A Weaker shade of Blue and Gold
I have been a Notre Dame fan for more that 55 years. I don't remember a time when I didn't bleed Blue and Gold. When it comes to the Fighting Irish, I know and understand that most people are divided into the "love" or "love to hate" camps, and I guess that is to be expected with any winning program, that division however appears to run a little deeper when ND is involved. Our fans have had to endure, all too often, the overly biased views and opinions of the press and opposing fans. I am just sorry to see some UCLA fans join that group.
After moving to CA in the 60s it was a natural to also root for any team that wanted to beat USC as much as the Irish did; UCLA. They were also an easy team to root for; in my opinion their program was the class act of the (at that time) PAC 8 and just another shade of Blue and Gold to root for.
I follow the Bruins, and knew they were going to be up for this game, they have been anticipating this match up since it was announced. As a ND fan first, I was of course hoping to avoid the upset I new they were capable of producing. I was just not ready for their inability to accept a loss gracefully.
Let's take a quick look as some of the quotes and match it up to what really happened.
It's one of those games that hurts like hell to lose because you had a great team down all the way until seconds left in the game, and then you give them the game back." "We gave the game away. We gave the game away in three plays, if you want me to sum it up," defensive end Justin Hickman said. UCLA made 74 tackles but came up one short.
"This was an opportunity for us to get back on track as a team against a top-ranked opponent, and we gave them a gift." Markey
"A gift!", "One short!", "Gave it away in 3 plays" They can't even seem to agree if it was one or three plays they gave us.
Sure the UCLA defense played a very good game but in the game I watched, they failed to stop Brady Quinn on fourth and 1 four straight times. They failed to stop him on 4th and 6. They also failed to stop 3 consecutive long pass plays that ended the game.
You have to play a full 60 minutes and today we played 59 minutes and 30 seconds."
Don't think for a minute that the Bruins played football for 59 min and 30 seconds. They played 60 minutes and so did ND. ND just played a slightly better 60mintues. Let's leave it at that.
I knew with (Young) being a true freshman it would be a mismatch all day, I knew he couldn't block me one-on-one Justin Hickman.
Sam Young, a first year freshman 7 games out of high school managed to block a 4 year senior the majority of the game. While his inexperience showed on more than one occasion, he was able to do enough to ensure his team the victory.
We were getting pressure all day with our defense," disgruntled cornerback Rodney Brown said. "So on the last drive, we played Cover-2 and we made Brady Quinn out to be the Heisman quarterback he is supposed to be."
Wow, now there's news! Brady Quinn holds more records than any other quarterback in ND history, he is one of only 32 quarterbacks in college history to throw for more than 10,000 yards, he has constantly displayed, leadership, strength, and endurance on the field and he had to wait until Rodney Brown and the UCLA defensive scheme made him a Heisman quarterback. I thought Brady had something to do with, what was I thinking?
Actually, Bruins coach Karl Dorrell had one thing to add. He thought the clock was not started quickly enough after UCLA's final punt. "The clock is supposed to start on the snap again with transition, change of possession,'' Dorrell said. "This clock did not start. I did notice that. I don't know if those are factors in the game.''
Even giving couch Karl the benefit of the doubt is he saying they held the clock for 28 additional seconds? Because if he noticed that the clock did not start on time, he should have noticed that the Irish won with 27seconds left on the clock. How could anything less have been a factor in the game?
Compare these with the type of comments made by the Irish.
"They did not slow down one step the entire game," Irish offensive lineman Bob Morton said of the UCLA front four. "They were just playing hard. I know it may not sound great in your story, but they were just doing a fantastic job of going to the whistle."
"Here is the thing: Good teams win games like that," Irish coach Charlie Weis said. "Good teams make a play at the end of the game to win. I'm not going to feel miserable about this win, I promise you."
I believe that what makes a team good is more than their final scores. A good team has the ability to acknowledge the great play by their opponents in win or defeat. Good teams refrain from the cheap shots and all that starts and ends with the Head Coach and coaching staff.
UCLA, you lost a close one you" could have", won not "should have" won The home team played as hard and as aggressive as you did and had what it took to hold you off. Unless you realize that, you will remain the weaker blue and gold.
Now go beat Washington State.