Sep 11, 2013, 2:16 PM EDT
During the football season, a group of six Notre Dame bloggers join forces to ask one another questions and see who can come up with the best and most clever responses. The group of six includes Her Loyal Sons, Inside the Irish, Subway Domer, UHND, ND Nation and NDSportsBlogger (the guy writing this).
It’s Purdue week, dare I say it’s a (in-state) rivalry week…
Here are the links to the other ‘gatherings’ that took place around the interweb:
(Links become live once posted)
For this edition I had the opportunity to ask Keith Arnold of NBC Sports a triumvirate of questions: And we’re off!
- 1. So, we have now figured out that the Michigan series is not a rivalry … what are Notre Dame’s top-three rivalries and is Purdue one?Arnold: Are you asking this question with a straight face? Because if we’ve learned anything in the last week, it’s that Michigan is definitely a rival. A hated one. And that feeling comes from both sides.
As for rivalries, I’m probably not the right guy to ask, because I tend to undervalue the historical significance of things like this — if only because a team like Navy, who Notre Dame plays every season for very significant reasons, isn’t REALLY a rival in the way we think of them today. (That said, I’m not arguing that Navy isn’t a Notre Dame rival. I get it, they are.)
If I had to order them as of right now, it’s probably:
1) USC (Clearcut, not even close.)
- 2. Many have jumped on Tommy Rees for being the reason why the Irish lost. The guy has only thrown for an average of 330 yards in the first two games of the year and really one non-fluke interception. Give me your thoughts on Tommy? And when is scoring 30 points a bad offensive game (I know Tuitt scored a few)?
Arnold: I think the Irish offense played about a C+ game last week. They got off to a slow start and only scored touchdowns on two of five red zone appearances. If people are pointing the finger at Rees for the loss, it’s only because they were just waiting to do that again, because Tommy probably wasn’t even in the top five reasons this team lost on Saturday.
For anybody that’s read my stuff over the past five seasons, I’ve probably been one of the few Tommy Rees supporters all the way through. He’s got limitations, but he’s also the best guy for the job and it’s not even close.
3. The Irish have looked much different this year than in past years, give me two differences you see schematically on BOTH the offensive and defensive side of the ball and why how it is effecting the Irish in a good or bad nature.
Arnold: Defensively, they seem to have been beaten more in man coverage than in the past. That’s probably because they didn’t trust their secondary to play in man coverage last season, but against Michigan, the Wolverines torched the Irish when Bob Diaco sent pressure. Also, it’s hard not to see the gigantic void that Manti Te’o left in the middle of this defense. The linebackers are making tackles, but the front seven doesn’t seem as stout, and by this time last year, Te’o had already accounted for a few turnovers.
Offensively, the run game has disappeared a bit, and that’s probably because there aren’t two seniors in the backfield. Against Navy last year, the Irish ran all over the field. They slid past Purdue with a really mediocre offensive output, and had to be bailed out by Tommy Rees on a last second field goal drive. Then there’s the pistol formation, a pretty big wrinkle that’s obviously added some deception into the running game and play-action pass looks.
I’m not willing to dump this season down the toilet just because of a week two loss to Michigan. If Notre Dame gets to the bye week with just one loss, I think everybody should be happy and the BCS goals are more that intact. But if there’s one thing that needs to get tightened up is the defense, and that’ll likely happen this weekend against a Purdue offense that’s looked pretty lost.
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