All comments aside as to whether the recent drinking incident merits the play it's getting, my wife and I want to raise several new points for consideration by all as we head into the 2008 football season.
First, we believe that Dayne Crist is a BETTER QB than Clausen will EVER be. We feel that he has the mental and physical tools to lead ND back to greatness...NOT JC! We've watched hs tapes of both players available on the net. Dayne plays MUCH better, makes better decisions, deals with adversity more successfully, and we feel he is the caliber of leader and player that will equal a Joe Montana or a Tim Tebow. We hope that Weis gives him a chance this year or next to show his talent. So keep an eye out for that development.
Our next point, Hughes demonstrated last year and in the spring that he was the BEST running back on the squad - a "Bus" Bettis type runner. Aldridge however is NOT the #1 runner because he is NOT the cutback type, especially since his injury. He runs with more temerity than do the other 2 (Hughes and Allen). We hope that Hughes gets most of the starts and that he proves to be reliable. Allen is also a good runner who can use his speed with effectiveness if given the opportunities. However, starting Allen from the single set back position then trying to run to the corner and outrace a defensive end or LB who is ALREADY several steps ahead of him just by lining up makes Allen look bad. Rethinking where Allen lines up with relation to the outside defensive people might not be a bad idea.
Third point, we feel that ND should go with BOTH Hughes and Allen in the backfield and Crist at QB. Go back to an old fashioned running game that opens up the passing attack. Spread offense aside, with both backs in at the same time, opposing coaches would find it difficult preparing the defense for Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside, & Mr. Aerial! This is something we haven't done for a few years. We have been fairly predictable by our alignments and personnel that we use at any given time.
To drive our point home: Be a defensive coach for a minute. Take a pen & paper [or napkin as my wife says to remind me of my past - laughing]. Draw up football formation with split backs or an I formation with Hughes & Allen as the backs, Crist as the QB. Tate, Parrish, Ragone as ends. Put Ragone on "short side" at TE; put BOTH Tate & Parrish on the "wide side" and split them wide. Now, defense it with a 4-3 or a 3-4. Hughes in a straight plunge (either left or right); at the same time, draw Allen on the quick pitch to either Ragone's side or the 2-receiver side; & then draw Crist on a roll out after to either side in order to set up a pass off this play at some point in the future.
Compare that formation to the plays ND has run in the past. Everyone in the stadium and on TV, including the waitress at a diner we frequent [NO KIDDING EITHER], knew what was coming when we lined up. Why? The "reads" for the defense are easier/faster when there are fewer options or possibilities during a play to worry about. The more options, the more difficulty for the defense. [Consider why Navy's offense is going to GT - besides the fact that the coach did!!].
Well, a rather long-winded essay, but we wanted to present some food-for-thought for everyone as ND begins its Renaissance.