Personally, only one game is on my mind. That game is vs. UCONN on September 4th.
One game at a time.
Personally, only one game is on my mind. That game is vs. UCONN on September 4th.
One game at a time.
yeah, come on OP, focus
we need you for UConn
Yeah, we can't have fans looking ahead. That'll ruin focus in practice.
+1 for originality
As a high school senior.
Shades of Ron Powlus...
Am I right?
OK, but our backs and receivers don't look much worse:
WR/TE: Hemingway 3* or 4* (depends on the site), Stonum 4*, Stokes 4*, Robinson (both) 4*, Roundtree 4*, Gallon 4*, Koger 4*, Webb 4*
RB: Shaw 4*, Toussaint 4*, Cox and Smith both high 3*.
Probably comparable at receiver/tight end, maybe a little lacking at RB but still strong. Remember, Lloyd had the chance to offer Jonas Gray, but he gave the offer to Mike Cox instead. I don't care about star rating, that speaks volumes.
But don't get too caught up on the stars, I know they are good predictors, but only to an extent. Omameh might be one of our best OL and he was a 2 star, Molk and Odoms should be two of our better offensive players and they were both 3 stars. Also, Adam Patterson and Michael Williams were both 4 stars and neither of them might even see the field on a defense that isn't super great.
i agree 100%. i have never and will never gauge talent based on star ratings, and i do apologize for making it seem like that was the case based on my post.
what i do think is a better percentage of the players i listed are pretty good based on what we've seen thus far. i dont think Michigan plays a team all year with as much talent as ND has at WR/TE/RB.
ND has 3 seniors in the defensive backfield to Michigan's 1, while having a better WR corps as well. im just worried about how Michigan is going to respond when they trot out 4 and 5 wide vs our very young secondary. not saying things will play out based on whats on paper, but i think they will be a formidable opponent, and better than MSU and UConn.
It does look like all signs point to ND having a pretty good offense this year. Size and experience wise, it's going to be a tough matchup for the secondary - Floyd 6'3, Rudolph 6'6 and Kamara 6'5 and they have been around for a few years and Rudolph and Floyd clearly have all-america talent - Floyd has something like 16 TDs in 18 career games.
I really hope GERG tries to get the linebackers active blitzing early because ND has 2 new tackles and I remember their interior OL looking really confused dealing with the blitz the last couple years.
Also Kelly likes to try and score quickly, so our offense needs to help the D out and sustain some long drives and keep the ball out of their hands too. That's going to be key.
youre right about Gerg and the defense. i see Michigan's front 7 causing problems for ND. Kelly isn't ignorant to the youth and inexperience of his OL, so he will try to work around Michigan's strength in the front 7 with a quick passing game.
im looking for Kovacs, Gordon, Turner, Floyd, or somebody to really step up that week and make a statement. Woofolk has his work cut out for him already so it will be crucial for the other guys to step up.
Under Weis, the offensive line basically didn't get coached (or at least horribly) the first four years. They were fine the first two years because they had veterans and talent (guys like Ryan Harris, starting in Denver now). John Latina was the coach the first four years. Weis fired him after 08 and brought in Verducci. Verducci did a better job but they still didn't play well enough for Weis to keep his job.
One major problem Weis had was when Clausen injured his foot. Weis never rolled him out or moved the pocket after that. Clausen was basically a sitting duck and teams teed off on him. Paul Duncan and Sam Young are both huge but not very fleet of foot and this really hurt the ND offense. Combine that with Weis' lack of emphasis on the running game and his inability to instill toughness in the football team and an offensive line that had talent really struggled.
ND will have two starters locked in. Chris Stewart and Trevor Robinson, both of whom should excel in run blocking. Robinson has been starting since parts of his frosh year and is everything you'd want in an interior OL. Stewart arrived at ND close to 400 pounds but has really worked hard to reshape his body (this should continue under ND's allegedly improved S&C program). He's also a smart guy (a first year law student at ND) FWIW.
Dan Wenger started at center in 07 and 08 but lost his starting job last year. People were excited about him when he arrived on campus (was one of the top C prospects in teh country out of HS). He might get beaten out though by a younger guy if he can't step up though (Braxston Cave & Chris Watt are the two most likely candidates).
I think you will see better protection this year out of the tackles. Right now true Soph Zach Martin (former Michigan recruit) and Senior Taylor Dever are slated to start. They fit the spread offense well (especially Martin), as they are not as huge as Young/Duncan but much better athletes and should be able to handle speed rushers.. Kelly will also be much more creative in how he protects Crist (which he will want to do) and will not drop him back in the pocket all day like Weis did with Clausen.
