Sunday, October 14, 2007

Boston College 27, Notre Dame 14

Quarterback: It's quite obviously a rebuilding year at this point. But here's the question: do you go with Jimmy Clausen (20-7-2, 60 yds), quarterback of the future, and let him learn the offense on the fly? Or do you go with Evan Sharpley (29-11-0, 135 yds, TD), whose experience and playmaking ability lets everyone else on the field learn the offense on the fly? In other words, yes we'd like Clausen to gain experience and learn the offense. But with Sharpley in there and able to throw the ball downfield more, the young receivers are gaining valuable live experience.

Running Back: BC has a stout run defense, and it showed. Not counting two sacks and an errant Geoff Price knee, the Irish attempted only 18 runs. James Aldridge ran 5 times for 17 yards, Armando Allen 3 for 9, and Robert Hughes 5 for 6. Allen added 3 receptions for 16 yards.

Fullback: Asaph Schwapp had a decent day with the ball. He had 1 carry for 4 yards and 2 receptions for 22 yards.

Receiver: In this game, Robby Parris may best be remembered for the 4th and 1 playaction touchdown catch that was called back due to holding, and remembered second best for a handful of near-catches and drops. But Parris still had a decent day, hauling in 4 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. Duval Kamara and George West had quiet days, with 2 catches for 19 yards and 1 for 3 respectively. David Grimes did not dress for this game.

Tight End: It was another decent game for John Carlson, but again not All-America worthy. The grad student had 4 catches for 29 yards.

O-Line: If you're looking for signs of optimism, all planned runs by the Irish at least got back to the line of scrimmage. The only time ND was stopped behind the line was on Price's kneel and two sacks of Evan Sharpley.

D-Line: Trevor Laws had another solid day, recording 11 tackles and a pass breakup. Pat Kuntz added 5 tackles while Dwight Stephenson got a hit on the BC quarterback.

Linebacker: Joe Brockington put in yeoman's work in this one. Maurice Crum missed most of the game with a leg injury, and Brockington was limping for most of the second half as well. But Brockington stayed in there, and led the team with 13 tackles. Stepping in for Crum, in a new position on the inside, Anthony Vernaglia had 5 tackles, one in the backfield. John Ryan added 4 stops and a QB hit. Meanwhile, the legend of Brian Smith grows. Smith only had 2 tackles, but also had a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Safety: My dad commented that Tom Zbikwoski hasn't impressed him this year. Sadly, I would have to agree. Zbikowski had 6 tackles and a pass breakup, but he hasn't been playing with the killer instinct you'd expect out of a 5th-year version of number nine. David Bruton had 6 tackles.

Cornerback: The Irish played a nickel formation for most of the game, with two linemen, two outside linebackers in three-point stances, and two inside linebackers. The nickelback was Ambrose Wooden, who for better or for worse had 5 stops. Darrin Walls had 2 tackles and 2 pass breakups.

Kicker: Brandon Walker missed a 41 yard field goal attempt. He had the distance, but was wide right.

Punter: Price did have the key blunder of picking up a bad JJ Jansen snap with his knee on the ground. But otherwise, Price averaged 42.2 yards on 6 punts. And in Jansen's defense, this is likely the first time I've ever mentioned his name because of a bad snap.

Kick and Punt Returner: Armando Allen, Golden Tate, and Tom Zbikowski were all decent, but none could manage a return longer than 18 or 19 yards.

Special Teams: Irish coverage teams did a decent job, holding punt returners to 11.3 yards per and kick returners to 18.5 yards per.