Based on Notre Dame’s performance in the 2nd half and during the game overall, it is clear that Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco wants to disguise his coverages more than he did in the 2012 undefeated campaign. With more experienced depth, he was able to roll from Cover 1 to Cover 3 effectively during the second half. Last year, Notre Dame did not really attempt these secondary calls. Will this make the Irish a better defense? Additionally, Diaco seemed willing to bring more pressure and play man to man defense. Was this a one game plan or a trend?
Some players stood out. Some for good reasons and some for bad reasons. Carlo Calabrese does not appear to be instinctive. This is not good sign for a 5th year player. For example, on a Cornerback blitz by Jackson, Calabrese was slow to close down on the hot receiver. To contrast this, Farley recognized the hot receiver and almost beat Calabrese there from his Free Safety position.
Tuitt was neither good or bad on Saturday. But, Nix was doubled teamed throughout the game and second half. This will probably be a trend. Tuitt needs to win his one on one match up for the defense to be more successful.
Collinsworth is steady and is currently a better option than Elijah Shumate. Shumate is more athletic than Collinsworth. Collinsworth played excellent in coverage and when blitzing. It would not be surprising if he grabbed the starting position.
Notre Dame’s only score versus Temple in the 2nd half was a 7 play, 94 yard drive. This occurred in 3:36. Again, the Irish showed themselves to be explosive and less methodical than last years team. The key to this drive were two back shoulder throws by Tommy Rees to Chris Brown and TJ Jones respectively. These two throws could be critical to Notre Dame’s development on Offense. Rees does not have the type of arm that can throw guys open. However, if he can master this throw the Irish can stretch the field vertically.
Finally, Notre Dame’s Offense Line protected Rees very well in the 2nd half and the game overall. The line shifted its protection well. Considering the unit has never played together in an actual game this was a promising sight.