July 7th, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

So, random anonymous "Michigan fan" gets to meet Kelly (not the players, it seems) and gets a tour and concludes form that alone that ND will crush Michigan this year and will be the next USC?


Somehow I'm not too concerned.


July 7th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

is the Notre Dame scout thread so different from the random WVU player's account of RR this past week?

i asked 2 questions below the thread link that i'd like people to respond to. obviously, most of us arent sure what to expect out of Kelly and ND this season. so id like to get some opinions about the game this season and possibly ND's future.

there are a lot of questions surrounding the Michigan/ND game this year. my confidence would be up if it were a home game, but i think this game will be tougher than people think. at this point, i wouldnt put money on either team yet.

-Michigan coming off a tough game vs UCONN. Michigan will be playing under a lot of pressure @ ND. ND's biggest strength is their passing game vs Michigan's questionable secondary. Michigan special teams has a lot to prove as well with losses at kicker and punter. there was talk of a lot of inconsistency from the kickers in the spring.


July 7th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

"is the Notre Dame scout thread so different from the random WVU player's account of RR this past week?"

Didn't the random WVU player actually play football... for RR?  If so, yes it is worlds different.

As for the questions you pose, they are good ones.  I think Michigan will steamroll ND this year (transitions are tough, ND will learn that).  They will not be the next USC.  I'm not sure what the ridiculous scout thread added in the posing of those questions.


July 7th, 2010 at 4:10 PM ^

if true, the thread has a few interesting tidbits about ND and Brian Kelly, and their future. the thread also leads to this person's opinion on the outcome of this years Michigan/ND game.

ive thought about the future of ND under Brian Kelly and this years ND/Michigan game just the same, and i was interested in getting the opinions of my fellow mgobloggers.

good point about player vs fan, but i find it hard to totally buy in to anyone's opinion outright regardless of who they are. Justin Boren and a slew of others would be just as quick to slam RR as others would back him up and call him great coach. imo long term results are the best gauge of a coach. fwiw, ive personally believed for a while that if RR builds a strong defense again at Michigan he will have long term success there.


July 8th, 2010 at 7:43 AM ^

never played for Rich Rodriguez. So that's a big difference from someone who, you know, actually played for him.

One thing we have not seen is large number of Rich's players at WVU and elsewhere having bad things to say about him. You say there are equal numbers of his players on both sides of the argument, when in fact it is nothing like that -- the overwhelming majority of actual RR alumni think he's a great coach. 


July 7th, 2010 at 4:04 PM ^

A lot is going to be determined on how we come out versus UCONN.  Personally I think this game might not be as close as some people may think.  RR & the players know how big the UCONN game is and will come out extremely focused.  Don't want to take anything away from UCONN but this game will come down to more than just pure player ability.  After a whole offseason of nothing but bad publicity, Michigan will come out more focused than we have ever seen them before.  I have a feeling UCONN will not know what the hell hit them.

As far as the ND game, I think this will be a high scoring game that could go either way.  But you would have to give us the edge purely based on experience.  BK is installing a new system with new players and its going to take some time for them to click.  Its going to depend on our front line putting pressure on an inexperienced QB, shutting down the run, and our secondary making stops when they need them.  I feel we will get enough stops for our offense to out score them to win the game.





July 7th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

~ I wouldn't worry about the game being at Notre Dame.  Notre Dame Stadium is hardly an intimidating place to play.  Over the last five years, Notre Dame was 20-14 (.588) at home, and 15-13 (.535) on the road, and that includes neutral site games.  Hardly intimidating, IMHO.

~I think Michigan gets ND at a good time of the year.  ND will be one game into a new system.  As such, the passing advantage you mention is going to be wholely dependent on their ability to adapt to the new system quickly.  I'd be much more worried about a run-heavy team in that scenario.


July 7th, 2010 at 5:37 PM ^

Notre Dame is only 5-8-0 in Ann Arbor in that same spell and has only one once in Ann Arbor in the last 15 years.  Not that I'm disagreeing with your point - I basically share it - but we're really just saying that each team tends to do about twice as well at home in the series.

(I'm mainly chiming in because it was a little surprising, actually, to see we'd only one four times there.  I'm mollified by their reciprocal lack of wins in our stadium.)


July 7th, 2010 at 6:56 PM ^

Obviously we won a lot of games here and there when we were teaching them football. And yes, it's basically home field. But the point was that Notre Dame has sucked at home, not really holding a home field advantage...except they have against us; even when they're not so good. (Because ND had two games annually that will get them noted by, and USC). It's a home dog's series.

Though you are right. For all the talk of Leprechauns in South Bend, they've had as hard a time up here. I just wouldn't want to be the favorite going on the road hearing how you are going to kill the opponent; because usually that's the brew for an upset with these teams.


