#4 R.P.I. Notre Dame @ #23 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech football hosts Notre Dame on Saturday night down in the New River Valley at 8 pm on A.B.C. In what will surely be the hottest tix to find in Lane Stadium terms in a decade+.
The Hokies are coming off of a true need win down at gamey and formerly nationally ranked Duke; whereas the Fighting Irish enter this contest at 5 up and zero down on the year and with their eyes on the play-off prize —should they run the table. However, the sure to be sky-high like the International Space Station hosting Hokies might want an aeronautical word or three with that. As this one will be a max’ effort from both sides with the national television spotlight shinning big and bold on both teams this weekend. Nonetheless, what you wanna know is… what kinda a R.A.T.T. shot does Virginia Tech have at the mightly Irish here? Read on to find… out!
Today’s word of the day is… up·set
- To cause to overturn; knock or tip over:
- In a state of emotional or mental distress; distraught,
- an unexpected defeat or reversal, as in a contest or plans.
- The only race-horse to ever win running vs. fabled Man o’War!
- The Golden Domers of well fabled Notre Dame come 11 pm Saturday night?
Notre Dame Head Coach: Brian Keith Kelly: age=56, (53-33 @Notre Dame; 224-90-2 overall); has a rep’ for defensive-minded coaching and national recruiting success.
Baller Kelly was born in Everett, Massachusetts, and was raised in a Catholic Irish-American family in Chelsea, Massachusetts. His father was a Boston politician. He was a four-year letter winner at Assumption College as an Inside-Lb (1979-1982). After graduating from Assumption in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in political science Kelly started out as a Linebacker coach, defensive coordinator, and softball coach from 1983 to 1986.
After that, coach Kelly joined the Grand Valley State University staff in 1987 as a graduate assistant and defensive backs coach after which he became the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator in 1989. Kelly took over as head coach in 1991. In his final three seasons, the (other non-L.a.) Lakers went 41–2, at one point, winning 20 consecutive games. The Lakers went 14–0 in 2002 en route to their first national title and went 14–1 in 2003 when they claimed their second National Championship. Kelly was named the AFCA Division II Coach of the Year after each of these championship years— not bad work; if you can get it.
Kelly then went to a pretty well kicked Central Michigan University football program where he only turned C.M.U. around in one year and got to a bowl game in year number three. After that, he was off to Cincy where he posted a seminal looking 36-6 mark including four bowls in four seasons and two New Year’s Day bowl invites with a perfect season in his final (12-o) year!
Coach Kelly then landed most any up-n-coming coaches dream job @South Bend. As the Irish big whistle coach Kelly has gone an entertaining and job-holding .611 overall for N.Dame. This includes a low-water mark or Irish Potato Famine of 4-8 in 2016 and nearly all the vacated wins from 2012-2013 (o-4 official mark; with 21 wins vacated) due to the use of ineligible players. This also included the Sugar Bowl season that climaxed in a dubbing by S.e.c. Alabama to boot.
Coach Kelly has only spawned a very fruitful nine fellow college football head coaches per his very own coaching tree. He only holds eight national Coach of the Year awards and three conference Coach of the Year awards thus far.
Daddy Kelly has a wife, Paqui, and three children, Patrick, Grace, and Kenzel. Paqui, after surviving breast cancer, went on to start the Kelly Cares Foundation.
May St.Nektarios bless!
2017 record: 10 up 3 down and (Independent)
N.Dame Defense: (starters back=9)
- 36th in Total D.
- 44th vs. the run.
- 58th vs. the throw.
- Def. S&P+ Rk: 5th!
- 12th in Team Passing Efficiency Defense!
- 90th in 1st down D.
- 43rd in Qb’s sacked.
- 27th in Tackles for a Loss (TFL) inflicted.
- 19th in explosiveness.
- 24th in dLine Havoc. Star in the making disruptive De Khalid Kareem (1st in run-stuffs, TFL, and 2nd in Sacks) is said to be nursing several dings and missed time vs. Stanford last week. 6 of the top-8 are back. And the top-3 (De, Dt, Dt) are as solid as any top-3 defensive down-linemen can get. And Dt Jeff Tillery is prolly the most solidified of the lot. A pretty dang disruptive north-south baller in his own right.
- 54th in Linebacking Havoc. Irish team Captain, leader, and Linebacking stud Drue Tranquill is whispered to have a broken hand (may St.Julia bless); and he’s a physically stout and athletic bull of the woods at the point of attack. Everyone is back here less one. Lb Te’von Coney is an all-conference caliber baller, well; if N.Dame had a conference that is.
