What Would Make You Feel Better About ND?
What has to happen in the Hawaii Bowl to make you feel better about Notre Dame's 2008 season and more optimistic heading into '09? That's the question I've been pondering lately. Barring some unforeseen space crunch, which have become all-to frequent in the newspaper business of late, my analysis on that topic will appear in Tuesday's editions.
I could've rattled off a dozen or so points but limited myself to three for brevity's sake.
1) Clausen needs to play better. I've discussed what I think of him at length in past blog entries. Suffice to say, after 21 starts, it's time for him to start answering some questions.
2) The Irish need to play with more emotion and passion. Most of all, they need to be more physical. I found myself writing that this may be the softest Notre Dame team in recent memory. I ended up editing the line out of the piece but suspect it's true. With the exception of overmatched Navy, name the last team they clearly out-hit? I know there are a lot of young players on this team, but even puppies bite ...
3) Coach Charlie Weis needs to start restoring confidence in his regime. The best way to do that is with a crisp, clean, efficient performance. Or maybe he'll come up with a "schematic advantage." I'm not using that term to be a wise guy (this time). One of his best coaching jobs came against North Carolina. Weis noticed that Butch Davis' team had never been in a dime (six defensive backs) package. So, he started the game with five receivers, basically forcing the defense to adjust. North Carolina was back on its (Tar) heels as Davis scrambled to come up with a defensive package to counter Weis' five-receiver set. We all know what happened. North Carolina rallied to win the game. Still, it was a nice bit of strategy by Weis. It would be nice to see something similar against Hawaii.
Obviously, I could go on and on with things I'd like to see that would make me feel better about where Notre Dame has been and where it is headed. Those are the major points, though. If the Irish come out and play physically and with passion, if Clausen plays well and if everybody comes out feeling better about the competency of the coaching staff the trip to Hawaii will be a success.
What would make you feel better about the Irish heading into the offseason. Post your comments and I'll publish them on this blog throughout the day and week.
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