Archive for the ‘Tarkeels’ Category

The Tar Heel Hangover…

October 14, 2008

People are pointing to this game as proof that Fighting Irish football is heading in the right direction. I agree. We are heading in the right direction. But they are doing it like a drunk driver heading home from the bar… all over the place. You will make it home in good shape 9 out of 10 times- but it’s that 10th time that can land you in hot water. That hot water for ND was a loss. Their drink of choice? Turnovers. My head hurts just thinking about it, but here we go with another hangover.

Is that really our offense? Because I love it. That was one of the better gameplans that we have seen from Weis while he has been at ND. Starting the game with 5 wide- brilliant. These are the type of things that made Weis such a coveted playcaller. I know Haywood is calling the plays, but if you think Weis is letting him come up with the entire gameplan, you’re nucking futs. This offense pretty much moved at will on North Carolina’s defense, and the biggest stops were made by our own guys mental mistakes. The evolution of this offense has been stunning since the San Diego State game and almost unrecognizable from 2007.
Is that really our defense? Because I thought we were supposed to be aggressive. I saw our corners giving 10+ yards of cushion, and a lot less blitzes. Maybe I’m wrong, but that was as soft of a unit as I have seen this year. The problem lies within our inability to take a ball carrier down on first contact. I don’t know how many yards we gave up after the first contact by a defender, but it had to be a shit ton. This is the bye week, so TACKLING DRILLS are in order. Break out the Irish Eyes and put all of the defensive players together. The emotion is there, but there are other issues that have to be addressed.
James Aldridge for the touchdown. I have never heard that in 2.5 years. Aldridge scored the first touchdown of his career for Notre Dame on Saturday. Aldridge is looking more and more like the running back that everyone thought he would be coming out of high school as a 5 star prospect. Let’s hope he keeps improving.
“Kamara might be a better safety prospect.” This was a quote from Duval’s coach in high school during his senior year. He certainly looked the part on a pass break up when Duval turned himself into the defender and smoked a UNC linebacker as he was trying to intercept the ball. But, Duval also had his best receiving day in quite a while with 5 receptions for 58 yards. And maybe more importantly, some of those catches were fucking clutch. If Kamara can turn himself back into the dependable receiver that he was in 2007, this offense is going to be that much more dangerous.
Speaking of dangerous receiving threats… Golden Tate is still playing out of his mind. He had 5 receptions for 121 yards and a TD. Weis was looking for the “dive right in” kind of mentality and he found it in Tate. This kid needs the ball more and more. He has the same ability as past Irish greats to make you hold your breath as you wait for something great to happen. Golden made one of those catches as he stole an interception from a North Carolina defender on a jump ball and he came down with the reception. He has what looks to be the surest hands on the team, and Clausen’s confidence in Golden to grab any ball thrown in his direction is growing every week. Tate is perhaps our biggest threat with the ball in his hands and I would hope that Weis would try to get a little creative and come up with more ways to feed Golden the rock. Get ready people- Golden is only a sophomore and he will only get better as his skills as a WR keep developing.
I thought he hooked it. When Brandon Walker came out and tried a 42 yard field goal, I said to myself, “Don’t hook this fucking ball.” The kick went up and the ball left my TV screen as Brad Neslar exclaimed that he missed it. Then the ball came across the screen and the officials put their hands up in the air. Kudos to you, Brandon Walker. Neslar had his voodoo on me and I almost flipped out of my chair. I hope that Wallker can continue to prove me wrong. I wondered why ND didn’t kick the FG when it was 4th and 7 in the 4th quarter. Was Weis still not convinced that Walker was coming around? Let’s ask Weis:

“I thought we needed a touchdown. It had nothing to do with the field goal
kicker (Brandon Walker). I thought we needed a touchdown. Obviously, I put the
kid in before, so it’s not about him, but I thought we needed a touchdown
because I was concerned that they were getting in that 2-tight formation and
pounding us, and I was concerned with them being able to run out the clock. That
is the only reason. It wasn’t any disrespect to Brandon.”

