18 Stripes Films: Fundamentals Sink Notre Dame

The Notre Dame defense was not good against Texas. In fact, Notre Dame’s defense hasn’t been consistently good in a while. In other news sky is blue and water is wet. So why has the Irish defense struggled? Is it a lack of talent? Poor scheme? A scheme that doesn’t fit the talent? All of these are plausible explanations. However, I would argue the biggest problem the Irish defense has is a lack of fundamentals.

When we talk about defensive fundamentals, most people think of tackling. Obviously, that’s a pretty important one and generally speaking the Irish aren’t great at it (especially in the open field). But it’s more than just tackling. I coached with a guy who always talked about alignment, assignment and attacking as the fundamentals of defensive football. Alignment means lining up in the right place before the ball is snapped. Assignment means knowing what you are supposed to do when the ball is snapped and attacking means taking the best angle, defeating blocks and making the tackle. Frankly Notre Dame has been wildly inconsistent in these three areas during the Brian VanGorder era. Sunday night was no exception. Let’s take a look at the film and I’ll show you what I mean.

ss1 - pre snap - highlighted offense 

A critical point in the game. If Notre Dame stops Texas here, they probably win. It’s 3rd and 5 and Texas is going to run read option. The quarterback will read the unblocked player (orange dotted lines) and make a decision whether to hand the ball off or keep it. In this case he will hand the ball to the running back (red star and red line).

The receivers will all run patterns (orange arrows) and the line will block the man across from them (orange lines) with the exception of the guard and center who will double team the nose guard. A lead blocker will come across the formation and find the first threat to block (orange line).

ss 1 pre snap - highlighted defense

Notre Dame is playing run all the way. The corners and nickel are in man coverage (blue arrows) with no safety help. Notre Dame will use a 5 man front with three down linemen and two linebackers coming off the edge (blue arrows).

Here is the first fundamental mistake. Look at the alignment of the safeties and the middle linebacker (blue circle, black question mark). I have no idea what this is. Obviously the safeties are playing run. But why are they so close to the middle linebacker? It’s fundamentally unsound to have three players this close together. You’ll see why in a bit.

ss 2 - poor alignment highlighted

A fraction of a second after the snap. I know there are a lot of arrows here, but stick with me. The ball carrier is at the tip of the red arrow. Isaac Rochelle (#90) is unblocked and is in hot pursuit (yellow arrow). James Onwualu (# 1, green arrow) is locked on the block and has barely moved. Jarron Jones (# 94, pink arrow) hasn’t got any push and is still at the line of scrimmage. Andrew Trumbetti (# 98, blue arrow) is past the line of scrimmage, but has been turned into a pretzel and walled off by the blocker. Greer Martini (# 48, purple arrow) has run himself out of the play and is also being walled off by the offensive tackle. 4 players who haven’t come close to beating their blocks. This would be a good example of poor fundamentals.

As for the group of three (blue circle, black question mark), I have no clue why they are huddled close together like a group of cavemen, unable to make fire and scared of the darkness that surrounds them.

ss 2 post snap poor positioning - highlighted

Let’s take a closer look at the play side. If the running back (red arrow) has to slow down even a bit, Rochelle (yellow arrow) will make the tackle. If Trumbetti or Martini (black lines) could have pushed the blockers in the direction of the black arrow it probably would have been enough for Rochelle to make a play.

As for alignment, the two safeties (blue X’s) should have been wider pre-snap (somewhere near the blue stars). This would allow them to play with outside – in leverage, forcing the ball carrier back towards the interior where there are more defenders.

Proper alignment would allow the safety to take a direct angle to the ball carrier (blue line). The middle linebacker would have followed the purple line and they would meet at the running back. One defender coming from the outside, one defender coming from the inside, and Rochelle pursuing from behind. Sound, fundamental football. Instead you have two players coming from the inside and no one coming from the outside. Not so sound.

ss 3 post snap too close together - highlighted

The players in the blue circle have moved even closer together and are nearly on top of each other (blue circle, black question mark). They are also too far to the inside which means the running back has a clear path (red arrow) to the part of the field with no defenders (green circle). This could be bad.

ss 4 - post snap missed tackle - highlighted

Tackling. It’s kind of important. Avery Sebastian (# 8, blue arrow) is in the process of missing the tackle. He took the wrong angle and ended up with his head behind the running back. This leaves only his arm (black arrow) in position to make the tackle. You aren’t going to arm tackle this running back (red arrow).  Once he treats Sebastian’s arm like a turnstile, the running back will have a lot of room to run (green circle). This is especially problematic considering the defender in the best position to make a touchdown saving tackle has his back to the play (green arrow).

