USC? The Trojans bring a team full of superstars on defense, the Irish will not be able to score with quite the same ease we have seen them do so far this year.

USC has allowed just 238 yards a game this season, over 150 yards less than the Irish have surrendered. The Trojans don't lack talent star-power on defense, even in a year after they lost the likes of Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, and Rey Maualuga who are now getting great playing time on NFL rosters. Despite that this defense is still superb.

We have all heard of Taylor Mays by now, the star safety has 28 tackles and an interception for USC but what other stars do we have to be on the lookout for this Saturday?

Nick Perry leads USC with 6 sacks, the defensive end is having a standout season for the Men of Troy. On the other end Everson Griffen has added 4 sacks and 17 tackels total. Linebacker Michael Morgan has 9.5 tackles for loss which is good enough for 7th best in the entire nation.

We all know what Notre Dame has done with the football this year, whether its Jimmy Clausen's hopeful Heisman Trophy run or the new-found running game that has escaped the Irish for some time now.

Notre Dame doesn't have the same advantage in one-on-one matchups against USC like they have had against most of their opponents this season. USC has a star-studded field on defense and Charlie Weis has his work cut out to try and figure out a way to put up enough points on a team that has only allowed 3 touchdowns all season.

I expect to see some Wildcat formation this weekend but don't expect it anywhere near as often as we saw against Purdue. The Irish may try and get to the line quickly and shift to this set, just to try and create confusion with USC.

The jist of Notre Dame's offense will be in finding Armando Allen through the air and Golden Tate on shorter routes, giving him a chance to catch the ball on the run. USC has better tacklers than Washington had two weeks ago but this will very likely be the best chance the Irish have to put together scoring drives, find the teams biggest playmaker and find him enough to open up the threat of Kyle Rudolph.

Prediction Time:

This is a huge game for both teams, if USC can run the table they may have a chance to still play for a national title. Notre Dame is looking to get back to the BCS for the first time since 2006, this win would put them in great position to do just that.

It won't be easy, I don't suspect a shootout either. Notre Dame will change their defense to try and force the Trojans to throw more and beat ND through the air. I don't expect Jimmy Clausen to have a great game, simply because almost nobody would at the collegiate level against this USC defense.

Logic tells me that until Notre Dame can stop someone, they won't be able to compete with best teams in the nation. My heart tells me this is the week Jon Tenuta steps up the scheme and figures out a way to slow the Trojan running game and Charlie Weis finds holes up and down the Trojan defense and ND wins going away.

As much as I hate to, I have to go against my heart...

Nick (4-1) Says: USC 31 Notre Dame 14

Mark (4-1)Says: USC 27 Notre Dame 17

Monday, October 5, 2009

Saturdame... Husky Edition 10-3-09


Golden Tate seems pretty good.

The defense was so good on the goal line because they didn't actually have to wrap anyone up, they just had to stop their momentum.

That being said three goal line stands is a bit ridiculous. Hopefully that's a turning point for the season.

I understand Jake Locker taking the sack in overtime in order to get away from the loud noise of the student section, but it didn't quite work out.

Steve Sarkisian and Locker did a terrible job of running the clock down after the touchdown got reversed. They were snapping the ball with plenty of time on the play clock.

Charlie Weis has done a great job of getting Golden Tate the ball and making the defense react to him instead of him reacting to the defense.

Not a bad job by a freshman punter in a terrible weather condition in his first game.

Field goals aren't going to cut it against USC, but it's nice to know that three points are nearly guaranteed every time Nick Tausch lines up.

Kyle McCarthy sure can hit somebody.

The cornerbacks are not as good as advertised.

Robby Parris and Shaq seem to have moved past Duval Kamara, even if Charlie claims it's because of his knee.

Rudy 2.0. Bigger, faster, stronger. Kyle Rudolph could probably help Mike Brey in the off-season.

I don't understand roll outs near the end zone. Grouping all the receivers together in a small area seems like disaster waiting to happen.

