Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Anti-Preview's for 2009. Much like last year, I will be previewing the game a little differently than some other websites and media outlets. For sure, I'll talk a bit about our players and the game- but you also need to know how you should be celebrating these games as well.
Like Darwin would suggest, Subway Domer is evolving in these Anti-Previews. Here's a link to what we did last year. Ahh. Last year. I'll be doing things a bit differently- most noticeably with the freshman spot. I don't have it this year. But enough of this bullshit, let's move on and get this season rolling.
Nevada. Oh, you tricky mid-majors. Nevada is coming off of a 7-6 season that included a loss to Maryland in the Humanitarian Bowl. They run a very high-powered offense that has mastered the "Pistol." If you need to know more about the pistol, read this in depth post from Blue-Gray Sky.
Nevada runs this crazy shit with a quarterback named Colin Kaepernick, who passed for over 2000 yards and rushed for over 1000 in 2008. The Wolfpack also returns 2 more 1000 yard rushers in Vai Taua (that's a lot of vowels) and Luke Lippincott. An interesting stat: in 4 of their 6 losses, Nevada scored over 30 points. In the other two losses, they failed to score 20 points. Those two losses were to Texas Tech and Missouri- that's a little different than losing to New Mexico St. and Louisiana Tech. So, yes- the offense is good... but against bigger and faster defenses, the Wolfpack puts its tail between its legs.
Speaking of defenses. I won't say much about Nevada's, other than they ranked like 119th or something in pass defense in 2008. You have my attention Betty Crocker.
What should you be drinking? I've been thinking about this for quite a long time. What drink would be fitting? After much internal debate and even more research and development... I have rationalized this drink as the Season Opener: The Goombay Smash. The biggest reason that I can offer is this (A) It has orange juice, and we should all start drinking at 8 AM for this Holiday, and (B) It has pineapple juice, and we should continue our celebration from signing day and pay tribute to Manti Te'o.
Here is the recipe as I make it:
- 8 OZ. of Captain Morgan
- 8 OZ. of Coconut Rum
- 4 OZ. of Brandy
- 16 OZ. of Orange Juice
- 16 OZ. of Pineapple Juice
- Mix all ingredients. Serve in a glass with or without ice cubes. Drop a couple of Maraschino Cherries in and drizzle with the cherry juice.
- Drink up bitches.
It MUST be noted, that The Goombay Smash can be made in a variety of ways. One alteration is the substitution of straight brandy for an apricot brandy or even Grand Marnier. The drink is fruity enough for me, to not deter from the above recipe... but feel free to experiment.
Here is a video for those who need a visual... and for those who want to make fun of weird middle-aged guys- like this guy:
What should you be eating? Wolves eat Elk, right? Well there you go. Eat Elk. There is a supplier in Chicago, that if you are passing through- you should be able to pick some up. Or you could go kill one tonight with a Wookie style cross bow. Ask Ted Nugent.
So you got your ground Elk meat, now let's make a burger. Use this recipe:
1/2 lbs Elk Burger
1 Medium Onion
1 Can Tomato Soup
! Tbsp Vinegar
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Catsup
Salt, Pepper and Chili Powder to Taste
Brown elk burger and onion. Add rest of ingredients and simmer on the stovetop for 30 minutes.
What should you be wearing? Well, if your hunting Elk, I would normally advise you to wear some camo. Something for the hunt. Something like this maybe:
Offensive MVP: Jimmy Clausen. Much has been said and much has been written about Jimmy. As much as anybody on the Notre Dame team- including Coach Weis, Jimmy has to perform. If Clausen goes out there and piles up a list of stats like: 24-31 339 yds. 3 TD's 0 INT's, than this team will have the confidence to walk into Ann Arbor (whore) in a week and take care of business. if he struggles- than we may not know what we really have this year. I fully expect a Hawai'i Part Deux on Saturday, and while the entire offense could shine, it's Jimmy's star that must shine the brightest. For all of the talk in these past months about jimmy becoming more of a leader and taking control of the team- I want to see it. I want to believe it. I want to snuggle up next to it and smile like a teenage girl in love. With all of the talent on this side of the ball, it is still Jimmy that will take all of the praise and all of the hate- regardless of any other facts. Clausen comes out slinging the motherfucking rock like a crackhead on a binge- that's a good thing.
Defensive MVP: Manti Te'o. I almost hate having to put his name down with absolutely ZERO plays in college. But, let's say he goes out there and makes 7 tackles, has a sack, and a forced fumble or a fumble recovery. That's a pretty good opening game for the highest profile defensive player to come to Nd in quite a long time. Solid play from Te'o could change the entire perception of a defense that I believe is being underrated throughout the country. The defense will be an aggressive unit, and Te'o just has that "it" factor, that makes these types of defenses great. I just have this feeling that Te'o lives up to all of the hype and praise that he got before he stepped foot on the Notre Dame campus. I'm feeling it.
The Sleeper: Nick Tausch. I know you're thinking that this is complete bullshit to have 2 freshman in these past 3 categories. Deal with it. Te'o is not your normal freshman (we hope) and Tausch unseated a 2 year starter at kicker and kickoffs. I want to see kickoffs into the endzone and maybe a field goal. I want to see this leg in action. The kickoff depth is so important to field position and setting the defense up for success. Tausch will have to grow up and blow up in a hurry.
Something else to watch: The defensive line rotation. The story is out there, but it is buried a bit under Te'o, the offensive line, and Jimmy. How is the defensive line rotation going to work? Essentially, the starters are in place with Lewis-Moore and Neal on the ends and Ian Williams and Ethan Johnson on the inside. We also know that Fleming will go down on the edge from his linebacking spot in the nickel. But, I want to see how guys like Newman, Hafis, and even Richardson are used in real game situations. The defensive line has more depth than at any time in over a decade. A lot of this depth is unproven and will see either their first college action or only their second year of that action. The linebackers are more athletic, and this defense may have one of the best secondaries in the country- but they HAVE TO have the defensive line do their job. With a nice rotation, I believe this defense will stay fresh and kick the shit out of most of their opponents. Just a hunch.
So who's gonna win? IRISH 49-17. Sound insane? Well, I was going to go with 49-10- but that sounded a little cocky. ND will get a nice lead, but then Crist will enter the game and throw a TD himself. I know the line is at 14, or something like that, but if the Fighting Irish don't win by at least 3 TD's... I will still give this team a big question mark. I fully expect our defense to stuff the run, and when it's time for Nevada to throw, there will be too much pressure on Kaepernick and he will throw a couple of picks. The offense rolls with a nice mix of plays that have been lost since the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Man- I'm fucking pumped.