Blue and Gold Illustrated

October 28, 2023

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM OCT. 28, 2023 5 FAN FORUM ILL PREPARED In the 75 years I have listened to or watched Notre Dame football games, never have I seen a Notre Dame team, coaches, and players so ill prepared for a football game as I did at Louisville! The Cardinals do not have better players than Notre Dame! Offensive coordinator Gerad Parker has no clue how to design or call plays. None! And to watch Marcus Freeman continu- ously rotating players in and out, in and out like Whac-A-Mole, was sickening! Had ND and Freeman hired a real of- fensive coordinator back in January like Skip Holtz (Northwestern) or Charlie Weis Jr. (Ole Miss) or the No. 1 OC in the country Andy Ludwig of Utah, who they refused to pay his large salary, ND would have a real offense! USC might put triple digits on the ND scoreboard next Saturday night if Free- man doesn't wake up! From being a con- tender for the College Football Playoff be- fore the Ohio State game and now at 5-2, ND could easily lose to USC and Clemson, making them 8-4 like 2022 with an an- nual trip to another "who cares bowl." "Navyman" Norm Beznoska Strongsville, Ohio BASIC FOOTBALL I have been a football coach for over 50 years. I served as a head coach and an assistant coach! I have been a ND fol- lower since 1947! In all the years that I coached and to all the players that I have ever spoken to with regard to football I told them: 1) the game is not a mystery and 2) in order to win you have to do two things — you block and tackle! In my humble opinion, ND performs those two basic elements of football poorly! Go Irish! Raymond Ciarleglio THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING A "debatable fourth-and-11 at- tempt?" What's debatable about it? It was a panicked and obviously faulty de- cision, far beyond the bounds of being a judgment call. I still can't believe they did it. That was like declaring the game over and admitting defeat with more than nine minutes left. Play calling was a root cause of the problem on offense. Running with tight formations, meaning all 11 of our guys in the box, directly into all 11 defensive players in the same box, makes no sense to me. Doing nothing to counteract Louisville's obvious strategy of stopping the run at all costs was inexplicable. I had some optimism before the sea- son started that Gerad Parker would rise above his complete lack of experience at play calling. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Notre Dame has been eating lots of unpleasant things since we've been playing decent teams. There has to be some shakeup and reorganization of the offensive coaching responsibilities. Edward J. Szewczyk '73 East Alton, Ill. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters, Blue & Gold Illustrated, P. O. Box 2331, Durham, NC 27702 or e-mail to: After an explosive start to the season during which Notre Dame averaged 46.0 points per game, the offense struggled against Ohio State, Duke and Louisville. The step up in competition resulted in the Irish averaging just 18.3 points per game. Irish fans had plenty to say about the offensive struggles on our message board at Here is some of that discussion. MDNDIrish: Is it the play calling … or the playbook? It seems [offensive coordinator Gerad] Parker has a playbook with about 10 plays. No middle screens, no draws, no short or mid-range crossing routes over the middle, not even a deeper drop for [Sam] Hartman. Any of those would help to combat de- fenses stacking the box and blitzing. Is he not calling those plays or does he not even have those plays in his playbook? Either way, a major failure on his part. CoachVic3: Play calling is awful! I've been saying that since Week Zero! Parker and Co. need to design a better route combination and get the ball to those freshmen! As well as figure out how to run block for [Audric] Estimé! It's ridiculous to think that he couldn't run the ball against Louisville! Really!? Vonteego: This is so right on. For the love of God throw a swing pass in the flat to [Jeremiyah] Love on a regular basis when you see a 9-man box. Hartman is smart enough to audible out of those run up the center's a** plays when he sees 5 guys trying to block 9 pre-snap. We finally threw a swing pass in the flat in the bowl game last year, and [Logan] Diggs went for an 80-yard TD. It is there repeatedly. Yes, the WRs are an issue. But [Mitchell] Evans draws attention in the middle of the field and 8 or 9 dudes are stacked against the run. Screens and passes in the flat are basically extended runs. That will stop all that stupidity straight up the middle. EGIrish: Marcus Freeman is right, it's about execution. The real question is, why aren't they executing? VegasDomer: A bit of both maybe. To me the offense just looks very vanilla. Not much imagination. If you're dominant, vanilla is fine, but just don't see much misdirection or answers to what the defense is doing to be successful. To be fair, I do think they are somewhat hampered by the lack of playmakers at WR, but I also think they've underutilized their biggest playmaker in Love. I don't think he's ready for 20 touches a game but needs to get more than the 5-7 he's been getting. FROM THE WEBSITE .com .com Notre Dame struggled to run the ball at Louisville, finishing with a season-low 44 yards on the ground. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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