Tuesday, January 8, 2013




The Fighting Irish faithful thought that they were back.  They were back in the business of winning national titles.  They had a defense that woke the echoes that resonate for the Golden Dome faithful,and they were a team of destiny...until Eddie Lacy got his first carry.

They should have learned from the SEC championship game.  You cannot live in your base defense and go head to head from a 3-man front against what is, essentially, and NFL offensive line.  I don't know that a scheme adjustment via formation or blitz would have made much difference, but it would have somewhat negated the advantage that they handed the Bama O-Line.  If you line up with 3 against 5, you set up natural double teams.  You have to attack the openings created by the double teams or you are going to lose.  Add in that they needed to gang tackle Eddie Lacy, and were hard pressed to catch up to TJ Yeldon's shoelaces, and they had no shot.

Oh, and AJ McCarron played well too.  He has set himself up for a nice run at the first round following next year.  In a year, the young man has progressed from a nervous game manager to a confident pro-style QB with pocket awareness and a cannon on a right arm.

Notre Dame, you should have been in the Sugar Bowl.  A very good team, but you choked against Pitt and got away with it, and if you watch the tape, you got beat by Stanford and got handed that game.

No shame in their season, but what a dud of a game.

Players of note:
C Barrett Jones: Jones now has a Outland trophy from his time at left tackle last season, a Rimington from his time at Center this season, and 3 national titles starting at 3 positions.  He can feasibly be drafted to start at any position on the O-Line and would likely improve every single team in the NFL from day one.  This is all assuming that he recovers well from his Lisfranc injury.

OG Chance Warmack: Warmack dominated for the Crimson Tide.  It is rare that you see a run blocker who can consistently do what he does.  There were consistently wide open holes on the left side for the Bama running back to crash through.

QB AJ McCarron: McCarron is custom fitted to what the Tide want to do.  He is a prototypical pro-style quarterback, and has grown comfortable in his own skin.  Having the tools to work with that he has doesn't hurt that at all, but he will get a long look for talent evaluators from here on.

RB Eddie Lacy: Notre Dame had no answer for a healthy Eddie Lacy.  They list him at 6'0" 220.  He is shorter and heavier than that, and was easily the healthiest I've seen him in 2 months.  He was physical, and abrupt all game, and would not got down for the first defender to hit him.

RB TJ Yeldon: Yeldon is the next big thing at Bama.  He is a taller running back who runs with power and speed.  He has a chance to be the best back of the Nick Saban era at Bama and had 108 in a backup role in the National Title game.

CB Dee Milliner: For some reason, Everett Golson kept going trying to throw high point fades against Milliner.  For those who are not aware, Milliner is a big, physical, corner.  If he has a weakness it is against the true burners who can test him deep, and calling that a weakness is probably overstating it as he has been timed in the 4.4 range.  He took away half the field, but Notre Dame did themselves no favors in their choice of patterns to attack him with.

WR Amari Cooper: It is nearly unheard of for a wide receivers from Miami's Northwest High to leave the state of Florida, let alone the city of Miami, to play his college ball.  Cooper did just that and he gives the Tide and up and coming Wide Receiver who has first round talent.  Look for big things from him next year after hitting 1000 even as a freshman.

Notre Dame:
QB Everett Golson: Golson just couldn't do enough.  He was running for his life half the night, but he did make some plays on his way to 270 yards passing.  The Irish were quickly made 1 dimensional though, and he is best when they are run-heavy.  The upside here is that this young man is only a sophomore and the QB position is loaded enough that he will be pushed to improve even more.

TE Tyler Eifert: Eifert showed by the NFL is so excited about him when he snagged a fade pattern away from Dee Milliner early in the game...which was a catch in my opinion, contrary to the ruling on the field.  He is big and fast, with great body control and is not afraid to block. 

WR Davaris Daniels: Watching the game it seemed like Bama was making all the plays, but Notre Dame did show some flashes in the passing game which was surprising against the Tide's secondary led by Milliner.  Most of the damage was done to 2 young receivers.  Daniels was the first of them, and the young sophomore caught 6 balls for 115, averaging just shy of 20 yards a catch.  That is impressive considering the whole stadium knew Golson had to throw the ball.

WR TJ Jones: Jones is the second receiver who made noise against the Tide and though he only average ~13 yards a catch, he caught 7 balls for 90 himself and both of these wide receivers will be coming back for Golson, or whoever takes his spot.

Interesting Notes:
Notre Dame was chasing their first title in 24 years, Bama got its 4th.  Neither of them leads the nation in national titles all time though..  Nope, that would be Princeton.

2012 Bowl Season Scoreboard
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