The Fighting Irish are now knee deep into training camp. The week long “camping trip” to Culver is over, and the team is now in full pads and at home- hitting and clawing and kicking and bleeding on the practice field. Despite ESPN’s all day presence for Monday’s practice, the media has had very little access to what Kelly and the staff are doing with the team. Sure, Ringmaster Jack Nolan is there every day to give us a little glimpse of practice, but what is really being done is still more speculation than fact.
Regardless of all of that “mystery,” I think it’s safe to say that the focal point of this team is on the offensive side of the ball. If it hasn’t been obvious to you yet, Everett Golson will be the starting quarterback when the Irish kickoff the 2014 season.
Brian Kelly has not been able to truly run “his offense” in all of its glory since he arrived in South Bend. Whether it be the first year curve, an ineffective Dayne Crist, a heady statue in Tommy Rees, a young Golson learning the system, or a suspended Golson- the Irish offense has only had one identity since Kelly’s arrival and that is POTLUCK. They were just bringing whatever they had at the time and hoping it did the job.
That should be much different in 2014 with a seasoned Golson that is the prototypical Kelly QB, a backup in Zaire that can run the same system, a solid offensive line, three capable running backs that could turn into studs, and a deep, albeit young, group of speedy receivers. The unit has all of the pieces necessary to be a dynamic offense.
The debates about how much Kelly will run the ball or pass the ball are insignificant compared to how much the offense will score each game. While there are stats to support one over the other and YADA YADA YADA- do you really care how they score 35+ points a game? Never mind the fact that one usually sets up the other, will you be pissed if the Irish pass for 290 yards and rush for a mere 160 yards while winning the game 38-17? If you answered “yes” than I feel sorry for your wife/husband and children.
The biggest worry for me has and will continue to be until proved otherwise, the redzone. What I do see, is a freshman h-back in Tyler Luatua, and a mobile quarterback that can make the 4 yard scramble TD run. The pieces are there- it’s just a matter of putting it all together which is what fall camp is all about.
Just some food for thought. I do want to leave you with one more nugget to chew on… What in the hell does “imposing your will on an opponent” have to do exclusively with the running game? I hear this all of the time, and I’m not sure if there has been a bigger line of bullshit that has come out of the 1970′s than that. If a team marches down the field in 4 plays and scores a TD and then the next possession goes 90 yards for a TD in 7 plays- isn’t that “imposing your will”? Hell, how about just scoring 27 points in 5 out of your first 7 possessions? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? There are scenarios such as killing clock, helping your defense out, and other such things- but if scoring is what actually wins games- who cares what will is being done? Do you need to pound your flabby gray-haired chest in front of your wife and mother-in-law as a team runs power I down the field? Does it matter?
This team will be significantly better on offense than at any time since Kelly arrived, and everything else is just dog shit wrapped in a burrito.