July 7th, 2010 at 4:10 PM ^

ND may have the most space between floor and ceiling of any team on our schedule, and it all comes down to the offense and mostly to the QB. Crist is a 5-star in his third year in the program, but he's hardly played, is coming off an injury if I'm not mistaken, and is learning a new system. I wouldn't be surprised if ND's passing attack is as good as anyone's in the Big 10, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's totally ineffective, especially given the new system and the mostly rebuilt line.

ND's running game will likely be nothing special, and their defense should be improved, but not enough to carry the team if the offense isn't working. 


July 7th, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

Seemed appropriate...

Readers Digest Version follows:

Mysterious Michigan fan gets to spend some time with new ND coach Kelly.  By the time they're done, said fan thinks that ND will spank the Wolverines this year and will lead ND to become the next USC.

All ND posters gloat at how Kelly has converted this fan and pledge their undying aliegiance.

The End.



July 7th, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

He's proven it at every level thus far.  That CMU stint was not that fantastic, but he still won 3 conf. titles.  He's also seems to have a streak of amazing fortune going for him - a knack for taking lemons and making lemonade (i.e. the whole Cincy QB debacle that was not a debacle at all).  How does he do that?  Collaros was a two-star unranked QB coming out of Steubenville, OH. And what does Kelly turn  5 star, No. 3 QB like Dayne Crist into?

The Notre Dame job is going to be his toughest challenge, but my guess is he'll have them ready to contend for a national title faster than Lou Holtz did. 

As for this year's game against Michigan, it's probably too close to call.  Notre Dame has a lot of questions on offense, which aligns nicely with Michigan's weaknesses at LB and the secondary.   Plus, I get nervous whenever Brian Kelly claims he has big problems at the quarterback position. Head for the mountains.



July 7th, 2010 at 4:26 PM ^

Sure, Collaros wasn't a big recruit who did very well in Kelly's offense, but he was a kid who won like 3 state titles in high school for his small town team, and was playing a lot of back yard style football for UC last year, against the Big East.  He's one of those QB's who's better at f-ing around and making plays work than he is about being a pocket passer.

Crist is the opposite, so who knows if he'll even be as successful as Collaros.  Also, Collaros had a couple years to learn the offense before he did all of that.  Crist will have a few months and one game before he plays us, and he's not even fully recovered from his knee yet. 

We'll see what Kelly does, but I'm not totally convinced yet.


July 7th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

I've seen people on the board talk about the ND game like it's a slam dunk.  I think that that is a mistake.  Kelly is a heck of a coach, and ND still has a lot of talent...I don't think we should assume anything going into that game.   


July 7th, 2010 at 4:01 PM ^

So part of the reason Brian Kelly is going to make ND the next USC is because he "put a velvet rope around the "ND" on the floor in the locker room".  Once the stripper pole is installed, the Irish should be runnin' on all cylinders.


July 7th, 2010 at 4:04 PM ^

If we lose to UConn, I think we will lose the ND game. It'd be bad if we were 0-1 and heading to South Bend with no confidence. I don't think we will lose though. Hopefully we kill UConn and head to ND with a lot of confidence.


July 7th, 2010 at 4:06 PM ^

I don't think Brian Kelly is going to lead Notre Dame to near death-sentence level punishment for running an out of control football program, if that's what you mean by the next USC.


July 7th, 2010 at 4:17 PM ^

I think he will turn ND back into a contender eventually, as will RR with MI.  Should make for some huge match ups between us over the next few years.  This year both teams are too much of a mystery right now to make a call.  I do think MI's 3-3-5 can be effective against the type of offense ND will be running.  Hopefully RR can kick around his Big East buddies for a couple weeks.


July 7th, 2010 at 4:22 PM ^

Obviously as an ND fan, I like our chances.  Kelly said in a recent interview that he thinks the running backs and offensive line are the strengths of the offense, which is in stark contrast to the anemic running game under Weis.  I personally don't see how Michigan is going to defend both Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph and shut down ND's running game.  This game comes down to Dayne Crist, if he gets knocked out at any point this season ND is in major trouble.  He needs to play within himself and get the ball to his playmakers, and ND has the talent to score a lot of points.

Defensively, I don't think any defensive coordinator did a worse job than John Tenuta last year.  ND's personnel was recruited for a 3-4, so I expect major defensive improvements under Bob Diaco, who led an undefeated defense that had 10 new starters (most with MAC level talent).

Transitions can be interesting.  Michigan had total culture shock with RR, and lacking a quarterback and team leadership paid dearly for it.  ND has had some pretty successful transitions under both Tyrone and Charlie, two awful college coaches.  I think BK is a much better coach, so hopefully he can channel the whole new voice yelling at you angle and at least do as well as the TW and CW in their first years.


