Tuesday, September 20, 2005

MSU Wrap-Up

I finally have some time to have post some quick thoughts on the MSU game. First the bad.

  • No tailgating in the Blue Field, south of Edison (the soccer fields). Due to all of the road construction around campus, they have closed the Blue Field, south of Edison for the season, which was my favorite place to tailgate before the game. Notre Dame told all of the people displaced by the Blue Field closing to tailgate at the White Field, north of Douglas, which is basically right next to my parent's house in Naperville, IL.
  • Tackling. This was no more evident than on the last play of the game where what should have been a 5 yard gain turned into a touchdown.
  • Pass defense. When you give up 327 yards passing and on one play allow the offense to throw a screen pass to a wide receiver and you allow the receiver to run 60 yards down the field without touching him, that's not a good thing.
  • Pass rush. Part of the reason Drew Stanton was able to throw for over 300 yards was that he had all day to find an open wide receiver and when your secondary is not that good, that's a bad combination.
  • Team Discipline. 12 penalties for 92 yards is completely unacceptable.

Now to the good.

  • The offense. The Irish are now averaging over 30 points a game, and I think during the Willingham era, Notre Dame scored over thirty points maybe once or twice. They were able to move the ball at will through out most of the game. And while they were a little too pass wacky at times, I think that's partly a product of the Irish having Darius Walker to run the ball and um um...is James Aldridge on the roster yet? The best part of the strong offensive showing so far this season is that no deficit seems too large. They were down 21 points in the second half and I knew they would come back. I could not say the same thing about this team the last couple of years.
  • The crowd. The crowd was absolutely jacked up the whole game. That was probably the loudest I've heard the stadium since the Michigan game in 2002. The efforts of Charlie Weis so far had a lot to do with the increased energy from the crowd.
  • Weis' take of the game. When I got a chance to read the post-game stories in the Chicago Tribune I was reminded why I have fallen in love with Weis, as he said afterwards, "Here's what I told them. I told them: 'You don't get any medals for trying.'" How refreshing, a coach who accepts wins and nothing else. You gotta believe that this week of practice is not going to be a lot fun for the players and they are going to be fired up this weekend. Washington is going to be in a whole lot of trouble.