Sandwiched in a 3 game home stretch, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to visit the Miami Hurricanes on Veterans Day 2017. The ‘Canes, have Virginia Tech and UVA as the bracket teams. Notre Dame travels to Miami as a sandwich between hosting Wake Forest and Navy. A running theme in 2017 is that both teams will have to replace their starting QB from 2016, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer was a 2nd round draft selection of the Cleveland Browns.
Redshirt Sophomore Brandon Wimbush looks to be the starting QB for Notre Dame. Wimbush played spot duty in 2015 before redshirting in 2016. Wimbush is 6’2 226 and a “dual threat” quarterback per 247. He ran for 96 yards on 7 carries adding a TD as a true freshman. Where Kizer was a smart runner with size and power, Wimbush is a naturally gifted runner with the ability to maximize Brian Kelly’s game plan.
The offense is still using spread alignments with 10, 11, and 20 personnel from the shotgun and pistol. You can see a pretty good field level view from the clip I’ve embedded.
ND runs a good amount of inside zone, QB Draw, and play-action. Passing wise, Book was sticking to short-intermediate passing and Wimbush kept to airing it out intermediate and deep. Wimbush flashes his abilities around 1 min, 1:45, 1:50 and 2:25.
This year, Miami hosts ND and the ‘Canes aren’t starting a ton of freshman anymore. The defense has experience and talent all over the field. Wimbush will have to play smart football to avoid the pass rush, big hits, and he was turnover prone in the spring game- things ND can’t afford.
ND 4-2-5 Defense
Brian VanGorder is gone, and in his place is Mike Elko. Elko graduated from Penn where he played linebacker on an Ivy League championship team. Elko most recently took the Wake Forest defense into the top of FBS rankings. The 3-4 is out and Elko’s 4-2-5 is in. Elko runs a hybrid 4-3/4-2-5 that adjusts based on situational football- like any smart DC should.
As we know, the Irish employ 10 personnel looks quite often and Miami will look to utilize a TE and at times even a FB. But you get the gist of what Coach Elko is looking to do here; he wants to keep 2 high against 4 WR’s and his 2 ILB’ers are in the box. His LB/S hybrid is over #2 to the to of the screenshot.
On the particular play, as the slot (bottom) motions into the backfield, the WLB bumps back inside.
Below, see how the look changes against 11 personnel, what we expect Miami to run most of the season
There are a lot of rule changes in a defense relating to hash, area of the field, down/distance, and tendency. Above- ND puts the boundary safety into the box to shift into a 4-3 look. They’re playing split-field coverage and the 3 threats (2 WR’s + 1 TE) are to the field. ND puts 3 defenders in the field with the $ over #2, the CB on #1 and the FS over the TE/#3 at 10 yards. on the boundary side there’s 1 WR and the assumption would be in split-field that CB will play lock/man on him.
Below- see the ND defense vs 20 personnel. They put 3 over 2 tot he field, and leave 2 DB’s to the boundary. The boundary safety is playing off this time and not technically in the box (too deep). I’m surprised Brian Kelly doesn’t give the QB a “now” call and just throw a 1-step slant because there’s no one there to make a play.
If you want to watch a condensed version of the Irish spring game, check it out here: