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Answering The Critics (IBG)

Nov 13, 2013, 9:44 AM EDT

Sep 14, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson (2) and linebacker Jarrett Grace (59) celebrate with their teammates after Notre Dame defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 31-24 at Ross-Ade Stadium. Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

In the past, Irish Blogger Gathering (IBG) has introduced you to a different Notre Dame blogger from different websites (NDNation,, Inside the Irish & Her Loyal Sons). This week our faithful leader NDtex from Her Loyal Sons decided to switch IBG back to it’s roots.

How this works is each blogger turns in a question for the rest to answer and decided to give the reader an opportunity to read the thoughts of the “blogmaster” from their site rather than someone from another site.

Here are other answers to the questions from other blogger (links will be live when posted):


Inside the Irish

Her Loyal Sons

Keith Arnold ( – How much can you learn from one game? If you listen to some, the Irish’s loss to Pitt seems to have erased just about every bit of good that’s happened over the past four seasons. No doubt, the Pitt loss was one of the most disappointing of the Kelly era. But how do you personally measure the game and disappointment final score, and does it change the opinion you held of Brian Kelly at 7:59pm EST last Saturday?

This one loss to Pittsburgh does not change my perception of what the Irish student-athletes and Coach Kelly and his staff have done over these previous four seasons. Did you know that the last Irish head coach to win seven games or more in each of his first four seasons at the helm in South Bend was Dan Devine? DAN DEVINE! So these so-called fans of the Irish need to settle down. If you have asked them when Coach Kelly was hired if they would have been fine with 8-5, 8-5, 12-1 and then 7-3, I guarantee you people would have been ecstatic.

Now, back to the question…

No, it does not change my opinion. The game was there to be won, the breaks beat the boys this time as playing so many close games this season has finally come back to bite the Irish.

Mike Coffey (NDNation) – There are only so many things you can do during the season to correct the larger issues on a team, as most time must be spent on the opponent du jour. Name one issue you hope is at the top of the coaching staff’s list for this off-season and why.

Next season will be a big one for this Irish football team. In the past, next season could look like a 2007 season all over again with so many possible losses. Yet, with the depth that this coaching staff has begun to create along the entire team, I believe next season could be another solid one for Coach Kelly and Co.

A larger issue for the Irish to look at may be in the defense. Will Coach Diaco’s defensive structure hold up with so many new faces at key positions? Only time will tell. Additionally, the strength of the Irish defense has always been settled by a sure tackling (bigger) safety that can come up as almost an extra linebacker (i.e. Harrison Smith, Zeke Motta), something the Irish just don’t have at their disposal this season.

In ending, questions like these are hard for me to answer sometimes as I’d rather let the coaches do their thing. They not only are the best in the business, but put many more hours into research on the topic than I do.

Frank Vitovitch ( – After running the ball effectively in the first half, Notre Dame all but abandoned the run in the second half against Pitt even they didn’t trail at all until there was less than nine minutes remaining in the contest.   Is Notre Dame’s lack of a commitment to the running game this year as opposed to last the reason the Irish themselves right back where they were in 2011?

I don’t think that is the sole reason, but I also don’t think this season’s offensive line is as built to run the ball as in the past. Additionally, something I thought of just a second ago about the lack of runs in the second half may have had to do with Nick Martin’s broken bone in his hand. Not sure if it may have hurt him more when grinding forward or just pass blocking. That could be a reasoning for less run plays in the second half.

Again, as much as I would have liked to see more running in the second half, the coaches have far more insight into the Pittsburgh defense than I do. The one thing I would have liked to see more of in the passing game would be more passing plays that stretch the defense. Give Tommy Rees just 2-3 options – deep ball, sitting zone route and a dump off to the back. Allows max protect to give Tommy time, cuts down on options and you can easily check down to a running play as you have seven offensive linemen/tight ends lined up.

NDTex (Her Loyal Sons) – Stephon Tuitt’s ejection for “targeting” (and I use that term very loosely) definitely added more frustration to an already horrid game. I’m all for promoting player safety, but I definitely don’t think this new rule is the way to go. Do you agree? If so, how would you change the rule? If you’d like to keep it, what are your reasons for leaving it alone?

So here is what I saw in Stephon’s case … when looking at the rule I think of a three-pronged approach. Was it a defenseless receiver and Stephon went for his head? No, it was the quarterback. Was the quarterback looking to throw and Stephon hit him in the head? No, the quarterback had tucked the ball and was looking to run, therefore making him like a running back. Lastly, as a few “rules experts” insinuated, was the quarterback giving himself up and going to the ground? No, the quarterback clearly tucked the ball and put his head down in attempt to get the first down a few yards away.

The call was horrendous in my own eyes. If Coach Kelly wants this rule re-examined after this season I don’t doubt him. I read it somewhere on twitter last weekend that Notre Dame is the first school with two ejections due to targeting. Ben Councell’s in the Oklahoma game I think was a very good call, yet the Tuitt ejection makes you wonder if flags will someday be pulled to signify a sack of the quarterback.

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