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Clausen vs. Quinn

(NDNation.com - The Rock Report) - When I wrote that Clausen would be better than Quinn in this offense by mid-year this year I received a fair amount of "you're crazy" emails and even more "you're a moron, Quinn was a record setting QB" emails. But mid way through Clausen's sophomore year, Clausen's numbers are very close to Quinn's senior years numbers... surprisingly close.

Through six games in 2006, Quinn threw for 1634 yards, 16 touchdowns and completed 63.5% of his passes averaging 7.01 yards per attempt.

Trough six games in 2008, Clausen threw for 1631 yards, 14 touchdowns and completed 61.6% of his passes averaging 7.45 yards per attempt.

Clausen does have a worse TD/INT ratio than Quinn, but I'm not sure there's much of a difference between the two right now. I'm starting to believe that Clausen has an even more impressive cadre of wide receivers to work with.

Time will certainly tell, but I believe what will make Clausen better is the fact that he puts the ball in very tiny spaces with great consistency.

Upon Further Review, Harbaugh is a Whiner

After Notre Dame's not near as close as it seemed victory over Stanford, Tree coach Jim Harbaugh was clearly unhappy with a second-quarter call in which the officials penalized the Cardinal for interfering with a punt returner's ability to catch the ball.

What Harbaugh (and Haden for that matter) thought he saw was a Stanford player penalized for one Notre Dame player bumping another, which in his mind nullified a muffed punt that would have given Stanford back the ball.

One problem with that point of view. The ball hit a Stanford players in the back who clearly impeded Allen's ability to catch the punt. Blocking a player from catching the ball fits any possible definition of interference. It never touched a Notre Dame player. While Harbaugh and Haden focused on the contact (which was ND on ND) the actual infraction was committed two feet away by the Stanford player standing in the way of the punt. This guy didn't even get it after the fact.

It wasn't the contact that was the issue, it was standing in the way of the punt that was the problem. It was an obvious foul that had to be called.

Yet Harbaugh blew a gasket, ran onto the field the threw his hat. After the game, in unsolicited comments, he said, "It's hard to imagine people don't know football any better than that."

Monday the Pac-10 reprimanded Harbaugh for ass-like behavior.

"Pac-10 officials have reviewed video of the play, and it is apparent the Stanford player covering the punt impeded the Notre Dame player attempting to catch it.

"The call was correct."

He also complained about the spot on Robert Hughes first down run, which for those not watching closely (like Haden,) seemed to fall short. But what the ref saw and Haden didn't was Hughes extending the ball out over first down marker as he was being tackled.

Nothing new here for Harbaugh. He came into the league whining and it appears, much like many Michigan men before him, he'll whine his way through his career.

At first I thought he was just trying to drum up publicity for a Stanford team that can't fill its reduced sized stadium (see Marinelli,) but now it's clear Harbaugh (as Kabong noted and I was thinking) has a little Matt Doherty in him.

If nothing else it beats Buddy Ball and will make the yearly match-up more intriguing.

I can see the JOB t-shirts.

Jims Outrageous Bunch!

At least Stanford won't be boring every year.

Reports From the Front Lines

All in all, posters are reporting a marked change in atmosphere inside the stadium and many noted that you could hear the results through the television in a crowd that was much more connected to the game and [gasp] having fun. Positive changes are happening.

The excise police "forced Breathalyzer" seems to be the main complaint. If you have a problem with unfair police or usher tactics, please send them to: fortheloveofnd@gmail.com. They're going to be taking affidavits, collecting stories and posting video and pictures of reported abuse on their website. Remember to bring your camera to games to document any incidents and note the section number take a moment to get the usher's name. They also have a team of lawyers to advise you.

