No one fully expected this season to be a BCS game type of year, but we surely didn't expect to be 4-4 at the end of eight weeks. I was predicting 8-4 this season, and like other Notre Dame fans, thought that this was reasonable. I was wrong.
It seems like it is the same story with a different coach. Our players seem just as out of shape as usual, not being able to keep up with the Naval Academy.
I was fine with the loss to Michigan. We were playing the best QB in the country at that time.
I am okay with the loss to Michigan State now, as we all know they are 8-0.
I was fine with the loss to Stanford, because the Cardinal are a great team.
But this loss to Navy gave me chills and haunted me in remembrance of the Charlie Weis days. We were slow, looked out of rhythm and came out of the third quarter still playing the same horrible football.
One thing that I raved about with Brian Kelly was that his teams were great at coming out in the third quarter, making adjustments and winning. It seemed like the opposite yesterday. He said during the halftime interview that the Naval Academy was doing something that he had never seen them do before, and that the Irish were ready coming out of the half. No they were not. Navy came right out of the gates at halftime and scored a touchdown. Notre Dame did not score a point that whole third quarter.
I have read many comments on this site, and one of them was, "We are not doing good because we have Weis' players." Remind you of anything? We all gave Charlie a break for a couple years because he had Tyrone Willingham's players. I will admit we do not have any true defensive playmakers besides Manti Te'o. During the first half, there were only three big hit tackles for loss and Te'o had all of them. But we still have many 4-star recruits on the field. That is not a great excuse.
Brian Kelly was dominating teams with 2-star players in Cincinnati. If he can go undefeated with 2-star recruits at Cincinnati, shouldn't you be able to get at least 10 wins with a team littered with 5-star and 4-star recruits?
Who do you blame for this loss? Do you blame the quarterback? I wouldn't put much blame on this loss on the offense; the defense could just not stop them. Do you blame the injuries? You can, but we are just enabling ourselves. Deep down, we know that is not the problem. Do you blame the media for building us up year in and year out? Maybe. We definitely aren't as good as many people thought we were coming into this season.
Do you blame the coaching staff? I do. I blame this smack-dab on the coaching staff. We outweigh Navy by 70 pounds up front. There is no excuse for being blown out by the Midshipmen.
Navy just plain out-coached us. I remember last season that the fullback was never tackled. He ran straight by almost every time. It was simple. Every play, just hit the full-back. Even if you are 95 percent sure he doesn't have the ball, hit the fullback. I thought Kelly, who played linebacker in college, would surly know this. Nope. Didn't happen. Their fullback once again ran all over our boys.
Now, this is not a plea for a new coach, or a change already. I am just preparing people for the worst, that this may be Weis all over again. Of course, Weis started out strong with Notre Dame, and obviously Brian Kelly has not, but he is showing the same tendencies. As I always said with Weis, don't worry, Brian Kelly is bringing in some good recruits. The days of Jimmy Clausen have come and gone. The players are not the excuse anymore.
I still think that we can go 7-5 this season. I fully expect to beat USC. I do not think we will beat Utah, but USC is not as good as people think, and we can maybe sneak into their house and beat them.
Good day to all of you, and as always, GO IRISH!