Smart Football dissects Notre Dame's offense

Last week, we had Chris Brown give us a little bit of insight into the Pistol offense. This week, over at Dr. Saturday, Chris broke down the defensive challenges Michigan will face when trying to stop Charlie Weis’ offense.

Give it a read, as I think there are a lot of very interesting things, both from a pure schematic point of view and from the perspective of a defensive coordinator.

Here’s a sampling:

But I don’t think Robinson will stick with as much man-to-man against the Irish. The least threathening
aspect of Notre Dame’s offense, pretty much from the moment Weis
arrived, has been the between-the-tackles run game, and the one area
Notre Dame can take the Pepsi challenge with against any team in the
country and come out well is a comparison between receivers. Golden
Tate and Michael Floyd are both big, fast, dangerous downfield threats
at all times, and Michigan is unlikely to spend most of the game daring
Weis to throw to them on the outside. He’s going to be dialing them up
no matter what.

In response, Robinson is more likely to go for deep, bracketing type coverage. A common one is a variant on “quarters coverage,” descriptively called “quarter-quarter-halves.”

To the wide side of the field, the corner and safety play “quarters,”
which means they divide the field into fourths but, if only one
receiver threatens deep, they double-team him. On the other side the
“halves” refers to a Cover 2 defense used to the short side of the
field — the corner rolls up and plays aggressive at the line, while
the safety “rolls” over top so that they bracket that receiver high and
low. This is a common strategy to try to contain dangerous outside
receivers and keep the possibility of double teams. Michigan plays this
coverage against Western Michigan’s four-wide look below, though WMU
runs a run play up the middle.

Check out the rest of it here.

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