Embarrassed Once Again

We shouldn’t be surprised if the NCAA and BCS collectively pass legislation prohibiting Notre Dame from appearing in a high profile bowl game until they actually beat a Top 10 opponent … in any game. And it could take awhile. The Irish were again completely undressed in front of a national audience … once again displaying one of the most incompetent defenses ever assembled. And a sputtering offense that always seems to screw up enough plays to lose against tough competition.

If I’m Charlie Weis, I’m totally embarrassed right now. Heck … I’m sitting here in Alaska and can’t walk out my front door for fear of being heckled. Of course, I can always hide behind or dive into one of these 6 foot snow banks, but that’s another story. Let’s start with the “defense” because that’s the real source of ND’s crappy performance. Let’s count the ways they failed: 1) Allowed 2 TDs in the first quarter … another real bad start. 2) Allowed a third TD in a total of 1 min 15 seconds right before halftime … and immediately after ND had tied the game and seized the momentum. 3) failed to even show up in the second half and seemed to allow something like 700 yards of offense. No pass rush. No coverage. No tackling. No clue. We were blown off the line of scrimmage the entire 2nd half and it seemed like we gave up. LSU averaged over 8 yards per play and gained 32 first downs for the game!!!! Incredibly pathetic!!! And just downright embarrassing for ND and its fans … AGAIN.

Now, the offense. Where was it to start the game? Although ND displayed some offensive life and pretty good numbers in the first half while temporarily tying the score 2 minutes before halftime, we did not show up for the entire 2nd half. We needed to answer immediately when LSU put up a FG early in the 3rd. Nope … three and out. They got another FG and we had another 3 and out. By then it was too late as our leaky defense was about to burst open. Whether it’s dropped passes, slightly misfired passes, crappy play-calling, a false start, missed FGs, etc, the Irish seem to screw up just enough on offense to come up empty in big games. How could we look pretty good on offense in the first half, yet look so terrible in the second? Is it possible that our resident genius was out-coached? Is it because our offensive line just isn’t very good and is very inconsistent to begin with? Is it because Rhema McKnight can’t catch a cold, let alone the ball? Is Brady Quinn possibly overrated as a passer? Do we totally lack break-away speed at RB and WR? YES!!!!!

So, aside from wearing the fake glasses and nose with mustache during the next two weeks, where do we go from here??? Well … I say we recruit like hell and try to get some blue-chip players … especially on defense!!!! And we should consider firing the entire defensive coaching staff and find some coaches who’ve demonstrated a track record and know what the hell they’re doing. It’s not like ND is an awful football team or program. We’re on the right path to improvement and God knows we’re better off now than during the Davie-ham era. But the pundits are right … ND is a pretender at the moment … have been all year … not a legit Top 10 team … and we won’t be next year. We’re only “Top 15-25” right now … obviously not capable of competing ON THE FIELD with the current football powers. So we better get more top players coming in and beat the other squads in the recruiting wars off the field.

What I can’t figure out is why ND is worse now versus last season. In ’05, we almost beat USC (shoulda, coulda won) and lost to Ohio St in a game that was at least competitive into the 4th quarter in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. This season, we had a real nice nucleus of players coming back, yet we lost 3 games by 26, 20 and 27 points. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s like we didn’t improve at all … I know the defense somehow was better statistically (how can that be?), but the offense was not nearly as prolific as expected and quite disappointing in the key games. Maybe we just played way over our heads last season?

Don’t really know the answer. I just know that I’m embarrassed for the Irish football program … again. Not because we stink, but because we alway seem to play like crap on the big stage. We can beat most of the teams on our schedule, but we’re just awful against the big guys. I do have good news though. Aside from saving money on my car insurance, the ND basketball team is something like 14-1 with their only loss coming to a pretty good team. They are just starting the rigorous Big East conference schedule, so don’t get too excited yet. But it’s been a loooooong time since they started a season like this. And has anyone outside of Alaska noticed that the Irish hockey team is #2 in the country???? You can look it up. GO IRISH !!!

See … ya just gotta move on … I have … I think. Time for a beer …

Wally

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11 Responses

  1. Paul…say it. Come on, just once. I know you’re out there. I know you can hear me. Nothing yet??? Alright, let me help. Notre Dame, Brady Quinn, and the jolly coach are overrated. Excruciatingly overrated.

    I’ll confess – usually I watch ND with hopes of seeing them get pounded to a pulp. But last night I watched without bias for the sole purposs of giving you (the man, myth, legend Paul G.) a chance. I found an ounce of softness in my heart for my dear friend Paul. Maybe Paul isn’t that bad of a guy even though he loves to follow every overrated team on the planet (ND, Duke, Giants,…. women’s soccer).

    So I watched with Paul’s hopes tucked in my heart. 7-0 before I could even chug my first beer (ok I lied, it was my 3rd). Fake punt from ND’s 35 yard line. Thanks Charlie. 14-0. Jamarcus Russell is HUGE. They kept it close until half but LSU’s talent took over in the second half.

    ND just doesn’t get the players that most of the other programs get. I’m not sure why or how they don’t, but it was right there on the TV in front of the nation. LSU’s WR’s bigger, faster, and stronger than ND’s. LSU’s defense swarmed the ball and was one step ahead of just about everything ND did and much more aggresive. Did anybody see the difference in size between LSU’s offensive line and ND’s defensive line? Or what about the Defensive End oops I mean Quarterback Jamarcus Russell?

