Playing a Little Catch-Up

Folks, it is that time again to do a general catch-up post!  I figured now would be a good time to do this because to be honest, I really don’t have much to say about ND’s game this past Saturday against Boston College, nor do I really have much to say on a preview against Washington State to justify an entire post.  However, if that is what you came here for, feel free to skip down to the end of the post for a ND quick-hit.

There are several other things to catch up on that are of interest to me.  The Cowboys played surprisingly well this week, the Stars season is well underway, the Mavs have kicked off their season, the Evil Empire is in the World Series against the City of Brotherly Shove, and Microsoft released a little something called Windows 7.  That’s quite a bit to run through, so let’s just get to it.

Dallas Cowboys

You may (or likely may not) remember that I have been writing for DallasProSports.com on both a fantasy panel as well as doing a weekly article on the “Romo Friendly” offense.

Save for Twitter, I have been doing a really awful job at promoting my work. I assure you though, that I have indeed been writing my opinions on the offense.  So you can check out all my opinions on the offense there; in fact, writing those articles has been the reason I haven’t bothered to say much on the ‘Boys in this space.  I will be sure to actually remember to post here when my articles go up.

Beyond the offense though, I will say the defense is, thankfully, improving from the looks of things.  Ware finally seems to be getting back into the swing of things, and the secondary looked like it could actually defend something as well last week.  This trend must continue because what we all should have learned from the past couple of years is that a Cowboys team 100% reliant on Romo and the offense to bail the team out flat out doesn’t work.

Dallas Mavericks

I went from being extremely excited about the new pickups of Shawn Marion and Drew Gooden to being extremely concerned after their defeat to Washington in the first game of the season.  The main reason being that I saw absolutely nothing different from the Mavs in that game than I did last season.

It was the same old, same old: play small and jack up threes when we trail.  Also, defense is optional.

I’m hoping that won’t be the same story for the whole season.  I do believe the Mavs have improved their team this year, but until our overall attitude of how to play changes (i.e. DRIVE THE FREAKIN’ LANE!), we will continue to struggle.

Dallas Stars

Well, what a difference a coach does make.  While I’m not going to say we are Cup bound, Stars hockey is a hell of a lot more fun to watch this season.  We have a lot of young kids and a very wide open style of play, meaning far more scoring than I can ever remember seeing.

I wish I could actually give more hockey insight than that, but beyond knowing the rules of the game, I am pretty much only able to give “Hockey for Dummies” type commentary.

One thing to watch this season though is the play of Marty Turco.  Last season he took a lot of abuse from fans and media about his play severely declining.  I do believe Marty is one of the better goaltenders in the NHL, but the season he had last year simply can’t be repeated if we want to be a solid playoff team — you need your goalie to be a wall.

Last year Turco turned in 2.83 GAA (goals against average), and thus far he is sitting at 2.26 GAA (just as a reference, two seasons ago, Marty finished at 2.32 GAA).  Much better to say the least thus far.  Hopefully last season will prove to be the exception and not the first warning of a declining Turco.

World Series

I’m going to be very quick on this one: I hate the Yankees.  I can’t believe A-Rod is actually hitting clutch in October.  Seeing Teixiera playing in the World Series is making me sick.

Go Phillies!

Windows 7

Hey, remember those few times I actually wrote about technology in here?  Yeah me too.  It’s really been a while.  Mostly that is due to the fact it is football season and it takes far too much of my attention span as far as writing goes.

However, I must say at least a little something on Windows 7 (as I’m not sure if I’ll actually spin out a full-blown post during football season).  First off, it is nothing like Vista.

Let me repeat that another way: We have a new Windows Operating System that doesn’t completely suck like Vista.

The first thing that popped out to me was the amount of resources the system was using at idle.  Vista was very infamous for sucking the life out of RAM (memory) and processor power by just having the so-called “great” Vista features active like Aero and Index Searching.  Windows 7 has removed whatever was severely bloating Vista as very little strain is being placed on the system in comparison.

