Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Song Of The Day - October 29, 2008

Yet another song of the day brought to you in part by we, the humble creators of this fantastic blog. Today's song has a bit of a story to it so bear with me for a second. 

My final semester at Notre Dame last year I took a course called Music Through Technology. It was an amazingly cool course where we learned about how music and technology have grown over the years and propelled one another to such great heights. 

Throughout the course of the semester we had assorted projects, one of which today's song was born from. For the particular project, we were instructed to use a program developed by Propellerhead called Reason to create a musical piece. Reason is a great program (if you have $500 extra bones laying around and love music you should strongly consider buying it) that allows you to operate a mixer on your computer and create wonderful artistic ensembles. You have to have a piano keyboard that hooks up to your computer (usually USB) in order to input sounds, though you could technically input notes and chords manually. The manual entry is awesome because it allows you to refine your music without having to "record" it again - you can just edit it in their sequencer.

Once I had recorded the music it was time for name selection. This process was pretty simple because Cutting Room Floor was just getting ready to release its third album, entitled "In Our Luck." Perhaps in tribute of the album title, and also in hopes of adding the track to the album, I dubbed the song "In Our Luck". 

I eventually sent Justin the file and he wrote lyrics to go over top. To spare you from further scattered commentary, I cordially present to you the latest and greatest musical offering from the duo formerly known as The Deuce.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Irish Capsize Sinking Washington Ship

Notre Dame took care of business on Saturday as the Irish dominated the Washington Huskies in all facets of the game, winning 33-7 for its first win away from home this season. 

Irish gunslinger Jimmy Clausen connected with standout true freshman WR Michael Floyd less than three minutes into the ball game for a 51-yard touchdown reception. Floyd, who recorded his third 100+ yard performance, showed off his speed and athletic ability as he evaded the Washington secondary en route to the endzone. 

Golden Tate scored a few minutes later on an end-around to extend the ND lead to 14-0 in the first quarter. "I think we let up once we had them 14-0," quipped Tate after the game. 

Two quick scores were more than enough support for a swarming Irish defense that created headaches for Washington QB Ronnie Fouch all game long. The Irish D finished with 4 sacks,  4 pass break-ups, and prevented the Husky offense from crossing the 50-yard line until late in the fourth quarter.

Harrison Smith finished with 2 sacks, totaling 21 yards, but provided even more of a spark on special teams. Late in the third quarter on a 4th and 13 from ND's 37 yard line, Smith took a direct snap and scampered 35 yards. The Associated Press had the following to say about the play:
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who exchanged a handshake and appeared cordial with Willingham on the field after the game, said he wanted to run that play late in the first half but the clock ran out on him. His team had practiced against a certain look he planned to exploit on Washington's punt-return unit. It was heavy on defenders outside, setting up for a return. That left Smith free and "excited," the linebacker said, in the middle.Asked if he thought about what the perception of such a play would be coming with a 24-point lead on an obviously overmatched opponent, Weis said: "No. It's the third quarter. ... It's not 50-0. I'm not that type of guy. ... We yanked guys at the start of the fourth quarter. Their only touchdown at the end was against guys who never play. No, that's not our deal."
Given the current landscape of the game, with teams racking up inordinate amounts of points in hopes of earning "style" points with voters, it is refreshing to hear Coach Weis openly admit his opposition to such tactics.

The Husky offense never get off the ground, amassing a measly 124 yards and earning only 9 first downs. Moreover, the only Husky points were scored when the game had already been decided and Notre Dame had removed its first-teamers.

On the other side of the ball, the Husky defense was trampled over by Notre Dame's running attack all night long. James Aldridge scored a career-high 2 TDs on 13 carries 84 yards rushing, Armando Allen added 62 yards on 15 carries,  and Robert Hughes added 19 yards on 4 carries.

True freshman RB Jonas Gray received his first game action on the offensive side of the ball (he has appeared on special teams in several games) and gained 61 yards on 9 carries.

Irish kicker Brandon Walker booted two field goals, a welcome surprise from his performance leading up to the game. Walker's improvement, however, didn't stop Coach Weis from testing out walk-on David Ruffer, the newest addition to the Irish roster. Ruffer misfired on an extra point attempt in his only game action.

Overall, this was the perfect game for Notre Dame to have scheduled coming off of a bye week. Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham looked stoic throughout the game as he watched what was likely one of his last few games as a Husky employee. For a very thorough take on Willingham's coaching abilities, take a look at this gem from the fine folks at NDNation.

Next up for the Irish: Pittsburgh on November 1 at 2:30 EST on NBC.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ain't No Sunshine


TALLAHASSEE- It's been raining for nearly 24 hours consecutively, but supposedly things will clear up tomorrow for gameday. Today, we'll take a brief look at what to expect when the Hokies and Seminoles meet Saturday at 3:30.

When Tech and FSU have met in the past, the Hokies often find a way to outgain their opponent, but the 'Noles usually make some big special teams plays in a reversal of Beamerball. Special teams has been a problem for Tech this season. The Hokies rank 117 (out of 119 teams) in net punting, and 118 in punt return yardage defense.

On the flip side Tech has returned kicks fairly well, ranking 22 in punt returns but strangely 118 in kick returns. That can be explained at least in part by the fact that Macho Harris returns punts and he is probably Tech's best overall athlete and playmaker this season, but he doesn't return kickoffs.

It's a fairly safe bet to say the team that comes out on top will make the most big plays on special teams.

Both offenses are pretty mediocre. Tech's struggles are well documented on this blog, but for a concrete number Tech rank's 110 in total offense. FSU ranks 29 in total O, but I don't buy it. The 'Noles have faced such powerhouse defenses as NC State (ranked 103) Western Carolina and Chattanooga (who rank 84 and 110 respectively in total D at the 1-AA level). When FSU faced a defense similar to Tech's, that of Wake Forest, they put up a season-low 220 total yards.

Overall, it's an interesting match up and both teams will certainly be fired up. One stat that is decidedly in Florida State's favor, as an unranked team playing a ranked team on the road the Hokies are 2-28 all time. Yikes. The good news for Tech fans? Frank Beamer was involved in both of the other wins, including a 1968 win at FSU as a player.

I think this one could go either way. Unless the Hokies have some offensive tricks up their sleeves though, I don't have a very good feeling about it.


Florida State 24
Virginia Tech 21

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Goin' Down In Florida

TALLAHASSEE- Eric and I successfully made the lengthy trek from Blacksburg to the state capitol of Florida yesterday. The trip took us somewhere around 11 hours, though we were delayed with several wrong turns near the end of the journey.

I didn't think we would ever get out of Georgia. The bulk of the trip went through the peach state, and somewhere amongst the cotton fields and tall Georgia pines I nearly lost my mind with road weariness.

But as I pointed out, we made it. Today we plan to explore Florida State a bit and get a fix on Doak Campbell Stadium. We've set up headquarters not too far away and we'll probably wander over in a bit.

As Muddy Waters told us on the way down, "Yeah I be goin' down in Florida/Where the sun shines damn near every day."

Well today it's cloudy and overcast, but we'll do some scouting none the less.


I noticed a political sign when we were nearing our destination for Peter Boulware. Sure enough, it was the same Boulware who starred at linebacker for the Seminoles years ago and is still the Baltimore Ravens all-time leader in sacks. Apparently Boulware is running for the Florida house as a Republican. He won the Republican primary with 84.1 percent of the vote.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hokies Offensive In Loss

The much-publicized woes of the Virginia Tech offense finally caught up with the Hokies Saturday night in Chestnut Hill, MA as the Boston College Eagles defeated Tech 28-23.

The Tech defense scored two touchdowns on interception returns including one on the the first play of the game from linebacker Brett Warren. The defense didn't allow any points in the second half, but Tech was unable to overcome a 28-17 half time deficit.

Tyrod Taylor completed just 12 of 27 passes for 90 yards and no touchdowns. A number of the incomplete throws can be attributed to the receivers who had several drops at inopportune moments. Taylor once again was able to make a number of plays with his feet, rushing 15 times for 110 yards. He was the leading rusher once again for the Hokies and Tech was unable to run the ball effectively otherwise.

The offense failed to score a touchdown all night and the Hokie special teams faltered allowing a Rich Gunnell punt return for touchdown.

Boston College quarterback Chris Crane threw three interceptions, but mistakes plagued the Hokies. Tech totaled 10 penalties for 76 yards to just 3 flags for 19 yards for BC.

With the loss Tech falls to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in ACC play. Next up for the Hokies is a another hostile road match up at Florida State.

I will be traveling to the game, so expect plenty of blog coverage from Tallahassee and points north and south as well.


The Hokie offense is clearly regressing. Wide receivers dropping passes, penalties bringing back big plays, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns. The ACC hasn't been known for good offense recently, but Virginia Tech appears to be sinking to the bottom of the conference to be sure. The seat gets perpetually hotter for offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring and it's getting more difficult to defend him. With most major offensive rankings in the hundreds, things look pretty bleak on the offensive side of the ball. Defense and special teams can carry you only so far, points have to be found somewhere fast.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Song Of The Day - October 16, 2008

Back from the dead, it's the song of the day. Today's selection is by former Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha and former The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. Together, they are One Day As A Lion - a blend of rap, rock, and rhythm with an incredibly unique and fresh sound. "Wild International" is the first single off of their eponymous EP album, which was released on July 22 in the US. Before climbing its way up to #20 on the American charts "Wild International" reached #6 in Norway. Behold, an innovative new sound brought fresh to your interwebs. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ty Willingham Impersonations

Here's a clip of former ND head coach and current Washington Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham being impersonated by his own players. Enough said.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Irish Turnover Game To Tar Heels

Notre Dame is still looking for its first road win of the season after a heartbreaking 29-24 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels yesterday. 

Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen had another career day, but despite his efforts he was also part of the problem. He threw for 383 yards and two touchdowns while completing 31 of 48 passes. Yet another great day at the office, but it was spoiled by two boneheaded second half interceptions and a fumble (which wasn't entirely his fault but it certainly didn't help matters). 

Sophomore WR Golden Tate and true freshman Michael Floyd had typical, outstanding performances. Tate snagged 5 catches for 121 yards and a TD while Floyd added 6 catches for 93 yards and a TD. 

Floyd almost put the Irish in position to win the game. With a few second remaining on the game clock he caught a pass from Clausen around the 7-yard line. As Tate and fellow sophomore Duval Kamara later explained, Floyd was unsure how much time was remaining when he caught the ball so he attempted to lateral it backwards in hopes that an Irish player would scoop it up and waltz into the end-zone for a one point victory.

Unfortunately, the Irish did in fact have about 4 seconds left on the clock and if Floyd hadn't attempted to lateral the ball ND Nation could be singing a different tune. For good measure, the officials reviewed the play and determined that the ball was fumbled, crushing the hope that the Irish could attempt one more play.

One of the biggest concerns remains the Irish D. The plan for the secondary was to keep the North Carolina receivers in front of them to prevent big plays but even that was too tall of a task at times, as Hakeem Nicks repeatedly picked on Irish DB Raeshon McNeil. Cameron Sexton, a third-string Carolina QB, performed well during the second half as the Tar Heels mounted their comeback after being down 11 points at the half.

Irish kicker Brandon Walker finally made a field goal after converting only 1 out of his previous 9 attempts. He almost missed his attempt yesterday, but it hooked between the uprights and gave the Irish a 10-3 lead. I don't think his confidence has been fully restored, nor do I think he has regained Charlie's trust, but at least he took one small step (kick) forward in the right direction - finally between the uprights. At this point you have to take what you can get from Walker.

