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01/26/2010 - 9:41am Southbendover...

...Southbendover...thanks for the classy point by point debate.

I disagree that the 50% that is wait and see on Kelly immediately condemned RR. I think most ND fans were skeptical of RR as a hire because Michigan, and the Big Ten in general, have always been a power conference/team. You beat Florida that way. It is your DNA. WVU was never regarded as having a dominant defense, and whether or not public perception is correct, I did not see RR in the same mold as Bo and Lloyd Carr. PSU stuck with Paterno (whether or not you want to believe it is his assistants doing most of the work) and they have cycled back to a solid top 15 team, with early season top 10 potential. RR definitely needed to get his "guys" in, but (a point I made earlier in my other comment) Brian Kelly is not in the same spot. I think your assessment of the ND fans perspective on BK is incorrect in that sense. He has personnel, with the QB injury being the only potential major issue. If he runs a double reverse from the goal line it will be frustrating, but I am hopeful that he will at least teach his team to tackle Forcier once in a meaningful spot, and maybe run the ball at game's end so you have to burn another timeout (ala last year's game in big house). I like Kelly as a hire, but I will wait and see...

01/22/2010 - 1:08pm That's one perspective

(Irish fan posting) I have gotten a sense on the message boards and recent ND articles that there is either guarded optimism (with the typical we will be AWESOME!! fanboys) or wait and see cynics (with a nice serving of BK is smalltime and will never be able to recruit, coach, etc). I would say its 50/50 at this point. I disagree that fans are taking the "wait until he gets his guys approach like RR". Aside from the injury to Crist, which is tough, the assumption is there is far better talent (based on star ratings at least) than he had at Cincy and there is no reason to not have a win now year (especially in light of our schedule).

Regarding the S&C coach:
As one recent article stated regarding S&C coaches, every new regime change pretty much runs the same exact stories. I think that is where you got the premise for your post. It is a blue and gold illustrated article title "conditioned to hear the same rhetoric". To sum up the article, every new S&C hire has guys "puking on the first day" doing "more than I ever thought I could lift!" and pushing themselves farther than they "ever thought humanly possible." The article quoted Barwis from 2008 lauding the strength of his teams and some specific players as a typical example, and then noted that they lost 7 of their last 8 games in '09. With that perspective, I think you'll find most ND fans are tentative at this point. We think BK was a very good hire, but with yet another spin of the coaching carousel a large portion of the fanbase is simply waiting to see it on the field. That is the only place I will be convinced that S&C, coaching, and the spread have improved. Finally adding a Training Table should help though...

Whether or not I like Michigan, both teams being mediocre at best is not good for either program in my opinion.

09/08/2009 - 6:17pm Well you...

...are fairly typical of the UM fan who never lost a game, simply gave it away. Unless bullcrap is having a special teams gunner lay out a returner while putting their helmet on the ball: bullcrap! If the logic persists that last year's game was a barometer of Michigan's likely success then why didn't ND win in 2006? Or UM trounce them last year? You can pretty much take nothing from a game played in half a hurricane that was 10 games and close to a year ago. UM has entirely new QBs, ND has entirely new coaches on both lines and RB. I think it is strange that so many wolverine fans are looking back at a loss to indicate a victory.

Roh winning a starting job from older players might simply mean they were not that good (that was a joke, he is good, but still a freshman). I believe that Brian Smith is the best player on the D, not the bench-warming hawaiian. I am excited to seem him progress over the year (the hawaiian).

The truth is this: somewhere between Irish's assessment (the Irish are national champs!! Weis for President! Clausen for Heisman!) and yours (ND is slightly ahead of Central Michigan and completely unable to block Mike Martin's biceps) is the likely assessment. These are two teams that looked better than most expected in week one against middling competition. This will probably result in a competitive game throughout where either ND's offense makes some plays against the Michigan D-line (sorry, your LB's and corners do nothing for me), or Tate Forcier exhibits the poise he showed in the opener at the home stadium and plays mistake free football allowing the run game to take hold. I think the freshman makes a mistake, and ND capitalizes. ND 27, Michigan 20.

09/08/2009 - 5:41pm The skinny TE Rudolph.

He will be playing on Sundays, and was the #1 TE recruit in the country last year. But your safety should have no problems with him. I know that Irish's analysis was through blue and gold lenses but....

So Manti is talented but can be tricked into a bad play or two, but Roh should have no problems? Floyd and Tate will be easily blanketed all day? Uh, ok. They did have success against other good DB's last year. Shocking, but true. Floyd is going to the NFL after his junior year (unfortunately). This game will be competitive, but Weis and Company should win this year. Simply based on experience and talent they are presently the better team. If Weis is to prove he is the coach for the future you win games that you are supposed to win. And ND is supposed to win this one. They might not, but they should.

