Sunday, September 04, 2005

What a Game!

It's been almost 24 hours since Notre Dame finished its beat down of Pitt and I'm still grinning. This game exceeded all my expectations. I figured the Irish would be improved, but this improved? Just unbelievable. There were several positive developments from this game that has me rethinking my earlier prediction that we'll lose to Michigan.
  • The push of the offensive line. The offensive line just manhandled Pitt the entire game and when Rashon Powers-Neal is running 10 yards before he's touched, you know the offensive line is doing a good job opening holes.
  • The improvement of Brady Quinn. Other than the interception in the first quarter, Quinn was outstanding, not only making good decisions, but being accurate with his passes, something that he did not do consistently last season.
  • The tenacity of the defense. I'm still not convinced that this defense is going to be able to consistently contain a good passing attack and they did give up one big pass play to Greg Lee. However, whenever Pitt did complete a pass or hand the ball off, the Irish defenders were hitting the ball carrier or the receiver hard. It was good to see the defense have a little swagger last night.
  • The execution of the offense. I cannot remember a time when Notre Dame executed as well as they did offensively for the first three quarters. That was USC-esque.
  • The team effort. This win was a total team effort. This was no more evident than on Notre Dame's first touchdown where Darius Walker had a convoy of six or so players clearing his path to the endzone. Not to mention, you do not score a touchdown on six of your first seven possessions as effortless as the Irish did without the offensive unit working together as one. There was also a number of gang tackles on the defensive side of the ball. There is no question Weis is a big reason why the Irish are playing more like a team this season.
  • The playcalling of Charlie Weis. Weis was just masterful with his playing calling. I saw that familiar befuddled look on Wannstedt's face in the third quarter. I expect Lloyd Carr to have a similar facial expression next Saturday.

The only glaring negative from the game was the ten penalties they committed, but it was the first game and based on Weis' presser today, that will be corrected for next Saturday. Man, I cannot remember the last time I was this jacked up about Notre Dame football. Bring on the Wolverines!