After a sound defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech, the Irish will have to face the music this week and start from scratch. While it seemed as though Saturday was one big negative, there were some positive performances in the game. After watching the tape for a second time (I know, I am a glutton for punishment), here are my grades for the Irish. After a sound defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech, the Irish will have to face the music this week and start from scratch. While it seemed as though Saturday was one big negative, there were some positive performances in the game. After watching the tape for a second time (I know, I am a glutton for punishment), here are my grades for the Irish:
Quarterbacks: A very underwhelming performance from the signal callers today. Jones started and while I dislike the offensive gameplan, there is no excuse for fumbling the ball twice. You simply must respect the football more than that. Sharpley came in and gave the team a short spark, but was sacked way too many times — some of which were his own doing. Jimmy Clausen did fine in mop-up duty.
Running Backs/Fullbacks: Had very little room to run so this is a tough position to grade. The most disappointing aspect of their performance was by far the poor blitz pickup. Time and again, our running backs failed to handle the blitz adequately. This was very surprising since offensive coordinator Mike Haywood places a ton of emphasis on this skill.
Wide Receivers: Did not have a whole lot of opportunities. Grimes and West were ok, but they will have to do a better job getting off the line of scrimmage. Parris showed that he can be an effective #3. Kamara has a solid frame and made a couple of catches, but he will need to improve his route running.
Tight Ends: Carlson was the victim of a quarterback who could not throw and a defense that was blitzing so much that he had to stay in and block most of the time. Having said that, the TEs certainly had their share of missed blocking assignments.
O Line: Not a good day at the office. The line, to a man, was passive, slow, and confused. Very disappointing performance.
D Line: These guys played really hard. Trevor Laws is a big-time D lineman. He was all over the field and he may have played every single down until the game was decided. Kuntz gave everything he had and held up fairly well. Justin Brown's penalty and ejection were costly.
Linebackers: Poor performance. Looked slow and often out of position. Took horrendous angles all game long. I expected a lot from Maurice Crum and Toryan Smith in particular in this game and they did not deliver. Vernaglia made some nice plays but he was inconsistent. As a group, they had a really tough time shedding blocks. That does not bode well.
Secondary: Although Tech did not test this group often, I thought they looked much improved. Technique looked better, footwork looked smoother, and they were more physical. I liked what I saw from this group. Bruton was absolutely devastating on that safety blitz.
Special Teams: Walker with a nice field goal, and the kickoffs were pretty good. Give Armando some chances and he will be a weapon on returns. I love Zbikowski but if he continues to refuse to fair catch the ball, I would yank him. Do we have to wait until he gets drilled and fumbles on one of those punts before someone tells him to fair catch occasionally? By the way, where was Geoff Price on Saturday? His initial punts were awful.