An Offensive Identity
Last week’s performance across the board on offense looked like a step back from Michigan. Though the second-half of the Michigan game was an offensive struggle, it seemed to carry over into week 2. To start, the play-calling was not good. The Irish definitely seemed set in airing the ball out and improving their passing game against a much lesser Ball State secondary, and that did lead to a career-high 297 passing yards for Wimbush and 119 receiving yards from Miles Boykin. However, Wimbush threw 3 interceptions and only completed 54% of his passes while constantly scrambling and running for his life.
The run game and offensive line didn’t look great, either. Though Ball State had an effective game-plan up front that gave the Irish fits, it was concerning to see constant pressure on Wimbush and very little running lanes for the backs, only rushing for 117 yards. I, like many others, would have liked to see Notre Dame wear down the Cardinal front seven throughout the game, but that simply didn’t happen. There were also several key drops throughout the game that halted Irish drives and momentum.
This week against a much more talented Vanderbilt team, it’s understandable why people might be concerned. I’m hoping to see improved play-calling that plays more to Wimbush’s strengths, and a more physical offensive line that paves the way for a better day on the ground.
These offensive struggles can only continue for so long, and the Irish need to figure it out in the next two weeks as the defense can only be relied on so much week-in and week-out.