As an aside, check out Nyles Morgan (# 5, yellow arrow). He was moving towards the ball carrier in the last screenshot, but at the last second he changed direction and turned his attention to the lead blocker who was on the other side of the formation. I’m not even sure what to say about that.

ss 4 post snap - nobody getting off blocks - highlighted

Let’s see how the Irish defenders have progressed in terms of defeating blocks. James Onwualu (blue arrow), looks like he’s been sucked in by a tractor beam from the death star, he hasn’t moved. Jarron Jones never did get off the line of scrimmage and is now in the process of falling down (yellow arrow). Andrew Trumbetti and Greer Martini (black arrows), both ran past the play, got walled off and look like they are auditioning for some sort of mutant version of dancing with the stars.  

ss 5 post snap - off to the races

The running back is off to the races (red star). Touchdown.  

Final Thoughts

Poor initial alignment, poor angles, poor reads, an inability to get off blocks and a missed tackle. A near complete inability to master even the most basic fundamentals of defensive football. All in one play.

Admittedly the sample size here is small, but I don’t believe this play is an exception. It represents problems that have plagued the Notre Dame defense the past few years. You can talk about scheme, and talent and injuries all you want. The reality is… this isn’t a fundamentally sound defense. Frankly, I’m not sure it has been consistently fundamentally sound since Brian VanGorder took over as defensive coordinator. The defense has repeatedly struggled to get lined up properly, struggled to execute the most basic elements of their assignments, struggled to take the best angle to the ball carrier, struggled to get off blocks, and struggled to tackle in the open field. If you can’t do those things on a consistent basis you can’t be a good defense.

Something has to change. And it has to change fast.

By |2018-05-09T22:27:04+00:00September 7th, 2016|Film Room|52 Comments

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tlndma
tlndma

If by “change fast” you mean by the Holidays, there’s a chance. I don’t see BVG gone before then.

I’m sure that adhering to many of the fundamentals you mention, lead to better tackling. I remember soon after Bob Diaco arrived, it was obvious to see the defense was tackling better. The opposite was true, with the arrival of Van Gorder. Could it be as simple as, Diaco’s basic defense gave more time to learning and stressing fundamentals while BVG’s more complicated schemes, leave less time to work on them?

Maybe when you add up each player’s minor gaffs, it explains why on some plays the D looks solid and then the next a “perfect storm” of these gaffs leads to a BIG play for the other team. It’s maddening how many BIG plays and long drives this team gives up. College offenses aren’t supposed to be able to sustain long multi play drives. Especially if the defense is fundamentally sound. The first thing a college defense should do is eliminate BIG plays and make the offense sustain long drives…..Seems we have a conundrum.

FasterThanQuick
FasterThanQuick

Didn’t we tend to say similar things about Weis’ offense? That too much time was spent on scheme and multiplicity and not enough on fundamentals?

I really do think you’re correct on this one.

Publius2010
Publius2010

Precisely. You can’t try to out-scheme every team as you would do in the NFL; the 18-22 year olds aren’t experienced enough and don’t have nearly enough time both in practice and outside of it to master numerous complex schemes. College teams are better off making sure their players master fundamentals, and don’t shoot themselves in the foot with miscues. That in and of itself will win you a lot of games, assuming you can get decent talent.

KG
KG

I forget whether it was here or elsewhere, but I saw what I thought was a good comment: Diaco’s defense was simple and sound fundamentally and great at stopping 90% of college offenses, because it kept the ball in front of them, forced long drives, and relied on the offense making a mistake–which most college offenses do eventually. This simplicity, however, didn’t work against Bama in the NCG, as Bama’s near NFL-level players and offense were able to quickly recognize our tendencies in film study and scheme for mismatches on nearly every play.

The comment went (and again, if this was someone here, take credit) on to say that observing this, BK likely decided he needed an upgrade in defensive scheme when Diaco left, and so brought on BVG. BVGs complex and confusing attacking scheme is perfect for disrupting and defeating the high-end offenses we’d see in the playoffs. Unfortunately, it’s complex and requires a level of understanding/talent/execution that’s hard to get from 18-22 year olds, so while it may be a great defense against top teams, if you don’t have exactly the right players who understand what they are executing, it fails against even middling teams.

(An aside: I’d argue, as I have, that Diaco’s defense–at least prior to his going to UCONN–also required particular types of players that were hard to recruit in college, but at least once you had them it was pretty simple to understand and excecute.)

