Sep 9, 2010
Irish Blogger Gathering: Michigan Weak
Much respect to HLS for the questions and especially the sweet title. Let's go!
1) You’ve now seen Notre Dame Football: The Kelly Edition, Volume 1, Episode 1. Was it everything you thought it would be? Were characters missing from this episode that you were expecting to see featured? Did it strike you as a carbon-copy of Kelly’s Cincinnati teams, or is there something discernible between the 2 programs beyond the colors of the uniforms?
tendomer: I expected the offense to be a little more crisp, especially during the first two series, but the team's improved discipline on defense and special teams met my expectations. It certainly wasn't a carbon copy of UC last year, the only Bearcats team I can really reference. But the 58-42 run-pass preference in Crist's first start distinguished Kelly's Irish from even his 2007 team that used an almost perfect balance of 50.7% run.
2) Pick one positive play, offense or defense, by the Irish from last Saturday that you feel serves as a bit of metaphorical foreshadowing for the 2010 Irish. Extra points if you can stretch the metaphor to fit Kelly’s entire tenure at Notre Dame.
tendomer: Armando Allen's 22-yard shifty TD run near the end of the first quarter was a play he'd hoped to make the last three years. He always almost made it past third-level defenders. Now he did. Just as the play indicated improved WR blocking, Armando's glove-like fit in the spread offense is a good harbinger for ND's ability to produce points in the run game.
3) Pick another play, offense or defense, by the Irish from last Saturday again, but this time, make it a negative play. Tell us how that play serves as a bit of metaphorical foreshadowing for the 2010 Irish. And again, bonus points for stretching it over Kelly’s tenure.
tendomer: Dayne Crist's second overthrow of Michael Floyd in the northwest corner of the north endzone is worrisome especially after the first chance minutes before. Credit to Crist for managing the game and erring on the side of the caution on throws like this. However, Crist should know that if he can keep the ball in play, a receiver of Floyd's caliber will come down with it every time, even in double coverage against a young Purdue secondary.
4) You know us, we’re stat geeks. Give us a stat that we should be watching this season that will A) Tell us something enlightening about the 2010 Irish and/or B) Tell us something enlightening about the average Top-5 teams at the end of the 2010 season.
tendomer: The defense's 3.2 YPC quantifies improvement, although bigger tests loom, beginning with Denard Robinson. Diaco's troops must finish the season near this mark to sniff anywhere near the Alabamas of the world, the true 'B.I.A.' defensively.
5) Notre Dame is currently a 4 point favorite in the coming Michigan game. You get 3 points for being at home. The AP poll actually ranks Michigan higher than ND. ND is 1-4-1 in the last 6 games with Michigan in which the Irish were favored and 9 and 6 in the last 15 games in which Michigan was favored. Does any of this worry you? Why or why not?
TheNDleprechaun: I don't usually like going into games as a fan of the team that is favored by a slim margin (maybe that has something to do with being from Buffalo...) Even so, if I was a betting man I would surely take the Irish to cover the spread as 4 point favorites. Past trends are virtually meaningless, especially now that Kelly has taken over and will definitely have his team up for this one. If I remember correctly, the Skunkbears didn't particularily enjoy their last visit to Notre Dame Stadium (6 turnovers in 2008). While I don't think it will be quite as disastrous for them this time around, the green-clad crowd will have the house that Rock built rockin' when the Fightin' Irish run away with this one.
6) Last week, Frank at UHND put the Gathering on the spot with our predictions for the season. After week 1, are there any of those predictions that you’d like to alter? Any upon which you’d double down?
TheNDleprechaun: Well... I predicted a 13-0 National Championship season, and so far I haven't been proven wrong. Again, if I was a betting man I would have to DOUBLE DOWN! C'MON LUCK OF THE IRISH!
7) Describe in no fewer than 30 words why you hate Michigan.
TheNDleprechaun: The Skunkbears should be thought of metaphorically as a bratty kid who teaches younger kids a game only so he can beat them at it over and over. When those younger kids start getting stronger and more confident, they eventually realize they can beat him at his own game. Once this happens, he runs away crying and vows to never play them again... hate is a strong word... but c'mon... no one likes that kid...