I Don’t Think This Is How You Defend The Veer

Update: Kelly was just asked if anything about this play needs to be dealt with. His response was apparently, “We don’t believe so.” For this ND alum, I wouldn’t really call that the “Right Kind of Answer.”


Readers of Navy blog The Birddog alerted us to this. And I’m too annoyed to try to defend it. It’s pretty gutless, and it’s a damned shame that a kid who came to ND with such a positive outlook has gotten to the point that he’s resorting to this sort of crap while getting his ass kicked in a football game.

ND really did have no answer for Navy.

Powered by
  • Brian

    Thats the thing Kelly should send the message on, thanks Kerry, you’re a senior, you’re done. There is no place for that. You will not play a single play the rest of the year.

    *I don’t know if he can get a 5th year, I didn’t check, but even if he did, I wouldn’t offer now. Honestly, can the next guy in be worse?

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com domer_mq

      No. Kerry’s done after this year.

    • Jeff

      I guess you have never played football? When I played we were taught to step on their backs if they wanted to chop my legs every play they were going to have cleats all up in there ass!

  • OderName

    Wow. Disappointing. Disgusting. I get the heat-of-the-moment thing, getting beat while having your knees taken out every play in a way that cost us our defensive heart for possibly the season. But you have to have better self-control than this.

  • BryanW

    I’m fine with a suspension. This was pretty disgusting. Anyway, had you not put up this replay, I would have gone on thinking that none of the linebackers played on Saturday anyway.

    • BryanW

      None of the outside linebackers I mean.

  • http://onefootdown.fantake.com/ whiskey

    Just when I thought that I couldn’t possibly feel any worse about what transpired last Saturday……

  • Nate

    Let me first say that this is reprehensible and should incur a suspension. Inexcusable. Neal should sit. Sorry, kid, your career is not getting you to the NFL, hope you paid attention in class.

    However, I find it laughable that Navy fans are pointing to this and saying “SEE! YOU’RE DIRTY TOO!” An isolated idiotic act by one player does not equal institutionalized targeting of knees taught by the coaching staff. I’d feel a lot worse about this particular display of idiocy if we hadn’t have lost Ian Williams to a cut block.

    Navy’s play is “within the rules”, but that’s because the rules don’t adequately ban a dangerous practice. All the attention right now is on head injuries (for good reason), but this is pretty bad too.

    That said, I reiterate: Take a seat, Kerry. That’s not what I want representing my alma mater.

    • Pat

      “An isolated idiotic act.” Uh. Yeah, where have we seen that before?

      “Institutionalized targeting of the knees.” Right. That tiny Navy team is out to maim.

      You are delusional. Call a spade a spade. Don’t make excuses for what happened on Saturday.

      • Nate

        Who’s making any excuses? Did I say we lost because Williams got hurt or cut blocking? Um, no. Did I say Neal’s actions were excusable? Um…no. How about you learn to read before you go calling people delusional? And if you would also care to enlighten me where else you’ve seen Neal or another ND player punch a guy and then stomp on them, I’d like to know, because I’ve not seen that. Is this something ND does regularly, and NBC just “happens” to miss it EVERY SINGLE TIME?? Please, share this knowledge with us all.

        We got beat from the opening kickoff until the echo of the final gun. No one’s denying that or making excuses. Beat down is beat down, and Navy could have hung 50 on us if they wanted to. The only excuses anyone has are Rudolph, Floyd, and Riddick, as they didn’t play.

        • Pat

          I was referring to the fact that it was in vogue before the Navy game to show an ND player on the receiving end of an illegal Navy block, even though it was an “isolated idiotic act” and not representative of the Academy as a whole.

          You’re characterization of legal cut blocks as “institutionalized targeting of knees” seems like whining and excuse-making to me. The implication, of course, is that Navy’s style is cheap, bordering on trying to injure. I don’t think my reading comprehension needs work here.

          • Nate

            Navy cut blocks on every play. How is that “isolated”? Legal or not, it leads to a higher incidence of injuries.

            It would be excuse making if I were saying we lost because of it. I’m not. What excuses am I making here? None.

  • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

    Yeah, as the Navy guy takes his 50th shot at Neals knees, he get’s cheap….Wha Wha Wha….the play is not being run near the guy, his job is to seal Neal off. Of course he does it the Navy way, with a shot at his knees..Wha wha wha

  • http://notredamefootballschedule.net jnj nj

    Well it was another cut block and you’ve got to do something. I’m sure 56 was getting cut the whole game. You let them know if you cut you are fair game for retaliation–whole defense should have been doing a beatdown for every cut. As they say paybacks are a bitch. He actually just walked him.
    By the way–was that after Williams had his knee blown?

