Sunday, November 26, 2006

No Headache Approach to the ND/ USC Game

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. What were you thinking, Charlie?

Okay, to prevent a recurring headache I have at the end of each ND season, I'm not gonna dwell too much on what I should have known was the obvious outcome of a Notre Dame/ USC tilt. As has been reported to death, USC has won the last five meetings, and only last season's game was even close. USC just has ND's number right now, and ain't much gonna change until Charlie Weis can cash in a recruiting class in the top 5.

But I would like to point out one stat that might not get that much attention with Dwayne Jarrett doing his best Keyshawn Johnson vs. Northwestern in the Rose Bowl impersonation.

Notre Dame 4th down efficiency: 2 of 6.

Of the four failed attempts, only one can be called a reasonable attempt, and that was at the very end of the game.

The others?

With 2:34 gone from the opening kick off and ND at the USC 29 yard line, Coach Weis went for it on 4th & 9 instead of attempting a 46 yard field goal. Some will say going for and making it early would have put USC on their heels, but with no score and the NCAA rule of the ball returning to the line of scrimmage on a missed FG, any early points on the road are key. Instead the defense is jacked up, the offense is hyped and, blam-o, eight plays later USC scores a TD, 7-0 USC.

Trailing 21-10 and following a John David Booty interception, Charlie Weis inexplicably goes for it on 4th & 4 at the USC 46 yard line. On the USC 46 yard line? Wouldn't a punt down inside the 15 yard line be the right play? The defense was starting to get its bearings; they were bringing more pressure and had even blocked a punt. Good ole momentum was on the defense's side, not Brady Quinn's.

On the very next Notre Dame drive, which followed another Booty interception, Charlie Weis once again eschewed the field goal points and went for it on 4th & 6 at the USC 32 yard line. At this point, and the word is apropos, points are what mattered. A FG would have made it a one score game, and USC defense wouldn't crush the ND offense's spirit with its 3rd stop on 4th down.

Add to these strange calls the Darius Walker fumble on the USC 3 yard line, and ND was a team marked by missed chances. In all Brady Quinn's completion percentage tells the tale for the offense: 49%. If he completes 3 more passes, we're talking a whole different outcome, but then again (cliche alert), that's why they play the games.

Notre Dame is starting to make me feel like Cubs fans feel when they habitually say, "Wait til next year."

Thanks a lot for that, Charlie.

(Update 11-29-06: The guys at The Blue Gray Sky -- probably the best ND football blog around -- pretty much agree with my assessment. And I was actually gonna use 3rd down conversions in my analysis too, but as we know, I'm lazy.)


Blogger DickdaStick said...

I quess the field goal kicker is pretty lame from over 35 yards out.

We need speedy DBs who can cover

Pete Carroll seems to have Charlie figured out...

I don't mind the 4th down attempts...I do mind the 4 or so dropped passes right in guys hands on key downs.

Tip your cap to Jarrett, he was the best receiver out there and was the difference.

Charlie will have "his guys" out there next year and beyond, so lets see if he can keep improving & get us up to that top tier

8:44 PM, November 26, 2006  
Blogger Jeeves said...

Bah! Being a Notre Dame fan for the day didn't help. It just made me hate USC all that much more.

1:57 AM, November 27, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

Dickie: I kinda figured that was the problem with the kicker, but 4th & 4 from the 46? I say Punt!

And the early drops sucked; I think they played a bigger roll in Quinn's rhythm being off than many have mentioned.

Like you said, dickie, here the tip o' the hat to Jarrett. He was awesome.

And Jeeves, right back at yah buddy! At least I have the small comfort knowing U of M won't be playing Jan 8th!

1:22 PM, November 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

three days later and if i dare to turn on the car radio its... TROJANS TROJANS TROJANS.... i didn't know until now that you can actually HEAR a hard on.

i SO want their asses whooped by ucla this weekend.

10:52 AM, November 28, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

The only exception to your Jarrett/Johnson comparison is that Keyshawn Johnson was (I'm reasonably confident in guessing) never considering going to Northwestern.

11:24 AM, November 28, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

So you're saying Jarrett contemplated attending ND? I didn't know that or if I heard it before I forgot it.

7:18 AM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. They (ND) had a scholarship on the table, but yanked it away, presumeably with concerns about his academic ability. Are you sure you like Notre Dame? How do I know this and you don't? Be careful or the school will cancel your Kool-Aid prescription.

12:14 PM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

SR: sounds like the Randy Moss debacle, and the Jarrett signing was more than year or two ago when recruiting stories went in one ear and out there other more often than not. Retaining knowledge is my new profession.

12:31 PM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

If you can find a way to get paid for that, plllleasssse give me a call.

2:08 AM, December 01, 2006  

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