Manti T'eo sure knows how to make an impression.

Were the officials testing out calls they never make just to make sure they still work?

If Washington doesn't get the gift touchdown from Clausen I don't think the game is close.

Kyle McCarthy should have intercepted the ball at the end of regulation, but I guess that's why he plays defense.

I got a kick out of Golden Tate firing his gloves to the Washington sideline because they were wet after making the bobbling catch in the third quarter.

Bring on the bye week... oh and USC.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Irish Rally to Golden Victory over Washington

"What Tho the Odds Be Great or Small, Ol' Notre Dame Will Win Overall"

It isn't supposed to be this hard to win a game, is it? For the fourth week in a row a Notre Dame game was decided in the final minute, this time in overtime as the Irish upstaged Washington 37-30 in South Bend. As well as Notre Dame played late, lapses nearly cost them a win against the Huskies.

We all saw the game, many will argue that Notre Dame didn't deserve to win. Perhaps many think that because the lack of red zone scoring the Irish had on Saturday, leaving plenty of points off the scoreboard. However, the defense stepped up and made six consecutive stops inside the five yard line that allowed for an eventual victory.

My main thoughts from the game:

Golden Tate is a playmaker and a half. He may not have the same NFL potential as Michael Floyd does when healthy, but with the ball he runs hard enough with his body leaving little chance to get two hands on, leaving him very hard to bring down at the college level. Without him the Irish lose this afternoon.

Jimmy Clausen has turned into amongst the most clutch quarterbacks in the country. Sure, his latest comebacks have been against Purdue and Washington but they are comeback victories against BCS conference teams that have kept Notre Dame's dreams of the BCS alive.

Robert Hughes has been the greatest surprise to me over the past two weeks. 8 carries for 70 yards today, including the game-winning touchdown. We also can't forget his two point conversion late in regulation, without that this game doesn't see overtime. He has made us quickly forget who Jonas Gray is...for the time being.

The Notre Dame defense stepped up and made major plays down the stretch to give Notre Dame a chance. With that said, Washington running quarterback sneaks without a running back in the backfield was an awful idea by the Huskies. Sure we complain about the "Bush Push" but reality is that penalty is never called, Sarkisian should have given his quarterback a bit more of a chance at the end zone late.

Golden Tate is a playmaker (see above) but he is going to get a taunting call by the end of the season if his celebrations on first downs are kept up.

This game turns out entirely different without the wet-field. Despite throwing for 422 yards, the wet field/rain got the best of J-C in the first half, keeping his and Notre Dame's first half numbers at a minimum.

Golden Tate had 275 total yards today...think about that for a moment.

Tenuta's defense made a stop when they needed to at most, keeping Washington out of the end zone late, twice. However, they struggle with disguising the blitz. Its easy for an untrained football eye to tell where pressure is coming from, let alone college quarterbacks/coaching staffs.

Robert Blanton one day be a star at Notre Dame but he had a rough afternoon on Saturday.

2-10 on third down today for the Irish, not as bad as USC did against Washington but bad enough to nearly cost ND a win. That number must be better against USC if the Irish hope to pull an upset.

Charlie Weis chose to play more conservatively and not attempt any fourth downs today after taking heat for failing a fourth and long a week ago.

Manti T'eo is starting to show why he is going to be a very special player at Notre Dame. He and Brian Smith had excellent performances.

Was anyone else watching through NBC in Chicago? At the start of overtime the crew for some reason went to a black screen with the peacock on it for two minutes before coming back to the game, only to leave it for two more minutes in order to air part of Access Hollywood. In that time the Golden Tate overtime reception took place, coming back from Access Hollywood all I saw was Tate doing a summer-sault during a replay, I thought for sure he had fumbled as NBC Chicago cut away. Someone likely lost a job over that...

Two weeks to get healthy/ready for USC before the Trojans come-a-calling. USC hasn't allowed a passing touchdown in 2009...time for that to change!

