Thank you for this. I have been very frustrated with the knee-jerk reactions to every game. 3-9 has left ND Nation in a total funk and people are looking for an instant turnaround because we got the #1 class last year, and 3 straight good classes. We're still starting more frosh/sophs than any other team, and if you put this year up against last year, there is obvious reason for hope. I don't recall anybody calling for Weis' head when we only rushed for a few yards against BYU, and it's probably because we won. The team just needs to go with what works (much like the 2005 team). If we need to open up the run by passing the ball, then that's what we should do. I just want to win, and could care less about stats.
I guess my biggest problem is the run. The way I see it, a head coach's most important job is making decisions and strategies. Weis says we are going to pound the ball. I am not going to be upset if we win and rush for 50 yards. The point is that he was really really wrong about his assessment of want the team will do well. I am still upset at his decision to give up play calling. I love listening to you guys too but I am sick of hearing that this team is young. The team got that free pass (in my book) last season, specifically the offensive line. Now they ALL (OL) have experience, size, and strength. They have no excuses for being below average which were their performances two of the three games. The MSU game was worse than below average. Something has to be wrong. I don't know if its the playcalling. I don't know if its the coaching. I don't know. Fact is, MSU ran the ball effectively on ND and (couldn't find one) they have one 2 star, two 3 star, and 1 four star. We have one 3 star, three 4 stars and one 5 star. And they are all jr's and sr's. Something is really wrong with that line. At this stage of the game, I am not hitting the panic button. I don't expect crazy 200 yard rushing games but I don't get having zero success with the run last saturday.To say, "We are not a good team yet." is a cop out. We are a good team, the OL is failing AGAIN. There are four differences between this season and last season. Clausen's healed arm (he gets most his yards really on his arm and not on his reads, its going to be fun to watch when we gets that part down). Tate's routes. Floyd (enough said). And the OL can actually protect clausen. If ND's OL could open some holes for the run, ND should score 28-35 points on every team (not USC) on their schedule. The OL needs to get an attitude and come out and win. Flat out. The OL is failing ND AGAIN and it is someone's fault. Maybe ND can't evaluate talent. Maybe the coaches aren't the right fit with the players. MAYBE the coaches aren't the right fit with the other coaches. Fact is...something is wrong
I think there might be another side to the rushing woes that we're seeing. I agree that the OL is the main problem because they're unable to move the line of scrimmage forward and can't create running lanes long enough for the backs to go through, even though they average over 300 lbs!!! But I don't know if it's just me, but I've noticed that the running backs are not as explosive off the ball as they should (when you compare them to other back around the country). Maybe it's because they are anticipating a blockage ahead or something but there were a few plays where a running lane actually opened briefly (miraculously) and the back was either too slow to go through it or he hesitated (maybe already looking for plan B) but by the time he got there it was too late for either options. I just don't know if the running backs' lack of explosiveness is a part of the problem or a side effect of the main issue. Regardless, I think this team did gain something from last week’s loss. They gave themselves a chance to win all the way into the fourth quarter against a respectable opponent (not SDST). They need to eliminate those mental mistakes (missed FGs, penalties, careless turnovers). But they’re growing and they’re learning, I agree there’s no quick fix, and there will be a lot more of these games where we come close and we’ll probably shoot ourselves in the foot but hopefully there will be a game where they turn the corner.
Your comments that we should just take a deep breath and not worry about the running game show a lack of appreciation for the fact that this has been a systematic problem under the Weis regime. Even when Walker wood have a big day, don't forget that most of his yards were coming on draw plays. Weis' teams have never been able to move the line of scrimmage forward, which he describes as necessary for a good running game.You also seemed to think that it was OK not to have a running game as long as we win. I disagree. The goal is to get this program back up to an elite status and that will not happen without a "power" running game. Just look at some of the past few power houses. LSU had Hester, Florida used Teebo as its power back, USC had Bush and White. So as of now I have a major concern if we will ever develop a true running game (not just draws) under the current regime and without that,a return to an elite status and winning bowl games is not likely, no matter what the overall talent/star level of the team is.