Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 9, 2015 Issue

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 33 of 118

BY ANDREW OWENS N otre Dame's up-and-down defensive performance in a 41-31 win over archrival USC Oct. 17 perfectly encapsulated the feast or famine aspect of that unit this season. Defensive coordinator Brian Van- Gorder 's crew allowed touchdown plays of 75 and 83 yards, with a 65- yard run setting up another Trojans score. Those three snaps accounted for 223 yards and 21 points, with USC mustering a mediocre 4.96 yards on the remaining 74 snaps that evening. Outside of Texas' three-point output in the season opener at Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish have seen strong ef- forts muddied by a few big plays. "We're at a point at one time in the USC game where it's 24-10 with five minutes and 50 seconds to go in the half, and the thing just goes crazy on us," head coach Brian Kelly said. "Gadget play, screen pass, and there you go. We come out of the half, and we miss the tackle in the backfield. And then nothing again. "We clearly as coaches and play- ers know what our deficiencies are, and we know how to fix them. We just have to get that done. … If we are more consistent as a defense, we are going to be really good. We just have to get to that point. Those numbers, they are what they are and we have got to correct those." The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde look of the defense began in the 34-27 win at Virginia Sept. 12, but took on a life of its own the following game against Georgia Tech. The Irish stifled the Yel- low Jackets' triple-option attack (al- lowing only seven points in more than 59 minutes) before the visitors rallied for 15 points in the final minute to make the 30-22 Notre Dame win look less impressive on paper. "We've addressed the explosive plays," fifth-year senior linebacker Joe Schmidt said. "Those are never ones you like to watch. We're doing our best to make sure we're all on the same page. Football's a great game like that. One guy does the wrong thing, and you can lose the game or give up seven points. "For us, we're trying to make sure HIGHS AND LOWS Notre Dame's defense has faced an abnormal amount of ups and downs within almost every game this fall

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 9, 2015 Issue