July 7th, 2010 at 4:40 PM ^

Weis had an already seasoned Brady Quinn at QB when he started, not a luxury that BK has.  I agree that Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph are good players, but ND will have to run the ball well to make them a threat.  Even then, Crist has to prove he can get the ball to them and be on the same page with them, or their superstarness is negated.  Even if all of that happens, ND has to prove they can stop other teams from scoring, something they haven't done well the last few years (and something UC didn't go against the good offenses they faced). 

I'm not saying ND will be a bad team, but saying "Hey look we have a really good WR, a really good TE so we have to be good" isn't gonna fly by me.  Last year ND had Clausen, Rudolph, Floyd (for half the season) and Golden Tate, and they couldn't win too many games. 


July 7th, 2010 at 5:12 PM ^

I'm certainly doing a lot of projecting, but isn't everyone at this point?  Charlie Weis was a pretty horrible college HC, so far BK has proven to be an outstanding HC.  If he could get the job done with Pike, Collaros, Mauk, Lefevour, etc., (all of them except Mauk having no experience) as a glass is half full kind of guy, I would like to think he could do it with a 5 star in Dayne Crist who has all the physical talent you could want.

Armando Allen had the best rushing game of his career against Michigan last year (139 yards), so from my perspective I think he will be able to do some damage on the ground this year as well.

I look at Michigan's defense and I find it difficult to project them being any better when they lose the best player in the Big Ten (Graham), top LB (Brown), and top DB (Warren).

Were all guessing at this point, but I would put my money on ND right now.


July 7th, 2010 at 5:39 PM ^

You can't compare Crist to any of the guys you named.  Not at CMU or UC did BK need to play with a QB with no starting experience and an offense in their first year in the system.  Lefevour's freshman year was BK's third year there (I think) so everyone else on offense was used to the system, only the QB was new.  As you said, Mauk had starting experience, and by the time Pike and Collaros were starting, they had both played as a back-up in that system for a couple years before being asked to take the reins.  ND has none of the above.

You mentioned the guys we lost.  All 3 of them will be missed, but those are the ONLY guys we lost from last year's starting defense.  That means we bring back 2 of 3 DL, 3 of 4 LB's, and 3 of 4 DB's (but it's possible one of those get's replaced by a youngster who steps up, likely Vlad or Cam Gordon).  We lost some quality, but we return a lot of quantity on D, which will likely make us bigger and more experienced on the whole. 

Armando Allen will not have 139 yards this year against UM.  There's a better chance that Crist throws for 300 than Allen runs for 139.


July 7th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

I'm not predicting a Heisman trophy for Crist, I just think he will play well enough to beat the 82nd ranked defense that is losing far and away its best player, along with 2 other guys that were among the few that have proven they can play at a high level.  Crist might not be a perfect comparison to the guys I mentioned before but he has much higher accolades than they did coming out of HS, is in his third year in college (his first two under a pretty good QB mentor in Weis), playing in a very QB friendly system, with a lot of experience around him, and throwing to two future 1st-2nd round draft picks.

I am much more confident ND's defense will be vastly improved than Michigan's (thus with a better chance to stop Michigan's offense than Michigan against ND's offense).  ND's more highly recruited players are finally in a system they were recruited to play in.  Only one projected starter will be green (without any significant playing time on defense).

As an above poster mentioned earlier the home team in the ND-UM series tends to win twice as often as the road team.  That certainly won't hurt ND.

I don't really feel like going round and round with you because nothing is definite until we see it on the field this fall.  I do think you are foolish to reject out of hand that ND will be able to put up a lot of points.  I could certainly see it going your way with a new QB falling flat on his face but I would have said the same thing last year and look how that turned out!


July 7th, 2010 at 6:56 PM ^

At no point did I ever say anything about whether ND would score a lot of points or not.  I'm just saying that the reasons you give for ND to be so good and UM to be bad aren't that justified. 

Losing 3 of your best players on defense often hurts, unless they are the only 3 you lose and they are replaced by highly rated guys.  Our defense was small and young last year - adding a year of experience and bulk to the guys who do return makes a big difference.  Another stat that many people miss about the people returning on our defense is that we aren't even losing a single back-up from our defense last year.  Not only are 8 of 11 starters returning, but we also bring back all the roll players who came in off the bench.

Of course we're both speculating at this point.  The difference is that I'm not making any predictions; I'm merely pointing out the flaws in the reasons you give for your predictions.  Of which there are many. 

