Upon Further Review
7:44 PM EDT, September 6, 2011
After taking 48 hours to get over the utter disbelief in what I saw...and to dry out...I've come to the conclusion that Notre Dame's loss to South Florida on Saturday isn't necessarily as bad as it seems.
I still can't believe how poorly the Irish played on Saturday. But that's just it. They played BAD, but they're not a bad team. Compare this squad to the one four years ago, when it was obvious after one week that Notre Dame might not win a game before Halloween (they started 1-9). I don't have the same forlorn feeling about 2011.
This team, unlike the 2007 squad, suffers from a lack of execution, not talent. Brian Kelly himself admitted, and I quote, "The team played as poorly as we can in terms of execution."
Kelly went on to say: They played hard, and had great resolve, and thinks the future is bright.
I'm inclined to agree with Kelly right now.
There is too much talent on this team for them not to win games. Dayne Crist & Tommy Rees combined for nearly 400 yards passing, AND Cierre Wood carried for 104 yards on 21 carries. Huge! The defense, for all practical purposes, surrendered 10 points. Those other 13 you can blame on turnovers. The talent is there. Notre Dame needs to start playing to their potential.
Easier said than done. The opponent gets tougher this week (at Michigan), and even tougher still the week after (vs. Michigan State). But Notre Dame's biggest opponent right now is inside their own heads.
There's more than enough play makers in all three phases for Notre Dame to beat every team left on their schedule. First, they need to stop beating themselves.
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