Search This Blog

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Cincinnati: Family Feud


Dateline:  Flint Lake, IN

Yum, good and good for you!
This week marks Madame Defarge and my 36th year of shared connubial bliss.  One is reminded, particularly after Saturday's game, of the array of choices one makes in one's life - big and small, good and bad. 


You will marry me?  Really?!


I really don't need that scotch the size of my head, Bob, but what the hell why not, when in Rome...


Let's try what's-his-name at QB this game... 

Obviously some of those decisions work out better than others.  Yet one can only hope, for all of us, that each choice ultimately represents a learning opportunity going forward.

For ND Football, after 5 games, the jury still seems out on whether that is actually yet the case.  


Quote of the Week

Yes, boys, you are... 
"If a man speaks in the forest where no woman can hear him... 

Is he still wrong?"

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph:  On Jerrence's drive home from the football game, his mind began to think about the inevitable blow back coach Kelly was going to receive.  By anyone's standards, especially his own, he and the team had acquitted themselves quite poorly:  Cincinnati was not the better team but ND clearly played down, actually below, to them today.

With that level of justification, he knew the Kelly haters would surely be coming out of the woodwork, more churlish and with greater vitriol than ever.  Like nuclear cockroaches.  It'd be "Christmas Comes Early for the Pinheads."

Yet, while listening to The Athletic's post-game analysis between Pete Sampson and Matt Fortuna, Jerrence was struck by their equivocation on what it might take to fix ND's problems.  These guys were around the program virtually every day - and had been for several years - they knew the inner workings of both the staff and players.  Yet they proffered no sweeping, grandiose solutions.  They were baffled and admitted as much.

Well, Pete, MikeyDog says differently...

Unlike the ND Message Boards.  Who, having no shortage of  armchair experts, were confidently stating exactly how to rectify things.  Starting, apparently, with the head coach's firing.  

So predictable, so banal. He wondered if any of them had ever been burdened by weight of having even a singular original thought.  Almost certainly not.

Game 5 Thoughts

Walking in the dark
Everything is fine... 

Actually, everything is not fine.   Five games into the season, enough time has passed for this blogger to begin to speak in terms of Season 2021 absolutes:

1)  Give Drew Pyne a shot.  

2)  If you don't trust Buchner to throw the ball, don't play him. It's not like you're doing anything for his confidence.

3)  Give Joe Alt a shot.  The performance cannot possibly be any worse.

I say, good sir, what is that wondrous elixir that you just concocted for me?
4)  Clarence Lewis doesn't deserve (m)any more shots. But is he the best we've got as CB2?  Eek.

5)  Kevin Austin and Jon Doerer are, basically, weekly rolls of the dice.  Like Forrest's box of chocolates... which, like those chocolates with the awful fruit centers, is not a good thing.

6) Might it be time to give the freshmen WR's a shot?

7)  The defense is pretty good. But what's most distressing is their consistent ability to give up the big drive when they actually need a stop the most.

8)   Thankfully, the Stayer tailgates do not have that problem with consistency. 

9)  Chin up - the season isn't over.  They can still win 10 or 11 games, go to a New Year's Day bowl game.  

Or win only 8.  Hello, Cheez-It Bowl.

At this point, who knows.  

RE-PETE (A shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mail-bag)

As a rule, I'm not a 'glass half empty' kind of guy.  More like a 'hey, my glass is half empty and that's unacceptable - bartender!'

So when one ponders the original three questions surrounding the team - defense, O-line and QB - and realizing that almost halfway through the season, 2/3 (at best) of those topics remain open question marks, well... bugger.

Still, this week's mailbag which continues to hit on those questions finds Mr. Sampson at his moist feisty and I'm here for it!  

This week's sample is tangential to one of those questions and something I've mused over for a few years.  To wit, having grown up in an era where ND QB's were de facto Heisman candidates (Huarte, Theisman, Clements, not to mention the legend of Joe Montana) -  where QB on that team is one of the highest profile positions in the country - how can ND ever struggle with elite play at that position?

