The long haul
I'm disappointed that this will be a tough year and more than likely, winning season streak and bowl streak go by the wayside. However, losing what we did on offense, installing a new system without the appropriate personnel, and being thin at the o-line, this was all pretty predictable.
Teams that may be lacking talent, but possessing experience and leadership win some games they shouldn't. Teams with talent, lacking experience make mistakes and lose games that they shouldn't. UM should have won the game today, but they made unforced errors. (I will allow the Grady fumble and the 2 INTs as forced errors, dropping kickoffs and fumbling in the backfield I would consider unforced and do not credit these to ND.) RR was correct in that this team is not good enough to play poorly and win.
I think that we all hoped that this team would win some tough games, have a few positive surprises on the offensive side of the ball, get stronger as the year went by and be anchored by a very strong defense. The offense has been about what should be expected given the above considerations. The defense has not been horrible IMO, but has been disappointing given most expectations.
All and all, this year will be (and already has been) tough. I do feel that regardless of the competition, the offense has improved measurably each week. I do feel that Threet is the guy and despite his fumbling problems today, he has improved as well. (I don't recall Tacopants in the game today.) I am concerned because his knee injury today seemed to be suggestive of a meniscal tear. My hope is that he continues to improve to the point that next year we will be able to gradually work in the QB that ultimately better fits this system. I think Mcguffie is going to be special.
I have faith in RR's system and his ability to coach. I hope this translates into continued improvement. If this happens and we can shore up some problems on defense, I hope we will win more games than we all currently expect. This was the first game on the road for many inexperienced players in tough conditions. It showed and we lost a game that we should have won. This is just the beginning. Despite the fact that we all feel that we have been "fed up with losing" the last few years, overall as a fanbase we have been pretty spoiled. I look at the offense and think that with some improved O-line play(ers) and a QB who is a run threat, we will be awesome. It just won't happen that way this year.