Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Guest Blogger: Inside the Irish's Keith Arnold

Because we haven't played them in a few years, the Irish don't seem as familiar to BC fans these days. Throw in the injuries and roster changes and there are very few Notre Dame players who have faced BC. To get a feel for this talented team and perspective on Notre Dame's run for the playoff, I asked Keith Arnold of Inside the Irish a few questions. His answers are below.

1. Kizer hasn't really played like a back-up quarterback. What are his weak spots and do you think he is good enough to lead the Irish to a Championship.

Keith Arnold: If Notre Dame fans aren't surprised by the impressive performance of DeShone Kizer they're lying. He was outplayed in the spring game by walk-on quarterback Montgomery VanGorder, the defensive coordinator's son, and looked absolutely terrible—rock bottom as a quarterback, he admitted a few weeks ago.

But Kizer's most impressive trait has been his ability to be unflappable. Pair that with an elite physical skill-set—he's 6-foot-4 and nearly 240 pounds—and he's used his great football IQ, NFL-caliber arm and sneaky-good zone-read option skills to move the passing game and serve as the goal line and short yardage running option.

Is he good enough to lead Notre Dame to a championship? Good question. I think he's good enough to win out the regular season—and then my bigger question is about the Irish defense, not the play of the first-year quarterback, oddly enough.

2. I know that many Notre Dame fans dislike Kelly and think he cannot win the big one. Where do you stand on him?

Keith Arnold: A Notre Dame fan that can't appreciate what Brian Kelly's doing—and really, has already done—is never going to be happy. (A shock, right?) I tend to think (and I wrote it last week) that this is going to be the beginning of a really impressive run for the Irish, who have a loaded roster, some really talented young depth, and stability at quarterback that should lead them for three more seasons (at least).

Has Kelly been perfect? No. Did he rub people the wrong way early in his tenure? Some. But before he was immortalized and turned into the daffy and fun Dr. Lou, Notre Dame managed to run Lou Holtz out of South Bend, too. That didn't turn out too well. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick understands what he has in Kelly. The institutional arrogance that sometimes comes along with Notre Dame doesn't exist under the Golden Dome anymore—it's mostly relegated to certain subsets of alums and fans.

Can Kelly win the big one? Again—can't be sure until it happens. I don't think the Alabama game after the 2012 season was an indication of that. The Irish didn't have the horses then.

I thought Kelly's ability to out-maneuver LSU last year with a decimated defense was a great schematic victory. He also did some great things this season in wins over USC and the option teams, Navy (finally earning some respect) and Georgia Tech.

3. With Stanford looming, is there any chance Notre Dame overlooks this game?

Keith Arnold: I don't know if it's possible to overlook this game. The venue, the green jerseys, Boston College—an opponent that's pretty high on the Irish rivalry list, especially for fans. Add to that the leverage of the situation with a playoff berth on the cusp, and I'm more worried about the Irish being tight than looking ahead.

What really interests me about this game is figuring out how the Irish play offense against a really stingy and attacking defense. Notre Dame's offense line is hit-and-miss. They can key huge gains in the run game and then completely whiff and lose individual battles. And I'm curious if the Eagles can manufacture any big offensive plays against a defense that's really allowed everybody but Texas to make a handful of big-chunk plays. So far, they haven't been able to do that at all. Maybe Notre Dame will help open things up.

There are three-win teams. And then there's B.C. I tend to think this is the most dangerous version of this game—there's literally no reason for the Eagles NOT to pull out all the stops to try and steal a victory here.

4. What is your prediction for the game?

Keith Arnold: I don't name scores (would hate to let people confirm my stupidity), but essentially I just don't think Boston College can score enough points on offense to win this football game.

I'm not sure how well the Irish will move the ball, but I do think there'll be a big play or two in the passing game. But ultimately, it comes down to me seeing the Irish pulling away in the second half, more because the Eagles defense gets absolutely no support from the offense, not because of any great performance by the Irish.