Also, just curious, why will Michigan's front 7 be a strength? I can see the DL with Martin and Van Bergen (and Campbell if he can improve his technique and conditioning). What do you see that gives you confidence in the LBs? I thought Stevie Brown was your best last year and he's gone. Ezeh and Mouton were horrible in all the games I saw. Can Roh play LB? I always thought of him as a DE.
When a front 7 returns 5 starters, it's usually a strength. Obviously BG was great, but Stevie Brown was more of a consistent contributor than he was irreplaceable.
Roh was good last fall, very good for a true frosh. He's added 15lbs and now has a full year of starting experience. He'll play a LB/DE hybrid type role, but I think you can expect him to do well wherever he plays.
As for Ezeh and Mouton, both are 5th year seniors in their 3rd or 4th year starting, don't discount age and experience. There is a difference between a 22 year old body and a 19 year old body. Individually, I think Mouton is posed for a break-out senior year; I'd be surprised if he's not a strenght. As for Ezeh, he's a toss-up, but he's had great games in the past. Kenny Demens is a 4 star RS soph who had good reviews in the spring. If Ezeh falters, Demens could step in and take care of business.
Stevie Brown's position is now the 5th DB. This could be played by any of about 6 guys (Kovacs, Gordon, Turner, Williams, Furman, MRob), and although they are all young, the best out of that group will be a good player.
Lastly, another reason our front 7 will be a strength is because of depth. We had little in the way of back-ups last season, and we returned all of them for this fall. With all of our rotation guys a year bigger and better, our starters will get more rest and be that much fresher come the 4th quarter.
I can see the Michigan defense being better but I still think losing Graham and Brown will hurt. There will be a difference between a senior playing in Stevie Brown and whatever underclassmen beats out the rest of the underclassmen for the spot he would have played.
The unknown from my vantage point will be how much can Michigan improve while trying to replace a star player and two of their other best starters. Also, can a guy like Ezeh, who seemed like a huge liability hold down his spot, I guess he has to get better, I don't see him getting any worse.
Notre Dame returns 9/10 (depends how you count it with the switch from the 4-3 to 3-4) starters on defense from last year. I would expect all of them to improve being a year older and benefit as well from the coaching upgrade. The unknown is how much switching scheme will impair that improvement. I think it will be important in terms of defensive coaching to keep things simple, you really get screwed when you overcomplicate things and players start thinking instead of playing (as Michigan and ND have learned the hard way the past few years).
OK, it sounds to me like you already have your opinions of our defense, and they won't change no matter what anyone tells you. The worst part is, your reasoning goes no further than "you lost 2 good players therefore you can't get better" and that's just not true. Last year was also the first year with a new coordinator for us, and we tried some things that didn't always work.
Seriously, arguing with you is like arguing with a stubborn 5 year old. You want to make your points, but you don't care what anyone else says and you certainly won't change your opinion no matter what. So fine, you think our defense will be bad and yours will be great.
Agree to disagree, we'll find out in a couple months.
My point is I don't think its a slam dunk that Michigan will be greatly improved on defense. I certainly think the returning starters will be better, from being a year older and playing in the same scheme. I think guys like BG are very difficult to replace, its an unknown whether the guys that played around him being better will adequately or more than compensate for his absence (I don't think they will, that's certainly where my bias comes in).
Combine that with all the question marks in the secondary (basically everyone outside Woolfolk IMO) and I don't see Michigan making great strides on D, definitely not in the early going.
Fair enough, I don't see either of us knocking each other off of our takes, my overall point its not an open and shut case like you make it out to be.
No, he's actually quite rational right now. Refuting his point with "you"re like a stubborn 5 year old" must be your version of a white flag.
Other than stubhub, anyone know where I can get tickets for this one? The Michigan ticket office had them a couple of years ago, but when I inquired about this year, they stated that they would not be getting any!
If someone has tickets and is willing to sell them, they may be in the michtix spreadsheet.
EDIT: I don't see any on there now, but keep an eye on it as we get closer. Chances are lower since it's an away game, but someone might be looking to get rid of one at some point.
1. While Chryst looks like a good one, he has virtually no experience playing. So we have new system, no experience in system, coming off ACL surgery. It might take a game or 2 before he's carving up the NCAA.
2. OL is young
3. D has new system...db's blow, dl is undersized and thin.
I agree this game is scary because it is a crucial swing game, but they are not 05 USC just yet. We'll score on them, it will come down to Chryst and Floyd vs Gerg and Woolfolk.