Your thoughts on the game? Feel free to comment here or check out the Domer Sports Report Message Board where Notre Dame talk takes place at all hours of all days!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Irish Set to Welcome Washington

Fresh off of an escape in Purdue last weekend, the Irish get set to welcome the revamped Washington Huskies to South Bend in week five of the college football season. Yes, this is a team that went 0-12 a season ago, a team the Irish defeated 33-7 on the road a season ago. However, its also a team that has already done something in 2009 that Notre Dame hasn't successfully done since 2001: Beat USC.

The Huskies are coming to South Bend fresh off a 34-14 loss at Stanford a week ago. In the loss the Huskies gave up 321 of the 424 yards allowed on the ground to the Cardinal, they have also allowed 250 rush yards against USC and 149 rush yards versus LSU during the year. Although in USC's case it didn't result in points, expect the Irish to follow the lead of these teams and come out trying to establish the run.

Unlike a week ago the Irish will be with Armando Allen this week. If he at all struggles or is limited in carries, Jonas Gray had an impact out of the backfield a week ago while Robert Hughes reintroduced himself to Fighting Irish fans. Through four weeks the Irish have rushed for 632 yards on 151 carries, good for 4.2 yards per carry, a yard better average per rush than from a year ago.

The Irish bread and butter of throwing the football will be tested on Saturday, Washington brings a strong pass defense and secondary to South Bend. Golden Tate is a playmaker as we have all learned, expect Charlie Weis to get the ball in his hands in creative ways once again this week. I do expect the Irish to come out with several more multiple tight end sets this week then we have seen early on. I fully expect Kyle Rudolph to lead the Irish in receptions on Saturday.
Duval Kamara did himself no favors a week ago with multiple illegal formation penalties. Shaq Evans also showed his green by costing the Irish a timeout when not knowing where to line up last week. No replacement for Michael Floyd has been found yet, I don't suspect the Irish find their go-to this weekend either.

Washington will be led by junior quarterback Jake Locker, a former five star recruit. Locker has had two years experience already and its starting to show as he's already thrown for over 1000 yards on the season. He has also added 74 rush yards with two touchdowns coming on the ground. He's an all around athlete, more along the mold of a Tim Tebow than a Tate Forcier, both of which are very successful spread quarterbacks.

Washington will attempt to establish the run like all teams against Notre Dame in order to pull the upset will have to throw the football with success. The running game of the Huskies is led by Chris Polk who has rushed for 316 yards this but is only averaging 3.8 ypc. Jake Locker is the second leading rusher on the team, as a whole they pick up 3.3 yards a carry but only 108 yards or so a week on the ground.

Steve Sarkisian brings a more successful passing game to Washington from USC as the new coach is having success throwing the ball already far beyond what Tyrone Willingham was able to do in Washington. James Johnson is the go-to receiver for the Huskies, he has 19 receptions, 220 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Locker will also look to Jermaine Kearse and Kavario Middleton who both have double-digit receptions.

The Irish enter Saturday's game as a 13 point favorite over the visiting Huskies. Sure Washington did beat USC but this is still a very flawed team coming to South Bend. The Huskies can't stop the run to save their lives, as long as Notre Dame doesn't get themselves into many third and longs they should be just fine putting points on the board.

While beating USC, the Huskies kept the Trojans from converting a third or fourth down the entire game. Sure USC was playing with a backup quarterback but their game plan was getting them into several third and longs, they also coughed the ball up one too many times.

The Irish appear to be getting healthier headed into their final game before a bye week. I expect a big day from Armando Allen as Charlie Weis comes in with a run heavy offensive game plan with the use of multiple tight end sets.

Prediction Time:

Nick (3-1): Notre Dame 28 Washington 17 (I had to change mine, Mark picked the exact same score as me originally and he got it to me first)

Mark (3-1): Notre Dame 31 Washington 20

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Brian Dascenzo, Domer Sports Report

Notre Dame Football

Quick hits from the Purdue game...

