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Friday, November 12, 2021

Navy: Crosseyed And Painless

What you want, baby I got it...

Dateline:  Notre Dame IN

In the most macro of contexts, we're heading into that time of year when themes begin to lean toward retrospectives, winding things down and giving in, ultimately, to the fatigue of having survived another calendar year. 

And so it is with blogging and ND football.

How many times can one lament Jack Coan's lack of footspeed?  Or be driven mad by the O-line's commitment to be the best darn false starters in all the land?   Or celebrate Kyren Williams 'tougher than a $2 steak' running style? Or wonder how much better the D might be if Hamilton had been playing the last several games?

Sure, I could revert to that old chestnut, doing a 'compare and contrast' between the progression of Marcus Freeman's Year I defense philosophy and the rise of the early 20th Century Dada art movement in Europe.  

But someone like Gruley or Rasmus will push back with a "well, Jerrence yet another superficial conclusion drawn by lazy, no doubt spurious internet-driven research... what about Cubism and its clear connection to the rejection of convention and Reality - and isn't that actually what Freeman's commitment to a 3-man front is trying to say?"

Frankly, I can't endure that - not again - I still have PTSD from my junior year in Robinson's Creative Writing class with Castellini.

Plus this was Navy Week.  What the hell does your Midshipman care about historical avant-garde art movements?  Maybe if we were playing Duke.

Quote of the Week

"Everything we do is scrappy.

It's fast and it's inexpensive... character over spectacle."

                                          Ryan Reynolds 

Perhaps a few of you saw the WSJ feature a couple weeks ago on Reynolds.   Pretty fascinating.  10 years ago he's bombing in The Green Lantern, decides he needs to take more control of his career and bam!  the Deadpool franchise, an Aviation Gin venture (which he sells to Diageo for a cool $600M), ownership in MINT mobile with its funny garage quality ad campaign...

Not a bad run.  And driven by a philosophy (above) that smacks of ND Football 2021:  scrappy, often unexpected and consistently grounded in character over flash.  We can only hope for his level of success.           

BTW, if you're interested in watching a pretty twisted Reynold's film, pre-mega star period, I'd recommend The Voices.

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph:  As Young Jerrence drove home after the Navy game - check that, as Madame DeFarge drove home after the game - a singular irony for the day had not been lost on him:  the empyrean heights from which the family were privileged to experience the afternoon's game... had actually started, quite literally, at ground level.

Perhaps, technically, even below ground-level:

* Sideline passes, pre-game, to watch the team warm up.

   - "Gee, Bob, and please don't read any more into this, but up close... Kurt Hinish's thighs really are quite extraordinary, aren't they?"

Fast chat and a photo opp with coach Kelly for the daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.

    -  The latter whom could not have been less impressed with the occasion

Watching the game from the 1842 Club.

   -  "Hey Paul, do think you could choke down a Basil Hayden Manhattan for Ryan's uncle Mike to experience vicariously?"

If ND Admissions had a Sorting Hat, it'd be placing Sloane Beauchamp in Dillon right now.

Game 9 Thoughts

In the navy, in the navy...
Can't you see we need a hand?

This was not the Navy football program we have been used to seeing over the past few decades.  Not that I'm complaining.  The series leaves many people, myself included, more than a little conflicted.  Love the history / basis of the enduring series - less affectionate about Navy's penchant for cut blocks and subsequent blown knees.

Other thoughts...

Coach Rees.For all the talk of mutual respect between the two programs, perhaps Tommy showed a little too much respect in the first quarter?  Two straight 3-and-out's. 

Of course, the obligatory false start - is that now part of their first 15 scripted plays? - didn't exactly help.

And it wouldn't hurt if you, Kevin, kept playing at this level...

2) Avery Davis.  Really tough way to go out, non-contact ACL injury... nine month rehab, minimum? Yikes.  

At the risk of sounding extremely mercenary, "Styles & Colzie your table is ready."

