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Notre Dame Football

Film Don't Lie | Explosive Plays, For and Against

October 14, 2020

Explosive plays. I have written about them a lot in the last few years and I’ll continue to harp on the importance of them.

This game against Florida State was a perfect example or why they matter so much on both sides of the ball. Notre Dame found them mostly by running the football in this game. They had runs of 65, 46, and 45 yards against a defense that hadn’t given up a run over 30 yards prior this game. FSU found them mostly through the air by getting their star receiver into favorable matchups.

Kyren on the counter

This is great execution from the Notre Dame offense, but it only looks this easy when it’s matched with bad defense. And this was very bad defense.

FSU is in a call where things set up perfectly for Notre Dame to run this counter. They have seven guys on the line of scrimmage and they are cheating towards the overloaded side. Brock Wright (89) is inline and Tommy Tremble (24) is in the wing-back role.

There was a huge numbers advantage for the Irish to run the counter to the left. All they had to do up front was block down, down, down with the players inside of them and Tommy Kraemer (78) was going to have to block the edge defender when pulling.

That defender does a horrible job of playing this trap. He runs up the field and takes himself out of the play. He has a couple of options of how to play this and he chose none of the above.

That’s bad defense part one. Bad defense part two is the safety running with Braden Lenzy (0) when he went in motion. Maybe this was man coverage and he was supposed to do that? But if that was the case, why did the corner bump out with Lenzy as well? They had two guys take covering one guy who wasn’t involved in the play.

Bad defense part three is the inside linebacker getting caught up inside and not scraping to the ball. I’m not sure why he didn’t see Kraemer pull and flow there. He takes himself out of the play so Tremble has no one to block when he comes around. Then the safety is gone as well so there is only daylight for Kyren Williams (23).

Throw in a tremendous job of Liam Eichenberg (74) reaching his man and Aaron Banks (69) putting Marvin Wilson on the ground and it all equals touchdown.


Right call, right time

I’m sure everyone remembers this touchdown from Chris Tyree (25) where he’s running through a hole that a truck could drive through. One of the reasons why it looked so good was the call that FSU had against it.

They are slanting their defensive line to the direction of the play. Normally that might not be a good thing, but it is in this case because the nose ends up running right into the down block from Jarrett Patterson (55) and the 3-technique was going to be left alone by Banks and Dillan Gibbons (76).

The 3-tech is moving the opposite direction so he isn’t able to attack the trap from Kraemer. That is why there is a huge hole up front along with the job Gibbons does chipping the nose to help Patterson. Gibbons comes off of that and picks up the inside linebacker and Tyree goes through untouched.

Michael Mayer (87) is a wing on this play and he is also a puller. He probably should have cut this up from the hole rather than go and get the guy that Banks is already blocking, but I’m not sure he was expecting to not have to block anyone here.

On the opposite side, Wright is widening out the edge defender who is worried about coverage rather than the run. The design sets up that easy block.

Why is there no one back there at the third level? The only thing I can think of is that the safety (6) is worried about boot, but that completely ignores any of the keys he should be seeing from the line up front. 6 had a rough, rough game.

Tyree has the jets to take it to the house, but this was almost unfair.



It’s 3rd and 4 and I have to tip my cap to Mike Norvell for this call. He probably makes it because they are at a spot on the field where they are going for it on 4th down if they don’t get it.

Let’s start with Shaun Crawford (20) who is the field corner and has inside leverage on this play. I get why he might bite on this. He’s thinking slant because of down and distance.

Crawford has always been an aggressive player on these types of routes and he got burned here because of it.

Tamorrion Terry is an elite receiver in college football. He averaged over 20 yards per reception in his first two seasons and has six touchdowns over 70 yards in his career. (Update: Terry is now out for an extended period of time with a knee injury) Especially considering the other weapons that FSU had, I would have thought that Lea would have schemed to almost always have a safety over the top to take away plays like this. Crawford is on an island and it cost Notre Dame. He bites on the slant and the double move got him.

Why is that the case? If I put myself in Lea’s shoes, I’m probably thinking about quarterback run here. It’s logical given the down and distance. Perhaps that’s why Kyle Hamilton (14) is not very deep and close to the boundary. In hindsight, I’m sure Lea would have shaded Hamilton to the field to potentially help here.

Notre Dame is in base defense, not Dime, and they could have counted on the seven they had in the box to stop the run. He chose differently and tempo may have had something to do with it too.

Lea has been so good at taking away the number one threat of the opponent each week. He didn’t do a great job of taking away Terry here.


Terry vs Simon

This is a matchup that Notre Dame was destined to lose. Some people will point to Shayne Simon (33) getting beat here, but in what world is he supposed to be able to cover the other team’s best receiver?

Terry is lined up as a narrow slot. As soon as the defense saw this, they should be yelling at pointing at Terry so everyone is aware of where he is. Houston Griffith (3), the single high safety, should especially be aware of this.

The defense runs with the call, though. Simon has to get a better jam here. He needs to knock the snot out of Terry because he’s not going to be able to turn and run with him. Simon only gets a piece of Terry and is chasing.

He actually doesn’t do a terrible job of closing the gap, but Terry pushes off and makes the catch. Griffith needs to get there sooner and fight through the hands of Terry.

The way things were set up to defend this was fine. The personnel matched up against him was not.


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