While losing stinks, I was probably most upset during the start of the game when ESPN patched the Ohio State vs Purdue game on both ABC and ESPN. Luckily, I had discovered a backup source to view the game the previous evening. The crisis was averted but I doubt the rest of the Twin Cities area was as resourceful or in tune with the situation. Boo ESPN. I don't care if they were in typical form, it is simply inexplicable for them to fail to realize the issue until 5 minutes of game time had passed. Moreover, the HD feed never made it to ESPNHD. Instead, we were graced by the atrociousness of ESPNewsHD. What a thrill. We got to watch highlights of the OU-Texas game that had already finished. Inexplicable. 

So the Irish are now 4-2 and at a critical stage in the season. With six games remaining there is still ample opportunity for the Irish to salvage a decent year. Factor in the opponents on the slate and the outlook appears brighter: @ Washington, home vs. Pittsburgh, @ Boston College,  @ Navy, home vs. Syracuse, and @ USC. The Irish really have no business losing to Washington, Navy, or Syracuse. An argument can be made for Pittsburgh, too. 

Prediction: ND will go 4-2 in the remaining games. I'm obviously hoping for more, but 4 wins should definitely be doable. If not, we clearly haven't made as much improvement as originally thought.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

No No-No, Sox Still Prevail

Well I must honestly say that I missed most of last night's game. I was out celebrating my girlfriend's birthday, so it's not like my priorities were out of line. I'm actually reminded of the scene in Goodwill Hunting where Robin Williams is telling Matt Damon about the 12 inning walk-off home-run that Carlton Fisk hit in game 6 of the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway. If you haven't seen the movie or can't recall, Williams tells Damon that he and all of his buddies had tickets to the game, but he didn't go because he was at a bar meeting his future wife. 

Warning: Video contains strong language

This obviously isn't the same scenario (it's just the first game of the ALCS) but you get the point. 

I had full intentions of watching the game sometime this morning, but I had part of the game spoiled for me during dinner when I found out that Daisuke (Dice-K) was pitching a no-hitting through 6 and the Sox were clinging to a 1-0 lead over the hosting Tampa Bay Rays. I was a little irritated but also excited at the same time. I wound up getting home from dinner at the bottom of the ninth, and by this point I had already found out that the no-no was no longer in tact. I turned on the TV to see Jonathan Papelbon doing what he does best: dominate and confuse opposing hitters. 

As you can probably tell this is a very high level overview of the game, but I rewound the DVR to catch some of the earlier innings and I must say I was impressed with the defensive performance from the Sox. On a night when their bats were relatively cold, the Red Sox used their defense - fielding and pitching - to crush any momentum the Rays were building. Take the first inning, for example, when Daisuke walked the bases loaded. The home crowd was on their feet and fired up, but Cliff Floyd was induced to an inning-ending ground out to second. Daisuke finished with 9 strikeouts to help his cause.

It was a good win for the Red Sox who lost 8 of 9 regular season games played at Tampa. Tonight's game two pits Boston's Josh Beckett vs. Tampa's Scott Kazmir. Beckett did not pitch well in his last outing, a 5-4 Boston loss against the Los Angeles Angels six days ago. If the Red Sox can return home from Tampa with a 2-0 series lead they will be in great shape, but we all know that no lead is safe anymore.

On more point I want to touch on - the amazing presence of Red Sox fans in attendance for last night's game. The most telling sign occurred during the bottom of the 9th inning, when Cliff Floyd fouled to third and Kevin Youkilis recorded the out. Fans showered Youk with a rousing "Yooooouuuuuuuuuuuu" and it was very evident that either 1) all of the Rays fans had left and only Sox fans remained 2) there is a strong contingent of Sox fans in Tampa or 3) all of the above are true.

For now, the Red Sox must concentrate on winning game 2. Sooner or later the Red Sox bats are bound to come around, but it is much easier to rely on a defense than a good offense. Game 2 can be seen tonight at 8:07 pm ET on TBS.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Despite the pathetic attempt of Stanford OL Chris Marinelli to pump up his team, the Irish managed to defeat the Cardinal 28-21 this past Saturday on a weekend that celebrated the 100th Birthday of the greatest fight song ever written: The Notre Dame Victory March.

