Scouting ND: Random notes vs. Purdue

Submitted by SFBayAreaBlue on September 7th, 2010 at 1:34 PM

After watching the ND vs. Purdue game, my fear/paranoia level has dropped dramatically.  Here's some scouting notes:

ND Offense: 

The strength of their team is the running back position.  The wide receivers are serviceable, but Crist as a first year starter doesn't look ready to take advantage of their ability yet. 


#5 Armando Allen is their most experienced RB.  He's their best pass blocker and does just about everything pretty decently. 

#20 Wood, dynamic, shifty runner.  Reminds me of vincent smith.  Doesn't have great hands, not as big of a threat in the passing game.  Usually gets pulled for allen on third down. 


#9 Rudolph, looks to have put on some bulk from last year.  But by the same token, seems to have lost some speed.  Soft hands, makes for a good possession receiver from 5-10 yards.  ND likes to use him on drags over the middle and outs and ins from an 'extended' TE position

#3 Floyd.  Still big, still fast, still got great jumping ability.  Unfortunately for him, Crist doesn't seem able to hit him on a fly.  Twice they tried a double move, with crist missing badly.  Somethings not right with their timing.  But he's a huge threat on deep hooks and other sit down routes against a zone.

Kamara something duvall something.  Lanky kid,  seemed serviceable. Could cause mismatches against shorter db's.


Crist, He's a big athletic pro style QB.  Sucks for him that he's running a spread option.  He doesn't really have a feel for reading the DE.  He's got good speed once he knows where he wants to go, but he's not shifty by any means.  He's much closer in ability to Steven Threet than Tate Forcier when it comes to running.

Big strong arm.  But it's surprising that he doesn't have better touch on the long balls for being a pocket passer.  Perhaps it was just first game jitters.


The interior linemen seemed ok.  But again the problem is that they're not designed to do what the offense is trying to do.  These are big strong, slow, kids.  They get a pretty good push up the middle on running plays.  But time and again they missed downfield blocks due to a lack of speed.  Craig Roh should have a field day speed rushing around the tackles on either side coming from a 2 point stance. He might get pushed around a bit if he's down in a 3 point stance, however.


The spread that kelly runs is different than ours, but similar enough that our defense should be able to recognize and blow up plays pretty quickly.  Plus they won't be going up against denard, so they'll be pretty happy about that.  The #1 threat is the running back.  Most times on the read option, crist will hand off, since he doesn't read the end well.  And ND called many designed runs, even when there was a QB/RB mesh handoff.  Their coachers are probably well aware of crist's limitations in the run game.

There were a variety of draws and tricky ways to get the ball to the RB, including our favorite counter draw that saw MSU tear us up a few years back.  The RB will line up at a variety of depths when in the shotgun.  Sometimes, nearly in a pistol formation.  The further back he is, the more likely it will be a run play.  If he lines up 3 yards directly to the side of the QB, it's going to be a lateral motion mesh.  If he's closer, like 1 yard, then watch out for the counters and traps. 

Due to their lack of speed on the OL, they cannot run the wide screens like we can now.  Screens will be toward the middle of the field, so it's important that our linebackers pursue inside out and not get too sideways, since they'll be coming back against the grain. Most of their passes were hitches and crosses, square ins.  Crist is at his best when he's got a stationary target he can rifle it to. 

ND Defense:

This is a very different mindset from last year.  Gone are the bazillion blitzes.  They do look much improved on D, but they were coming from pretty far back, so there's still a lot of weaknesses to attack.  (hmmm... that sounds vaguely familiar)


Hard to tell.  Big and strong, not so swift.  Had a couple sacks where the DLinemen managed to shed a block.  But Purdue spent the entire afternoon running bootlegs, so the DL didn't factor in much. 

They did this one crazyass play on third down where no one was in a three point stance and all the front seven were bouncing around trying to confuse the pass protection.  Purdue promptly ran it for like 20 yards.  I doubt we'll see much of that this week.


#5 Teo, the kid from Hawaii, is still their best athlete.  He has a good instinct for the game and great speed to get where he wants.  But he's usually out of control, relying too much on his athleticism.  He doesn't breakdown and make a solid tackle.  he's more like a loose missle.  He can be juked.

#45 A run stopper. Good straight line speed. Not very fast on the edge.  Reminds me of Obi ezeh. 

#59? OLB. Smith He's a weak link.  Not good at maintaining contain.  can be sucked in on reverses and read options.  Denard should have a field day running circles around him.


Mostly played off the ball.  Were good in run support.  Look like they don't have the speed to run with our receivers.  ND played a soft zone much of the time. Can be beaten deep.


Hard to tell.  Marve didn't throw deep down the middle often since he was always rolling out.  These guys were mostly back in a cover two all day.