I thought the comment made sense as to why BK would hire BVG–hey, we’ve got good talent with good fundamentals, and BVG’s schemes can take them to the next level. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. We’ll be waiting all season to see if BK has realized that.

tlndma
tlndma

Diaco learned his defensive plan at Iowa. Hardly a recruiting Mecca. If Kelly thought he were going to run into that 2012 Bama Oline often, that’s his mistake.

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

That is very concerning.

Was there a noticeable difference in the 3rd quarter when the defense picked it up and put together some stops? Were more players getting off blocks or in better position or was it just Texas missing some throws or playing more conservatively with the big lead?

It’s almost like once Texas got a 1st down, they were going to score on any given drive. I’m not sure that we forced a punt on a drive where they got a 1st down (maybe the last possession of regulation).

FasterThanQuick
FasterThanQuick

I haven’t re-watched, but I think part of the temporary success had to do with a brief flirtation with running a base 4-3 package and actually putting some meat on the line. That didn’t last long, and neither did the success.

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

How does this happen at this level with a 6th(!) year senior?  (because even in this case if Sebastian lines up wide,, and Studstill doesnt, then the tackle is still made).  It is interesting that this shows too that the standard of good tackling presupposes some other things – like proper alignment and good pursuit angles.

Back to “how does this happen?”  My suspicion is that these sorts of things need to be stressed/practiced again and again to get it down.  Would this be difficult to do with a more complex scheme? Either because there are more formations to practice, or simply because then BVG would focus more on the scheme and less on formation (i.e. where to line up)?  What do coaches do to focus on the fundamentals of alignment and assignment (the latter of which was a problem this site has outlined last year).

Honestly this kind of analysis makes me think it would be worth firing BVG now because the next coach (Elliot? or someone else already there) could possibility just run the same exact system but focus more on these fundamentals (maybe not and that would be a reason to not fire BVG) and there would be a sizable improvement.

 

 

The commenter formerly known as occtipus
The commenter formerly known as occtipus

It’s almost like Sebastian hasn’t been in the ND system for the previous 5! years, and nobody on the field was getting him lined up correctly (cough…Morgan is clearly an upgrade to Joe Schmidt…cough…cough).

 

Now that I think about it, shouldn’t he be better for not having been coached by BVG for 5 years?

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

This is Sebastian’s 2nd year at ND, and the point about a 6th year senior is that he is clearly experienced enough  (no matter what system he’s been in or for how long) to know basic alignment (or at the very least to learn it more quickly then say a freshmen on the other side).  Whether he’s been playing or not a 6th year senior who has played safety is entire career has been around long enough to not make these basic mistakes.  He shouldn’t need someone else to line him up.

Brendan R

What I don’t get is the pre-snap alignment. There’s no way on God’s green earth that the safeties should be that close to Morgan, Sebastian should absolutely have known that, and I’m 100% positive that the play wasn’t drawn up like that. Hell, VanGorder was probably screaming from the sideline to get better spacing. He should’ve been, at least.

So how does that happen? Communal brain fart in the moment, I guess. Which probably means that everybody is too worried about something else to remember where to stand. As Homer would say, d’oh.

Champ, to your question, I think VanGorder is less focused on fundamentals because of his pro experience. He has a scheme that assumes a certain level of fundamental proficiency. Not adjusting that by year 3 is obviously a pretty big concern. I don’t think he’s an idiot – far from it, actually – but I do think he’s just a bad fit for the modern college game.

MikeHoncho
MikeHoncho

Brendan, you’re spot on. VanGorder’s emphasis on scheme is very reminiscent of Charlie Weis and his “decided schematic advantage.” Because he came from the NFL, he was accustomed to having players who were already fundamentally sound, meaning the majority of preparation and practice could be spent on scheme and game-planning for the next week’s opponent. What Weis and VanGorder fail to realize is that you’re coaching 18 – 22 year old kids who are still developing as football players rather than a roster full of professionals. That’s why, in my opinion, the best coaches in the college game have a core philosophy of player development first and scheme second.

FasterThanQuick
FasterThanQuick

Doh! I mentioned this in reply to another point, but want to point out that now that I’m reading down, Honcho said it first. 🙂

spider-man
spider-man

I agree with some of the above comments – it could be that too much time is spent on scheme instead of fundamentals, and/or because BVG was used to working with NFL players who had the fundamentals down, he doesn’t emphasize teaching those as much.