Did the running game seemingly get better without Armando Allen?

I think that talks about Purdue more than anything.

Jimmy Clausen is pretty, pretty good.

Dayne Crist got some meaningful snaps which could become necessary if Clausen can't get better.

Jimmy on one leg is better than Dayne right now.

The defense still hates tackling.

Darrin Walls needs to knock the fourth down pass down and not intercept it. Cost the team 20ish yards of field position.

Purdue bailed the Irish out by not kicking long field goals and missing the fourth down conversions.

Golden Tate is very good, the last thing I remember him doing in the Wild Cat was tackling Armando against Nevada.

Charlie did a great job of game planning around not having Armando.

Jonas Gray and Robert Hughes were very good in replacing Armando and Riddick is this close to returning a kick.

The tackles did not play their best, at least I hope that wasn't their best.

The wide receivers did not step up for the Floyd absence. Unless you count Kamara lining up wrong multiple times, although I guess he was noticed this game...

The third quarter is still an issue, even though they held the ball for 12 minutes. No points in the quarter almost led to a disaster.

If Charlie really was planning on spiking the ball with 36 seconds left that is a terrible decision. Thankfully Purdue bailed him out, although I think it might have been a fake spike play because that is the only thing that makes sense.

If I never have to see Todd Blackledge and Brad Nessler discuss food for four plays in a row I'll be a happy guy.

Tenuta adjusted the defense, I think. It's still a bend and don't break scheme. They did shut down Bolden though.

Nessler has regressed almost as much as Juice Williams.

A win is a win is a win, but I'd like to be able to breathe during the fourth quarter this week.

Follow me on twitter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Irish Set to Battle Boilermakers

Stand by Ar-man, and tell the world you love him...

Notre Dame is an eyelash from being 1-2 on the season after barely getting by Michigan State this past Saturday in South Bend. If you are an optimist you will say they are an eyelash from being 3-0 after being just one more first down away from victory in Ann Arbor. One thing I fully assume for this Saturday is that Irish fans won't have to sit through the duration of the second half chewing on their finger nails due to nerves caused by the game.

Losing Michael Floyd does no favors for the Irish, with his quick start to 2009 the national media has been all-over calling him a future first round pick in the NFL draft, something I have been saying since signing day well over a year ago. The hurt that this injury puts on this offense will not show its head this weekend however as the Irish will get off the bus running the football against Purdue and continue to do so until the Boilermakers adjust their defense.

Plain and simple, the Boilermakers can't stop the run. Notre Dame has some issues themselves but nowhere near as bad as Purdue has an issue with stopping the run in 2009. So far this year we have seen Akron, Oregon, and Northern Illinois average 181 yards per game on the ground against the Boilermakers this season, expect that trend to continue.

Armando Allen had a coming out party of sorts a year ago when Purdue traveled to South Bend, he put 134 yards on the ground while averaging 5.0 ypc. To that date, it was his best performance in a Notre Dame uniform. Expect another big game from the running backs this weekend as well.

Jimmy Clausen has moved his way up the ESPN Heisman rankings, checking in at fourth this week. He loses his favorite target in Michael Floyd but don't expect this to slow the passing game when the Irish deem it necessary to throw. The oh-so-present run threat will keep Purdue cheating up until they are burned on a deep ball, perhaps even afterwards.

Jason Werner leads the Purdue defense, expect the Irish to throw and run away from where he lines up on defense, much like they threw away from and ran away from Greg Jones of Michigan State a week ago. So far on the year Werner has 6 tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception. He happens to be a playmaker but is the exception to the rule for Purdue on defense.

The Boilermakers have given up an average of 32.3 ppg this year, I don't see the Irish having a major hurdle to jump over to reach that. This will easily be the best offense Purdue has seen to date, don't think Notre Dame won't make that a known fact by the end of the evening.

