Notre Dame Postgame Press Conference: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Ethan Sears September 2nd, 2018 at 1:39 PM



(Thanks to David Nasternak for providing audio from South Bend)

Jim, what do you think of the team’s performance and is there a level of disappointment with how it all went today?

“Yeah, we would’ve liked to come out victorious. Congratulations to Notre Dame,thought they played a very good ballgame.”

Jim, not many explosive plays offensively, what wasn’t happening there?

“Just a few, not enough. What was happening? Yeah, we didn’t make enough explosive plays. Probably didn’t run the ball as well as we would’ve liked. Credit to Notre Dame’s defense.”

Jim, Ambry (Thomas’)  99-yarder, can you talk about what you saw in terms of maybe some key blocks and also what Ambry did on that play?

“Yeah, it was a middle return. He was able to break some arm tackles and then show some real burst when he got into the open field. Was able to finish off that, gave us a great spark.”

Jim, was there any communication issues between Shea and the offensive line. It looked like maybe with the snap counts he was hurrying, were they off-balance, were they not on the same page?

“No, I thought they were. I didn’t see any communication issues between Shea and the offensive line.”

Jim, the way your team came out, Notre Dame hit some big plays, third down, on your team right out of the box. Did you feel like your team came out slow, trying to ease its way in or something? Even on offense, with some of the playcalling, did you feel that way at all?

“No, I didn’t feel like our team was trying to ease their way into the game.”

How about the defense on third down? They hit some huge plays, defended, were they picking on you guys? Blitzes, or what do you think?

“Third down conversions were about the same for both teams. Definitely some big penalties that kept drives alive and were converted into touchdowns.”

Jim, what’s missing from your program now? You guys are not winning big games.

“You know, onward. Just good old-fashioned resolve. There’s more we can do, there’s — this can be a very good football team. We have confidence in it.”

How would you evaluate Shea tonight?

“I thought he competed well. Thought he was doing the things that we were asking him to do and, for a first time out, with his new team, I thought he did a good job.”

Coach, what are your biggest takeaways from tonight, about your team?

“I don’t really have all the biggest takeaways. I thought our guys, thought they played fast. Thought they competed hard. Yeah, there was — there’s improvements to be made. Mistakes were made, but I thought they fought hard.”

You gave up 21 points in the first half, then cut that down to three in the second half, and I think only 60-aught yards for the offense for Notre Dame. What changed for your defense? What got better, what improved?

“Really, I thought we were stopping the run well. Brandon Wimbush made some big plays throughout the game, running the ball, getting out of the pocket. Credit to him. He played a heck of a ballgame. Thought we limited that in the second half.”

Can you talk about how Dylan (McCaffrey) played when he got in there?

“Yeah, I thought Dylan played well. He showed some real moxie in there and ran the offense, made some good throws. Coming in off the bench like that, I thought he acquitted himself really well.”

Why did you make that decision to go with him over Brandon (Peters)? Was that this week that you knew he’d be second-string?

“Yeah, that was this week. Brandon in practice, on a rollout, had tweaked his knee. And he hadn’t taken any reps since Tuesday, so wasn’t 1000 percent for today. So, elevated Dylan to second-string.”

Jim, Brandon Watson, big interception and pinning the ball down, I think it was in the first quarter, on a punt. Can you just talk about Brandon’s play and what he brought tonight?

“Yeah, I thought that was a spectacular play Brandon made, and like I said, there’s good play to be pointed out throughout the team, and a lot of good things to build on. But didn’t come out the way we wanted it, but, it’s not the end, it’s the beginning for us. That’s the way we’re approaching. I was really impressed by the play Brandon made, the way he played all night.”

Jim, still had a lot of pass protection issues that were sorta similar to what we saw last year. Is that what you guys saw in camp? Is that coming along, or is that not what you expected?

“Yeah, they got us on the one inside blitz that we didn’t pick up. They were — there was good pressure that their front was bringing the entire night, some we blocked, yeah. Could be better, yes. We’ll work to improve it.”

How much has, overall, offensively, still limited on what they can do? Shea (Patterson), new quarterback, new guys, new spots, still working through all that?

“Yeah, sure, sure. The guys really, really prepared well for this ballgame. Not the outcome we anticipated or wanted, but we just gotta dig deep. Make no excuses. Give credit to Notre Dame and move onto the next week.”

Where are you in terms of finding that identity on your offense? Is it gonna — are you close? Does it take a little while in your mind to getting the identity that you want for this offense?

“Where are we at? We’re at the beginning.”

Jim, with all the excitement of a new season, does this feel like a setback for you guys?

“It was a big opening game. Did not come out the way we wanted, but we gotta dig down.”

Does it feel like a setback though?

“It’s the beginning. It’s the beginning for us. We’re not treating it like the end.”

Jim, despite everything that kinda went sideways in this game at times, you had the ball with a chance to drive and tie the game late, where you wanted it. What does it say about your team that you were in that position despite all that went wrong?