So the shutout was "flukey"? Well, then I sure hope ND gets all of the "flukey" breaks again this coming week.

09/08/2009 - 3:39pm The little engine that could??

I understand the UM fan perspective concerning your team, but not sure that ND came into the season with a HUGE load of preseason expectations. They were ranked (and absent in many polls) around 23. The only HUGE thing on their shoulders was the looming criticism of Weis, his job security and a roomful of cynics. If ND were to even run the table everybody would be squawking about their SOS being light, blah, blah, blah...

09/08/2009 - 3:36pm UM fanboy

UM fanboy1: I know that we lost the game decidedly, but we really gave it away, what with the turnovers, missed reads, slips on the wet field, etc.

UM fanboy2 confused: But don't special teams, turnovers and play execution count as well??

UM fanboy1: Umm, uh...did I tell you the latest Charlie Weis is fat joke??

;) In jest.

09/08/2009 - 12:57pm The key is after the WR's

ND will run traps, three step drops and send the RB out to the flat to offset the pressure of the Michigan D-line. I would take Kyle Rudolph (TE) against the safety or LBs all day. If they are successful doing that then Graham and Martin can run up and say hello to Clausen all day while he watches another completion. Roh looked good against WMU, but Roh (or any LB) trying to cover Rudolph (if ND spreads the field with 3+ WR sets) should give UM fits if Clausen is on that day. I personally do not feel most college CBs can cover Tate or Floyd one-on-one if they are out on an island too long with them. That is why getting defensive pressure from your front 4 will be key. ND needs to have long, sustained drives. Because although UM has some talent (Martin, Graham, etc) you are still rebuilding the depth chart a bit. Anytime somebody from the two deep comes onto the field you are dealing with inexperience and/or a dropoff.

As a sidebar: When did Hiller (WMU QB) become Peyton Manning??

09/08/2009 - 12:43pm I think that was a fair statement.

The majority of the MSM (for what that is worth) and sites like Doc Saturday were showering a lot of love on Kapernick (spelling?). I think it is a fair statement that if RR was offered a trade of freshman Tate Forcier for third year Colin in the "offseason" you make that trade in a heart beat. Of course it was only Nevada (just like WMU are not world beaters) but let's try not to fall into the trap that because two freshman quarterbacks have ONE good day (and Denard doesn't make that run against most strong defenses) against WMU that suddenly they are head and shoulders above a third year starter in a prolific offense. Maybe wait until after game two.

09/08/2009 - 12:35pm What is most exciting...

...is this game feels like it matters a little bit again. And it has been some time. There will be some nice storylines nationally leading to some strong build-up. Has Rich Rod turned it around? Was WMU a fluke or foretelling" Will ND's air assault hit the skids or will the Clausen for Heisman campaign launch in the Big House? Will Weis and/or RRod be out if either is blown out? (Weis, I would hope, because he should not be...argh).

If ND gets out ahead I think the irish take this one this year, in a SEMI-comfortable fashion. If it is tight, or Michigan has a huge kickoff return for TD, etc to jump out, it will be decided late in the 4th. Right now (I am an ND fan) I give the edge to ND's O against the UM secondary. Clausen, Tate, Floyd and Rudolph are the strongest unit when comparing both teams, and the one place where there is (on paper at least) the most obvious difference between the two teams.

Many UM fans are looking at last year's game as a barometer of UM's success for this years, and ND's struggles, but with a hurricane deluge the second half and ND up early I think there is little if anything either team will carry over from last year's game. Clausen is much better, UM is a full year into their new system (new QBs) which is an improvement. I am looking forward to the game.

09/08/2009 - 12:03pm A whole lotta #15's

That is what I saw from the games this past weekend. A lotta #15's to be sorted out. There is congestion in the middle and over the next 3-4 weeks we still start to separate a true top ten from the rest of the field. By my eye OSU, VaTech, LSU, etc, all drop below top tier consideration based on what I saw. If the Huskies do not fumble at the goal line in the first half that is potentially an entirely different outcome. LSU's D and O were unimpressive given the opponent. Teams like ND, UM, Cal (very impressive), MSU looked a few notches better than expected. The end result, a whole lot of teams swirling around #15 give or take.

