Notre Dame played an excellent first half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons but failed to continue that success into the second half of the ball game. Despite a great performance overall, Notre Dame can still improve on a few things to become a complete football team. Here are some of those things:
No Style Points
Wake Forest is the type of team that Notre Dame should have beaten 50-0. Notre Dame let up in the second half of this game by playing its second and third string players. The Fighting Irish were able to sit some of its players. But if Oregon and Kansas State had not lost, the Irish would not have not convinced voters that they should have been evaluated about either of these teams. It can be argued that Notre Dame needed to rest its players including Manti Te’o and Everett Golson. However, the Irish probably needed to risk proving to voters that they could have been Wake Forest in a way that Oregon would have. However, it all worked out in the end for Brian Kelly and Notre Dame.
Chris Brown’s Development
It is difficult to call out one player but when there are not many negatives it is the only option. The Freshman Wide Receiver from Hanahan, South Carolina was targeted several times against the Demon Deacons. Brown dropped two catchable balls that demonstrated that he still has a long way to go fundamentally before he can be a great player. When he beat Oklahoma deep for 50 yard gain, fans were probably wondering where he was all year but now we have our answer. Brown is a tremendous athlete, maybe one of the best on Notre Dame’s roster. His speed is similar to that of George Atkinson III. However, if he fails to catch the ball or run the correct route then that athleticism does not really mean anything. His development in the next two games could be critical to Notre Dame’s success.
Notre Dame’s Jumbled Backfield
The Fighting Irish have gone back and forth all season on who would receiver the majority of the carries. Last week, it was Theo Riddick. This week, it was Cierre Wood. Riddick is averaging 4.59 yards per carry while Wood is averaging 7.06 yards. This average when added with this weekend’s performance by Cierre Wood begs the question as to why Cierre Wood has not been getting the majority of the carries the entire year (minus the two games he was suspended). Wood is definitely the more complete Running Back who can do it all. Riddick is probably better out of the backfield. But, Wood simply has been the more productive Running Back over the haul of the season. Notre Dame would be better off if Brian Kelly gives Wood the majority of the carries in the next two games against USC and the bowl opponent.