    Maybe Charlie just needs more time to attract some studs that would rather go to programs like LSU, Florida, Miami, or any of those SEC teams. Notre Dame doesn’t produce the monster athletes that go to the NFL like the previous mentioned teams and I think that the 9 consecutive bowl losses are a reflection of that. Michigan will have O-line and D-line drafted in the first 2 rounds, as will USC. Florida has an outstanding secondary that will produce draft picks. Miami might as well be the NFL-DL considering how many players they produce. Ohio State and Auburn should also be mentioned. Now I know people are going to say, what about Brady Quinn and Jeff Smhowareya. I know, I know, they aren’t bad prospects. But the point I’m trying to make is the consistency of all the other schools compared to Notre Dame.

    So Paul, I will eagerly be awaiting a comment from you saying those magic words – “Notre Dame is overrated”. I can’t wait.

    Chris

  2. Last night’s debacle eerily reminded me of the ebb and flow versus the
    Trojans. Irish start slow, spot the opponent too many points. Manage to
    show some life in the second quarter and make things interesting, but
    squander a couple of opportunities to tie / maintain a tie or take the lead.
    Send us into halftime thinking:”ok we got a chance.” And then to friggin’
    lay an egg.

    I cannot agree enough with your assessment of the defense. Does Minter have
    them watch game film of the Giants? How did the LSU receivers seem to get
    so ridiculously open every time they needed a big play? And tackling…good
    Lord it is non-existent. I was thinking during the pre-game as Bradmush
    continued doting on Russell:”Wow! that guy looks like he can run. We better
    put a spy behind the line to make sure he doesn’t take off at will.” After
    two quarterback draws ND finally decided to commit a linebacker to that
    task.
    All in all it got to be 10:30, and I started worrying about the 7:25 am bell
    for first period class. So I decided to give the Irish until 11:00pm to
    make something good happen. At 11:15 I thought I’d give it ’til 11:30. At
    11:45 I abandoned ship. The 5 am alarm was brutal. Three nights in a row
    of watching bowl games is killing me.
    Can anyone say NCAA hoops? Time for some ACC action.
    Paul
    P.S. To Wu – The 2006-07 Irish football is overrated. About as overrated as the 06-07 Tar Heel hoops squad!!!!

  3. I think everyone agrees that ND’s current overall talent is deficient compared to the 3 teams they lost (badly) to this year. For that, they can thank Ty Willingham who was one of the laziest recruiters seen in a long time. Essentially, the current junior class has nothing in it, except for Darius Walker, and the sophomore class is also quite deficient. The current seniors lack depth, but have a few studs like Quinn, Samardjia and Carlson. Unlike his predecessor, Charlie Weiss is an outstanding recruiter … he landed a great class last year (this year’s frosh) and is well on his way to securing another superb class to sign in February. Recruiting great talent is the lifeblood of college sports, and although many of us are very disappointed in ND’s “big game” performances, we really won’t be able to judge Weis until after the 2008 season when his recruits are upperclassmen. Next year will be rough (gotta replace Quinn, etc), but ND SHOULD start really competing with the nation’s elite in 2008. It would also help to find some defensive coaches who have a clue.

  4. Agreed. It is becoming more and more apparent how little recruiting Willingham actually did.
    Many might point out how quickly Parseghian achieved success with the Irish, but this is a different era.
    The only thing wrong with Quinn and Samardjia is that they only had two seasons with Weis.
    Note to Wu – yeah I’ll gladly eat some crow – throw a li’l salt ‘n’ peppa on it wouldja. Just think how that crow is gonna taste after I spit up, and it’s covered in my bile ready for you to ingest. mmmm…good. And oh yeah Wu, are you gonna continue to ignore the New Year’s suggestions? Let’s see your comments.
    Anytime now we can expect Tooch to come riding in here with his ‘I told ya so’ hat on.

  5. I have to admit I did not watch the entire game but from the looks of it all I have to say is “Defense wins championships”. I think I mentioned that in an earlier writing somewhere but until ND finds a way to stop people they will struggle. I don’t necessarily think that you have to have a great defense to win, but one, that when they really need to, will come up with a turnover or a key stop. ND just did not do that enough this year. Is there a leader on the defensive side of the ball? Someone who everyone listens to when a team is driving and demands that everyone steps up and takes care of business. I do have to throw some respect for most of the Notre Dame fans out there (except maybe Paul)because they have admitted that they had a down year and have the integrity to say that they don’t belong with the other elite teams. Michigan fans I have spoken with still believe they should be playing Monday night. Let’s throw this one out there – How about ND vs. Boise state – who wins that one. Maybe, just maybe if Boise state has another great year they get a chance to play for a title. Some may think that with their 13-0 record they should have had a chance to play for a title but honestly, this whole Boise state thing is one of the attractions of the BCS for me. A team builds it case over time with quality wins and earns a chance to play for the Championship. Now if they can just find some teams that will want to play them.

    Hey Wally, FYI – no snow in Rochester for the past 2 months and high temps of 60 degrees tomorrow – did someone say let’s play some golf? Maybe AL Gore is on to something.

  6. WHOA!!!! Is that Tooch smackin’ me down? The same Tooch who is still in love with the BCS? How much is Myles paying you to come in here and advertise for the BCS? Yeah, like Boise State will ever get a chance to play for the chan’ship under the current system.

  7. You can’t be a great academic school and a great athletic school at the same time. Why? Because there are so many hours in the day.
    Besides the loss wasn’t that embarrassing, what is embarrassing is what the priest do with the new recruits. 🙂

  8. Also when it comes to Trojans, I don’t want to hear anything about ebb and flow. Yeah, that means you Pauly.

  9. Greg – ??? explain please!

  10. Before I leave work…

    Why couldn’t they have a tourney for football. This year there were 52 days between the last game and the title game. Wouldn’t that be plenty of time to set up a tourney? Roughly 7 weeks to go through a bracket…I think it could be done. Just a thought – Have a good weekend.

  11. Wuest, come on now – don’t you realize that the days between the end of the regular season and the bowl games is the end of the semester and the boys are in their dorm rooms studying for finals?

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