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NDNation.com Staff: Scott Engler - Michael Cash - John Vannie - Mike Coffey - Kayo - Bacchus

Sunday, September 20, 2009

McCarthy Saves Irish, Weis

posted by John Vannie
Kyle McCarthy’s interception inside the five yard line with 57 seconds left preserved a much needed 33-30 victory for the Fighting Irish against Michigan State. Notre Dame had taken the lead with 5:18 remaining on a perfectly thrown 33-yard pass from Jimmy Clausen to Golden Tate, but a tired Irish defense had to hold off a determined Spartan comeback that bore an eerie similarity to last week’s heartbreaking loss at Michigan.

Clausen was outstanding again, hitting 22 of 31 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. A third touchdown was disallowed by the Big-10 officiating crew, who confounded Notre Dame for the second consecutive week with several highly suspect calls. Armando Allen, arguably the most improved Irish player this season, ran for 115 yards on 23 carries. The junior tailback ran for one touchdown and threw for another.

The Irish started fast with quick touchdowns in its first two possessions, sandwiched around a field goal by Michigan State’s Brett Swenson. Notre Dame led 13-3 after a missed extra point, but the Spartans did not wilt. Despite a missed 52-yard field goal by Swenson at the end of the first quarter, Michigan State sacked Clausen on the next series and temporarily hobbled the Irish star. Clausen appeared to injure his foot and limped noticeably the rest of the way.

Two personal foul penalties jump started the Spartans moments later, and they cut into Notre Dame’s lead when reserve Keshawn Martin hit Blair White with a 30-yard halfback pass for a score. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio correctly sensed that the Irish were reeling after the penalties and the touchdown pass, so he ordered an onside kick. The Spartans easily recovered a perfectly executed boot by Swenson and were back in business.

Notre Dame quickly reversed the momentum when Kapron Lewis-Moore forced a fumble and Toryan Smith recovered for the Irish. Runs by Allen and Jonas Gray moved the offense into scoring territory, but Floyd’s outstanding catch in the end zone was seen as a touchdown by everyone on the planet except the referees. To make matters much worse, Floyd broke his collarbone when he landed on the play and is out indefinitely. After a fumbled snap two plays later cost them another chance at a touchdown, Notre Dame settled for a 22-yard field goal by Nicholas Tausch and a 16-10 lead.

Irish penalties enabled the Spartans to take the lead before the half. Pass interference and a facemask violation helped move the ball to the one yard line and Larry Caper finished the drive on a burst up the middle.

Trailing by a point, Notre Dame wasted little time upon receipt of the second half kickoff. Tate caught a deep ball from Clausen and Robbie Parris scored on a five yard pass from Allen out of the Wildcat formation. The Irish extended their lead with 5:34 left in the period when Tausch drilled a 47-yard field goal after Tate dropped a perfect throw from Clausen inside the Spartan five.

Once again, Michigan State rallied from the brink of defeat. Quarterback Kirk Cousins directed his team down the field and Caper finished the drive with a seven yard scamper around left end. Ethan Johnson blocked the extra point and the Irish lead was 26-23 at the end of the third period.

Cousins continued his sharp second half passing with ten straight completions in one stretch. He hit Mark Dell on a slant with ten minutes left, and missed tackles by the tiring Irish defense allowed Dell to ramble for 59 yards. Cousins hit White for the go-ahead score from 17 yards out moments later for a 30-26 Spartan lead.

Clausen came right back with what proved to be the game-winning pass to Tate, who held on this time despite running into the Michigan State band after the catch. When the Spartans went three and out on the next series, Notre Dame hoped for a time consuming drive to run out the clock. Unfortunately, another costly penalty and a mishap in the Irish backfield from the Wildcat formation forced Notre Dame to punt the ball back to Michigan State with 2:58 remaining.

The Spartans quickly moved from their own 20 into Swenson’s field goal range as Cousins hit B.J. Cunningham at the Irish 30. A subsequent third down completion on a fortunate pass deflection moved the ball to the Notre Dame 18 yard line with 1:20 on the clock. As Irish fans fidgeted in their seats, Cousins lofted a pass into the end zone where Caper stood completely alone. The ball sailed inches above his outstretched arms, and the Notre Dame faithful breathed a sigh of relief that the 5’11” Caper was not Charles Rogers or Plaxico Burress.

