Sep 24, 2012, 10:19 AM EST
We are back … back to Notre Dame football. This week was different. It seemed as if the entire campus was holding its breath. The student body had a weird feeling. A feeling that this year could be special. A feeling that this team was not like teams of past years. A feeling that this time the hype was validated. And after the skies cleared, the students exhaled with a monstrous roar that ignited the rest of the Notre Dame faithful. The stadium was alive and so were the Irish players. As Dickie V would say, the Irish are back baby!! But back to the blog … here are three things I learned:
1) The Irish took a staND and so did the defense: Notre Dame Stadium was alive. From the playing of American the Beautiful until the band left the field, the Irish fan base, led by the boisterous student section, made Notre Dame a miserable place to play for an opposing player. Visiting athletic directors have left Notre Dame Stadium in the past and told Jack Swarbrick how they enjoyed bringing their teams to South Bend. Visiting athletic directors should deplore having to travel to Notre Dame, not because of the character of our players and fans, but because our stadium environment is so overwhelming for their players. After watching Michigan turn the ball over six times, I know Dave Brandon wasn’t telling Swarbrick how he enjoyed bringing the Wolverines to Notre Dame this year.
2) Notre Dame can rely on Tommy Rees as a back-up QB: Regardless of your opinions of who the starting quarterback should be, the Irish have a veteran, reliable back-up in Tommy Rees. Rees has now stepped into two games and delivered for Notre Dame. He has played in big games in the past and has learned from those experiences. Rees has looked extremely capable when Irish head coach Brian Kelly has called his number. He was 8-11 for 115 yards with one rushing TD against the Wolverines and led the drives that accounted for 10 of the Irish’s 13 points. If Kelly needs to call on Rees, he knows exactly what he will get.
3) The Day has come: Freshman Sheldon Day has become quite a force in the Irish line early in his time at Notre Dame. Day has already accumulated 9 tackles and 2 sacks, which projects to 27 tackles and six sacks over the course of a full season. For perspective, Stephon Tuitt only had two sacks his entire first season in his Irish uniform. Day has continued to elevate his play for the Irish and has provided outstanding elite depth along the defensive line, which is one of the marks of a great team.
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