Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2016

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

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CHALK TALK BRYAN DRISKELL T here are two prominent theories that find their way into most conversations about running the football, especially at Notre Dame. Theory No. 1: Teams have to run the football effectively in order to compete for championships. That has been proven true. In the first two years of the College Foot- ball Playoff, six of the eight playoff teams averaged at least 199.9 rushing yards per game. Theory No. 2: Teams must be able to line up under center and run the football, at least in short-yard- age and red-zone situations. That is false. Of the top 25 rush- ing offenses, only three ran a non- triple option sys- tem that puts their quarterback under center. Contrast that to the 15 offenses that run their offense almost exclu- sively — if not exclusively from the shotgun formation. Notre Dame was one team that helped prove that theory incorrect. In 2015, the Irish averaged 207.6 rush- ing yards per game, more than na- tional champion Alabama (199.9) and more than any Irish offense since 1998 (when including bowl games). Notre Dame's 5.6 yards per carry set a mod- ern program record. The Irish accomplished those num- bers while running almost exclusively from the shotgun, and without a full- back. DISPELLING MYTHS There are a few myths to theory No. 2 that must be dispelled. 1. You cannot b e a p h y s i c a l , downhill rushing offense from the shotgun. Being physical has noth- ing to do with the alignment of the running back and everything to do with an offense's philosophy and blocking schemes. Notre Dame's most often used run- ning play in 2015 was the inside zone, a run that by nature is physical and downhill. Notre Dame has also in- corporated the power scheme into its offense, which asks the ball carrier to attack the gap between the guard and center on the side of the play call. Downhill Running From The Spread C.J. Prosise and Josh Adams (above) combined for 1,867 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground last season while running primarily out of the shotgun formation. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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