Purdue 33, Notre Dame 19
So....now that I've gotten over the euphoria of screaming my lungs out and thinking, for most of the second half, that we had a solid chance to win this one, it's starting to sink in that we are, yes, really, in fact, actually, depressingly, numbingly 0-5. I mean, 0-2, 0-3, 0-4 were bad enough, but 0-5...Jesus.
Let's not make it to 0-8. How about that?
First of all, regarding the actual game yesterday...I was encouraged by the second half. Our running game is once again a big load of horse hooey, but apparently now we have a passing game. Also, we have the ability to get first downs, even if we had to make more than one nailbiting fourth-down conversion in our own territory to do so.
Speaking of which...welcome back, Charlie. We had ourselves a footbawl game yesterday. Our team still has a loooooooong way to go, but we were going for it, going for it, going for it all game--mostly in the second half--and the fact that Charlie felt he could call plays on fourth down and trust our team to get it done says a lot. The fact that we got ourselves in so many fourth down situations says a lot, too, but at least we were grinding it out and moving the chains and completing passes and getting the ball in the endzone (even if we couldn't get it through the uprights). And, um, the fact that we have a passing game speaks volumes about the O-line improvement. (It'll speak even larger volumes if, next week, one of our backs gets a run longer than five yards.)
Also, although some of our coverage still obviously needs some work, I wasn't overly distraught with our defense, particularly in the red zone. We held Purdue to a lot of field goals, and as long as we continue to give up the big play (LIKE 3RD AND 29---ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME???!??!?!?!?!?!), I'd rather have the opponents tacking up 3 on the board than 7. Especially in the latter part of the game, our D really had some good coverage, stuffing a lot of runs and even sacking the QB a couple times. The problem with this is that we made all these amazing plays on 1st and 2nd down, and then on third down...pfffbbbbtt. Purdue only punted like four times the entire game, and even those punts didn't help us out in the good ol' field position battle, because Zibby had to fair catch most of them (their punter's kicking strategy--get it as high as you effing can--was pretty effective), so he never really got a good chance to scamper for the endzone.
Although speaking of scampers for the endzone, kudos to our special teams for NOT letting Purdue jack one off on us on a return. In general, we did a lot better in the field position battle this week...although wtf was up with our kickoffs? Anybody know what the whole "let's just let it bounce across the field" strategy was about? And P.S. What happened to Geoff Price? He was GOLDEN last season. GOLDEN!!!!!
Oh...and speaking of that...did I not say months ago that Golden Tate III was my new favorite ND player? I think he pretty much rocked my panties off yesterday. (Although they should have had him deep for more kickoff returns. He's got nasty speed.)
Anyway...overall I feel encouraged. I also feel like the refs called a BS touchdown for Purdue and then, purely on penalties, allowed them to make another long drive down the field and score again. But you know...whatever. Tooooo bad Charlie used that challenge early in the game.
Can't blame it all on the refs, though. That interception in the endzone pretty much killed our chances of winning, so...as much as I hated the refs yesterday, we shot ourselves in the foot enough times to make the score what it was.
However, all that aside, here's my new game plan for the season:
F*** it, let's just beat USC.
No, I'm serious. I think we could do it. All we have to do for the next three weeks is prepare for beating USC. Let's avenge that 2005 WIN/loss against the Trojans by kicking their boo-tays in our own stadium.
Here's how we do it:
1. Keep drilling fundamentals
Let's get the team hitting, running, blocking, stripping the ball, and eating grass so much they do it while they're sleeping. (Not so much they could do it in their sleep, but so they actually do it while sleeping. Can you imagine that? A bunch of football players wandering around in their sleep trying to, I don't know, tackle the fridge and strip the toaster?)
2. Chain-gang the O-line
They must now sleep together, eat together, go to class together, hit on girls together, and follow the QB around trying to protect him from reporters, cynical fans, jersey chasers, and expired dining hall mystery meat together. They will do this until they develop ESP, and no longer have to look at each other or even think to know where they're going to go on a play. They will stare down the opposing team's defense and know, at a glance, both what play the D is about to run and the name of the girl the strong safety was trying to hit on last night. And we will positively own everybody's asses.
3. Run the plays, run the plays, run the plays.
Devise a set of plays that will stumbumble the Trojans, and then practice them over and over and over until they are perfect. If they're not absolutely perfect every time...you're not tired enough. Run fifty laps and then do it again.
4. Institute new standards for muscle mass.
Your biceps must be larger than your head. Your individual thighs must be larger than a standard jersey chaser. If you can't bench-press the coach, you're not strong enough. Go back to the weight room and try it again.
5. Smashmouth footbawl.
If your perfectly executed plays fail...just hit those fuckers so hard they see 1967: stars and flowers and acid-trippy birds. Hell, hit them so hard you're seeing 1967. Then get up, dust yourself off, and do it again, until every one of those bastards is on injured reserve. If you make it all the way through their depth chart in a single game...congratulations. You win.
6. Screw UCLA and BC.
We're not even going to do X's and O's for those games. Let's just come out with a basic 5-play scheme and see if we can't do something. Really, we'll have spent the entirety of those weeks preparing for USC, but we're not going to tell anybody that, and we're sure as hell not going to run the same set of plays for UCLA and BC that we'll pull out of our butts for USC.
7. Basic plan for defense.
EAT SOME PEOPLE
8. Regarding special teams.
On our returns...
The ball either gets past the fifty or into the endzone. Every time.
On their returns...
The ball does not get past the twenty-yard line. Ever.
On our kicks...
The ball soars so high through the uprights it goes over the fucking net.
On their kicks...
We block it and recover, then run the ball fifty yards or so for good measure.
But in general...
I think that's all I have for today, kids.
GO IRISH BEAT BRUINS!