And then there have been irritating injuries. Jim Seymour has a dislocated finger on his left hand, and he tapes three fingers together, which might take away the marginal pass catch. Kevin Hardy has a sprained ankle and cannot move the way he should on defense, but more important, he cannot punt with the hurt foot. Neither can anyone else on the Notre Dame team with a good foot (the punting average against USC was an absurd 28 yards). Moreover, Hardy's injury prevents him from playing end—he is not agile enough as yet—so this forces the juggling of other talent. An offensive tackle, Bob Kuechenberg, goes to defense, and the best tight end, George Kunz, to tackle. The woes mount up.
There is some truth in all of that, to be sure. If you mix in the fact that Notre Dame's opponents are not only tougher but wiser to their ways, that the Irish confidence has suddenly been shaken and that the team is somehow bereft of running backs, what you come out with is an 8-2 team, or 7-3, or maybe even 6-4. Why, before it's over, Notre Dame could drop all the way to eighth or ninth in the polls.