I would welcome others take on my one other thought: Boise St. did NOT impress me week one. That was a horrible game. Sure their D seemed inspired, but I thought the Ducks playcalling and execution had more to do with their demise on offense than some inspired D: Lateral runs in the endzone, STARING at your one receiver. They played terrible. And Boise St., for all of their offensive firepower missed chance after chance and kept letting an Oregon team that was horrific hang in. They looked like a strong non-BCS team. Nothing more, nothing less...#15.

09/08/2009 - 10:33am Not missing the point at all...

If you notice I wrote that I am in the camp that wants him fired if he loses more than one game. I do not think he is a remarkable coach. This is a year of zero excuses. I simply find it interesting that a thread topic concerning a coach that after Saturday could actually be 2-0 in the Big house and 3-2 against Michigan is pretty humorous.

"I sure hope they keep the guy that has a slight winning record against us instead of some other not yet named coach that would REALLY own us...". Seems silly.

If Weis wins Saturday (I never said it was a gimme) I think I would be hard-pressed to find an Mgoblog thread talking about how much worse Lloyd Carr and Rich Rod are than Weis...who is a really bad coach apparently...

09/08/2009 - 9:18am Not for nothing...

...but if Weis wins Saturday (not exactly unthinkable), he will be 3-2 against Michigan, and 2-0 against Rich Rod. He would have won twice in your stadium. In a series that has always been pretty even (aside from Holtz owning Bo) that would actually....be...good??? Now I am in the camp of "if Weis loses 2 games he should go", but its not like Michigan has been thumping ND like USC. Trojan fans (as fairweather as they are) have a right to open threads about keeping Weis, but maybe the Wolverines would first want to be up in the head to head series under Weis before claiming how great it would be if ND kept him...

08/31/2009 - 3:57pm For what it's worth...

...I enjoy coming to this blog. As a Domer homer I have found it a great site when doing breakdowns of offense/defense, trend analysis, etc, particularly for a rival program. And I understand the angst of what feels like a negative barrage of criticism and such, but to see the learned men of Mgoblog recount letters they sent directly to the reporters (take that! ha ha!), and to go through conspiracy theories, fashion petitions and use silly retorts like "everybody does it" is a departure from the typical on here. There is undoubtedly hyperbole in the reporting of the issue, as there is with EVERY news article for the most part these days. Reporters do not report, they offer pre-determined slants and opinions nowadays. Kind of like this um, I don't know, blog (in fairness most of these blogs are more balanced). But it is the nature of the beast today so citing some persecution complex seems a bit silly. The issue I see is this...disgruntled or not, "soft" or not, R Rod still has a cultural dissension that has not yet receded amongst some players. And he is in year two, and to be frank, should be clear of this issue. Even if it is just a couple of players. Fair or not, Michigan rarely if ever found itself in the news for these issues under prior regimes. And even if it is all false, allowing this to even seep out still says something about his control of the program. I am not indicting his football coaching abilities, that still has to be played out since it is far too early, but at this rate he might not be allowed to see it through...

Please save the "Weis is schematically fat jokes", I was just offering my opinion.

08/20/2009 - 9:47am I need to be honest with you...

"I don't think anybody's making that assumption. The issue is that not much better and likely worse than a horrible, horrible team" is still not very good." - Tim

^^Umm, I have absolutely zero idea what that statement means. :)

But if I am to take it that ND is supposed to be not much better and likely worse than the horrible, horrible UM squad, I think the maize and blue blinders might be on. If you were fair and took a look at the progression of Clausen and the returning starts, etc, ND should be (coach notwithstanding) an improved team this year. Your defense is thin. RRod's got one more tough year, and little on defense past your two top flight linemen. 2010 will bring the legit optimism that some UM fans are putting on this season (akin to the unrealistic optimism of 2007 for ND fans, although your team is slightly ahead at this point comparatively). I think Rodriguez is a very good coach, but if your first true pieces of your offensive puzzle lean toward underclassmen, there will still be many bumps in the road.

Related to the poll - I notice a poster reference the absence of OSU which I agree should be looked at again. I personally feel UNC is overrated, given ND was the better team that day. Weis, just like in the Pitt game, failed to make basic adjustments coming out of the second half when the D dropped back and basically rushed 2/3 linemen and put the rest in pass coverage. God I want the season to start...

08/19/2009 - 4:08pm Probably a safe bet

Hawaii may have been the only game ND covered as the fave (or at least felt like it). If they come out of the gate with a strong showing against Nevada, and the opener for UM is tight, it might tick closer to 4.5-5. Of course they have not come out of the gate strong since '05, so I will be waiting with a cynical eye.

08/19/2009 - 4:03pm Mistaken prevailing corollary...

