Sunday, September 12, 2010

Can I Change My Pick For Heisman? Michigan Reaction.

I actually have a lot of work to do today, but I wanted to very quickly throw out my thoughts on the tough loss to Michigan yesterday in a hard-fought, dramatic, and at times bizarre, football game.

  • Denard Robinson is simply an astounding talent. He has been blessed with God-given ability, and he is making the most out of it in a system that is perfectly suited to maximize his potential. My Heisman Trophy ballot now has Robinson as my #1 choice, and I don't think anyone else is close enough to him to deserve to be #2 or #3.
  • The fact that Denard Robinson is an amazing football player does not somehow transform Rich Rodriguez from scumbag to coaching genius. I'm looking at you Kirk Herbstreit.
  • Robinson had 258 rushing yards and 244 passing yards, for 502 total yards of offense. By himself. All players not named Denard Robinson had just 30 rushing yards for Big Blue.
  • Everyone will want to lament the fact that the Notre Dame defense gave up 532 yards to the Wolverines. Are you surprised to know that even though Notre Dame's starting quarterback was out of the game for most of the first half, the Irish still out-gained UM on the day with 535 yards? Yeah, I was surprised by that too.
  • Despite Michigan's gaudy totals, I thought the defense played very, very well. Robinson certainly gashed us for a handful of big plays that were decisive, but Michigan only converted on 3 of 16 third downs in the game. Michigan was shut out in the second half until the final touchdown with 27 seconds remaining.
  • Dayne Crist is going to be really good, pretty soon. He played just a little over one half of football yesterday and had almost 300 yards of total offense himself. He was 13 of 25 for 277 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He also had 30 yards rushing and 1 sack for -11 yards, for a net 19 rushing yards. Total rushing and passing = 298 yards. His two touchdown passes were for 53 and 95 yards (to TJ Jones and Kyle Rudolph, respectively). But there is still a lot of room for improvement, in both accuracy and in decision making.
  • Coach Kelly better take good care of Dayne Crist, because "next man in" at quarterback is problematic.
  • I wonder if we'll ever learn what was going on with Dayne that caused him to sit out most of the first half. Loss of vision in one eye? So very strange, especially since he didn't appear to take any big hits on the noggin. I hope it was just a one-time thing and that Dayne is 100% healthy going forward. But it's a damn shame that such a freak thing probably cost us the game. Twenty-one of Michigan's 28 points came in the first half after Crist left the game.
  • Notre Dame quarterbacks threw three interceptions (one per QB). This was a huge factor in Notre Dame losing the field position battle. Notre Dame's ASFP (Average Starting Field Position) was it's own 25. Michigan's ASFP was its own 32. On the young season, AFSP is 2 for 2 as a predictor of who wins the game.
  • Another big factor in the field position battle was the inconsistency of Irish Punter Ben Turk. Turk punted 8 times on the day. Half of his punts were very good, pinning Michigan back inside their own twenty (two of them inside the 10). Half of his punts were poor: 38 yards to the UM 44, 37 yards to the UM 35, 29 yards to the 41, and 34 yards to the UM 48. Ben needs to step it up and drive the ball deeper when there's no danger of a touch-back.
  • It's really nice to see our linebackers leading the team in tackles instead of our safeties. Manti Te'o is really maturing as a player. He had 13 total tackles on the day (6 of them solo). Carlo Calabrese, the meathead from New Jersey was second on the team with 10 tackles (3 solo).
  • I like Mike Mayock as the new analyst. He's a football junkie who knows his stuff and doesn't mince words. He's actually value-added on the broadcasts.
  • Our defensive line play has been a very pleasant surprise. Ian Williams, Kapron Lewis-Moore, and Ethan Johnson are all playing really well.
  • Armando Allen was clearly the lead dog among running backs yesterday, and I have to think it was largely because he provided some leadership on the field while Dayne was out. He looked good, and Cierre Wood never really got it going.
  • Did anyone else wonder if Kyle Rudolph's hamstring was going to hold up on his 95-yard race to the end zone? Nice job by the training staff getting him back to full health.
This was another amazing edition to the Notre Dame - Michigan series. It is painful that we came out on the losing end. But I think the team took some giant strides forward in the cajones department yesterday. They fought hard for sixty minutes in the face of severe adversity, and darn near pulled off a miracle. There will be no shame losing to this Michigan team once the end of the season rolls around, because as long as D. Robinson stays healthy the Wolverines are going to win some games.