Larz, thanks for the breakdown – very informative (but also very sad to see the defense falling apart step-by-step).

burger23

Nine months to prepare and this what VanGorder came up with.  What a joke.

RiseUpIrish
RiseUpIrish

Maybe the comparison between BVG and Uncle Rico wasn’t the right one. Maybe, with that Flying V formation, his true alter ego is…

comment image

Coach Gordon Bombay!

Publius2010
Publius2010

Sweet mother of god. Is it too early to start drinking?

Anachronism
Anachronism

No.

juicebox
juicebox

When Cooks left, didn’t we switch from having different S and CB coaches, to Lyght being the coach for all DBs? And now BVG kind of jumps around helping out here and there, rather than with a specific position group?

If I remember correctly we have made this shift since D2aco (with a step in between)

Elston DL, Diaco LB, Cooks CB, Elliot S -> Elston LB, Gilmore DL, Lyght DBs, BVG blue circle, black question mark

Martin QB, Denbrock WR, Heistand OL, Booker TE, Alford RB -> Sanford QB, Denson RB

Seems like having an extra coach dedicated to a position group might help with player fundamentals.

FasterThanQuick
FasterThanQuick

They are at the maximum allotment for paid position coaches, but it can be addressed through GAs, “quality control analysts” etc.

tlndma
tlndma

Elliot is still around and works with the defense. I’m sure he would chip in with the DBs if things weren’t going right in practice.

juicebox
juicebox

I know we can’t hire another coach. My point is that Diaco used to coach a position, while BVG doesn’t really. Having an extra coach actually dedicated to a specific position seems like it would help out there.

Regarding Elliot, isn’t there some rule restricting how much he can assist in practice? Otherwise that seems like a pretty easy loophole to get around the 9 asst coach limit.

Brendan R

I don’t think he can be on the field at all. He can help in meeting rooms for sure, he can have no role on game day for sure. Practice is the in-between area; he can’t actively coach players, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen practice reports that have him observing.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

This is very strange to o me. It seems like our offensive coaches are known for teaching fundamentals. I think Hiestandand the receivers coach are known for producing fundamentally sound players within their position groups anyway.  How could one side of the ball be the exact opposite, in regards to teaching fundamentals, of the other?

On a totally different subject, wasn’t Kizer our second choice as a QB? I seem to remember us having a kid flip on us fairly late in the season, and Kizer appearing to be a second option pick up. If that is the case, who was that flipper, and how are they doing now? Wasn’t it a guy that flipped to Alabama?

Great read Larz.

I did see one guy commenting on a previous article about the audacity of BK to not change DC’s when every blog, blog commentary, and media types were questioning his choice of defensive coordinator. I don’t see that as audacious at all. BK has reached the top of his profession. He is a professional coach. How many bloggers, blog commentators, or even national media types have even coached their kids peewee football teams to some kind of championship? I agree with everyone else about BVG not being the right guy, but if I’m BK, I could care less about everyone else’s opinion of how I choose to run my team.

I guess I should have been commenting as I followed the articles, instead of holding it all in and putting out a bunch of issues in one commentary. I Just get upset and I don’t want to come across as a jerk in all of my frustration.

Brendan R

I think you’re mixing up Kizer’s recruiting cycle (2014) with Wimbush’s recruiting cycle (2015). My recollection is hazy now, but I think we took a run at Kyle Allen (#10 overall in the 247 Composite) but didn’t get anywhere and then took Kizer. Kizer wasn’t exactly a diamond in the rough – he was a low four-star, top 250 prospect – but he certainly wasn’t as highly regarded then as he is now. I just took a look and he actually had a much better cohort than I remembered – offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisville, LSU, Michigan State, North Carolina, Penn State, and Tennessee, and I believe some late interest from Ohio State (but no offer).

Blake Barnett committed in the 2015 cycle and then decommitted when he felt he wasn’t getting enough love from the staff; basically, he wanted them to keep recruiting him as if he hadn’t committed. Didn’t go over too well, as you might imagine. He flipped to Alabama, but he just got passed up by a freshman. After he decommitted we reconnected with Wimbush and flipped him from Penn State, but even that took some smoothing over after Matt LaFleur, who the Wimbushes liked, left for the NFL and Sanford came in.

 

alstein

However, I would argue the biggest problem…is a lack of fundamentals.

