Another heart breaking last second loss for the Fighting Irish as Michigan State pulls out the fake field goal for the win. The balls of head coach Mark Dantonio to make this call deserves a nod of the cap. Michigan State deserved to win the game because Notre Dame refused to put them away in the second half when they had tons of chances to make it a two score game.
I'm not going to sit here and pout about how the referees fucked Notre Dame with the play clock or the Michigan State receiver running out of bounds and coming back in to catch a late touchdown. Shit happens and either way Notre Dame should have stopped both plays for scores. Even though the secondary is depleted in terms of depth by injuries and transfers there is no excuse for the Irish to continue to play down to opponents. My hope was a new coaching staff led by proven college winner Brian Kelly would change the culture of Notre Dame football. It hasn't happened yet but then again we are only 3 games into the BK Era.
Notre Dame fans have a right to be upset. There were a ton of questionable play calls by the coaching staff but these things happen in every game. What is hurting the Irish is the execution on offense. Dayne Crist doesn't have the accuracy or touch of Jimmy Clausen but he makes up for it in terms of the ability to tuck the ball and run and he is playing behind a much better offensive line than Clausen ever experienced in the blue and gold. The offense has no flow or rhythm at this time. It's suppose to be quick strike spread but instead of opening up the field with some deep balls to Michael Floyd we are seeing a ton of 5 yard out patterns. In some cases 3 yard patterns when you need 4 yards. This should get better as the season progresses. It better.
The defense is what it is: not good. They can't stop the run. They will continue to give up 30 points plus a game considering how their offense doesn't control the clock. For Notre Dame football to return to winning football they will have to be able to run the ball on offense and have a defense that can stop the run. Right now they refuse to run (55 passes vs 19 designed run plays last week) because Kelly wants to score with an aerial attack and he wants to score quickly. This is a detriment to the team as a whole. They don't have the type of depth on defense where you can leave them on the field for 35 plus minutes a game. They get gassed and the mental focus starts to diminish in the second half.
Sitting at 1-2 it looks like the Irish are in for another long season with Stanford coming in this week and Pitt, Boston College, Navy, Utah, and USC all more than capable of beating them. Another losing season is unacceptable with the talent the Irish have including a ton of upperclass talent. Look at the team recruiting ranking on Rivals.com for the past 5 seasons. They currently have the #6 class coming in next season which follows a #14 in 2010, a #21 in 2009, a #2 in 2008, a #8 in 2007, and a #8 all the way back in 2006. You can't tell me all of these recruits were overrated. And while there are concerns with the depth and talent on both the offensive and defensive lines there is no reason they should lose to a Michigan and Michigan State team because they can't run the ball or stop the run. We aren't talking about Alabama, Florida, or Texas talent on those teams.
I'm almost at wit's end to explain how Notre Dame continues to suck it up on Saturdays. I see the talent and the speed and a team giving it their all. I also see a head coach and staff that has improved a ton of fundamentals on the defensive side of the ball. But something is still missing. Maybe it's a losing culture that continues to permeate throughout program. Maybe it's a lack of leadership or accountability? It amazes me that they have somehow managed to lose 6 straight close games when it comes down to making the last play. You would think the law of averages would eventually kick in and Notre Dame would start winning some of these games. Until Notre Dame starts making their own luck (by executing plays on offense and stopping the run on defense) I'm not so sure Kelly will last more than 5 seasons in South Bend. Fuck I hope I'm wrong.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Holy shit I thought Anna Kournikova was dead. It must have been some dream I had a few years ago but I could have sworn she was as dead as the Georgia and Notre Dame football programs. Because even though she was a mediocre at best tennis player she still looks pretty damn good even though she is past her prime. The same can't be said about UGA or ND. They just can't do anything right these days. Well except losing. If there was an award for exceptional loses to teams with less talent then I think they could be champions at something.
Video via Egotastic
Posted by Matt Fairchild (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 1:28 PM