Perhaps the title of this post should be,"BRIAN KELLY TROLLS AN ENTIRE NATION." Because really, after Notre Dame's 20-17 victory over Purdue, it seems to me that there has been very little discussion about the actual game as a whole. Brian Kelly made a QB move late in a game that Notre Dame won, and then chose not to provide either quarterback to be questioned by the media AFTER he had already just said Golson was still the starter.
All of that was fluff, in my opinion, for a game that saw Purdue fight their ass off and Notre Dame sending in reserve after reserve because of injury. That should be the story, but it wasn't. That's why I'm here.
This is extremely odd for me to kick this off about the losing head coach, but I found a lot of new respect for Danny Hope. I sat in the press room and listened to Danny Hope talk and answer questions after a tough loss, and I started thinking… maybe Purdue found their guy after all.
Say whatever you like about the way he handles his quarterback situation, but I can't remember ever hearing another coach basically defend the other coach's decision quite like that. But it wasn't his defense of Kelly that impressed me- but his team's defense and more importantly the effort they put out. Purdue played balls out, and that was a big reason why the game was so close.
Next Man In
You know I'm not one that is usually enamored with cheesy coach speak or even cheesier slogans, but "NEXT MAN IN" is just a way of life for the Fighting Irish nowadays. Hell, there were so many injuries Saturday, you couldn't help but look at the sideline and wonder if Jaime O'Hara had any eligibility left. The list was long and noticeable:
- Jamoris Slaughter
- Kapron Lewis-Moore
- Ishaq Williams
- DaVaris Daniels
- Tyler Eifert
- Nick Tausch
So, that's your starting safety, defensive end, wide receiver, tight end, and kicker. And although not a starter, Ishaq plays a key role on this defense. Add that to the still suspended Cierre Wood, and this team was using its 2nd and third teamers against a hungry Purdue team.
I've seen worse things happen than getting a close win when these things have happened before. This is the real story from Saturday, but because some of us can't keep jerking off to the "quarterback situation" it plays second fiddle. And that's a fucking joke. This team gutted one out with a broken hip. Bravo. The 2:30 mark and beyond says it all:
Golson's Day Day
If you were expecting Everett Golson to be playing like a seasoned veteran in the second game of his career, then I would hate for you to be my father, mother, boss, or even friend. His stat line:
- 21-31 67%
- 289 Yards
- 1 TD / 0 INT
- 5 Sacks
- 1 Fumble
It wasn't a bad day at all for Golson, but it wasn't a really good one either. Everett looked confused a lot of times and although his scrambling ability can get him out of bad situations, it can also create a few more sacks if he doesn't get rid of the football. And that's what it really all boils down to… experience.
I thought Golson played a fairly good game, but he just needs to continue to improve on a few more of those nuances that can separate a good quarterback from a great one. This is Notre Dame's starting quarterback, as Kelly proclaimed early in his post game presser, but there may be moments where Kelly may feel that Golson needs to be pulled back a bit. Late in the game, that's exactly what happened.
Brian Kelly's decision to bring in Tommy Rees over Everett Golson on the last drive of the game was first met with a loud chorus of boos from all over the stadium, and then it ran into a curious and skeptical media. This was, after all, supposed to be the season where "The Rise of Golson" was already predetermined.
As it turned out, the season was more important.
I understand Kelly's decision to bring in the seasoned veteran for the important game winning drive. Although Rees hadn't played a minute Saturday and was coming off a suspension, AND was supposedly #3 on the depth chart- I can see how a coach would turn to someone he obviously trusts. The decision worked exactly how it was supposed to, but there was no congratulations to Kelly for making this move, outside of Purdue head coach Danny Hope, and Kelly's explanation may have played a large part in that silence.
Kelly compared his quarterbacks to pitchers in baseball and labeled Golson as "The Starter", Hendrix as "The Middle Reliever", and Rees as "The Closer." He couldn't have explained it in a worse manner. To top it off, he put a gigantic wall between himself and the media as Rees & Golson were off limits after the game. The story went from one that saw a decision and a career redeemed, to an event that has everyone questioning what in the hell is Kelly doing. Shit, it can even be said that he helped shed some truth to the statements that Joe Montana made late last month.
Kelly made it absolutely clear that Golson is the starter for the season, but because of everything that went down, you have to wonder what will happen if the Irish find themselves in other close games throughout the rest of the season. That seed of doubt has been planted, and we can only sit back and watch how it all unfolds. Will this be something that the team can rally around and make this season about "TEAM," or will they constantly be on guard for the next move?
More Than Worth Mentioning
- Stephon Tuitt racked up 2 more sacks against Purdue. Tuitt also had 2 sacks last week against Navy. This was the first time since 2006 that a ND player had at least 2 sacks in consecutive games. Tuitt is a monster and the stat lines should only inflate this year.
- Bennett Jackson got the first interception of his career in the third quarter, and then he got a second one to end the game. Jackson ran around like a kid with a brand new toy after that second INT, and was immediately "talked" to by Kelly when it was finally all over.
- The Fighting Irish are now 2-0 in 2012, which is light-years away from the 0-2 start to the season in 2011 and are ranked in the Top 20. After everything else that happened Saturday, that is perhaps the best news available.
Notre Dame came out and played a sloppy game and got beat up physically. They then won the game. THEY. WON. THE. GAME. We can run all types of scenarios and play Devil's Advocate all we want, but the simple fact that they are exactly where we thought they should be going up to Michigan State should calm your nerves some- although I know a lot of you who are just throwing fits over all the details. Most fans, media, and casual fans have had this MSU game marked down as a loss for the Irish. No matter how next weeks game is played out and no matter what decisions are made… if the Irish win, are you ready to ride this season like a true gangster? I am. Got my pants off & a 40 oz. bottle of Mickey's to ride.