Stanford vs Oregon tells me Bama will be able to run against Notre Dame.
I'm sure that seems like an odd comparison. But I do mean it just like it sounds.
The reason Stanford beat Oregon is the reason I'm believe we'll be able to run the ball, with success, against Notre Dame.
Over the weeks during the season I had many conversations about how I thought we'd fare if we ended up facing Oregon in the BCSNC. It was my belief the biggest thing that had to be achieved for a team to beat the Ducks was to maintain gap control. Stanford, when they played Oregon, did just that. While the Ducks tried to widen the field Stanford played solid, fundamental defense and maintained their gap control.
I've now watched bit and pieces of five Notre Dame games over the last week. I say bits and pieces because I haven't paid much attention to their offensive possession—fast forwarded through them to be honest. I haven't paid any attention to their special teams play and haven't watched, in detail, their defense when it comes to passing downs.
What I have focused on is their run defense, specifically how well they control the gaps.
What have I seen?
It's certainly not every down, but it's enough for a team to take advantage of to the extent of not only being able to run the ball but being able to run the ball successfully.
Even when their defense has stopped teams from gaining more than a couple of yards I've seen fundamental flaws in their technique.
Breaking this down a little more and with the assumption there are those that don't follow gaps I'll include names .
A play we run quite a bit is a counter. Using Lacy as an example, he'll get the handoff from AJ, take one step to the right and then hit the hole between Warmack and Cyrus. That's the 5 gap. (It's often called a 25 counter—2 for the RB Lacy and 5 for the gap)
The issue I've seen with the Irish is instead of playing that 3 (outside of Chance's shoulder) or the 4 technique (Cyrus's inside shoulder) to cover their B gap responsibilities I see them getting hung up in what would normally be called a 2 technique.
In other words, their defensive tackles end up playing heads up with the guard. Sometime it's as simple as bad leverage with it being visually clear their weight is more to the inside than out. More often than not I've seen you could almost call a 1 technique. Not only are they on the inside of the guard, but their helmet, pads, weight...all of it between the center and guard. (They should have their inside shoulder on Chance's outside shoulder to be in the proper technique.)
It's not limited to the line play. I've seen the same out of their linebackers when they were trying to shed blocks to get to the ball carrier.
Here's the thing.
Even with bad technique, the pure athleticism the Notre Dame front seven possesses has allowed them to fight out of those circumstances and manage to stop the ball carrier without a big gain.
With our offensive line, especially running behind experience like that of CK, CW, and BJ, those minor mistakes can't be overcome with pure athleticism. If one of their tackles end up on the inside gap with Chance he's going to drive them far enough they'll be running into the guy Anthony Steen has been blocking.
I'm not going to get into what can happen if we start including the H-back into this scenario. I'll just say we will be able to run the ball.
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I expect us to run on the right side of Steen and Fluker more after that SECCG. Damn I wish Jawston Fowler was still here, would love too see him going up against Te'o
Great story btw Terry
You may be right.
Originally Posted by bamaraider
I tend to think the call will be determined on the line of scrimmage. I haven't noticed a lot of shifts along their defensive line when the ball is ready for play. Even when they've put five on the LOS, they tend to stay in the same set/scheme.
I've noticed when teams they've faced have looked to the sidelines for adjustments/calls, ND does the same. With the proven ability AJ has making audibles at the line it leads me to think he'll call which side from the line.
FWIW, the example I used was trying to paint a picture. I've seen the same things on both sides of their defensive line. It's not just one person, say Tuitt in his right defensive end position, making those mistakes.
I do think that Nix is going to be harder to block than UGA's Jenkins was at the NT position. He's got a pretty good first step. If he lines up in the 0 technique (heads up on Barrett) he will get into the backfield.
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