Last Saturday, us Notre Dame fans were treated with a delight. One some of us were worried we wouldn’t see all season. The simple joy of a hard-earned victory. Agh feels nice for us Fighting Irish faithful. And furthermore – two straight wins? All the better!
What we saw on Saturday was a glimpse of the team we all had hoped to see coming into this year. Only, with the hint of realism, we were so rudely given the first two weeks. It was like a compromise – Marcus Freeman showing us he’s not a “total bum” after all. That the players we have on our roster do deserve to be at a prestigious, D1 program. Hell, we even saw Michael Mayer play like the beast we all know he is!
These past two weeks have been nice for the Fighting Irish, but next week we’ll be facing an even harder test… A ranked team in BYU. Furthermore, they have a dangerous dual-threat QB; which Notre Dame has been historically bad against. We’ll look a little further in-depth into our matchup later this week. But for now, let’s focus on what helped Notre Dame earn the win against the Tarheels.
Because the way I see it – if we can play like that consistently; we’ll be alright. Hell, maybe even good.
Keep Feeding the Beast
As eluded to earlier – yes, the beast is Michael Mayer himself. There’s a reason the dude has been pinned as a potential first-rounder. He’s a miniature Gronk – pre-injury. And yet, he’s been relatively shut down thus far in the season. I get it, teams are undoubtedly keying in on him. I sure would if I were going against ND. But, what we saw last week was a determination to get the best player on our team the ball. And look, it worked. It didn’t even take a dominant performance, either. Just get him the ball, however, you have to do it. And good things will happen…
Get Creative on Offense
Whether it be finding a way to get the ball to Mayer, or using our elusive speedsters in Styles and Tyree to try something new – we need to spice things up. And no, I’m not talking about that weird reverse we tried against Ohio State. I’m simply talking about creative play calling. We saw how effective a unique play like the play action/roll-out/wheel route combo to Diggs was. It doesn’t take anything fancy – it simply takes something outside of the pro-style offense we saw Tommy Rees call in the first two weeks. That couldn’t even beat Marshall. Whether it’s cockiness or laziness, the buck stops here. Rees knows his job is on the line, and maybe that’s the spark he needed to try something new. Again, it worked…
Get In Control, and Stay In Control
For anyone who watched the game – it was obvious we had the game after halftime. Sure, we let it get a little too close for comfort – but the momentum was with us the whole time. And that’s at an away stadium, at that. That was why we were able to coast through the rest of the game. Our Defense rallied around tacklers. Our Offensive Line wasn’t amazing, but they got push. Drew Pyne managed the game to a victory. We played smart, and we played with confidence. Sure enough, it showed. It’s been a little while since I’ve seen us play like we were Champions. Like we’re the powerhouse team our fans know we are. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch – but we’re Notre Dame for God’s sake. The blue & gold finally played like that. Oh, how good that felt to see.
Playing Like a Champion?
I’m not going to get ahead of myself and say that the Irish will win out. No, that’s too much of a stretch after just two wins. But, what I will say is that things are looking up. As I wrote in previous articles – this year will be a test. All I’ve asked for is to play with pride. Ironically, we played with pride in our week 1 loss – then completely lost it in week 2. Notre Dame went off of the rails.
Now, here we are in week 5, slowly starting to get back on the rails once again. The lights initially seemed too bright for Drew Pyne, maybe even Marcus Freeman. Yet, now, we’re starting to see a different side of our troops. It’s a side that’s worth watching once again. That we can cheer on with a smile.
Sure, maybe this upcoming match against BYU could snatch us back down to reality once again. Or, it could actually lift our spirits to a new level – a level we had initially hoped for at the beginning of the year. Well, marginally speaking now – of course. Yet, here I am, an Irish fan, actually excited once again. Just another year on the roller coaster ride which comes with being a Notre Dame football fan.
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