 Bramblett.  He, of the fabulous punt that lead directly to the Navy safety and a bit of extra breathing room while the offense was still finding its mojo, might be the leader in the clubhouse for this year's Ignaz Semmelweis award.

Semmelweis - I don't have to tell you, dear reader - was the 19th Century Hungarian doctor who pioneered hand washing before surgeries, leading to an overwhelming decline in the childbirth mortality rate at the time.

You'd think that would garner one a certain amount of notoriety and respect. And yet, no.  The medical community, taking umbrage that someone should suggest they might be a driving contributor to these failed procedures, utterly discounted this finding.

Imagine that, physicians being prickly about the suggestion they're flawed. 

At any rate, who got all the fame, Louis Pasteur, that's who.  

He, who validated the hypothesis with a similar germ theory almost 15 years later... no doubt the beneficiary of his having better hair and undoubtedly, a better publicist.

The fact that Semmelweis was placed in an insane asylum, only to die two weeks later, probably wasn't a reputation builder either.

Nonetheless, both Jay B. and Iggy S. represent unrecognized important contributors.  Let us not forget them.

Meanwhile, Lini assembles his appeal team... 
4)  Tailgate.   The (presumably) penultimate get together.

An exercise in quality over quantity (as exemplified by a surprise appearance from Rob Wills).

A brilliant weather day with Stayer Rules once again 'alles in Ordnung' (as the Germans might say).

Hard to believe that the tailgate season has come and gone so quickly.  

Thanks again, as always, generous hosts.

5)  O-line.     Although I've read reports contrary to this, it would appear that we have solved the O-line problem on the left side.    

As for the right side, oof.  

6)  Drew White.  It feels inappropriate to save this for last, given how much one values leadership, but Kelly mentioned that White played the game w a torn PCL - injured in practice during the week before the game.    Apparently it's a 'pain tolerance' thing (says the guy who would spill his guts to the enemy if they cut my finger nails too short).  

Clearly representative of a guy who prioritizes team over self.  

What a novel attitude, America.

Buddy's Buddy

Perhaps the pre-game observation was a little bit prescient but for a game that otherwise didn't really scream "he's the one!" - you know you're struggling when you're considering the punter as a candidate -  further review (and the help of the internet) made the choice clearer.

And just like last week we're following the coach's lead:

Kurt Hinish.  

Because this is Week Nine and I'm running on creative fumes, allow me to take a message board summary that does a nice job of making his case. To wit:

"Navy ran a heavy dose of fullback dives right into the teeth of ND's defense.  Nose tackle Hinish wiped out many of them before Midshipmen fullback Isaac Ruoss could reach the second level.

Hinish made a team-high 10 tackles and hit double digits with six minutes left in the 3rd quarter.  He didn't just snuff out up-the-gut runs. He was a consistent backfield resident and provided the initial pressure on Notre Dame's 4th quarter safety when Navy fumbled the pitch. 
Hinish's previous career high in tackles was five.  He came into the game with 14 this season.  Eight of his stops vs. Navy were solos, with two tackles for loss and a sack.  Ruoss's 22 carries went for just 73 yards, due in no small part to Hinish. 

When Hinish wasn't making tackles, he was taking up double-teams and moving the line of scrimmage.  That's his duty every game.  It sounds like a thankless task job.  Saturday, though, was the opposite.  Hinish earned the game ball for his efforts."

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

Isn't it interesting how the questions on everyone's mind pivot as the season progresses?

We're talking less (at least directionally less) about the O-line as they manifest a more approximate level of basic competence, if not yet excellence.

The QB rotation is still a bit of a beautiful mystery but at least we seem to understand we have at least two guys with legitimate skills - and given that neither guy was on campus a year ago, perhaps we should've managed our expectations a little more realistically.

And this week, the pivot is toward 'what up, UVA?'  and more specifically their QB. You'd be allowed to criticize me when you hear 'this week's guy might be the best QB we see all year...'  (This column has been saying it almost weekly since the Cincinnati game.)  Nonetheless, lets talk about the Cavaliers' QB and his as yet unconfirmed broken ribs: 

How does Virginia manage its quarterback?

