Thursday, February 28, 2008


While perusing the web instead of finishing my last midterm paper, I came across a quote that was too good not to put up:

"Pick him up once he gets off the bus"

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino's response when asked how to guard Kyle McAlarney.

Go Irish. Beat Cardinals!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Belated Quote

The quote of the week has been going through some struggles lately, but it does the best that it can, and a day late is better than never. This segment has to deal with ND's recent hiring of John Tenuta, the blitz mastermind that has frustrated the Irish for two straight seasons at Georgia Tech.

Some fans questioned how an older, more experienced, Tenuta would handle working under defensive coordinator Corwin Brown. John made sure to clear the air in his first presser, replacing any doubts that Domers had with an eagerness to see the two working together:

"I'm an aggressive attacking guy, and Corwin is to, so we're gonna attack; we're gonna get down hill and make things happen"

Irish Alum Aaron Taylor also had some choice words to say about the new defensive coaching tandem:

"Jon Tenuta is as accomplished, innovative and aggressive as any defensive coach in the college game, and the combination of he and Corwin Brown should create some beautiful chaos together."
Corwin's ready to get nasty while Tenuta prepares to introduce his little friends

Beautiful chaos indeed. I can't wait to see how these coaches are able to mold the young players in this program into the dominating force all Irish fans are looking forward to.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Irish Catch Fire Late To Best Panthers

Let's look at the game by the numbers:

22 & 12: The numbers that the analysts will focus on during their game recap. Harangody put together another impressive line despite being hacked the entire game with no help from the refs.
9: The height difference in inches of 6'8" Luke Harangody and 5'11" Tory Jackson.
16 & 13: The scoring and rebounding of Bam Bam's sophomore in crime, who tied Pitt forward DeJuan Blair for the game high in rebounds.

Jackson, who has been steadily increasing the level of his play since the Providence game, once again provided enough constant energy to keep the Irish in the game against Pittsburgh. For the second straight home game, Tory rejected one of the opponent's starting forwards in the beginning of the game; three times Jackson stole the ball from Pitt to give life to his struggling team; and when the game was tied with 4:37 left, it was #2 who knocked down the big 3 to put the Irish up. Also adding 5 assists without turning the ball over, Jackson was Notre Dame's most valuable player of the night, but that doesn't mean his teammates didn't give him a little help.

There is 6:58 left in the game, Notre Dame is behind 59-55, and Pittsburgh is down to their last timeout. Jackson feeds the ball to McAlarney who ices what seems to be his first three of the night. After Pitt answers with a quick two point jumper, McAlarney (3-10 3pt) sinks another deep ball to tie it at 61. On the ensuing inbound, Harangody steals the ball in a play reminiscent of the Alabama game last year and takes it to the house for an electrifying dunk to give the Irish their first lead since the 4 minute mark of the first half.

When there was 4:23 left in the game and the Irish were only up 2, it was Luke Harangody and a clutch Ryan Ayers who stepped up to score the next 9 points in ND's final run that all but sealed the win.

And when the Panthers were down 9 with only 1:30 left, it was the experience of K-Mac and senior Rob Kurz shooting 100% at the free throw line to close out the game and earn Notre Dame its 35th straight win at the JACC.

Great Game. Go Irish!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Tale of Two Freshmen Part 1

I understand that Charlie's Nasties hasn't been supplying its usual dose of Notre Dame football coverage lately, so I thought that I'd try to make up for it by throwing up a long (and hopefully decent) post. Some physicians have suggested that blog readers should not take all of this information in one sitting, so try to squeeze a coffee break in around game 5.

Earlier in the year, I took a look at the numbers from Brady Quinn's freshman year and set them against Clausen's numbers from the 2007 season. I have to admit that I got the idea to do this after one of my readers complained that I was being too harsh on Clausen and after I had read an article on comparing the two.
The Excel chart breaks down a few key QB stats for each player. The opponent and whether ND won or lost the game is listed beneath each column. Cold hard numbers can be helpful in analyzing a situation, but they don't tell the whole story. With that in mind, lets weigh Clausen against Quinn game by game.

