Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

The Back Corner Fade

November 14, 2017

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That’s the phrase that was running through my mind this past Saturday evening as Miami was flat out doing whatever they wished, whenever they wanted to the Irish in a game that was eerily reminiscent of the last time that ND went down to South Beach. One big, glaring difference: that ND team wasn’t as near as good as this one. To make matters worse, that Miami team isn’t even in the same league as that Alabama team. It was a total embarrassment, and in my opinion, probably the most disgraceful loss in Brian Kelly’s tenure at ND……..and that is saying something. The bright lights come on and Brian Kelly and his teams wilt. We’ve simply seen it way too many times, and I simply won’t be fooled by the “things have changed” BS. No coach, things are better, but they haven’t changed. They’ll change when you win money games. That’s what counts. Beating BC on the road in September is not impressive, you’re supposed to do that. Winning a big boy game when it’s high states does. You’ve failed miserably at that, and until you do, it’s simply going to be status quo.

Hats off to Miami: their team, and their Star Wars bar characters they call fans. For at least one evening, the old Miami was back with a vengeance…..on and off the field.

So what else happened this weekend?:

  • I think we all owe the Georgia Bulldogs a huge bit of gratitude getting clubbed like a baby seal at money time as well, and basically taking as profound a road beating as we did splitting some of the heat from the national media. This one really surprised me for a lot of reasons. For one, I simply didn’t think Auburn could stop them on the ground. Secondly, I didn’t think Auburn could score enough points to beat them with that defense…….so basically, the same thing I thought would happen in the ND/Miami game. Oops.
  • Jekyll and Danatonio showed up once again and they were run out of the building in Columbus. Death, taxes, and Sparty being Sparty. Happens like clockwork every season.
  • You’re not off the hook either, Iowa! A week after taking OSU apart in every conceivable fashion, they muster up under 100 yards of offense in Madison. That’s simply not going to get the job done, boys. 
  • I’m sure some of you did what I did Saturday night and flip the TV over to the end of the Alabama/MSU game while our ship had long sailed. Jalen Hurt flat out said, “Hop on my back, fellas, I got this” and brought the Tide back from the brink for the late. The kid is a winner.
  • Wake dropped 64 on Syracuse after and were down 17 in the first half. Wolford is doing all this without his best receiver as well. That offense is pretty damn good, and a lot of fun to watch.
  • UT finally did the right thing and let Butch Jones go. This should have been done a month ago and frankly, I didn’t think it was fair to him to keep giving him standing eight counts. Someone in the Sun Belt, Mountain West, or low level AAC school is going to get a pretty go----medio---bad coach next season.

So what do we get to look forward to this week? Honestly, not a whole heck of a lot. It’s simply not a good schedule across the country. That being said….

  • Temple plays host to undefeated UCF in Philly on Saturday (see, I told you this was a blah week if I’m leading off with this.) In case you haven’t noticed, Temple has circled the wagon to a degree and actually have put themselves in a position to make a bowl game. UCF is simply a lot of fun to watch. Worth a noon watch.
  • Michigan goes on the road to play Wisconsin with some talk swirling about Sweetchuck heading back to the NFL. He’d probably have his pick of either the Bears or Colts jobs if he was interested. Let’s say that situation does take place and he leaves, my guess would be Les Miles would be the number one guy on the list if they want to go full “Michigan Man.” LLLLoyd and Bobby Boccala were both great Michigan Men. Please, by all means, have at it.
  • The last ride of Jim Mora takes place in LA as his Bruins head over to play a resurgent USC squad. UCLA has always been a question mark to me. With so much talent in the state, a beautiful campus, excellent school, and nice stadium, why can’t they be better? Since Terry Donahue, they’ve run a collection of stiffs through there and basically are nothing more than an 8 win program. Bob Toledo, Karl Dorell, Skippy, and Mora. Not exactly a who’s who of coaching genius (I know your cocking the pistol with the Davie, Ty, Chaz, and Kelly rebuttal.)
  • Ahhhhhh yes! It’s the week before Thanksgiving in the South. You know what that means: offering a sacrificial lamb to the football god’s before rivalry week. Alabama plays host to Mercer (be thankful this isn’t basketball, Tide fans,) Clemson welcomes in The Citadel, UNC just might get that elusive 2 win against W. Carolina, FSU, trying so hard to get bowl eligible has Delaware St coming in to help the cause, and South Carolina has the Terriers of Wofford heading to town. Best of luck to all!

Then we have Senior Day in South Bend. As a fan, I always find myself somewhat choked up when I see the seniors get announced and run out to the 50 to meet their folks. These kids have busted their tails in the classroom, weight room, and on the field for four seasons, and just like that it’s gone. I think it’s a very underrated day at Notre Dame. I respect the hell out of those kids and they deserve to walk out of the stadium on a high note. Frankly, they should. This is not a great Navy team. Kennan Reynolds, Chris McCoy, or Roger Staubach are not running out of the broom closet in the NE end zone, but they did seem to find some lightening last week with Malcom Perry being the latest in the plug-and-play quarterback spot running for 280 yards in his debut behind center. Granted this was against SMU who look at defense as just a “nice idea” and want to outscore you. Still, 280 yards is 280 yards. 

Navy has a glaring issue: the defense is bad. Yes, Navy is going to be undersized every year, but even by their standards this isn’t a very good group. When teams want to throw, they’re averaging 62% completions, when they want to run, they’re hitting Navy at almost 5 yards a pop. Couple that with the fact that this is against the AAC and it isn’t good. In the end, they give up over 400 yards a game. Here’s a game plan: if we run 50 times, I’m guessing we just might have some success. There is no reason not to gash these guys for anything under 300 yards……if we can do something crazy like not give them the ball for 9 minute drives like last year. This should be a nice and neat 17-21 point job by grinding pepper and wearing them out. There’s no reason this has to close, but after last weekend, and a possible hangover effect, why do I have the sickening feeling it will be?

Beat Navy.

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