Notre Dame’s struggling defense dug deep on the next play to stave off defeat. Darius Fleming beat his man to get pressure on Cousins, who lofted a wounded duck over the middle. McCarthy cut in front of the receiver to snag it to save the day. With overtime almost a certainty given the accuracy of Swenson, and with more than a minute still on the clock, it’s mind-boggling that Cousins would attempt to throw the ball deep over the middle. After the events of last week, however, the Irish were more than happy to accept the gift.

Coach Charlie Weis tried to downplay the impact of the victory on his future employment prospects, but it indeed saved him from a week of intense heat and speculation. Notre Dame technically kept its BCS Bowl chances alive, but the defense is certainly not at a BCS level right now.

Let’s review the answers to the key questions coming into this contest.

Can Notre Dame avoid a letdown after a disappointing loss? Yes, the Irish started fast and were emotionally into the game.

Will Notre Dame play more disciplined defense or continue to be out of position? The secondary played a soft zone and was burned often because the front seven did not apply much pressure.

Can the interior of the Irish offensive line keep Jones from dominating in the middle? Yes, Jones was not a significant factor despite nine tackles.

How will Cousins handle the pressure from a blitzing defense? Great, right up until his final pass.

Will Weis be able to keep the Spartans off balance with his play calling? Weis had the Spartans reeling in the first quarter with scripted plays, and had several other successes in the second half despite losing Floyd from his arsenal.

Will a special teams play have an effect on the outcome? Absolutely. The onside kick, missed extra points by both teams and Tausch’s 47 yarder were all important.

Can Notre Dame’s much maligned defensive front stop the Spartans’ anemic running game? Yes, Ian Williams played well and the Spartans managed only 105 yards on the ground.

Will Allen be at full speed, and if not can Gray and Riddick pick up the slack? Thankfully, Allen was ready and productive. Gray runs well but is a liability when trying to pick up the blitz.

Notre Dame will travel to Purdue next week to complete the Big 10 portion of the schedule. Although the rebuilding Boilermakers should not pose a difficult challenge, the Irish have already seen a full season’s quota of phantom penalties and head scratching replay decisions. The current 2-1 record does not reflect the best of times nor the worst of times, but one can sense that this season is not meant for the faint of heart.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice article.

"but one can sense that this season is not meant for the faint of heart."

says it all right there.

9/20/2009 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

The defense has been dissapointing, but the offense has been very good even without Floyd. Clausen has been great and he should be mentioned as a Heisman candidate. As for the Big 10 refs, I dont think they are making bad calls, I think they are flat out cheating. I thought it last week, but after the Floyd call I am positive of it. I cant wait for the Purdue game to be over so we can be done with the Big 10 refs. It's amazing that they are not held accountable for being that bad.

9/20/2009 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

The only possible explanation for disallowing Floyd's TD is the mysterious "continuation" rule, but I have to wonder...how long does a guy have to maintain possession after a score for that to matter? I mean, a receiver can make a catch in the back of the end zone, get one foot down before he steps out, and then pitch the ball to an official for a good TD...but Floyd can't make an outstanding catch, get TWO feet safely in bounds before being tackled out of bounds and on the ground before the ball is wrestled free from him, and be awarded the touchdown?

9/20/2009 02:28:00 AM  
Blogger Shane said...

Sadly, had to miss most of the game due to a job interview... But after watchign replays, still can't figure out the reversal on the Floyd injury (shoulda-been-a-TD) play. Anyone able to remotely justify it? I had an FSU alum who hates ND even side (albeit drunkenly) with me this evening.

9/20/2009 04:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The current 2-1 record does not reflect the best of times nor the worst of times, but one can sense that this season is not meant for the faint of heart." Amen to that!

9/20/2009 05:10:00 AM  
Blogger irish rifle said...

