Monday, November 12, 2012

Can the Irish win out?

10 wins with no losses is far and above where we thought this team would be now. Can they close it out?


  1. "Many ND Fans ... i.e. Mike Coffey - we can call him out because he is not here."

    I got a big laugh from this. You guys go far too easy on Coffey. He missed the boat on Brian Kelly.

    I understand that many ND fans felt snake-bitten from the Davie, Willingham and Weis programs, but all of those programs were missing what Kelly brought back to Notre Dame. You are either a football fan who can see and discern the difference ... or you are not. I am sure that Coffey was a capable member of the ND ban, but he lacked the football acumen to know what why Kelly's program had what was needed for success at ND. Nothing wrong with that - it's true for a lot of ND fans. But then - most ND fans do not run Websites like NDNation and have their views echoed to such a large group.

    So do the rest of us a favor and call out Coffey when he is on the show. LOL.

  2. CTND, Most of the ND fans I know are skeptics like Coffey, at least here in Cleveland. You said it yourself, man, after Davieham and Weis, we were just beaten down. I think our skepticism was warranted. Thankfully, we're starting to see results on the field, and, I, personally, am just enjoying the season one game at a time. But I was in Mike Coffey's camp for a long time...


  3. BTS -

    As I said - it is understandable. As for the skepticism being "warranted," it depends upon what information you have. I played the game enough myself to be able to critically evaluate what I watch, and I have watched nearly every televised ND game since the latter half of Ara's tenure. Over the course of observing ND teams under Ara, Devine, Holtz, Davie, Willingham and Weis, it became fairly obvious to me what works at Notre Dame and what does not work, and it was pretty clear from the outset of his hire that Kelly had the goods. Not only did I predict a 1988-ish breakout 3rd year for Kelly - I predicted that he'd be better than Holtz. Holtz was an excellent motivator, a strong developer of college players, but he was not very strong at football scheming or adapting his style of game to the talent he had available to him at Notre Dame, as Bill Walsh pointed out repeatedly from the booth before he took over Stanford and beat him on the field. Kelly will out-perform Devine and Holtz without too much difficulty. And Kelly was clearly a better hiring choice than Stoops for the reasons that Ed and Mike mentioned. I was hoping for Kelly months before his hiring and was relieved when I heard that Stoops was not interested.

    I don’t expect the average ND fan to have such insights. As you noted, Coffey has plenty of company with respect to his inability to perceive Kelly’s comparative strengths as a CFB coach leading up to the stellar year we’re having now. Where Coffey stood out amongst other fans, however, was the extraordinary arrogance that he displayed in his critiques of Kelly, given that he knows so little about football, coaching and what is important for success at Notre Dame. Reading Coffey’s criticisms and forecasts for Kelly was tragicomical.

  4. CTND, Fair enough, but you're venturing into arrogant waters yourself by not "expecting the average ND fan to have such insights." I think we all bring something to the table with our viewing acument, like, for example, the trepidation I felt after losing to Tulsa. Be honest, didn't you have a pit in your stomach after that game? Alas, thankfully it's ancient history. Go Irish!

  5. Don't sweat the typos. I had one in my original post.

    I have a pit in my stomach after every Notre Dame loss. If the question is intended to mean "Did I have trepidation about Kelly resulting from the Tulsa loss?" Then the answer is "No."

    Never was so much made of a game with so little (or shallow) analysis as the Tulsa game. A case study in groupthink. I should write an Article on it.

    Let's look at just a few of the basics of that game.

    - Kelly was playing his 9th game into his first Season taking over for an absolutely broken program under Weis, which was completely analogous to Holtz taking over for Faust’s broken program. In each case there had been no player development and an absence of player fundamentals, physical toughness and mental toughness.

    - Tulsa was a 10-3 team that finished #24 in the AP.

    - Tulsa’s QB was a Tx HS star who went to Texas originally and transferred to Tulsa because he did not want to wait out Colt McCoy. Notre Dame had to field a weak-talent, true freshman after its starting QB was knocked out of the game. (Crist joined Rudolph, Allen and Riddick among the injured for that game).

    - Notre Dame outgained Tulsa, where Tulsa got 2 points on a blocked extra point (the winning margin of the game), 7 points on a punt return, and 7 points on an INT. ND had 3 INTs and a fumbled punt by sure-handed Goodman.

    I could go on and on about that game, including an analysis of taking a shot at Floyd in the corner of the end-zone against a midget CB before attempting a FG, where Floyd was perhaps the best WR turned defender (when needed) in Notre Dame history (take for example his stealing the ball from a good Fla. St. d-back last year in the end-zone) and it was a windy day where ND already had an extra point blocked and Tulsa had missed an easy 32 yard FG.

    Many good teams and good coaches have lost games when that many breaks go against you – setting aside that it was Kelly’s first year taking over a lousy program. I can give you unlimited examples of that. In 1990, Holt’s #1 ranked team lost to unranked Stanford due primarily to fumbled punts. In 2007, Saban lost to Louisiana-Monroe in his first year at Alabama on his way to a 7-6 record.

    The important thing to have noticed in 2010 was what happened after Tulsa. With a bye week to work with – Kelly significantly changed the offense mid-season to adjust to Crist’s injury by de-emphasizing the QB position and moving to a power running game, which, combined with a much improved defense, he used to run off 4 straight wins, including #14 Utah, USC on the road and pasting Miami in a Bowl game. Not that many coaches can change their stripes like that at all, let alone mid-season in the first year of taking over a new program, but that was consistent with Kelly’s track record and history.

    But we agree upon this: GO IRISH!

  6. CTND makes some great points, can't think of one I don't agree with. I walked on as a place kicker in Lou's first year 1986 and being a HS QB, at least had a vague idea of the X's and O's. I love Holtz, he was a master motivator, but he wasn't as knowledgeable about the game as Kelly is. CTND is dead right, Kelly may well do far better than Holtz during his tenure. Irish fans are flying high right now and just might for several years to come.

  7. My goodness, does this guy get paid by the word?

    - the "average educated" fan

  8. Goooo Irish!!!

  9. Mike - if you like my points on the Irish and Kelly - take a look at what I wrote about Oregon and it's overrated Offense. If you ever need someone sub in for Coffey - let me know. I know my college football. ;-)