...I am a lurker and pretty much never post. Great blog, particularly for its tactical breakdowns (I came here originally from Bluegreysky blog). The one error I see in the current assessment of the Michigan/ND matchup this year is the prevailing assumption that only Michigan will improve, and the opposing team will stagnate. I think it is fair to say that the skill position players in the ND offense will be even better, as much of their talent are now experienced juniors. The Irish D has a lot of question marks but at least those getting the the majority of reps this year will likely get a whiff of the draft in coming years, unlike most of the exiting starters. It remains to be seen (and I wanted Weis fired) but his offense at least was pretty strong when he inherited some experience upon his arrival. Also, to be frank, it is the Michigan D I believe will be the chief concern for the Wolverines this year based simply on depth. This is a problem than can only really be improved upon with a couple of recruitment classes. One more painful year, and then I think the stars begin to align for Rodriguez (which would be great since UM is killing ND's SOS....that was a joke...sort of). There are simply too many unavoidable growing pains when you have a true freshman manning the ship of a team coming out of the season you just had.

Regarding the poll: Miami is too high (they will see their season ruined with the rough 4 games to open), Illini have nothing on D, and UCLA, particularly based on recent years (egads, Weis actually beat them his 3-9 year!!) does not belong in the top 25. Oklahoma lost enough that I think they slip to a 3 loss season (same for 'Bama) and me-thinks the Big 12 and SEC creep back toward a big heap of parity, save the one loss Gators who will return to the championship game. Sidebar, Weis has zero excuses to not go 10-1 with that schedule, given the other teams losses and the fact that on paper the irish are likely favored in almost every game. Will he?? Sigh....doubtful.

07/27/2009 - 11:47am For what it is worth

I enjoy this blog, and yes as you can see from my name I see the world through blue and gold hazy lenses...that being said. The upcoming season assessment sounds an awful lot like the unbridled and unrealistic optimism of ND fans heading into season 3 of the Weis experiment. And to head off the more talented responses I do realize that Weis is fat, he does not have a schematic advantage, and am clearly aware he lost to Navy and Syracuse and is the anti-christ. I also realize Michigan played like a national champ at ND last year and merely handed the ball over to ND to allow them the victory. On to some observations:

Freshman QB not named Terrelle Pryor
I do not care how fast Denard Robinson is, or how accurate Forcier is in 7x7 drills and in spring camp there is always a learning curve (and it is spring ball...)
Whether or not you deem the players that have been lost to be of any impact it still hurts depth and means the program is still in some level of transition.
Your defense is thin and will be learning a new scheme - even though Robinson has proven to be a great D-coordinator there will be a transition
Lack of experienced depth
Young teams find ways to lose games, not win them. It is part of the learning curve.
There is this assumption that none of the teams you are playing will be better - just Michigan will improve. You could easily argue that other teams will improve as well.

I understand any replies might turn into a Weis/ND bash-fest- and I hate the guy - but there is an awful lot of similarity between the depth issues and experience of your 2009 team and the woes that ND went through. Even if you argue that Weis could not hold RR's jock, you are still looking at no more than 6 wins in my opinion. I do see Michigan turning it around under Rodriguez, but it will start to really show in 2010, and be fully in effect in 2011, if you can get any D recruits to play for Rodriguez...and Greg Robinson should help you there. Too much reliance on inexperience at the skill positions leads to much heartbreak. Is it fall yet...??

04/06/2009 - 3:24pm Feels like ND in 2007...again

I tracked down this blog from the BGS blog in ND-Land, so you can of course take my comments as seen through blue/gold lenses...but I can't help but get the same feeling I got when reading the comments of overly hopeful Domers going into 2007 - it ain't gonna be pretty, again, particularly in UM's case...

I think it is important to realize that you are breaking in a freshmen quarterback in an offense that relies on their multi-level decision-making on every single snap. And no offense to Mr. Forcier, but he is not T. Pryor from last year. If I were any team I would keep all eyes on Minor, because the thought of Forcier, especially early in the season, doing any damage through the air in the absence of a developed Braylon Edwards or Manningham-type would not scare me at all, and I'd take my chances on a scared freshman scamper causing much harm. If your D has one more year of being thin, and being behind early, this will further hamper the UM offense as it needs to play catch-up. I just think the optimism is a bit rosy, although I do think Rod is a great coach. It will just take another 2 seasons to really see it. I see 5 wins, with some ugly losses next year. You can flame me for being an ND homer, but trust me when I say I would really like to see both programs playing each other as top ten teams on a consistent basis again (and please God get rid of Purdue, Stanford, etc, from the ND schedule once and for all...)

Great blog.