Sunday, September 9, 2012

Would You Like Syrup With That Pancake?

This was definitely a good weekend to be an Irish fan, that's for sure. Flipping back and forth watching both the US Army and Under Armor High School All-American games became quite a treat as the Irish verbal commitments stood out. All of them had some shining moments, but here are a few that made the Weisgipp's weekend highlight reel:

1.) John Goodman became a main weapon in the East's arsenal in the US Army Game with his arm and legs. During the week, the East's coaches implemented trick plays to surprise the West. Trying to find out who had a decent arm, besides their Quarterbacks, Goodman let it be known that he too played QB this season for Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger. In the first quarter, Terrelle Pryor threw to Goodman on a quick out, then Goodman looked back and tossed a perfect throw to a wide open Pryor, who then let the ball slip through his hands.

Pryor redeemed himself by tossing a 25 yard touchdown pass to a wide open Goodman.

2.) The West team was full of playmakers, but the one that made the biggest plays in the game was St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall receiver Michael Floyd. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder had four receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Throughout the week in San Antonio, everyone knew who the best receiver was, and on gameday, Floyd didn't disappoint. He made it look easy out there by getting separation from the East defenders, including one touchdown catch against an impressive Robert Blanton.

3.) Hello Newman! All week long Brandon Newman proved to everyone his inclusion to the US Army High School All-American game. His dominance over others in practice was evident as several commentators mentioned his efforts during Saturday's telecast.

4.) Although there were only two players (three if you count decommit Omar Hunter) of significance at the Under Armor All-American game; both made huge impressions on both the Irish faithful and the national media. The first being receiver Deion Walker's verbal commitment. Walker chose the Irish over Penn State, USC, and Texas Tech. Good thing that happened, because earlier in the day Gerelle Robinson decided to stay home at Arizona State.

5.) Last but not least, Penn's Braxston Cave showed why he is the best center in the country. Cave had good practices all week leading up to Saturday's contest, but what happened during the game, no one saw coming! Cave not only pancaked Irish decommit Omar Hunter once, but he did it again a second time for good measure. All week long everyone touted Hunter's performance as a man amongst boys. Hunter did play well on Saturday, however, his flops against Cave made what is a bittersweet ending to this whole decommitment saga. Ahhhhh, justice is served!

Insane in the Membrane

Puff, puff, give! Puff, puff, give! Don't mess up the rotation.

Hawaiian Punch...Fighting Irish Style

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hard Lessons Learned: ND Regroups after Tough Loss to Buckeyes

If there was any doubt, Luke Harangody erased them in the first few minutes of last Saturday's game. He put forth an incredible effort in the five point loss, and he still wasn't at full strength.

In fact he wasn't around 80-85% healthy. During timeouts and stop in play he was really working hard to catch his breathe. Laphonso Ellis had pneumonia three times, and talked about it on the radio broadcast. Your stamina is basically shot, and what Luke did against the Buckeyes, 25 points and 16 rebounds, was amazing. Right now, no one can stop this guy, which bodes well for the Irish.

The rest of the team, however, did not play very well at all. Nobody was happy of the way they played, and it was not at all near the way I think they could play. And yet with 28 seconds left in the game it was still a one point contest after being down by as many as 10.

Ohio State, not ranked at the time, is a very talented team with a couple of young McDonald's All-Americans. They just beat a ranked Miami squad on the road and played with nothing to lose. That was abundantly apparent from their tenacious defense.

The Buckeyes 1-2-2 zone was so active that I wasn't sure if they were in zone or man defense. That's how effective it was against the Irish. OSU's players are long, quick, and played together as a team. They also effectively took Kyle McAlarney out of the game, as none of the other Notre Dame players stepped up. Ohio State deserved to win this game.

But if you could trade this learning lesson for an important Big East conference game in January or February, I'll take it. It's better to get these tough goings out of the way now so they can be prepared in the next months ahead.

What Saturday's game came down to was physical and mental toughness. The Irish weren't tough enough on the boards on either end of the court. They have to be more physical, tougher at getting rebounds off the glass, and getting to loose balls. That's probably the biggest thing that came out of this game. And it's something Coach Brey said after the game to his team.

If they don't show up tough rebounding and executing better on offense, then they're just an average team. They need to do those two things to be a good team now and later down the line.

Even though he had a rough go at the beginning of the game, Tory Jackson remains the heart of this team. He's the one that makes them go by being a leader and becoming more vocal on the court. He personally had the last 11 of the Irish's 12 points. Jackson was the one that brought them back to within one by connecting on several 3-pt. buckets.

