Mike's Blog on Notre Dame Football

In a matchup of giants - Notre Dame and its 46th ranked offense play host to the Pitt Panthers and their 54th ranked defense this Saturday.  All kidding aside, this should be an even matchup that will end up produce a 2nd win in a row for coach Kelly. 

Dayne Crist

 When talking about Pittsburgh during his weekly press conference, Brian Kelly did emphasize that the things to look for was Hynoski, the fullback that could be tricky to control as they use him and his size in a number of ways in their offense(watch for the 260lbs bulldozer to test the defense early).   Having Graham at running back and seeing Dion Lewis returning from injury should mean that this will be another challenge with the run defense.  However, when asked about the farthest to go on the progress chart, Brian Kelly only said that protecting the ball and consistency in performance were the "two things he didn`t feel they had made enough progress on" .  That last statement makes me uneasy -  going against a team that has the weapons to run the ball, with a team that believes is now doing a good job defending the run.  After one game.  Sure, against BC - and I can now say  that I was there and I did see it - the Irish did a great job stopping the run.  Let's face it - Boston College's Montel Harris is no Dion Lewis.  If the Irish want to win, they will have to prove once again, that they can protect the ball, stop the run and show some of the sparks that put the game away in the first quarter against the Eagles last week.  

However, it is also true that the momentum is clearly not on Dave Wannstedt side.  Pitt's only 2 wins came against New Hampshire and Florida International.  Miami, really took it to them with Jacory Harris burning them for 250 yards through the air en route to a 31-3 win.  Can Dayne Crist do the same? No doubt. Has he shown that with Riddick, Floyd and Rudolph he can spread the ball at will.  Absolutely.  He has 10 TDs to 4 interceptions after 5 games.  For , the challenge will be on facing a 3-4 defensive scheme.  ???It is different. Utah was a little bit of an under scheme, they ran a little bit of 3-4. But really, the last few weeks have all been 4-3 teams, so there will be a little more required of our players from the standpoint of focusing in, and making sure we get our hats, our blocks on the right people. Anytime you???re seeing different schemes you have to make sure that you???re not doing a little too much, then what you???re doing is enough to go out and execute.???

If ND can stop the run in the first quarter and put some points on the board, they will win this game.  I believe they will and it should be in line with the oddsmakers that put the Irish favored by 6.  I will go and call 34-28 for the Irish.  Thought welcome as always.

October 7, 2010  10:38 AM ET

I hope so, but have no faith yet in their consistency.

October 7, 2010  10:56 AM ET

Let's hope, but while it is nice to see an ND that is starting to show some real improvement, it'll probably next season before the team can consistently compete and win games. They still have some growing pains left. Still... "Go Irish!"

October 7, 2010  03:05 PM ET

Pondscum and Wisc-ND - Thanks for stopping by. We all hope. 2 weeks ago I thought we'd get in trouble with Stanford....and we did. I didn't know what to make of the BC game but obviously, we put it away early. I want the same thing to happen this weekend. Always the run defense as the only thing that prevents me from getting too excited. We have a good 3 game stretch coming up. Let's hope for the best.

October 8, 2010  10:59 AM ET

I hope they don't, but Pitt is not looking too hot against good teams this year. Plus Diamond Dave is an ultaconservative coach so he's not hard to figure out.

October 8, 2010  11:07 AM ET

The ND players have to believe they can win. Once they start believing in themselves & the other players on the field... watch out!


Beat Pitt!

October 8, 2010  12:52 PM ET

LPG - Sexton, thanks for stopping by. I agree with the need for belief in each other. I would also add belief in the system. I always wondered after three losses in a row, at what point would the players say "this won't work". Now that they have a win against BC and are looking at an easier portion of the schedule, the switch has to turn on where they say - this system works, we can win and no one can stop us - which by the way, if they win the next 3, could be really happening for the balance of year.

October 8, 2010  02:13 PM ET

LPG - Sexton, thanks for stopping by.


You know, there was talk of Pitt being a major player this year, but the run, run, pass, punt offense just don't cut it. That and a bunch of players getting arrested doesnt help.

October 8, 2010  03:31 PM ET

Typically, what you see and hear is what you get with BK, I but think he's bluffing a bit. I think the team is farther along than he'll let on, and he probably agrees. I like the strategy though... always dangle the carrot just far enough out to get better and better execution...

October 8, 2010  09:48 PM ET

LPG - agreed on Pitt team dynamics...was promising.
Whiskey - thanks for the comment. I like BK`s approach too...the one comment that i like most of him is when he says...the fans have waited long enough - at least, as much as I was excited when Weis was hired, this time I know that the guy HAS done it before(build a successful org) and he has done it repeatedly so one can hope.
Norka - thanks for the visit, and i like the prediction. I hope it starts tomorrow.

October 9, 2010  07:42 PM ET


The Bone here...

With no Posting by you after the Stanford loss, I thought we might have lost you for the season...

Glad to see your back.

Wish I had better news, but ND won today - I'll man up and post when they win also.

When I looked at the ND schedule in Pre-season - I knew this was a soft part of the schedule (but was hoping for atleast 1 - 1 vs. BC & Pitt).

Now - at 3 & 3 - by my estimations ND could have a Winning record.

October 10, 2010  03:27 PM ET

THe Bone, sorry for missing last week - did travel to BC and didn't write up. Looking at USC against Stanford and Utah, I don't think that ND will win those games...but the next 3 don't look to be too much of a stretch for the Irish to win. That leaves Army sandwiched between Utah and USC to determine a winning record - or not. ND still needs to learn to finish though....I was happy with last night. Thanks for the comment.

October 11, 2010  06:16 AM ET

Back to my first comment. the inconsistency was apparent from first half to second. Western MI shouldnt be a challenge, nor should anyone on schedule until utah. 6-5

October 15, 2010  12:40 AM ET

Well, it???s amazing. The miracle has been done. Well done.

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