    I don’t think anyone tries to cut Ray Lewis of Ravens–wonder why.

    • domer.mq

      You realize cut blocking, from the front, before the whistle, is legal, and ND does it on certain plays too, right? Retaliation? There are 50 ways to beat up a team that’s cut blocking you and do it within the actual game of football. This isn’t anywhere near one of them. It’s just cowardly.

      • http://rut4nd TLNDMA


      • http://notredamefootballschedule.net jnj nj

        domer–please send Kelly the 50 ways before the Army game.

      • Navy Guy

        I agree. I’d also agree that this is pretty isolated, as is, in my opinion, the stupid late hit in last year’s game on Blanton.

        Neither of these teams “institutionalizes” dirty play, and to suggest otherwise is a bit disingenuous.

        Someone above suggested that cut blocking is itself a dirty tactic and shouldn’t be legal. If cut blocking should be outlawed, you will have to outlaw low tackles, which have the same effect. Hell, let’s make them wear flags that can be pulled off so we can avoid the problem altogether.

    • Another Navy guy

      Watch the replay–Williams got caught in a pileup where someone got tackled into him at an awkward angle. Those things happen, unfortunately. It wasn’t a cut block.

  • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

    Kid aims his helmet at his knee, F-him.

  • Josh

    That’s shameful. Notre Dame is better than that. Kerry Neal is better than that. Cut block or not that’s BS. I think I’m gonna puke.

  • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

    I put this right up with people that were upset with Kelly yelling at his players. I mean go out there and have a guy take shot after shot at your knees and not respond. A little tiny rabbit punch and stepping, yes on purpose, on the guy to get into the pile. Was he supposed to say”excuse me”and go around. You don’t wanna get stepped on, don’t lay on the ground. Take a shot at my knees, damn right I’ll respond.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com domer_mq

      The cut-block is about as old as the game of football itself. If you don’t want it to happen to you, don’t play the game.

      • DeepTeaKup

        Domer, it may time for a post complete with spreadsheets and videos which illustrates the difference between a cut block (legal and happens many times a game) and a chop block (which is about as dirty as Lou Holtz was) and should be an immediate ejection.

    • Pat

      Pathetic. There is no way to rationalize it, and you sound really small trying to do so.

      • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

        I just did rationalize it. Go at my knees, lay on the ground. I will step on you on my way to the ball(not a penalty either)… Your decision.
        Again, the Navy player aims his helmet at Neals right knee. On a seal block, no need for that either. Looks like they’re playing for keeps out there.

        • Pat

          You totally just changed your tune from, I’ll respond to guy that’s cut blocking by stepping on him to, I can legally step on him because I’m going for the ball.

          Is it “damn right I’ll respond” or “on my way to the ball”? There’s a difference. And you are purposely blurring the two.

          • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

            I couldn’t be more clear or consistant. Navy guy aims helmet at Neals knee, on a seal block. Neal responds. Good. Legally, all the better.

          • Pat

            Navy guy performs legal cut block. ND guy responds with unsportsmanlike stomping. Sure, really something to applaud.

  • Pat

    What can be learned from that play is how to score from the goalline. See how Navy gets the push towards the goal? That’s heart. Maybe a few of the losers — and I mean that literally, as in ‘guys that apparently don’t know how to win’ — on Notre Dame will take note.

    • Trevor

      wow man i hope you feel real high and mighty. navy has won 3 out of there last 4 against notre. You do remember nd won 43 in a row before? enjoy it now but it wont last long. Maybe the LOSERS on the teams from the 43 teams in a row ND beat could have learned a little from some nd greats!!! jesus i mean navy got beat by gerry faust tryone willingham and bob davie teams haha thats PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeff

    There’s a reason the veer died out in the late ’80s. Everyone figured out how to defend it. If every defender sticks to his assignment, it’s not that difficult to defend. ND simply didn’t have the coaching and/or the discipline. I was at the game. What astounded me was that I was always taught the DE hits the QB on EVERY play. Frankly, our guys were so lost, they didn’t know what to do. Mr. Diaco did not do ND or himself much good last weekend. Maybe we need someone with a bit more experience and a proven record as a DC. Frankly, a resume of 2009 Cincy and 2010 ND isn’t going to get you many jobs.

    • The Biscuit

      That’s the worst part. It’s EASY, and somehow we didn’t prepare for it. We did nothing right. So bad, I just don’t understand it. Is Diaco so young that he’s never seen option/veer? I doubt it.

