Seeing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish play for the first time all season, and then going back and watching the replay, I had what seemed like a million different takeaways from Saturday’s thumping of the Temple Owls. For this exercise I did my best to narrow it down to three. Let’s get to it.
1. Brandon Wimbush
I have a couple of different thoughts on Wimbush both good and bad. First...he’s absolutely ELECTRIC as a runner. He’s not only quick and shifty, he has another gear that we didn’t see from DeShone Kizer or Malik Zaire. Every time he had the ball in his hands, I had the feeling something amazing was about to happen. More times than not, it did.
During the broadcast Doug Flutie kept saying Wimbush was taking too many hits. I didn’t get that impression being in the stadium, but according to Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune, Wimbush took 16 hits on Saturday. That is a number that needs to be smaller against a bigger and faster Georgia defense.
A couple final numbers from ND-Temple: By my count, Brandon Wimbush took 16 hits -- via sack, pressure or tackle after a run. Too many hits.— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) September 4, 2017
Second, the passing game was a little underwhelming. Wimbush was only 17-30 for 184 yards. I thought he missed a handful of throws. The arm strength is definitely there, he just needs to hone it on the accuracy part now. Overall, I thought it was a solid first outing for the junior quarterback. There is a plenty to build on and hopefully we see a more complete game this coming Saturday.
2. The Defense Should Have You Encouraged
I was very encouraged by what I saw from the Irish defense on Saturday. It’s not a finished product, but there are some things there that weren’t last year. The Irish got pressure on the quarterback, as they had three sacks on Saturday — it took them three and a half games to get their first sack last year. Although there were moments, the tackling looked solid for the most part. No matter if it’s Jacob Eason or Jake Fromm who plays on Saturday, the Irish defense will take a step up in competition against Georgia.
3. RTDB and RTDB Some More
The Irish ran for 422 yards on 44 carries on Saturday against a defense that finished 25th against the run last year. They aren’t going to do that every game, but it shows just how good and how dominant this run game can be. It should also take some pressure off Wimbush. