Saturday, October 22, 2011

SaturDame Southern Cal 10-22-11

GEORGE ATKINSON Y'ALL (I had to move that to the top. Cause it was awesome).

The end of the game was disgusting. What are you saving your timeouts for? The defense is openly trying to strip the ball and get it back. There is no difference in losing to SC by 1, 14 or 21. Who cares? At least pretend you care about getting the ball back.

Matt Barkley >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Tommy Rees. Everyone knows that.

Not getting Michael Floyd the ball.

Remember that PI call on Michael Floyd. Yeah, me neither because it didn't happen. Which is trash.

Crist fumble.

Jonas Gray Everthing.

Cierre Wood likes dancing too much. Whoever let him see the Footloose remake gets fired.

Robert Woods is good. I hope I don't have to see Barkley to Woods next year or my Thanksgiving dinner will be awful.

Gary Gray has decided no one will beat him to the endzone ever again. No matter where the field position is Gary is going to give them as much as they need.


Robert Blanton won a battle with a FB that kept ND in the game.

Hendrix was THISCLOSE to tying the game. THISCLOSE.

Tyler Eifert is super good, glad he got the ball. Eventually.

Sorry I haven't posted one of these in a while. But the Pitt game was terrible and the blowout wins didn't say much.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SaturDame Aaron Lynch's Coming Out Party 9-17-11

So apparently Aaron Lynch is going to play a lot against less mobile quarterbacks.

I hope Cousins felt privileged to get beat up by the freshman.

George Atkinson. The Third. Incredible ball skills. (Decided by twitter).

Thanks to @ndeddiemac for allowing me to witness the game first hand.

Gary Gray turned his back on a pass in the second quarter and all I heard in the stands were shouts of "TURN AROUND" myself included.

An 18 point win over the number 15 team in the country. That's refreshing.

Two plays away from a 3-0 start for the second year around. Less refreshing.

Robert Blanton is a man. That guy has really stepped his game up.

I don't know the perfect time to run a fake field goal but I'm guessing less than optimal conditions are: against a team you beat with a fake field goal the year before, anytime Louis Nix is on the field and you want to run a play near the middle of the field and after calling a time out.

I liked the John Goodman that always fair caught and never fumbled more than the John Goodman that runs backwards and fumbles.

Cierre Wood continues to impress.

Five possessions went unused by the offense which explains the "lack of offense:" KR TD, QB sneaks after Dantonio's Dumbass Decsion, QB sneaks to set up the field goal, Goodman's fumble and VICTORY FORMATION.

Michael Floyd.

On Tai-ler Jones's touchdown every down field receiver was open. Every one. And that was a helluva catch and throw.

Freshmen everywhere and contributing.

Wouldn't mind seeing Robby Toma a little more.

Tommy "Turnover" Rees. Is that official yet?

Everyone in the stadium had the same feeling on Goodman's fumble and it wasn't positive.

Ishaq Williams out ran every player on the field looking to block someone and then got cheapshotted by failed QB Keith Nicols after Blanton's pick.

So running the Wildcat at Robert Blanton is the new throwing screen passes toward Manti?

Beat Pitt.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SaturDame How Denard Broke My Heart 9-10-11

What just happened?

When a team is in desperate need of a break Notre Dame just shows up and allows it to happen.

The awful zone coverage on the pass before the final ND touchdown is only the fourth worst coverage mishap of the game.

I really think Denard Robinson should be returning kicks for Michigan. Yeah, injury blah blah blah, get the dude in space.

He still isn't a good passer, he might be adequate just because the defense has to be worried constantly about his ability to run.

Gary Gray played the worst game by a defensive back I can remember. I don't understand how he constantly face guarded, illegal in college football and not very effective.

It's pretty cool how Denard can throw a back shoulder pass on every play. And they're so high in the air.

Michael Floyd all he does is everything.

Tommy Rees is going to make damn sure someone catches his passes, he doesn't even care what jersey they're wearing.

I kind of wish Michael Floyd had caught the invisible pass Tommy tried to throw to him.

His was an amazing fumble but not as amazing as Michigan's fumble for a touchdown.

The run game on plays that weren't third and short is really good.

It was really cool that Michigan has one of the best players in college football and they took a knee with 1:40 left in the half.

Besides the turnovers Tommy played really well. Which means he didn't.

The offensive line was really pretty good. Third and short running plays being the exception.

I really like you Tyler Eifert.

Fever Dog Dan Fox played really well.

All but one of Michigan's passing touchdowns were passes that the defender didn't see.

Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray everybody. Nice games by both.

If this team stops shooting themselves in the feet they could win a couple of games.

Although by now they're shooting themselves in the thigh Plaxico style.

Hey, David Ruffer made a field goal.

Love Kyle Brindza kicking off. Now if they would just give him a chance to punt. Although he's supposedly slow getting them away. Combined with the long snapping issues that might be a problem.

A fully confident Michigan State team on Saturday. Great. Although if they've seen their pro combat jerseys that will dampen their spirits a bit.

Beat Sparty.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

SaturDame USF 9-3-11

That is literally the longest game I've ever watched.

I don't understand naming a starting QB if you're only giving him one half of football.

I do however understand the switch, so maybe he felt Dayne Crist still needed some more confidence which means you start Tommy.

Kyle Brindza for everything.

You guys, ND finally had a 100 yard rusher under Brian Kelly.

I love when defensive players never look for the ball in the endzone. That's probably my favorite type of defending.

Michael Floyd is amazing at offense. But we knew that.

Really glad Theo Riddick is (attempting to) return punts. Literal game changer.

Loved the emotion from Tommy Rees as he threw a game clinching interception into everyone ever.

I don't have much to say about the defense. They played well, but missed chances to turn the game around.

Really wish Floyd would have jumped for that onside kick.

When you get the ball a yard and a half away from the endzone as opposed to three yards away on a two point conversion and your running back has been pretty damn good, you might want to at least run a play action pass or actually run the ball. Just a thought.

If Floyd lets go of the hold in time and Wood scores, Crist never throws the pick and who knows what happens. Literal game changer.

What happens to Golson if Rees is the QB? Because Rees is the QB. Do we have another QB competition next year that Rees loses?

Brian Kelly sure does get fired up.

So the field looked awful, I think it's Swarbrick trying to get less complaints about Field Turf.

The Jonas Gray fumble never should have happened, but the refs should have blown their whistles as forward progress was stopped.

Guys, USF might be really good.

Rematch in the BCS?

I think that's it. The game took too long for me to keep everything memorized. See you next week after a night game in Ann Arbor is a whore.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is It Easter Sunday?

Because Crist is back as Notre Dame's starting quarterback. In a press conference today Brian Kelly announced that the team had sundae's on Sunday to celebrate the end of training camp. He then announced that Dayne Crist would replace incumbent Tommy Rees to begin the season (in two Saturdays. I'm actually surprised it was this difficult of a decision for Kelly, but I'm glad that it was because Dayne Crist has been injured in the past. Kelly feels that all four quarterbacks are good enough to play which is a bit different from last year. Hopefully Everett Golson redshirts (or surpasses Andrew Hendrix) and we can spread out the quarterbacks a bit as it doesn't look like a new QB will be coming in February.

Other depth chart moves; Dan Fox is starting ahead of Carlo Calabrese, but this might have more to do with running quarterbacks the first two weeks and Carlo's lack of being fast. Jamoris Slaughter has regained the starting safety spot from Zeke Motta.

9 more days until South Florida. Hopefully post explosion before then. We'll see.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

SaturDame: 2011 Season Preview

My third attempt at writing one of these.

A win over USC (thanks Ron Johnson), a beat'em down of Miami in the bowl game and a bonanza on National Signing Day, things appear to be looking up at ND. A coach, with National Championships on his resume along with BCS Bowls, has taken actual control of the program unlike Charlie who just thought he had control. He is building a program that may need a year or two to win Notre Dame's 12th National Championship, but weirder things have happened, right?

The team is led on offense but binge touchdown scorer Michael Floyd and on defense by an All-Everything candidate in Manti T'eo. The defense could be as good as any in the country and the offense should be much improved with Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick breaking out this year. I think the QB is less important in the Kelly offense than in the Weis offense (as we saw when Tommy Rees went 4-1 last year). The second year in the system is probably a bigger deal than who actually is the starter ( I was Team Hendrix, just because I wanted to blast Voodoo Chile after TD passes).

The schedule doesn't feature many teams that would be up for playing road games in the SEC without a return engagement but it doesn't feature many (possibly any) teams that will be playing in a BCS bowl game.


Mobile QB. Return of a Skip. Blow out win. At least he looks like a football player.

S10 @ Michigan 8pm ABC/ESPN

Mobile QB that doesn't tie his shoes. First night game at the stadium ever. Old people not used to staying up late. I don't think Brady Hoke is a magician and ND owes this team a couple. Win by 10. Hopefully they don't score too fast, again.


Then comes the most beloved QB in college football because he gave a speech that featured the word "p-r-i-v-e-l-e-g-e" 2,500 times. And his drama queen of a head coach. A fake field goal. Ugh. Still mad bro. Win by 7.

S24 @ Pittsburgh Noon ABC/ESPN

A match-up with former ND offensive coordinator Mike Haywood who is the new Pitt head coach. Wait, what? Okay then, a re-match with Todd Graham the former Tulsa coach. You might remember him. You may also remember this play, from the last time ND visited Heinz Field. Notre Dame wins by 18.

O01 @ Purdue 8pm ABC/ESPN

Purdue has been decimated by being Purdue. Notre Dame wins by 3 touchdowns.

O08 AIR FORCE 3:30pm NBC

First trap game on the schedule. Also Air Force is good. And triple option. Notre Dame wins by 4.


Guess who is coming into this game with a loss in the series? Two is a streak, right? Matt Barkley might be the 2nd best QB ND faces this year, but I don't think it's enough. ND wins by 10.

O29 NAVY 3:30pm NBC

Brian Kelly is not losing to Navy two years in a row. But coming off the emotion that is USC means this game is close into the second half before winning by 14.

N05 @ Wake Forest TBA

Blowout win that 30,000 fans will see in person. Notre Dame by 40.

N12 MARYLAND (FedEx) 7:30pm NBC

This is a game that scares me, it's basically a home game for Maryland and they have a good QB. Also Randy Edsall knows how to beat ND. ND wins by 6.


Notre Dame is taking control of this series. Like they should. Lots of BC kicker and Ty Willingham green jersey game highlights. But all for naught as ND wins by 14.

N26 @ Stanford 8pm ABC/ESPN

The most probable problem game on the schedule. On Thanksgiving Weekend. In California. Against a player that should be a Heisman Finalist. UnLucky. Stanford spoils an undefeated season by 10.

11-1 and BCS game. Probably in the Sugar Bowl or the Orange Bowl as Oklahoma will be playing Alabama for all the Tostitos.

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Go Irish. Beat Bulls.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Carleton Scott to the NBA

Scott has decided to not come back for his fifth year as a member of the Fighting Irish. This leaves Notre Dame with just Scott Martin and Tim Abromaitis as returning starters. The Irish lose two of their top three rebounders from a 27-7 team and will have to replace them with bench players or freshmen. Eric Katenda a 3 star 6'9 recruit is the most likely to replace Scott with Jack Cooley (I'm guessing) replacing Ty Nash.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SaturDame: Spring Game 2011

Unlike last year I did not attend. I didn't even watch on my TV, I watched the stream on But I picked up enough to make some notes.

Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees are not the QB's Brian Kelly is looking for.

Andrew Hendrix and/or Everett Golston are the future of Notre Dame football. But I fear for Everett health if he's going to remain that small.

On punts Notre Dame elected to enforce the John Goodman rule, all fair catches no returns.

Aaron Lynch is either amazing or the ND offensive line needs a lot of work. I hope it's the former.

Cierre Wood with no fumbles is going to be the best RB that shows up in Notre Dame games this year (I mean opponents don't have a better RB (Denard Robinson is a QB, so far)).

John Goodman made a heck of a catch on his touchdown catch, he gave himself a ton of room to land and Golston made a sick throw, as well.

Have I mentioned Aaron Lynch yet?

The kicking game has some competition, even with mulligans on extra points.

I expect Kyle Brindza to be the punter, unless BK is holding him back for a redshirt.

Is there anything better than Brian Kelly yelling at mo-hawked Robby Toma? "You're not fast, you're not tall and that haircut's not very good. So catch the ball."

The offense would be sick if they had a superstar receiver out there...

Lo Wood's future is so bright he's going to need a tinted visor.

Manti T'eo didn't make any tackles. WHATSUPWITHTHAT?

I know, he didn't play on defense.

In summation:
Andrew Hendrix is really good and fits the system.
Everett Golston is tiny but good.
Cierre Wood is awesome. His sideways, backward juke (1:14 in the link) in the Western game is one of my favorite plays of last year.
The defense is going to be awesome next year.
I'm really trying to calm myself down about predictions for the upcoming season (undefeated going into Stanford?).

And a trailer for the upcoming season.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brey Is Who We Thought He Was

Mike Brey tricked me, I bought into this team and him as a coach because he had stopped comparing his team to the Irish of the 90's. He called for this team to play in the Big East Championship game. He called for a deep run in the tournament. At the half against Louisville in the Big East Semi-Finals everything looked great. Then Mike Brey started talking to the team at halftime and everything fell apart. I have no idea what Brey said in the locker room, but I can only hope that it isn't something he ever repeats to anyone. A 14 point lead seemed like it should be safe and a game on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden was 20 minutes away. Then Louisville remembered that this was Notre Dame basketball and the Wu-Tang Clan could write a song replacing Wu Tang Clan with Notre Dame and Ain't Nothing with Is Something in the title and they wouldn't be that far off.

With multiple football coaches being fired in the previous decade for mediocrity there is no reason to accept it from the basketball team. Every once in awhile Notre Dame makes a run at a conference title and falls just short. Then they fall short of expectations in both tournaments. Then nothing happens. The Purcell Pavilion fails to fill because people smarter/saner than me know better than to designate time/money to go to games and care about this team. I'm sure they want the best for the team and they still root for the Irish hoopers, but they know what's coming at the end.

Now, I don't want to take to much away from a regular season that was as good as it was. A Big East Player of the Year award and a Coach of the Year award show that as well as anything. A preseason tournament win with wins over Georgia and Wisconsin, wins over Gonzaga, UConn (twice), Louisville, and Pitt on the road. They were winning all the close games and blowing out most of the teams they should, but the losses also had something in common they were all double digits on the road. The team that went undefeated at home had issues on the road. This probably should have been a warning sign for the post-season, when no games are played at home.

Will I root for the team and care about wins and losses next year? Of course I will, but there will always be a lingering doubt about the coach until he proves me wrong. Maybe having players in the Brey system for 4 or 5 years isn't a good thing because they become to much like their coach. He has beaten one team from a major conference in the NCAA tournament and even after that win was a blowout loss to Arizona, his only trip to the Sweet Sixteen and that was in 2003. Four trips to the NIT in the last eight years (including a loss at home to Holy Cross), double digit losses in all but three of his seasons. Contending for a Big East championship every couple of years isn't good enough for me and it shouldn't be for Notre Dame. Thankfully there's always ice hockey. Frozen Four anyone?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Notre Dame Awards

Congratulations to Mike Brey, the Big East Coach of the Year (and rumored National Coach of the Year) and Ben Hansbrough, Big East Player of the Year. As well as Tim Abromaitis winning the Big East scholar-athlete award for the second time in as many years. Also thanks to Mississippi State for running a selfish offense that pissed Ben off and made him transfer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mike Brey. I think I'm sorry.

So, I'm not a huge fan of Mike Brey, I'm not shy about this, earlier this year I tweeted that I wouldn't mind switching the men's and women's coaches at ND. Coach Brey has attempted to prove me wrong and I'm not going to go all Drew Sharp and take responsibility for his success*. Brey thinks it's better to recruit players that will grow into their roles and redshirts players in order to have one of the oldest teams in the Big East every year. I have called out his use of redshirting Abromaitis and still think he did it wrong, he should have lost his freshman year and not his sophomore year. Having Abro for his sophomore season was probably the difference between that team being in the NIT and the NCAA tournament. Prove me wrong!

Harangody getting hurt last year was the best thing to happen to Brey, he realized he had to coach differently without his star and now he is able to switch schemes depending on the opponent. The fact that it took him 10 years at ND to figure this out is a bit befuddling, but what are you going to do. His coaching this year has been phenomenal as Notre Dame doesn't lose close games which is opposite of his team in 2005-2006. The NIT team that lost to Michigan to end their season, lost 10 games by less than 5 points (including twice to Michigan) and all of their wins were by more than 5 points except two (IPFW and Wofford).

With 5 seniors on this team and 3 of them back next year, I hope for more of the same from the Irish, with Eric Atkins the only underclassmen for next year we'll probably see a freshman get Atkins-like minutes next year. But this is about this year, and what a glorious year it's been, beating everyone but 5 teams? A completely unexpected turn from a team that lost it's two best players from last year. Ben Hansborough is way better than I thought he could ever be, probably the Big East player of the year, Eric Atkins doing enough to show that his future at ND will be bright. Tyrone Nash is the most underrated player on this team, doing enough every game to be the difference and that 3 pointer he hit was wondrous (Free Ty Nash). The only real disappointment is Scott Martin as he has been called by Mike Brey "the best offensive player I've coached." A two year lay-off is tough to overcome (Dayne Crist anyone) and I expect big things from Martin next year. I still wonder if Everett Golston will actually play basketball at ND, he says he wants too, but if Andrew Hendrix doesn't win the job (I expect he will) then Golston may have his hands full with football.

Mike Brey has coached brilliantly this year, although his move with Ben Hansbrough against UConn left a lot of people scratching their heads. And then blaming Hansbrough brought rushing back memories of poor Mike Brey decisions. Yes, we could laugh about it, because they won, even joke about how Hansbrough and Brey did it on purpose to show the other players they could win without Ben. Mike Brey has built a team that can win in the B(ig)EAST but before I jump fully aboard the band wagon I need tournament results, Dominion and Winthrop, Ole Miss and Arizona are still memories I'd love to replace with a Final Four run or at least Elite Eight and the Notre Dame seeding should bare those expectations out. I'm still in disbelief that this team is in the running for a ONE SEED.

So Mike Brey, I apologize, sort of, for now. Win two games in MSG and three games in the tourney and I'll admit that, for this year, I was wrong. Then do it again next year. And keep doing it. The bar has been raised by Brian Kelly, and his team went 8-5, Notre Dame expects excellence and you need to keep delivering it.

*Drew Sharp is a Detroit columnist that called out one of Izzo's MSU teams, I think it was the team with Ager, Brown and Paula Davis. When that team advanced to the Final Four Drew wrote a column about how his column calling out the Spartans was the reason they advanced so far... Seriously. Luckily for Drew he writes for the same paper that employs the liar Mitch Albom thus making him only my second most hated writer at the Free Press.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Territory

In my 25 years of existence, I never had moments like I had this past Saturday.