What is it with Brian Kelly and figuring out the quarterback position? From the start of the Kelly tenure, other than the Ian Book years (which you could argue that Kelly lucked into), the QB position has been marked by an inability to pick the right guy and an even more pronounced inability to DEVELOP talent.

Andrew W.

I think you’ve got this backward, Andrew.

The whole complaint about Kelly failing to develop talent hasn’t quite added up for me, not after DeShone Kizer went from lost freshman to second-round pick in two years, not after Ian Book went from three-star prospect to all-time winningest Irish quarterback, two-time College Football Playoff signal caller and fourth-round pick. If that’s not developing talent, what is, exactly? Hell, Notre Dame went to the BCS National Championship Game rotating a couple of three-star prospects, one who drove the coaching staff to the verge of insanity and the other who was so physically limited that a quarterback sneak felt like a trick play. It’s worth looking back at what happened to the quarterbacks Kelly didn’t develop after they left: Dayne Crist, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson, Malik ZaireBrandon Wimbush, Gunner Kiel, Phil Jurkovec.

From that group, Hendrix had a nice career at Miami (Ohio) and Jurkovec seems like a future NFL prospect at Boston College, even though he’s sidelined for this season. The rest? Golson (Florida State), Zaire (Florida), Wimbush (UCF), Kiel (Cincinnati) and Crist (Kansas) never did much at their next stops. So did those other coaches also fail to develop them? Or maybe what we’re missing here is the fact we’re not talking about a batch of elite quarterbacks with College Football Playoff-level potential.

If there’s a complaint about Notre Dame’s quarterback track record under Kelly, it’s a question of recruiting evaluation, not a question of player development. Notre Dame has had enough good quarterback play in the past six years to believe in Kelly as somebody who can get a lot out of the talent on hand. But look at some of the early quarterback offers at Notre Dame: Brandon DawkinsMatt AlvitiMalik HenryHunter Johnson, Jack Beneventi, Jarrett GuarantanoShea PattersonHendon Hooker, etc. Some were five-stars coming out of high school. Some were three-stars. So many of them amounted to very little in college. Can Pat Fitzgerald not develop quarterbacks? Jim Harbaugh? Jimbo Fisher? At some point, you question the incoming material more than the guy doing the development.

But that gets the discussion to Tommy Rees since he took over the evaluation of quarterbacks and the offense itself. In the 2018 class, Notre Dame offered Jurkovec, JT Daniels and Tanner McKee. Good evaluations. All three are Power 5 starters this year. In the 2019 class, the offers were Spencer RattlerGraham MertzDylan MorrisCade McNamaraPaul TysonBrendon ClarkBo NixMax DugganJohn Rhys Plumlee. Six of those quarterbacks are starting at Power 5 schools. A year later, Notre Dame only offered Drew Pyne. It’s too soon to know if casting that small a net will prove to be a mistake. And the year after that, the Irish went with Tyler Buchner early. Again, too soon to know if that evaluation will prove correct, but early returns are promising.

My point is that Notre Dame fans spend too much time banging the coaching staff for player development and not enough time looking at the process to sign the quarterbacks. You said it yourself with Book — the Irish sort of backed into that one because they were turned down by some bigger names who proved to be busts. Similar deal with Kizer two years before Book. He landed at Notre Dame because the Irish missed on Kyle AllenDavid Cornwell and Jacob Park. Kizer turned out to be the best of the group.

The development of quarterbacks under Kelly has actually been quite good. The evaluation of them as high school prospects, that’s where it’s been scattershot. As for this season, it’s been a little messy, obviously. I don’t have a great explanation of how they’re using Jack Coan, Pyne and Buchner. But the idea that Coan was a bad pickup or hasn’t been helping Notre Dame is simply fiction. Unless you think Notre Dame was going to find the next Russell Wilson as a grad transfer.

