Holy shit, and welcome back to the IBG. It's a horrible name for a great bunch of bloggers who have come together to share thoughts and answer obscure and not-so-obscure questions about The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
Let's get started...
This weeks Gathering is hosted by Domer Law. He was the first to answer the call that I put out to the other members, for some help to kick the season off. So, let's get rolling...
1. My season preview included music video footage for each position group. What song or video do you feel typifies this year's Notre Dame team heading into the season? Embed a youtube or other similar video if possible.
I'm not sure if I can express this enough. I truly believe that 2009 will be very much like the 2005 season. I usually don't compare season from the past to what they are now- but I started the comparison with the 2004 and 2008 team last year, and it's spilling into this year. I fully expect the 2009 team to be as explosive offensively as the 2005 squad, but what excites me even more, is the possibilities that the Irish have on defense. If the 2005 squad had the 2009 version (or even the 2008 version), they may have been undefeated in the regular season.
You get the point... right? So, I'll kind of cheat here and give you this old, glorious clip.
2. Post a picture that to you portrays the attitude of this year's team and discuss.
OK. So that's 2 pictures, and it's a little sappy- but this answers the question. I am jacked up, and you can see from the determination on the eyes of my daughter- she is too. Yesterday was "Flag Day" in the Subway Domer household. My wife baked me a football cake, and my daughter and I put out the ND flag. It flies from the first week of the season, until after the Blue & Gold game.
But what this picture really shows is family. That is what, by all accounts, this team has really turned itself into- a real family. They are all there for eachother- and for their coach. A lot of the key players were on the disastrous 2007 team, and a few more were on last years team that unraveled in the last half of the regular season. In a year that has lofty expectations for everyone involved in the program, they will need eachother to keep their edge and their focus as the season progresses. This is what family does for you.
3. What do you perceive as the team's biggest weakness heading into the season?
The uncertainty of both the offensive and defensive lines. I'm not sure if you could call that a weakness, but it is what I see as a possible weakness, and that could kill us if things don't work out the way we want them to.
The offensive line is getting moved around, and have a new starter at LT that was our original starter at LT in 2007 (not much praise for that year). How will this line play as a unit? This is the key to the entire offense.
The defensive line will depend upon a lot of unproven youth in their 2 deep rotation. If the youngsters can really contribute, than the entire defense will benefit. If the defensive line is limited to just 3 or 4 players, than we may see a lot of issues rushing the passer and stuffing the run.
Hogs. Gotta give it.
4. With the exception of the 1990s, Notre Dame has won a National Championship in every decade since the 1920s. What are the chances (a) that Notre Dame wins a championship this year, and (b) if not this year, when do you predict the next championship for the Irish?
This is a loaded question. But, I will answer it as honestly as I possibly can.
A. The chances are very good that ND GETS to the Title game- but if they have to play Florida (most likely opponent), Texas, or Oklahoma... I just see them getting crushed. I don't see a title in 2009.
B. 2010. Mark it down. Every one comes back- and they finally take the title. (Isn't life great?!)
5. Nevada runs the Pistol offense, Navy the Triple Option, and Michigan the Spread Option. Which offensive scheme do you think is the most difficult to prepare for, and why?
I have to go with the pistol. The "spread option" is so widely used anymore, that most teams see it at least 6 times a year. In Notre Dame's case (and the only case that should matter), they see the triple option every year, so there is some familiarity to defending it, albeit for one game. The pistol is unique and is very effective in both the run and pass game. Tricky, tricky.
6. Is Colin Capaernick the best quarterback we'll see this year? If not, who is?
He certainly has the stats to back that claim up, but... no. Who? I'm not really sure of the who, but it ain't him. My money will be on either Barkley or Corps- whichever one is starting when we play them.
7. Prediction time. We have to get on the record before the season kicks off. Give me:
(1) Overall prediction for wins/losses. 11-1. We will beat U$C, but that one loss is going to sting, and I'm not sure who it is just yet. Probably MSU or PITT- but we BEAT $C THIS YEAR.
(2) Projected bowl game and result. I'm not sure which one- but a BCS bowl. What the hell... we beat Georgia Tech.
(3) Predicted final ranking. #5
(4) Best player on the team. Jimmy shows why he was the #1 recruit in 2007.
(5) Heisman trophy winner. Colt McCoy. Not because he will deserve it, but because everyone wants to give it to him right now.
(6) National Champion. Florida. We all know this to be true.
(7) Prediction for Nevada game, including score. IRISH 49-17.