Call on the Floyd touchdown was as bad as I have seen in over 50 years of following Notre Dame football. Not as costly as, for example, the phantom offensive holding call at SC on the one yard line in 1964 that cost us a touchdown and a National Championship, but just as bad. Floyd clearly had full possession of the ball, brought his left foot down, took another step in bounds with his right foot, was tackled out of bounds, hit the ground in possession of the ball and the defender finally pulled the ball from his hands as he was injured hitting the ground. There was indisputable evidence of the catch, which required overturning the incorrect call on the field, so by rule the call had to be reversed by the replay official. Great that we won the game despite this, but the officiating crew should be disciplined by the Big 10 for this travesty.

9/20/2009 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes said...

I had 10 questions after this game:
1. How many passes will Golden Tate drop this year? He's averaging at least one per game.
2. Will our kickoffs ever reach the endzone?
3. How many consecutive linebacker blitzes can we run without putting appreciable pressure on the opposing QB?
4. Why is John Tenuta still directing the defense? It is woefully inept.
5. Can we continue to count on gifts like Cousins's overthrow of Capers in the endzone?
6. Why wasn't an ND defender within 10 yards of Capers?
7. Does any running back besides Armando Allen understand how to recognize and defeat (block) a blitz?
8. When will we recognize and maintain a rhythm in the running game and use it to manage the clock? (Kudos, by the way, to Armando Allen. His hard work in the offseason obviously paid great dividends. I agree he is the most improved player on the team).
9. How many times will we attempt to defeat ourselves with frequent and stupid penalties?
10. When did we agree to use high school referees at ND games? For the USC game, perhaps we can recruit officials from the South Bend Society for the Blind. This would be a significant improvement over the zebras from the Pac-10.

Patrick Mikes
ND '79

9/20/2009 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he didn't "TRY" to downplay his job security -- he DID downplay it. he cares only about ND, the kids, and victories -- probably in that order. why don't you paranoids lay off him and let him do his job? we have the same record as SC right now.

9/20/2009 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous jason said...

still to early to start chanting??


especially since his buyout is minimal to none because cinci did not uphold his contract stipulations of improving their athletic facilities.

I'm tired of being MEDIOCRE....


9/20/2009 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Great article!

Do we yet know the status of Clauson and exactly what his injury was?

9/20/2009 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scranton Dave, you're right on point about the defense and the Pig 10 "refs." They should be fired. Shane, I hope you get the job.

When it comes to replays and ND touchdowns, you can count on a bad call. Remember Stanford 2007? It's pathetic that officials feel like they have to impact the outcome of a game at ND's expense. I don't know if they'll televise the Purdue game in Denver, but I expect a repeat of crappy calls/non-calls by another Pig 10 crew. Unfortunately, Pac 10 officiating isn't much better, and they'll be calling the Washington, USC and Stanford games. Not sure about Washington State (neutral site). It would be nice to see a well-called game for once, just to see how the Irish would perform. Is that asking too much? Every time the Irish make a great play, I'm watching for the laundry.

Can't do much about the Irish penalties that are legit, but if I were CW, I'd be incorporating some Lou Holtz-style discipline on the culprits.

The defense is horrible, and it's defense that wins championships. If the Irish have some of the best pass defenders in the game right now, then how is it that opponents are slicing and dicing them with their passing attack? Tenuta's all hype and his blitzing calls have become predictable.

Hang in there, folks, we're in for another season that'll result in mass consumption of amber sodas to put out those flames!



9/20/2009 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that what it comes down to is that it might...just might come down to coaching....I truly think we have superior talent to just about everyone in the nation...I'm sorry for Floyd...but I still think with the depth we have...we should be able to win most of our games...BUT....it feels as if the bar has been lowered at ND...and THAT is the problem I have....with all the tradition, the facilities...(have you seen the GUGS?), the resources, the nbc contract, the national exposure...I think...if we dont start destroying teams like we used to (see Knute, Leahy, Ara, Devine and Holtz)....then we are simply going to wade in the waters of mediocrity....

I mean...can we seriously not find a guy that can make a kick off past the ten yard line? 100 yards in penalties? missed extra points?

