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Walls crystallizes past issues for the secondary

Aug 12, 2010, 2:25 PM EDT

I realize the last week of entries has been heavy on the defensive backs, but between the great insight secondary coach Chuck Martin gave after practice to some illuminating comments from Darrin Walls, it’s clear that the problems that plagued the back half of the Irish defense have been diagnosed.

While Darrin Walls’ career at Notre Dame got off to a promising start when he played All-American wide receiver Calvin Johnson to a draw as a freshman, it’s been up and down since then, with last season’s lost to his hometown Pitt being a low-water mark for Walls.

Walls didn’t offer any excuses for his play in the past, but did hit on a key issue that plagued everybody in the secondary last season.

“We don’t have to think as much,” Walls said. “We all play fast and know what we’re doing. That’s one thing that’s helped us a lot.

“Everybody knew we blitzed a lot. We played a lot of man. When you play man you don’t have a lot of opportunities to make a play on a ball or intercept a pass. Now when we’re sitting in zone we can read the quarterback and react.”

There’s nothing that makes a secondary look worse than an ineffective blitz, and last year, the Irish were one of the least effective blitzing teams in the country, bringing pressure on nearly every down, yet still finishing 84th in the nation in sacks.

Too much thinking, too much man coverage, too little margin for error, and plummeting confidence levels is a recipe for disaster, and last season’s second half was a case study.

  1. TLNDA - Aug 12, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    The stubborness of Tenuta last year was infuriating. Blitz Blitz Blitz. It bordered on insanity……….I’m lucky my TV survived the season.

  2. Gunny - Aug 12, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    Blitz, Blitz, Blitz…. The opposing QB still had plenty of time and then would make our DB’s looking silly because they could only cover a Reciever so long. Great point TLNDA!

  3. bob sylvester - Aug 12, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Right on target. Imagine recruiting fast, quick athletes at CB and then neutralizing them. Charlie made his name coaching Tom Brady. That is like being Nolan Ryan’s pitching coach.
    Now these guys are being coached … and trained and given a chance to be “team,” and eat a disciplined diet. We finally have the right man to coach a Notre Dame football team. Cudos to the AD.

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