Tory has to be on his game and has to be confident. This was the first time I'm seen him make two, back-to-back mistakes since his first game he played after McAlarney was suspended two seasons ago. I've never seen him go into a funk like he did on Saturday. And that has to be a learning experience for him too. He has to be the leader on the floor, as well as, through his actions. He emotionally charges them up with his play. He's done it well to this point, and I know he'll do it again. I'm pretty sure he's already addressed it since.

I'm definitely not pinning this loss on Tory, because his numbers were that bad: 13 points, 5 assists, a couple of steals, and 3 turnovers (2 in a span of 30 seconds that changed the momentum of the game).

Notre Dame has to realize that they are no longer under the radar by any means. They have made a living out of exceeding expectations. Well when you're a Top 10 team, and when those expectations are awfully high, you don't sneak up on anyone. Ohio State was ready and played their game to perfection. They're going to be one of the top teams in the Big 10, especially if they can keep that pressure zone and play that 1-2-2 zone defense to perfection.

I'm glad Notre Dame got to play at Lucas Oil Stadium and get that big time atmosphere out of the way. First of all it is a massive building. The ceiling is so high that it is one of the biggest buildings that I've ever been in . That fact that is is not round, but rectangular makes it even bigger. Because the Midwest Regional is there, as well as, other Regionals being played in these big facilities, I'm glad the Irish got this one under their belts.

Now the Irish can regroup and get the kinks out the next few games before they face DePaul in Chicago on New Year's Eve.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Notre Dame at Southern Cal: Tale of the Tape

The fifth-ranked USC Trojans and Notre Dame Fighting Irish hook up for the 80th time on the gridiron this weekend, as they clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

With a 9-1 overall mark and a lofting ranking, the Trojans are very much alive for the national title race, although they are going to need some help down the stretch. Since losing its only game to Oregon State in late September, the Trojans have ripped off seven straight victories, posting three shutouts during that stretch. The program was last in play on November 15th, when it defeated Stanford 45-23 on the road.

"I was happy we got the win tonight," stated head coach Pete Carroll. "I was really happy to win this game."

The victory exacted some measure of revenge for when Stanford pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever with a 24-23 victory at USC last season. The Trojans now head back home, where they have won 27 straight night games and are 26-0 in November under Carroll.

As for Notre Dame, it has fallen apart down the stretch and it may have hit rock bottom last weekend with a shocking 24-23 setback at home to lowly Syracuse. It was the third loss in the past four outings by the Irish, which dipped to 6-5 overall. The team hasn't had much success on the road either, boasting just a 1-3 mark on the year.

ND and USC are meeting for the 80th time this weekend in one of the premier intersectional rivalries in college football. The Irish lead the head-to-head series, 42-32-5, but the Trojans have won the last six meetings. Last season, USC blanked ND, 38-0, delivering the program its most decisive win ever in the series.

The Irish has been up and down on offense all season long and enter the weekend averaging a modest 24.5 ppg and 367.9 total ypg. The unit has had more success through the air (248.7 ypg) than on the ground (119.2 ypg), but has had some issues hanging onto the ball, committing 25 turnovers.

Despite avoiding any turnovers last weekend, ND wasn't able to defeat Syracuse behind its 332 yards of total offense. Jimmy Clausen guided the team in the loss by throwing for 291 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-39 tosses. Like the rest of the offense, though, Clausen has struggled with consistency this season and has thrown for 2,730 yards and 20 scores, but with 15 interceptions as well. With Michael Floyd out for the season with a knee injury, Golden Tate is now the team's top option in the passing game and he showed off his skills by making seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns last weekend. It was a great effort from Tate, who paces the squad with 50 catches for 888 yards and seven scores on the year. Armando Allen is the team's top runner with 569 yards and he also ranks third on the team with 45 catches out of the backfield.

ND has been pretty solid on defense this season and is holding its opponents to 20.8 ppg and 316.5 total ypg. The Irish is limiting foes to 139.7 rushing ypg and 176.7 passing ypg, while generating 20 turnovers.

Last weekend, ND's defense was stout until the fourth quarter, when it allowed Syracuse to score a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winner with 42 seconds left. Both scores came on drives of 68 yards, as Syracuse posted a majority of its 317 total yards in the final period. ND came up with a pair of sacks and two turnovers, but the defense couldn't make the big play when it needed to most. Kyle McCarthy finished the contest with six tackles, giving him 96 on the year and that is good enough for the team-lead.

The Trojans have excelled on both sides of the ball this season and on offense they are scoring 38.4 ppg and gaining 451.0 total ypg. The offense has displayed good balance between the run (208.8 ypg) and pass (242.2 ypg) and is converting 45 percent of the time on third down.

