These are my first public thoughts about Notre Dame football. I have run a mailing list comprised of 15 or so friends who I email regularly with info/commentary about the Irish, but have shied away from blogging or even commenting (on other blogs) due to a number of reasons no one cares about and don’t matter.
So I would like to thank Mark Allen here at ND Sports Report for posting the “Writers Wanted” post and inadvertently nudging my over the edge into the dense world of the ND blogosphere.
I was waiting till after our inevitable wins over Michigan’s schools to pen my first post on a high note, but instead I am compelled to write today out of frustration.
Ok, enough with the bullshit.
I am 29 years old. This means I have witnessed some god awful losses to Michigan State in my lifetime (Charles Rodgers you bastard). There is just something about our games against them that always makes me weary. And no game has ever sucked the life out of me so violently than this year’s game.
That being said, I hate them almost as much as USC. When that scumbag Eric Smith planted their flag at the 50 of ND Stadium in 2005 something inside me snapped and to this day I have no respect for him or that entire program…in fact, even though I know it is ridiculous, if I meet anyone who is either a graduate or fan of that school, I assume there are scumbags on some fundamental level. I know this is not the case but I think it anyway (it could be the case I haven’t done enough research).
To the game…
Overall I have loved every word that has come out of Brian Kelly’s mouth since he was hired (I also loved every word out of Weis mouth but that is for another time). As someone who has spent a lot of time playing with good and bad coaches, I felt like he was the perfect anecdote for ND football’s problems.
With that said, he has made 2 calls that are 100% wrong.
1st was not kicking the field goal at the end of the half against UM. Not to re-hash a very hashed subject, but there is no debate about that call. You kick the field goal. Every time. End of story. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong and it is to frustrating and inane to get into the actually “argument” b/c there is no argument. If you think otherwise…better luck next time.
And the fact that BK said he never even considered kicking it is either A) a lie or B) a really really troubling statement.
The 2nd call was going for it on 4th down against MSU in the 4th quarter. I don’t care if Jesus Christ himself signals you a call from heaven, you don’t go for it there. Not some of the time, not maybe….you punt the ball every single time. Again this is such basic football I feel stupid even justifying the punt. But even if you didn’t have a young inexperienced quarterback, and even if you weren’t on the road, and even if your defense wasn’t playing well at the time or you were on the 50 instead of your own 40-something….you still punt every time.
Unless you are a bad coach. And this is where things get dicey.
Call it cognitive dissonance or just call it pure confusion, but there is something incongruent with the way BK has represented himself and his coaching style/football philosophy and the way he has coached in games that has left me truly stupefied.
This has been said already by others, but if you are truly trying to win the game, not make a “statement”, you do not make some of the decisions BK has made (including the 4th down @ MSU).
And you know what, that 4th down was a perfect play call. Floyd and Rudolph crossed at the snap and Big Mike was sitting 4 yards up field WIDE the heck open. The outside backer completely ignored him and jumped Rudolph immediately. Unfortunately Dayne decided to throw it to Rudolph as soon as he broke the huddle.
Even if he had hit Floyd for the 1st it still would have been a 100% bad call (although I would have been happy as shit).
Now there has been debate about other calls made by BK that are legit. For example I did not have a problem with him going to overtime against MSU instead of trying to get a field goal. Given the field position, the inexperience at QB and our defenses momentum, I had no problem with that call.
And in case you were unaware, we had the fake field goal covered assignment wise. They did not “catch us sleeping” but Harrison Smith and Carlo got tangled up and couldn’t keep their feet. Assuming their exhaustion (especially Smith’s) I’ll toss that up as stuff happens.
As far as the play clock and the phantom clipping call and receiver forced out of bounds no-call, I’ll say this… I don’t want to hear it. ND fans (actually all fans, but especially ND) do not realize their ridiculous bias that filters everything they see. I know we have gone through an extreme rough 15 years or so, with some terrible calls not going our way, but if you tracked it, their has been many many calls that have gone our way. In the end there is no football karma that is against us and to suggest otherwise disrespects the integrity of the game (when we win is it b/c of karma or b/c we earned it?). Does everyone forget the absolute GIFT MSU handed us last year? Cousins missed the back out of the backfield wide open then threw a brain dead pick when all they needed was a field goal for overtime. We should have lost that game.
I was going to go on about my thoughts about our entire team and look ahead to Stanford, but I realize this is already to long. So I will cover that stuff in another post tomorrow most likely.
Final thought of my virgin voyage into ND blogging…
I read everything, literally everything that is published about the Irish. So it goes without saying that I have great familiarity with all the blogs and writers out there. I just want to say that I have the utmost respect for those writers/sites that share my interest in ND football. I would say a big factor in me delaying the decision to start writing about the Irish is that most of what I think/feel is already articulated somewhere out there on the internet.
That being said, I still feel there is room for one more voice.
I was born a Notre Dame fan thanks to my father and have had an unconditional love for ND football for my entire life. I don’t buy jerseys or have a ND welcome mat or anything, but I truly feel like I am watching family every Saturday.
I played for just over 10 years before hurting my neck my sophomore year of college (keep your head up when tackling kids) and have logged more hours watching football than I can admit without feeling embarrassed.
I hope to provide some insight and perspective that related directly to what happens on the field rather than the perception of what happens on the field which is so common.
Tomorrow I will talk about how Stanford is not as good as you think.