September 15, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly walks the sidelines during the 1st half of game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — An Early Look at Notre Dame Offense


Posted at 9/20/2012

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — An Early Look at Notre Dame Offense

Brian Kelly has always been known for having a dangerous and effective offense. To the casual fan Kelly brings visions of a pass-oriented spread type offense. Well, that can be true, or the Notre Dame offense can adapt, morph, blend, or adjust (take your pick) as needed.

How so, is the logical and inquiring thought that follows the above statement? The Notre Dame offense uses multiple formations; anywhere from two tight ends and a close by h-back or wing to a wide open three or four wide-out set that tends to really get the receivers far out from the offensive tackles. From these formations, Notre Dame runs different schemes that offer many different options. This offense may not be a nightmare to prepare for, but make no mistake, preparing for the Notre Dame offense is a significant challenge.

One key to the Kelly offensive success is the use of the tight end. The tight end needs to be versatile enough to play a standard tight end set, be used as an effective H-back, and be able through scheme to create a mismatch.

Notre Dame has an outstanding tight end in Tyler Eifort. He can do it all: run the seam, sit down, and present a mismatch in the flat. Notre Dame has another talented tight end in Troy Niklas and the two tight end set, with the improved technique offensive line, has yielded very good results in the running game.

Like the tight end position, Notre Dame has excellent skilled players at the running back position. A trio of talent, the recently returned Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, and George Atkinson III all bring a good set of skills that can be blended successfully into the overall scheme.

September 15, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) attempts to hand off ball during second half of the game at Spartan Stadium. Notre Dame won 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

The quarterback situation has been scrutinized by insiders and outsiders alike. Tommy Rees and Everett Golson will both play roles this year. Golson offers mobility and balance potential, while Rhees can sling it at will. Golson is very athletic and can hurt an opponent by land and air.

Notre Dame has some talent at wide-out and look for the Irish to try and isolate receivers that present an advantage. This can be done through formation, motion, flooding a zone, and, in concert with the above, sending backs out into the pattern. Against the Spartans, Notre Dame seemed to hit the out patterns that isolated mismatches.

The running game is so far running the stretch play to the edge successfully. Wood and Atkinson can break contain and get to the second level.

In summary, this offense has accumulated much talent at the skilled positions and will score points. As mentioned in earlier articles, it appears Kelly has made a conscious decision to cut down the turnovers that have cost the Irish dearly in the past. There were times Notre Dame stopped itself and was not stopped by opponents last year, especially early in the year.

The win at Michigan State was impressive on both sides of the ball. Some casual observers equate that dominance to weaknesses in the MSU fabric. The view here is opposite of that premise.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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