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH....Coach Weis...I love ND, so it's time you started playing with fire EACH and EVERY PLAY...it's time you start blowing people out....and it's time to start playing like the way the IRISH used to play...

Or bring someone in that will



9/20/2009 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

Irish Rifle- The Big 10 is not going to discipline the officials at all. They were just following instructions to help the Big 10 teams and go against ND. The Big 10s rep has taken such a hit in the last few years cause they cant beat anybody, that they will do anything they can to try to help their teams. Also, they are against us cause we didnt join their crappy conference. Penn St being in the top 5 with a schedule of home games vs Akron, Syracuse and Temple is a joke.

9/20/2009 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good summary. In the part on the onside kick, you did not address if the kick was legal or not. The onside kick did go 10 yards but then came back before being recovered. Somewhere in the past 12 hours I read a post that the rule is the onside kick has to go 10 yards and stay 10 yards from when kicked in order to be recovered by the kicking team. Is that correct? Was the onside kick correctly called?

9/20/2009 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

What exactly has Brian Kelly done that makes him the perfect candidate for the ND job. Last I checked we have a head coach and we should get behind him and the team and see what happens.
Brian Kelly has done nothing of significance at Cincy, and if they win the Big East I still won't be impressed.
Didn't Ty have a few good years at Stanford. Remind me how well that worked out for ND.

9/20/2009 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the biggest tragedy was the first unsportsmanlike penatly we tackle a guy out of bounds by the shoe, later Jonas Gray tackled by a second player out of bounds not even the guys who pushed him out and...NO CALL, come on Big Ten last week it looked questionable, this week intentional.

Wonder what Mark May has to say!!!

9/20/2009 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger BSei said...

As long as we're dredging up the ghosts of bad referee calls, how about the call nullifying a touchdown at home vs. BC in 2002. That was the game that started Ty's downfall. I don't remember the receiver, but the touchdown was called out-of-bounds in the pre-replay days when everyone sitting there clearly saw that it was IN. The Irish went in the tank immediately after that game. Losing 5 of 8 fumbles didn't help either!

9/20/2009 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what has brian kelly done? HERE YOU GO.

Grand Valley State Lakers (Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference) (1991–1998)
1991 Grand Valley State 9–3
1992 Grand Valley State 8–3
1993 Grand Valley State 6–3–2
1994 Grand Valley State 8–4
1995 Grand Valley State 8–3
1996 Grand Valley State 8–3
1997 Grand Valley State 9–2
1998 Grand Valley State 9–3
Grand Valley State: 65–24–2

Grand Valley State Lakers (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1999–2003)
1999 Grand Valley State 5–5
2000 Grand Valley State 7–4
2001 Grand Valley State 13–1
2002 Grand Valley State 14–0
2003 Grand Valley State 14–1
Grand Valley State: 53–11

Central Michigan Chippewas (Mid-American Conference) (2004–2006)
2004 Central Michigan 4–7 3-5 5th (West)
2005 Central Michigan 6–5 5-3 4th (West)
2006 Central Michigan 9–4 7-1 1st (Overall) Motor City Bowl (did not coach bowl)
Central Michigan: 19–16

Cincinnati Bearcats (Big East Conference) (2006–present)
2006 Cincinnati 1–0 0–0
2007 Cincinnati 10–3 4–3
2008 Cincinnati 11–3 6–1
2009 Cincinnati 3-0 1-0 1st

Cincinnati: 25–6 11–4

Total: 162–57–2

Brian Kelly has done a turnaround on 3 programs.

or get behind our coach?
I was behind him for 4 years.
Look at the product on the field each saturday.
I'd rather not beat my head against a brick wall anymore.

change or not, GO IRISH! always.

9/20/2009 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's an impressive record at Grand Valley State. We are talking about the head coach at ND position being available correct. I saw a quite a few 3 loss seasons against teams that ND would crush. So if we are fine with 3 loss seasons why not keep the current coach.
His predecessor left him with nothing the last two years and you can't dispute that fact. We had to start a hurt freshman QB, freshman RB that was coming off a serious high school injury, a line that was absolutely horrible and gave up the most sacks in history.
The football program was pretty much on the death penalty after Brady Quinn and Company left.
I am just as upset as some of the things that happen on Saturday's but this current group of players have chosen to play for Charlie Weis and it just seems foolish to me to call for his head after every game...win or lose.

