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Notre Dame Football

Film Don't Lie | Execution and Discipline

September 25, 2019

It’s always difficult to pick out the plays I break down for FIlm Don’t Lie each week, but it’s even more difficult when Notre Dame is in a close game where small details make a big difference.

I had dozens of plays that I considered choosing, but stuck to three on offense and three on defense that I felt told a significant part of the story of what happened against Georgia. From a great Chip Long play call and design all the way to a great check by Jake Fromm in the 4th quarter, these were all important plays in different ways.

Tony Jones’ angle route

Long made several creative calls in this game to help the Irish move the ball. That’s something he wasn’t able to do against UGA in 2017. He didn’t call a perfect game (who ever does?), but he really set things up well for the Irish to be successful in my opinion.

This was one example of a call for Tony Jones (6) on 3rd and long in the 1st quarter. It’s very similar to a play that Notre Dame ran for Jones against Syracuse to convert on 3rd and long last season. This time it ended up being just short of a 1st down.

UGA is bringing a blitz and this is the perfect call against that. Tommy Kraemer (78) gets beat and that allows pressure in the face of Ian Book, but it ultimately doesn’t matter because this is designed to hit quickly.

Jones fakes like he is flaring out, but then cut backs inside where he has leverage on the outside linebacker, Azeez Ojoulari, who is covering Jones man to man. The blitzing linebackers leave open space in the middle of the field for Jones who is able to pick up a nice gain.

If not for the great effort by Ojulari to dive and trip up Jones, this would have easily put Notre Dame in field goal range. Maybe with a running back who has a bit more juice, this is converted. At the same time, maybe another running back doesn’t run this as well to get open.

Unfortunately the 4th down play didn’t go well. Without this call, the Irish would have had to punt anyway.


Stuff the counter trey

This has been a mostly money running play for the Irish this season. They had success on one run of it earlier, but I have to think that a reason they didn’t go to it a couple of more times had to do with what Ojulari did here.

Kraemer and Hainsey (72) are pulling to the left side and Ojulari is the edge that Kraemer has to kick out. He has generally been punishing these edge defenders on this play in 2019, but Ojulari (only 230) not only takes on the block, but is able to fight through it off of his knees to get in on the tackle.

There was no room to run inside because of how Ojulari took this on. Jones didn’t have the option to bounce it because 30 was outside waiting for him to do so. Even if Ojulari hadn’t blown this up, it still wouldn’t have gone for a good gain because Liam Eichenberg (74) stuck on the double team of the defensive tackle rather than scrape off to pick up the backside linebacker.

But three or four yards is definitely better than no yards. There was nothing here because of Ojulari who was known as a pass rusher coming out of high school, but now looks like a significant factor playing the run.


No rub on the route

Right after a pass interference call on Chase Claypool (83) set up 1st and goal, Long chose to go with this rub route concept with Claypool lined up in the slot and Chris Finke (10) out wide.

The idea behind this is for Finke to run a slant and force his man back into the defensive back covering Claypool. If it’s run right, Claypool is wide open. If it’s run close to right, Claypool at least has a chance at a 50/50 ball against his defender.

This was not run well.

Finke gets jammed and can’t get off the line of scrimmage. His defender ends up taking Finke right into the path of Claypool. That’s why this throw looks so off. Claypool can’t get into his route quick enough and the play has no chance of being successful.

Finke got a lot of heat for dropping that one 3rd down pass that turned into an interception, but this play stuck out to me because it’s not something a lot of people would have noticed at the time. He has to fight through this and get upfield. Either that or they might have been better off getting someone in who can run this particular assignment more effectively.


Assignment sound

I love this play even though it technically doesn’t count as a play because of the penalty against Georgia.

It’s 2nd and 1 after a nine-yard run on 1st down. I think everyone and their mother knew that this was going to be a play-action deep shot down the field when that happened. Sure enough, that is what UGA had called.

Fromm ran the play fake and looked deep first, but the Irish secondary had things covered well. They all did their job despite the threat of the run. With no options deep, Fromm checked down to D’Andre Swift, never a bad play, but Asmar Bilal (22) did his job perfectly.

He was all over this and Swift actually lost a yard after Bilal made the tackle. Bilal didn’t get credit for the tackle for loss because the left guard was holding Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.

The pressure from MTA despite the hold was part of the reason Fromm elected to check down as well. Great job the defense as a whole here, which was a pretty common theme for most of the night.



I got on Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6) last week for losing leverage frequently on the perimeter and not getting off blocks. He was exponentially improved at doing his job in this game and it led to some big plays from him.

One of them was here where UGA is running a receiver in motion the opposite way and Kyle Hamilton (14) slid back into the middle of the field with Alohi Gilman (11) adjusting to the motion.

The linebackers didn’t move. You didn’t see them shift because of the motion. They stayed true to what they were assigned to do and that was why JOK was in a position to make this play on the end around.

JOK went outside of the pulling tight end, presumably because he knew that Khalid Kareem (53) had the gap inside of him. That left JOK alone in the open field with the receiver where he made the play while his teammates came in to help ensure the tackle.


Check to Cager

It’s the start of the 4th quarter and Notre Dame is still making sure they aren’t outmanned in the box. They have six defenders against five blockers even though it means they’ll have only one deep safety against a spread out formation from UGA.

Fromm sees a single high safety, Gilman, who is shaded more to one side. On the opposite side, he sees Shaun Crawford (20) matched up with a 6’5” Lawrence Cager.

Fromm checks into this play and doesn’t even have to do much other than throw it up to Cager, who has eight inches on Crawford.

Julian Okwara (42) gets some pressure around the right tackle, but not enough to affect the throw. Not that it would have mattered much because Fromm was fantastic when he saw pressure, even when it was directly in his face.


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Film Don't Lie | Execution and Discipline

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