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Clinic Talk: Film Preview of Notre Dame

The Canes host the Irish on November 11th

Wake Forest v Notre Dame Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday, November 11th at 8pm eastern in front of a rowdy crowd. The Hurricanes are 8-0 and the Irish are 8-1 with their only loss coming to the top 3 Georgia Bulldogs. Miami will have to play strong against the run to shutdown Brandon Wimbush and Josh Adams (if he’s healthy) and force Wimbush to throw the football into the Miami defensive backs that have come on strong causing turnovers that force the turnover chain to be overworked the past three weeks. On offense, Miami needs to keep trying mid field trick plays to get players excited and keep the opposition on its heels. Down inside the redzone the offense needs to find their niche and stick to it.

Here are a few plays from Notre Dame versus Wake Forest that can shed light on the ‘Canes opportunities against the Irish.

Wake Forest Quads Closed Look and Miami’s Buck Sweep

With the look the Irish gave to Wake’s Quads Closed formation I can see Miami utilizing the buck sweep play with Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas. I’ve covered the buck sweep a few times on SOTU and you can see it below:

With Notre Dame committing so many players to a closed side of the field quads look they’ve left the wide side of the field with just four players and a free safety who is aligned in the middle of the field. Miami can take advantage of the numbers by getting the back side offensive guard to the point of attack and out there to block a linebacker, which would give Miami 5 over 4 against that look.

You can check out the formation and the spacing it would give Miami’s buck sweep in the footage below. Homer will have plenty of room to work with but he needs to learn when to cut inside when running buck sweep. He spent far too long going towards the sideline and not enough time working his way back up field to get positive yards. They all can’t go for 20+ you have to settle on 4-5 yards at times as a running back.

Notre Dame Inside Zone Read vs. Wake Forest

Wake does a great job of taking away the RPO or Run Pass Option putting their nickel guy over the slot and keeping the free safety in the “apex” or split between the slot and the offensive tackle. I don’t like his depth or immediate bail but I’m not their defensive coordinator and they were concerned about the deep ball against Notre Dame’s speed.

What I don’t like AND can’t see Miami do is keep only 5 in the box. Even though the safety comes down he comes to the same side as the blitzing linebacker leaving a huge gap to the field side that Notre Dame fails to capitalize on. The Irish are better than that and won’t let that beat them twice.

If Miami can put Trajan Bandy or Malek young on the field side slot and take away an RPO while keeping 6 in the box- I think Notre Dame will be forced to throw the ball with Brandon Wimbush which could see the turnover chain run wild.

Wake Forest Swing-QB Dart RPO

Wake Forest used a play against Notre Dame that was similar to one that Miami ran against Virginia Tech on November 4th. Wake’s QB read the flat defender- if he plays the swing the QB takes off running behind the pulling tackle. If the flat defender reads run from the tackle pulling, the QB can throw the swing.

In the GIF below you can see the Miami version with Rosier. He reads the inside linebacker, when he bails back into his pass drop Rosier takes off following his center into the end zone. Both the draw and the swing were open for Miami and Rosier took the safer option which was to keep the ball himself. The benefits of having a mobile quarterback are plentiful if you can game plan appropriately around him and keep him healthy over a long season.

Below- you can see my diagram of the Wake version and how it worked against the Irish.

The ‘Canes have plays in their arsenal that can take advantage of their strengths and offset to the Irish weaknesses in order to win this football game. Game Day will be in Coral Gables and the ‘Canes will host Notre Dame on a warm night in November for the Irish. Hopefully 8-0 Miami brings an even more wild crowd than the one that showed up in Miami Gardens for the Hokies.