We match up really well against them.  Better than last year even.  It looks like their offense is not ready to take advantage of our depleted secondary.  I'd have floyd doubled whenever possible, have obi knock rudolph to the ground on every release, and have the rest of the team keying the running backs, or better yet, blitzing into the running backs on passing plays to blow up any draws. 

Our dilithium fueled offense, (*now with passing attack!) should be able to put up at 35 on these guys. 

It's still ND, at ND, so there's always concerns about shenanigans in their sheleighlies, but on paper we should win this game by a couple of TD's.  So of course I expect a wild shootout with us winning by a mere point. 

gawd I love college football!



September 7th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

good break down, can't say i agree with everything.

the biggest being WRs serviceable? Floyd and Rudolf might be the best wr- te tandem in CFB.

Still have my nerves this team can put up points and may have played a little possum last week to set this game up. also we're away, it may rain, and HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL



September 7th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

good break down, can't say i agree with everything.

the biggest being WRs serviceable? Floyd and Rudolf might be the best wr- te tandem in CFB.

Still have my nerves this team can put up points and may have played a little possum last week to set this game up. also we're away, it may rain, and HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL



September 7th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

good break down, can't say i agree with everything.

the biggest being WRs serviceable? Floyd and Rudolf might be the best wr- te tandem in CFB.

Still have my nerves this team can put up points and may have played a little possum last week to set this game up. also we're away, it may rain, and HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL



September 7th, 2010 at 2:06 PM ^

the serviceable comment was directed more at kamarra or howeva you spell it and all other non-floyd receivers.  we know floyd is a superstar.  and I was putting rudulph with the TEs not the WR.  But it depends on crist.  I expect them to put up 130-160 yards rushing, but also only about that much passing.  hopefully. 


September 7th, 2010 at 3:19 PM ^

the best receiving corp you will face all season, you label serviceable? um, ok...

floyd - 5 star

kumara - 4 star

tj tjones - 4 star

theo riddick - 4 star 

rudolph - 5 star

ND has more talent at WR then all the teams remaining on the UM schedule, you are severely underrating this group. with that said, crist looked tentative at times, but if he is on, he is great. i was impressed with the velocity of his ball, he really zips it in through coverage. still, he has a long way to go before i would consider him *elite*. anyways, the game comes down to whether ND can contain robinson, if they cannot, it will be a long day. 


September 7th, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

Riddick is an impressive athlete, but he was a 4 star RB, not WR.  He didn't make an impact in that game like Tj Jones did.  And while Kumara is an impressive athlete, his hands aren't reliable, he has yet to capitalize on his physical gifts while at ND.  Floyd and Rudolph are every bit legitimate stars though.  Reserves like Toma and Deion Walker are nice too.

Sac Fly

September 7th, 2010 at 1:48 PM ^

...seeing alot of cierre wood, i know it's purdue but he averaged 8.3 YPC. I still think don't think either of notre dame's lines will be able match ours.


September 7th, 2010 at 3:32 PM ^

I would give our lines the slight edge as well.  But ND is very strong up the middle, Braxton Cave, Trevor Robinson and Chris Stewart are all monsters.  Cierre Wood was exploding through the holes that they created.  They also have a 5th year senior with about 20 starts backing up Cave at center with Dan Wenger.


September 7th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

this qualifies as a diary. Great info though. I was at the game so didn't get to see any of ND. FLoyd and Rudolph definitely scare me a little bit. I think UConn's and ND's running attacks are pretty comparable so I like how we match up there.

Promote RichRod

September 7th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

I'm not that worried about Rudolph.  I feel like this defense is better designed to stop the TE and limit those infuriating seam routes.  We will have the speed and personnel to cover him, though he's bound to catch a few from mismatches.  I just have confidence that he won't be getting much yardage after the catch.

Promote RichRod

September 7th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

are Floyd and Teo.  None of our DBs can cover Floyd and Crist is bound to hit him once in a while.  Hopefully Cam will be on his game to provide some disruption and limit the big plays.

Teo's athleticism is going to be an issue for our running game.  He may have overrun some plays at Purdue, but speed will be king when facing Shaw, Smith, DR, Grady, TRob, etc etc.  Interior OLine vs. second level blocking will be the key matchup.

Durham Blue

September 7th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

on offense will be time of possession and keeping our D off the field again.  Key for UM on defense will be the pass rush and getting lots of pressure on Crist.  The more we rattle Crist and disrupt their passing game, the better our chances of victory.  We'll probably give up a decent amount of yards on the ground.  But that shouldn't be a big problem as long as we contain their passing game.


September 7th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

I also nominate this for Diary status.  I missed the ND-Purdue game, so it's nice to hear the key take-home points from someone more observant to the nuances than I would have been.


September 7th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

Diary worthy.  Thanks for the time you put into this.  If you continue to scout the enemy (although i wouldn't put to much time into UMASS) I think you'll be one of the new favorite posters around here.

