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ND offense write up...
From secrant.com. I'll admit I haven't really watched ND all year, so I can't speak for any of the data being true. Maybe the Irish fan on the board can validate this.
This is a VERY long post, so I'm sure many of you will do "tl;dr" or "Notre Dame sucks, lolz". For those who actually want to know more about Notre Dame, here's some great information. I would have done it soon after the matchup was known, but there were these little things called finals. Anyway here's a detailed description on the Irish offense from someone who's seen probably 99% of ND's plays this season (missed 2-3 plays during Oklahoma while getting some food). I will do one for the ND defense later in the week.
Also, before anyone asks, my username comes from the fact that I'm from Columbus, Ohio and joined TD before the LSU-OSU NCG. I'm now a junior at ND. Now:
ND runs multiple sets, shotgun and under center, two TEs, five-wide, two RBs... Basically the only things we don't do are the pistol or use a fullback, even on the goalline (redzone offense has been a HUGE problem for ND this year). Of course, we are normally, whether under center or out of shotgun, in a one RB, one TE, three WR set. ND likes to run the ball first, then pass. There are a variety of running plays, including read and pitch options. Passing plays often are out routes and button hooks or seams to Tyler Eifert up the middle. A few, but not a ton of deep passing plays, and very few WR screens.
Everett Golson (#5) is a sophomore (what most people would call a redshirt freshman) in his first year starting. He's improved a lot since the start of the year, but is still not an elite QB by any stretch. He has a huge arm, and pretty good accuracy, but sometimes struggles with decision making, reading defenses and pocket presence. But he is very talented. He also is a scrambler, but not quite as good of a pure runner as many might think (I actually think our third string QB, Andrew Hendrix [#12], is the best pure running QB on the roster). However, Golson is very elusive, and his ability to escape pressure to find an open WR and ability to run QB draws and read options is dangerous. Some flaws to his running ability are his size, his lack of game-breaking speed, and his ball security. He puts it on the ground a lot.
Tommy Rees (#11) is the backup. He started the final five games of 2010 and 12 of 13 games in 2011. He is a great game manager, experienced, and smart, but the least physically talented of the four scholarship QBs on the roster by far, both in terms of arm strength and athleticism. He can come in if Golson loses his helmet for a play and/or if he gets the wind knocked out of him for a little bit and do fine. But if Golson goes down in the first quarter (ala McCoy) and we have to rely on Rees the rest of the game, we have very, very little shot.
The starter is Theo Riddick (#6), a senior. He's probably our best between the tackles runner despite not being "big". He runs very hard and is very agile. He's not very fast, though, and will get caught from behind should he break past the secondary. Also, like I said, he's not huge. He was a starter at WR in 2010 and 2011 and switched to RB this offseason, so he's very effective in the passing game out of the backfield (he actually has the third most receptions on the team, behind Eifert and T.J. Jones).
The backup is Cierre Wood (#20), also a senior. Wood was the starter last season, but was suspended the first two games this season for a violation of team rules, and never really claimed his spot back from Riddick. Still, he gets a lot of carries. Good vision, and very fast (had that long 60+yd TD against Oklahoma, if you remember), but doesn't run as hard as Riddick. You'll see a good amount of him in the NCG.
The third stringer is George Atkinson III (#4). GAIII is a sophomore, and probably the most physically gifted back on the roster. Runs track for Notre Dame and is a big guy. He does have ball security issues, however, and lacks experience. I imagine the carries on Jan. 7 will break down something like 15-18 for Riddick, 10-12 for Wood, and 3-4 for GAIII, obviously subject to if one of them is having a better game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyler Eifert (#80) won the Mackey Award for top tight end in the country, and will almost certainly be a first round pick in April. Matchup problem for nearly anyone. Big, strong, pretty fast, good hands. He's the "jump ball" guy on the goalline. Can obviously lineup in a three-point stance on the line, but also shifts out wide frequently. The backup TE is Troy Niklas (#85), a sophomore. Very big and made some catches but still getting adjusted after playing defense last year. Niklas really struggles at times blocking.
The rest of the WR corps is pretty pedestrian. Junior T.J. Jones (#7) is probably the best out of them. Very solid player, but not going to wow you with athleticism/size. But smart, good route runner and very good hands. Sophomore DaVaris Daniels (#10) is probably the most talented WR on the roster and will get his fair share of targets. He missed the final two games to injury but should be back for the NCG. Freshman Chris Brown (#2) only has two catches, but is very, very fast. He had a huge catch for 50 yards against Oklahoma when it was 13-13 in the fourth quarter to set up the winning TD by basically just running past the safety. He's a guy to watch out for, especially with six more weeks of practices under his belt to get even better, since he's a freshman. Finally, the last WRs of significance are senior Robby Toma (#9) and graduate student John Goodman (#81). Toma went to the same high school as Te'o and they were best friends growing up, and many think he was only offered by Weis to get Manti. Regardless, he's been a very solid player in the slot. Small and not particularly fast, but very dependable and sure-handed. Goodman doesn't have many catches this year, but does have three TDs, including the first TD of the game on a 50-yard pass against Michigan State, and had a key catch on third down on the game-winning drive against Purdue to lead to the field goal.
The offensive line is very good. Zack Martin (#70) starts at left tackle and has been named ND's best OL for the past three years. He's allowed just one sack all year, on the season's first drive against Navy. Chris Watt (#66) is in his second year starting at LG. Braxston Cave (#52) was the AP's third team All-American center behind Jones and Clemson's Dalton Freeman.
The right side is weaker, which has two first year starters in Mike Golic Jr. (#57) at guard and Christian Lombard (#74) at tackle. ND had a change in offensive line coach in this offseason. The old coach relied on man blocking, while the new one has emphasized zone blocking (basically, for those that don't know, in man blocking all the linemen have a specific guy and need to move him to a certain spot to create a specific hole the RB is looking for. In zone blocking, linemen have an area, and if someone goes into that area, you take them where their momentum is going. Therefore, there is no specific hole for the RB between certain linemen, he has to find the opening with his vision). This caused some problems, particularly in the beginning of the year, but seems to mostly have been corrected. Despite the emphasis on zone blocking, ND does still utilize some gap and pull schemes. A particularly useful one is Golic pulling to the left side and finding a LB.
There you have it. Any questions, let me know. I'll post the D/ST one later in the week.
This writer is poor-mouthing a bit here, imo, but the ND rushing attack will be interesting to watch.
Can they run effectively between the tackles or does their offense have to scheme mostly outside of that?
Hoping they plan on running up the gut, because I don't think they really can...not all day.
I'm hoping we fixed this arm tackling issue. We've had some troubles this year against physical RB's between the tackles, d-line isn't getting the penetration and is getting pushed, LBers have took some bad angles, and it has been setting up 3rd and manageable.
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