Shame on the Florida State players for not admitting that you got their tails kicked by the better TEAM. If I were an FSU fan, I wouldn't be so concerned that my team got beat. I would be FAR more concerned with how my team is handling this loss and I would suggest that they are in denial. "Ignorance is bliss."
That is the problem with Florida State; they don't understand team. Was my prediction that impressive? I certainly don't think so. It was a fairly easy prediction watching these two teams. One team understands team, the other doesn't. Mel Kiper, Lee Corso and Mark May can dance around Chief Osceola's fire all night and celebrate the fact that they think that Florida State has the better athletes. What all, and almost all the media have failed to understand is that team matters and this still is a team game. If Mel Kiper understood that heart, desire and effort amount for something, he might not look like an idiot every week when he rants about how little talent the Irish have. By the way Mel, was Courtney Watson's pick impressive or what? I would suggest that play was more impressive than any play the FSU linebackers made all day was, late round pick indeed.
One guy I am sure that understands that team matters is Tyrone Willingham. You can add another 85 to that list as well and that would be the 2002 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. FSU players can say what they want about this game but the score speaks something totally different. How do you stop Greg Jones? You make him change direction and you hit him early. 34 total yards later and Greg looked average and the Heisman trophy is a distant memory. How do you stop Rix? You make him do those things he really wants to do. He wants to tuck that ball and run and the Irish knew that and hoped he would. Chris Rix can be a good football player; he just isn't right now.
The Notre Dame offense would be the first to admit they haven't looked pretty but 8 games later, they are in the hunt. Darnell Dockett can say everything he wants about Jeff Faine but in reality; Darnell didn't make the plays his team needed. Tony Benford didn't even start the game or play half of it but he is convinced that Florida State in the better team. This offense isn't pretty but at least they have an excuse. What's your excuse Darnell? Is it coaching or your teammates not doing their job? How about the offense? What is the excuse Darnell? I would suggest to Tony Benford that he might do a little soul-searching and try to figure out why is not starting so he can better make his point with plays on the field.
Once again, the Notre Dame offense did what they needed to do. They exposed the FSU secondary early and stretched the field. They threw the ball, they ran the ball, they powered the ball and they made FSU doubt just as I knew they would. They made FSU doubt themselves just as I have seen the past Notre Dame teams doubt. The problem with FSU is they thought they could rely on reputation and intimidation. The Notre Dame players understand better than anyone that you cannot win games on intimidation alone. Sooner or later, you are going to have to make the plays that matter. Notre Dame made the plays all day, Florida State didn't and their players want to discount the fact that the better team beat them. Keep doubting my friends.
The best thing about this game for the Notre Dame players was there was little doubt. In uncharacteristic form, Notre Dame lost discipline and surrendered two onsides kicks. Even then, you knew this game was not in doubt. Adrian McPherson made some fine plays. In the end, the result was still the same and the entire FSU team should recognize that they lost to the better team. I can tell you this, McPherson would not have placed the ball any better than Rix did to his receivers; I am sure of that. FSU threw the ball, they tried to run the ball and in the end, they could not beat this Irish defense. Don't worry Seminoles, all 7 that tried before failed and they could not beat this Irish defense. Your loss didn't come as a surprise to this Irish defense.
What makes a great team? I would suggest all facets of the team performing and executing at a high level. I would suggest playing with passion and discipline would be important. I certainly think we saw that on Saturday. The Notre Dame offense threw the ball well and stretched the field. They ran the ball and scored when they needed to score and they made zero turnovers. Joey Hildbold put the FSU offense in jail with his pinpoint punting. Nick Setta was 2-2 on his field goal attempts. The Irish defense stuffed a Heisman hopeful and created 4 turnovers and countless big plays giving the Irish offense the short field. The specials teams coverage was once again special. This was about as close to a perfect game as you can hope for. The let down at the end was frustrating but I am sure Coach Willingham and his staff will be addressing that this week. The Irish played almost perfect but forgot to finish the game.
This Notre Dame team is special. I cannot put into words the joy I feel for this team. They have made this Notre Dame fan proud to call myself a fan. Notre Dame fans should cherish this season because I don't you will see another like it again. Nobody deserves the success they are having more than this Irish team. Shame on us Notre Dame fans for criticizing this team. Shame on us fans for questioning the heart and talent of this team. Shame on us all for now wanting to be a part of this.
The vast majority of coaches would be basking in the limelight of a victory of this magnitude; Tyrone Willingham is always the calm, the collected and the stoic. He was rightfully angry at the letdown at the end of the game. He understood that this win means little at this point. It was a great win for Notre Dame but no more important than Purdue or Maryland in the grand scheme of things. To Notre Dame fans, it's a monumental win because the Irish beat FSU at the Doak but to Tyrone, it's merely win #8 in a quest. It has to be a tough job to be the head football coach at Notre Dame. How Ty could mask his emotions, I will never know. I hope Tyrone was able to celebrate this victory in some way because it was a great victory. Instead of taking any credit for this victory, Tyrone is giving the credit to his players and his coaching staff. Coach Willingham should pat himself on the back as well because I know that Notre Dame would not be here without his leadership. I doubt very much that any other coach could have them in this position.
On a side note, I can't explain my joy that Lorenzo Booker chose Florida State. Lorenzo, if you don't want to better yourself as a person and your command of the English language, I am certainly glad you chose Florida State. Something tells me that if Lorenzo had chosen Notre Dame, it would have been a bad thing. Just remember that we weren't kidding about the 40-year thing.