I'm shocked you feel this way
My ND preview: UM Defense
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 future.
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 advantage.
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.
Irish, this is for your on good man , someone has to step up,you have to stop smoking that shit.Come on just say no,get high on life.
I must remind my self, self no jokes,no jokes,no jokes...
of the fact that Boubacar Cissoko went out for the second half and JT Floyd was in his place, upon which WMU attacked, attacked and attacked, and succeeded. If Cissoko and Warren play the whole game There Will Be Blood in ND's passing game, as I guarantee you Nevada did not have two corners as talented as what Michigan brings.
Also, Warren was not yanked for the personal foul penalty. In fact the coaches supported him and afterwords and said they liked his physicality, and the penalty was a tad subjective.
Personally, if ND goes into max-protect, I'll take Cissoko on Tate and Warren on Floyd any day of the week.
But WMU didn't attack attack attack that is my point. When it looked like the UM secondary was ripe for the picking they went deep once on their longest pass of the game and scored.
I would love to see Cissoko lined up against Floyd
I really hope that you are joking because you are going to be fairly disappointed when Michigan's players don't cower in fear of Charlie Weis and ND (unless the threatens to eat them). I think you'll be fairly surprised when you don't curb stomp Michigan like you curb stomped Nevada
That is a frightening thought Charlie hard charging, rolls bouncing, with fork and knife in hand, a greasy t-shirt and a bib. If that happens I say we will lose...I'd run
Why would I want them to cower in front of ND. This is a rivalry game, I want them to play their hardest and leave nothing on the table, the same I expect from ND.
but it won't happen. Floyd will be Warren's man.
And the true domer comes out. Kidding! While I bought into your previous diary, I think you underestimate the starting defense (as noted previously, lumping in the backups who came in during a blow out). I still think ND will move the ball rather successfully, but not quite as well as your preview.
I wasn't trying to take anything away from the plays that UM made against WMU's offense, but it became a by product of the way I wrote it up. I do expect UM to bring more pressure on Clausen and be more physical up front. The UM secondary just hasn't done anything yet to worry me.
that you feel this way:
ND is going to tear UM’s defense apart
ND is going to tear UM's offense apart
I hope a lot of ND fans are thinking the same way. It will make it that much sweeter when victory is ours on Saturday.
what? you took those out of context :)
Based on your first paragraph it's a wonder that any team will ever be able to stop the
UNSTOPPABLE IRISH OFFENSIVE ATTACK.
Our DLine will dominate the LOS. Claussen will be frazzled. That said, my safeties make me cry.
But I'm pretty sure that Warren will be able to hang with Floyd and that Cissoko can hang with Tate.
The BIGGER question is can ND's oline block our Dline? I will go out on a limb and say no.
I really hope the first half of your comment is true. I can't accept it until I see it though. All I have to base it on is last year's one man route deep to G. Tate.
I expect our D and O to prove you wrong. That is why this game will be so much fun to watch
The key matchup to the game is obviously the secondary vs. Tate and Floyd. Relatedly, the key matchup is thus Cissoko and Warren vs. Angry Michigan Secondary Hating God. Cissoko and Warren are miles better than what Nevada ran out there, and might be the most talented duo Notre Dame sees all year. Those two have the ability to cover Tate and Floyd and slow down the ND offense, but our backups would get roasted by those guys unless Turner is both ready and able to step into the defense (and I doubt that given his late start).
No offense to Warren and Cissoko but USC's secondary will be the strongest we see this year, and it has everything it needs to be the best in the country.
Well yeah, USC's secondary has Taylor Mays instead of unknown quantities at safety. I think I'd take our corners though (but I'd love USC's depth, because Michigan has none).
Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion but I call bullshit. Kevin Thomas and Josh Pinkard are both proven commodities at corner. Warren had one good Freshman year and Cissoko is just now starting. So ummm, yeah, SC's secondary is all across the board more experienced and, dare I say it, more talented.