Also, it was great to see just about the entire team come up to Brandon and give him a pat on the back, ass, and/or helmet. We’re going to need him and they all know it as well.
Floyd. The “F” stands for freshman. Mike Floyd has made some amazing plays this year as a true freshman. He owns defensive backs. He jumps up in the air and plucks the ball out of it and comes down with it. Teams are having a tough time defending both him and Golden Tate. However, he made a crucial mistake at the end of the game. No matter what the call was or what it should have been, as soon as Floyd caught the ball he needed to just get down. I am still not convinced that it was a fumble, but it wouldn’t have made any difference if he would have just hit the ground with his knee while three North Carolina defenders were coming down on him. This is a key lesson that Floyd should learn from, and I think that he will.
I gotta get out of here. As you can probably tell, this “Hangover” post is a day or two late. This loss was a tough pill to swallow. I saw so much good from the offense that I just can’t wait for this bye week to end and some animal abuse begins with the Huskies. But, this team needs a lot of work on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe it was the scheme, maybe we are just soft- maybe both. Either way, ND is 4-2 and staring at a bowl game. This is a much improved team, and perhaps that is what I’ll take away from this game the most. I gotta go.

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North Carolina. October 11, 2008

October 10, 2008

Heading south. This is as far south as the Fighting Irish will play until, as it stands, Army in Orlando in 2011. (By south I mean, south of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River). So get ready for a good old fashioned hillbilly lovefest in the heart of NASCAR country. And now for the Anti-Preview

North Carolina. The Tarheels come into the game with a 4-1 record and a #22 ranking that looks a little generous when you look back at their schedule. North Carolina has beat: 1-AA McNeese State 35-27, Rutgers 44-12, Miami Fla. 28-24, and UConn 38-12. They lost to Virginia Tech 20-17. Not bad, but no victory over a 1-AA team will impress me and they beat up on a UConn team that played a backup QB in Zack Frazer. What does impress me is their dynamic wide receivers; Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks. Both are big play WR’s and both are licking their chops at the fact that #20 still plays for ND.

What should you be drinking? Moonshine buddy! That great southern tradition still lives on throughout Appalachia and surrounding areas. The good stuff is still quite illegal, so if you wish to imbibe in some White Lightning be cautious. Most shine will come in either a clay jug or a mason jar. However, I have found that most moonshine coming from Kentucky is bottled in plastic milk jugs. The rest of the Southern Community looks down on that practice. Now when you’re down there tailgating, don’t mix your shine with a soda, juice, or anything else. In fact, just break the jar out and start passing it around. This is the only acceptable way to drink it. Have fun, but remember that moonshine is 100 proof or greater so be prepared to be knocked directly on your ass if you drink too much. I know you will.

What should I be eating? You’re in the south. Fried Chicken and more fried chicken. So break out your deep fryer for the tailgate and follow this delicious recipe. Now, if you feel like cooking up the chicken yourself- have your mama do it. Mama Dips, that is. No trip to Chapel Hill would be complete without a visit to this classic example of southern cuisine. Don’t forget your sides of blackeye peas, yams, okra, greens, cornbread, etc., etc.

What should I be wearing? The forecast is looking pretty good for the most part. There is a slight chance for some rain showers, but it’s a small chance. So what do we wear? Wll, since we are in the south and around the racing rednecks, get your NASCAR t-shirts. Get Michael Floyd #3 / Dale Earnhardt, #7 Jimmy Clausen / Robby Gordon, #55 Eric Olsen / Michael Waltrip, and #77 Mike Turkovich / Sam Hornish Jr. The list is mighty long. Also, check into grabbing a mullet for the game. No, not the guys in front of you but a sweet wig to help blend you into the crowd.

What freshman will make the biggest impact (besides Floyd)? Last week I went with Kyle Rudolph and predicted a redzone TD for the young tight end. BINGO. This week I am going with freshman cornerback, Robert Blanton. Blanton should see plenty of playing time this week as ND is going up against some very good WR’s and the Tarheel rushing attack is worse than ND’s (or close to it). ND should still bring a decent amount of pressure this week and that may force a couple of really bad passes by Nort Carolina QB, Cam Sexton. Look for Robert to pick one off while Sexton is just trying to get rid of the ball. Blanton is certainly capable of the big play, and I think he has a couple on Saturday.

