It’s time for another round of questions in the Irish Blogger Gathering. This week’s edition is hosted by the ND football think tank known as the Irish Round Table. Make sure to head to their site and check out their host post as well as the rest of the responses from the IBG that will be linked there.
1) Excluding Aaron Lynch, who is your top newcomer of the year thus far (freshman or player that hadn’t seen much playing time in prior seasons)?
Mr. Irish Chocolate himself, Louis Nix. The 340 pounder has been a large (hey look a pun!) reason why the Irish run defense has improved so much. The Irish now rank 25th in the country in rushing yards given up per game at 93. The only rushing TD they’ve given up is the freak fumble scoop by Denard Robinson.
The battle against the run starts up front. In the 3-4, you need your line to fill in as many gaps as possible, suck up O-line blocks, and let your LBs make plays. The nose tackle is right at the point of attack for nearly every inside run, making that position absolutely vital to the 3-4’s success.
Without Nix’s contributions, there is no way this defense would be where it is right now. He’s done a fantastic job and the scary part is that he will get better.
2) We asked our Twitter followers for questions to use in this week’s IBG. Here’s a sampling of what we got. Choose ONE and answer:
Yeah, I’m totally going to cheat here and answer all of them. Some of these are just begging for a response.
@TheSubwayDomer: If the #NDFB quarterbacks were female super models, who would they be? What would they endorse? #IBG
Ok, I lied, not answering this one. The hell kind of question is this? I expect better, Subway Domer. Shame on you!
@PerrasW01: Why has the #NDFB program gone to hell since Holtz left?
Bob Davie and Ty Willingham. I’m dead serious. Davie started us on a decline and Ty did so much damage to this team by just failing to recruit (and coach, run a practice, stay away from the golf course…) that we had such gaping holes that Charlie Weis simply could not plug up in time nor could he have hoped to.
Regarding Weis, he just didn’t know how to transition from a pro coordinator to a college head coach. And, really, you can’t “schematic advantage” your way out of having no offensive or defensive line among other nice talent gaps that Ty left behind.
Now we have been to three BCS bowls since Lou. Granted, we’ve won zero, but considering we are showing signs of recovery (yes there are signs), I wouldn’t call that completely going to hell.
If you want to talk about going to hell, I’d take a nice look at Miami. It could be a lot worse.
@rpleary: You know that sign that says “Play Like a Champion Today”? What does our offense have against the sign?
Is this a serious question?
Sure the offense isn’t perfect; in fact, we are far from it, but I haven’t seen this team quit. Despite continuing to shoot themselves in the foot, they come back out and make a game out of it and in the case of Sparty, they won comfortably and in the case of Pitt they won a game they should’ve lost.
Maybe they aren’t playing to perfection, but I don’t believe that’s what the sign asks for.
@chadros: Based on our offense’s performance to date, is the current play calling mix(run vs. pass) the right one? Should we be running the ball more?
126 runs and 155 passes is our current spread. Considering college football counts sacks as rushing plays, I’ll go ahead and change that to 121/160 run/pass since we’ve given up five sacks total. That’s a 56.9% pass inclination.
Let’s also remember that the second half of the USF game was pass, pass, pass, and pass some more. So let’s remove that as a statistical outlier since that’s obviously outside the game plan.
That removes 6 rushes and 35, yes, 35 passes. We are left with a run/pass of 116/125, resulting in a 51.9% pass inclination.
That sure looks like a balanced offense to me. Can we finally put this argument to rest? Please? For my sanity?
@yetiisready: Will this be the week we see the “change-up package” AKA “the Leprecat?”
We saw this week one, I believe. I think Kelly is more concerned with Rees getting his act together rather than throwing in additional packages like the wildcat. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect to see it.
3) If you could have 1 play back this season, what play would you want a do-over? How would that have changed a game’s outcome? Are you sure your do-over would work in ND’s favor?
The Jonas Gray fumble on the first drive of the season. That may not just change the game, that may just change some of the season. Who knows, the Irish could’ve ended that drive with all the confidence in the world and Crist could be our QB.
I can’t state any of that for certain, but there is no doubt that everyone on the sideline had some thought as most fans did: “Yep, here we go again”. The Irish have had to rebuild their confidence from drive one and that is no way to get a season going.
4) In 140 characters or less “tweet” a summary of the season so far. Bonus points for hashtags or mentions.
Well this one’s easy: #NDFBIsDeterminedToKillMe
5) Lou Holtz asked 3 basic questions of every player and coach, “Can I trust you? Are you committed? Do you care about me?” In your opinion, which player would every other player give a resounding “Yes” to each of these questions and why?
I would have to go with Manti Te’o. Just read Eric Hansen’s fantastic piece on him in the South Bend Tribune (and ignore the Creed Lryics). I honestly couldn’t see any player trying to deny that Te’o doesn’t fit Lou’s questions or that he wouldn’t be the “right kinda guy” that Kelly looks for.
6) Jumbotron. Good idea or terrible idea. What would you do to make it a great idea?
It’s a useless argument that needs to go away. I am so indifferent on this it’s not even funny.
Sure, it’s great that ND doesn’t have one as far as being super-traditional goes, but in our current days of long NBC timeouts that put the crowd in a lull, I can easily see arguments for it.
Personally, if ND put one up, I wouldn’t be worried about it. I would have to believe that ND would use it well much like they did in Yankee Stadium.
7) Every week we try to fire up the masses with a “Fire It Up” video. Sometimes these videos are inspirational ballads of kick-ass Notre Dame football. Sometimes they are of a Japanese game show with dudes getting hit in the junk. Submit a video to Fire Up the Irish faithful for the Purdue game.
I’m more or less amusing myself because this is a bit a local sports station does so I expect very few ND fans will get. Oh well, screw it, I’m doing it anyways (along with some bonus inspiration!):