- 29th in Secondary Havoc. N.Dame is 21st in interceptions and clearly plays the ball not the man on film. The entire secondary does return and gets bonus points for an epic hind-4 recruiting class to boot. Cb Julian Love is the best Cb on the field -by far- and one of the best Cb’s we will see all year. Fs Nick Coleman starts at Virginia Tech. Cb’s ain’t scared to play press/tight in short yardage or in zone situations, kinda old-school 70’s Oaktown Raiders looking at times. Do drop to a more standardized medium-man or off-man depth on normal down-n-distance.
- D overall: D plays multiple 30’s and even cheats a ‘backer or S forward for an even four-two spit look. The Irish like to blindside blitz the Will or whoever is widest. Almost has an oddball thirty-two look at times with pure Inside Linebacking-twins and nearly a Dime set behind that. Will run-blitz and deal either Ilb and if you pick them up, the 1st-down is prolly yours; if not more. Not the best tackling team I’ve seen in space… “shallow” on leverage in a word; and army tacking at times to boot. There are however some hitters here in traffic, on the edges, and in the second (Lb) layer, Hokies buckle up!
- ∑ (summary): This is a good D, it has talent and experience alike. It doesn’t make many mistakes, keeps a lotta plays in front of it; and will make you drive the field. Might be just a little better on the tips (dLine and Secondary) though it is pretty solid overall stem to stern. Not sure I’d call this an epic D, although it prolly is a Top-3 or so defense in our very own 2018 seasonal terms.
Irish Offense: (returning starters=6)
- 47th in Total O.
- 44th in ground O.
- 64th in aerial O.
- Off. S&P+ Rk=37th.
- 19th in 1st down O.
- 38th in completion percentage O (64%).
- 47th in sacks allowed | 54th in TFL allowed.
- 82nd in explosiveness.
- 46th in solo tackled, or harder than average to bring down.
- O overall: New Qb1 and former Qb2 (sound familiar?) Ian Book is only 19% better at throwing the football -of all the Qb things- and his perfect 7:0 (TD:INT) passing ratio is virtually perfectly better than the former Qb1’s offering of 1:4 the ‘rong way. Yes, I’d say that counts as real live jumper-cables go to the 2018 Irish O. As Ion is a smaller (6′, 203 lb.) third-year Pivot who thus far has played a lot bigger than that. He has a history of rally-cap heroics including the cardiac comeback Citrus Bowl last year and Ian did play off-n-on for the oft’ injured Qb1 Wimbush last campaign. Ian was the no. 39-ranked quarterback by Scout outta high school and was ranked higher than that in pure scholastic pocket-Qb terms. As this kid is not a dual-threat basketball on grass modern era spread-set Qb by trade or by formatting. Although he does have a centennial (100) yards rushing thus far. Ian is, however, a gifted rhythm and timing thrower; something of a Park Place man’s Michael Brewer if you will with zippy short to medium throws though only a 76mm Sherman Tank sized main-gun (i.e. his deep arm is a few bricks shy of a load). Wr/ Wb, Jafar Armstrong is N.Dame’s second-leading rusher (245) and r-Jr., Tb, Tony Jones Jr. is their leading Chuck Muncie pudgy looking real eyeglasses wearing leading rusher (303) and 21st ranked Rb outta high school according to Rivals. He of the legit 4.5 speed and noticeable 545 back-squat at Rb. Tho’ Jafar has a bursa sac infection that requires surgery (St.Nikhon bless) and Jones is whispered to have a serious (possible class III) ankle-sprain (St.Servatus bless). Wr Miles Boykin is the class of the grab-gang here, though the very sizey looking N.Dame pass catchers do not exactly have the softest hands I’ve ever seen on film. And sources say the Irish are unusually thin at Rb and at Wr. The N.Dame offensive line is missing their top-2 N.f.l. 1st-rounders upfront from 2017. The oLine is stronger inside (G-c-G) than outside (Ot). C Sam Mustipher is the bell-cow here. Though offensive Captain and final year left-G, right-G and right-Ot on occasion, Alex Bars (double left-knee tears, cue St.Nikhon… twice, again), is out for the year. Harsh thing this football. Dang…