I was really worried about ND shredding us on the passing attack.  If Crist is still a work in progress I like our chances.


September 7th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

-Crist is a MUCH better athlete then Threet running the ball, I agree with you that he isn't shifty though, but he shouldn't be underestimated.  He did miss Floyd badly on both deep balls to the endzone.  He has yet to realize that with Floyd he just has to keep it in bounds and let him make a play on the ball, instead he tried to drop a perfect pass over the DB.  He doesn't need to do that because Floyd can just over power and out jump DBs.

-Brian Smith is 58, and while he gets PT, Kerry Neal has beat him out for the starting spot on the depth chart. 

-Also, Kyle Rudolph is playing hurt, which is why you may have perceived a loss of speed.

-Their playbook is obviously scaled back because of the scheme change, just as ours was in 08

-You also failed to mention Carlo Calabrese, who looked like a very solid tackler.

-In Kelly's scheme, I would worry more about Tai-ler Jones then Kamara.  He looked good as a true freshman, and caught a TD.  Kamara is an exact replica of Maurice Stovall, 6'5" 220 lbs, all of the physical ability in the world, but drops the ball and could never put it together.  Stovall finally emerged his senior year, I'm not sure Kamara will with the scheme change, but he is a hell of an athlete.

ND Sux

September 7th, 2010 at 3:32 PM ^

Let me see...first year starting QB, good arm but timing off, decent ground game. 

I would blitz the virgin QB all day long, and from every direction.  Get a few hits on Crist, maybe a TO or two, and in the process we may blow up a few running plays for losses (putting even more pressure on QB).  I realize you have to mix blitzes, but coming in opposite side of Death Roh isn't a bad strategy since he breaks through a lot.  That Allen kid can't block them both.     

On offense, you KNOW they're focused on Denard's highlight reel from Saturday.  They are going to load the box to stop the flow of dilithium, and the deep ball should be there off play-action.  Let Denard find his creases after they start focusing more on coverage. 

Fuck the Irish, and GO BLUE!


September 7th, 2010 at 3:43 PM ^

1. i really doubt rudolph is any slower. he didn't really run any downfield routes. we saw very little of our #2 and #3 tight ends - eifert and ragone. i suspect we'll see lots more multi tight end sets this week largely to run the ball.


2. tj jones is probably our #2 wideout as a true freshman early enrollee. quick, runs nice routes seems to have fairly solid hands. theo riddick is a converted running back who looked very dangerous with the ball in his hands last year although didn't get any touches in space against purdue. nd fans are expecting that we'll see a more concerted effort to get him into space this season.

3. offensive tackle is hard to judge. two new starters - dever and martin. dever was beaten badly once early by purdue's leading de - kerrigan - but actually did a pretty solid job against him the rest of the game. both tackles looked like they have relatively quick feet. i'll be interested to see how they match up with roh.

4. i'm not sure that our d tackles are lacking swiftness. both kapron-moore and johnson look a bit bulked up from last season, but they both moved pretty well last year. i suspect the apparent lack of swiftness was a reflection of the endless bootlegs that purdue ran which pretty much took them out of plays.

5. entirely agree on brian smith. he's been driving me nuts for two years. he frequently overpursues and gets out of position and then even more maddeningly gives up on plays.

6. agree on teo against purdue. he tended to overpursue and missed a couple tackles. he did this in his first couple games last year before settling down. hopefully that'll happen sooner rather than later.

7. agree on corners - they looked great in run support last week, particularly gary gray.

8. not sure how vulnerable we'll be on deep balls. unlike in the tenuta era, we actually had two deep safeties over the top most of the time. purdue had a couple decent chances, but that was mostly due to throwing deep in situations where it seemed unlikely they'd throw deep.

i think the keys will be:

1. can michigan get a pass rush on crist? however athletic he may be, he looked uncomfortable when he was under pressure. particularly given how little we know about our tackles, i think this will be huge.

2. can nd's d-line hold ground enough to make it harder to for the o-line to open up creases. denard had some gaping interior holes to run through against u conn.

3. can nd's inside linebackers get off blocks. michigan's o-line does a great job of getting into the 2nd levell. nd has been terrible at this the last couple years, but both teo and calabrese looked better shedding blockers than in the past.

4. can nd stop the bootleg? we made marve look pretty decent on the bootleg...although his throwing on the run was pretty high quality. if denard gets into that kind of space, we're going to be in trouble. my fingers are crossed that michigan's coaches don't trust him throwing on the run and that we won't see the steady bootleg diet that i fear.


September 7th, 2010 at 4:07 PM ^

One thing I always like to point out is that ratings and athletes don't win games, execution does.  From what I have seen of ND-Pur, ND had some trouble executing their new offense, and their defense appears to have made only marginal improvement over last year.

If we stay on the attack on offense, I think we can have a big day.  I am currently cautiously optimistic that we will win this game fairly easily, pulling away in the 4th.