Aug 31, 2009
Holy shit, and welcome back to the IBG. It's a horrible name for a great bunch of bloggers who have come together to share thoughts and answer obscure and not-so-obscure questions about The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
It's finally here. Game week. If breaking the bowl streak against a mediocre Hawaii team did anything, it made all of us want the 2009 season to arrive as quickly as possible. 8 and a half months later- it's time. It's time for the Irish to take its rightful place among the top the standings. It's time to pop holes in the Condoms, time to slay Spartans in our own home, and time to make outsiders hate us because we are good and not because we are a story. I am fucking JACKED.
So Bagpipe Monday is back to sound the path to War. Also, today is the day that an announcement is to be made by yours truly. Subway Domer is going to be going through a massive change within a month or so. I'm not going to go into too much detail right now, other than to say that the blog is ready for a big change and it is coming. I will clarify things more in a few weeks. This will be a very good thing for not just me- but for all of my fans and readers as well. So, I guess I am fucking JACKED for that too.
Here's your bagpipes to kick this baby off. Enjoy. (Polls will return in a week).
And because I can't get this tune out of my head- Here is a bonus clip:
Aug 27, 2009
Alright playas, here are your games for week one. The underdog is on the left and the favorite is on the right. The underdog is blue and the favorite is red. Remember to include your school name in the e-mail with your picks. Picks need to be emailed to me by Thursday at 6 PM.
Nevada @ Notre Dame
South Carolina @ North Carolina State
Oregon @ Boise State
Navy @ Ohio State
Akron @ Penn State
San Jose State @ U$C
Georgia @ Oklahoma State
Missouri @ Illinois
Louisiana-Monroe @ Texas
BYU VS. Oklahoma
Virginia Tech VS. Alabama
Buffalo @ UTEP
Memphis VS. Ole' Miss
Good Luck & GO IRISH!!!
Aug 26, 2009
Aug 24, 2009
Aug 23, 2009
Thanks to those who commented on the first ballot. I took those comments to heart and took a harder look at the teams- and you know what? I'm more confused than ever. Outside of the top 3, the rest of this ballot is a total crapshoot.
I did make one minor adjustment. I swapped spots with Cal and LSU. LSU might be a bit underrated, and as much as I think Cal could possibly win the Pac-10 this year- I can't rank any Pac-10 school over the Trojans yet.
As far as Alabama and Ole Miss are concerned... I will keep them where they are for now. I can promise you that my ballot for each week, for the most part, will not be based on my previous week. I will move a few teams around every week, based on play against certain level of competition.
Aug 22, 2009
The 36 Chambers have been opened and now we need only wait 2 weeks before they are unleashed on the enemy. I wanted to take a moment and give you an overview of the 36 Chambers and break it down a little bit. For reference purposes, here is the link to the list of 36 in 18 separate posts.
I will be referring back a few times to the 2008 list. I have to admit that I never finished the series in 2008. I only managed about 22 chambers. At any rate, I still have that list in my notes.
Before I get into the overview, let me take this moment to explain what this list is once again. I do not believe in depth charts as most see them. There is a wider number of players that impact a team, than what the starting 11 on each side of the ball offer. So for me to sit here and just list of the 22 gameday starters, would isolate quite a few players that will decide victories and losses for the Irish. This list is a tally of those 36 players that I believe will make the most impact on the season as whole. Why 36? It fits with the Wu-Tang theme that I love so much. It would have been A LOT easier to stop at around 30, because the last 6 players (not the last 6 I posted, but the last 6 on my personal list) were toss ups with other players. I 'll talk more about this in a moment.
Here are not just the list of players for 2009, but also for what was the 36 Chambers of 2008:
- 3 FRESHMAN: Michael Floyd, Brandon Newman, Ethan Johnson
- 13 SOPHOMORES: Jimmy Clausen, Robert Hughes, Armando Allen, Duval Kamara, Mike Ragone, Golden Tate, Brandon Walker, Ian Williams, Kerry Neal, Brian Smith, Harrison Smith, Gary Gray, Emeka Nwankwo
- 11 JUNIORS: James Aldridge, Chris Stewart, Sam Young, Eric Olsen, Dan Wenger, Will Yeatman, Eric Maust, Toryan Smith, Darrin Walls, Raeshon McNeil, Morrice Richardson
- 6 SENIORS: David Grimes, Asaph Schwaap, Paul Duncan, Pat Kuntz, David Bruton, Kyle McCarthy
- 3 5th YEARS: Justin Brown, Mo Crum, Terrail Lambert
As you can see, some of the players were dead on, some were reaches, and some were pure misses. I'd say only 24 of those players really made a noticeable impact for the team on the field. I underestimated a few of the freshman (namely Kyle Rudolph), overvalued a few of the upperclassmen ( Schwaap, Richardson), and had a few that either were not on the team or did not play due to injury (Walls, Yeatman, Ragone, etc.).