- ∑ (summary): Bit more of a reload than the Irish enjoy over on the other side of the ball here. Though the top-11 has more pop to its A-game and is noticeably smoother with I.Book holding the starting Qb reins. That said, N.Dame is not as deep nor as experienced here, and the injuries to their Top-2 ball carriers is an issue now. …in terms of breaking tape… saw me a lotta quick-hitting Iso/Plunge plays inside the Ot-box, and this is a big ole pear-shaped rolly-polly looking oLine; make no mistake on that. Qb does Spread, Pistol and traditional (shorter yardage) under-C looks all three. N.Dame will double pull the entire backside (G+Ot) and truly try to overload the play-side point of attack. Really shiny trap-blocking team. Like Lombardi went total boss. Te/H-back blocks well, and did I mention the Irish physicality at the point of attack yet? Don’t wanna L time-of-possession (TOP) early and wear down late here. Remind a bit of hateful wvu under richrod with a lotta doubles at the point-of-attack. Rb’s are middleocre sized and Qb is really small, although Rb’s are Shyrone Stith ‘esque. Lottsa crossbuck and/or scissoring here as well. Which creates natural I.Hop pancakes on cutback blocks; and a very niftily done physical oLine. Most impressive schematically | fun to X’s and O’s watch. Even saw me some offset boxman (Fb behind G) offset-I formations. As the N.Dame run-fits sure ain’t; dull. The Irish do have some jet-sweep and triple option inflection points; which should remind you of someone (i.e. Fu’/Corny). The Irish throw-sets work everything off of establishing the run; first; as the play-call splits percentage echoes below. Lotta play-action, with short in-line to medium angular or sideline patterning looks. Te’s and H’backs really should transfer here, as you will receive throw-game love. Rb’s only block so-so in pass-protect; file that one away… N.Dame’s itty-bitty Qb does move well and purchase greater passing time, he’s a thrower, and throw-game worker, not a pure runner. And he throws really well on the move; even back across his body ‘rong side well; even upfield whacky side-armed looking option pitches that go “trick or treat” well before 31 Oct. 2018 A.D. One #81, Sr. 6′4″, 233 lb. Miles Boykin is a grown man looking load on the edge son. Remember that one vs. our smaller lighter in the pants Cb’s. (ditto #86, Sr., 6′6″, 256 lb. Te, Alize Mack “truck”).
- And “aye”, Rb Dexter Williams is back from suspension! He of the “unofficial suspension” according to their website and/or ΔΤΧ “double secret probation”; and yah; if I knew what that meant I’d know what that meant… Nevertheless, he prolly is the biggest north-south power hitting threat… at 5′11″, 215 lbs. of Sr. knifing good internal rushing Rb. That being said, his career seasonal high is a circuitous looking 360 rushing in a single year. Now we come full-circle on why I did not originally leave, him, in. Maybe he is senioritis ready to break-out, though he ain’t dermatologically broken-out, yet.
- 61% run:pass 39% mix.
G.Domer Special Teams: (return)
Notre Dame is 41st in Net Punting and so is management school grad’-Sr. Tyler Newsome. Tyler is a lotta thing(s) for N.Dame… as he serves as the backup KO man and the backup place-Kicker to boot. And being the only mullet wearing P that I’ve ever seen is among ’em. Ty’ is a 3.5-year starter so he is experienced enough not to get cold-foot on the big stage here. He has a career long of 71 yards and has above average leg strength. He has also had a total of 3 punts snuffed out already so you know coach Shibest will be interested in this punter here. And interestingly enough, his scholastic kicking vitals suggested more parts kicker or place-kicker than punter; at least to me.
- 62nd in Punt Returns | 41st in KO returns.
- 51st in punt coverage | 93rd and in suicide-squad.
- N.Dame has blocked 0 kicks and allowed 0 kicks to be blocked.
- N.Dame has blocked 0 punts and allowed 0 punts to be blocked.
Justin Yoon is a senior year Korean heritage K for the Irish. He has not missed a P.A.T. in three years; although he is basically a three outta four ~75% probability FG-K for his career. The high 40’s seem to be his punt or long-FGA marker, Yoon does have one 52 yards make for his collegiate long. He is a four year starting K so experience is not a concern here. Justin was rated as No. 1 kicker in the nation by 247Sports and the No. 2 kicker nationally by ESPN coming outta high school. He does have a history of back injuries however and that may have been a mitigating factor as his collegiate FG-make percentage does not seem to commiserate with being named the #1 scholastic kicker in America (God Bless).
Special Teams letter-grade: Special Teams S&P+ Rk: 53rd. And I would have to say that I find the Irish special-teams to be pretty centrist overall; all less KO coverage. Though I did expect more from so many chip recruits. Accordingly, I am issuing C+ letter grade
just because there has to be a freak or three here.
- VT O.