What offensive player needs to step it up? Eric Olsen. I keep hearing how North Carolina has this super tough and super good defensive line that the Heels use as the main source of pressure against the passing game while they drop 7 back into a zone coverage. So it’s safe to say, that a lot of the battles in the trenches will be one on one battles. Olsen needs to make sure his shit is together as well as firing up the guys on the line with him. There are going to be moments in this game where ND will have to line up and get that one yard to keep a drive alive. This is where Olsen and his brothers in arms on the line have to suck it up and play balls out. Olsen has been one of the Irish’s emotional leaders since the Spring, and his play and pissed off demeanor have really helped the line to develop into a better unit. Olsen must continue to be that guy on the line Weis and all of the Irish faithful can trust to kick a little ass.

What defensive player needs to step it up? Raeshon McNeil. It looks as if there is no possible way Terrail Lambert is going to come out of his shell this season and make a play. I just keep seeing him burnt whether the ball gets there or not. McNeil is coming home to North Carolina and he is ready to prove to his home state that he is a rising star. He will have to play extremely well as I see the safety help, rolling on the other side.

What special teams player needs to step it up? The “Gunners”. What? Not Brandon Walker? No. I am not sure he is capable of stepping up and making clutch kicks. It’s a sad commentary, but it is a reality that we have to face. What was disappointing last week, was the return yards Notre Dame gave up to Stanford. David Bruton admitted that he didn’t play up to his level of expectations as it pertains to kick coverage and Anello was not as visible as well. North Carolina has a VERY dangerous return man in Brandon Tate, and the Irish gunners have to get downfield and make a play early to help the defense’s cause. I fully expect Anello and Bruton to be back to form this week and make those plays. Not only does it help with field position, but it also fires the defense up and sets the tone for the following series. This is HUGE.

Who’s gonna win? The fashionable pick by most everyone so far this week, has been North Carolina in a close game. Nope. The Irish win in impressive fashion: Irish 42-21. The defense will step up to the challenge and create turnovers like they have all season. This week they turn those turnovers into short fields and then into points, Last week ND had 3 takeaways that resulted in 0 points. That will be the difference this week.

(From Irish Eye’s London Domer)

Why The Hell Not?… Episode II

August 7, 2008

Alright psychos. Are you ready for the next installment of Subway Domer’s 2008 Predictions? I thought so. The Irish enter week three rated 21st in the A.P. and 20th in the Coaches Polls. They look to continue their 3 game winning streak and derail the Bon Voyage party for Tiller. Let us Begin…

ND (3-0) VS. Purdue (1-2) 44-27 IRISH

Purdue crawls into South Bend riding a humiliating two game losing streak with both losses (Oregon and Central Michigan) coming at dismal Ross-Ade Stadium. Time is running out on their diabetic, oatmeal eating, insurance spokesman and his quest to put his record versus Notre Dame at 6-6 for his career. It looks like he ends it at 5-7.

Jimmy Clausen had a spectacular day for the Fighting Irish as he threw for 367 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 25 of 32 pass attempts. His big target was the same player that blew up on the scene last year… Golden Tate. Tate had two TD’s and 142 yards receiving on 8 receptions. Mike Ragone, David Grimes, and Armando Allen also had one TD each.

The Irish needed those points as the defense was a little loose as Purdue kept racking up the yards. The “D” did come through with 4 forced turnovers all on fumbles by Boiler running backs.

As the game ended and the players walked on to the field, Mike Ragone grabbed his helmet and beat the shit out of the Purdue drum screaming. “Fuck this drum yo! Fuck this Drum!!!” He felt like the drum was giving him some shit, so he went wise guy all over it. Ouch.

MVP- Jimmy Clausen 25-32 for 367 yds. and 5 TD’s.

ND (4-0) VS. Stanford (2-3) 41-2 IRISH

Michigan Man, Jim Harbaugh, and his Stanford Cardinal came into South Bend like crazed assholes ready to shit on anything that moved. Fortunately for Irish fans, they couldn’t catch anyone to shit on anyways. Why? The Irish were simply too fast and too powerful for the Hippie Trees to manage.