Source:  The Athletic
October 7, 2021

Cocktail of the Week

Much was written pre-game about the familial storylines - Kelly's departure to ND, Freeman's departure to ND, ND's recruiting coach Mickens... and on the U. of Cincinnati's side, Denbrock as OC and former Irish WR Michael Young transfer to the Bearcats.

By anyone's standard, that's a lot of incestuous relations.  Even by nearby Kentucky standards, that'd leave anyone uncomfortable. 

Nonetheless, it sets up for nice family 'bad blood' theme for this week's libation.

The Brothers Kamikaze
The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Nothing tests a family like a good old-fashioned fight over a will (enter: the brothers Karamazov).  Widely considered one of the finest nobels of all time, Dostoyevsky's final work asks the big questions - What is the meaning of life?  And can I please borrow 3,000 rubles?! - and offers no easy answers.

If you think the themes are heavy, try picking up this 800+ page tome without bending from the knees.  A drink or several should help - last Saturday's game being proof positive - in any event, you'll be fighting over three takes on one classic kamikaze.

Brother #1                                                                Brother #2
1 oz.  vodka                                                               1 oz.  vodka
1 oz.  triple sec                                                          1 oz.  Cointreau
1 oz.  lime juice                                                         1 oz.  grapefruit juice

Brother #3
1 oz.  vodka
1 oz.  orange juice
1 oz.  lemon juice

For each recipe:  Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake for 3 seconds.  Strain each into its own glass, bro. 

And for the former Senior Bar staff reading, this should harken back to those ritual gimlet shots we'd have after closing down the bar each night.  


Source:  Are You There God? It's Me Margarita
More Cocktails with a Literary Twist
by Tim Federle


 5                     @Florida St.    W
11                    Toledo              W
18                    Purdue             W
24                    Linipalooza X  W
25                   @Wisconsin    W

 2                    Cincinnati        L
 9                    @Va. Tech 
16                    BYE            
23                    USC
30                    UNC

6                    Navy          
13                  @UVA               
20                  Ga. Tech
27                  @Stanford


Team 12-0, after the last few weeks, you had to know this day was coming, right?  Not that it was ordained but at some point, 'live by the sword, die by the sword.' Or the lack of offensive line blocking.

Albert, I know you don't really want to win but... 

Nervous and shakey...


Archetype (Embodies)



Miracle On Ice


To be clear, ND running the table wouldn't come remotely close to approximating the USA ice hockey victory over Russia in '80.  

Nothing in my lifetime will beat this.  Nor will anything exceed the guilt I still have for ruining this for Castellini.

Still ND going 12-0 seems similarly tough to envision with the little we know right now.


Brian M.


John P.

Bryan G.

Gary H.

Pat B.

Dave M.


Kerry Strug

One final vault.  Hit it, basically perfectly, and your country wins the gold medal.

No pressure.  Oh and you just tore two ligaments in your ankle on your prior attempt - you can barely walk.

But apparently, you still have one more sprint in you.  Boom!  Done.

ND winning 11 games is not really analogous to this but right now, it's looking just as iffy.


Jay F.

Bill B.

Bob J. 

Dave G.

Peter B.

Jim S.

Jim B.

Daryl M.

Dennis R.

Mike C.


Super Bowl III


In hindsight this probably wasn't nearly the shocker it was at the time - but it sure made the NFL sit up and take notice.

At this point in the Kelly regime, ND winning 10 games is no longer unexpected. 

And yet, they have a similar imperative (as the AFL did) to do this in order to get the football world to really buy in that ND is elite again. 

Sloane B.
Phillip S.
Jerry P.
Kevin M.
Jim T.
Tim S.
The Dim One
Bob S. 
Blair R.
Alex S.
Ted C.
Tom F.
Randy R. 
Mike G. 


NC St over Phi Slamma Jamma


The 'improbable' relevance to ND success gets shakier as the win total gets lower... 

A great game but unless you had money on it (I didn't), it was a fleeting feel good. 

Relevance to 9 wins? None. But on this continuum this is where this sits.


Brian W.