Notre Dame was led by Jimmy Clausen, who set a career high in passing yards for the second straight game. In all he finished with 347 yards on 29 of 40 passes and 3 touchdowns. His play throughout was impressive, especially his increasing ability to check down his receivers to find the open man instead of trying to force a play to happen. He has shown marked improvement since the start of the season, let alone last year.

True freshman Michael Floyd turned in his second straight 100 yard receiving game, hauling in  5 catches for 115 yards and a beautiful 48 yard TD pass courtesy of second quarter connection with Clausen.

Kyle Rudolph snagged his second TD pass in as many games, but the biggest takeaway from his play was his increased blocking ability. With Will Yeatman's fate still up in the air after a run-in with the law several weeks ago (he met with the University officials earlier today to plead his case) it is refreshing that the drop off in skills is not as great as many perceived it to be. ND would obviously prefer to have both available, but it is refreshing to know that Rudolph is a suitable back up option (keep in mind that both Rudolph and Yeatman were behind the injured Mike Ragone at the beginning of fall camp).

The Irish D played well against the pass but performed miserably against the scampering trees. Three first half interceptions of Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard helped set the stage for a commanding 21-7 lead at the half. 

A recurring theme throughout the weekend was the sheer lack of class exhibited by Jim Harbaugh and his band of fighting trees. A report from a sophomore band member revealed the overzealousness exuded by the Cardinal prior to kickoff. DT James McGillicuddy and WR Doug Baldwin were among the several Cardinal players to taunt the Notre Dame Band as the team entered into the locker room. I bet they also enjoy taking lunch money from little children and clubbing baby seals. Spineless.

As childish as the Cardinal players were, they were undoubtedly inspired by their fearless leader Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Late in the second quarter the Cardinal punted away to Armando Allen, who signaled for a fair catch. Nate Wilcox-Fogel of the Cardinal got in the way of Allen and the ball caromed off Wilcox-Fogel's shoulder, onto Allen, and was scooped up by a Cardinal player who ran in for what Harbaugh thought was a TD. The officials, however, ruled that Allen was interfered with (and rightfully so), setting off a tirade from Harbaugh. As any four-year old denied of what he/she wanted would behave, Harbaugh put up quite the stink: he stormed onto the field almost to the middle of the field, screamed at the referees, and threw his hat in the direction of the fans sitting behind the Cardinal bench. Potty-trained? I think not.

For the first time in awhile ND put up a fight and did not back down all weekend. Pat Kuntz put forth one of the best defensive efforts I've seen in the last few years. During the Friday pep rally, Kuntz addressed the idiotic remarks from Marinelli. In typical Kuntzian fashion, he ripped off his suit during his speech, stating "something doesn't feel right... I just don't feel like I'm myself." Kyle McCarthy came up to the podim during Kuntz's speech and asked how Kuntz would react to Marinelli's comments during the game. After a long list of hypothetical ways McCarthy proposed to handle the situation, Kuntz concluded his speech with "I'm gonna rip his head off, Go Irish!"

Kuntz owned up to his pep rally declaration, finishing with 1 tipped ball, 1 interception, 2 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery. The fumble recovery occurred on the last play of the game, after which Kuntz spiked the ball. Stanford did not take kindly to Kuntz's enthusiasm and tempers flared. Here's a good look at what transpired as a result: end of game fight.

  • "Pac-10 officials have reviewed video of the play and it is apparent the Stanford player covering the punt impeded the Notre Dame player attempting to catch it. The call was correct. NCAA playing rule 6-4-1 states in part 'A player of the receiving team within the boundary lines must be given an unimpeded opportunity to catch the kick.' Even though the player attempting to catch the kick was bumped by his teammate, he still attempted to catch the kick and was impeded by the Stanford player. The rule places the onus on the kicking team member to avoid impeding the opportunity to catch the ball."  ~ Jim Hansen, Pac-10 Commissioner
  • "I got pushed out of bounds and Kyle McCarthy was mad at me because I didn't pitch it back to him. I figured we might as well just let me spike it out of bounds." ~ Pat Kuntz, Notre Dame DL
  • "There was a lot of talking going on between all of us. It was just a battle. I have to give them credit. They are a good team and they are a very improved team from last year, just like us. Good luck to them in the rest of their season." ~ Pat Kuntz, Notre Dame DL

Monday, October 6, 2008

On To Tampa For ALCS

Now there's a phrase I never thought would be uttered with relation to the MLB playoffs, but with the Devil Rays (go ahead, fine me) defeating the White Sox 6-2 earlier tonight and the Red Sox edging the Angels 3-2 it became a reality. 

The Red Sox were in control after scoring two runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to go up 2-0. Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in Mark Kotsay, while consequently advancing Jason Varitek over to second base. Varitek would later cross the plate from a Dustin Pedroia double.

But the Angels would not go quietly, as they battled back to even up the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the 8th inning. Torii Hunter, who was heckled with chants of "Tooorrrriiii" throughout his at-bat, knocked in Mark Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero as the Angels sucked the life out of Fenway Park.

With 1 out in the top of the 9th, the Angels threatened to take the lead as Reggie Willits stood 90 feet away from taking the lead. Erick Aybar, however, failed to make contact on an attempted squeeze play and Willits was run down by Red Sox captain Jason Varitek. The ball was knocked loose after 'Tek applied the tag to Willits and Angels skipper Mike Scioscia was irate. Much to his dismay, the umpire ruled (and rightfully so) that 'Tek retained possession of the ball during the tag and lost control of the ball after falling on the ground following the tag.

Crisis averted, Jason Bay hit a ground rule double to right field and was driven in a few plays layer by Jed Lowrie, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 and Red Sox Nation many reasons to celebrate.

The Red Sox and Rays will begin their ALCS series this friday at 8:37 pm ET in Tampa, Fl on TBS.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hokies Top Western Kentucky on Homecoming

Virginia Tech ground out another victory but it wasn't easy. The Hokies led 27-3 early in the third quarter, but Western Kentucky made a game of it before Tech managed to win their fifth consecutive game 27-13.

The Hokies' top rusher Darren Evans led the Tech offensive effort running for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries.

Kenny Lewis Jr.
had 7 carries for 38 yards, but left the game early in the second half when he ruptured his Achilles. Lewis will miss the remainder of the season with the injury.

Tyrod Taylor
played well if not a bit conservative, completing 10 of 15 passes for 125 yards and one 27-yard touchdown to tight end Greg Boone. The play marked Taylor's first touchdown pass of the season. He also added 30 yards on the ground.

Macho Harris
made another interception on defense, and Tech essentially shut down the Hilltoppers (2-4) passing game giving up just 95 yards through the air. Western Kentucky was able to run the ball effectively however totaling 148 yard, just three fewer than the Hokies.

The win puts the Hokies (5-1, 1-0) in good position at the halfway mark of the regular season. Tech is now ranked #18 in the AP poll and half a bye week before traveling to Boston College Oct. 18th.


-Sean Glennon saw several snaps at quarterback in the fourth quarter. He completed all three of the passes he attempted for 17 yards, but he was sacked 4 times.

-Back-up long snapper Matt Tuttle won the title of Homecoming King and was honored at halftime. In addition to being a member of the football team, Tuttle is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He was honored at halftime along with Homecoming Queen Malissa Bradshaw from Sigma Kappa.

-There was a strange connection to Notre Dame in this game. Western Kentucky starting quarterback David Wolke played two seasons for the Fighting Irish. Wolke completed just 7 of 19 passes Saturday for 49 yards, a touchdown and one interception.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Song Of The Day - October 1

Today's song caught my attention in a Geico ad featuring those cavemen who grow increasingly sensitive to Geico ads by the day it seems. "Don't Want To Hurt You" by the Sweidish post-punk revival band The Sounds is a strange mix of punk and pop/electronica but I rather enjoy it.


Related Posts with Thumbnails