Aug 31, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees (11) throws a pass against the Temple Owls at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Notre Dame at Michigan -- The Notre Dame Offense

GBMWolverine Coach's Corner2Posted at 5:30am — 9/6/2013

Michigan Football: Notre Dame at Michigan — The Notre Dame Offense

For several years, Notre Dame has been compiling a nice vat of talent on both sides of the ball. One would expect Brian Kelly to load up on offensive recruits. But early on he made it clear to followers that Notre Dame needed a very good array of defensive recruits to reach the top tier of college football.

Both lines are solid, both regarding talent and experience. Three offensive linemen return for Notre Dame. Zack Martin, a fine left tackle, is a name Michigan recruiting followers remember. He was one of the premier recruits in the Midwest. Now at near 310 pounds, Martin is a force. He will certainly get drafted. Martin is pretty much a complete package. By the way his brother plays center.

Another offensive lineman that is considered a likely draft pick is Chris Watt. Like Martin, Watt was also a highly ranked recruit while in high school. He is big at 325 pounds and has plenty of pure guard skills.

Tommy Rees has been the brunt of criticism. But folks need to understand that he is a real talent. The question will be is this the year he steps it up regarding efficiency and turnovers. Some Michigan fans thought a big advantage was gained when Irish quarterback, Everett Golson, would not play against Michigan this year. Rees and his arm may actually pose more problems for the Maize and Blue defense. The defensive strategy is to get Rees on the move or to put the sack attack on the Irish quarterback. With the fine Notre Dame offensive line this will take some strong Wolverine play and some great calls from the coaching staff. In the past, Rees could be baited into making a throw that resulted in an interception. But make no mistake, Rees possesses a really dangerous arm.

Much of the Notre Dame receiver corps is on the young side, juniors and sophomores. But one true, real threat is senior T.J. Jones. Jones has over 100 career catches and had a very good day against Temple. He is used in many formations and as the inside or outside receiver.

Aug 31, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly coaching on the sidelines against the Temple Owls at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It is a myth that Kelly’s offense is a non-physical spread set-up. Notre Dame has a big offensive line that plays physical. The run game uses zone blocking to at least secure respectable success. Although Kelly made his hay at previous stops with bunker-bombing air attacks, he understands the competition he faces demands a strong run game.

Two years ago Michigan was damaged heavily early on by Notre Dame’s rushing attack. Then Kelly hit the air and turnovers occurred. Sometimes history repeats itself and sometimes it does not.

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