Garrett R. 

Mike B.

John L.

Ward H. 


Villanova over Georgetown

 In terms of improbability, you could probably flip this game w NC State's victory - they were both pretty awesome in a vicarious way.

These rankings all being relative vs. the others, it's feeling 8'ish even if it probably deserves better.  



Albert B.


ND over Miami, 1988 

Was this improbable at the time?  Depends on who you ask - and if they're honest.

Miami owned ND in the '80s.

And yet, Holtz & Co. made everyone believe.  

Impressive, definitely.  But on a scale of 1-10 as unlikely, maybe a 7.



ND over Clemson, 2020

This victory - as necessary as it was for the program - gets somewhat devalued in terms of improbability:

1) ND was genuinely really good last year.   And playing at home.

2) Candidly, no Trevor Lawrence.



ND over Florida St., 1993


After the '88 Miami win, with Holtz still in charge... while never a 'lock', beating FSU was certainly no great surprise.

And ultimately tempered by spitting the bit the next week against BC.



If anyone wishes to play down here... 


3 my guest.


Schadenfreude of the Week

This week begs the question, does in fact, misery love company?  

Because this week, Notre Dame has a ton of companionship on the loser list - quantifiably 9 teams lost in the top 25.  And while all of them, weren't upsets, including (technically) ours, let us revel . 

So, Loser's roll call: 

  1.   Oregon (#3)
  2.   Arkansias (#8)
  3.   Notre Dame (#9)
  4.   Florida (#10)
  5.   Missisippi (#12)
  6.   Texas A&M (#15)    ROCK ON, JIMBO!
  7.   FRESNO St. (#18)
  8.   UCLA (#20)
  9.   Baylor (#21)
When was the last time that happened?!  Decades ago, I'm guessing.

Terry's Tools

 There is a special place... somewhere (in hell?)... for the Celebrity Tool - that person whom Society / Pop Culture has deigned to make 'famous' - or infamous - notoriety in today's world is pretty agnostic as to what is considered good or bad publicity - as long as you just spell my name correctly and get my good side in the photo op. 

What seems to differentiates those people is their complete indifference to whether any rules - legal, moral or decorum-related - apply to them.  

It matters not.  For they are... special.  Touched by a higher power.  In this world but not of it.   So I give you, this week, the ultimate Cosmic Douche.

1.  Urban Meyer.   We knew Meyer was ambitious but who knew he lusted after - and one uses that word consciously - a Lifetime Tool Achievement award.  Urban appears to believe he possesses some sort of Cloak of Invisibility protecting himself from any kind of malfeasance.  In this instance, allowing himself, after a Jaguars loss in Cleveland, to hit the bars in Columbus, OH because NO ONE WILL RECOGNIZE ME THERE... and getting jiggy (as well as a little handsy) with a local alumnus.   Oops. 

First of all, coach, aren't you supposed to be on the team plane heading back to Jacksonville?  
And secondly, aren't you supposed to be on the team plane heading back to Jacksonville?

But being The Anti-Christ, maybe he thought common video technology wouldn't capture his image, like with vampires and mirrors.  

The Moral of the Story:  even satanic deity are no match for Apple iOS software developers. 

Final Thoughts

Happy Anniversary, Lisa Ann.   When did I know you were The One?

* When you laughed off the Ungie-Crayon "Lost In Space Bend" day? (Your first trip to ND.) 

* When you laughed off Brittan's car flipping down a Snowmass embankment?  (And that's why we don't let you ski in CO anymore.)

* When you got hammered before the salad at the Sullivan wedding reception? (Probably our last time at Riviera CC.)

* When you, Feif and Albert sat together on the couch and played 'pass the Sambuca' (to no one else, BTW) at Mary Acker's shower for the Castellini wedding?  (One of the very few occasions where I was the more responsible one.)

Yes, yes, yes and yes.   Still, October 5, 1985 remains my single favorite day on Earth. 

She's so fine there's no telling where the money went... 

No comments:

Post a Comment