9/20/2009 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to an earlier comment, I saw a post on another board that said a kick must go ten yards AND STAY TEN YARDS!

I hate the idea of blaming the refs. It sounds like a whine. But you just can't ignore the failure of the Big 10 refs to call the games consistently. Oh wait. They do call the games consistently. They are consistently against Notre Dame.

Don't we get to bring Big East refs to Purdue, since we're the visiting team?

9/20/2009 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UND needs to decide if it will let the program win championships or just provide entertainment for the Faithful. When will the Irish standup fror themselves and stop worrying what everyone else thinks?!

We ARE NOT the IVY nor the Standfords, etc...WE ARE THE IRISH!!! There needs to be a cleansing at the Administration building of those who are living in Fantasy-land! Get back to the basics and act like the leading Catholic university of the country. However, I am afraid we are on the road of becoming another Boston College, Georgetown. etc. Catholic in name only....

9/20/2009 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard enough from the Tenuta bashers. Tenuta's resume speaks for itself. What is he supposed to do? Our defensive linemen are incapable of bringing any pressure. If we drop 7 or 8 into coverage and stop blitzing, the opposing QB will have even more time to find open WRs. No defensive back, no matter how talented, can consistently cover receivers if they have up to 10 seconds to find open space.

A coach is only as good as his players. A reoccurring problem during the Weis regime has been his inability to land physical, defensive players, who want to punish the opposing team. Regretfully, Tenuta just doesn't have the horses to work with. Until we improve our recruiting effort, no scheme will be able to hide our lack of talent. Of course, that's hard to explain to some people who believed that we were making the leap from 7-6 to 13-0.


9/20/2009 07:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes ND '79 said...

Yeah, right. Tenuta has nothing but a bunch of patsies with whom to work.

U of M and MSU offenses were hot knives, and ND defense was butter.

Are you suggesting we don't have defensive talent sufficient to play better than we did against those two teams? Sorry, but I don't buy it.

9/20/2009 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes ND '79 said...

I graduated from ND in '79, and I love the team. I don't want to criticize them all the time.

But Ray, would you agree that regardless of our talent level, we should be able to improve our tackling significantly. This is a fundamental skill that anyone playing at ND's level should have. We don't tackle well.

9/20/2009 08:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want Weis to succeed as much as the next guy but it seems like every game against a top 35 team is decided in the last seconds. It would be nice if ND could have a game firmly in hand by the 4th qtr instead of letting opposing teams hang around.

I've never seen such spotty and inconsistent defense in all my years as an ND fan. It makes we want to circulate a "Bring back Kent Baer" petition. MSU isn't exactly posses a high octane, "lights out" offense yet they hung 459 yards and 30 points (nearly 37) on ND.

Sark at Washington is a Norm Chow Jr. and I'm afraid he'll probably run circles around Tenuta. I'm expecting ND to yield 700 yards to the Huskies.

This is year 5 of the Weis regime, ND has arguably one of the most talented offenses in college football and we can only eke out a 3 point victory over a slightly above average MSU team. There's one thing we can all count on, and that is a Weis coached ND team will always underachieve.

9/20/2009 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had it with the Weis apologists. St. Mary's could put up 30+ points against our defense! I also note that a first year USC Offensive Coordinator now Head Coach at Washington beat USC-- with TY recruits no less! WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT WEIS?

9/20/2009 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

"10. When did we agree to use high school referees at ND games?"

As a high school referee, I take offense at that comment.

And as a person who has officiated high school and college football, I am inclined to defend officials. I wish I could do so in this case . . .

9/20/2009 10:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes ND '79 said...


I think the correct question is, what does it say about Pete Carroll that his team finds a way to blow every recent season by losing to a vastly inferior opponent?

