Film Room: Chip Long’s Bag of Tricks

One thing I like about Chip Long is his ability to creatively use formations and motion to out-scheme the defense.  I feel that past Notre Dame offenses where too reliant on one player making big plays to be successful, whether it’s Will Fuller getting open deep or CJ Prosise breaking off a big run.  Having a Will Fuller or a Josh Adams is great, but Chip Long has a knack for creating big plays that don’t require a singular talent.

Let’s look at one example from the Florida State game.

The Play

Notre Dame lines up with Dexter Williams and Jafar Armstrong flanking Brandon Wimbush.

Notre Dame had a lot of success using both Williams and Armstrong at the same time against Navy.  Armstrong is a threat in both the running game and the passing game, and Williams is a dynamic runner.  Putting both players in the backfield creates a lot of stress on the defense.

Before the snap, Wimbush sends Williams in motion to the right.  Williams has caught a number of swing passes the last few weeks, so this isn’t unusual.  The middle linebacker (yellow arrow) follows him.

At the snap, the Irish run our old friend GT Counter.  Tommy Kraemer pulls and kicks out the defensive end.  Robert Hainsey pulls and leads through the hole to block the linebacker.  Liam Eichenberg and Aaron Banks double team the defensive tackle to create a lane for Armstrong to run through.  Finally, Miles Boykin cracks the safety.

With two backside lineman pulling, GT Counter is susceptible to edge pressure.  There is no one left to block Florida State’s star defensive end, Brian Burns.  That’s where Brandon Wimbush comes in.

Let’s zoom in on the handoff.

Instead of flying to the ball and tackling Armstrong for a loss, Burns (yellow star) has to respect Wimbush’s legs.  If he goes after Armstrong, Wimbush can simply pull the ball and run around him.

The middle linebacker (yellow circle) is completely out of position because he had to cover a potential swing pass to Dexter Williams.  Thanks to some nice blocks by the offensive line, Armstrong has a clear lane for a big game.

That’s Chip Long combining two standard plays in the offense – GT Counter and a swing pass to the running back – to create a big gain.

Here’s the full play:

Final Thoughts

The Florida State game was a vintage 2017 performance, in both good and bad ways.  The offensive line paved the way for 300+ rushing yards and Brandon Wimbush threw some pretty balls.  However, Wimbush also threw some ugly balls and completed less than 50% of his passes.  When that offense works, it works great.  When it doesn’t, the results are pretty ugly.  Luckily everything worked on Saturday.

Brandon Wimbush has had to deal with a lot of adversity this season, so I was very happy to see him get the chance to lead the Irish to victory one last time at home.  We should all appreciate what he’s done for this program the last two seasons.

By |2018-11-14T12:14:25+00:00November 14th, 2018|Film Room, Football|21 Comments

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NDbiology08juiceboxPublius2010ScarponiMikeyB Recent comment authors
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spider-man
spider-man

Great example of Chip’s playbook! As you stated, I really like that the offense is more creative now and less reliant on a singular talent to win his match-up. Hopefully BK is taking lots of notes because if ND keeps doing well, Long might be in demand for a head coaching spot.

KG
KG

Miami of Ohio might be open soon!

juicebox
juicebox

We might be able to get Sanford back if Long leaves for da real U.

MikeyB
MikeyB

The offense has so much talent coming back the next 2 seasons. If he can find one speed guy to replace Dex, he has the potential to ride out 2 more years building a really impressive offense. Then would be the time to try to jump to a great job.

Of course if Brohm jumps to Louisville, I could absolutely see Purdue come knocking this offseason. I don’t think he’d pass up a Big Ten coaching job.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Thanks for this breakdown, enjoyed it a lot! Hoping to see more 2 RB formations with Armstrong returning to health.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

Great breakdown. I love the film room articles.

Brendan R

Great work Burgs! Knowing Long, I would bet he has some stuff to work off this too – maybe an actual swing to Dex, or a pump and go to the outside receiver on Dex’s side.

Do you think Mustipher was beat here and recovered well enough to let the play work, or does he let the guy past by design and then push him back out of the play?

P.S. Jafar’s truck at the end of that run gives me the warm fuzzies.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

These are really great work.

More Noise
More Noise

Amen… loads of fun to read, plus super informative. Merci bien!

KG
KG

Nice work, this is great.

On your note at the end Re: Brandon, has there been anything said by him or Kelly or anyone, or are we just assuming he’ll take his 5th year elsewhere because that’s how these things play out? The obvious assumption would be for him to leave, and none of us would be surprised. But he’s a <50% passer, so I don't know what the demand for him would be. I know every QB wants to start, but he seems like a pretty self-aware kid from his interviews, so I wonder if there's a small chance he sticks around. You know the backup will play start a game at some point, they always do. The other factor is Jurkovec possibly taking the backup role and Wimbush moving down to 3rd, in which case there's even less reason to stay.

Either way, I'm glad he got the chance for one last game at ND Stadium (and even more glad we won and didn't have to worry about his performance!).

MikeyB
MikeyB

If I were him, I’d be trying to transfer to a mid Major with an established QB and transition to WR. If he wants an NFL shot, he’s got the size and speed to at least make teams interested.

If not, a free start on a grad degree isn’t the worst thing in the world. But in that case, I’d still probably try to transfer and work on building up my network at some coastal place like Duke it UVA or Cal. An ND undergrad plus a grad degree from one of those schools would be a heck of a combination.

Brendan R

I think you’ll see him try to land at somewhere like Duke (no idea what their QB situation is) for alumni networking reasons. I doubt any major P5 teams will have interest, so it would have to be a second tier team. His mother lives in Georgia now, so it would make sense if he makes a move to move closer to her.

Scarponi
Scarponi

With our recruiting numbers, do we even keep him if he wants to stay?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those saying Jurkovec should be the backup now. BW has more experience and is a more proven winner than PJ. But by next year you have to be wanting to start prepping PJ to take over, and how much do you weigh a scholarship for the primary backup at a position that doesn’t get rotation throughout games. I mean if BW stays next year, the ideal situation is he doesn’t take a snap (in blowouts PJ would get the game time), so do you even cost yourself a scholarship for that, when you could keep a different 5th year that would be on the field a lot more instead?

Another way to think of it:

(a) What’s the dropoff from BW to PJ once PJ has a full year in the system and recognizing that if BW was gone PJ would be getting all the #2 reps in practice? (b) Is that dropoff worth having an additional scholarship AND having PJ that much more practiced for when Book leaves?

KG
KG

I’m not suggesting that BW will or should stay. We’re all assuming he moves somewhere else. But I have yet to hear anyone say something that wasn’t merely speculation. THAT’s my question.

Publius2010
Publius2010

Yeah. Pete Sampson was extremely set that this was Wimbush’s last game at ND. Didn’t even mention a possibility, just wrote it like he was out of eligibility.

NDbiology08
NDbiology08

I loved this entire sequence. I dont usually notice X’s and O’s stuff live but in the plays leading up to/right after this they used similar formations and did something slightly different each time. Really kept the defense guessing.