So that was what the list looked like for 2008. Let's move on to the present.
- 2 FRESHMAN: Jordan Cowart, Manti Te'o
- 10 SOPHOMORES: Trevor Robinson, Kyle Rudolph, Michael Floyd, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Hafis Williams, Brandon Newman, Darius Flemming, Robert Blanton, John Goodman, Ethan Johnson
- 11 JUNIORS: Jimmy Clausen, Mike Ragone, Robert Hughes, Armando Allen, Golden Tate, Duval Kamara, Brandon Walker, Ian Williams, Kerry Neal, Brian Smith, Harrison Smith
- 9 SENIORS: Dan Wenger, Chris Stewart, Eric Olsen, Sam Young, James Aldridge, Toryan Smith, Darrin Walls, Raeshon McNeil, Sergio Brown
- 4 5th YEARS: Mike Anello, Scott Smith, Kyle McCarthy, Paul Duncan
Even with only two weeks away from the opening kickoff, I am already doubting a few of the players on this list. A couple of things do jump out at me though when I compare both of the years.
Obviously, the huge jump in shear numbers by the 2008 Fr. class to the 2009 class is one of those things. It went from 3 to 10. 4 of those players are unproven, however, with Goodman, KLM, Newman, and Hafis using a redshirt in 2008. This class could be vital to the production we see on the defensive line.
The 2009 Juniors saw almost no movement. They had 13 in the 2008 So. class and saw that number drop to 11. The two that dropped were Gary Gray who missed the spring, but could still prove to be important in the dime, and Emeka Nwankwo- who continues to have me puzzled. Nwankwo has all of the athletic tools and hardcore demeanor to be used either inside or out on the defensive line, but he just hasn't put it all together for one reason or another.
The 2009 senior class had only a 2 player swing in the negative as well, but it involved more players in the process. Yes, i took the punter, Eric Maust out, because I want to see him at all in 2009. Just a wish. Added were my boy Sergio Brown, who should be an even bigger force in 2009 on his way to a top 5 pick in the NFL draft, and Mo Richardson is out as I feel he will never make much of an impact past the Michigan game.
The 5th year class is what it usually is. An unproven linebacker, a special teamer, an offensive lineman, and a safety. Mike Anello makes this class special with him being a former walk-on, now a special team demi-god with the ability to take over 3rd world countries in Africa and Central America.
As always, I am a little cautious about the freshman. I will only give 2 the distinction of Clan members right now with Te'o a certainty, and Cowart almost as such. There could be a few surprises (or maybe they won't be surprises as some people will put the frosh in the mix right away), but I am comfortable with these two.
There are some that are MIA from the Clan. These guys were close, but for one reason or another- they didn't make the cut. This isn't to say that they won't prove me wrong- but we will have to wait for The Subway Domer to eat crow. They are:
- Gary Gray
- Steve Filer
- Shaq Evans
- Deion Walker
- Tyler Stockton
Thanks again for following the Wu Am I series. Remember, that come tomorrow begins what is essentially a bye week for the Irish. It's almost here. And to celebrate, how about one last (might be a lie) Wu video for all those motherfucking haters. Word.
Aug 21, 2009
Aug 19, 2009
Aug 18, 2009
The season is rapidly approaching and for the second straight year, Subway Domer was asked to vote in the CBS Sports Blogpoll. The Blogpoll is consisted of blog writers from around the nation covering a wide range of schools. The poll is designed to be a real barometer for what the fans really think. THIS INCLUDES YOU!!!
How are you involved? Simple. Every week, I will post a "draft ballot" on Monday. All readers are encouraged to call me out and provide what changes, they would like to see. On Wednesday Morning, I will submit the final ballot that could be different from the draft depending on how well you have changed my mind with profane or non-profane arguments. The Blogpoll Top 25 will be published on Subway Domer on Thursday.
Make your voice be heard. Here now, is my draft preseason ballot. The final draft is due by Monday morning. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Aug 17, 2009
Welcome to the final edition of Wu Am I? for the 2009 season. Once again- I am trying to identify the 36 players of impact for the 2009 squad. So without any further bullshit, I open chambers 35 & 36...
Trevor Robinson #78
6'5" 305 lbs.
