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Mentor (12/14)

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  1. I am a 4-3 fan and always have been...Steel Curtain, Doomsday D, '85 Bears (their base alignment was a 4-3 and they shifted into the 46 with Dent and the OLBs Wilson and Marshall creating a hybrid 6-2 look with Singletary in the middle and Duerson or Bell in the box from the SS spot)... I have always felt that the 4-3 was better overall and the 3-4 front was better to mask deficiencies or weaknesses through more exotic blitz packages. In college, at ND's level, we should have a decided advantage (physical, not schematic!) on the lines, but to survive and thrive in a 3-4 base, you MUST have a dominant NT to suck up blockers and we have been less successful at that position in the past few decades. Ends, Linebackers have been good to great; DTs and NTs have been less stellar... In short, I like a 4-3 look and scheme over the more personnel driven 46 or 3-4 looks historically...although in the modern college game, 3-3-5 and 4-1-6 are more often on the field against the spread and spread option attacks where power is less capable than speed. I'm not sure the pendulum will ever swing back to pure power football being ascendant across the sport...especially with HS football beginning to look more and more like the Joe Tiller invitational than a triple option slug fest...
  2. All I can add to this discussion is that in big games, against top defenses Book stank more often than not. The outlier in his career was Clemson @ ND 4th quarter drive and OTs - much of which was outside his other disasters (Clemson in ACC title game, Bama in CFP, Georgia game). His lack of field vision did seem most acute between the hashes and there were many times this season that he missed wide open seam routes to TEs. The other thing Book did that drove me nuts was the hesitation when he was clearly confused by the defense post snap. He lacked belief in his reads and his arm and his vision and that often led to the circus-style plays (underhand flip to Mayer at UNC was still worst decision I saw in 2020 regardless of outcome). Book was a fine college QB, he may find success as a Chase Daniel style NFL thief - career back up and practice player who manages to follow a system around for years...but he will not translate to the NFL at all...his weaknesses have utterly floored higher ceiling prospects and his decision making pauses will result in a lot of sacks and INTs at the NFL level...but no one EVER gave me a sniff at the NFL in ANY capacity, so on balance, Ian Book can chalk up another win!!! LOL!
  3. In the playoff era (since 2014), there have been exactly 4 teams/schools to win titles...Alabama (2, with a likely third this year), Clemson (2), LSU (1) and tOSU (1, with a small chance to make it 2). That's it. Only one other team (besides ND, and the 'big three') has even PLAYED in multiple CFPs...that's Oklahoma with 4 appearances (and the same number of wins as ND - ZERO). We have more appearances than LSU, UGa, MSU, UW, FSU and Oregon. We have learned that despite a lack of championship wins, Notre Dame is in the midst of a run near the top of College Football. We SHOULD have learned that this is not a coaching deficiency unless you want to lay the blame on the talent gap solely at Brian Kelly's feet and consider the recruiting efforts to be sub-par. ND could have had 12 men on defense last night and STILL would not have stopped Smith and Harris, let alone the rest. The gap in speed was only exceeded by the gap in game breaking ability overall. Whether Alabama slowed down or played it safe in the second half, ND's Defense managed to hold them to a two-year low in scoring output at 31 points, and nearly 3 TDs under their season's average and even THAT was not enough to avoid a blow out feeling loss. However, should the FG in the 2nd quarter not been tipped/missed, and the TD pass in the early 4th not been called back (and subsequently turned over on downs), well then you're looking a game that despite the appearances and short comings laid bare COULD have ended on a despertion pass into the endzone to tie. OF COURSE that is revisionist history, and OF COURSE Alabama may have played entirely differently in the second half if they were really getting pressed...but ND came out in the second half and got a stop to start the half...at 21-7 at the time, it really felt like we had squandered our chances at the end of the half to draw within 21-10 or even 21-14...the game was showing off the mismatches Alabama held over our secondary and in limiting our WRs, BUT there is was...having the ball in the second half with a chance to pull within a score and make it interesting... When Brian Kelly says we "made progress"...he is right. In 2012 (42-14), it was over at the end of the first quarter, but we were never even close to having a chance...same thing in 2018 (30-3), where a 2nd quarter blitzkrieg ended the game. It was not a massive leap forward and it does not change the fact that we are not in the conversation among the big three at the moment, but we are solidly in the tier of teams that can start a season with a legitimate chance to make a playoff. Those final steps from getting there to competing down to the final drive, to winning one to winning two games is the new reality and we do not currently have the firepower to do so....but neither do about 127 other D1 schools and programs...
