Notre Dame obviously did not play its best game against the Wolverines on Saturday. Poor tackling and bad angles hampered the Notre Dame Defense. Poor execution and bad play-calling slowed the Irish on Offense. Was Notre Dame that bad or was Michigan that good under the lights? If it makes any fans out there feel better, the Special Teams were very good.
It was clear from the start that Notre Dame wanted Devin Gardner to put the ball in the air. The Irish crashed down and brought run blitzes against the Michigan Defense. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, Gardner came to play. At times, it was not anything that Notre Dame did. Gardner just simply made a play. Nearly all of the passes were completed against man coverage. This may be something that the Irish need to change schematically.
The Offensive gameplan went out the door when the Irish went down 10-0. Notre Dame threw the ball 54 times while only running it 18 times. It is hard for any time to find success when they have such imbalance.
Last week, as noted in our review of the Temple film, Tommy Rees missed a few passes that completely stopped drives or put Notre Dame in bad situations. In an example of this was on the very first drive of the game, TJ Jones ran a slant pattern and he threw the ball to the outside. This would have gotten Notre Dame a first down and got the Offense rolling. Later in the first half, Rees missed Carlisle coming across for a first down. When the score was 17-10 Michigan and the Irish were driving, Rees checked down immediately to Carlisle. He may not have had anything on the play but he seemed to check it down quickly considering it was 3rd and 10.
But, Tommy Rees is in complete command of the Notre Dame Offense. He definitely throwing the ball with more zip and velocity while maintaining the same amount of accuracy. If the coaches put in him in a position to win, he will show himself to be even better. Although this is a full game statistic, it is important to note. Of the 1st down plays, Notre Dame threw the ball 26 of the 33 plays.
The interception before the half was a turning point in the game. At worst, the score would have been 20-13. If he could have moved the ball down the field, the score could have been tied or possibly 20-16.
Amir Carlisle demonstrate on the chances that he received that he can run hard between the tackles and pick up yards for Notre Dame. Atkinson showed more promise in running the ball as well. However, Atkinson must have the worst hands of any skill player on the team. This really hampers Notre Dame’s ability to call plays and move the ball when he is in the game. Based on the first half action, Carlisle will be the #1 Running Back from now on.
The Wide Receiver continued to show that they can make plays. Daniels and Jones are both difficult to stop 1-on-1. Jones should also be given credit for playing after injuring his shoulder in the second half. He continued to play with 100% effort throughout the game.
The Offensive Line protected Tommy Rees well in the first half. Rees was only pressured one time and if Rees had seen the open receiver he could have gotten the ball away sooner. However, they are not yet a dominant run blocking team in key situations. On the first drive, Notre Dame was faced with a 3rd and 2. However, the line failed to get a push and they failed to move the chains. Later, Notre Dame had favorable numbers in the box (only five guys to be exact). However, the Irish failed to get a push. The Irish should have broken a big run on this play.
Continue to the Defense…