Take my Irish to the 1-0 Road
Ok, so maybe that word association with “Old Town Road” doesn’t necessarily fit, but we’re doing it live!
On Monday night (how about no more Monday night games ever?), the Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened up the season against the Louisville Cardinals on the road. After a somewhat shaky start, the Irish got a bit of their groove back to take actually an overall commanding victory. I have three things from the game for you all here that everyone should keep in mind as we move forward with the season.
It’s a bit too easy to get freaked out
What do I mean by this? Well, I fell into this trap as well. A few people (including yours truly), picked the score to be within the point spread. I think I was not alone in predicting not as “commanding” of a win as most people either predicted and/or wanted to happen. I think most of us thought it would have been a bit more lopsided and then Louisville would’ve cut the deficit late. Pretty much the similar final score occurred with a different path to that score. Yes, I saw shades of 2016 Texas in my head throughout the first half, and the team started off relatively slow, but we are conditioned, unfortunately, to plan for the worst. What I did not think of in the moment was how the Irish were just better, and the defense shut down the Cardinals the rest of the game. Overall, there are many things for the team to work on, but you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t be thrilled with an average score differential of 18 points in every game.
This is not the 2018 team
I actually do not mean this as a slight at all. This is something we as fans need to consider going forward. The broadcast team kept beating this dead horse (yes, Chris and Kirk, I DID in fact know that we don’t have Tranquill or Coney anymore), and it is truly something that is so simple that it can get lost in the shuffle. This is a different team from last season. There are new captains, new leaders, and new players filling the positions. There were some mistakes (all of those offsides penalties were by veteran players), and some great plays that were made. However, maybe games will go more like Monday’s game with a back and forth with some teams. It might not be pretty or even close to better than winning in a lopsided manner, but an overall dominance is great to see.
Also great to see were younger players stepping up and helping out the veterans — you need that cohesion on a team like ours. Tommy Tremble stepped up in a big way. Jahmir Smith scored a couple of times when Jafar Armstrong was hurt. Jack Lamb got in there to get a fumble recovery. Drew White at linebacker I think had one of the best individual performances on the team. Kyle Hamilton looks like he is definitely going to be a stud. There are some positives to take away from this new team and new additions to this team.
Ian Book should be just fine
Yes, I know, he did not play all that well on Monday. He had a plethora of mental mistakes. Was I even frustrated with his play at times? Of course I was. But, he still knows how to use his legs and how to be the QB leader. It shouldn’t be questioned whether he has still earned the job, and it is for sure way too early to think that he has regressed as a QB. As of now, I’m not listening to that nonsense. In his on-field, post-game interview, he clearly did not look satisfied or happy with his performance. He did not have a perfect night, but he still led the team to get the job done.
There you have it, my humble opinion on how the game went. 1-0 and things to look forward to as the team grows this season. In this bye week, enjoy those cheeseburgers.