I've watched a few of their games in season and a few more that I found streaming on the net. They're great defensively...it's like watching someone emulate us right down to the personnel types. Te'o reminds me a lot of McClain. Nix, frankly, is probably a better guy at affecting the pocket than any of our NT but he's pretty similar to Chapman...strong as an ox. Tuitt is a 3-4 end that can rush like Dareus. Their WDE, Moore, is much like guys who we've had at that position: dirty work guy like Deaderick or Jesse Williams last year. Shembo shows flashes of being a quality rush OLB for them but he hasn't put it together yet...kinda like Hubbard.
I thnk rgw has some excellent analysis on ND's defense. In particular, the OLBs have made some excellent progress this year. Danny Spond has developed into a very good OLB that can play containment, but has also been very effective in coverage. I think he is one of the keys to the defense this year and to the BCS title game. Typically ND turns Shembo loose on the other side on passing downs as a rush OLB. Another strength of the ND defense is the depth. Throughout the game, ND will also play Khona Schwenke at NT (not as good as Nix - but still effective) and Ishaq Williams and Sheldon Day as rush ends. Tony Springmann at 6-7 300lbs has also improved greatly this year. So far this year, ND has been able to wear down opponents and survive close games based on their depth and their conditioning.
ND will rarely blitz Teo or Fox from their ILB positions. They do bring them on occassion as in the OU game - only one blitz by Teo that resulted in a sack. They will try to funnel the runs up the middle. Pitt exposed a weakness on the edge for ND. Graham gained most of his yards when he was able to bounce outside and Spond and Shembo lost containment.
Clearly, Alabama will be THE toughest offensive line that ND has faced all year. It will be a good matchup of strength on strength. I expect an epic battle between Barrett Jones and Louis Nix. If Nix and Tuitt and Kapron Lewis-Moore can occupy more than one offensive lineman each - then Te'o could have a big day. If Alabama's outstanding O line can get to the second level and hit Te'o and Fox - it will be a LONG day for the Irish.
Thanks again, rgw for the analysis and commentary.
Good luck in the upcoming game!
Last edited by Zedman; December 25th, 2012 at 11:21 PM.
The matchups between the Alabama receivers and ND's defensive secondary are very interesting. I really don't know how to read it. As many on this board have pointed out - the corners and safeties are supposed to be ND's weakness. However, they have played well all year and developed along quite nicely. They are definitely young. Russell is a true freshman - but he plays like a veteran. He drew a PI call on Stills in the OU game that was quite saavy. In addition, he was the one that committed two PIs in a row against Lee in the USC game that also showed some football intelligence. He wasn't going to give up the TD pass and knew that a PI only moved the ball a few inches closer to the goaline. Anway - the DBs have all played very well all year. One thing you can say is that they don't miss tackles. I have NO IDEA how this happened - but ND is a very good tackling defense this year. The Irish have lived all year on not letting receivers gain any yards after the catch. If they have a bad day tackling against the Tide - Alabama could run away with the game. However, if the DBs tackle like they have all year - it makes it harder to score. It's actually quite amazing how few yards this defense gives up after the catch.
I think good tackling plays into the overall philosophy mentioned above - bend but don't break. Clearly the defense wants to get a 3 and out, but this is a very patient group. They will tackle well and force teams to put together 10 or 12 play drives and as you all know - that's a BIG challenge to most college teams. Somewhere along the way, there is a falst start or a dropped ball on a 3rd down...and that's all it takes. ND has not given up a ton of explosive plays all year. I think the 50 yarder to Lee in the USC game was the longest all year and really the only big play that I can remember. If they can force Alabama to make long, time-consuming drives and maybe get away with a field goal or two, then the game will be closer. If the Alabama receivers can get over the top and get some explosive plays like Lee did in the USC game, it will will be harder for ND to stay close.
Last edited by Zedman; December 26th, 2012 at 10:25 AM.
I did know that. It's another reason the game will be so interesting. Alabama wants to eat clock and ND wants to force long drives, so once again it's strength on strength. As you know - college games can be so unpredictable. On paper, it should be a close, low-scoring game with Alabama having the edge in experience in the title game and the O line strength. However, if the Tide gets rolling - it could also be a blowout. My gut tells me it will be the former - a low-scoring affair that could turn on a crucial penalty or turnover.
Last edited by Zedman; December 26th, 2012 at 11:54 AM.
You know Bama excels at time consuming drives more so than quick strike, right? We want to eat clock.
agreed, but you and I also know very well that this Bama offense has the capability to strike quick. AJ will not hesitate to air it out to Cooper/Bell/Jones if they get separation. ND may preferred long drives, but it doesn't mean they will get what they want. 2012 Bama offense has always dictated the pace depending on the situation. it will take a very good defense to impose their will on AJ and co.
This has been one of the more informative threads that I've seen thus far with regards to breaking down the game. Good job guys. My hunch is that the first 22 for both team is relatively even, with the Tide getting a bit of an edge. However, what about the depth? Does anyone that's been able to catch a few ND games have an idea how the teams stack up with regards to depth? I figure both teams swap personel in and out a good bit, especially on the D-Line. Thanks for any feedback.
What do you mean that ND lost to Stanford? I just don't get this argument. Once again - to state the situation - even if you grant that Stephon Taylor got across the goal line on 3rd or 4th down - that would have made the score 20-19. Stanford still had to the kick the extra point in a torrential downpour. If they are successful with the PAT it's 20-20 and the game goes into another overtime. How does this equate to a loss?
First of all Taylor did cross the plane-bad call from the refs. 2nd, ok I'll give you that wouldn't have won the game for Stan but it still doesn't help ND's argument. 3rd, if you don't want to talk about Stan then I could always bring up Pitt.