Here are the reports from the front lines.
  • We were tailgating in the Stadium Lot about 30 yards from Legends. The family across the aisle from us had one of those large tent-like things set up with some chairs, a picnic table, grill and other tailgating items. Around noon or so, they are simply enjoying the weather and good company when a girl, age 20, was approached by 5 law enforcement types. Two cops, two NDSP folks and one other person whose affiliation I couldn't really determine. They asked the girl what she was drinking (rum and coke), how old she was (20) and if they could see her ID. When she couldn't produce her ID, they went into full gestapo mode. Breathalyzer, intense questioning, etc. all as this girl stood there in hysterics trying to understand why she was being singled out. For the better part of and hour this girl and her parents pleaded with the police and kept repeating one line which struck me, "This is not right."
  • These folks were minding their own business on a pretty tame morning as far as tailgating goes and were completely shook down by the cops and NDSP. On top of all that, they had a WNDU guy following them around for a story about the crackdown on underage drinking.
    The only silver lining I took from this whole incident was that several people were taking pictures and video of the incident on their cameras and phones. The whole scene was just disgusting. If you're one of those guys who were asking the names of the officers and taking pictures, thank you and keep fighting the good fight.
  • I knew of someone that refused the breathalyzer this weekend. He got out of jail at around 1 or 2 this afternoon. They used a number of tactics, including strapping him down in a chair and putting him in a separate cell, just to get him to breathalyze. He never did and they kept him for as long as they could. He spent almost 24 hours and jail and was still charged with PI. I know what the consensus on here was regarding blowing or not, but it seems like they are intimidating people into breathalizing.
  • I see a Title 42 USC 1983 action developing.
  • Two ushers watched a kid doing pushups behind me in 25. It happened multiple times. Neither said a word.
  • Does anyone know why the girl in the green jersey with brown vest over it was getting ejected from the game? I was on my way back down to the field as the ushers were escorting her out, and she didn't seem intoxicated, plus there had been no big plays in the past few minutes. Was this a legitimate heave-ho, or more abuse of power?
  • I videotaped an ejection yesterday. I'll post it later with my thoughts.
  • There was definitely a different feeling about the ushers... From what I heard, there were almost no incidents with ushers on Saturday, either in the student section or elsewhere. One student I spoke with simply complained that they were being strict about students attempting to move between sections, but that's hardly something worth complaining about. If the University has advised Cappy and his bunch to modify their directives, I think some kudos are warranted. It'll be a gradual process, but it appears as though the initial steps have been taken towards taking back our University.
  • As a sophomore in the band, I have now seen ten away teams walk up the tunnel and into their locker room prior to the band's pregame show. Stanford's team is not only the first team that has acknowledged the presence of the band lining their path to the locker room, but also the first to trash talk us. One guy, a DT named James McGillicuddy, pranced around and loudly repeated the phrase to several teammates, "This one time at band camp!" Doug Baldwin, the receiver that put up the last touchdown for Stanford, strutted by us shortly after we finished playing the victory march, yelling, "PLAY ANOTHER SONG!" Others acted in similar manner. I can only imagine how intimidating our team must have been to make them scurry into the tunnel and take it out on us. I laughed pretty hard after they had sifted through, and felt that much more confident about the game. Also I looked for McGillicuddy on the field after the game to get a word with him, but I think he must have been one of the first into the tunnel.

The Spin Doctor is In

"It's real, you should say something"

Can't remember the movie, but this quote is apropos given the current controversy around tailgate-gate.

Bill Kirk and Cappy Gagnon have been calling alumni who've complained to address their concerns. Key themes we've heard:
  1. This didn't happen (cite some statistic)
  2. These are Internet rumors
  3. Even though we don't really believe this stuff, we've heard your concerns and will do better
  4. You should feel satisfied now
Uh, hum.

First, an observation. These concerns have been voiced for the last two years on NDNation in various forms, but they never reached a tipping point like they did this year. Once some started sharing their stories the others came out of the wood work with such rapidity and passion that it was clear we became an outlet for unexpressed thought and pain. Those that came forward have not been quietly waiting for their moment to strike, they'd been hiding their stories - probably embarrassed - and most likely felt theirs was an isolated incident. The pattern doesn't fit lying, though I'm sure there was some percentage of piling on and exaggeration. There has to be, especially if one is emotionalized. That said, just reading these, it's impossible for a rational person to conclude that these are all made up stories. What's clear is that many are coming forward reluctantly because they feel change is needed. If 50% of them are true, there's a big problem. A guesstimate after doing this for years, is that 50 is more like 90%. But that's debatable. The next point isn't. I find the Spin doctor take, that these are just crazy internet rumors, to be distasteful and ignorant.

Now a fact. While some are anonymous publicly, we've received many emails with real names and real emails that match to real alumni. The Iraq veteran and purple heart recipient who was grabbed and spun around only to throw up in a vertigo episode? True and verified. Indiana Irish has been contacted from high levels within the university and will now make it back to a game. The alum whose wife was punched in the face by a Michigan man who the police let go? Fat lip, black eyes.. true and verified. The alum who had his pants ripped off? True and verified. These are NOT anonymous and the University has reached out to make amends. We have their emails. They're real people. They're not anonymous, but that doesn't mean they want their names broadcast to the entire world. Notre Dame has contacted them personally. They're real. I'm not sure what world the Cappy, Kirk, Poorman trio live in.

Many others that emailed us aren't public yet. In some cases they're from alumni who have emailed us back and forth now many times. Students and alumni are now seeking affidavits from those who want to go public with their information and setting up a website to capture the stories. They're also offering to help those who are fighting a case. If you want to share your story or need help, email us at Boardoperators@ndnation.com. This has no connection to NDNation.com, btw. We're just connecting people.

Another fact. There is hard evidence of bannings.

So, in sum. This is real. This is bad.

At the heart of the problem is a lack of cohesion and frankly, inconsistency of policy. Big donors can drink their faces off with the University's blessing. Because they rarely cause problems, they're not an issue. Students are an issue and they're tough to deal with. Really tough.

I wouldn't want Bill Kirk's job, that's for sure.

But bannings, undercover cops, usher quotas, false badges, lack of caring about students who are turned over to police, turning them over to police at all, tell a story of leadership gone off the deep end. These are tactics born of insecurity, not strength. Of an adversarial relationship, not a partnership. If that's the case, as one AD wrote us, you need a new job.

In Caddyshack parlance, Kirk is Bill Murray and the kids and alumni are the Gopher.