Before the start of the season I thought we'd beat Michigan and quite likely lose to Sparty. I would probably revise that now. I think the defense is stout enough to slow down MSU's power game, and as long as Dayne is healthy we're going to score some points.

Go Irish!


Brian said...

It's like walking past the casket at a funeral viewing and saying, "Boy, ol' Stan sure looks good, doesn't he"? I'm really tired of hearing, "Boy, we sure are looking better" after yet another butt whipping! Moral victories are getting pretty old these days. (17-26 now and counting?)

MJ said...

Nice post, I think that MM was too ND biased. It is part of the reasons casual watchers or opponent fans bash the NBC deal.

I thought Montana started to look like a servicable backup - am I alone here?

I KNEW Mich was going to score at the end - am I alone here? (I think the CW years are lingering in my mind).

OC Domer - where do you watch the games?

Mike in HB

Anonymous said...

Coach K: Are you second guessing your decision not to take a sure field goal from the 2 at the end of the first half,rather than having Nate M attempt a throw for the TD? With the 3 on the board, The bomb to Rudolph with 3+min. remaining makes the score 27-21. The Robinson score in the final minute makes the score 28-27. The Irish drive to the Mich 27 with seconds remaining. FG gives the Irish a 30-28 win. No need for the last pass play.

OC Domer said...

Mike in HB:

I almost always watch the games at home. 60-inch wide screen Sony HD. I have a really hard time watching the games in more social settings, because I want to hear everything said on the broadcast, catch every replay. Rewind and replay if I need to. Shout profanities without offending anyone. Heck, I even take notes sometimes (don't judge me).

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to go back and look at the last 3 seasons of Clausen-to-Rudolph/Floydd/Tate/EveryReceiverWho'sScoredaTDforND passes in the end zone. None of our QB's seem to understand that if you just make it catchable (i.e., in bounds)our stronger guys will come down with it 90% of the time.
Clausen wasn't a wizard, he just figured out how to use his tools, and Crist, Montana, and Rees all need to run some jump ball drills with the starting reciever this week. We've already left at least 18 points standing in the back of the end zone waving its hands this season.

John1985 said...

Defense gave up 231 yards in 56 plays with Crist in the Game (4.13 yds/play). They gave up 295 yards in 27 plays when he was out (10.9 yds/play). Too many quick drives when Crist was out. Defense holds and Rees throws and interception on a bad play call. OBTW - a 28-24 loss is not a "butt whipping". Anyone who thinks it is needs to go clue shopping. 33-0, 55-6. Those were butt whippings.

Anonymous said...

enough with the "meathead" comments. why is it ok to call Calabrese a meathead? cus his name is Carlo?

OC Domer said...


On the broadcast Mike Mayock called Carlo a meathead from New Jersey. Mike said they had interviewed Carlo the day before the game and he was okay with Mike calling him that on the air - apparently it's some sort of compliment in the world of linebacking where Carlo comes from.

Craig said...

The flea flicker was a fine play call. For reasons unknown, Rees thought it would be a good idea to go off the script—it was supposed to be a single read, and he threw to someone else.

Anonymous said...

I am in Verona, lived here all of my life. Do you really believe that the term "meathead" is a compliment? I've never heard use of the term except when someone is refereced as dumb. Carlo is an unassuming 19 year old kid - who by the way is quite artistic - who, if Mayock asked, would never tell him "no" because Carlo respects his elders.

NotreDame05 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NotreDame05 said...

I find myself concurring with one of the remarks made by Anonymous. Notre Dame is at the two yard line or near the two, in the first half, and Coach B.K. chooses to go for 7 points rather than 3.

At this point in the game, with Crist out for an unknown quantity of time, and the offense not moving the ball as well without Crist, take the 3 points.

I am a firm believer in the principle of taking points the defense gives you early in the game, at least in the first half of the game. There certainly were not any compelling reasons to go for 7 as opposed to 3 at this point in the game.


Jay said...

Why all the hate towards Rich Rodgriguez?

I think ND has finally found itself the right coach. Good luck the rest of the season.

Go Blue!