Time for some fun; instead of bantering with, you know, this same old HLS team like every other day, I get to bug Josh Flynt, the official sports blogger for the University of Notre Dame. Here’s what he had to say going into the Shamrock Series.
Also, I allowed NBC’s Keith Arnold to pick my brain.
1. After Miami’s struggle vs Boston College in Week 1 (followed up by Kansas State dismantling them), many Irish fans wrote off the Hurricanes.While they haven’t had any particular impressive wins since that point, they are 4-1 and have shown some offensive capabilities. How important was the bye week in helping to not overlook Miami, especially as a game sandwiched between Michigan and Stanford?
Even if there had been no bye week, I don’t think we would have to worry about the Irish overlooking Miami. The players and coaches constantly talk about maintaining a “one week at a time” mentality, and from everything I’ve seen, that’s not just football cliché.
September was a crazy month, beginning all the way across the pond in Dublin. The break gave the team, coaches and staff an opportunity to recharge their batteries, but perhaps more importantly, I’m hoping it helped everyone “avoid the noise,” as Coach Kelly so often talks about.
No game meant fewer articles, less discussion on TV and radio, and a lull in the buzz surrounding the program. In addition, there’s a great slate of other college games lined up for this weekend, so I think the spotlight on Saturday’s game is considerably smaller than it would have been if the Irish played Miami last week.
Still, being 4-0 for the first time in a decade, there’s a lot of hype surrounding the Irish. If you look at Coach Kelly’s first two seasons, we’ve seen completely different results coming off of their bye week. In 2010, the Irish lost a heartbreaker to Tulsa, but returned to Notre Dame Stadium two weeks later to dismantle Utah. Last season, they put up 59 points in a win against Air Force, then came back in their biggest game of the season (USC) and played poorly.
We’ll see how the rest of the year plays out, but I think the bye week came at a great time. It really gives the Irish an opportunity to put the first four wins in their back pocket, and approach Miami as if it’s the start of a new season.
2. It can be noted that both games in which Everett Golson was pulled for Tommy Rees occurred at Notre Dame Stadium, yet when he was placed in road environments he played with much more poise. Do you think that the lack of distractions on the road (from friends, family, students, etc.) makes him perform better in those situations, or do you write those splits off as an early-season fluke? And to what degree will playing in a neutral — but decidedly Notre Dame — environment affect this situation.
People have to remember, Golson is a redshirt freshman. He has started four games in his college career. I think his struggles against Purdue and Michigan are just growing pains and I don’t think they have any connection to the possible added distractions of playing at home. On Saturday, he might play well or he might not, but I don’t think that will have anything to do with the atmosphere. Miami’s defense is ranked 114th in the country (494.6 yards per game), so this weekend seems like a perfect chance for Everett to gain some confidence and have a breakout game.
If Rees gets another early call from the bullpen, I wouldn’t be surprised to see #11 starting on Oct. 13 against Stanford.
3. Each week the offensive identity for the Irish has changed radically — from an extremely run-heavy attack vs Navy, to a pass-happy offense vs Purdue, to a more balanced attack vs MSU. Is this theweek that the Irish reveal their true offense, after having an extra week of practice? What do you expect from the offense against the Hurricanes?
Tough to say. As I mentioned in my previous answer, Miami’s defense has been less than impressive thus far in 2012, and I’d like to think the Irish offense will take advantage of that, clicking like it did last month against Navy.
The Hurricanes are giving up 225.6 yards per game on the ground (112th in FBS), so Cierre, Theo and GAIII should be especially excited about Saturday night.
On the other side, I think our receiving corps has a lot of talent. There aren’t any Michael Floyds in the group, but there are several guys (Eifert, Goodman, Jones, Toma, Daniels, etc) who can make plays.
Hopefully we see a balanced offense because that will mean both Golson and the offensive line are playing well.