Sunday, September 03, 2006

Georgia Tech/Notre Dame Recap

Things started off shaky for the Irish tonight but they were able to prevail. What is important to remember tonight is that we're 1-0 right now. In week 12, nobody will be able to bring up "they lost to Georgia Tech in week one". It wasn't exactly pretty, but it was a win. Here were a few things I saw.

Too Many Penalties

11 Penalties for 80 yards. Its when they occurred that mattered the most though. A touchdown run by Darius, a nice punt return by Zibby called back and numerous first downs taken off of the board. Also a few first starts, 2nd and 8 is much easier to work with than 2 and 13.

New Kicking Game

The punt team looked excellent. Geoff Price was able to bomb two over sixty yards and the coverage team looked very good as well. The field goal unit looked horrendous though. Both field goals (42 and 36 yards) never looked like they had a chance.


Overall I thought our defense was impressive tonight. We started off somewhat shaky, but we bent and never really broke. Here's a rundown...

Pass Defense

Mike Richardson looked awful tonight. Other than that I was pleased with what I saw in the secondary. The Jackets didn't really ever test Zibby, he did however deliever a couple massive blows and made his presence felt. I was probably the most impressed with Chinedum Ndukwe. He was rarely seemed to be out of position and seems to have matured quite a bit since last season.

Linebacker Play

I guess I didn't expect a whole lot from them tonight but I was impressed with their overall performance. Grant it there were a few times they were out of position and Reggie Ball was able to break loose a few too many times. Late in the game they came through though and made big plays when they needed too.

Front Four

Our pass rush really wasn't there in the first half but it improved as the game went on. I was very impressed with how the defensive line played on third and short. Multiple times we were able to come up with a stop on third and three or less.

On the Other Side of the ball...

Folks, we aren't losing a thing when we have Rhema instead of Stovall this year at the other wide out. Comparing him to Samardzija, Rhema is quicker off the ball and he cuts and runs better routes than The Shark.
I know its week one but they could have performed better tonight. Too many dropped passes on balls that should have been caught. If Rhema would have caught the third down pass on our second to last possesion the game would have been anything but climatic.
Furthermore, their downfield blocking looked good to me tonight. They sprung Darius on a few runs and both Samardzija and McKnight looked good on blocking the bubble screens for each other, besides on Rhema's questionable holding call.

Brady Quinn - 23/38, 246, 1 Rushing Touchdown

What is the key number up there? Trick question, its the 0 in the turnover department for Brady. He showed tonight that he can be human, however we have to remember that this was the first game of the season. It was the first time he saw a defense that blitzed quite like Georgia Tech did. He didn't make a stupid pass under pressure or cough up a fumble by doing something stupid. He also showed some great decision making in tucking the ball down a couple times. As the game went on you could see him gain more confidence in himself. After the drive at the end of the first half that finally got us on the board you could tell he had taken control of the game.

Offensive Line:

Struggled early on but got better as the game goes on. You can only expect them to struggle early against a defense that they see for a first time. Later on in the game it was obvious that Georgia Tech's defense was tired and we were able to take full advantage of that. Also able to create some nice running lanes for Darius and Thomas.

Game Ball Goes Too....

Darius Walker. It's a tough choice, I feel Brady and Travis Thomas could each get it. Darius started off slow in the first half but carried the load by carrying the Irish down field to open the second half and getting in the end zone. His numbers weren't anything stunning (22 car/104 yds, 1 td, 4 rec/18 yds) but his ability to be a grinder really demoralized the Tech D. Happy Homecoming, D-Walk.


It wasn't the prettiest of wins but we escaped this week with a 1-0 record. We might not have looked all that impressive but you have to remember we weren't playing a cupcake like Vandy, Akron, or Louisiana Tech. Georgia Tech is going to be a bowl team and don't be suprised if they pull off an upset later this season. However our defense looked improved and although we only put up 14 points, our offense was impressive and made plays when they had to.

Now lets get ready for Penn State and go show JoePa why we don't need to be in a conference next week, as much as he believes he's right. Stay tuned for a National roundup from week one shortly.

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