Game 1: JC saw minimal playing time in a loss against a GT team that suffocated ND with its speedy front 7 (I can't wait to have Tenuta with us next season). Quinn's team didn't look much better, getting embarrassed by No. 4 ranked Michigan. 2007's negative 8 rushing yards against Tech made the 2003's squad's performance of +49 look like a clinic. However, Brady, with a lower completion percentage and an interception, played more sloppy in mop up time, so this win goes to Clausen.

Game 2: Brady took over for a struggling Carlyle Holiday midway through the second quarter and kept the Irish in the game against MSU, drawing the score to within 6 in the final 3 minutes. Clausen attempted a rather high 32 passes as 2007's anemic offense failed for the second game to get positive rushing yards, converting only 2-16 on 3rd down. As will be the trend for the next several games, Jimmy completes a higher percentage of his shorter passes, but in this particular game, Brady's one TD is better than Clausen's pick. Edge: Quinn.

Game 3: Facing off against 13th ranked Purdue, Quinn threw for a monster 297 yards and a touchdown. However, his erratic passing led to 4 interceptions, and his touchdown was an 85 yard bomb to Stovall. Clausen's team once again netted negative rushing yards, most of them coming from the plethora of sacks the Wolverines dished out on the young QB.
After watching that video, it might seem crazy, but I'm gonna give the edge to Clausen here. Despite being ridiculously pressured the entire game, he only turned the ball over once (discouting some snap-caused fumbles). The only reason the 2003 game appeared close was that Quinn was able to rely on the shoulders of an experienced defense that was able to hold Purdue to 223 total yards.

Game 4: Against Pittsburgh in 2003, Willingham decided to take some pressure off of his young QB by relying more on the running game. The result was 262 yards on 24 carries by Julius Jones, supplemented by an 84 yard performance by Ryan Grant. Quinn only completed 29% of his 17 attempted passes, and one of them was intercepted. The Irish escaped with a 20-14 win; once again the defense played a big part in the win, holding Pitt to 175 total yards. Weis tried a similar tactic against MSU, handing the ball to Aldridge 18 times, which resulted in a 100+ yard game for him and Notre Dame's first game with positive rushing of the year. Only down 3 at halftime, 2007's inability to convert on 3rd down (4-15) kept them from staying in the game down the stretch. Still, Jimmy was able to avoid turning the ball over, and his passes were much more efficient (higher completion percentage and more YPA), so I have to go with Clausen.
Jones rushed for an ND record 262 yards against PittGame 5: For only the second time in his first 10 games, Quinn finished the game without being intercepted, and he did it against #1 ranked USC. Clausen faced a much thinner Purdue defensive secondary, and picked it apart for 169 yards and a touchdown before having to leave at the end of the first half. This one's a toss up firstly because Quinn was facing the top ranked team in the country while JC faced a much less formidable opponent and secondly because he only played one half. That makes this one Not Applicable.

6: In his best game of the season, Quinn threw for 350 yards (9 YPA) in a losing effort against Boston College. Even though Clausen won the game against UCLA and accomplished his task of not turning the ball over, Quinn's complete domination on the stat sheet definitely give this game to him.

Game 7: The 2003 Irish suffered a walloping by 8th ranked FSU in week 8; Brady completed under 40% of his passes for 3 interceptions and no touchdowns in the loss. Clausen didn't fair much better against 4th ranked Boston College, completing 7 passes for (yawn) 60 yards and throwing two picks before he was replaced by Evan Sharpley shortly after the start of the 3rd quarter, and if it weren't for a suspect holding call later in the game, Sharpley might even have been able to beat Matt Ryan and his motley crew. Here I'll take Quinn's performance because (while it was also definitely subpar) he at least managed to finish the game.
Game 8: For some reason, ESPN didn't have data for Quinn's true 8th game, which was a 27-24 win over Navy, so we'll skip to his next game, a 33-14 win against Brigham Young. Another 100+ yard day for Jones meant that #10's 156 yards and 1 interception were enough to get the 2003 squad a win, but it wasn't enough to beat out Clausen. In ND's 10th game last season, after sitting out against USC and Navy, JC came back to throw a season high 246 yards and 3 touchdowns against Air Force. While 2007's defense couldn't find a way to stop the Falcon offense, the 24 points scored by the Irish that week were the most scored in a game that Clausen started, suggesting that Chuck made the right move by giving him two weeks to rest.