- N.Dame D and N.Dame O. (virtual tie).
- VT D.
- (READERS note: the top three are all close here, only the VT pass D ranks low)
- motive: Need you ask? As this is the one we’ve all been waiting for… EDGE=VT.
- weather: TBA…
- health/off-field: Oddly enough for a team missing its Qb1, N.Dame is prolly the more beat-up squad at the moment. EDGE=VT.
- penalties: N.Dame and V.Tech are both very well off in yellow-laundry maintenance. EDGE=push.
- intangibles: Did not find any nifty ones to report on here… the only thing I can come up with is the N.Dame size. This is a big ole burly looking football team and you have to wonder how well that wears the longer this one wears on. EDGE=ND.
- fatigue: The Hokies are still up +13 on rest as N.Dame has yet to have an OPEN week. EDGE=VT.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Irish who could start @Tech=14 (tho' less now with hurts)
The takeaway here is… that from what I can glean from studying the N.Dame S&P+ overall, O and D matrix, Notre Dame is a football club that has improved each and every week. And that is not something you get to say on a starting point to nearly midway basis very often. As teams bounce up and down a bit more than that. To take that a step further, this very visit to Blacksburg, Va. might just be N.Dame’s toughest remaining game yet; and is surely their toughest remaining roadie on the 2018 regular season docket. Wild, ain’t it?
Or in other words, when you look at the remaining Irish schedule, you see they have a reasonable one, if not a modestly favorable one, which affords them a pragmatic chance at, at least finishing 4th in the four-horse quadratic college football playoff qualifying race. In point of fact, the scheduling indicators I looked at gave the Irish not less than a 59% odds on running the 2018 regular season table. And that does not suck when you’ve played zero Oktøberfèst football games thus far.
That being said, this is a pretty good Notre Dame football squad that is still improving, that does a lotta little to medium things right— nevertheless, it does seem to want for at least a modicum of big-play explosiveness. Which makes me wonder just how much headroom these 2018 Irish have left with regard to their 2018, ceiling?
As one could be forgiven for saying they have the look-n-feel of an uber Duke+++.
- Δ1=60% that N.Dame is clearly the favorite here and they merely out-talent a feisty tho’ ultimately still retooling V.Tech program over the full 60 minutes by 1.5 plays or more.
- Δ2=30% that Lane Stadium at nighttime is the right time to play the team Hokie fans have been wanting to host for close to a decade now. And the outgained Hokies steals and hard-fought hard-won one, late.
- Δ3=10% (as O.d.u.) taught us that this one gets away from someone and the other one rolls to a surprisingly large margin of triumph here. This can happen with so much O&M youth an so much O&M emotion in play, and it can happen in either direction per the very same— mind yah!
Curiously enough to me, N.Dame is besting V.Tech by a whopping 11 yards per game overall on average— or basically one 1st-down or a single normalized play. That’s all. That’s it. Nothing more.
Still yet, is this gridiron contest honestly and pragmatically that close?
Well, the one thing I am super sure of here is… we/Virginia Tech have GOT to maintain contact.
Keep this game in the immediate vicinity of a 1-score game (TD max’); as best we can for as long as we can until we can..
That is to say until we, Fu’, Foster and Corny can do something about it, and out-fox this Kelly-Green coach, late. As methinks, we do enjoy a headset advantage here. Though we gotta take this one deep into the championship rounds and drown this N.Dame beast, late.
That means making N.Dame play us, our staff, the game-clock, a ruckus Enter Sandman been fueling up for hours, plural, fanbase. And most of all it means forcing the 3-D talent(s) of N.Dame into a 2-dimensional high tension applied sports psyche vice -as the growing betting Vegas point-spread favorite- late.
Or basically true gang-tackling from all things O&M to conspire to team-up and then sneak-up and off and defuse this Irish Car Bomb, late.
…okay so it’s really more like two or three things, though I tangent, and you wanna know how this one is about to go, down?
Honestly, I lotta per se industry insiders -that I do trust- view this as a thinner Virginia Tech team by-the-bye and they likewise/accordingly view N.Dame as one of the few teams that can forcibly burst Fu’s O&M balloon with a pop of big-plays or merely by wearing an initially gamey and salty enough Hokie Nation down in the final 10 minutes or so of scrumming. When and whereby N.Dame will finally crack contain and house a few plays vs. a willing though tiring Vah.Tech.
As that plus a genuine top-44 Talent disadvantage is a tall, ask…
(just like Cowboy De, Ed Jones, “too tall” indeed)
Virginia Tech=23, Notre Dame=38