The defense really showed some clear improvement against the run after the first quarter. They set the edge much better and showed out on third and short. Notre Dame adjusted some things on defense and slowed down the running game a little bit. I also came to the realization that Louisville maybe did too much to try to stop ND’s pass rush and that hindered the passing game.
Really love this blitz design with pressure slanting to the left and C.J. Avery dropping right into the middle of the field where the quarterback is going to look. Rodjay Burns and Dayna Kinnaird deserve the credit for creating this sack. Burns uses his speed to get around the edge to get Ian Book’s feet moving and Kinnaird is right there to force Book to tuck it. Nick Okeke does his job perfectly by containing the edge and he gets an easy sack. I can honestly say that I don’t think Louisville executed a play like this on defense all of last year. All eleven guys did their job.
Rodjay Burns started wreaking some havoc off the edge in the second quarter. Bryan Brown’s guys did a great job last year at App keeping run plays in the box by being aggressive with their contain guy. Burns does such a good job here to force the pulling blocker to chase him. Then you have C.J. Avery blowing up the center to the point that he backs into the running back. Two guys just kill this play from the snap and then we get to see the new energy from this defense as nearly everyone is in on the tackle.
This is just a throw that Jawon Pass has to hit. He gets the time with solid blocking up front and Tuta Atwell gets separation from the corner. He just throws it like he’s throwing to Devante Peete instead of Tutu.
Another defensive play where two guys make plays that allow for others to get to the ball to make the stop. Khane Pass hits his gap so quickly that the back can’t even take his first step forward (kudos to Jared Goldwire for eating up a double team). Then you have Amonte Caban getting super low and holding his ground against a double team. He even makes the initial contact on the back right at the line of scrimmage. Great effort from the defense and a great sign that some of the depth questions are being answered at some positions.
This is clinical from G.G. Robinson. Not only does he fire off the ball and initiate the contact with the center but he rips through the center’s hands to disengage. Then he just chases the play down. Great to see Tabarius Peterson set the edge, also. He forces the back inside where Robinson is. Louisville will need to see these types of plays more often on defense going forward.
Loved this play call coming out of halftime with ND bringing an extra guy on first downs to stop the run. The best thing on this play is Cole Bentley getting into space to make a block and then breaking down to make the block. He (or anyone on the line, really) couldn’t do this last year. Guys would lunge for blocks at the second level. It’s great to see this type of improvement from the line.
I think that Javian Hawkins won the starting job because of runs like this. He shows great patience here to let the blocks develop and then he uses his speed to get through the hole. Hassan Hall is really good at getting through the hole quickly and he can run through arm tackles pretty well from what we saw on Monday but he just hasn’t shown the ability to do what Hawkins does here.
Louisville was outstanding on third downs. They played with the type of intensity that they needed and guys did so well to hold the point of attack. C.J. Avery beats his block on this play and makes a nice hit on the running back. G.G. and Kinnaird do a really good job of disrupting things, also. When they looked good on Monday, they were really good. Just need more consistency against the run.
Pass’ fumble in the third quarter was a killer for the offense but these next two plays were the same for the defense. ND ran this play on their first drive and got a chunk play. Here they get a big play with Chase Claypool. I’ve watched this play over and over again and I have no clue what the call on defense was. It looks like everyone is in man coverage outside of the corner at the top. The other corner turns and runs with his receiver, Burns takes the tight end, and Etheridge runs with the other tight end. Avery is in a short zone or spying. Though he needs to identify the crosser more quickly, I don’t know that he’s responsible for picking him up or not.
Scott Satterfield referenced this specific play during his media availability and pointed out that Avery needed to carry his guy longer. This is a basic cover two and the linebackers are responible for being underneath the inside receivers so that the throw would have to go over them. That gives the safety time to get there. You can see that Book is able to put this on a line because Avery doesn’t run with him. Jack Fagot probably gets there to make a play on the ball or the receiver is Avery doesn’t turn him loose here.