Even if Brennan Armstrong can go, he won’t be at full strength after suffering a rib injury two weeks ago in a loss at BYU. And this would be a very big deal considering the Virginia quarterback leads the nation in total offense, averaging 425 yards per game and making the Cavaliers’ pyrotechnic offense go.

Virginia has weapons all over its passing game. Dontayvion Wicks averages 23.1 yards per reception on his 42 grabs for 972 yards and nine touchdowns. Billy Kemp and Keytaon Thompson both have more than 50 catches. There are a lot of places for Virginia’s quarterback to put the football.

It’s just not clear who that quarterback will be.

“We expect Brennan to play,” Kelly said. “But yeah, we’ve had to certainly prepare for plan B, and that’s going to be multiple shifts and motions and trying to get outflanked and using two or three different quarterbacks. That’s been part of our preparation as well.”

If there’s no Armstrong, look for Virginia to mix and match between freshman Jay Woolfolk and Thompson, who was a backup quarterback at Mississippi State before transferring to Virginia a year ago and settling at receiver. The Cavaliers can use him in the Wildcat, which figures to be the play as Virginia will have to revamp its offense without Armstrong, should it come to that.

Notre Dame has lived this reality before, managing Ian Book after a rib fracture and kidney contusion suffered at Northwestern three years ago. Book missed the next week against Florida State, then returned just in time for a win at USC that put Notre Dame into the College Football Playoff.

“We weren’t even sure he could play, to be quite honest with you,” Kelly said. “It’s like almost moment-to-moment decision. And our protections changed. We were in seven-man protection. We had three men out. We did a lot of things to try to protect him. And I will say this, it was truly, you want to talk about game day, it was warmups in pregame when he decided that he could give it a shot. You’re like, ‘Oh my God. We don’t know?’ Yeah, it was that difficult.”

That’s Virginia’s reality now, but with different stakes. The Cavaliers have to weigh not only Armstrong’s health but how much risk is too much risk considering the rest of their schedule. If Virginia wins its final two regular season games against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, it wins the ACC Coastal. Saturday night doesn’t impact that outlook.

Source:  The Athletic
November 12, 2021

Cocktail of the Week

Hmmm, looking for something of a naval or nautical ilk.  You'd think there'd be a Master & Commander cocktail.  Surely, Moby Dick.  Or Jules Verne? 


So how about something that gets us across the water (if not in or on it) and speaks to the enduring yet perhaps a little more-complicated-than-meets-the-eye bond between the two schools? 

Gulp-iver's Travels
Gulliver's Travels (1726)
By Jonathan Swift

Our grandparents knew Gulliver's Travels as a morality tale wrapped in droll travelogue:  an Englishman lost at sea stumbles upon a handful of bizarre lands in which he is by turns the biggest and the smallest creature for miles, leading him to question everything from patriotism to religion to his very definition of home.  

Which reminds me of "Halloween at ND: Jerrence's Lost Hours" my sophomore year.  

(Did you know that, when sufficiently lubricated, in the dark, the Burke golf course can look just like a giant game preserve?)

But I digress. 

This generation probably knows Gulliver's Travels as the critically panned, audience-ignored film that featured Jack Black putting out a fire by peeing on it (hope you took off the 3-D glasses for that part).

In this beachy keen nod to the hero washed ashore, choose your own adventure with a Lilliputian shooter or Brobdingnagian cocktail. Try saying that three times drunk.  

1/2 oz.  vodka                                                  

1/2 oz.  peach schnapps                                                     

1/2 oz. grapefruit juice                                             

1/2 oz. cranberry juice 

Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into an empty rocks glass; this goes down in a single swig.  For the bigger, Brobdingnagian variation on the above, double all the ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass.     

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       W
16                    BYE            
23                   USC                  W
30                   UNC                 W

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


Hey there, 11-1'ers*... 

