Welcome to the first official Irish Blogger Gathering of the season y'all!!! If you missed it, there have been some sweeping changes with the IBG this season. All of this is being done to help broaden the conversation between Notre Dame blogs- AND our readers. Be sure to check out all of the IBG pages and comment where you see fit.
This week, The Subway Domer had the privilege to ask Her Loyal Sons some questions & they sent Twibby out to play. I'm glad it wasn't Biscuit. You will also be able to find my answers over at Inside The Irish with Keith Arnold.
Here we go….
With only a few days left in the "preseason" I can't help but think about all that could go wrong this season. Give me YOUR nightmare scenario for the 2012 season.
Nothing like starting the season off on a positive note, huh? I’ll get straight to the point – my nightmare scenario for the 2012 Irish season would be finishing with a record of 4-8. Losses at Oklahoma and USC as well as to Michigan State, Michigan and Stanford would be ugly, but it would be dropping the Shamrock Series game to Miami in Chicago, falling flat against Pittsburgh and failing to show up against BYU that really define a horrible Notre Dame campaign.
That being said, I think this team is too talented for this to be a legitimate scenario in 2012. While the schedule is clearly tough, it would take a LOT of injuries and suspensions coupled with a 2009-like implosion of team chemistry for the Irish to only win 1/3 of their games. A more realistic “nightmare” scenario would be to end up having more quarterback discussions during fall camp in 2013 because Everett Golson or a replacement, if he struggles, fails to establish themselves as the leader of ND’s offense. Nobody wants to dwell near the bottom of the country in turnover margin again, and it will be Golson that is tasked with making sure that doesn’t happen. A few more games with 5 turnovers to start the year could turn this into a very long and painful season.
Is there something that we are all missing? Obviously there have been all sorts of headlines this past offseason & preseason. What aren't we talking about, or enough about when it comes to Notre Dame's 2012 season?
I have found it quite odd, actually, that there hasn’t been more discussion about the fact that Kelly made it fairly clear that in the best case scenario (of Golson playing well) Tommy Rees will not be starting at quarterback again for Notre Dame. I know it is all coach speak, but last year Kelly continually trumpeted Tommy’s record as a starter. Today that record is 12-4, which is still strong when taken at face value. Don’t get me wrong – I think defining a quarterback by his record as a starter is pointless and ignores the efforts of the other 21 starters. Now, though, it seems like the media has shrugged off this dismissal of Rees as QB.
Maybe it’s because everyone other than Grantland-X realizes we’re better off with Golson at the helm and understands that Rees’s suspension made it easy for Kelly to move on at the most important position on the roster. Nevertheless, certain media outlets and writers *cough*TheCommuter*cough* usually don’t pass on a chance to paint Notre Dame in a negative light, and I think there is a chance to do so with Kelly’s decision here.
On a more positive note, I think people should be talking more about Chris Salvi. Salvi is the latest in a trio of former walk-ons turned into key players after Mike Anello and David Ruffer. Each of them has boasted their own unique story about their path to Notre Dame football, with Ruffer and Salvi having transferred in from other academic institutions. Salvi has worked his way into the two-deep for the Navy game, which is a wonderful accomplishment for a player who is, by all accounts, a leader of this young defense.
Tell me about Navy. OK, not everything, but feel free to sound off about the Middies.
Key things to remember about being a Notre Dame fan while the Irish take on Navy: 1) Don’t boo. Especially if they run out carrying the American flag. 2) Don’t say “suck it” during the drum cadence like we do for every other team. (On a side note, someone needs to come up with something more creative than “suck it." I'm not going to get on my high horse and say we should be classier than that – I'm going to get on my high horse and say we should be more clever than that.)
I like the Middies as people. I greatly respect their decision to dedicate years of their life to public service — helping to make sure we can go and watch football games that are meaningless in the grand scheme of life — particularly in a time where they know that they will be called to active duty. But, having been one of the few human beings that has witnessed the Irish lose to Navy in Notre Dame Stadium TWICE, I want to beat them, and I want to beat them badly.
Unfortunately for Navy and the other service academies, college football has developed to a point where size is such a key factor in success that they are at a significant competitive disadvantage due to the constraints put on them by the need to have a roster full of players with the physical capability of serving in the Navy after graduation. That has left them looking for other solutions – today, that solution is the option offense. When an opponent takes an early lead and has a defense that is disciplined and prepared to defend the option attack, it is tough for Navy to pull out a W. I think it is likely that on Saturday we will see the Irish take an early lead and never look back.
Outside of the Army game, this is the biggest contest of the season for Navy (sorry Troy, Florida Atlantic and Texas State). Also, with it being the first game, I expect Ken Niumatalolo and his staff to have a few wrinkles thrown into their offensive game plan. Nonetheless, I don’t think it will make much of a difference in the end. The Irish found out what happened when they overlooked their first opponent in 2011, and it won’t happen again this year.