    • Craig

      Uh, part of the problem was that we did have the DE assigned to the QB. So he’d just hand off to the dive back (so far before the DE got there that the DE couldn’t hit him or it’d be 15 yds) and they marched up the field.

      Over on One Foot Down, they argue (and looking at one of the Navy plays, I agree) that the DE should have crashed on the dive, the OLB should have taken the QB to force the pitch, and then the S/CB/MLBs would have finished the play.

  • rocket89

    Just reason No. 76 why Steve Filer should have been playing OLB all year long.

  • tuffruss

    Frankly, I have no problem with that play. Navy could use some of their own medicine.


    It is obvious why ND is a .500 team. If most of the fans feel stepping on a player , who put himself on the ground going for your knees, is a suspendable offense, get accustomed to losing. He was getting back in the play. Do you see a flag. If you don’t want to get stepped on don’t throw yourself on the ground. I wanted to see the LB’s get to the runners regardless of who was in the way.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com domer_mq

      This is why eye witnesses make horrible witnesses. You’re just seeing what you want to see. Kerry was beat on the play, he punches the Mid, rolls him over, holds him down, then steps on him. And that’s somehow “getting to the runner.” Who already scored. Okay.

      • The Biscuit

        Exactly. If Neal had quickly jumped up and accidentally stepped on the guy, that’s one thing. It took him a few seconds to get the shot in, then step on him on purpose, and at that point the play was over, and he couldn’t do jack anyway.

        • junkyardirish

          Back in the day when I played, we were coached to discourage the cut block by running over the body that flung itself to the ground. Its legal, you can’t make a pile of yourself in football without expecting to get stepped on.

          That being said, stop the fullback, stop the veer. Punch the QB in the mouth every play. Make him pitch. We did nothing of this. Bad coaching. Hope they learn their lesson before we get beat by Navy and AirForce next year.

      • NWohioND

        DMQ…how was Kerry beat on that play? He’s on the outside and the QB sneaked it in right behind the center…it’s not like he ran it to Kerry’s side…Kerry got blocked but he wasn’t going to stop that play anyways…granted, we didn’t stop anything but I guess I don’t see “where he got beat”…I’m not going to get into if it was on purpose or not…everybody has their own opinion…has this kid run into this trouble before? Not that I recall so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt…

  • Mike

    Hey guys. I didn’t post this to say that Notre Dame is dirty too. I don’t think they are. I posted this for the sake of sanity. It makes no more sense to paint Navy and Ken Niumatalolo as “dirty” based on a stupid late hit penalty in last year’s game than it is to paint the Notre Dame coaches and program the same way based on this. Neither play is part of a pattern for either program.
    If these comments were confined to the blog and message board world I probably wouldn’t care, but they’ve actually come up in the real world as well and need to be addressed.

    Cut blocking is no more dangerous than any other element of what is already a violent contact sport. If you disagree, fine, but everybody does it, so it makes no sense to single out Navy for it.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com domer_mq

      I realize that, Mike. And I’d guess you realize that our post last week was a “remember the Alamo” type thing. We’re sick of seeing ND get beat by teams who, on paper, shouldn’t even be competitive. No offense intended, but Weis did one thing well: stockpiled talent.

      But I’m even more sick already of seeing a video like the one above, of a kid who we all had a ton of hope for, doing nothing in his 4th and final year of eligibility to get noticed beside show up on youtube taking a cheap shot at a kid who did nothing but make a good play.

    • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

      “Cut blocking is no more dangerous than any other element”, oh really?
      I find it amusing that you use a replay that starts out with a player taking a shot at an ND’s players knee, to defend your player’s illegal action from last year’s game.(a little worse than “a stupid late hit”, wouldn’t you say?)
      How many of those knee shots is a team supposed to absorb before someone retaliates?
      Hey, that’s how you play. That’s how you have to play and most of time it may be legal.

      • Mike

        Yes, really.

        I didn’t defend anything. I’m pointing out that maybe the righteous indignation is over the top.

  • usmc53


    I don’t think ND’s #74 is dirty. He’s trying to make a clean block. A cut block. By going for the defender’s LEGS.

  • http://sweet-bang.blogspot.com DY

    Pardon me for just a moment but that is some straight up HOE-ASS-SHIT! I am a huge Notre Dame fan and have been my whole life. He has no class and doesn’t deserve to be on the field. I expect that sort of thing from a few other programs in the country but that should NOT happen at Notre Dame. Terribly disappointed.

