While I wasn't watching the Michigan game yesterday, I spent my time watching the ND game. I talked a ND friend who watched the whole ND game, and I thought I'd post some observations from USF-ND.
1. Notre Dame Offense
a. Crist was horrible. He was late on throws and he just wasn’t accurate. His interception was completely on him, the ball was thrown way behind the receiver. He was pulled at halftime. He was 7/15 for 95 yards with 1 pick.
b. Rees was better than Crist, but not that much better. He was 24/34 for 296 yards, with 2 TDs and 2 picks. His 2nd TD came on when the game was pretty much in hand. I’d expect Rees to start next weekend.
c. Cierre Wood (RB) was good. 21 carries for 104 yards, his first time going over 100 yards in 14 games. 3 receptions for 44 yards too.
d. According to my ND friend, Wood’s back up, Jonas Gray, was horrible. Gray’s stats: 4 carries for 17 yards. He also had a fumble on the goal line that went back for 6.
e. ND’s O-line let everything through. ND was only sacked 2 times, but it felt like USF was getting pressure at will. My ND friend said that the left side was good but the right side sucked. Look for blitzes to the right side next week.
f. Michael Floyd was amazing. 12 receptions, 154 yards, 2 TDs. Although the second TD came with the game pretty much in hand. Still that stat line is amazing. He was double covered most of the night too. He’s definitely going to give us trouble next week. Although last year we held him to only 51 yards receiving.
g. TJ Jones (WR) comes in on rotation, TE goes out he comes in. He’s average. Not going to kill us, but you still have to watch out for him.
h. Theo Riddick (WR, PR) sucked at everything. He dropped passes, he muffed punts. I think we’ll see someone else returning punts for ND next week.
i. Eifert (TE) was above average. He dropped some passes, but he had some good catches too. 6 receptions, 93 yards. He’s definitely not Rudolph, but he’s still a threat. I’d say he’s definitely the #2 receiving threat on ND.
2. Notre Dame Defense
a. They had some trouble with BJ Daniels, a mobile QB. There were some times he scrambled 5, 6 yards to pick up the first. If it was Denard scrambling on those plays, he could have easily gone for 20.
b. The zone defense was exploited. There were some holes in the zone. ND friend said it was on the DC, not the players.
c. ND’s run D was nothing special. They only allowed 3.0 yards a carry, and 126 yards rushing but I think if you looked at rushing outside of the red zone, YPC would jump up. It felt like USF was running the ball for 4, 5 yards outside the red zone but once they got in the red zone, they were stopped.
d. The Pass D couldn’t stop the out routes. USF had their way with ND on out routes.
e. The Pass D also gave up no long balls, the longest USF reception was 18 yards.
f. My ND friend said that Te’o was the best defensive player, but that he didn’t play very well.
g. My ND friend said the D line was not good enough to stop the run until they got to the goal line, and on passing downs they didn’t get much penetration.
3. Notre Dame Special Teams
a. Missed a 30 yard field goal. Their kicker was 18 of 19 last year, so I expect that it was the weather. I’m betting he’ll be better next week.
b. The punting was terrible. The kicker average 34 yards on the night, but he had a couple of punts around 23 yards each.
c. The punt returning was not good. 2 punt returns, 2 muffed punts. One was lost, the other recovered for negative yards. Like I said, I expect them to have a different PR next week.
d. KRs nothing special. Return of about 25 yards each time.
e. KR and PR coverage was decent. No big plays, but no bad plays either.
4. Notre Dame Problems
a. ND friend said offense moved well with Cierre Wood in, and when passes weren’t dropped. The turnovers, 5 of them, killed the offense and lost the game.
b. The defense was not as good as last year. Out routes killed them. Holes in zone exploited.
c. The biggest problem was the turnovers. They gave the USF offense great field position. ND had almost double the yardage of USF, but that was because USF probably started close to the 50 yard line most of the time.
d. Penalties. 8 penalties for 73 yards. And they were bad, really stupid penalties too. Pass interference and late hits.
5. Brian Kelly is a major douche bag.
a. I know this was already covered earlier, but damn! Before I hated Brian Kelly because he was ND’s coach, now I hate Brian Kelly because he’s Brian Kelly.
b. My ND friend refuses to see it though, I tried everything to show him the light, but to no avail.
c. Him being an asshole like that is going to come back and bite him in the ass.
d. I really like this line from MGoBlog user Yeoman, ”…but I think the fundamental difference is that when Bo yelled at you it was because you'd let down your teammates. When Kelly yells it's because you've let down Brian Kelly.”
6. My ND friend on Damefan’s blog: “This shit is weird.”
I think that covers most of it. The players on ND's offense to watch for next week are definitely Michael Floyd and Cierre Wood. On ND' s defense, Manti Te'o. If you disagree with something, if I'm wrong about something, or if I missed something let me know so I can fix it or add it.
I think UTL will be a close game, but I think that we'll win. We'll see a lot of blitzes to the right of ND's line, and most of their yards will come from the air. I think we'll be able to run it fairly well and that Denard will be able to get some long scrambles on both broken plays and designed plays. A significant amount of our yards will come from the air, if I had to guess.
I called USF to beat ND, and I'm calling their final record to be 8-4. I'm predicting us to go 10-2, for what it's worth.
Edit: Sorry for the crappy indentation. When I go to fix it, everything is still properly indented.