It says that none of these coaches is a god, and that men like Rockne, Leahy, & Parseghian come along once in a generation.

9/20/2009 11:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Irish_Angst said...

I'd like to see Notre Dame hire their own officials instead of using ones affiliated with a conference.

Maybe after all the howling that would cause nationwide, a conversation can occur as to the inherent conflict of interest of having refs paid by a conference and have regional refs paid by the NCAA instead.

9/20/2009 11:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why people are calling for Charlie's job...

If anyone should be on the hot seat it should be Tenuta, his defense that sends 6 men every play without getting pressure and leaving the secondary hanging out to dry doesn't seem to be working and he hasn't shown signs of changing his ways...

9/21/2009 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

"If anyone should be on the hot seat it should be Tenuta, his defense that sends 6 men every play without getting pressure and leaving the secondary hanging out to dry doesn't seem to be working and he hasn't shown signs of changing his ways..."

Bingo. And you probably heard them mention during the broadcast that Tenuta was practically bragging about having only used the base defense for something like 14 plays in the first two games.

If Tenuta had been a German General in WWII in charge of the original "Blitz," the British would known they were coming, and just opened fire every nightand brought down a lot of planes. Blitzes are supposed to catch the opposition off balance - leave them surprised and hopefully short handed. Forget about the element of surprise when teams know you will be blitzing most plays, and they have a week to prepare for it.

Two games into the season, we're being gashed by quick hitters to where linebackers used to be, and hot passes to where safeties used to be. And sadly, none of those linebackers or safeties are geting home. The reward has not been worth the risk (unless you're the opposition - they are satisfied with guessing right every three plays, because those plays are always big gains).

Ironically, the McCarthy interception came on a play where 4 rushed, and a linebacker came on a delayed blitz when he saw the back remaining in the backfield. That probably shocked Cousins so much he chucked it up for grabs. If Tenuta really wants to shock Purdue, he should rush three on every play, and fill the pasing lanes with players ready to pick off quick slant passes or hot-read fly patterns.

9/21/2009 03:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider a nicely worded letter. Remember, we are ND...so keep it respectful.

James Delany, Commissioner
Bill Carollo, Coordinator of Officiating-Football
Big Ten Conference
1500 West Higgins Road
Park Ridge, IL 60068-6300
(847) 696-1010

9/21/2009 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack Durkin said...

Someone mentioned improving Nd's tackling, but noone has mentioned Kyle McCarthy. I agree that ND needs to bring more pressure on the QB. Many of States completions were made on receivers who were extremely well-covered. That is, with the exception of the overthrown ball in the corner of the end-zone. Whew! Go Irish

9/21/2009 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger michael said...

Jack, we must have benn watching different games. This is the same sorry pass defense for the past five years. Where is Corwin Brown? I counted 9 screw-ups by Walls alone. This is the same Holtz mentality: don't lose the game for us,let them catch the ball and tackle them(paraphraseed)offibir

9/21/2009 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for Floyd's should-be TD; maybe it wasn't a great idea for CW to tell the world how much Big Ten refs suck after the UM game. Doesn't seemed to have gained any favor with them.

9/21/2009 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Grand Valley State where Thornton Mellon went back to school? I want to support Weis while he's still our coach, but what about Mike Leach?

9/21/2009 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...some of these comments are unbelievable. Then again, I can understand the disappointment. Based on the probability poll, it sounds like many of you worked yourself up to a frenzy believing that we were going to finish the regular season undefeated. I guess I would be devastated with this start as well if I set unrealistic expectations.

To remove Tenuta at this point would be foolish. Sorry Patrick, but he's had just 3 games to implement his system. If you followed Tenuta at his last stop, you'd understand the effectiveness of his coaching schemes. As I said before, we have no talent on D. Please name me one player among our front 7 that would start on any top-10 team. Exactly...you can't. Once again, there is an absence of talent.

For the people who criticize his blitzing "every down," there are plenty of teams that blitz more often than not. Florida State comes to mind, and Mickey Andrews is recognized as one of the top coordinators in college football history. It's about bringing players from different points on the field and Tenuta has done that. At some point, your players need to make plays. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened AT ALL since Weis took over since finesse became the hallmark of ND football. You guys make it sound like Tenuta took over this defensive powerhouse and ran it into the ground in 3 games. Please people.