“They fought hard. We did well. There’s things to build on.”

Thoughts about Will Hart, and any update on Brad Robbins at all?

“Brad’s gonna be out for a while. He did have a back surgery.”

And how Will performed, other than the dropped snap?

“Yeah, he had the — he pinned them in. Did a great punt, down to I think like the 4, 3, 4-yard line. Had some other good punts. Things to build on there, for Will.”


Wolverine In Iowa 68

September 2nd, 2018 at 1:54 PM ^

Jim, Chris Evans and Dylan were really successful with the short screens.  Where the fuck was that all night while Patterson was in the game, and WHY THE FUCK DID YOU STOP WHEN IT WAS WORKING TO MOVE THE BALL DOWN FIELD?????

Durham Blue

September 2nd, 2018 at 2:03 PM ^

Shea threw at least three WR bubble screens that worked decently.  Netted about 5 yards average.  Those were well executed.  I would've like to have seen more quick hitter slants across the middle to make ND pay for bringing blitzes.

I think we need to abandon play action.  Maybe run it once a game.  At least until Warriner gets the OL pass blocking situation fixed.


September 2nd, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

I half-heartedly agree in that we need to keep play-action looks that are not RPO quick-reads to a minimum unless the run game is functional. If we're moving the ball successfully on the ground the play-action game will open up. Otherwise it's just time spent without the QB looking downfield.

The quick-slants, bubble screens, RB screens and short wheels, and various jet sweeps and such need to be used to force opposing defenses to stretch horizontally to open up the running room inside. It really looks like the line can't open up holes all on their lonesome against a ND-level line. That needs to (and will) improve over the coming weeks before we head to Northwestern.


September 2nd, 2018 at 3:14 PM ^

Well, Harbaugh better produce this year or next year or he should be gone. He was hired and given $8,000,000 a year (what the second or third highest coaching salary) to WIN.  Not to bring back nostalgia of Bo.  Not to play hard.  He got hired and PAID to get us to win games others couldn't.  So far he has been a failure.  And I hate saying that.  I want the guy to succeed.  


September 3rd, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

RR's tenure was sabotaged from the beginning, when LC was passing out transfer slips like crackerjack prizes after his last bowl game.

It's obvious that the rebuilding process is going to take a full five years thanks to the buffoonery that would follow after the initial sabotage of RR.  And the biggest part to rebuild, as Brian has mentioned numerous times, is the OL.  

In the meantime, this team can still recover and win the next five.  5-1 going into the Wiscy game isn't a bad position to be in.


September 4th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

What Caliber of coach is he exactly?  He hasn't won a damn thing, at Stanford or here.  You keep saying at his caliber, so what is it?  A coach that will finish 2nd-5th in the conference every year?  Hell, might as well bring Hoke back, you can save 2/3 of his salary/year to get those kind of results.  You act like he is some elite coach, but he has never sustained any success.  Had one good year @ Stanford, has 2 decent years here out of 8 years coaching.  He is being paid at an elite level, elite results should be the expectation and reality.  You can pay any young up and coming coach 1/3 of his salary and get the same W/L results.


September 2nd, 2018 at 1:54 PM ^

Jim, what’s missing from your program now? You guys are not winning big games.

“You know, onward. Just good old-fashioned resolve. There’s more we can do, there’s — this can be a very good football team. We have confidence in it.””



How about an offensive line that can hold their blocks? I think that’s been missing for about 10 years now Jim.


September 2nd, 2018 at 11:37 PM ^

I believe this goes here:

OSU-UM 2007.png

That was 2007.  Around this time Brian wrote an analysis of Michigan's severe dropoff in OL play around 2001 -- something like 10-12 NFL OL in the five years prior, and 3 or so in the five years after.  RR's approach certainly didn't help, but the denigration of a one-time pipeline to the NFL was in process long before he showed up.

Go Blue 80

September 2nd, 2018 at 2:04 PM ^

I watched the OLine closely all game.  I saw all 5 starters get beat for pressures or sacks at some point.  JBB is really terrible at pass pro, which has been well documented.  I didn't see the excellence in Ruiz that has been getting hyped on this blog.  He just looks like a guy.  Same with Dwumfour and Solomon, almost irrelevant.  We really missed Hurst in this game.  Higdon missed a huge cut back lane early in the game.  His lack of vision continues to be an issue.  Ross was a liability at times. That missed sack by Gill was pathetic.  The botched fg hold was pathetic.  Looked like they weren't prepared at all for this game.  Last 2 games where coaches had extended prep time, this game and bowl game we came out flat and were outcoached.  That says something about the staff. I saw players laughing and smiling on the sideline when we were down 24-10.  I question this team's will to win.  Where was Gary at all night.  Tired of hearing about all his double teams.  He needs to produce.  Pathetic performance.