In its last game, USC racked up 418 total yards, including 282 on the ground, in a victory over Stanford. Stafon Johnson led the charge with 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 14 carries, while C.J. Gable went for 85 yards and a score on the same amount of attempts. The duo have been a nice complement to one another and have combined for 1,143 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Mark Sanchez also got involved in the win over Stanford, throwing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-17 tosses. It was a modest performance by Sanchez, who has flourished this season, converting 64.8 percent of his pass attempts for 2,258 yards, with 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Damian Williams has been one of the top targets in the passing game with 38 catches for 553 yards, while Patrick Tuner has posted 503 yards and a team-best eight scores. Against Stanford, Williams led the team with four catches, including one for a touchdown.

While USC's offense has certainly been prolific, it takes a back seat to the defense, which leads the nation in scoring (8.3 ppg) and ranks second in total yards (225.5 ypg). The Trojans lead the nation in pass defense, allowing just 132.3 ypg, and they have been every bit as good against the run, yielding a mere 90.2 ypg.

Last game however, USC wasn't as dominant as expected, allowing Stanford to gain 367 total yards, including 202 on the ground. The Trojans, though, made some adjustments at the half and allowed just six points after the break in the 45-23 triumph.

"Defensively, the guys came through and just stopped them series after series after series and it wasn't like that early on," stated Carroll.

Rey Maualuga led the way with nine tackles, while Brian Cushing had six stops and his first pick of the season. On the year, Maualuga tops the roster with 66 tackles and Cushing ranks second to him with 60 stops.

The Trojans are the clear choice here, as their offense and defense are far superior and they should have a relatively easy time blowing this one open early.

Southern Cal 41
Notre Dame 10

Southern Cal Injury Report
RB Broderick Green (11/10, personal) has decided to transfer
DB Kevin Ellison (10/31, right knee surgery) is expected to miss 2-4 weeks
LB Luthur Brown (11/23, separated shoulder) is questionable
RB Allen Bradford (10/17, hip surgery) will miss the remainder of the season DB Shareece Wright (9/23, fractured vertebrae) is out indefinitely
OL Michael Reardon (8/14, right hip) is out indefinitely

Notre Dame Injury Report
DB Terrail Lambert (11/23, sprained ankle) is questionable
WR Michael Floyd (11/17, knee) to miss the remainder of the regular season
OL Chris Stewart (11/23, leg) is questionable
FB Luke Schmidt (10/1, headaches) is out indefinitely
TE Will Yeatman (10/1, disciplinary/legal) will miss the remainder of the season DB Jashaad Gaines (9/12, personal) is out indefinitely
TE Mike Ragone (8/23, left knee surgery) will miss the entire season

Team Leaders
Receptions: Williams (38), ND Tate (50)
Rec. Yards: Williams (553), ND Tate (888)
Rushing Atts: S. Johnson (102), ND Allen (127)
Rushing Yds: Gable (574), ND Allen (569)
Pass Atts: Sanchez (267), ND Clausen (392)
Pass Comp: Sanchez (173), ND Clausen (235)
Pass Yards: (2,258), ND Clausen (2,730)
Comp %: Mustain (69.2), ND Clausen (59.9)
TD passes: Sanchez (26), ND Clausen (20)
INTs: Sanchez (7), ND Clausen (15)

Kiper Says Meyer Should Leave Florida for Notre Dame

Here's a snippet of Mel Kiper's chat today on

Do you think Weis desewrves to stick around for one more yr.? He seems to come closer every yr. I understand the prestige of ND. I have been a fan all my life. But to get rid of him do you already have to have another BIG name in the works?

Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)

I think the decision's been made. I think Charlie defined the Notre Dame job when he took the reins when he said 6-5 is not good enough. To be 6-5 on the cusp of 6-6 with a loss to Stanford. I think he'll go back to the NFL and do a good job there. The beginning of the tenure was good the end was not. They couldn't build a defense. What surprised me was Urban Meyer being proactive and saying no to Notre Dame. If I were him, I'd leave to go to Notre Dame. How many times do you have four full years of a player as good as Tim Tebow, arguably the greatest college football player of all time. You could never duplicate the success you've had with Tim Tebow. Add in Percy Harvin and the great defense. Am I ever going to find another Tim Tebow? Maybe, but I'm not counting on it. National recruiting at Notre Dame. They're down right now and there's no where to go but up. I would jump at the opportunity to go from Florida to Notre Dame. So, that was surprising to me. It opens up opportunities for Brian Kelly, Pat Fitzgerald, Chip Kelly, Jim Harbaugh. Also, Jim Harbaugh, he's beaten USC, who Notre Dame plays every year. Recruiting with the high academic standards, recruiting nationally. Pat Fitzgerald same thing. And he has the Northwestern background like Parsigian did.