It might take a game or 2 before he's carving up the NCAA.
Let's hope it's two games.
MGoUser Irish will notice this thread and make a fair and rational comment
almost everyone is nice and rational so far, don't really have any new points to add
Two issues with this post:
1. 3 games are key to us winning 7-8 games this year? Thats kind've a dumb statement, since any 3 games bring a team from 4-8 to 7-5. Thats true every year for every team that "3 games" make a ton of difference. One game making the difference and I buy the momentum theory but 3 games and you might as well say 12 games are key.
2. My main reason for confidence is our win last year. There are reasons why it will be easier and harder this year, but I think the reasons it will be easier outweigh the reasons it will be harder.
Harder Point 1: ND has a coaching upgrade. But you really need to ask yourself if Brian Kelly is really THAT amazing of a coach. Dont let the media hype fool you, his 12-0 Bearcats got absolutely torched in the bowl game. Florida couldve put up 100 on them if they were trying in the second half. He was a dominant Big East coach but until you prove it in the SEC, Pac-10, Big 10, or Big 12 you aren't a proven coach. Even the ACC is relatively meaningless these days.
Harder Point 2: It's at ND instead of at the Big House. Homefield advantage is pretty significant in college so this shouldn't be ignored.
Easier Point 1: ND lost 2 of its 3 best players by far on offense last year. I know Crist is super hyped on ESPN etc. but the reality is that he is unlikely to come in and produce at the same level of a Clausen junior year. Since they had a healthy Floyd against us last year their WR corps will only be worse. Whoever they plug in to replace Golden Tate will not be as good either on the field or at diving into the MSU marching band.
Easier Point 2: Don't underestimate what a year of experience will do for both Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. I'm on the record as not a particularly big Forcier fan, and have been known to write in my diary I stole from a 12-year-old girl and watch Twilight, however I have never doubted his ability as a football player. The guy can play, and Denard has shown obvious improvement as well. If Fleming's jockstrap is still on the field from Tate burning him last year, then I think Robinson would probably bend the space-time continuum and put Rudy's jockstrap on the field this year.
Wash Point: Both our secondaries are questionable at best. We lost some good defensive players, but ND's defense isnt any good either. I think it basically comes down to who has the better offense and I trust Tate/Denard to pull this out more than I trust an unproven Crist despite his hype. It could turn out that Crist is the next Sam Bradford but until he actually proves it, I'm going with our guys. And week 1 will not change that opinion either way (35-0 against Nevada last year didnt save ND from us).
He was a dominant Big East coach but until you prove it in the SEC, Pac-10, Big 10, or Big 12 you aren't a proven coach.
Let's not go there right now.
I'm aware of what that means for Rich Rod. I didnt say "you are a bad coach" I just said you aren't a proven coach. This is true for Rich Rod as well. This year and next year are the years Rich Rod proves it. Brian Kelly has the next 4 years at ND to prove he's a good coach too.
They've both shown they can dominate the Big East, but just like Strasburg when he was dominating in minor league baseball, eventually you need to come to the big leagues and prove it.
I think Kelly has proven by his track record to be an excellent coach, but transitions do take time. I'm more confident that ND will improve because of just how bad of a coach Weis was. ND had a ton of talent and lost games they had no business losing. Throw out the Sugar Bowl, that game is absolutely meaningless. Kelly didn't coach it (the team went through a lot of upheaval losing their HC), and look at the talent difference between Cincy and Florida. Florida is one of the most talented teams in the country (the only other schools in the discussion are USC, Texas, and Alabama IMO), Cincinnati has MAC level talent. They should have been smoked by Florida!
On Crist: No I don't expect him to be Jimmy Clausen this year. Clausen was crazy accurate and had a lot of experience. I do think he's going to be in a much more QB friendly offense. Weis required his QBs to sit in the pocket, read the entire field and defense, and make NFL caliber throws. While Kelly will attack deep he will find much more creative and easier ways to get the ball to his playmakers. He will move Crist out of the pocket (he's a pretty good athlete), will use the quick game, screens, reverses, etc. In Weis' offense you were screwed without a Brady Quinn/Jimmy Clausen type passer who also had the experience and mental ability to run the offense.