Maybe if we ran the ball more and kept our defense off the field, our defense would be fresh and have more of a chance. I know that's a crazy thought, but I'd like to remind everyone that this isn't arena or fantasy football.


9/21/2009 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Not for nothing, but this is Tenuta's third year at ND.

9/21/2009 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those of you critizing coach Tenuta for the blitz strategy this year lack an understanding of ND defensive personnel. Defensive line recruiting has whiffed on high caliber recruits for several years in row. We have excellent skill in the secondary though. Since we will not be able to apply pressure from just our undersized D linemen, the next best option is to blitz for pressure and leave secondary folks in more frequent single coverage. That said, the real enigma is why the blitz is not working more frequently? If you want to blame Tenuta for that, that is a legitimate gripe.

9/21/2009 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

"Maybe if we ran the ball more and kept our defense off the field, our defense would be fresh and have more of a chance."

Notre Dame had the ball for NINE more minutes than MSU, and only 2 or 3 minutes less than Michigan. If "fresh" was the problem, they should have pitched a shut out Saturday. ND has run the ball more times than they threw the ball in both games.

Defend Tenuta all you want, but you shouldn't lose a game when you score over 30 points. That's not defensive genius. The Irish don't need to make huge defensive plays, they just need to slow down the other team and stop them occaisionally.

. . . and it wouldn't hurt to maybe spend a little extra time on some tackling drills . . .

9/21/2009 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point about Sarc and Washington. They're a force to be reckoned with when they invade on 10/3, and I'm there to see it. We'll need a good showing against Purdue and most importantly, no more injuries going into Washington.

On another subject, can anyone tell me how the outdoor pep rallies have been? I was planning on watching the one before Washington, but I read in the Observer that there isn't much of a showing by the student body since the Irish Green is a long walk from the quads. I also read that only a few members of the football team showed up. Is there truth to this?


9/21/2009 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are a moron. We are loaded with talent on defense. Especially in the linebackers and secondary where every starter is 3, 4, or 5-star recruit. We have had top recruiting classes for the last three years. Brian Smith, Flemming, and Ethan Johnson would all start at many top programs. Regardless, any shortcomings in the program fall squarely on CW's shoulders as he has been at the helm for four years. Also, we ran the ball on 37 of 71 plays. Seems pretty balanced to me. Moreover, our passing has been extremely effective for three consecutive weeks. Clean it up. You're better than that.

9/21/2009 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vannie, you accomplish your goal with every post you write. The Weis haters love to read your rants, because you are one. While there were a few positives in your message, the underlying theme is always the same...dump Weis. We have played three games and in the last two had two touchdowns called back on questionable judgements. As others have pointed out, there were other calls against ND in the UM game and in our game last Saturday. Try giving credit to Weis when it is due.

9/21/2009 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike -

No offense, but Tenuta was hired in 2008 and didn't become the D coordinator until February. He's been the D coordinator for 3 games.

For the guy who called me a moron...great counterpoint! We have such great talent on defense which is why we're going to have no first round selections in the next 2 NFL drafts...but keep believing whatever propaganda you're being fed.

Nothing would make me happier than winning out, but we need more effort and we need playmakers to emerge.

- Ray

9/21/2009 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The talent on defense is there. Ethan Johnson was a top target of USC, Kapron Lewis Moore was recruited by all Big 12 schools, Darius Fleming was a top 150 recruit and was Steve Filer, Darrin Walls was the Pete Carroll's top DB recruit in 2005, Gary Gray was coveted by all SEC schools, Ian Williams was a Univ. of Florida "B" list recruiting prospect, Kerry Neal could have signed with North Carolina or Virginia Tech, Pete Carroll salivated over Manti Teo. Need I go on?

I could go on. The defensive players on the roster aren't exactly recruiting castoffs as I've shown. We don't expect Tenuta to pitch a shutout every game but simply slowing down the opposing offense, some occasional big plays, and a sack or two isn't too much to ask with talent at hand.