The Irish started the game off with a statement. The opening kickoff was took 99 yards to the house by Armando Allen. The run was so spectacular in nature that Allen has since legally changed his first name to “Arundo”. Interesting. After that, the Irish kept piling it on with long drive after long drive. Three true freshman scored a touchdown in the first half. Jonas Gray had a 27 yard run to the slashed endzone. Michael Floyd continued his brilliant freshman season with a 18 yard TD reception, and Kyle Rudolph scored his first TD on a 9 yard rollout pass. Rudolph was starting for the suspended Ragone. The half ended at 28-0.

The second half got a little bit tense despite the overwhelming lead for Notre Dame. After a barrage of punts back and forth between the two teams, the Irish finally put some points on the board with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter. James Aldridge and Robert Hughes pounded the ball with a combined 14 carries for 85 yards and a TD (7 yard run by Aldridge).

On the next possession for Stanford Tavita Pritchard was sacked viciously by Kerry Neal forcing a fumble that Steve Filer picked up for the 12 yard return for a TD. Pritchard was laying unconscious on the field for about 5 minutes. He finally got up and walked off of the field with some help from the Stanford trainers to the sound of enormous cheers from the spectators. The ensuing PAT was blocked and returned by the Cardinal for a 2 point score. Harbaugh didn’t see it though. He was being escorted off of the field by the Indiana State Police for assaulting the referee. Jim thought a personal foul should have been called on the previous sack and hit the ref with football and kicked him in the groin. Michigan Man.

Wow.

MVP- Kerry Neal 14 tackles 4 TFL with 3 sacks.

ND (5-0) @ North Carolina (5-0) 21-17 Tarheels

Both teams came into this fantastic October matchup undefeated and ranked in the top 15 (ND #13 & UNC #9). Both teams were looking to make a statement as the game was moved to the prime time slot.

North Carolina was disadvantaged from the start as its leading rusher and Flip Flop major, Greg Little, held a press conference on the Wednesday prior to the game. He stated on Wednesday that he would have a press conference on Friday. On Friday, he stated at the press conference that he would play for North Carolina on Saturday at running back as a confused Butch Davis sat silent and stoic. Come game time however, Greg Little was on a bus to Wofford to play defensive tackle for the Terriers.

Amazingly, nobody is surprised. To the game…

Notre Dame looked good in the first quarter putting two long drives together ending in scores to go up 14-0. Clausen connected on all 11 passes in both drives and looked to be unstoppable. Michael Floyd and Duval Kamara were the recipients of the two TDs. The Tarheels got on the board right away in the second quarter. Hakeem Nicks pulled down a 51 yard bomb from TJ Yates for a TD to start off the scoring. After a punting contest, North Carolina scored a TD on a 27 yard fumble return by Deunta Williams after Marvin Austin caused the loose ball with a crushing blow to Asaph Schwaap. The half came to a close after Jimmy Clausen threw only his third INT of the season with no time remaining. 14-14.

The second half was all defense as Clausen was intercepted 3 more times and North Carolina fumbled it away twice. The Irish finally held on to the ball and marched down the field 61 yards to set up a chip shot 27 yard FG for Brandon Walker that he put right down the middle of the posts with about 4:30 left on the clock that put the Irish up 17-14. The Tarheels started from their own 20 and moved the ball efficiently for the first time all day as they racked up first down after first down with short runs and timely passes. Butch Davis called a timeout on 2nd down with 10 seconds left with N.C. on the 11 yard line . Instead of kicking the FG to tie the game, N.C. was going to try a quick pass and try to leave a second or two if it fell incomplete. As the ball was snapped Ian Williams busted through the Tarheel offensive line and gave chase to Yates. Yates rolled out of the pocket away from Ian and was met by a blitzing Mo Crum. As Crum hit Yates, T.J. threw the ball towards the endzone in desperation. As it was in flight, time expired. the ball floated in the air for what seemed like a decade and then was plucked from the sky and pulled down for the reception and TD by TE Zach Pianalto.

Insanity followed. The Irish fall for the first time since November 10th of 2007.

MVP- Ian Williams 11 tackles. Two sacks. Two Forced Fumbles. Too much.

Next Up: Ty, The Stache, and Fredo.

Ranking: 17 A.P. / 16 Coaches