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Notre Dame Football News and Notes: Lack of Consistency In Run Game Plagues The Irish

NCAA Football: Miami at Notre Dame Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know if it’s a lack of consistency or if it’s just a lack of commitment to run the football. It’s probably a little bit of both. When the Irish have long stretches without scoring it usually coincides with long stretches without running the football.

According to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, between the time the Irish were up 20-0 early in the second quarter and Josh Adams game tying touchdown late in the fourth Notre Dame rushers combined for six carries for six yards. That was about a two-two and half quarter span. It’s almost as if Kelly refuses to run clock and grind clock.

Kelly is right that the run game has been inconsistent, but at the same time the play calling has made it inconsistent.

The Irish are never going to have a good short yardage run game as long as Brian Kelly is the coach. His offense just isn’t designed to line up and overpower the opposition for one or two yards. Every run play seems to either been a jet sweep, a deep handoff, or a read option. There is no element whatsoever of a downhill running attack. His quarterbacks are also apparently not coached to line up under center either, even though that seems like a pretty elementary aspect of football.

The fact that the Irish are throwing screen passes on a fourth and one and lining up in an empty set on the goal line is unacceptable. Just once line up under center and ram it over the goal line.

This seems like a pretty easy decision considering Sanders’ special teams blunders last week. Sanders has shown us he can be a very dangerous return man, so he can’t be written off just yet. Maybe a little competition from Finke will light a fire underneath Sanders.

Kelly said Sanders needs to trust his talent and he won’t be so indecisive.

Finke lit a spark for the Irish last week when he set up the game winning drive with a 23-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter. If Kelly decides to go with Sanders again, I would venture to say that a good number of Irish fans will not be too pleased.

“We just got to keep coaching.”

“The coaching just has to be better.”

These seem to be Kelly’s go-to phrases when something goes wrong this season. First it was with the defense, then it was with the offense and now it’s with the special teams. You have to wonder how much longer the coaches who are coaching these players are going to be around. Scott Booker’s, who is the special teams and tight ends coach, seat has to be getting a little warm. The special teams aren’t so special right now, and “Tight End U” seems like something of the past after the last three seasons.

Other News and Notes

  • Kelly said due to the matchup with Navy, the Irish will need to play more players this weekend.
  • Nicco Fertitta and Jalen Elliot will rotate in more often this weekend. Elliot did not see playing time on defense against Miami.
  • Since kickoff is slated for 11:30 A.M. ET. Notre Dame will leave on Thursday. They did this last year when traveling to Pitt, a game in which they won handily. They did not do this, this year went traveling to Syracuse and NC State.
  • Greer Martini and Colin McGovern both participated in non-contact drills today. Both have been sidelined with injury. Daniel Cage has also been dealing with a concussion, but Kelly said he is a bit more behind.
  • Jarron Jones was named Bronko Nagurski Player of the Week for his six tackles for loss against Miami, which were the most by any player this season.
  • After the win over Miami, members of the Irish team dressed up in Halloween costumes and threw a costume party on Sunday for South Bend’s Robinson Community Learning Center. Jones dressed up as Snow White.