After rallying to stop the Wolverines on their first drive of the second half, Notre Dame had the ball trailing by 14 points. There was plenty of time remaining in the game but yet Notre Dame Football Offensive Coordinator Chuck Martin still choose not to the run the ball. On the first two plays of the drive, Amir Carlisle carried the ball for 17 yards total. After that Notre Dame only ran the ball two more time on the drive. The Irish did score. But, they could have set a tone for the second half if they continued to run the ball.
Blitzing in the second half was hit or miss. Of course, Notre Dame got 7 points off the interception. This was caused by a great effort by Austin Collinsworth. But, overall, when Notre Dame blitzed they found themselves out of position. The majority of blitzing is guessing what your opponent will do. Guess correctly and it devastates your opponent. Guess wrong and you will get burnt. However, the Defense did play better in the second half only allowing 14 points.
Rees completed a 2 yard pass to Niklas in the middle of the 4th Quarter. This pass demonstrated that Rees has the ability and arm strength to move in the pocket and turn a negative into a positive. It is not a big gain. But, it is much better than 2011 Rees.
However, 2011 Rees did shine threw when Rees was nearly intercepted by the Linebacker. Rees was trying to hit Daniels on the dig route and did not recognize the Linebacker sinking under. Additionally, he missed TJ Jones on the drive.
On the last pass, Rees really zipped the ball. Kelly could be seen on the sideline saying to Rees, “How was he supposed to catch that ball?” Rees threw the ball about as hard as he could and it whizzed through the hands of Amir Carlisle.
In the second half, on their limited carries, Amir Carlisle established himself as the best overall Running Back on the team. Carlisle runs with power and great pad level in between the tackles. Atkinson still needs to hit the hole harder.
The Wide Receivers continued to develop in the second half. TJ Jones seemed to be hampered slightly by the injury to his arm. Slot Receiver CJ Prosise made an error when Michigan brought pressure. He should have set up for a hot route. Finally, TJ Jones may have caught the pass on the drive where Notre Dame kicked the field goal.
Nix penetrated against a double team and almost brought down the ball carrier. If Notre Dame’s Defense is going to be successful it will be on plays like that. He needs to be more disruptive. However, Kelly did say today that he played like a beast.
Tuitt’s play was flat out amazing. When you consider that he is 6’6″ 320 pounds, it is insane that he can move like that. He is just a flat out athlete. It also demonstrates that he hustles. He could have easily given up on the ball.
Early in the second half, Fox had a spy on Gardner but failed to make the tackle and Gardner got away for a first down. As well as these Linebackers ever play, they will never be as instinctual as Manti Te’o. The only way to fix this problem is through recruiting.
Jaylon Smith read the eyes of Gardner and nearly came up with an interception. It would have been a turning point in the game. It demonstrates that he has the instincts and athleticism to be an excellent player. As soon as he cleans up his Freshman mistakes, he will be an impact player.
Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell imply cannot cover man to man. Either they should be subbed out or protected in their coverages. Cole Luke is probably not ready to do this yet. Using Luke against Purdue would be a good yard stick to show whether Luke can do this or not.