So with the sad departure of The Subway Domer, someone had to take the reigns of the IBG as letting his creation die would be a travesty. Subway was apparently a few PBRs into his retirement when he thought I was the logical choice to take over so here we are…and everyone’s a full day late.
On a more serious note, the IBG hit another snag as Mike Coffey (aka El Kabong) who does IBG duty for ND Nation recently had his mother pass away and thus is not participating in this week’s IBG. HLS and the entire IBG extends our condolences to him and his family.
However, the show must go on. This week, I attempted to ask Aaron Horvath of UND.com’s Strong and True blog some IBG questions, but he passed me off to the former ND Sports Blogger, Josh Flynt.
Yeah, the IBG under Tex is off to an amazing start isn’t it? LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE, SUBWAY!!!
Anyways, Josh’s answers to my questions are below. Be sure to check out my answers over on UHND.com, Keith Arnold of Inside the Irish answers Josh’s questions on Strong and True, and Frank from UHND.com answers Keith’s questions over at Inside the Irish.
1) So the Irish DO have a pass rush! Do you think this was a weakness on ASU’s part or is the ND defense finally getting everything back in place?
With every NFL Draft guru in America projecting Tuitt and Nix as early first round picks, most expected the Irish defense to give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Obviously that did not happen for the first five games of the season, but I think (read: hope) they’ve found their stride. Even in a down year, SC will be another big test. Certainly this past weekend was the Irish’s most impressive victory of the season, especially when you had many analysts expecting the Sun Devils to win the game handily, and some even saying “it might get ugly.” It was great to see guys like Prince Shembo step up with a couple of key plays, and I think Jaylon Smith is coming into his own at the college level. He’s going to be a lot of fun to watch over these next few years.
2) What are your overall thoughts on this iteration of the Shamrock Series?
Everything about this year’s Shamrock Series game was awesome — the uniforms, the stadium atmosphere, FIDM’s pre-game show on the enormous video board, and of course, beating a pretty darn good opponent in Arizona State.
This year, I headed down to Texas with the rest of the Monogram Club staff, where we hosted a reception for Monogram winners on Friday afternoon before the pep rally. I’ve been lucky to attend the past four Shamrock Series games (2010 with Scholastic, 2011 and 2012 as part of FIDM), and even though I’m a Red Sox fan, I wasn’t sure if anything could top the aura of the Irish playing in Yankee Stadium. However, I must say that I think Texas was my favorite Shamrock Series trip so far. I never made it over to Dallas, but really enjoyed my time in Ft. Worth.
Every year, the Shamrock Series is a great reminder of the strength of the Notre Dame network and passion of the Fighting Irish fan base. I’m excited to see where it takes us next. Hey, speaking of the Red Sox… I think Boston/Fenway Park would be a mighty fine location. Of course, I expect that stadium to be very busy for the next few Octobers, so maybe a November game would the best option!
3) We are now at the midway point in the season and after a rough start the Irish could conceivably run the table up to Stanford for a shot at a BCS bowl. What’s your feeling on the rest of the season? Should we hold on to the fleeting BCS dreams or look elsewhere?
I think most of us suspect the Irish will be favored in every game leading up to Stanford. That’s not to say the road will be easy. Any game against SC presents a challenge, Pitt put up a pretty darn good fight last year and will be a tough opponent on the road, and we’ve seen what BYU did to Texas. Still, I think heading to Palo Alto with a 9-2 record is not out of the question, and though the Cardinal have a couple hurdles of their own to clear against UCLA and Oregon, I’d love nothing more during the Thanksgiving holiday than seeing the Irish have an opportunity to knock an 11-0 Stanford team out of the hunt for the crystal football.
For a team that played in the national championship game last year, and had high hopes to get back there again this season, the goal is absolutely to play in a BCS game. We all know college football is a crazy sport. Anything can happen, and there’s no reason for Notre Dame or its fan base to have its eyes set on anything besides for one of those BCS at-large bids. Even with a couple of losses, no one at the Gug is striving for a berth in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Bonus: Is your participation in the IBG step one of your evil plan to reclaim the ND Sports Blogger Role?
I had an absolute blast in my time as the “ND Sports Blogger,” and though I sometimes miss working closely with the teams and student-athletes, and getting to do fun things like Trick Shot Monday, I’m really enjoying my time with the Monogram Club. There are only five of us in the office, so it becomes a close-knit group, and I have developed relationships with some incredible people on our Board of Directors. Not to mention, I have been able to hang out with a couple HLS bloggers at Monogram receptions in New Orleans and Ft. Worth.