Again, I wouldn't want Bill Kirk's job. But, if you're going to do this for a living you can't assume an antagonistic stance with students. If you do, you will fail. Perhaps he's just been in the position too long. Perhaps his direct manager has sent the wrong message. As IAND75 wrote, we seemed to have ill-defined or conflicting priorities:
"If the goal is to make sure that everyone is safe and has a good time, and that trouble makers are controlled you don't have to go undercover. Undercover cop and eye in the sky cameras underscore a goal of catching people doing something that is not obvious. But if a persons behavior is not obvious, they can't be causing trouble to the rest of us. So who cares what they are doing.

In fact, the best tactic is the opposite. Show the colors. Put plenty of uniformed police walking around and visible. The nature of the the people that attend ND games is that they are good law abiding folks. Simply having the presence of police will deter most unwanted behavior.

Then have the police be friendly. Have them stop by your tailgate and chat. Offer them a Coke. (No Pepsi products. This is ND.)

I would appreciate having them around if I knew they were there to help control the occasional dust up. I want to like them. Heck, for most of the rest of the year I depend upon them to keep my daughter safe and secure.

Same with the ushers. There is simply no reason for any adversarial relationship with any of the security forces on campus. Treat us with respect and we'll treat you with respect.
As El Kabong points out, the assumption of guilt is an awful place to start:
Cappy assumes there are rule-breakers out there, so he tasks the Usher Captains to find them and chastises them if people are in sections without bad actors. As a result, the atmosphere becomes overbearing in some sections.

The Usher/policeman who grabbed indiana_irish assumed he was drunk and needed rough handling. Because of that rough handling, II got sick and things went down from there.

Kirk assumes everyone in the Stadium who gets pinched is someone they don't want on campus. So they deal out the campus ban slips like breath mints and alums and fans who love the school get a virtual slap in the face.

If the administration approached all this from a position of brotherhood instead of immediately going adversarial, we wouldn't be having these problems. Cappy should be rewarding the people whose sections don't have troublemakers because that means everyone there is enjoying their ND experience. If the cop who grabbed II had approached him with a gentle hand on the back and "are you OK?" instead of what he did, none of what followed would have happened. If Bill Kirk didn't have such a clean-this-place-up fixation, he wouldn't get his ass ridden here so often.

Things would be better if ND stopped assuming everyone was a potential rule-breaker or somehow out to get them.
Having puritanesque leaders in charge of clearly non-puritan students is a problem. The idea, that Mother knows best is only true to a certain extent. Many of the best partiers in college turn into the best business people, because they understand emotional intelligence. They get people. Corporations around the country are actively screening for these emotional intelligence characteristics because they're the biggest determinant of success. I worked with 15 heads of HR on Wednesday, they laughed at all the dysfunctional PHDs they deal with and suggested they needed to drink more beer when they were school. This is no joke, BTW. Social skills are important if not preeminent and the lack of them is the key reason many great students don't make good leaders. And Notre Dame was known for turning out smart kids who understood others and how work with them and influence others. You can't do that if you're not one of them.

But the current myopic, puritanical stance toward students is hurtful to the ultimate mission of a University. The current policies and tactics are counterproductive and only the dolts can't see this. As ndoldtown wrote,
"It is cool how Christ-like ND's administration is
...you know, lots of people nowadays are turned off by organized religion, claiming it tends to be dominated by abunch of pious, bloodless, authoritarian hypocrites who lack mercy, empathy or self-awareness. I wonder why."
Now, let's kick the shit out of Stanford!

"We're Going To Gash The @#$@#% Out of Them"

No that's not binocular and fake cop badge festooned Bill Kirk talking about taking on rogue tailgaters, but Stanford OL Chris Marinelli on Notre Dame. Marinelli has apologized for these remarks. Can you really call "backsies" after this? BTW, the last time a team gave ND bulletin board material, Michigan kicked our asses. Hope that's not the case here. Without further comment, here's Marinelli almost uncensored:

"They are going to bring a great deal of blitzes – on first down, second down, third down, every down. All kinds of guys and they bring it a bunch of different wayy... but on the same token it's going to go bad for them at one point and we are going to gash the (expletive) out of them, I promise you that. So keep bringing it, keep bringing it. They have one sack all year on 200 blitzes."

"They can keep bringing all the stuff they want", Marinelli added. "We can pick up blitzes. Our defense, blitzes more than anyone in the country, too. So we are ready for that. That's no big deal.

"We've seen everything they've shown on tape. We've seen it before, it's nothing new. They are very disciplined with what they do, which kinda makes it nice. Sometimes when they screw up, it works out better for the defense. We aren't too worried about, we are a uniform group and we'll slide right in there."

"I hate it, playing up there," Marinelli said. "The field, excuse my language, the field sucks. The stadium sucks. I think the area sucks."

"I grew up with a bunch of Irish and Italian Catholic people back home. And all the Irish Catholic people, all they talk about is Notre Dame this, Notre Dame that. And they've never even been there, ya know. So I hate those guys, I hate that school.

"We are going out there to mash them up and that's all there is to it."