Wu Name: Tha Flailing Fanatical Killah
In what was arguably the nations number one recruiting class of 2008, Trevor Robinson stood out. We all knew he would become a very good player- early. In what was a hotly battled recruiting war with home state Nebraska, Notre Dame overcame the Tom Osbourne influence, as they picked up a commitment from Trevor in mid-December of 2007. Robinson played in 11 games, while starting 3 of them as well. Trevor is only the fifth ND freshman to ever start at Notre Dame. He also became the catalyst of Chris Stewart. If Stewart wasn't playing very well, in would come Robinson- and then Stewart would come back in and kill somebody. It was frustrating at times, because Trevor looked like our best lineman and he only played half of the time.
Robinson is partaking in a completely different role this year, as he sits atop the depth chart at right guard. Time will tell if the off-season changes involving Dan Wenger, Eric Olsen, Chris Stewart, and Robinson produce the results Irish fans are looking for- but it's a step in the right direction. They said/ we want the 5 best players along the offensive line, and Trevor certainly fits that part. I expect exceeded expectations- so should Trevor.
Scott Smith #41
6'3" 245 lbs.
Highland Park, Illinois
Wu Name: Half-Cut Skeleton
Scott was one of those many 3 star prospects that made up the incoming class of 2005, so its easy to see how he has gotten lost in the shuffle of mediocrity. The Irish secured a commitment from Scott after he turned down Michigan State, UCLA, and Purdue. During his time at Notre Dame, Scott has become a special teams warrior. Sure, he has been a reserve linebacker during his tenure, but his niche has been his willingness to hurdle his body at fast speeds on the different return and kick units. His unselfishness and determination has won over the hearts of the team and the staff.
Scott was not originally on this list. He wasn't even on my list of notable players- not on this list. However, a last minute tweak was in order after his teammates voted him as the Special Teams Captain over fan favorite, and Wu Am I member- Mike Anello. What should we expect from Scott this year? More of the same grit, but perhaps with a little more fire after his rise to a leadership position. He has proved himself to be a leader, and special teams specialists should be as respected as any other position. Sweet justice for Scott would be a game changing play (forced fumble, game-changing hit, etc.) perhaps in one of the biggest games of the year on October 17th. I think he is dreaming of this- as we all are and should be.
(Editors Note: Look for the "It's Wu-Wrap", an overview of the Wu Am I series coming later this week.)
Aug 15, 2009
Aug 14, 2009
The 2009 college football season is rapidly approaching- as is the epic battle of "Subway Domer's 'There Can Be Only One' College Football Pick-Em Contest." I have 5 spots remaining to the first 5 people to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your Division 1-AA or lower team name.
I have also made a few tweaks to the contest, and wanted to post all of the rules once again to avoid future confusion by some of you.
- Shortly after the AP poll comes out, I will e-mail the games to pick for the week.
- The picks will also be posted here at Subway Domer for posterity. (The Subway Domer Contest Page is no longer in use. All posts will be on Subway Domer and e-mail.)
- The games will consist of all top 10 teams, Notre Dame, and other big games. In all, there will be about 14 games a week.
- If a top 10 team is playing a Div. 1-AA team, that game will be replaced by another game. I don't believe in the 1-A VS. 1-AA bullshit.
- All picks are to be e-mailed to me no later than an hour before the first played game on the list is scheduled to kickoff. This could be on a Thursday, or a Friday.
- IMPORTANT: All e-mailed picks are to have your designated team names attached to them. If your team name is not with your picks- the consequences may be severe.
- If you do not send your picks, I will automatically give you the home team in each contest as a mulligan. The second time- you will be out of the contest all together.
- Once again, the scoring: Correct picks are worth 2 points. A correct pick between two top ten teams is worth 4 points. If you pick the underdog to win in any game and the underdog wins, it is worth an additional 4 points on top of the 2 or 4 points you were already rewarded.
- The weekly prizes are officially a go. The highest point total for the week is the winner. if there is a tie, the winner will go to the player with the most correct picks. The second tie-breaker will be your overall points. The third will be a coin flip by me.
- In the past, I had a separate web page for this contest. No more. All updates and scoring and whatever else coincides with this contest will be posted on Subway Domer. Also, once you are registered, you will be in an e-mail group and you will receive e-mail updates as well.
- The winner (announced after the conference title games) will have his/her choice of 2 t-shirts from a large selection. The shirt selections will be posted in a day or so. Here is a link to the choices from last year. OC Domer won the Bowl Pick-Em two years in a row, and asked me to put a donation at the Grotto in lieu of a shirt each time. So you have that option as well. ( I am still working on the new shirts. If you would like to purchase a Subway Domer shirt from my store, check this link out.)
That's really about all I have right now. Any questions can be asked on the comment section of this post, or at my e-mail. Now, a video for Trent and Tony.
