Sunday, September 16, 2007

Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0

Not many positives came from this one. Two things did stand out to me, though. First, there's that old adage about controlling the line of scrimmage. On both sides of the ball, Michigan move the line of scrimmage two yards on every single play. They dominated the rushing stats 289 to -6. But ND's rushing stats would have been a lot worse if it wasn't for James Aldridge's performance against Michigan's second team. Aldridge finished with 51 yards rushing. But against the first team defense, Aldridge tried to wait for blocks that simply didn't develop and he was eaten alive.

The second thing is something that scares me - fundamentally unsound play on both sides of the ball. You can say what you want about Notre Dame's talent, depth, and experience this year. But it doesn't take any of those three ingredients to play at a basically fundamental level. When fundamentals are in question at the college level, the finger of doubt gets pointed directly at the coaching staff. With all that being said, I never played organized football and still have much to learn about the game. So I hope I'm just wrong.

Jimmy Clausen is still learning on the job. He's starting to throw downfield a little more, but eight sacks are never a good thing. He'll learn, but it will take time. And don't forget - Michigan may have struggled mightily in their first two games, but they're still a very good team.

The defensive front seven was simply outsized by Michigan's line. The Irish will have another tough test next week against familiar faces Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick of Michigan State. MSU has a new starter at quarterback, so the Spartans would love to take the ball out of his hands and feed Ringer and Caulcrick all day long.

That's all I have to say right now. We can't do anything now about the last three games, so we just have to look forward towards the rest of the schedule. Go Irish.