It was a desperate day and a win was desperately needed. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have only a few possible team goals left this season, and the biggest is making it to a bowl game. The whole bowl experience is greatly needed for a team that is already looking to next year and their roster full of returning starters.
For today, that goal was Miami and just getting a win... period [insert a period, or even an exclamation point if you want to get saucy].
Brian VanGorder’s firing was more than justified, and Nyles Morgan the Lion
It was obvious enough while Brian VanGorder was coaching the Notre Dame defense that he was horrible at his job, and it has become even more clear since his departure. Say whatever you will about about who the Irish have played, but through the first four games of the season, Notre Dame was giving up 33.5 points a game. In the four games without Brian VanGorder, the Irish are only giving up 18.25 points a game.
THAT IS ALMOST HALF.
That’s how bad Brian VanGorder was at his job. This defense, filled with young players, and first time starters is light-years better without him. One of those players that seemingly was getting lost in the BVG mind shuffle of a defense is Nyles Morgan.
Morgan may have been overlooked a bit in the postgame commentary because of Jarron Jones, but Morgan had 9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. He is playing unbelievably well right now. In fact, he looks better than Te’o did in his junior year. It just feels like a pure waste that this lion was passed over for a wolf last year because of dumb scheme being dumb scheme.
Special Teams can burn in hell.
Ah yes, special teams. For such a long time, Irish fans were screaming for the special teams unit to give us more. Better returns, better coverage- more, more, more. I would like to say that I would rather see less right now. For all the good special teams has done in the past couple of years, what we are witnessing is pure insanity.
It’s like we need Bell Biv Devoe on punt return so everyone knows when that ball/girl is poison.
Notre Dame had one of those poison balls hit a player and gave Miami the ball, CJ Sanders muffs a punt inside the 5 and accordingly Miami fell on it for a touchdown- A TOUCHDOWN THAT PUT THEM UP 7 NO LESS, and there was an onside kick that Miami got because the return team wasn’t really paying attention.
Thank god for Justin Yoon’s 3 field goals and 3 PAT’s otherwise the Irish would have lost and this unit and Scott Booker would have been hurled into the depths of Dante’s Inferno.
Can we get some rhythm?
One of the more frustrating things about this Notre Dame team has been the ups and downs of the offense. At times they look like a well-oiled machine just carving up the countryside for their new manor, and other times they look like they can’t tie their own shoes.
This game was just another example. How fitting it was for Josh Adams to run for a 41 yard touchdown to tie the game, but to win the game we couldn’t run it in from the two?
This offense is dangerous- both to the user and to the opponent. The playcalling seemed much better this week, but allowing a check off to a pass 25 yards away for a 4th and inches... BREAKING THINGS EVERYWHERE. Granted, it could have gone for a touchdown just as easily- but it didn’t.
Notre Dame has four more games to get their act together offensively. Find some rhythm, and be the powerful beast we all thought and hoped it would be. We got away with some of that today, and may get away with it over the next two weeks. But if this season is going to have a redemption song at the end, it has to be better against USC and Virginia Tech.