Michigan Football: Behind Enemy Lines — Notre Dame Scouting Report from UHND — Offense

Posted at 5:00am — 9/21/2012

Michigan Football: Behind Enemy Lines — Notre Dame Scouting Report from UHND — Offense

The writers over at UHND have given us a scouting report of the Fighting Irish. Along with this article they also have an article on Key Matchups: Michigan Week so take a look at their keys to the game. We thanks them for reaching out to us. Also here is our Michigan scouting report for those that might be interested on their site Behind Enemy Lines: Michigan ’12.

Here is their offensive UHND Scouting Report on the Irish.

Notre Dame Offense:

Offensively, Notre Dame is still looking for an identity in 2012. At times they’ve been able to run. At times they’ve been able to pass. Rarely though, have the Irish been able to do both well at the same time to the point where they can consistently move the ball up and down the field. Inconsistency such as this is to be expected with a young, first time starting quarterback such as Everett Golson though.

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

Through 3 starts, Golson has solid numbers. He’s completed 58% of his passes for 611 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. He’s also added another 2 touchdowns on the ground. His most important stats, however, are his record, 3-0, and his turnover total, 2. Unlike a year ago when Notre Dame quarterbacks produced more turnovers than Sara Lee, Golson has largely protected the football and played within himself and the offense while not forcing the issue. The result has been a solid, but hardly spectacular offense up to this point. Most importantly though, it’s resulted in an offense that has not cost Notre Dame games as the offense did multiple times a season ago.

On the ground, Notre Dame received a boost from the return of Cierre Wood a week ago. Last year’s 1,000 yard rusher missed the first 2 games due to a suspension for violating team rules and despite not showing too many signs of rust he received fewer carries than his replacement, Theo Riddick. By the end of the game, however, it was clear that Wood is the best running back on the team and will likely receive a heavier work load this week. Wood ran for 134 yards and a touchdown against Michigan last year and could have similar success this year if given the chance.

In the passing department, Notre Dame will have to do a better job of getting the ball to All American tight end Tyler Efiert this week. Last week Eifert was shut out by Michigan State. Golson wisely did not force the ball to his big security blanket when Eifert was faced with the extra attention from the Spartan defense, but Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin must do a better job of designing plays to get Eifert open even with the extra attention.

They need to do so because to this point Notre Dame has yet to have a wide receiver step up and be the go to target for Golson. Sophomore Davaris Daniels was making strides towards being that target, but he has been banged up the last two weeks and his availability for Saturday is unknown. Outside of Daniels, John Goodman, TJ Jones, and Roby Toma have all had their moments, but none have been particularly consistent. Jones and Toma, however, have shown a knack for being dangerous after the catch on short passes so watch for both to get some wide receiver and bubble screens again this weekend.

September 15, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Cierre Wood (20) runs the ball during second half of the game at Spartan Stadium. Notre Dame won 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

Up front the Irish offensive line bounced back in a big way last weekend after a rather disappointing performance against Purdue in week two. The Irish front looked lost and over-matched at times against the Boilers, but against the Spartans they bounced back and looked very solid. They still had some breakdowns, but their performance against a very solid Michigan State defense was encouraging. Notre Dame has the talent to be very, very strong in the trenches but to this point that talent has really only been on displayed against the smaller, over-matched Navy defensive front.

For Notre Dame to be successful this weekend, Cierre Wood is going to have to have a big game. If the Irish can get Wood working early, it should open up the passing game off of the play action – an area that Golson has performed well. Notre Dame ran the ball on Michigan well last year and I suspect they will have success on the ground again this year. The question will be whether they have enough success running to open things up for Golson and the Irish passing game.

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Written by UHND Staff

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Topics: Fighting Irish, Football, Go Blue, Irish, Michigan Wolverines, Notre Dame, Wolverines

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