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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Week 1 (2009): Musings

When I wrote last about the literary effort that ND’s 2009 season would most resemble, I consciously left out Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia”, written in 1516 about a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. (And who among us wouldn’t have wanted to be on that island many times last autumn?)

Okay, actually I forgot about this book – that level of optimism never quite occurred to me. But apparently it did to Charlie in Sunday’s post-game press conference. 

“Dare to dream, Chuck.”

But I digress.

Saturday was fun.  Great weather. Great tailgater – kudos as always to Messrs. Flaherty and Castellini for their usual top shelf effort – I’m now and forever a Dense Pack Strategy zealot. And let’s not forget Mr. Sullivan for chauffeuring the missus ‘n me to / fro the game. And an especially big thanks to the football team for showing up.  Herewith are my observations, augmented by the pithy insights of my stadium viewing pals (the aforementioned Lini ‘n Sully):

1.     Game ball #1 goes to… Jon Tenuta. Now that he’s the (seemingly) singular DC, it looks like his true attack ‘early and often’ personality is manifesting itself. What I especially like is that this strategy aligns itself with a basic truism in college football: there are only a handful of college quarterbacks AT BEST that you’ll get burned by when constant pressure is applied. And the players are looking like they’re having fun for the first time in a very long time. They probably didn’t deserve to pitch a shut out (Nevada’s option play fumble was a TD if the guy didn’t take his eye off the ball) but it was still pretty impressive for week 1.
2.     Game ball #2… Verducci, the OL coach.  They may not be dominant and I’m not wild about their love of the toss sweep (especially on 4th and 1) but many, many times they approached… dare I say…  competence and with the skill players they’ve got, that ought to get you 30+ points every game.
3.     Michael Floyd. Love what you’ve done with your hair. Keep rockin’ that catch and run thing you do.
4.     Sergio Brown. Wrapping is not something one does only at Christmas time.
5.     Kyle McCarthy.  Might be my favorite guys to root for… lightly regarded in recruiting… he’s just smart and dependable. (Sergio, you might want to learn something from him about tackling.)
6.     T’eo.  Ouch.  When he hits you, you go down. The mind reels what he might be like by, oh, the USC game.
7.     YAC. No, not what Lini was purporting I was doing before the game but Yards-After-Catch. I love this statistic and think it’ll be something to watch all year long.
8.     YAH. Yards After (being) Hit – I just made this up – and something that I hope Armando picks up a bit. As well as all of the RB’s…
9.     Nevada’s DB’s.  The statistics would say otherwise but their coverage wasn’t as brutal as you’d think. Clausen threw some extremely accurate balls (e.g. TD to Rudolph). And Floyd is just a beast.
10.  Freshman play – a lot.  Hey, Class of 2010 Recruits, were you paying attention?

Other bits ‘n bobs:

Schadenfreude winner, week 1 “Oooooo-klahoma where the wind comes whistling down the plain…”   And aren’t you glad you came back for your senior year, Sammy boy?  (And don’t believe that unfortunate occurrence didn’t escape the attention of Mr. Clausen, when he ponders whether to come back for his senior year.)

Rootin’ for a tie with lots of injuries:  USC vs. Ohio State this week. And if their Navy game is any indication, when does Terrelle Pryor start taking the amount of grief that Jimmy’s had to endure the last year or so for not being the 2nd Coming of Vince Young?

Greg Paulus. Starting guard for Duke now starting QB for Syracuse. Say what you will about a) his lack of stardom in b-ball and b) the lack of competition at Syracuse, it’s still pretty impressive.

Brett Favre.  The excuses are starting already… “oh, I think I’ve got a broken rib… and my knee hurts… and then there’s my rotator cuff… and I’m old…”   We get it, Brett – failure is not an option for you this year as long as you get to spin it the Favrian Way.”

Young Charlie Weis.  Doesn’t he just look like the kid who is subjected to a weekly swirly in the boys’ bathroom at school? All kids, pretty much, go through an awkward period. Most of us don’t have to go through it in from of millions of people. His figures to be more prolonged than most – but allow me to suggest that this rough patch might be minimized with the simple concept of d-i-e-t. 

MetLife blimp.  Help me here. I know its my industry (more or less) but what does Snoopy have to do with anything that company does?

Meeeechagan.  This whole year is going to be a prove-it-to-me exercise and there’s no doubt that all of Ann Arbor is probably in the ‘circle the wagons’ mode but there’s two things I like:  1) Jon Tenuta vs. Two freshman QB’s playing their 2nd college games ever and 2) if weather isn’t a factor, only USC’s D possibly holds our offense under ≈30 points whom lines and the committee has this year.  Color me guardedly optimistic.

Over and out.

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