I do think Michigan will be much improved at QB this year. However, ND's gameplan last year was insane. They blitzed like crazy letting Tate get outside the pocket where he is most dangerous. They also played soft coverage which opened up a lot of passes as well. Michigan State kept Tate in the pocket and contained him almost the entire game. I think ND will have a much better idea of how to defend Michigan this year. For comparison Kelly held WV to 28 points in 2007 (when RR was still there), 23 in 08 (UC won in OT), & 21 in 09. That's with a pretty big talent differential and Pat White at QB two of those years. Tenuta had no clue how to defend RR's offense, he gave up 38 to them in the 07 Gator Bowl when he was with GT.
ND has both talent and experience in the secondary, unfortunately they were awful last year. The major reason for that IMO was the awful coaching. Corwin Brown is a good DB coach but he failed trying to get the DBs to play in Tenuta's defense. He did do a good job the previous two years and ND's secondary was the strength of the defense. The lack of chemistry on the defensive coaching staff is the culprit for ND's struggles. The DBs looked clueless all year, especially against USC and Navy of all teams. With everyone on the same page, I think we will see the DBs play up to their ability.
Ok, so what does the Sugar Bowl tell us then? That Kelly isn't a good coach because his team (which is one of the least talented in the Big East by recruiting rankings) got smoked by Florida. I don't think that will be very indicative of how well Kelly will do at ND.
Oh ok, well if I was going to compare BCS performance I would probably just stick with the games where the coaches in question were actually in the buidling the game was played in. I think the Fiesta Bowl said that RR put a really good program together at WV with White, Slaton, Devine, etc. (although we have yet to see that at M), Bill Stewart did a great job as an interim coach in that game, and Bob Stoops has had a lot of trouble in bowl games in recent years.
Not sure how its Kelly's fault that Cincy couldn't get up for big games (they did in every game last year), the one game they lost was to one of the most talented teams in the country! They weren't supposed to win that game, the fact they played Florida in a Sugar Bowl is a minor miracle in and of itself.
The VT game was pretty close, Cincy just failed to convert in the red zone (yes that sometimes happens in one game sample sizes). Beamer has had VT as a top notch program (probably top 10 in the country) the 15 years prior to that, so that Kelly had a match up against them in a BCS game in his second year and the game was closer than the 13 point differential on the scoreboard isn't really a huge knock against him IMO.
This line still baffles me, -3 I could see. Purdue opens up with them in South Bend (3:30 est) I cannot access any gambling sites at work can someone please tell me the P/S for the PUR/ND game.
I just don’t see ND holding anything back against PUR like they would vs. a cupcake, so I'm sure UM have a good game tape for their match-up. At first glance:
-New QB (bum knee)in a new system and it’s a PUR like passing spread am I right? (so a running QB is not a great treat).
-Questionable OL, I'm sure there all high ranked kids but without being a experienced/gelled unit I don't care who's running or throwing the rock, that’s a huge red flag.
-3 years 3 D Coordinators, C. Brown/J. Tenuta/B. Diaco plus there is a depth gap that will/should be exploited in 2ed half of games. We all know the pains of this.
Now to all, I'm the ultimate pessimistic bastard, I worried until the seconded half of the Delaware St. Game. The above points are for the OP, and I'm already on the baby aspirin regimen for the UCONN game and I am a healthy adult. I've said before its sad to know how I'm going to die but it's what I love.
EDIT: sorry Ziff72 looks like were on the same page, I still would like to know the PUR/ND point spread if anyone has it.
ND -9 over Purdue
-3 of the 5 have played together for 2 and now 3 years, all 3 are interior linemen. Ratings aren't really that high actually
-Depth gap? 5 DEs to play 3 spots, 5 LBs to play 4 spots, 3 CBs to play 2 spots and then the safetys which there isn't a clear picture on but plenty of boddies back there. Every one of them has played before so I am not sure what you mean by a depth gap.
I thought ND was down on defensive scholarship numbers for their Weis era recruiting (14 in two classes not including losses/transfers). Do you have any depth charts we(the royal) can look at since you’re here?
all I have is a roster, kelly doesn't make depth charts apparently so until the end of fall practice won't know much
In Darth Vadar voice.
This one's really easy to break down. Both offenses will be good and put up a fair share of points. Whichever defense steps up, makes a few stops and/or gets turnovers wins.
and who missed spring practice has to be a major conern for ND. It's defense was bad (like Michigan's) last year. New coaches, new system. I don't see how ND can get hyped as much as it does. ND is a tough place for Michigan to win, but this is an important, winnable swing game.
I watched Crist play last year when Jimmy had that bad toe thing. He looked awful. Even the Domers were holding their breath and praying for the return of Jimmy as quickly as possible. It is irish delusion to think that Crist is going to step in and be as good as Jimmy at the beginning of the 2010 season simply because BK is the coach.