Welcome to another edition of Wu Am I? for the 2009 season. Once again- I am trying to identify the 36 players of impact for the 2009 squad. So without any further bullshit, I open chambers 33 & 34...
Paul Duncan #72
6'7" 315 lbs.
Wu Name: Jolly Observer
Paul Duncan was one of seven players in the 2005 recruiting class, that committed to Notre Dame in that last month before signing day. He spurned offers from such programs as LSU and Oklahoma to head to South Bend and become a member of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Paul saw a decent amount of playing time his freshman year, and was on pace to start for Notre Dame in his sophomore year- until Sam Young stepped on campus. Paul started the 2007 season as the left tackle, but was moved over to the right side after Young suffered a right wrist injury that moved him into the left spot. After the 2007 season, Paul had surgery on his hip following his junior year and redshirted his senior year.
Now Paul is healthy and slated as the number one left tackle since spring ball.It will remain to be seen how much improvement Duncan has made since the 2007 season -where honestly, no offensive lineman looked any good for most of the season. At 6'7" and 315 pounds, Duncan has the size to succeed, but the real question is his athleticism and his feet. Mike Turkovich did a surprisingly good job last year as he was plugged into the LT position, and now it is time to see if Duncan can do the same. If he is able to do what Turk did- or exceed it, than this line has a chance to really help make this offense very explosive.
John Goodman #81
6'3" 203 lbs.
Ft Wayne, Indiana
Wu Name: Pesty Commander
This was a tough choice for the 34th chamber. I took Goodman over Deion Walker, Robby Parris, and Shaq Evans. I sincerely think that this is where he belongs. John had a ton of offers coming out of high school, such as Michigan and Purdue, but chose the Irish early. John was part of a recruiting class that included Deion Walker, and Michael Floyd. That's pretty serious company- and he will have the chance to prove himself this year.
John has a not so secret weapon- he can throw the rock. John played QB during his senior year in high school, and now he owns the distance record of over 80 yards against fellow Irish players Dayne Crist and Jimmy Clausen. That's why I have him in this slot over the other 2 WR's mentioned. John will not only be able to provide a good 4th, and sometimes 3rd, option at WR- but he will be a dynamic addition to "trick it up." John keeps getting compared to Jeff Samardzija thanks to his skin pigment (meaning: he's a white WR), however- he is much more like a Rhema McKnight with his quickness and his ability to create after the catch. Goodman will make some amazing plays this year, but on what end of the ball?
Aug 13, 2009
Aug 11, 2009
Aug 10, 2009
Welcome to another edition of Wu Am I? for the 2009 season. Once again- I am trying to identify the 36 players of impact for the 2009 squad. So without any further bullshit, I open chambers 31 & 32...
Manti Te'o #5
6'2" 244 lbs.
Wu Name: Tha Prolific Polynesian Prince
Everyone knows the path that Te'o took to Notre Dame. Everyone. Why? Because he was the number one defensive player coming out of high school- and perhaps the best player overall. He is certainly the highest ranked defensive player that Notre Dame has got in a long- long time. There is really no other way to say how huge this commitment was other than, "WHEEEEEEEE!!!!" Keeping Te'o away from Satan- the Poodle was equally as important.
Now on to more important things- such as playing time. Whether it happens right away or not- Te'o will become a starter this year. I'll go ahead and say that I fully expect him to win the job in fall camp. The real question is- which job. The linebacking corps is a solid amd deep group that has players that are very flexible. Te'o will probably be either the Will or Mike backer. I think the staff really wants Brian Smith as the Will, so it's just a question of Te'o grasping the defensive playbook mentally and beating out Toryan Smith (another member of the 36 Chambers). I am not one of those guys that think that the high ranked freshman coming in should, or can start right away- but this is a different matter all together. Manti-Mania is in full effect at Subway Domer.
Brandon Newman #99
6' 1" 295 lbs.
Wu Name: Cheeky Delinquent
Brandon Newman was one of those players that I thought ND just HAD to have. He was a high ranked defensive tackle from the south, and looked like he would fit beautifully into what was the Irish 3-4 defense. The defensive scheme has changed a little, but Newman remains a guy that ND wants as a gap filler- regardless of the front. Brandon was redshirted his freshman year and used that time to help reshape his body and learn the system.
This was a hard pick for me. I chose Brandon over guys like Tyler Stockton and Emeka Nwankwo. The Fighting Irish staff love Brandon's strength and agility- and so do I. Newman has always surprised a few people since high school, and I imagine he will surprise a few more people this year. He will be involved in the rotation with Ian Williams who is slated as the starter. If Newman can come in and just play solid- he will have an impact. I don't expect him to just be solid however, I expect him to make plays.