Pete (Chicago)

Is Jimmy C and Golden Tate gone for sure now?

Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)

I think they were before. I said that a month ago when we were doing the chat. Jimmy Clausen will be a top 10 pick in the draft. That OL is a question mark. It was a disappointing line this year, especially the LT position. I don't know if it will be any better next year. Golden Tate is not a first round pick in my mind. He's a 2-3 round pick. If he comes out, he has to be OK with that. And I don't think that changes next year.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pep Talk

Just like the Irish, Peyton Manning's season didn't turn out the way he liked it to be. So with that said Mr. Manning has given us a cheerful pep talk. Click on the title and enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Buzz Around Team Camps 12/11/08

Here's the latest Buzz Around Team Camps for this Thursday, December 12th:

San Diego St. via
Former Texas A&M head football coach Dennis Franchione interviewed as an apparent finalist yesterday for the vacant coach's job at San Diego State. Franchione was in San Diego with his wife, Kim, and received the VIP treatment while he was in town. Both were at dinner yesterday evening with SDSU Athletic Director Jeff Schemmel.

Franchione, 57, has a reputation as a program builder after helping breathe life into troubled programs at New Mexico (1992-97) and TCU (1998-2000). TCU was 1-10 in 1997 before he took over and went 25-10 over the next three years, including 10-1 in 2000, when TCU was led by current Chargers star LaDainian Tomlinson.

“He was good for me and good for the TCU program,” Tomlinson said. “We won a whole bunch of games. We went to three straight bowl games. If San Diego State decides to hire him, I think they'll be pretty pleased with the coach they're going to get.”

Asked if he had talked to Franchione, Tomlinson said, “I'd rather not say.”

No contact for Edwards

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, who played at SDSU, said he had not been contacted by his alma mater. Asked if he was interested in the job, he said, “I'll say it again for the hundredth time: We gotta play the Chargers this week and that's all that's on my mind right now.”

Michigan via
Tailback Sam McGuffie's status remains unknown as he deals with several family- and health-related issues.

"He's still looking at what he needs to do," Rodriguez said. "But we have several concerns - Sam has concerns with home and we have concerns because he's had multiple concussions.

"But until we talk to him and see all of his options, we'll keep discussing everything."

Rodriguez wasn't overly specific on the topic of if his coaching staff will remain the same. When asked if the fact he has completed evaluations of his assistants means everyone will return, Rodriguez replied, "It means I'm evaluating everything."

Stanford via
The Pacific-10 Conference announced its year-end awards and all-conference teams today and senior offensive lineman Ben Muth has been named to the conference's first team offensive squad.

Muth started all 12 games at left tackle and helped pave the way for the second-most productive rushing attack in school history. Stanford's 2,395 yards gained on the ground this season ranked second only to the 1949 squad that rushed for a school-record 2,481 yards. Muth is the first Stanford offensive lineman to first team all-conference honors since Kwame Harris in 2002.

Running back Toby Gerhart, center Alex Fletcher and special teams standout Wopamo Osaisai earned second team all-conference marks.

Six Stanford players earned honorable mention selections, including defensive ends Tom Keiser and Erik Lorig, fullback Owen Marecic, offensive tackle Chris Marinelli, linebacker Pat Maynor and place kicker Aaron Zagory.

North Carolina via
North Carolina's football players are taking final exams this week, but they're not the only ones at the school who may have to solve a potential math problem.

The Tar Heels will lose 12 scholarship seniors after they complete the 2008 season vs. West Virginia at the Meineke Bowl on Dec. 27. But coach Butch Davis and his staff have already secured 24 verbal commitments for next season -- and they're still recruiting.

Football Bowl Subdivision teams are allowed a maximum of 85 scholarship players on the roster and can sign a limit of 25 athletes each year. So how does the equation work?

"It may seem like a large number of extra players right now, but it's hard to judge ... because at the end of the season, guys might leave, some of [the recruits] might not qualify; it's just a fact of football," said Allen Wallace, editor of SuperPrep magazine. "... It's incredibly complicated, managing a football team in that regard. You have to weigh a lot of different factors -- injuries, transfers, borderline academic problems."

Washington via
There aren't expected to be any official announcements on new coaches until early next week, according to what Steve Sarkisian has said several times in recent days.

