November 14, 2017
Saturday’s debacle wasn’t the result of an “execution problem” or a “turnover problem”, it was the result of a game plan that made execution hard and put ND at risk of turnovers.
Two simple points: Point 1. Wimbush, for all of his talent, has been erratic, late with reads and been sailing passes all year. Given the above, having him pass it often early against a fast opportunistic defense in an incredibly hostile crowd is going to lead to turnovers. That’s common sense. Just like “not throwing” the ball in a hurricane is common sense. It’s not okay for a head coach to later lament “That’s just being more accurate and being on time with the throw,” No Brian, “that’s just being the coach who thinks about how to put his QB in a position to succeed.” Pass plays come with high execution risk by nature and Wimbush has been completing a very low percentage of this passes and his downfield accuracy has been awful. In 2014, chuck and duck play-calling helped turn Everett Golson into a turnover machine with Notre Dame often falling behind two scores early. Saturday night smelled of 2014. Ian Book’s interception was the result of a bait and switch that Miami practiced all week. The strip sack later in the game wasn’t because “Brandon has got to feel the pressure and step up in the pocket”, it was because Notre Dame was way behind… wait for it… because of three interceptions that led to 17 points, the entire team was pressing and Miami was teeing off. Yeah, your pressure sensing is going to be off in that situation.
Point 2. Slow developing running plays are fresh meat for a fast penetrating defense. That strategy didn’t work against Georgia and it didn’t work against Miami. As I noted on Saturday night, if ND just ran straight at Miami in the first half, we probably would have been down 7-0 and won the second half.
Instead, Notre Dame played right into their hands. Richt later seemed flabbergasted that ND was so easy to dispatch.
Richt said Miami’s defensive staff, via the radio chatter in his headset, was “predicting” what Notre Dame was going to do. Diaz said Trajan Bandy’s pick-six was predicted. “We did say on the headset, Trajan’s going to intercept this pass.”
It wasn’t an execution problem. It wasn’t a turnover problem. It was a coaching problem.
Kelly acted later as if the team didn’t take care of the football. “You’ve got to protect the football, and we did not do a very good job of protecting the football. That can’t get lost in this whole narrative of what kind of offense you’re going to run. First and foremost, you’ve got to protect the football, and we didn’t do a very good job of that.”
And why was that, Brian?