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Notre Dame Bye Week Musings: A Penny for My Thoughts

Just some random thoughts about the past Michigan game and others stories around the college football world.

Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
  • Football can sometimes be a game of inches. I wonder how the Michigan game would have changed had Nicky Baratti intercepted that pass just outside the goal line instead of just inside the end zone.
  • The new pant color this year for the Irish really brings out the blue in the jerseys this year. This was especially true this past Saturday against Michigan. It's nice to see the team not looking like Army out there.
  • I'm re-watching this Michigan game and a one play really stood out to me. Following Golson's near touchdown pass to Niklas, a field goal for ND, and Denard's second pick in a row---the Irish mount another drive. Golson immediately connects on two straight throws, one to Riddick and one to Daniels. Then, the offense goes 3 tight end's in the red zone with an under center run by...Atkinson??? Why run the one back who hasn't shown the ability to grind out yards inside the 10-yard line like that? On the very next play Golson made his egregious interception. On the very next series you know who gets the next carry from the running back position? Yes, Atkinson. I have a hard time understanding those decisions. Yes, he's fast and explosive but he's still inexperienced and the third string running back.
  • Another key play in the Michigan game was in the series after Robinson's fumble. On third down in the middle of a drive that looked like it was going to do something, Rees missed a wide open Eifert streaking down the seam and shot put a weak throw that didn't reach TJ Jones. As well as Rees played, that was a killer missed opportunity on 3rd down when the Irish had a great opportunity to put a nail in Michigan's coffin.
  • Holy crap, watch Spond on that Denard fumble. I'm still not sure how he made his way toward the Nard and hit him hard enough to jar the ball lose. That was a great display of athleticism and vision by Spond.
  • The grass has been holding up pretty well so far this season inside Notre Dame Stadium. I thought for sure we'd see some rain this past weekend during the game---that's always a big test for the turf in Rock's House.
  • It's funny how the ND administration always gets a bad rap for not being able to do things tastefully, yet all indications are that the stadium PA music has vastly improved this season. Don't expect the administrations detractors to talk about that.
  • Oregon's true sophomore superstar De'Anthony Thomas is making the case for Heisman consideration this season. He's already got 572 all-purpose yardage through 4 games on just 46 touches (12.4 yards per touch) and he's made it into the end zone 7 times.

    Black Mamba. Scott Olmos/US Presswire

  • The crazy part is that De'Anthony Thomas put up what I would consider the quietest amazing true freshman season in history, or at least in recent history. The Black Mamba compiled 2,235 all-purpose yardage last year (an absurd 15.9 yards per touch) and scored 18 touchdowns. That's 298 more all-purpose yardage than Tim Brown's Notre Dame record of a season set in 1986.
  • So Tom Osborne is retiring as the AD at Nebraska. Remember when he was coaching the Huskers with that lethal triple option? He still holds one of the most impressive coaching stats of all time...from 1973 until his last season in 1997, his Nebraska teams NEVER won fewer than 9 games. Soft schedule or not, that is just ridiculous.
  • Do you realize how important Notre Dame's next home game is? Yes, of course it's Stanford and the team will hopefully still be undefeated. After the Cardinal only BYU, Pitt, and Wake Forest are left on the home schedule for 2012, which means the Irish would have a great chance of going undefeated in Rock's House for the first time since 1998, and just the second time since 1989 back when Holtz won all the home games from 1987-90.
  • It's Notre Dame's bye week but one name to get familiar with on the Miami Hurricanes is freshman running back Duke Johnson. He's leading Da U in rushing and has an absurd 838 all-purpose yards on 65 touches this year. He's a huge threat in the kickoff return game too, averaging 30.3 yards per attempt. Maybe he should be getting some Heisman love right now?
  • Speaking of Miami, it appears their defense isn't very good (and that might be kind) but they are somewhat explosive on offense. I know this has looked like more of a cream puff game than a real challenge for the Irish, but if Miami beats NC State this weekend they will be 4-1 and awfully close to being ranked. That might change your perspective a little bit.
  • Did you know that Alabama has only given up 30 or more points in a game once since the beginning of the 2009 season? That one game was a 35-21 loss at South Carolina on October 9, 2010. The Tide have allowed 14 or fewer points in 15 out of their last 17 games, including every game so far this season.
  • There's been a lot of media attention around Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder after his team's victory at Oklahoma this past weekend. I'm looking at his coaching record and he's won 9+ games 11 times in 20 seasons. How many conference titles would you guess he has out of that? Would you be surprised that it's just one---in 2003? Not a whole lot of banners to or rings involved in that winning.
  • It's come to my attention that true freshman Romeo Okwara has been playing consistently on special teams this season. Of course the coaches are in a bind with some injuries but it really sucks to see someone so young have to waste (for a lack of a better term) a year on special teams. That's always the worst, and the same goes for Davonte Neal---whom OC Chuck Martin said won't be as involved in the passing game this season as Chris Brown. It's very frustrating to watch a talent like that handle some punts and that's it. You'll always feel like you want that year back down the road.
  • Anyone surprised with what's going on at Kansas?
  • I had a moment of premonition against Michigan. As soon as I saw Chris Brown lined up as a starter my initial thought was, "Golson is going to throw to him, no matter what." Turns out that was true, and I wonder how predetermined that throw was. In that game, in that type of atmosphere and magnitude, it seemed like a really super difficult to throw to complete right out of the gate.

Enjoy the bye week and rest up for Solider Field.