Saturday, November 28, 2009

IGB: Goin back back to Cali Cali

Just when the Domer Law Blog thought to have claimed the latest entry for this week's IBG, The Nasties crew published Sarah's questions from Bad Trade 15 minutes to kickoff. Here we go:

1. Take a second and go look back at your post from the first game, with all of its promise and optimism (or not). What is the single biggest difference between the team you thought we had at the beginning of the season, and the team that we've seen on the field that now sits at 6-5?

One of the questions in the first week of this season's IBG asked us to find an image to describe the season, and in hindsight, I still think my pic was appropriate, albeit maybe for the wrong reasons:

The picture inadvertently previewed the edge-of-your seat action that was this season. A bounce of the ball here, a better play in the redzone there, and Notre Dame could very well be undefeated (or perhaps just as easily be 2-9).

To answer the question though, the single biggest difference has to be the secondary. I understand that it is tough to cover receivers when the quarterback has all day to throw, but I did not foresee the tackling issues that our veteran secondary would have.

2. Clearly, even from Coach Weis' own comments, it appears that the conversation has shifted from "Will Coach Weis be fired?" to "Who will be his replacement?" With that in mind, I'd like you to answer the following three questions:
a. If we lived in a perfect world, and could lure any coach to Notre Dame, who would be your choice? (Please limit yourself to coaches actually alive and able to coach right now - yes, we'd all love to have Knute Rockne back on the sidelines.)

In my mind, there isn't one clear favorite, and I think that there are 2-3 coaching hires that could improve this football team. If I'm forced to pick, though, I'll land on Brian Kelly. I'm impressed with his ability to turn around programs like Central Michigan and Cincinnati (and I particularly like his ability to take the Bearcats to the BCS), but I'm actually most impressed with Kelly's ability to coach Grand Valley State to a 118-35-2 record during his 13 years as head coach. Especially with how the success of programs tends to ebb and flow (even for the powerhouses - remember USC in the 90s?), this consistent trend of domination is very appealing.

b. If you were the AD for the University, who do you think is the best hire you could actually pull off, and how would you do it?

I suppose the most prestigious get would be Urban, and I think their are two points to sell it. Firstly, lets congratulate how Urban has been able to turn around program after program and win multiple titles with the Gators. So early in his career, Meyer seems to have already accomplished everything a coach dreams for. There is another unmet challenge in South Bend. Coach Meyer, take on the challenge of resurrecting a once national powerhouse, that the entire nation now thinks has a competitive disadvantage, and returning them to glory. The second point would probably be about moving Meyer's family to the Bend as a way to stay close to them.

c. Prediction time - taking everything you know about the program, the AD, and the current coaching situations around the country - who will be the head coach for the University of Notre Dame next year?

Every day actually leads me closer to thinking that Weis may actually return. ND won't be able to get there hands on a Kelly, Johnson, or Meyer until after they coach their current teams through the BCS, and like Brady Quinn said, there are a lot of factors that contribute to having a bad season, and not all of them fall on the coach. I feel like if Jenkins and Swarbrick don't find someone they really like, then I think that they might not pull the trigger. I'm still going to throw my hat in the ring for Kelly, but if Weis ends up back at Notre Dame for one more chance, I won't be as surprised as most.

3. As the title of this IBG post says, there is still one more game to be played. And, in fact, it's a red-hot Stanford team that scores points in bunches and beat SC in the Coliseum 55-21. To say that our program is in turmoil at this point would be a drastic understatement. So, what do you think is going to happen this weekend? Do the players rally and play up to potential for their embattled coach, or come out and go through the motions trying to get this season behind them?

I will say that at +10, Notre Dame is a pretty good Vegas bet. Unless we're playing teams with a vast disparity in talent (one of whom #6 ranked Boise State took down 44-33 last night), the Irish like to keep things close. Look for our offense to spurt out some impressive drives among some head scratching stalls while our defense makes some big stops and gives up some big gains. In the end, though, I am unfortunately expecting Stanford to win.

4. Finally, with all of the disappointment and frustration and a lame duck coach, what are your plans this weekend for the game?

Plain and simple. Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame.

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