Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 23, 2015 Issue

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

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Page 33 of 113

CHALK TALK BRYAN DRISKELL N otre Dame is not your typical 4‑3 college defense. When coordina‑ tor Brian VanGorder was hired, the desire was to have a defense that could show a number of different looks and bring pressure from various align‑ ments. This fourth and final installment on Notre Dame's 4‑3 defense will focus on this versatility. MIXING UP THE FRONTS Under VanGorder, Notre Dame will show opponents a number of different defensive fronts and looks. Even in the "base" four‑down looks there is diver‑ sity to how Notre Dame lines up. It will change where defensive tackle Sheldon Day lines up, putting him in‑ side an A gap where he can line up to an outside shoulder of the center or putting him on the outside where he can play more of a defensive end role. Notre Dame will also use some "over" fronts, where the defensive tackle will go to the strong side of the formation. When Notre Dame faces a team that likes to run the football, or is facing a down and distance or personnel group‑ ing that is a heavy run look — like a sec‑ ond‑ or third‑and‑short situation — the Irish defense will line up in more of a 3‑4 defensive look. Notre Dame will keep its personnel the same in these instances, but the look up front will be different. The nose guard will either line head up against the center or play tight to one shoulder. The defensive tackle will bump out and either play head up on the offen‑ sive tackle or show a slight inside cheat where he lines up on the inside shoul‑ der of the offensive tackle. The strongside de‑ fensive end will line up in a similar look on the opposite side. Notre Dame's weak‑ side end — which is often senior Ro‑ meo Okwara — will stand up and widen out his alignment. Unlike traditional 3‑4 defenses, Notre Dame keeps its one‑ gap mentality, with the exception of the nose guard. What this means is each Inside Notre Dame's 4-3 Defense When Notre Dame goes to a three-down alignment, expect to see Mike line- backer Joe Schmidt (right) attack the backfield. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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