To Purdue's credit they have put up 36.3 ppg this year in three contests. Ralph Bolden leads the Boilermaker charge as he has rushed for 421 yards on the season while reaching the endzone 4 times. He currently holds a 6.8 average yards per carry, a number Notre Dame looks to bring down. The passing game is what Purdue offenses have become famous for but stop the run on Saturday and it turns into a very long evening for the Boilermakers. A big game from both Ethan Johnson and Ian Williams as well as a little help from the linebackers will be needed.

Joey Elliott will be doing the quarterback duties for Purdue on Saturday night, he has a strong arm but has had trouble in decision making this season, already throwing five interceptions three games in. His favorite targets are Keith Smith and Aaron Valentin who have combined for 33 receptions and have each scored a touchdown in 2009.

Purdue will be playing with a sense of urgency after falling to Northern Illinois in West Lafayette a week ago. Expect the Boilermakers to come out swinging, perhaps a trick play or two on their first series even.

At the end of the night it will however be another win for Notre Dame in a game that shows how far off track the two programs currently are with each other.


Nick (2-1): Notre Dame 38 Purdue 20
Mark (2-1): Notre Dame 42 Purdue 24

In the meantime, enjoy what happened when Notre Dame traveled to Purdue four years ago. Just happened to stumble upon this earlier, thought everyone would enjoy looking back on a very enjoyable night.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Brian Dascenzo, Domer Sports Report

Notre Dame Football

I've changed the name of the article just because I can.

Quick hits from the State game.

Armando Allen continues to grow as a running back and is even being trusted to take snaps late in games.

Michael Floyd isn't going to play against USC until his junior year (knock on wood).

The catch rule in the end zone has to be looked at and changed. A touch down should end the play, a late hit should not affect a catch that has already happened.

Golden Tate, remember him? He's still awesome even with a drop or two.

Charlie didn't shy away from throwing late in the game even without his best receiver.

The defense, outside of Kyle McCarthy, can't tackle. Plain and simple.

Jimmy Clausen grew up these last two weeks, especially this week. Leading the team while hurt and having to arm pass most throws today showed a toughness I don't know that we'd seen.

Jonas Gray got Clausen killed by not blocking either of two blitzers.

Big 11 officials know what conference they come from.

Missed extra points are unacceptable... unless it evens out and you kill a long field goal.

Wins are better than losses. Not to go out on a limb.

Charlie still gets too cute during play calling. I don't know if he out thinks himself or what but there are plays every game that I just can't believe he called.

I can't believe Charlie Jr. is 16.

Duval Kamara is going to have to step up or get out. It's make or break time Duval.

Mike Floyd needs a nickname that doesn't involve his injury proneness. Something like G.O.A.T.

Kyle Rudolph, meet the limelight.

The offensive line is about to get abused by Charlie, I think the run game is going to get used a bit more these next two games.

I still don't understand how MSUCKS only ran for 105 yards without a sack against. It seemed like every time they ran it went for at least five yards.

Remember the field goal that slammed against the upright? Me, too.

The look ahead to ND curse hit Purdue this week as they lost to Northern Illinois. Or Purdue isn't very good (remember MSUCKS lost to CMU last week?).

Blitzing on every down and not getting sacks doesn't make any sense.

Blitzing on 3rd and long doesn't make sense at all.

I'm questioning Tenuta, sorry, but I remember what he did to ND in 06 and 07 and this isn't it.

The biggest (errr second biggest) play by the defense was a defensive lineman chasing down a running back from behind on a screen pass. This shows positives (speed) and negatives (no one else could make the tackle).

Shouldn't the non-KMac defensive backs make plays? Not you Ray, no one knew you were on the roster.

Can someone explain Pat Haden and Tom Hammond's insistence that Cousins' pass into Ray Herring was a great show of poise?

I hope MSUCKS planted a flag after their Montana State win, because they just lost their home away from home. I think Notre Dame goes back to dominating this series 3 out of every 4 as a worst case scenario, you know like Michigan does to their little brother...

Follow me on twitter, and cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame.