Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 28, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Under the Dome up. Don't faceguard. If you're not in phase, you're trying to get the strip and rip through and dislodge the football." If a defender is already behind the receiver, then the defender turning to find the ball is only going to slow his own progress and give him less of a chance to compensate or engage in "damage control." Once the receiver is past you, the defender's goal is to first close the gap. Trying to turn and find the ball only makes the matter worse when the action is going at such a fast pace. Explained Alabama head coach Nick Saban during his October radio show several years ago: "If you're in the out-ofphase position, which means you can't see his near number, you can't be even with him, then you have to play the guy's eyes and hands for the ball — because you're not in position. … you're not going to be able to get to the ball — you're behind him too far." Kelly said he thought the secondary was much improved from the start of the season in that department and played well (other than the last possession) in the 37-34 victory over Arizona State. However, the increasingly popular backshoulder throws remain a source of frustration for the Irish defensive backs. "There's some things that you have to do before the ball even gets there," Kelly said. "You have to do it at the line of scrimmage: formations, tendencies, where you are, short field versus wide field. … We've Notre Dame Football tickets 25 years in business Best selection & Prices 1-800-925-2500 seen everybody in football, from the NFL to college football really work that throw." "There's not too many keys for a back-shoulder throw," Notre Dame 2012 Freshman AllAmerican cornerback KeiVarae Russell said. "… You've just got to squeeze the receiver and turn toward him. Usually in the field you turn away and look for the ball when the ball is in the air — but when you feel the back shoulder coming you've got to look for the ball and turn toward the receiver so you're closer to the ball and fight for the outside hand. "If you're turned away looking for the ball and the ball goes behind you, you're never going to be able to make a play. I don't care how good of a defender you are. That's the hardest play to defend." It looks elementary watching it. On the field when everything is moving so fast and with so many techniques to know and when just a slight touch results in pass interference, it's a little different. ✦

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