No offense to ND ...
ND will run traps, three step drops and send the RB out to the flat to offset the pressure of the Michigan D-line. I would take Kyle Rudolph (TE) against the safety or LBs all day. If they are successful doing that then Graham and Martin can run up and say hello to Clausen all day while he watches another completion. Roh looked good against WMU, but Roh (or any LB) trying to cover Rudolph (if ND spreads the field with 3+ WR sets) should give UM fits if Clausen is on that day. I personally do not feel most college CBs can cover Tate or Floyd one-on-one if they are out on an island too long with them. That is why getting defensive pressure from your front 4 will be key. ND needs to have long, sustained drives. Because although UM has some talent (Martin, Graham, etc) you are still rebuilding the depth chart a bit. Anytime somebody from the two deep comes onto the field you are dealing with inexperience and/or a dropoff.
As a sidebar: When did Hiller (WMU QB) become Peyton Manning??
I feel very comfortable with our linebackers, namely mouton and Brown covering their TEs or RBs. They are both fast converted safeties.
Our secondary is probably weak, but I'm curious to what ND's game plan will be to stop Brandon Graham. He's got a nice series of moves. His speed moves were against an experienced tackle that looked completely overwhelmed and caused quite a few early throws and incompletions
ND's combined OL should be pretty good. They looked sound against Nevada, which should at least be an indication that they aren't the same old yakety sax line. It'll be interesting how many people they commit to Martin and Graham. I wouldn't be surprised if they doubled them to start the game, and try to throw Roh off his game by use of screens to his side, slowing his blitzes.
It will be fun to watch, WMU's Oline was absolutely pathetic at times, and that is not just a knock on WMU but a compliment to the UM pass rush.
Nevada had 2 DEs who project well into the NFL and the Oline did a very good job. It will definitely be a battle to watch the whole game long
Our DLine will dominate the LOS. Claussen will be frazzled. That said, my safeties make me cry.
This is about 8th grade quality analysis.
The UM Offense preview was pretty legit. Seems as though Defense preview was throw together in ten minutes.
Irish, I think you're missing a big issue here and that is the fact that football is a PHYSICAL game.
Notre Dame needs to prove that it can play with an edge and knock the other team around - most of us here, as well as nationally have not seen a Notre Dame team play a physical football game since Weis has been their coach.
I can guarantee you that Michigan will be the more physical team come Saturday.
Your right, we have to be able to come out on both lines and show we can punch the other guy in the mouth. It isn't something this team has shown in the past, but they showed dramatic improvement in their physicality in week 1. Our Oline was pancaking their Dlineman, and played well beyond the whistle at times. Overall they just looked meaner on the field, and drew a lot of praise because of it.
If you need someone to show you how to come out and punch the other guy in the mouth might I suggest aquiring the services of one Mr. Blount?
"The ND Oline will not tire as easily as WMU’s did and when they do, we again have depth to rotate them out."
WMU Oline got tired? From what? They didn't run many plays, made only one drive in the 1st half.
Your conclusion is Freep like:
1. Michigan's Dline performed well throughout the game.
2. But Michigan dline can't be good; therefore
3. Western's veteran oline must have gotten tired.
Step 5: Profit!!!
Either way it should be a close game. Neither team is head and shoulders above the other and it'll come down to a series of plays that will determine the outcome of the game. The line is currently Mich +4 and that seems about right to me. But I wouldn't bet it either way. If it got up to around +7 I would take the points because this game will be close.
Also one other thing to keep in mind is the weather for the game. Currently it shows sunny but on Sunday it shows rain. earlier this week it was also showing rain and if it rains I think I'd take our running game vs yours any day of the week.
***EDIT*** I also think it's extremely homer-ish to say that you are going to completely control both sides of the ball which is exactly what your diaries are saying. So I would like to know what you think the score will be?
