What can you say after that? A slow start mixed in with drive-extending penalties, followed up by fumbled opportunities, became the perfect storm for Notre Dame Saturday.
After watching the game replay, it is clear that our defense is remarkably better. Perhaps a little pudgy towards the center, but you can’t have it all. I’m still scratching my head on James Aldridge. As far as Michael Floyd goes, he’s the real deal. I’m beginning to think that with the lack of playing time for key contributors, Charlie Weis might be holding something back with Michigan looming.
The offensive line did a better job pass protecting, yet seemed inept when it came to run blocking. Without a stiff running game, the Irish will find themselves hard pressed when it comes down to the play action pass. Blitz pickup seemed a lot better as the running backs helped keep Jimmy, on his feet for most of the game.
I still don’t agree with the first called drive. On third down and three, we go for the quick slant, which was thrown behind Grimes, which forced us to punt it back to the Aztecs. The first drive is always a crucial sequence. It can add confidence to a lesser team, or it can deflate all hope. Emotion is something Charlie keeps talking about, and I doubt he knowingly “approved” a quick slant on third and three, thinking it would fail.
“We’re going to pound it,” quipped Weis when asked how Notre Dame’s offense was going to approach the San Diego State game. So why not on third down? Were they rushing with an inside blitz? Did Clausen audible out and try to hit the hot route? I’m not sure on any of these questions but I do know this: Weis is a very intelligent person. To think he suddenly became a dumb ass would be foolish.
I guess I sleep soundly with the delusion that Weis kept some things to a minimum for future opponents sake. “Like whoa” is all I could think about after Notre Dame’s narrow victory over San Diego High. Whoa is our offensive line when run-blocking. Whoa is our play calling. Whoa is our field goal kicking. Whoa is how Duval Kamara played. Whoa kind of describes how I feel when seeing Michael Floyd on the sidelines. Whoa… but wait. We can all optimistically hang onto the theory of running a vanilla-type game, in order to out-fox Michigan for this weekend’s pivotal game. If it were to pan out badly for the Irish though, whoa might be this season.