However, sources have indicated tonight that there may be a few done deals. Specifically, current Idaho assistant Johnny Nansen is reported to have been hired as the new defensive line coach, Demetrice Martin as the secondary coach and Charlie Camp as the linebackers coach.

I'm hearing conflicting things on the defensive coordinator job with both Rocky Seto and Ron English said to be involved. Official word out of USC on Seto is that nothing has happened with him and UW and he is currently on a recruiting trip for the Trojans. A Louisville source also said there didn't appear to be anything imminent with English.

I was also told tonight that Ivan Lewis will be the new strength coach and that current USC graduate assistant Yogi Roth has been interviewed for the QB job but that nothing official has happened on that.

Also, heard one new name on the offensive side of the ball --- Al Dorsey, who is currently an administrative assistant at USC. Word is he could be a candidate to become the O-line coach.

Pittsburgh via
Pitt linebacker Scott Mc-Killop yesterday was named the Big East Conference defensive player of the year and West Virginia quarterback Patrick White -- its offensive player of the year the previous two seasons -- highlighted an array of Panthers and Mountaineers on the all-conference first and second teams, league officials announced.

Pitt placed five players on the first teams, including unanimous selections McKillop of Kiski Area High School, running back LeSean McCoy, guard C.J. Davis of West Allegheny, tight end Nate Byham of Franklin and place-kicker Conor Lee of Upper St. Clair, who beat out his friend West Virginia's Pat McAfee of Plum, relegated to the second team. McKillop is the second Pitt player in three years to win the top defensive honor, with linebacker H.B. Blades winning in 2006.

Navy via
Navy senior fullback Eric Kettani (Kirtland, Ohio) has been selected to the 2009 East-West Shrine All-Star Game, which will be played Saturday, January 17 at the University of Houston. Game time is 3 p.m. (4 p.m. in Annapolis).

Kettani is the 22nd player in school history to be selected for the game, including the sixth in the last seven years. Fullback Adam Ballard played in the contest last year.

Kettani, who is the ninth leading rusher in school history, has rushed for 2,041 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. His career average of 5.4 yards per carry is the sixth-best rushing average in school history. He enters next Saturday's EagleBank Bowl just 68 yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing for the season. If he can eclipse that mark, Kettani will join Shun White as the first backfield in school history and second in Service Academy history to have two running backs over 1,000 yards in the same season.

Syracuse via
East Carolina University plans to put out a statement later this afternoon regarding the future plans of head coach Skip Holtz, who interviewed for the head coach vacancy at Syracuse. Holtz spent an extra day in New York City on Tuesday talking with Syracuse athletics director Daryl Gross about the Orange job.

An ECU official said today Holtz is still scheduled to fly from New York to Memphis this morning where he will participate in a press conference for the Liberty Bowl, where East Carolina will play Kentucky next month. East Carolina director of athletics Terry Holland returned to Greenville Wednesday and is scheduled to travel with a contingent from East Carolina to Memphis today.

The Daily Reflector of Greenville, N.C., posted a story this morning that mentions two local television stations reporting that Holtz has turned down the Syracuse job. One of the TV stations is WITN, which had a brief statement posted on its web site.

Meanwhile, University of Buffalo head coach Turner Gill is expected to attend a press conference today in Toronto to promote his team's appearance in the Independence Bowl. A school spokesman said this morning that Gill will be in Toronto for the 1:30 press conference.

Southern Cal via
Pete Carroll met with receivers coach John Morton on Sunday to discuss the possibility of becoming offensive coordinator. After the Trojans' victory over UCLA on Saturday, Carroll said Morton was the front-runner to replace Steve Sarkisian, who is Washington's new head coach but will also remain with the Trojans through the Rose Bowl.

Morton, 39, worked for the Oakland Raiders from 1997 to 2004, coached at the University of San Diego in 2005 and worked on the New Orleans Saints' staff in 2006. He has been receivers coach at USC for two seasons.

"I've earned my stripes," Morton said, citing his experiences with head coaches Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Jim Harbaugh, Sean Payton and Carroll.

Quick Kicks
Carroll said he encouraged all draft-eligible players, including quarterback Mark Sanchez, to fill out paperwork that would allow them to receive a projected draft evaluation from the NFL . . . The Trojans are off this week for finals but are tentatively scheduled to practice Friday and Saturday.

Hawaii via
Coach Greg McMackin said the coaching staff has started studying Notre Dame game tapes and the Warriors will get back on the field on Monday to prepare for their Christmas Eve game.

The Warriors' return to their morning practices next week coincides with final exams on the Manoa campus.

"A couple of guys have said they have things they have to do, so we'll be flexible with that," McMackin said. "Academics will come first."