  • StewVee

    This sorta knuckledragging stuff happens all the time. It’s unfortunate, but hey, it’s football. Frankly ND should spend more time trying to EMULATE Navy rather than worrying about whether or not a block is illegal.

    Navy isn’t dirty. They’re a well-coached, well-motivated football team. If we played with 1/2 their intensity we’d likely have one loss so far this season (Stanford).

    When every player on the field busts his ass every down, good things usually happen.

  • Domer2

    TLNDMA it seems from your comments that you never played the game of football. First of all, the Navy player hits #56 in the thigh pad, not the knees. Second, as Mike said, cut blocking is no more dangerous than any other aspect of football. It is not “going after someone’s knees” and i would bet that the players that take that attitude are already beaten by the block. Is there an occasional knee injury from cut blocking, maybe, but the majority of knee injuries occur from other than cut blocking. Case in point is NDs NG. He was cut all day but got injured by getting rolled up on by another player.

    • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

      Let me get this straight, blocking low is no more dangerous to a player’s knees than blocking high?(generic terms) I still say Neal got pissed because there was no need for the block at all on the QB sneak, let alone at his lower extremities.

    • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

      BTW, anyone that says cut blocks don’t cause more knee injuries than other types of blocks, must have played without a helmet.

  • http://hirejimessian.com Bad Kermit

    Defending Neal’s actions is ridiculous. He wasn’t even looking at the play. He was clearly out for revenge. That was gutless and dangerous, no matter how frustrated he was.

    • NWohioND

      Dangerous? No…gutless…depending on your view it may be…regardless, he didn’t poke his eye (spikes), he didn’t try to twist a knne or ankle…he stepped on his stomach…whether or not you liked the play he wasn’t going to hurt him…they don’t wear metal spikes that I know of…just seems like a lot of bitching and moaning personally…

  • Joe

    This is straight ridiculous. We got manhandled by Navy. So congrats to Navy for a well played game. However, there are a couple points about some of the comments that I would like to make:

    1. Yeah that was kinda messed up what Neal did. But…it could have been way worse. Wrong? Yes. Horrendous?..could be worse. Does he need to be talked to? Yeah.

    2. The type of cutblocking Navy does is LEGAL…but it actually is more dangerous than typical line play. It is one thing to cut block at the LOS, but Navy goes beyond and dives fullspeed at the knees of linebackers, safeties etc. Yes, this is technically legal…but to be honest, its a little cheap, and definitely disrgards the safety of the opposing team (just to note: the one in the video really wasnt that bad, or beyond what any team does)

    3. To say going for peoples knees (leading with a helmet) isnt worse than anything else is straight insane. Especially when it is done past the LOS, when people are running full speed.

    In fact, at last years Navy game (ironically), I actually went to a talk at ND (pregame – Tom Dooley Society) done by a doctor who works with the NFL, who ended up showing statistically that knee injuries are far and above the greatest career ending injuries. That talk totally changed my perspective on injuries in football.

    Also, it showed which positions tended to have more knee injuries…and guess what, it tended to be positions getting hit in the knees more frequently, such as D-lineman, runningbacks and linebackers (surprise!).

    Granted I probably did not justrice to the doctor’s talk, but you should get the point. Going for the knees IS actually MORE dangerous. To say its not is to deny reality. There is a reason a lot of people in the NFL have tried to get tighter restrictions on cutblocking.

    • TV


      It does look bad but when chop blocking is worse period. I am in agreement with you on this. Navy chop blocked out in the open field on a regular basis and that is what is B.S., I don’t see any of those illegal potential carrer ending blocks on this site. What Kerry Neal did was what I said our players should do when they chop block you, run over their back and make the play.

      • NDfan in AA

        You know Joe it would be nice if you could PLEASE spend a little time understanding that Cut Blocks are LEGAL AND we (ND) use them all the time!! Just check the game films. Unfortunately we whiffed on many of them. Chop Blocks are ILLEGAL but that is NOT what navy did. I’m assuming you have not played football at the high school or college level. EVERY team I’ve played for uses cut blocks, especially down field.

        We need to quit whining.

  • theIrishLion10

    BIG TIME props to the Navy kid for not getting up all hot headed and wanting to fight after getting stomped on. I would have gone straight at anyone for stomping on me like that.

    Neal shows how to lose your cool, Navy player demonstrates how to keep it.

  • YetOneMoreOpinion

    Perhaps one of those fans who likes doing stats ought to have a look at the games Navy has played over the past few years and figure out if knee injuries occur more often for opposing teams then when they play other teams. That would decisively settle that argument.

