“Victory” by Exclusive Guest Blogger Matt Roberts
Alright Irish Fans! Well, it wasn’t the easiest game to watch, but I’m thrilled with the victory! Honestly, I couldn’t remember the last time we came back from a half-time deficit to completely dominate a team the was we did against a very tough opponent on the road. Hats Off to Bob Diaco and a depleted Irish defense in the second half. I’m not a coach, just an avid follower, but I did notice some interesting tidbits! Manti was obviously hurting as he was around most plays, but just didn’t have the lateral movement he normally does catch up to their speedy running backs. Tuitt, Lynch & Nix are studs, simple as that. These guys have only started/played in 9 games! I cannot wait for this group to have a year under their belts, both from a conditioning and experience standpoint. I can’t imagine this isn’t going to be one of the top defensive fronts we have ever had at Notre Dame before it is all said and done. An extra note on Lynch for coming back from two ankle injuries during the game and still being productive. It’s nice to know we don’t quit! (FUSC) Beyond the young guys, Harrison Smith and Blanton played an awesome game combining for 21 total tackles. These guys completely shut down WF’s option attack.
Recruiting is by far the best thing this staff has done in the past two years. The amount of true freshman playing significant minutes (10) is unfortunate, but the level of defense recruits we have been able to bring in is phenomenal.
There isn’t much to say about the first half performance, the defense looked flatfooted and tired and really didn’t seem like they wanted to be there. I would have loved to hear the halftime pep talk! The adjustments we made at half on both sides of the ball were something from the Holtz era. Weis was never good at making adjustments and cost us the game more than once. We were certainly not outcoached this week. Even the special teams coverage unit stepped up in the second half. Austin Collinsworth is definitely our Special Teams MVP this week!
Offensively we are pretty bipolar in my opinion. It’s obvious to me that Rees is a good quarterback, but he has hit his ceiling. Nothing he throws past 15 yards seems to float high or just doesn’t have any power behind it. I hate to see him throwing the ball to TJ, it seems every ball is high, and he just about killed him this weekend. Nonetheless, he can manage the game pretty well. If we can eliminate the turnovers (which is still a result of arm strength and staring down a receiver), we can win against any opponent. The offensive line is excellent, certainly benefitting Jonas Gray and Cierre Wood. It is a fun offense when we can spread the ball around, which is not what we did in the first half. Once we got Floyd involved mid-freakin’-second-quarter, we started to see the offense moving the ball. I’m starting to get a little scared for next year, but I’m trying not to think that far ahead yet!
I think this defense, with another year of great recruiting, will be the backbone of our team. Both lines are excellent and should be going forward and with some DB’s hopefully signing and entering the mix, we should be pretty damn good. Offensively, I just cannot see Rees holding onto the starting job after this year (assuming he makes it that far), and with the addition of an elite quarterback, we will have the offense to match.
I’m hopeful, and a little excited, about seeing if this team can continue to progress. And for all of you that think this was not a good win, I challenge any of you to recall a “bad win” over the past 5 years and whether or not you really care. To come back from bad first half, on the road, against a very good opponent is a great moral victory as well!
Go Irish, Beat the Turtles!
Article by Matt Roberts