The psychology of it all

<P>I was talking to my good friend Rick before the Boston College game. We were talking about the enthusiasm this Irish team has created for Notre Dame fans. We both agreed that with enthusiasm come expectations. We were discussing how wrong it would be for Irish fans to place any expectations on this team. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. </P>

Rick and I agreed that this Irish team would have to play well to win any game on their schedule. The defense is going to keep Notre Dame in any game but the entire team will have to play well to win against any team they face. Notre Dame just is not at a level where they can play poorly and still win the game.

The Miami Hurricanes are clearly at that level as they showed against Rutgers. A few other teams might be able to take a short nap during game day and still recover. This Irish team will have to play well in all their remaining games to get a victory.

"It's a good time for Navy" is something I heard yesterday. Notre Dame has beaten Navy every year since 1963 but there have been plenty of situations where the win was in serious doubt. Navy isn't going to roll over for Notre Dame. The Midshipmen have far too much pride to roll over for Notre Dame. If you think BC likes to beat Notre Dame, you can't imagine how much Navy would like to beat Notre Dame. It's going to happen some day. I just hope I am not alive to see it happen.

The BC game proved that this entire team has to play well. The defense played as well as you can ask against Boston College. The Irish offense played very well against BC as well. However they did make many costly mistakes. Turnovers are team-killers and Notre Dame found that out much the same way many Notre Dame opponents have found out.

The loss was about the perfect way to lose a game if there is such a thing. Notre Dame did not get pushed around. They didn't give up and they had a chance to win the game at the end. They were not stopped on offense and they shut down the BC offense on defense. I think Ty's job is going to be fairly simple this week. Just show film, that is all that needs to be done. This Irish team will see that if they just held onto the football, they should have easily handled Boston College. Ty only needs to show film and then go back to the fundamentals.

Navy is going to come in very high for this game. The Midshipmen will believe they have a shot to win this game. They are going to be highly motivated and very excited to play this game. I see two likely scenarios for the game. The Irish will either come out strong and leave little doubt about how they bounce back from a loss or this Navy team will give the Irish problems all day. The offense should be able to push around the Navy defense. The defense should be able to stop any option (or form of option-bone) that Navy throws at them. The psychology of the Notre Dame team will be the biggest factor in the final score.

As I said before, the way Notre Dame lost to Boston College is probably the best way to lose a game from a psychological point of view. Notre Dame did everything they needed to do to win this game except hold onto the football. If this team can understand that, I expect this team to bounce back rather nicely.


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