Monday, August 15, 2011

Irish Blogger Gathering: The De Ja Vu Redux

Her Loyal Sons has thrown up the opening tip of the IBG season. Let's get to it.

1. Go to youtube, pick a song that a) applies to your life in some way and b) will serve as the unofficial 2011 Fighting Irish Football Anthem. Extra points if you entirely avoid any band with members born in Ireland. Disqualification for any use of Freekbass. Embed the video for that song in your answers and explain why it’s so fitting under both qualifications A and B.

After much deliberation, I'm going with: "Ali in the Jungle" - The Hours

How does it pertain to my life? This isn't a forum you visit to read tales of woe, you come here to read about ND football and wonder how Bill gets to keep his name on the site when he posts once for every lunar eclipse. Let's just say some unexpected events turned my world upside down in May and put me at rock bottom.

How quick did I get up? On the golf course it took about five days.
Off the course? Upgrades everywhere. The swagger is back.

It should be obvious how the song can serve as an anthem for the 2011 Irish. All you need to make a YouTube video to pump you up is lace in highlights from the horrendous first nine games and back them up clips from the final four. Notre Dame Football was seemingly dead in the water (again) when Tommy Rees was picked off in the endzone against Tulsa.

The team was being shredded in the media, destroyed by the majority of Irish Nation, and ridiculed by its own student body. Brian Kelly went from savior to the worst coach since Kucharich seemingly overnight. The suggestions that he was in over his head, that he was just too "small timey," were running wild.

But it's funny what a four game win streak and a loaded defensive recruiting haul can do to flip perspective. The players and coaching staff deserve all the credit in the world for staying the course and not closing down shop after the disastrous month of October. Unlike Weis' teams the previous two years, they put their noses to the grindstone and found a way to finish the season strong despite being completely ravaged by injuries.

Let's keep that momentum rolling into 2011. The giant that is Notre Dame football is isn't quite Lazarus reborn, but for Irish fans who have suffered through the Davie, Willingham, and Weis Eras it sure feels like it.

2. Now that you’ve got your unofficial anthem rocking the home office, predict the single biggest play, positive or negative for the Irish, that will occur this season in a Notre Dame football game. Color this prediction with situation, players involved, opposing team, and even weather conditions. It’s the pre-season. Let’s see what your imaginations are doing.

First, let me set the scene for you:

With 2:04 remaining in the final quarter, Dayne Crist scrambles right on a quarterback keeper and barely gets over the goal line in the north end zone to take a 31-28 lead over Southern Cal. The undefeated Trojans, led by their insufferable head coach and golden boy quarterback, burn their first three downs and gained only one yard on their final drive. With 1:32 left, they call timeout facing a 4th and 9 from their own 26 yard line.

An electric crowd fueled by countless shotgunned beers and unhealthy levels of adrenaline rises up for one last stand. The sense of de ja vu is almost too much; every last fan in the stands knows how this movie ended last time, when a Notre Dame Moment was snatched away. They dig deep and summon whatever is left of their voice and energy and unleash it toward the field as Matt Barkley comes to the line.

Manti Te'o and Harrison Smith wave their arms, egging the Irish Faithful to get even louder. It's completely deafening as Barkley gets under center, yet he looks to his left and decides to audible.

The crowd gets louder.

The ball is snapped. Robert Woods breaks down the left sideline and gets separation from Robert Blanton. Barkley sets his feet and gets ready to deliver another crushing blow to the Notre Dame Faithful.

Until Manti Te'o buries his helmet into the chest of the Southern Cal quarterback. The ball is jarred loose and floats gently into the hands of freshman Aaron Lynch. With a full head of steam Lynch makes a beeline for the endzone, angling right toward the student section. The stadium explodes with a sound that had been absent from the House That Rockne Built since 1993.

A sound signaling Notre Dame is officially back.

3. I’m a fan of the cinematic hit, “Kicking and Screaming.” I know, it’s a film you all love too. So naturally we’d all like to re-live that moment when they’re playing “Would You Rather.” So let’s do so: Would you rather suffer a humiliating loss to Michigan this year, or a humiliating loss to Southern Cal? Why? And stop eyeing that chicken across the street, perv.

Wow, talk about pick your poison. I'll have to go with Michigan and the main reason is because I plan on October 22nd being one of the greatest days of my life. That can't happen if the Irish lose, let alone get blown out.

4. Great teams require leadership, and with Notre Dame being the only truly national college football program in the country, a great Notre Dame football team requires national leaders. So pick one. Name a player on the Irish roster in 2011 who will lead the nation in a particular, official NCAA category. Also specify how much he’ll lead the nation by indicating his national rank in that category. Note: You must be predicting this leader to finish at least as high as 10th in the nation in your chosen category. Bonus Points: Don’t pick David Ruffer – the best player on the Irish Roster.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Michael Floyd finds a way to stay healthy. If that turns out to be true, he's going reel in an Irish record 19 touchdown receptions which will place him tied for first in the NCAA with someone who lines up out wide for Hawaii.

5. You’ve already done more parsing of Brian Kelly’s words than is healthy since he first took a podium in this pre-season. What’s the single most surprising thing he’s said in that time?

"We're so focused on the run game right now." - August 10

Why? Because I think the heads of half the people on ND Nation exploded.


  1. Welcome back, Mattare.

    Whatever it is that's kept you away all summer, I hope it's gotten better and/or you've found some healing. We don't really need or want to knwo what it was, but know that the ND Family is here foryou and we're happy to have you back.

    And for whatever it's worth, I enjoyed the post about playing golf with Mark May.

    Welcome back!