Game 9: Quinn only played for 3 quarters against Stanford in his 10th game; the Irish scored an absurd 57 points in the first three quarters (mostly on their running game and defense), but Quinn still contributed 179 yards (on 62% passing) for 2 touchdowns and a pick. This one could go either way as Clausen tossed 3 touchdowns against a comparable Duke team, but I'm going to pick Brady here because his 179 yards came on only 13 attempts (while it took JC over twice that many to net 194). Also, Quinn's team was able to capitalize early against a weak Stanford team, and as a student that was in the stadium last year, I can tell you that our 28-7 win over Duke was not as smooth as the score suggests.

Game 10: ND ended the 2003 campaign on a sour note, dropping the last game to a 6-6 Syracuse team by a margin of 38-12. The key in this game was the rushing; the Orangemen torched us for 250 yards and 5 touchdowns while the team of Jones and Grant only managed 86 yards combined. The point here is that when Quinn wasn't supported by a strong ground attack, it made it more difficult for him to air it out, and he was only able to throw 1 touchdown against 2 picks. Clausen completed his third straight game with a QB rating over 100 to top a less formidable Stanford team. He did throw his first interception in 3 games, but did manage almost 200 yards on 60% of his attempts (and he had one touchdown robbed from him by the officials). In a game where Clausen could watch his running back rip off 136 yards on the ground, he arguably put together a much better passing game than Quinn did with a similar ground game.

Final Score: Quinn 5, Clausen 4. That's it for today; I'll try to weigh in on this information sometime in the next few days. Feel free to leave any of your opinions in the comments. Until then, Go Irish!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

For everyone that has been regularly checking Charlie's Nasties last week in hope of a new post only to be disappointed, I must apologize. After my first round of tests, I was compelled to take a long study break, so I flew to the land down under to party with this kid for a day or two.

But now that I'm back, it's time to at least partially recap two big games played by the men's basketball team.

Notre Dame proved that they could protect this house against 16th ranked Marquette in a game that showed very solid performances from everyone on ND's roster. Out of everyone who played, Rob Kurz's 5 points was the lowest total; 5 players notched double figures, Ayers contributed 9, and The People's Court dropped 7, including some clutch free throws down the stretch. Jackson continued his streak of superb play, accumulating 8 assists and coming up with some unlikely boards. Tory once again showed his ability to give the team an energy boost when he started off the game by blocking one of Marquette's 6'8" forwards, setting the tempo for the rest of the game.

The student section also helped set the tempo; by Saturday morning, the line to get in Gate 11 stretched all the way down the old Juniper Street. Some students began camping out in one of the heating ducts adjacent Gate 11 as early as Thursday afternoon to score some premo seats. By Friday night, 4 of these ducts were filled to capacity with sleeping students. The inpromptu campground was dubbed 'Breytopia' in honor of the coach who hooked them up with some free za after noticing the large turnout.
Breytopia would also like to thank the members of ND Nation who were kind enough to stop by with food and drink

None of the dorm rooms near me have ESPNU, and at first, things looked bleak for getting a chance to watch the UConn game, but lo and behold, I was invited to one of those fancy "meet and great" informal dinners at Legends.... where they were showing the game on a 15' projection screen. Unfortunately, ND's inability to capitalize on many Huskie mistakes late in the game prevented me from witnessing a win.

Harangody and Jackson both played very well, but the lack of production from anyone else on the team (except for McAlarney who scored 12 points with a very inefficient 4-14 shooting) ended up costing them the game. On the bright side, ND did take a top 20 team down to the wire on the road (which is considerably better than getting blown out by 30 points), held their star player to only 4 points, and best of all: the loss was on the road...

