– Sgt Shamrock
The end of the regular season is upon us and for the third time in the last four years, we are here singing the 8-4 blues yet again after the Irish lost to Stanford 27-20 on Saturday night. The Irish had two chances in the fourth quarter to score a touchdown to tie the game, however Tommy Rees threw two interceptions that were just flat out awful throws to begin with and the Irish were unable to score. The Irish offense was unable to amass over 300 yards against the tough Stanford defense. The running game had their worst showing of the season, rushing for only 64 yards with 50 of those coming from Tarean Folston. Folston led the team with 14 carries and it appears that the Irish coaching staff knows that he is the future at running back (along with Greg Bryant next year) and are getting him as many reps as possible.
For as bad as the offense looked last night, the defense didn’t look all that great either. The Irish defense allowed 419 total yards and over 250 yards on the ground. Tyler Gaffney led the Cardinal with 189 yards and at times looked like a man among boys, dragging Irish defenders as he gained extra yardage. While the secondary was able to pick off Kevin Hogan twice, they also seemed to have forgotten how to tackle, which has seemingly been a talking point for most of the season. Mathias Fairley, who made what I thought was one of the worst tackling attempts I have ever seen last week, outdid himself this week. Fairley actually looked to just sit down on the field as Stanford waltzed into the endzone. With Shumate and Hardy left home for missing a team meeting, many of us thought we would finally see Max Redfield get some much needed playing time at safety. That was not the case however as I am not even sure he saw the field for one play.
There were a lot of moments last night that frustrated me, but Redfield not getting ANY playing time is what really had me going. I see absolutely no sensible reason as to why he is not on the field. The safety position has been a major weak point for the Irish defense this year. Both Collinsworth and Fairley have played awful this year, missing key tackles and getting beat in coverage. You cant tell me with a straight face that Max Redfield would play any worse than Collinsworth and Fairley have played this season. With as highly recruited as Redfield was and as athletic as he is, he would AT LEAST play at the same level as Collinsworth and Fairley and most likely play better. Getting young players key reps is key to building a program and Brian Kelly has shown he is not afraid to do it, but in my opinion not playing Redfield is a huge mistake. Maybe Kelly will see the light and get him some reps in the bowl game but I am not holding my breath.
While 8-4 is not anywhere near where Brian Kelly, the players, or the fans want this program to be, there was a lot going against the Irish this season. Even before the season began, multiple experts talked about how if Brian Kelly could win 8 games this year with this team and this schedule, that he should be up for coach of the year. While Brian Kelly is not in the coach of the year discussion, and he should not be, this season could have been much worse. Multiple key injuries and the loss of Everett Golson did not make things easy on the Irish who after having everything go their way last season, had the opposite happen this year. Even with all of the negative that happened, the Irish were still able to defeat three top 25 teams this year. Without those wins what has been a disappointing season could have easily been a disaster of a season. There is a lot to be excited about for next year and beyond. We were able to see a lot of freshman play this season, and showed a glimpse into the future. Tarean Folston, Will Fuller, Corey Robinson, and James Onuwalu all played a lot of valuable minutes this season that will pay dividends next year and beyond. Golson should be back on campus in a couple weeks and he will be able to get some valuable practice reps with the younger players. The young defensive players Jaylon Smith, Cole Luke, and Devin Butler all played well and provide some hope for the future of the defense.
Notre Dame will play in a bowl game this year, although we don’t know where or against who just yet. It is safe to say however that the team the Irish will face will to be very good. We will know for sure who and where the Irish will play sometime between now and next Saturday but I think its safe to assume it wont be a matchup that will excite many. Hopefully the staff uses the opportunity to get some young players like Redfield some more playing time to help prepare for the future.
More Poll Madness
Notre Dame drops out of the top 25 as expected. Michigan State is up to 11 with their only loss to Notre Dame. What makes no sense to me is how Michigan State is below Stanford and South Carolina, who both have two losses. Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the nation and Stanford has lost to two unranked teams.
We all know that SEC bias exists but this is getting ridiculous. LSU being in the top 15 is an absolute joke. They have three losses and almost lost to Arkansas this weekend. The pollsters placed this over rated LSU team ahead of 10-1 UCF and undefeated Northern Illinois. LSU is a boarder line top 25 team at best and have no business being in the top 15.
Talking about SEC bias, the fact that Texas A&M and Georgia, who both have FOUR LOSSES, are in the top 25 is just insane. Its not like either of these teams beat a top 10 all season either, because they have not. Just insane
Florida State and Ohio State are the new number 1 and 2 teams in the country. If they both win next week we will finally have a National Championship game with no SEC teams in it. Its about time.
1. Jameis Winston (barring legal issues)
2. Jordan Lynch
3. Andre Williams