What it ultimately boils down to is that you're an ND homer on a UM blog.  We welcome fans of other teams around here, even rival teams, but you need to be objective to be taken seriously.  Saying things like "5 star QB 4 star defense you lost BG hur hur hur" isn't going to get you far.


July 7th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

I fully acknowledge I'm an ND homer when I make my prediction but I don't think I'm being unreasonable or unobjective with some of the evidence I'm citing.  A major coaching upgrade (based on record, getting it done at multiple schools), talent differential (stars, rival rankings which has been proven to have some worth something here and elsewhere on the interwebs), and the advantage of playing at home are pretty objective facts.

You haven't proven that the added experience on your defense will make up for losing arguably your 3 best players (and only star player).  It is certainly possible but you cite it as a definite point in Michigan's favor.

I don't think I'm being unobjective when I use different evidence than you to support my opinion.  I fully accept I may be off base here, just thought the mgoblog world may enjoy hearing a contrarian perspective on why ND may have success in Kelly's first year.


July 7th, 2010 at 8:25 PM ^

Alright I am not sure if you're actually reading what he has told you so lets see if I can help.

Last time ND ran the 3-4 (2008) this is their end of year results: now you can contrast that with the previous year: Now that was with just a single off-season to prepare and without any recruiting class geared towards the 3-4.

Since ND last ran the 3-4 they have graduated 11 key players from the 2008 defense. It breaks down to 2 CBs (3.5 rivals star rating), 2 Ss (3), 5 LBs (2.6) and 2 DEs (2.5). ND will be filling those positions (and others) with recruits from the #1 recruiting class in country (2008). The average rivals ranking of the same positions for the upcoming starters (CB, S, DE) is 4 stars or better in the case of LB with Teo from the 2009 class. Not only are the players guru approved but they were recruited to play the 3-4, that makes a big difference in the strength of the front 7 as a whole.

There is nothing there that makes me think the defense won't be improving quite a bit. I actually expect this year's defense to live up to the expectations I had for it last year.


July 7th, 2010 at 8:35 PM ^

I get all of that, and I really never touched on ND's defense and whether or not it will be any good.  My gripes are more with his prediction of our defense, basing it only on who we lost, and not at all on who we return, or who will be replacing those we lost. 

Nobody likes to lose their best player, but that doesn't mean the defense (or offense) as a whole can't get better.  After 1997, Tennesse lost Peyton Manning, yet they won the National Championship in in 1998.  I'm not predicting that as a result for us, but you need to look beyond simply who graduated when predicting success.


July 7th, 2010 at 9:16 PM ^

I definitely have a better idea of what ND has personnel wise but the image I have of UM's defense isn't much different than Rockne spoke of.  A 3-3-5 base should help the LBers but the secondary looks much worse than a year ago and there is going to be another S on the field.  Cissoko is in jail, Warren is gone and Dorsey didn't get in, a walk-on has a strong chance to be the best player in the UM secondary this year.  There is no longer a Brandon Graham to fight through the double team on the Dline, and pressuring the QB.  He had a 3rd of the team TFL and almost half of the teams sacks, there is no one on UM's roster who will replace him this year.  

With ND, the switch to the 3-4 plays to the team's strength, they ran it with a lot of the same personnel and successfully against mostly the same opponents and will be doing it again with even higher rated players and a coaching staff which has won a lot of games.  With UM's switch to the 3-3-5 it comes off almost the opposite; an already weak secondary, which personnel wise is now weaker than last season, and the new scheme requires even more of them on the field both in quantity and responsibility.  Is any of that proof of what will happen this season? Certainty not, but that is the way it looks right now.


July 8th, 2010 at 12:08 AM ^

Well, Cissoko was gone midway through the season and was benched before that.  Even when he played he gave up everything, you should know that if you watched the game.  JT Floyd started a few games in his place and did OK for a RS frosh with no experience, and Woolfolk played very well all season, whether it was at corner or safety.  Unless a freshman comes in, I expect those 2 to start at CB.  And this walk-on you mention was freshman all big ten, so he's not that bad.   Yes, the 3-3-5 adds more DB's to the field, but it changes their responsibilities.  We happen to have a surplus of big safety types who will be perfect for the spur/bandit role that is the added DB.  Essentially, we are replacing Stevie Brown with a DB, which he basically was anyway.  If you watched closely last year (and maybe you didn't, so I understand), our safeties were very good when playing near the LOS, it was in deep coverage that they struggled.  Our probable starter at the deep safety is a guy (OMG 4 star so he must be good!) who was on offense last fall, otherwise he may have been back there already. 

BG was a big loss, but it won't cripple the defense since we still lose only one player at each position group, which will be a net gain in most instances.   

Anyway, I'm not going to argue with you about it any more, we'll all find out soon enough.