  4. Ruling from the judges? Lou played way more difficult schedules, not even close really.
  5. 2 wins against Clemson is a minimum requirement to get a title this year I fear... That 2nd win would either be in Charlotte -taking the ACC title and in the process setting up the playoff field as tOSU, Bama and UF/TAMU with ND... Or that 2nd win might need to come in the playoff title game if we lose in Charlotte, setting up something rarely if EVER seen in CFB...a rubber match... I can easily see a scenario where we would need to beat tOSU/Bama in a semi and then face Clemson for a 3rd time in the final...
  6. The entire bowl system is beyond its sell by date... Playoff expansion to 8 teams is coming eventually. When it does, the bowls should be freed of all contracts and instead be seeded by the committee (or a select sub-committee) to generate the best regional, national and TV/gate matches. AS it is now, who really cares if we play in the Camping Bowl in the same stadium as the Citrus Bowl but on the 28th instead of January 1? New Year's Day games once meant something when there were basically 5 of them - Rose, Cotton, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange. There are now so many bowl games with so many hideously boring match-ups that the whole thing is pretty much a joke. I would actually like to see Notre Dame simply state at the outset of every season that it is Playoffs or nothing and stop playing the watered down, boring *** bowl games unless the whole system is changed... Of course, I also want a lot of other things too, I just have to learn to live with disappointment...
  7. I will chime in only on the "10-win season" streak aspect... There are 14 possible games in a Notre Dame season - 12 regular season, 1 semi-final and 1-playoff championship game. This has been the measurement of the last 5 years, other Power 5 schools can play 15 now - which REALLY should put 10 wins in a different box...that is like a historical average BELOW the school's historical totals.... 2019: 10-2, no playoff, max games 13, max wins 13, achieved 10 (maybe 11) Embarrassment game: Michigan 45-14 Other loss by 6 to UGa... 2018: 12-1, playoff semifinal destruction, max wins 14, achieved 12 Embarrassment game: Clemson 30-3 2017: 10-3, no playoff, max games 13, max wins 13, achieved 10 Embarrassment game: Miami 41-8 Embarrassment game: Stanford 38-20 Other loss by 1 point to UGa... 2016: 4-8 - Holy **** was that a debacle...this should NEVER happen, but did... Embarrassment game: Basically the whole damn year.... 2015: 10-3, no playoff, max games 13, max wins 13, achieved 10 Embarrassment game: Ohio State 44-28 Other 2 losses by combined 4 points...near miss on playoff... The problem remains obvious no matter how we look at it, examine it or break it down...Brian Kelly has reached his plateau of being close, but not good enough IF THE GOAL is to play 13 games minimum 2 of 4 years, and 14 games minimum 1 of 4 years. 5 years, max potential games 70, played 63 46 wins, 17 losses 1 playoff appearance 0 title games 0 titles For comparison...Michigan under Harbaugh (not good enough for MOST of their fan base either...): 5 years, max potential games 75, played 64 47 wins, 17 losses 0 conference or division titles 0 playoff appearances 0 title games 0 titles If the Michigan faithful are rending garments and donning sackcloth and ashes tonight, the question should be why aren't more of us?
  8. Brian Kelly took 12 seasons at GVSU to win a title. He hardly built things overnight there... He won no championships anywhere else (although Chuck Martin did quite well after Kelly at GVSU)... Kelly is going to be the all-time leader in wins at Notre Dame. Let that sink in and mull it over to understand just why the program is where it is now and is never coming back from that level...Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Devine, Holtz...all will be listed BELOW Brian Kelly in the annals of wins as Notre Dame Head Coach....of course he will be way lower on win %, but the first thing people look at is number of wins.
  9. Two observations... 1) Dumbest. Fake. EVER. 2) At least we only gave up 30 to Clemson...
  10. Urban Meyer at Notre Dame could have been the first time a coach died on live TV from having a stroke during a game. He was 90-8 at tOSU and STILL doubled over in pain and on one-knee in 2018 at that place with THAT record...at ND he might have been the same as Ara or even Leahy; but with far worse medical condition, and more likely 10x the stress that even Frank Leahy felt due to the invasiveness of modern press coverage alone. Meyer probably saved his own life by choosing to go to UF and then tOSU and never coaching at ND...
