Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 47 JANUARY 2021 5 FAN FORUM PASS OR FAIL After Clemson II, Brian Kelly was quoted as saying, "We didn't feel like our receivers were having a hard time getting open." If that's true, and many observers agree, then why did Ian Book spend so much time dancing around in the back- field, patting the ball and looking for a way out? In fact, I can't think of another team where the QB generally spends so much time looking around, trying to find someone to throw the ball to. He played the entire game as if we were nursing a three-point lead and could not afford a turnover. Is that all a coaching problem, a talent problem, a problem with play selection, or all of the above? As to play selection, if Notre Dame is going to run a spread offense, then why don't they use the entire offense? Where were any RPO's, which permit the quar- terback to make immediate decisions whether to hand the ball off or make quick throws? That would seem to be something Book could do quite well. Where were any screens, sending the running backs out in wheel routes, us- ing hot receivers, crossing routes and deep patterns? Where were our speed receivers and backs, including the fresh- men? Chris Tyree got exactly one carry, which went for a 21-yard TD. Clemson has an excellent defense, but I think a lot of Notre Dame's offensive problems were the result of coaching decisions. Don't get me wrong, I think Brian Kelly is an excellent coach who has brought Notre Dame a long way and I want him to remain as the head coach for as long as he chooses to do so. Nobody's perfect, however, and I think they need a lot of work on their passing game from all angles. Edward J. Szewczyk '73 Belleville, Ill. For the CFP semifinal against Alabama, the Irish opened as a 17.5-point underdog that soon in- creased to 20 points. It was the biggest spread in the seven-year history of the CFP, prompting some conversation on our website. SHINE BOY: Has a ND football team ever been a 20-point underdog in the last 50 years? I don't remember it. BGI User 2232: Here's a safer bet — Notre Dame has never been 20-point underdogs when it is the 4th-ranked team in the country. I have to wonder if that would be true for any 4th-ranked team, ever. Mdainko: We were 22-point underdogs against UCLA in '07. I bet the Money Line and won $1,300 off of a $100 bet, so I remember it very well. Tommy 1380: I looked up some historical spreads, and if the database is correct it says we were 32.5 underdogs at USC in 2008, and 24-point underdogs at USC in 2004. We didn't cover in ei- ther game, losing 38-3 in 2008 and 41-10 in 2004. Twalsh: Put it this way: If there were no Ty Willingham teams that were 20-point dogs, there surely should have been. YSUbest: I don't know why it was this game, but in my head I thought, something was really differ- ent after Notre Dame lost 41-9 to Oregon State in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. That game, and what came afterwards, has lingered for years as it was so clear how much athleticism we were missing in areas on our roster and how bad is it if Oregon State is looking like FSU. (I know in hindsight Oregon State was quite talented, but come on.) FROM THE WEB JOIN THE CONVERSATION! GET A 60-DAY FREE TRIAL WITH CODE IRISH60 Our life plan community for those over the age of 62, provides residents with exceptional personalized services, a secure atmosphere and carefree luxury lifestyle – while making it possible to ease into further healthcare levels as needs change throughout retirement years.

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