Normally, one wouldn't think UVA should be a particularly substantial hurdle to a New Years 6 bowl invitation - although I was in attendance for the Kiser-to-Fuller miracle finish game so, personally, I take nothing for granted.

Or possibly even more than a NY's Day... no, I'm not gonna go there (mostly because I don't want the team to).   

Take a 12-1 season, ND, and prep for a BCS run next year.

But this is the WEIRDEST of years, so who the hell knows.  And apparently the UVA QB, broken ribs and all, is a game time decision...

* Albert, you're on the clock.

Sweet dream baby... 


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

From here on out this season, the Schadenfreude Selection Committee - unlike its BCS Playoff counterpart - will be swift, clinical and logic-based.

If you are in ND's way, you must lose.  (Nebraska, consider yourself off the hook.)  

Not so fast, USC - there's always a special place for you in this section.

Category 1)  I've never liked you.  I will never like you. Like Defcon 1, it's 'go time' and with every loss an angel earns its wings so I feel super justified in reveling in your failure.

Category 2)  Defcon 2 - there are other issues I'm having trouble dealing with, my therapist isn't taking my calls and that nuclear football is sitting right in front me.  Sorry all, I just want to see the world burn

Category 3)  It's not personal, just business.  Defcon 3 - there's not a white hot intensity of emotion tied to this.  I'm just being very pragmatic.  I need you to go away.


1)  Michigan State.   Category 3!  And from those who saw the game, the game wasn't even as close as the 40-29 score would suggest.  Well done, Sparty.

How about this:  Purdue, the alma mater of my eldest daughter (and son-in-law)... has the chance this week to beat three top 5 teams in the same season.  How nutty is that?!
  • that said, Vegas is taking a dim view of that, given the current 20 pt. spread

2)  Wake Forest.   Category 3.  Who would've thought Wake would ever merit even requiring anyone to pay attention to whether they lost or not?  It's not like Tim Duncan's on the team anymore.  That said,  arguably the most entertaining game of the weekend - certainly the most entertaining 2nd half.  

And suddenly, with each week, ND's schedule starts looking appreciably better.

3)  USC.  Category 1. Apparently no Drake London, no chance.  The dumpster fire just keeps getting worse. 

Terry's Tools

Of all the rigorous research I do each week, which is to say, the clickbait I am drawn to, like moths to the proverbial flame, finding Tool Candidates takes probably the least effort of any section.

They seem to find me. 

Although this week, it wasn't hard - since every example is related to the professional team I've been following for 50+ years...

When Crash and Ungie have better seats the player's family...
1)  Green Bay Packers. 
 So the 1st round draft choice QB - a decision you made that sent your Hall of Fame snowflake incumbent into an attitudinal tailspin for the better part of a year but no matter - is making his first start in perhaps the most hostile competitive stadium in the league.  

His mom has attended every game he's been a part of since high school.  She's certainly not gonna miss this one.  So you give her (and the player's girlfriend) the special Bob Uecker seats, literally the last row of the uppermost deck?!  Technically, they might've been watching from Kansas.

Green Bay, you couldn't have hooked 'em up with something a little, um, closer?  Given the pathetic offensive game plan, perhaps you thought you were doing the ladies a favor...

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a misslion sighs
I told a million lies, to myself...

2)  Aaron Rodgers.  Really, A-A-Ron - doubling down on your conviction that you know more than virtually the entire science / medical community?  

And your source is Joe Rogen?  Advocating Ivermectin? 

"But dad, that's a horse de-wormer..." 

I can hear them whisper and it makes me think
There must be something wrong with me
...but I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell

Pretty soon they'll come to get me
Yeah, they're taking me away...

3)  The NFL   I thought (well, knew) the NCAA was incompetent. And completely inconsistent (political?) in their adjudicating of perceived league lawlessness.  But Commissioner Goodell,  you're giving them a run for their money.


Final Thoughts

Love this tradition. 

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