Sunday, October 21, 2012
What we learned about Notre Dame: Week 8
By Matt Fortuna
Here's what we learned about the Irish in their 17-14 win over BYU.
It wasn't a pretty win, but Brian Kelly and the Irish survived BYU and remain undefeated.
1. Pursuit of perfection intact. Hey, a win is a win is a win. Notre Dame's players weren't thrilled with their performance in a three-point win over BYU, but they got the job done on a bad day, leaving coach Brian Kelly pleased. They'll need much more next week at Oklahoma, but this could be a blessing in disguise for a team going into its biggest game in years.
2. No quarterback controversy. Another Sunday, another conversation about the quarterbacks. Tommy Rees was 6-of-his-first-7 Saturday but was so-so afterward, with the Irish running it all but three times in the second half. Make no mistake: Sitting Everett Golson after a quick turnaround from a concussion was the right call. The redshirt freshman should be 100 percent for next week's test at Oklahoma, with Rees of course willing and able if his number is called.
3. Offensive ID: Ground and pound. This doesn't exactly qualify as breaking news, but for a spread offense coached by Kelly, it is a little jarring to see a team that matches up so well physically inside, especially with so many shortcomings in the passing game. The Irish stuck with the plan Saturday when they were trailing, and it ultimately proved to be enough against the nation's No. 3 rushing defense.
4. The defense can't be perfect every day. As Stephon Tuitt said after the Irish defense's four-game touchdownless streak was snapped: "I just know every game you're going to fight through adversity. So we gave up a touchdown -- still not a rushing touchdown, gave up a passing touchdown." Yes, no team has rushed for a score against the Irish defense yet, and Notre Dame survived on a day it wasn't at its best. That is a good sign, but the defense needs to turn in its best performance of the season next week at Oklahoma.