Crist doesn't need to be as good as Clausen was last year for the offense to be successful. Clasuen carried ND's offense last year, Crist does not have to carry it this year, he just needs to take care of the ball.
Crist has more things going for him physically that Clausen did as well, his arm is much stronger and he is bigger
he just needs to take care of the ball
That sums it up. The immediate problem with inexperienced QBs is turnovers. I'd say "good luck with that," but I wouldn't really mean it...
Crist didn't miss spring practice. He played in the spring game and I even heard recently that he might not wear a brace this year on his knee.
Kelly doesn't really use RBs. There was some stat like his RBs rarely get over 10 carries a game. ND has a really good receiving corps, so I am worried about our secondary and LBs getting burned by TEs. But I don't think ND's defense is that good, and Crist is no Clausen, at least yet.
RBs get the ball out of the backfield but I would expect the 10 carries per game to go up based on all the running in the spring game
Irish, help us out here. I know it's far too early to tell, but based off of what you know thus far, what aspects of this match up do you like and dislike?
I like the potential of ND's passing game vs UM's secondary, but I liked it last year as well. ND could not get out of their own way last year the execution was horrible and UM took advantage of it and got a great win.
I don't see enough difference in the ND passing game to think it wont be effective this year, and I haven't seen enough with the UM secondary to think ND wont be able to throw on them all day. That matchup trumps anything that I would be worried about with UM's offense vs. ND's defense. But its still really early
Can't say I disagree with you much there. I think this game will turn into a shoot out, similar to last year, except I still believe Michigan pulls out an 'upset'. I was looking film of Cinci's offense vs Pitt and noticed a couple of "running" plays that could be considered as you described above. They even use the pitch to the Tight End (which could go for a big gain.)
At around 2:47, you start to see how they pitch/shovel pass. At around 3:11 you'll see how they run their fake toss to the RB and then pitch to TE:
there was a lot of deception in the spring game and it is something i am very excited about for the coming season
WOW they needed a lot of special teams "luck" to squeak this one out. I really like that TE shovel pass, that is pretty good. However, I think a lot of "deception" plays will actually be a negative for ND this upcoming year. Those things need to become second nature to the players in order to execute them, if they aren't then I can see a lot of turnovers amassing.
Hey Irish I think it's time for you to start a website. You say Kelly doesn't have any depth charts after spring. That may be true, but RR doesn't either and I have access to depth charts with class and star rating thru 2016 with 50 different versions of each. Don't you guys have a decent blog that all gets summarized.
probably is somewhere, there are so many ND message boards that I am sure one of them probably does, I am happy with what use right now though.
...when I read this:
Even after three years building up the Michigan roster, Rodriguez would probably exchange skill players with Notre Dame in a heartbeat.
Yeah, Spath, if he's as concerned about star ratings as you are and ignores scheme when considering personnel like you are. I would never trade skill guys with ND at this point. Who would run the zone read? A dropback QB coming of ACL surgery? Who would be slots? All those outside WR/Michael Floyd types? Very poor analysis and comment by Spath.
That lack of a dropback QB coming off ACL surgery is all that stands in the way of Michigan and football glory.
Dude, you need Jesus. Wait, on second thought... maybe you don't. Actually, you need this:
Have faith. This year we will Freak. Stuff. Up. (PG-13)
or is Armando Allen in his ~ 14th year of eligibility? It seems like he's been around forever.
than anyone running a different offense at MI would have been. ND's offense requires very similar talent to the W. Coast offense run under Weis. Their qb doesn't have to be as mobile as does the run oriented spread teams.
I do agree, no matter which offense you run, any qb needs experience to be exceptional. The need here can be mitigated greatly if surrounded by talented,experienced players, i.e., Leach, Henson, but as pointed out, ND is infusing a lot of new players into its offense this season. I'd expect a lot of 3 step drops much like USC ran against us in the '04 RB, but I think their running game will be made up largely of quick draws and counter action.
I also think the Irish players will play to a much higher level, because they're now playing under a coach who, more than likely, they have much greater faith in than Weis. This is almost the exact opposite scenario than UM faced in RR' s first season, when even our veteran DL didn't play to expectations.
I don't really feel the paragraph immediately above is relevant to the UM/ND contest this season because UM's roster is now made up of players who definitely believe in RR, most specifically the offensive side of the ball. I just pointed out the above because I think it will serve ND well over the entire season.
As one who has been around for a number of years, I think Dark Blue's post could be true in any given season. Strange things happen in that stadium and they almost often benefit the Irish.