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Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Early ND Look Ahead To The 2013 Campaign

Before final decisions on fifth year players are determined.
Before the Blue-Gold Game is played.

Before spring (and first year) academics sort themselves out.

Before any transfers.
Before any practice and training injuries.

Before any Early Enrollees and First Years getting homesick.
Before any mischief by players.

Even before the recruiting class of 2013 even starts summer school in June.
Korzo78 on the NDNation Rock’s House bulletin board has posted the below analysis/opinion of the 2013 schedule.  Good for him.  We need to keep the momentum going after getting our butts kicked by the Red Tide.

While his comments are in italics, ours are in normal Times New Roman.
Last year, ND was coming off an 8 win season and facing a schedule with six teams who had won 10 games the previous year. Just about everyone agreed that it would be one of the nation’s most difficult slates. Many expected an eight or nine win season. Didn’t turn out that way as MSU, BYU, SC, and Michigan slipped from the previous year.

This year, ND is coming off a 12-1 season and faces only two teams with 10 win seasons. Maybe, a few teams will rise up and have good seasons, but at this point, the schedule seems quite manageable.

Temple (4-7). Good opening game fodder. Should help ND break in a number of new offensive players. 
This game should be fun.  On the downside, the Irish have been flat against opening day cupcakes before.

Michigan (8-5) Year 3 for Hoke, who has done well. The Skunkbears have recruited well. Gardner is an intriguing QB. Night game at Michigan. Toughest game on slate? It is also the last game in Ann Arbor concerning the contract between two stored programs.  Look to Michigan for an all out assault.

Purdue (6-7) New coach. Could be a letdown game like last year.  Although Tommy Rees had to win this game last year for the Irish, Purdue is an embarressment to the Big Whatever.

MSU (7-6) Lost a lot of talent. Also losing a bit of luster with Michigan’s reemergence. Mediocre QB play last year lead to many close losses. Tough team, could be tough game but ND is the better team.  Mark Dantonio has more tricks up his sleeve than Doc Holiday, you never know.

Oklahoma (10-3) Victim of high expectations. Ten wins but program seems a bit stale. Mediocre recruiting class this year. New QB, which is never good, Stoops probably will be looking for payback. Will the Sooners come back roaring on all cylinders or pucker up and take a beating like last year?  Glad this game is at home.

Arizona State (8-5) Pitt. circa 2013? Decent team, decent coach, Irish letdown and it could be a close game.  The game will be fun.

USC (7-6) Lane Nero fiddles as USC burns. Maybe, the biggest wildcard in college FB. Rebirth or firing the coach? Lot of physical talent; mentally, mush. Another team with an inexperienced QB.  Glad this game is at home.  Did I just say that above?

Air Force (6-7) Should be a W.  We need to limit our schedule to one academy team.  After 2014 and the ACC five game rule we probably wil.

Navy (8-5) Should be a W.  I sure hope so.

Pitt (6-7) Irish should be ready for the Panthers this time. Another W.  Man, what a game last year, this is a trap.

BYU (8-5) Tough team but very winnable game. Ho Hum.

Stanford (12-2) Toughest game on schedule? A true aspirational peer: Stanford on a nice run lately. Will ND need a signature win to cement its post season placement?  In tree hugger country, could be tough.

Much different than last year at this time. Hard to see any definite losses, like Okla. and USC last year. No one really knows but looks like a lot of wins.

Three walkovers: Temple, AF, Navy.

Irish should beat Pitt., ASU, and Purdue comfortably if their heads are screwed on straight.

MSU and BYU will probably show up to play but can’t match ND’s talent.

Not sure what to make of Okla. and USC. Talent is there but something is missing.

Toughest games at Michigan and Stanford.

In sum, Irish look BCS bound. Double digit wins seem quite reasonable.

Yes, 9-3 would be disappointing.

I have to agree, Michigan and Stanford (both away) appear to be problems.  There is always the bite you in the butt game/team that plays over its' head to contend with as well.

EDITORS NOTE:  If Korzo78 or any of his buddies read this post, please contact us to give credit and by-line.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The ND Football Class of 2017

 Well the fax machine in the Notre Dame Athletic Department got quite a workout last Wednesday.  24 new lads, you can read all about it just about in any sports media.  We won’t plagiarize here.  The Irish ended up being rated/ranked number 3, if you believe in rankings and ratings concerning 18 year old recruited kids.
So what does all this mean for the Irish?  Are there any loose ends?  What pieces of the puzzle for another championship run this year or maybe next year need to be placed on the board and interlocked?

First here are a couple of pieces that may have been missed.  Notre Dame has a freshman punter and kicker to add to the class of 2017 in preferred walk-ons Andrew Antognoli (punter) and John Chereson (place kicker).  Hopefully these pieces will turn into future athletic scholarships down the road for Andrew and John.  Both punter Ben Turk and kicker Nick Tausch on scholarship turned out just so-so.
It would appear that the Irish have enough athletes to field a true punt return and kickoff return squad and no more talk about lack of talent and afraid to put the defensive starters out there to block and tackle in the open fearing injury.

Some pieces that have to fall into place:
An answer is needed from the NCAA on Jamoris Slaughter (S) and his appeal for a final year of playing eligibility.  My god, the man will have a doctorate by the time he leaves Notre Dame if approved.  Jamoris has been designated one of eight Irish invited to the NFL Combine so the sting of final rejection may not be so bad.

The kicking walk-ons pretty much answer the question on whether Nick Tausch will return for a fifth year.  If he has a goal in kicking for the NFL, maybe a lower division school where he can play immediately would be the solution for him.
Tight end and inside linebacker are lacking in experience and questionable depth.  However, that’s what coaches get paid for. 

Apparently there are enough slots left to offer both Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox fifth year scholarships.  After all, they applied and add some great experience in the middle of the defensive backfield.  Hope that happens.
Here is the bad piece of the puzzle that can’t seem to fit.  Everett Golson, Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Gunner Kiel, Malik Zaire.  You cannot carry five quarterbacks on scholarship.  The logical odd man out is Hendrix.  The problem is practice repetitions to prepare and action on the field.    Expect Hendrix to transfer after spring practice and when school lets out in May.  Everett is the guy to beat out.  Tommy is the preferred short term backup, Gunner is the competition and the quarterback to have ready and Malik will be wearing a redshirt.

We here at the Station are excited about the Irish and are looking forward to the vanilla Blue-Gold game to get some depth chart questions answered or at least give us something to write about.
P.S.  The entire coaching staff is in place for at least another year and that is a good thing.