The Fighting Irish scored three touchdowns each on quick drives in the 1st half. Each of the scores came from the right hand of Tommy Rees. The first two drives were 3 plays 77 yards in 1:26 and 3 plays 87 yards in 1:01 respectively. The other touchdown was a 1 play 66 yard touchdown on a pass from Rees to Niklas. This offensive has shown itself to be more explosive than last year’s but less consistent up front.
Last year, the Irish utilized two (and even sometimes three) Tight End formations. They were under center for most of these plays. The Offense played on the strengths of Seniors Tyler Eifert and Theo Riddick. This version of the Fighting Irish is taking a different approach in their Offensive strategy. Of Notre Dame’s plays in the first half, 45.8% were run from the pistol, 50% were from the shotgun and 4.2% were under center. This statistic also demonstrate that the pistol is probably here to stay in the Fighting Irish playbook.
Tommy Rees is what drove the offense and stopped the offense in the 1st half. On three separate occasions, Rees overthrew his receivers. This caused the drive to slow or stop completely. Obviously, Rees did some great things on Saturday. However, against these better opponents, these mistakes could be costly.
The pistol is designed to get a Running Back in the same position as an I-Formation Running Back but get him the ball quicker like in the shotgun. The Running Back should be moving downhill quickly. Carlisle and McDaniel have done this so far. Atkinson look hesitant to hit the hole. This is why they have succeeded and he has not.
Christian Lombard continues his adjustment to Right Guard. The immediacy of when the Defensive Tackle gets on to the Right Guard will be an adjustment. This can be seen when Lombard was beaten badly when Tommy Rees was sacked in the first half.
2nd Half Tomorrow…