Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good Omens

Notre Dame 21, Stanford 14

All right, so...I'm glad we've gotten this season out of our system.

I'm also glad we've won out the last two games of our season for the first time since 1992.

I'm also so glad that the players and coaches have nine months to rest, train, recruit, and basically rethink their lives before they strap on a bunch of pads (or, you know, a headset) and hit the gridiron again.


Yaaaaay we won our last two games of the season. Yaaaay the two teams we beat have four wins between them. If you add Notre Dame's total number of wins for the season to that number, you have a winning season!!!

Duke + Stanford + Worst Notre Dame Team In History Of Football = Bowl Eligible!

Eat your heart out, International Bowl! DuFord Dame is on its way!

Oh Jimmy

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: you are not a scrambling quarterback. No, really. Get over it. Stop trying to stiff-arm people who are twice your size. Also when you try to throw the ball away (providing this option occurs to you while you're still on the field), maybe try throwing it to the sidelines instead of chucking it pell-mell into the arms of a Stanford player.

Overall, progress has been good. I'm sure you'll get over this little phase where you stand in (or behind) the pocket forever and then decide to run with it even when there's nowhere to run.

Granted, it's not all your fault. It would help if our receivers could get open faster. Also it would help if our O-line gave you better protection. But do not need to run away and still try to make a play out of it every time some opposing defender has chased you ten yards behind the line of scrimmage. It's pretty much okay to chuck the ball out of bounds in these situations. I promise.

I realize that if you just chucked the ball out of bounds every time you were under pressure you would never complete a pass, but still. Let's work on a nice delicate balance so you don't keep getting sacked five times a game.

Replay officials say whaaaaat?

Dear Pac-10 Replay Officials Who Worked the Stanford Game,

I don't believe you.

It deeply troubles me to see men so invested in the glorious game of football who have no respect for its wondrous athleticism, majestic physicality, or downright badass playmaking.

If you die a mysterious death on the sideline someday from a wayward flying cleat, rest assured I will only see it as glorious recompense for your erroneous attempt to screw my beloved team out of one of the only wins it has truly earned all season.

It is a crime to rob these young men of such Herculean efforts on the field, and your blatant disrespect for the game of football and troubling disregard for the tremendous amount of effort this team displayed on Saturday is utterly horrifying and mind-boggling. I suggest you retire to the Poconos and take up the officiating of some sport that is more your speed. (Like golf. Or shuffleboard.)


Talk to Chuck

Well, somebody ought to.

Often this season I have wondered if Charlie bothers listening to his assistant coaches. (Particularly his offensive coordinator. And who in the bloody hell is their Offensive Line coach? What's he been doing with his life?)

I mean...look. You don't just lose nine games. It's not the sort of thing that just happens.

And it's not like we were robbed of any of those games, either. The only game they tried to rob us of was the Stanford game, but that turned out fine, so...moving on.

No, in all the other games, we either got our asses completely handed to us or we just couldn't get it done.

I don't have a real solution for this, Charlie, but Lord knows I hope you do. You like to be the man with the answers, but you haven't exactly had any of those all season.

So I think this is going to be a good off season for everybody. Let's hope those players hit the weights until their thighs have the girth of two small children and their biceps weigh more than a standard jersey chaser. Let's hope all our recruits stick. Let's hope we get back to fundamentals so our team actually knows how to block and wrap up and tackle and...kick a field goal, for Christ's sake. And lets hope Jimmy and his receivers spend the summer glued to a TV screen until they have complete comprehension of Charlie's scheming.

And such.

What tho the odds be great or....

So, anyway. We beat Stanford. We should have beaten them by like three touchdowns, but whatever.

At least we get to send our team into the off season on a high note, for once. At least the players have something to feel good about for the next nine months or so (at least until they watch the replays of the Michigan and USC games again).

In a game where pretty much no one scored in the second half, there were a lot of really dazzling plays.

Tom Zbikowski proved to the world once again that he is an absolute beast. It's too bad, first of all, that we've hardly seen this side of Zibby this season (or last season, for that matter), and it's further terrible that every single time he has gotten into the endzone this season or made a punt return longer than fifteen yards, either our offense has been unable to capitalize or the entire thing has gotten called back.

We've seen life from our wide receiving corps (finally), and against the 11th-ranked pass defense (or was it just pass rush?), no less. Duval Kamara came to life with some outstanding grabs, his lanky figure and sticky hands this week almost resembling--dare I say it?--good ol' number 83, Jeff Samardzija. David Grimes likewise impressed with the most outstanding catch of the game--a total dive into the end zone for a ball entirely out of his reach that remained in his possession the entire time and never once hit the ground even though his hands did. (Even the booth commentators were shocked by the call on that one. I think it's just a crime to take that kind of effort away from a kid. Absolutely freaking ridiculous.) Junior Jabbie also impressed near the end of the game with a couple of nice grabs and a breakout run that (unfortunately) led to nothing.

Our running backs continue to cause problems as far as turnovers go. Hughes and Schwapp both fumbled early in the game to kill two ND scoring chances. Robert Hughes, however, made up for it by tacking up two forty-yard runs at the beginning and end of the game, and by rumbling in ND's final score of the game. What I would like to know is--where was Hughes in the middle of the game? In the first quarter and fourth quarter, Hughes made a tremendous impact, but in the middle it seemed like we were (a bit unsuccessfully) passing all the time, or handing off to Armando Allen, who is speedier but not as large as Hughes. If Allen could break through the holes, he would definitely pick up more yardage, but he doesn' t have the ability Hughes does to pummel his way through the holes like a bull and drag defenders with him for a couple more yards when it seems like he should get none at all.

On Defense, Trevor Laws continues to eat people. It was so troubling when he got injured twice near the end of the game, but that didn't stop him from getting in there and knocking people around.

Also, can anyone else believe we injured their first and second string quarterbacks in the same game? The ESPN commentators were absolutely livid they put Tavita Pritchard back in the game after they'd "taken his helmet away." I kind of have to agree, though...what if he had a concussion? I mean, really. Do you want a quarterback playing with a concussion??? Although I guess Stanford didn't want to put their third-stringer in and have us pull a UCLA game on them.

Isn't it ironic, though? Jimmy gets sacked five times and he's fine and their two QBs are the ones getting concussions and hand injuries and whatnot? I guess Jimmy's getting pretty tough by now....


Next season will be my senior year, which I'm kind of freaking out about.

I do, however, have ambitions to go to every single Notre Dame game next year, so if anybody's with me on this...let's start planning now. We have Michigan State, BC, Navy, Washington, and North Carolina away (as well as USC, but supposedly the band's going to that one). Go Irish! Beat Everyone!

Also I would like to thank everyone who's tuned in and listened to me rant about football all season. It's been an adventure.

Until next year then, kids...stay safe, and, as always, love thee Notre Dame.

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