9/21/2009 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it werent for bad luck, the Irish wouldn't have any luck at all....Man...oh Man...CW comes in with virtually no recruits, but some top talent who hadnt been coached well...see BQ, Shark, Carlson, Sullivan, etc...and he turns them into winners right off the shoot....2 bcs bowls...and then he gets stuck with the death knell in 07 and 08....but rebuilds nicely...4 top tier recruiting classes and momentum...and then he gets blindsided by the Big Ten Officials...doing everything in their power to ensure ND loses the game...and then he loses the best receiver in the nation....

NOW...is the time for others to step up...For Duval and Parris to play like big time recruits they were out of college, for the defense to start hustling on every play...for Kerry Neal to make a tackle...for Tenuta to hand the reigns to Corwin Brown...and for this time to play each GAME AS IF IT WERE AN ELIMINATION game...that's it...play each game as if you want it more than air...play for your coach..play for Floyd...for Jimmy who's on the fast track to the heisman...nows the time for Golden to take extra balls in practice..for this team to wake up and START KICKING SOME TAIL...


Well, boys ... I haven't a thing to say.
Played a great game...all of you. Great game.
(He tries to smile.)
I guess we just can't expect to win ‘em all.
(Rockne pauses and says quietly.)
I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years --
None of you ever knew George Gipp.
It was long before your time.
But you know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame...
(There is gentle, faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the boy's words.)
And the last thing he said to me -- "Rock," he said -
"sometime, when the team is up against it -- and the
breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go out there
with all they got and win just one for the Gipper...
(Knute's eyes become misty and his voice is unsteady as he finishes.)
I don't know where I'll be then, Rock", he said - "but
I'll know about it - and I'll be happy."



9/21/2009 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

Love that last anonymous post. Charlie isnt blameless for the last 2 years, but the bottom line is Charlie was dealt a bad hand by Ty's last recruiting (cough) efforts. The Defense should be better no doubt, and I'm not sure how much blame should go where, but there is 4 and 5 star talent on defense. Personally I would like to see Teo and Filer on the field more. As many mistakes as the irish made against Michigan, I completely agree that we beat them and are 3-0 right now if not for the Big 10 officials. however, that doesnt mean this team cant get better cause it can. I also agree that every player should take it upon himself to step up for Floyd. I remember back to the summer talking with friends that are ND fans and talking about all the depth we have and saying how guys like walker and Goodman would be playing at a lot of other schools. Well, here is their chance. No, no one player is going to replace Floyd, but with the improvement of the OLIne, Allen and Clausen, and with Tate, Rudolph and the other talented recievers, we should still have one of the best offenses in the nation. We can still have a great season, lets just take it 1 game at a time starting Saturday night. Go Irish!!

9/23/2009 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great last comment, great. why do you guys have to put yourself to the forefront and take it on yourself to self promote by your envy of CW or your dislike of CW? crazy, i for 1 think its the lack of self worth and need to be the loud mouth town cryer, the guy that wants to ANNOUNCE bad news and get credit for it- CHARLIE WEIS is the best thing to happen to the scchool of Our Lady since LOU HOLTZ. keep watching. we will win 90% of our games the next 10 years period.

9/24/2009 03:16:00 AM  
Blogger usaldt1 said...

Yes my friend you are correct in that a Big 10 crew was on the field Officiating the game, however up in the press box the "Big East Replay Crew" (in their infinite wisdow)with unlimited time and umpteen views of the play overruled the call on the field thus removing 6 pts for the Irish

9/24/2009 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

There's some debate about what happened. The replay crew has alleged they thought the call was a TD and confirmed it. The ref's statement of "it's a catch" on the field contributed to that confusion.

9/24/2009 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Gipper 78 said...

Yes.. i have seen the replay a dozen times and after the review.. the ref signals it a catch pulling his arms down. Not waving it off or the out of bounds signal. That type of confusion is unacceptable and should be delt with for any game-team.

9/24/2009 02:16:00 PM  

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