So what does that mean?  In short, quicker performance for just about anything that you want to do.  Initial startups are quicker, opening programs takes far less time, etc.

The other great touches that I’ve encountered so far are the, dare I say, intuitive additions to Windows 7.  The new taskbar helps decrease what is usually extreme clutter on the desktop and allows you to get to you want even quicker than alt-tabbing.  Programs/windows open, now group to an icon on the desktop.  Say you have five Word documents open and three Windows Explorer windows open, along with whatever you are looking at on the web.  Well, simply hovering over say the Word icon will open up a small window dubbed “Aero Peek” that will show small window previews of all five documents along with their titles, allowing you to quickly and easily select the one you want to view instead of jamming on alt+tab until you finally highlight the right document you want, or trying to remember the exact window/document name from the old taskbar groupings in XP/Vista.

There are even shortcuts that use window positioning to automatically maximize, minimize, and compare windows.  Want to compare two open windows?  Drag one to the left side of the screen and it pops into place, filling the left side.  Then drag the other window to the right side of the screen, and it fills the other remaining 50% of the screen.  Want to minimize all the junk on your screen and just focus on one window?  Shake the window you want and away goes everything else.

I’m not used to Windows working like this at all — it is almost as if they stole some Apple programmers.

Granted, I haven’t had too much time to really run into many problems yet, but it is something I am keeping an eye on.  Compared to Vista though, this is a freakin’ walk in the park.

Notre Dame Football

Now for the ND football talk!

The game against Boston College was just more typical Irish football this season: play to the level of your opponent and decide the game at the end.  Also, give all of ND Nation a freakin’ heart attack while doing so.

Clausen and the offense played very well.  BC’s game plan was the same as last season: cover the deep play, give up the short passes.  This time around, Clausen did a superb job taking exactly what BC would give him and not force the ball downfield needlessly.  While it made for a very low scoring game, it was the right way to attack them.  Credit both Clausen and Weis for this one folks.

Defense though — oh dear Lord…what has happened?  Getting a lot of tunrovers was very nice, as was actually hitting the opposing QB for a change, but the secondary still looks awful.  Harrison Smith looked lost anytime he was dropped back as a safety, and even had coverage issues when he was lined up at LB.  The rest of the secondary (save for McCarthy) isn’t exactly making major plays on a consistent basis either.

However, the best positive note on defense: Mantei Te’o — see ball, see player with ball, hit player with ball, wash, rinse, repeat.

Final note on BC: can we punt?  Seriously, I don’t think we got a punt past 35 yards.  That is flat out AWFUL, especially since this punters are on scholarship.  This isn’t like Mike Leech pulled someone out of the stands after a punting competition.  Yeesh.

Now to preview the Washington State game…

…uh…yeah I got nothing.  Honestly, I don’t even care if they are trying to dip into the ND kryptonite and starting a freshmen QB.  They are awful — end of story.  This game shouldn’t be close.  Crist should be starting in the second half and Sharpley should be the QB as time winds down.

Now will this likely happen?  Your idea is as good as mine.

Seriously, how in the world do I preview games for a team that seems to take a sick pleasure in torturing its loyal fans?  It boggles the mind.

This game should be an obvious blowout on paper.  Therefore, let’s expect the game to go down the wire yet again right?

However, I will not be watching this game live.  It will sitting at home on my DVR as I will be attending a wedding of a good friend of mine (PS: you know you are a great friend if I go to your wedding on a day I had tickets to go watch ND play — in Texas no less!).  So Saturday night, I will be throwing myself into a black hole (that may or may not include an open bar) and pretending my phone and the Internet do not exist as I want to experience the heart attack first-hand.

So if you were looking forward to any commentary via Twitter on the game, apologies, there will be none.  Nor will there be a prompt post on my postgame thoughts as well.

…oh man, prompt posts in this blog…that’s a good one…

GO IRISH! BEAT COUGARS!