Here are the three things that I’m NOT worried about Saturday:
1) Stats. Look at the numbers and they will tell you the tale. If a QB throws for over 300 yards, if running backs tally over 100 yards, if a defense records multiple turnovers, if a team has 10 or more penalties… those are usually indicative of performance. Similarly, if a team racks up twice as many yards, out-rushes and out-passes their opponent, punts half as many times, they almost always win. But not always. Hhhhmmmmm… I wonder if anyone can come up with a good example of this?
2) Ghosts. You can have your Gipper, your Rockne, your Parseghian, your Rudy, your Lou Holtz. Really, you can have Lou Holtz all you want. Please take him. Sure these are legends in the annals of college football and not just Notre Dame. I’ll admit our coaching history falls short in comparison. But we have Athens in the fall, a beautiful English Bulldog, a tremendous Red Coat Band, and a certain greatest college football player evah. So yeah, I’m good here.
3) Road Crowd. I found out that Notre Dame only seats about 80k. We’ve had more than that at a spring game. And how intimidating can you be when you’re called to be holier than thou? Not to mention our players will likely not understand a word of all those yankees. Because if you’ll remember, “God talks like we do.”
Here are the three things that I AM worried about Saturday:
1) The Narrative. Not so much about this one game, but potentially the rest of the season. “Can’t win the big one”, “all the talent, but none of the results”, “I’m not going to believe in Georgia until they win the East”, “SEC East playing 2nd fiddle to the West”, et cetera. Being on a national broadcast, whoever the analysts are will likely spend about 5 more minutes researching us than Tim Tubervole* did last week, and just spout off what we’ve already heard a thousand times. And if we don’t show up, if Munson help us we don’t pull off a win, I just don’t think I can handle the national narrative.
2) Secondaries. Ours: still without Malcolm Parrish, likely without Aaron Davis, and not really tested against the run-first, only-throw-when-behind App State team last week. Notre Dame had pass completions to 8 different receivers vs. Temple this past Saturday (only 1 was a running back) and threw the ball 30 times. Are we ready for that? Theirs: The Domers aren’t really facing a murder’s row of UGA wide receivers. I liked what I saw from Wims, 4 receptions by a tight end (including Harris) gives me all the tingles, but we are still mostly hoping in the passing game. Fromm won’t get away with sloppy footwork or throwing into double-coverage this week. I mean, if he goes 1-12 and we still win…
3) College Kickers. This game was a toss-up in the summer, and even with our much-lauded defense and (somewhat) balanced offense, this contest could easily come down to a few drives that don’t quite get to the end zone. And that means Rodrigo RecSpecs. No one is happier than me about Blankenship’s success last week. Technique, leg strength, confidence – he’s made obvious off-season strides in all those areas. But in the holy name of Rex Robinson, I’m not going to feel good about our kicking game until I do. And I don’t think I will, especially trying to kick with the shadow of The Word of Life** looming in the background. This ain’t the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium with 92 thousand of your closest friends blowing and wishing the ball between the uprights.
What worries you about Saturday’s visit to Notre Dame? Leave it in the comments below, and as always…
*He messes up names, I can too.
**This mural is often referred to by another, more famous name. I choose to eschew that name.