First there was the Notre Dame - UCONN game. With a fairly comfortable eight point lead and just over eight minutes left, Mike Brey decided to put Ben Hansbrough in the game with four fouls. Ten seconds later Notre Dame's best player and emotional leader was back in the bench with his fifth foul. I received a text from my buddy a few seconds later, "Uh oh, ND is screwed! At least they locked up the 2 seed in the Big East..." Being the over optimistic super fan, I decided to berate that friend with a text condemning his pessimistic attitude and also telling him that our correspondence during the game was now over. I simply don't allow that negative energy in my presence during times like this, even if that negative energy was present via text message.

Next thing I know, led by Kemba Walker, UCONN went on a 13-0 run to take a five point lead. That's when conflicting thoughts started racing through my head. "You've got to be kidding me! Same old Notre Dame. Wait, this team is different, we'll get this. Hold on, I've read this book before. Screw it! WE GOT THIS!" I knew I was definitely in new territory because I knew this team was different than in years past. This isn't a team that is demoralized by runs anymore, this isn't a team that lets things bother them, like losing their best player and leader. Notre Dame proceeded to go on a 9-0 run and take a four point lead. But while the Irish had chances to close out the victory, missed free throws allowed UCONN to stay within striking distance. With a three point lead, UCONN came down with seconds remaining and for the first time I can remember it was another team fumbling the ball in the closing seconds with a chance to win the game, because ND forced the ball out of the UCONN's best player's hands.

This victory was all about a team. Kemba Walker scored over half of UCONN's points and his teammates didn't know what to do when he passed the ball when the Huskies had a chance to tie to the game with seconds remaining. When Ben Hansbrough, who had been en fuego, fouled out. I think there was a shock right away, and Notre Dame stepped up. Not just one player, but the whole team. Eric Atkins played composed and took care of the ball. Scott Martin, Tim Abromaitis, and Carleton Scott all hit shots, and Tyrone Nash took the game over by passing, shooting, playing D. Nash was truly the MVP of the game. That was just on the offensive end, on the defensive end the Irish managed to stop the run and make big stops as the game went on. Not letting UCONN take another lead.

When the final buzzer sounded I was more relieved, proud, and excited for a Notre Dame team than I have ever been. This team just keeps coming up with ways to win like I've never seen an Irish team to do before.

Moments later I made my way to the elliptical to watch the Villanova-Pittsburgh matchup. I was on the elliptical to try to get rid of this Buddha belly and to also calm my nerves while I watched a game that would decide if Notre Dame would earn a share of their first ever Big East championship (unless you count the 2001 Big East West Championship, which I don't). Never before have I watched a Nova-Pitt game so intently, and genuinely caring who won the game. Of course, that team was Nova.

Jay Wright actually had a good gameplan for Nova. He was going to use the Mike Brey formula for beating Pitt, the "Burn" offense. Unfortunately for Villanova, and for me, they don't have the shooters or the offensive efficiency to do that. I don't think I had ever screamed at a game so much that I didn't have a team in. However, this was the first time since the Bulls dynasty that I had a team with a legitimate shot at some sort of championship. So there I was, screaming at a Pitt-Nova game, with hopes of that first Big East Championship. Of course, since the basketball gods hate me, Nova eventually succumbed to a very good Pitt team. Giving the Panthers the outright Big East regular season championship. Stupid Villanova.

As the day turned into night I started to regain my optimism with the basketball gods. Purdue suffered a big upset at the hands of Iowa and then UNC upended Duke. That's when I started thinking, "Notre Dame has a shot at a one seed!" I don't think that thought has ever, in my life, crept into my brain. Then something amazing happened. ESPN pundits confirmed my feelings that I thought might have just been crazy. Notre Dame did have the chance to be a one seed in the NCAA tourney.

So, just in one day I experienced more firsts than I ever have with Notre Dame basketball. I hope as the next couple weeks come with the Big East and NCAA tournaments that we can experience a couple more firsts.