Good news is that Art Briles is available.

juicebox
juicebox

best comment ever

kiwifan
kiwifan

Larz, thanks a ton! As usual, great analysis, clearly put. This is the one ND site with credibility, and you’re a large part of why that’s so, with the rest of the guys too, of course.

i have a few thoughts:

1. Why didn’t Morgan get the safeties lined up right? He had to know he could reach out and touch them.

2. What’s Lyght’s contribution to this mistaken alignment?

3. How could Morgan have played this so egregiously ( in addition to 1 above). I rewatched the game last not and he was out of the play fairly often. 13 tackles for the Mike against a team that ran tackle to tackle so often really isn’t that big a number.

4. Forgetting any schematic dubiousness, how is it that so many of the front 7 were completely unable to defeat blocks on this play? I don’t think that’s scheme driven. Onwualu did this the entire game, as did Trumbetti and Martini. They might as well not have been there for all they contributed on many many plays. Onwualu lined on the line was a joke.

5. Sebastian did the arm tackle miss on at least 2 really crucial downs that led to TD’s for Texas.

6. Is it possible that with the fears about all the injuries we’ve had that we don’t tackle much in our scrimmages this year?

7. I think next game we will be starting an all freshman and RS freshman defensive backfield?

Brendan R

Not Larz, but my two cents… I’m not going to put the alignment too much on Morgan, because they’re behind him slightly and quite possibly out of his field of vision and, in any case, it’s not his job. In a perfect world, I agree, he would’ve told them GTFO. He has enough to worry about, though, without getting them lined up too (which is supposedly one of the reasons Schmidt played over him last year – Redfield couldn’t be trusted to align the safeties, so Schmidt had to align everyone).

Trumbetti and Onwualu were both deployed out of position in a way that was doomed to failure. That wasn’t on them. I’ve read that Tillery and Jones could’ve put out more consistent effort, but I didn’t notice one way or the other myself during the game and I don’t have the stomach to rewatch. I will say that it’s not at odds with past critiques of them.

I think you make a good point about tackling – that’s entirely possible. BK said something about the challenge of going from tackling “objects” to tackling people.

I think we’ll probably see 2 out of 4, or 3 out of 5 if it’s nickel, rookie DBs start against Nevada. Studstill and Crawford will start, and Love will probably be first man in for the nickel. I think Tranquill is going to get another shot with a short leash. And of course Cole Luke is locked in and is a senior.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Thanks, I forgot about Luke somehow.

kiwifan
kiwifan

By the way, Brendan, whose job was it to line up the safeties? Sebastion?

I thought after Redfield was gone it was back to Morgan.

if one of the safeties was responsible, it’s a real head scratcher how whoever it was could have been so off. Actually, it is no matter who was responsible for alignment.

on the quick plays Texas ran at the goal line, where they ran up, immediately snapped the ball, the linebackers being so far off the line was Morgan not getting them up. He has to do that in that situation. Per my brother, the big time D coordinator.

Brendan R

It should be the free safety’s job, just like it should’ve been Max’s job last year, so yes, Sebastian (as in this case) or Studstill. I don’t think the staff wants to put that responsibility on Morgan, or on any Mike really – they just had no option last year.

I agree with you, the fact that alignment was Sebastian’s job, and Sebastian is a sixth-year senior in his second year in the program, is a pretty damning indictment. He was playing over Studstill because he supposedly was ahead of Studstill mentally; I don’t want to make too much of one play, but if this is emblematic of his work as a whole he brings no advantage over Studstill.

Yeah, Morgan screwed up on that play. So did everyone else – it was a Chinese fire drill of epic proportions. We should’ve called a timeout after the bomb, with Texas obviously running up to the line to look for a quick snap. Total systemic failure. Sigh.

juicebox
juicebox

Speaking of LBs and lining up.

On what I believe was Buechele’s 1 yd rushing TD, Bilal was still looking toward the backend of the D when the ball was snapped. Buechele was already over the goal line before Bilal noticed the play was happening and ran up and tried to push him back from the top of the pile. There was a very good chance we stop that TD if we are simply lined up and facing the ball in time.

I could be wrong about which players were involved (on both teams), but distinctly remember this udder failure.

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

The crazy thing about the players playing out of position is I think Kelly’s defense is that they were ways to get his best players on the field (he said that a couple of times in the presser).  This is just crazy to me, and if that were true why not play Zaire and Kizer together on offense since Kelly thought they were 2 of the top 5 playmakers on the team before the first game.  But there is a reason you don’t do that, because while J.O. might be a nice OLB, he doesn’t make a very good DE, or Trumbetti might be a decent 4-3 DE but not a very 3-4 DE (which is more like a DT).  Position makes a difference.

MikeyB
MikeyB

1) If we have to rely on Morgan to line guys up, I think we’re in trouble, based on past comments from the coaches. I don’t ever expect him to be a “field general.”

2) Not sure, but I’m much more worried about how he’s teaching technique. I was willing to give him a pass last year on Russell’s regression, but we looked bad at CB Sunday. Terrible jamming technique, but even worse technique when the CBs were playing off the receivers.

3) Morgan didn’t look great, but also the D-Line got manhandled. He had blockers on him frequently and was rarely playing with any breathing room (but you’re right, he basically just happened to fall into a number of those tackles).

4) The way Onwualu was used is very concerning. He’s not big enough to have to fight blocks. I think Trumbetti was played out of position for much of the game too. And Martini, isn’t he supposed to be good against the run? That was ugly.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Yeah, I kept scratching my head about where Onwualu was being positioned. Way too small to be there. I’m not sure if it was just positioning on Trumbetti, but that certainly contributed to his problems. He looks slow to me.

MikeyB
MikeyB

I’m no Trumbetti fan, so I don’t think I can offer a completely objective viewpoint. But yeah, I thought he was awful all game.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

Thanks Brendan, I think you got it right. I just remembered seeing Blake Barnett start for Alabama’s first series and thinks not he reminded me of Chryst. I guess the Alabama coaching staff thought the same thing because I didn’t see him again in brill the game was put away. We may have hit it rich with Wimbush over Barnett.

MikeyB
MikeyB

/Brian Kelly starts the 2nd half of the MSU game with Wimbush under center

KG
KG

Great breakdown, Larz. Thanks. So if the problems are alignment, assignment, and attacking (and we’ll throw in tackling), what “change” would fix this? And who, ultimately, is responsible? In my mind, if we saw these issues from one player here and there, that’s the player. If the issues are consistently at one level of the defense and not the others, then you could say the position coach is at fault. With consistent issues at all levels of the defense, it falls on the DC–and, obviously, this is where I’m at in placing blame right now. However, when the same issues continue over multiple seasons, it starts to make me wonder if the head man is ultimately at fault for not diagnosing and then making a change, and if we go all season like this and BVG is still with us, I’ll have serious concerns about BK. (Of course, maybe they’ll make miraculous changes, our D will get amazingly better, and it’ll be rainbows and ice cream for everyone.) Frequently BVG is criticized for his “scheme.” To me, an admitted novice at X’s and O’s, “scheme” seems as much about alignment (ie, where you are telling Jimmy and Joe to be) and assignment (where you are telling them to go and what to do) as it is about anything else. And as others have pointed out, the issues with tackling could be due to time spent on other things in a complicated scheme, or it could be related to how they teach, or whatever. Whether you think the DC is at fault for any or all of that or not, isn’t ultimately his responsibility to note that these things are not being done well, and fix the problem? And yet, over three years, we have seen things get worse, not better. Each year we’ve been able to blame injuries, but why aren’t the kids who haven’t been injured not able to tackle? Why can’t they line up in the right place, or take the right assignments? The excuse that we have no talent is silly, as our recruiting classes have been highly ranked, though not Bama level. And even if you do blame a lack of talent, is the DC not at least partially responsible for the players who come in? If he’s not getting the players he needs to run his scheme, why? Especially when the recruiting coordinator is also the linebacker’s coach, who supposedly reports to BVG. The issue may be talent. It may be that the players aren’t making tackles, or are lining up incorrectly, or are missing their assignments. It may be that the one or two guys who “make it all work” are injured/suspended/etc. Ultimately that all comes back to the coaching staff to fix, rather than just shrug and say “oh well.” And the DC is the head of the defensive coaching staff–it’s his job to fix the DB coach, if Lyght isn’t getting the job done. I just don’t see any progress. The same… Read more »

More Noise
More Noise

KG,

I suspect I missed the train on this thread – always a problem being on this side of the ocean.

1, Are you possibly the former Kelly’s Gyros? In which case, being another military guy, did you see that amazing few minutes towards the end of this week’s first edition of Inside Notre Dame Football, with Jack Nolan, where the SEAL guy or some such is putting the team through sort of a Hell Week? Really done well, I thought.

2. A comment I am sure will be lost: there were also those very pointed comments from other coaches in the NFL about BVG’s (and Rex Ryan of course) being too complex even for the NFL.

All best

KG
KG

More Noise,

I am, in fact, that KG–I just decided to go simple.

I did not see that, I’ll have to look for it. We just moved into a new place this week, so I’m lucky I can crawl out of the boxes once in a while.