Intro is same as offense version here, http://mgoblog.com/diaries/my-nd-preview-um-offense
All right so I am going to start this off by saying 2 things
#1 UM’s win over WMU is great for everyone. ND fans are more excited about this game than before,
obviously the entire stadium was rocking with support of UM and the coaching
staff and the entire team looked like they were having a great time. Although everyone on the team didn’t
experience last year, it looked like they all came together to put any fears of
that repeating fully to bed. I
fully congratulate UM on their win and I mostly wish them success in the
Before we move on to #2 I want to put up this disclaimer:
You probably will not like what I am going to post, and I won’t hold it against
anyone if it results in some lashing out, I was prepared for that long before I
registered. Also remember that
quite a few posters actually requested this write up so here it goes….
#2 ND is going to tear UM’s defense apart, still too harsh? :)
So if you’re still with me, you would probably ask why is that? The passing threats are self evident,
Tate and Floyd are constant play makers and if a secondary focuses on them with
coverage then Rudolph or the Kamara coming out of the slot will burn teams up the
middle. A team sells out to the
pass and the running game will kick in.
The running game will probably never be the shoulders this offense rides
on but it began to show its teeth in week 1. The new additions to the staff have already proven their
worth in regards to the running game. If your still still reading you shouldn't take that #2 statement too literally, it was just meant to weed out the undesirables.
WMU did not challenge UM’s defense and their short pass play
calling allowed the secondary to play close to the line of scrimmage and support
the run. The UM secondary was challenged maybe a total of 4 times with passes
attempted over 15 yards.
One was knocked down, and another fell incomplete when
Hiller had 4 defenders break through his Oline causing him to throw early. The last 2 completions both came late
in the 2nd quarter on the last drive when WMU actually looked like they had a
decent offense, though it stalled out a few plays later. There were 2-3 drives that WMU was able
to move the ball and they did it with a balanced attack by going with
10yardsish passes which pulled back the secondary and allowed for some
respectable runs up front. The only pass that took advantage of UM crowding the LOS was
the 73 yard TD pass which was about a 30 yard pass and 43 YAC, that should
worry UM fans more than anything.
That type of attack is what you will see from ND though the
ratio might be more like 2:1. UM’s
run support will not be able to rely on help from a secondary, they will have
their hands full with our WRs. ND
will stretch the field, unlike anything WMU did.
Also where did all the excitement over Donovan Warren come
from? He did lead the team in
tackles with 6.5 but he also generated 45 yards in penalties with 2 Pass
interception penalties and a personal foul, which was away from the ball and
the camera. I would not be surprised one bit if he gets picked on next week by the
play calling. Especially if he still doesn’t
think that he deserved those penalties on those particular plays; it could be a
long game for him.
UM’s front 7 really took apart WMU’s line repeatedly. The Oline was confused and lost,
letting rushers through unchallenged.
They too got out of position and it led to the defense being able to
drop the backs and QB for losses.
Overall UM tackled well, and didn’t let up really at all during the
game. Those front 7 will be
looking across at an upgraded Oline this week though. Nevada’s pass rush last
year was no slouch and they got pressure on clausen a couple times, they
returned 2 DEs who totaled 23 sacks last season* and 15 tackles for loss. [EDIT]> The ND line did a great job giving
Clausen time, he did feel the pressure a couple times, and Nevada did get one
sack. There is no doubt Clausen will feel a strong pass rush this week, Brandon Graham will be a strong force on the outside and the ND Oline will need to have to slow him down in order to give Clausen time to pass. The ND rushing attack was
nowhere near amazing last week but it was a respectable 172 yards with 4.3 yds/c. I am excited to see how physical they will be against the UM front, who showed their teeth against the WMU front regularly
[*EDIT: both DE's sack totals came from less than stellar competition and were probably not good indicators of NDs Oline strength]
Overall though the UM front 7 showed they can bring pressure
regularly and that the Oline has to be ready for it to come from anyone. The secondary probably had one of their
easiest games of the season, and came away with just as many questions as a
week ago, IMO. The ND Oline
will not tire as easily as WMU’s did and when they do, we again have depth to
rotate them out.
Looking at how both teams match up against each other, you
have to give ND the advantage.
ND’s passing attack vs an inexperienced UM secondary with little
depth. If you can’t stop the pass
in the secondary that pass rush upfront will become even more important. And
with the way the ND Oline shut down the 2 Nevada DEs I can’t see it being
enough to stop the passing attack. Then you have the true freshman QBs under
regular pressure from whatever blitz has been dialed up, and a secondary that doesn’t
give an inch anywhere on the field and I still see ND having the
With that all said, ND is playing at UM, in front of 108,000
anti-fans who are going to be loud the entire game, angry the entire game and
ready to win again. If UM can come
out strong early and continue the same type of play they had against WMU, it will be a close game till
the end no matter what advantage I may think ND has.