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Notre Dame Football

Film Don't Lie | The Little Things

October 28, 2020

I really would have loved to highlight Notre Dame’s defense this week, but with only 44 plays run against them by a dreadful Pitt offense before garbage time, I had to go back to the Notre Dame offense this week.

6.3 yards per play before garbage time powered by six receptions of 20 yards or more (the Irish only had eight coming into the game) pretty much clinched it. I picked four plays this week that focus on some timely play calls by Tommy Rees.

Pin and pull

Notre Dame is not a pin and pull team anymore in the running game, but Rees did call it here with Tommy Tremble (24) doing the pin part of it. He is the outside receiver in motion and he’s cracking on the defensive end.

They showed this on the telecast and he absolutely wrecked the kid. No thanks for the lack of a crack call by the corner here. He’s getting ripped on the sideline after this and the end can’t be happy.

While the Tremble block makes the highlight, it was too late. The timing of this wasn’t right where it needed to be. The end was able to come too far up field and because of that, he ended up taking out Tommy Kraemer (78) after getting put on the ground.

That took out one blocker and it left only Aaron Banks (69) leading around the corner. He would have been enough for this to be a nice gain, but he ends up grabbing the facemask of a defender and this play gets called back.

He shouldn’t have done that, but to be fair, Joe Wilkins (18) doesn’t stick on his block. His man gets outside and Banks is forced to try and get a piece of him rather than blocking the corner. A little bit off with the timing with Tremble and not good enough from Wilkins here or else this would have been the best run of the day for Notre Dame.


4 verts

Right after a facemask penalty against Pitt that put Notre Dame in Pitt territory, this was a pretty good time to call 4 verts. This was a go-to play last season with Chase Claypool and Cole Kmet on one side of the formation.

On this play it’s about getting Braden Lenzy (0) in a one on one matchup. They have that, but with the corner bailing and Lenzy clearly not 100%, he’s not exactly running wide open here. He would have had a shot at this, but the throw had to be perfect. It was too far inside in addition to the corner grabbing Lenzy’s jersey. There was no shot to make this play.

It ended up with a personal foul penalty on Liam Eichenberg (and it’s still unclear what happened), but the player to focus on is Avery Davis (3) lined up inside of Lenzy.

There was a bust by the Pitt secondary with the safety, Damar Hamlin, stepping up and the linebacker not carrying the vertical route of Davis. You only get a brief look at it because of the camera angle, but Davis was uncovered with the opposite safety coming over late.

I’m not saying Book should have known to throw it to Davis because he is seeing one on one pre-snap with Lenzy and that’s the primary receiver. It is worth pointing out, though, that if Book was able to recognize what Hamlin was doing, there was a better shot at a big play to Davis.


Screen to Lenzy

This was another important play for Notre Dame last season where they would usually use Claypool in the role Lenzy had. Lenzy is coming across the field and with trips to the opposite side and Jafar Armstrong (8) leaking out, it’s essentially four blockers in front of him creating a wall.

It should have given Lenzy a chance to convert on 3rd and long. The throw was a bit too much of a fast ball by Book, but when looking at it closer, Lenzy set this up to fail by going backwards instead of running down the line of scrimmage.

The black line is there and shows exactly how Lenzy started to drift back instead of staying down the line, which made this throw much tougher to handle.


Fake pop pass jet sweep

They run that jet sweep with the pop pass to a receiver all year so they can set up a play like this. And it was perfect.

Look at how aggressive Hamlin is. Look at the linebackers. They’re that way because they have worked against this play and have been waiting for it. Now it’s here and they are thinking about swarming.

Only it’s not what they think. Instead of Kyren Williams (23) blocking the edge defender, he is running down the field in a pattern. Notre Dame has caught Pitt much like Miami did the previous week on a fake quarterback run.

The problem is that the ball isn’t delivered in a way that could have made this a touchdown play instead of one where Williams had to wait for the ball.

Book floats this instead of putting it on Williams. He did well to make something more of it considering the throw.

It’s obvious why this throw went down the way it did. Book never gets his feet set and throws this off his back foot. I’m sure the pressure was a big factor in that and Liam Eichenberg (74) and Robert Hainsey (72) both could have done a better job here. Even with that, the throw can be better and if it was, we’re probably looking at a touchdown play for the Irish.


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