I take all of this back if Notre Dame turns the football over early and more than once. Then it's chaos scenario and I actually think the Eagles will be a totally frightening team if they can get this game to the fourth quarter.

But I just don't see that happening in a stadium that should be mostly Notre Dame fans.


dixieagle said...

" a stadium that should be mostly Notre Dame fans." This makes me want to scream loudly ... I just did.

Tim said...

RIP to Doug Flutie's parents, who both died today.

John said...

Oh my goodness. God bless the Flutie Family.

dixieagle said...

Such a sad day for the Flutie family.

perkindc said...

This whole BC 'on the road' at Fenway BS is such a kick in the nutz. I've been trying to buy into this idea for the last year and I gotta say, I f-ing hate everything about it. Hopefully the Admin is squeezing a little extra scratch out of this deal. But unless we win, I can't see how this is good for BC selling tickets in Boston. Perhaps I'm wrong. Maybe it's the humble pie BC needs to eat to gin up non-affiliated BC support in Boston. Either way, I pretty sure this is gonna be a rough weekend.

eagleboston said...

Thoughts with the Flutie family. He has been the greatest ambassador for BC in the history of the school and I know the BC community will support him.

Big Jack Krack said...

In Boston for a few days and flying out today. Would have extended the consulting for the whole week and gone to the game.

But the conditions to get tickets were ridiculous. Wouldn't it be funny if DIDB didn't sell the pitiful allotment of 5,000. (Dumb it down Brad).

Anyway, all those who are pissed about this - I join you completely. The only way we come out any good is to win the game.

With the sad passing of the Fluties, I'd say we should dedicate this game to their honor.

Come on Brad - bring out the special handkerchiefs for this - 5,000 for the BC contingent. White in the middle, bordered by Maroon and Gold.

To honor the Fluties is more important than any game against the Fighting French in our hometown baseball stadium.

Let's do it.


P.S. Do we still have the Fenway Sports Group? They suck, excuse my language.

Hoib said...

Sad, and remarkable about the Fluties, a true love story, it's the way to go though if you're lucky.

Tim said...

Yes, we are still aligned with Fenway Sports Management. According to their own website, their biggest accomplishment is getting meatballs served at BC:

Also note their description of BC:
"BC has won a record five NCAA College championships and sent more than 40 alumni into professional sports leagues."
What is this record that we hold? And I'm pretty sure we've sent a heck of a lot more than 40 players into the pros over the years.

WERBC said...

How about this....BC should show up with their maroon home uniforms on in honor of the Flutie (or maybe a more subtle poke in the eye at ND for holding a home game in our back yard). By rule the ref will toss a flag at the beginning of each half per NCAA rules. Assuming that ND shows no class by waiving the penalty,BC would be tagged with a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the kickoff of each half (BC could change into whites after the first half and avoid a second half penalty).

Big Jack Krack said...

Unreal - I will read when I de-plane.

It's long since time to start writing letters to get rid of them, Tim.

dixieagle said...

Great idea about honoring the Fluties, BJK... if ND allows us. (Pardon my sarcasm.) BC teams often seen to rise to the occasion in emotion-packed situations like this. Let's hope they can do so this weekend.

CT said...

We've got the throwback unis, the sad news about the Fluties, and a night game to shock the world.

All of it a perfect recipe for a 27-7 loss.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Terrible news about the Fluties. This happens with some frequency among dedicated lifelong couples - keep in mind when you lose a parent in that situation. They call it Broken Heart Syndrome -

Hoib said...

Nappy said it a while ago, you gotta have heart!

Napolean Bonaparte said...

You gotta have heart and a big mother of an offensive line!

Big Jack Krack said...

We need to ask these guys what it is exactly that they do for BC; how much the school pays them and if they are proud that we get no publicity.

JP Goulard, Coordinator, BC Partnership Services
Matt Murrey, VP, Boston College Mktg. Partnership

BC Football got more notice in Boston when I was in high school than it does now. Nice going, FSG.

Thanks for the meatballs.