I have no doubt it will be a close game, it just about always is. Someone posted last week that the spread is covered in this game 80% of the time and it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
I didn't intend to say we will control both sides of the ball, just that I think we have the advantage on both sides of the ball. Who actually will control it will come down to game plan and execution on the field. I can't really predict that.
#2 ND is going to tear UM’s defense apart
#2 ND is going to tear UM’s offense apart
does not reflect these points if you think that it's going to be a close game. It's homer-ish to say the least.
I'd rather break it into position groups:
LB: push (I don't know enough about Nd's linebacking corps)
Looking at it this way shows that ND should be favored but not by much which is why the line is 4
I agree except for WR. From what I've seen, WR: ND >> Mich. Tate and Floyd are great.
OMG ND IS GOING TO WIPE MICHIGAN BACK TO THE BO AGE!
It's a bit ridiculous for Irish to assert the stuff that he does. But I don't even know if I agree that ND>>Mich's WRs.
I will say that their top 2 is probably better than ours but what about TE's I forgot to include that in my analysis and I think that Mich>>ND. Also our slots/3/4 wides are better than their 3/4 wides.
"Tear them apart" does not sound like "I have no doubt it will be a close game."
You did intend to say you will control both sides of the ball... Wanna know how I know? Because you said ND would "tear Michigan apart" on both sides of the ball.
Your analysis is appreciated, but make up your mind a little bit.
No I really didn't,
Think about this,
Okay how many people are going to read "My ND preview" and see it was posted by "Irish" and go into the article thinking they will agree with what I am going to say, very few, most will be indecisive and then there will be quite a few more who are going to go in and look for the first point they disagree with and then go straight to comment.
So the "ND is going to tear XXX apart :)" is meant to turn that 3rd group away and the :) is supposed to indicate to those who are still reading that I am not making that statement without some humor behind it.
ND O will dominate our D and the ND D will dominate our O but if we get a few lucky breaks we could pull out a huge upset.
No not at all
"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 advantage.
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 that pressure late, it will be a close game till the end no matter what advantage I may think ND has."
That's not what you wrote...
Right, I understand what you were doing... but 1) It's a little unnecessary. A few people here are idiots that will read up until that point, comment on how much they hate you, and then leave. 2) You followed that up by explaining how ND was better in (just about) every position group.
ND is, and will be barring some freak practice injury, favored in this game, and rightfully so. Your win was impressive to say the least, and your depth, experience (though not impressive experience), and talent make you the favorite. I just don't think comparing UM-WMU to ND-Nevada is going to give you (or us) a very good picture of the next game... I understand that this is all we have to go off of so far, and like I said before, I appreciate the analysis, but it seems a little bit over-homerish for an opponent's blog.
I think the outcome of this game is far from certain, but 2 weeks ago if you were asked which team ND or UM has the advantage going into week 2 with what you knew then, would you pick UM? I liked playing Nevada before UM, back then for the same reasons I posted in the two articles and what I saw this weekend in both games just strengthened my opinions on both teams.
Other than that game I have no other evidence; if I had drawn anything from the Hawaii bowl, most would have just scoffed it away. Comparing against the game in '08 is just dumb, the 2 teams that are going to meet this weekend are both entirely different in staff and personnel (for the most part).
I think you're selling them a little short. Hiller is an NFL prospect, and although he lost most of his receivers, part of the reason it looked easy is because we made it look easy. His passes weren't great because he was under pressure or the receivers were well covered.
Still, thanks for your analysis.
The pressure up front was steady all game for Hiller to deal with and I am not trying to take anything away from the UM front 7 they played a great game.
I don't know if they were repeatedly trying to look deep and the pass was just never there or if the short passes were the game plan from the beginning. But the short pass seemed to be his first read and if it was there he didn't hesitate. The corners did a great job tackling when the ball was in front of them, but their back pedal and speed wasn't really tested at all imo.
The line on WMU prior to the game was that the majority of their passes were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. I believe Stevie Brown spoke about this last week.