Friday, October 08, 2010

Irish Blogger Gathering: Teaching the Wannestache a Thing or Two...

Irish Round Table is hosting this week's Irish Blogger Gathering, and he's making me into a fortune-telling teacher this week.

1)Grade Brian Kelly's performance to date. We're not interested in how you think he will perform going forward. How has he done through the first five games? Grade scale is A+ to F-.

I'd give Coach Kelly a B-. He's clearly upgraded the fundamentals of this team, especially on defense. It's a sound football team that is capable of competing with anybody except for the elite teams in the country.

Of course, we still have a losing record. And what really matters is winning and losing on Saturday. We turn the ball over too often, which is one of the few fundamentals that we are not sound in. Clearly, we've practiced form tackling and tip drill on defense, and we are blocking better overall and running better routes. But we need to work on ball security.

2)Much has been made of Brian Kelly's sideline rants. Some fans like the excitement and energy others are worried that they are excessive and will wear thin on the players. Where do you stand?

He's a football coach. He's been a football coach for 20 years. He knows when to teach, he knows when to coddle, and he knows when to dress somebody down. Now, would his approach work in a boardroom? No. But this isn't a boardroom, it's a football field. And these kids are going from moment to moment in a high stakes, high adrenaline, high emotion fast-paced high pressure environment. Taking 10 minutes to calmly critique the mechanics of a kick or a catch is not really an option on gameday. Telling a kid that if he doesn't get his act together, there are three kids sitting on the bench waiting to take his spot is often appropriate.

I don't believe for one second that Kelly will lose his team by yelling at them. He's a fiery guy in the heat of battle, and he wants his team to have that same mentality. You're also going to see him get just as animated when a player makes a great play, and he'll be effusive in his praise at those times as well.

3)What is the best storyline for Notre Dame football this year? The best storyline in college football?

Notre Dame: David Ruffer becoming a clutch kicker. I can't remember the last time I didn't have to hold my breath on every single field goal attempt. Plus, you add in the Rudy-esque background story, making the team after kicking for the Siegfried Hall inter-hall team, and this is my favorite story-line this season.

College Football: I'm not really sold on any of the storylines developing this year in college football. Right now, I think that Oregon's juggernaught of an offense may be the best thing going.

4)We are going to test your prognostication skills with a little IBG prediction contest. Predict the following for this week's Pitt game:

Kyle Rudolf receptions: 6
Points scored by Notre Dame's defense: 0
Carries by Robert Hughes: 3
Points Notre Dame wins by: 9
Tackles Manti T'eo registers: 12
Pass attempts by Tommy Rees: 0
Taylor Swift in Attendance(for 2 points at 5:1 odds; a correct "Yes" equals 10 points a correct "No" equals two): Yes (of course I'm gonna go for the 10 spot here)

Winner will receive a prominent post on the Irish Round Table extolling their website and awesomeness.

5)What would you like to see in place of the yellow mums on the Notre Dame sidelines?

Why would I ever want to change the yellow mums? They are as much a part of this stadium as anything. Maybe we could add in some blue flowers for the blue/gold combo. But really, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.