Ahead of today’s game, we spoke with Pat Rick from One Foot Down to investigate the Fighting Irish. He preferred Josh Adams over Bryce Love and also thought that David Shaw could take down Brian Kelly in a game of monopoly. Check out our answers here.
1. Can you tell me about Josh Adams? Would you ever take him over Bryce Love as your starting running back?
Josh Adams is fantastic. He's a big, strong runner who is extremely effective after contact (leads the country with 5.5 yards per rush after contact), but who also has the second gear to absolutely torch opponents for huge home-run touchdown runs (leads the country in runs of at least 60 yards with 7). He's gotten a little banged up the past few weeks, to go along with some bad play-calling that's hindered his production, but he is still one of the best running backs in the country and has been an absolute joy to watch.
I'd definitely take him over Bryce Love. My reasoning is probably 95% just bias based on having watched Josh play for ND the past 3 years and seeing how great of a leader he is and whatnot, but I really don't think that talent-wise there is much difference between Adams and Love. Both are super strong, have breakaway speed, and are the biggest weapon their respective teams have. I just know and love Adams enough to definitely pick him as my guy.
2. What happened against Miami? Just about no one saw that coming…
A couple things appeared to happen.
First, the offense seemed to go away from what had worked and from what could work. Miami's defense is super fast, athletic, and aggressive, and ND offensive coordinator Chip Long, instead of running quick-hitting, north-south running plays that used the strength and power of Notre Dame's offensive line to their advantage, instead ran a lot of slow-developing runs to the edge that allowed Miami's defense to get around the offensive line and make plays in the backfield. This was a recipe for disaster.
Second, Brandon Wimbush just looked and played like a deer in the headlights. Maybe part of it was he saw how the offense being called wasn't getting it done and lost confidence in the offense overall, but part of it just looked like he was very afraid of turning the ball over in the big game, and so he was wildly inaccurate with his throws and ended up turning the ball over multiple times. He couldn't get out of his own way out there.
Third, the ND defense, for some reason, could not stop a bunch of QB draws by Malik Rosier and runs from Travis Homer that were just gashing them all night for huge chunks of yardage. The defense seemed to be focused on not giving up big passing plays, and so Miami was able to create huge running lanes that led to the Irish not being able to contain Homer and Rosier. This was very unlike the Mike Elko defense we had seen up to that point, and so that was certainly an unpleasant surprise.
Finally, Miami was just a much better team. They executed, they played fast and aggressive and with passion and a will to win a huge game, and their crowd was rabid and awesome. ND came out tentative and with a bad game plan. It was a sad night to be an Irish fan.
3. Which St. Brown has the best name, Equanimeous, Osiris, or Amon-Ra?
In my opinion, it's Amon-Ra.
Osiris is a cool name, but there are multiple people out there who I've heard of named Osiris, so I think his name is third of the three. Equanimeous is close, and it's a pretty awesome name because it wasn't taken from any other living person, but there's just something about naming your child after the Egyptian "King of Gods" and sun god that is awesome, and Amon-Ra is probably the most fun name to say of the three as well.
4. Speaking of the St. Brown family, will Equanimeous play Saturday? I heard he’s dealing with a concussion.
He was cleared for non-contact practice a couple days ago as he went through the concussion protocol, so that was at least a good sign, but it's not positive he will be able to go tomorrow, or even how effective he will be if he is cleared to play. ESB has had a down year this year, mostly due to the drop-off in passing from DeShone Kizer to Brandon Wimbush, but also he's just seemed to have not been at his best this season.
It'd be a big loss at receiver for ND if he can't go, but considering this team's passing struggles and reliance on the run, it wouldn't change too much overall for Chip Long's offense.
5. Who should Cardinal fans look out for on defense?
There are a few different guys. DT Jerry Tillery is a behemoth in the middle who is prone to getting into the backfield and wreaking havoc. He could be a big problem for the Stanford interior offensive line as they try to clear a path for Bryce Love.
LB Te'von Coney is the defense's best tackler and he will always need to be accounted for, on both rushing and passing plays due to his athleticism and ability to get to the QB. He is going to be key in terms of trying to corral Bryce Love.
"Rover" Drue Tranquill is a safety-linebacker hybrid player who is always around the ball and making plays, so expect to see him flying around all night and being another one of the guys who makes key one-on-one tackles that prevent Bryce Love from breaking loose for huge gains.
And then finally, CB Julian Love is one of the best cornerbacks in the country and Stanford would be smart to throw away from him all game. He has been a machine in terms of breaking up passes and has had multiple huge pick-sixes, so it'd be best to attack other DBs if Stanford plans on throwing the ball much.
6. What’s Notre Dame’s route into the CFB playoff?
LOL, I honestly do not think the Irish have a realistic route due to their two losses and one of them being so embarrassingly bad (not the opponent, but losing by 33 is a really bad look).
But, I guess since the Irish are still ranked 8th in the CFP rankings, they technically have a shot. Maybe if Clemson, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Auburn all picked up losses, the Irish could maybe snag the #4 slot?
They would just need a TON of chaos to take place. Let's just leave it at that and leave that scenario where it belongs -- in fantasyland.
7. Give me one X-factor each for offense, defense, and special teams for Notre Dame.
Offense: The ND offensive line - they've not been very strong the past couple weeks (ND averaged 136 rushing yards as a team against Miami and Navy), so they need to come out and bulldoze people like they did earlier in the year in order to give Josh Adams, Dexter Williams, etc. big running lanes and get back to smash-mouth, north-south running of the football.
Defense: Te'von Coney - he needs to bring his A-game against Bryce Love and this Stanford rushing attack. He has the athleticism and strength to really slow Love down, but obviously that is MUCH easier said than done.
Special Teams: KR CJ Sanders - he's come close to breaking one for a TD multiple times in the past few weeks, and he has a history at Stanford (2015 KR TD), so if he can make a big play or two in the return game, it would be huge in giving the ND offense a boost.
8. David Shaw and Brian Kelly play a game of Monopoly. Who wins?
David Shaw. I just feel like he's more shrewd and disciplined, whereas BK would get a little cocky, make a mistake, lose lots of money, and throw a tantrum, flipping over the game board.
9. Same question, but they’re playing chess.
Same answer, but they're playing chess.
10. Which player would you trust most to blow up the Death Star?
LG Quenton Nelson. I would trust him with my life, as well as the fate of the universe, and knowing how often he blows up opponents, it would be a no-brainer to tap him for the job. He'd pancake the Death Star into oblivion.
11. What does Stanford need to do to win this week?
Contain the ND running game, and control time of possession with long, sustained, touchdown drives on the back of Bryce Love.
ND is not a team built to throw the ball, so if Stanford can jump out in front and limit ND's possessions (like Navy did), I think Stanford is good enough to hold that lead and win the game.
12. What’s your prediction for this game?
I do not think Stanford will be able to stop ND's running game, which I believe will revert much more back to what we saw it look like against USC and NC State. Stanford's Bryce Love will get his, but guys like Tranquill and Coney will do enough to get a few stops, and that will be the difference.
Notre Dame 30, Stanford 21
13. Is it snowing in South Bend this weekend?
Nope! It will be in the low 40s and cloudy tomorrow, and the snow has decided to hold off until after football season, it seems, so that's a nice change of pace considering what it usually looks like right now in northern Indiana.
Let’s be thankful that Stanford fans don’t have to deal with any cold weather this weekend!