  11. Dabo @ ND would have been fired after 5 years and a mediocre, Weis-like record (35-27) or Daviesque (34-25). Saban @ ND would have been on par with his results at Michigan State, solid, but unspectacular...also a very close to Weis-level record (Saban at MSU was 34-24-1...shockingly close to Davie or Weis in the final analysis...) Meyer @ ND would have died of a stroke on the field or at practice in his third or fourth year. The bottom line is this - ND still can and has had 'special' regular seasons (2012, 2018) but they lack the ability to maintain any kind of success in post-season match-ups against physically superior opponents with any kind of regularity - save the kind we have seen, the losing badly kind.
  12. All I know is that I was screaming at my TV for someone, ANYONE, to rotate over to the slot WR on the 2nd of the 3 second quarter TD bombs...I could see it from my seat that there was one-on-one coverage and a HUGE disadvantage for the Irish...why could no one on the defensive staff see the same thing? I knew before the snap (and told my boy who was watching the game with me) that we were beat on the seam route and it was likely a TD. I took no joy at all in being right about it, just shocked that the staff was unprepared for that to such a degree. Maybe Jullian Love being hurt and held out did have an outsized impact (and losing one of the best CBs in the nation would hurt ANY team), but there were matchup and formation and play calling errors that maximized the impact of losing Love for sure...
  13. Kelly at GVSU....took him 12 YEARS to win a playoff game...he made it and lost 4 times before getting it "right" and winning titles in his last 2 years there... Kelly at Cincy...his 2008 team went 11-2 and got beat in the Orange Bowl...his undefeated 2009 team got waxed in the Sugar Bowl (granted he did not coach in that game, but realistically it would have made ZERO difference as Florida was clearly better)... Kelly at ND...has lost every major game against top competition...after 9 years we are apparently no closer to competing in elite level games than we were 6 years ago...lost to Alabama by 28, lost to Clemson by 27...and in-between we collected losses in nearly every top-5, marquis match-up games... '12 BCS game, Alabama, was 42-14 blow out loss (4 TDs to the bad)... '14 @FSU...close game, but still another "L"...even if that call at the end was hyper-BS... '15 @Clemson...stunk for 3 quarters, made a valiant come-back attempt....stupid 2-pt attempt required a second desperation 2 point attempt in a 2 point loss... '15 Fiesta Bowl, tOSU, was another blow out loss, 44-28, fool's gold thinking we "only" lost by 2 TDs there... '17 Georgia, 20-19 loss in a great game (excepting the red sea in ND Stadium)... '17 Miami, 41-8...a disaster about on par with this most recent blow out This is a not-ready for prime time program. The evidence is clear...ND versus a competent team is a recipe for defeat, again and again and again and again... The question is will ND really wait another 3 years (or more) for Kelly to figure it out? He DID eventually win championships at GVSU...but it took him an equally long time to figure it out at that level too... '19 Cotton Bowl, 30-3 and giving up huge plays for most of the damage while fielding an overmatched and incompetently coached offense did not feel like we have moved any distance from the same fate in '13 BCS game...6 years gone and no results to show for it except more proof our current coach cannot prepare a team for big games, at all...
  14. If nothing else (tongue in cheek firmly), at least Brian Kelly has seemingly learned to NOT go for 2 too early in games (see Clemson, NW for examples of past foolishness...) 2014 FSU 2015 Clemson 2017 Georgia All close losses...but still losses...it is time to break through and play with AND beat the big boys in a late season / post-season match-up. 12 hours from now I will either be rage drinking into numbness or party drinking into same...happy drunk is so much better...
  15. Irish 31 Tigers 17 Notre Dame uses a strong passing game to loosen up the Clemson D-line, getting off to a hot start and a first half lead of 17-7 at the half...A one score game late in the fourth, ND 24 Clemson 17, turns to a 14 pt statement win with a late sack, fumble, scoop and score from Okwara. Notre Dame seeks redemption against Alabama in the 'ship!!! (*or we get bit by the stupidity bug, turn the ball over and get nothing on the ground while being boat-raced out of the tourney...which is what most people expect...I feel this team is really a better whole than the sum of its parts and should avoid the fate of lesser Irish squads over the past 20 years...getting gameday hype now and its still 96 hours out...have to slow the roll a bit!!)
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