Go Irish. Beat Knights!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Quick Quote

Thanks to everyone for the compliments on the '08 recruiting picture. I'm actually about to hit the books pretty hard for the first round of tests starting tomorrow, so I won't be able to write much about the Seton Hall game other than:

1. Notre Dame was lights out. Remember the second half of the Cincinnati game? Yeah, the shooting was something like that. 55% from the floor and 47% from deep - that's some serious nylon splashing.

2. Brey was finally able to work in the freshmen at the end of this game. Nash still needs to get more PT in order to shake the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome, although I think that when he gets comfortable, he'll be a great player.

3. Notre Dame landed high school recruit Jack Cooley (picture a smaller version of Harangody) after he had a great visit to campus.

"I was really impressed with how the team was one cohesive unit," Cooley said of the Irish. "No one complained if someone else took a shot. They all got together as a team, the coaches were great, everyone came up and introduced themselves. It was a great experience. I just want to be a part of that."

4. K-Mac, among other Irish players, is a beast. This week's quotes come from some of the previous coaches that got burned by some of his 3-balls.

"He was unstoppable against us," the Wildcat coach said of McAlarney's 30-point, five-assist performance. "He came out and made a couple of threes from 25 feet, and when we got out on him he started making runners, floaters. We really could not stop him."
Villanova Coach Jay Wright

"He's one of the best players in this conference. He's got game, and shtick and attitude," Gonzalez said. "He can just play. He reminds me of Scott Skiles and Gerry McNamara and all those tough guards who could beat you in so many ways."
Seton Hall Coach Bobby Gonzalez

Go Irish. Beat Eagles!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Signing Day!

Welcome to Notre Dame, recruiting class of 2008!

Monday, February 4, 2008

ND Cracks Top 25

Hats off to the men's team, who entered the ESPN / USA Today Top 25 poll for the first time this season. The coaches agreed with the latest poll, ranking the Irish as the 21st best team in the country. The Associated Press, however, is not showing as much love, leaving ND one spot lower at # 22.
Hopefully wins against Seton Hall and ranked Marquette this week can vault us higher in the rankings. Go Irish.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Irish Down Demons

The Men's basketball team took down DePaul 89-80 last night behind a strong Luke Harangody performance. When Notre Dame started the game off with absolutely frigid shooting, Bam Bam found a way to keep the Irish in the contest, scoring his team's first 9 points. Zeller then came off the bench to sink a 3 which seemed to warm up the rim for ND's other shooters; in a very well rounded night, 6 of Notre Dame's players scored more than 8 points. Hillesland and Ayers are continuing to play well in their new roles, scoring 10 and 9 points respectively, and additionally, both guards brought the house down with powerful dunks. Tory Jackson played well for the second game in a row, scoring 8 points on 4-9 shooting and coming up with 6 assists, 4 boards, and 4 steals. ND's other point guard rebounded from a sub-par performance against Providence to score 17 points, including some important 3s that opened up the game. The brightest star on the court, however, was Luke Harangody, who scored in doubled figures (29) for his 18th game in a row. Also pulling in 14 rebounds, Luke is putting forth a strong case to be considered for Big East Player of the Year.

The JACC promotional crew dished out some free stuff for the second week in a row; last night, everyone in attendance received a 'Black Out' shirt. DePaul apparently got the memo and sported some flashy black alternates, but the crowd was able to remember which team to cheer for, and the winning streak at the JACC was extended to 33 straight. This coming Saturday will be a test to see just how well the Irish can play at home; ND will go up against the 16th ranked Marquette Golden Eagles.

Friday, February 1, 2008

More Basketball

Because we missed out on the quote of the week segment yesterday, the Nasties crew thought it would be appropriate to direct loyal readers to an Observer article written by Fran Tolan about the Lephrechaun Legion's taunting of Ray Hall last night.
"He was just throwing up bricks," Irish forward Zach Hillesland said. "The fans were great to keep calling out that 'Airball' chant during stoppages of play for minutes on end. That really helped us out."