If you were to bet on how many Stanford fans would be at GameDay on Saturday, would you go with more than or fewer than 75? My money is on fewer, which will hopefully help to erase some of the memory of the Nebraska fan flood of 2000. I am excited to see a sea of Irish fans in front of Touchdown Jesus, and especially pumped to see the clever quips that students put on their signs (particularly from the people that manage to sneak the really good ones past the ESPN police).
This week, for the IBG, I was lucky enough to quiz Keith Arnold of Inside the Irish. My questions, with Keith’s answers, can be found below.
1. After breathing a sigh of relief following two dropped touchdown passes on Miami’s first drive, some Irish fans (see: me) were concerned that maybe all of the worries we’ve had about the Irish secondary might actually hold weight. After a solid recovery for the defensive backs, and after 5 games of excellent play, what can you say about Notre Dame’s secondary?
They are making the routine plays. If you’re a young DB, like Bennett Jackson, KeiVarae Russell, and Matthias Farley are, making the routine plays is the most important thing these guys can do. Nobody should be asking this trio to lock down a No. 1 WR or become instant ball hawks, but they do need to master their musts (to borrow a ND coaching slogan). This secondary must 1) tackle well, 2) not get beat deep, and 3) play assignment correct. So far, I’ve got no complaints.
There shouldn’t be any worries that Notre Dame doesn’t have the kind of athletes needed to play in this secondary. Once these guys know what they’re doing? It should be a pretty dynamic group.
2. Early in the season, it looked like the Cardinal had a stout defense but a helpless offense. Last week against Arizona, the defense was porous while the offense put up over 50 points. What is the real identity of David Shaw’s squad, and what should the Irish expect this Saturday?
At this point, who honestly knows? Depending on the Saturday, this team can go any way. Squeaking by San Jose State. Blowing out a Duke team that looks like its in the upper-echelon of the ACC (thought my keyboard would explode while typing that). Laying it on USC again. Giving it up against Washington in a defensive slugfest, and then just getting carved by Arizona. (Oregon must just be licking their chops.)
If you’re going with the logic that Arizona moved the ball at will with its spread attack then Notre Dame should, I’d stop there. We tend to forget Saturday night was 13-3 at half, and this is a major test for Everett Golson. I don’t think Stanford is going to put up a ton of points against the Irish. Whether or not Notre Dame can score is going to be the real question.
3. College GameDay is coming to South Bend for the first time since 2005. Who will be the guest host? Who will Herbstreit, Corso and Howard each pick to win the game? If you were in the crowd, what would your sign say?
Man — Great question. Maybe Vince Vaughn? Trudge him back to South Bend from Chicago and get him talking Notre Dame football? I could tell you a long list of people I definitely DON’T want to see up there, but I’ll stick with Vince, if only because the risk factor of him saying something funny/offensive on live TV is really high. As for the picks, I’m saying Herbie and Corso pick ND. Desmond obviously picks Stanford.
And the Sign? I’d probably go with HEISMANTI, or if you wanted to be snarky, “Joe Schad reports that Rick Reilly had to go to South Bend for work this weekend.” But I’m not sure that’d all fit on one sign.