    However, coming from a competitive hockey background where the hits are just a violent as football, I knew that if I hit someone and it was viewed as marginal or considered barely within the rules I was going to get it back … not just once but everytime someone could line me up for a hit. That policy governs fair play and respect.

    With that in mind, if I was a ND coach during the ND-Navy game, the only half time adustment I would make is to say to my players, “Alright boys, I want you to cut block them”.

    Then my friends, we wouldnt have a clip of Kerry Neal doing an absurdly stupid and childish act but rather one of him executing a cut block that sends a clear message to opposing teams, “You mess with us, and you will be cry’in for your mommy”.

  • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

    This is not a new talking point. The academies have been using these techniques since the 80’s. Teams and their fans, that they play, have been complaining about their techniques since.
    It is illogical to say that blocks below the waist or lower would not lead to more knee injuries.
    In any sport, if the rules don’t protect you from the other players tactics, you are left no choice but to protect yourself.
    If you want to play on the edge of the rules, expect a response from the edge. Anything less would be naivete.

  • BurbankSteve

    I’ve never played football. I’ve played rugby at a decent level, and in the middle of all kinds of shenanigans there is always a mano-a-mano thing which you just can’t get away from. You mess with me, I’ll mess with you. I won’t break your leg, I won’t put you out of the game but I’ll send you a little message (if I can get my testicles out of my abdomen where you just punched them) and then we’re going to be fine the rest of the game.

    I’ve stepped on guys – the inside of the thigh is the best place to start, hurts like hell for two minutes and then you’re fine to come back to me and apologize for being an a-hole.

    Don’t try and isolate and critize on something like this. He stepped on the guy, he didn’t stamp on him, and his belly was might capable of absorbing the message. Happens a million times every Saturday in every contact sport.

    You dont debilitate, you just send a little message.

    And, you’ll be happy to know, my testicles descended from my abdomen in time to share a post-game beer with the perpetrator. That’s what matters.

    • VicPaul

      Well said Steve…It’s almost like people are just looking for things to pile on to these guys even more. Let it go, really wasn’t that bad.

      • The Biscuit

        May not be ‘that bad’, but if a Florida player did it we’d all be talking about how Urban’s a scumbag and the kid should be suspended (he should). I dont like this kind of thing. Dont care if others do it, don’t care if it’s normal, dont care. If its wrong its wrong. Demand more.

        • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

          B-man don’t you think Navy coach is telling his players to hit ND guys low every chance they get? Why? Intimidation. Did Neal break a rule? nope. Next time same thing. Why? Intimidation.
          Florida players break laws not rules. Michigan players break rules. Again, play on the edge, expect a response on the edge.

          • The Biscuit

            You can beat a guy up legally – by bashing his face in play in and play out with legal hits. Or you can do it illegally – crap like this and Florida-esque moves like gouging eyes. This isn’t sportsmanlike. It’s cheap.

  • Joe

    NDfan in AA –

    Before you respond to what I wrote…you should probably read what I wrote

    “2. The type of cutblocking Navy does is LEGAL”

    You should also note that I wrote:

    “just to note: the one in the video really wasnt that bad, or beyond what any team does”

    I understand teams cutblock, and yes teams even do it downfield.

    What I was merely saying is that Navy has a propensity to do it more, and rely solely on it (eg 250-300lb lineman sprinting and diving into a linebackers legs helmet first consistently). And I was also pointing out that this type of cutblocking is more dangerous that a normal hit.

    Wasn’t whining , just talking about reality. Just because its legal now does not mean that there probably shouldnt be rules about it later (examples of rules that have come into place for safety: helmet to helmet hits, chopblocking, etc.)

    PS I appreciate the unsubstantiated ad hominem attack on me. Yes I played football…but guess what? Lou Holtz didnt.

    • http://rut4nd TLNDMA

      Lou played at Kent St. I believe, Charlie didn’t play. Not quite as good but same argument, kudos.
      I took the same hit, guess some people feel you need a bust of yourself in Canton to have an opinion on football.

  • irishfan84

    look at where the NAVY guy was headed! right for his knees!!! they did it last year and they did it all day against ND I was at the game and we all could see it

  • Joe


    thanks for the correction. but yeah..same argument

  • GoIrish

    Everyone seems to forget the way worse cheap shot that Robert Blanton took last year at ND about 30 yards from the play. We give Navy to much respecet. Respect and appreciate to no end what they do for our country but that doesn’t mean we can’t kiok their ass on the football field like we did for 40 some years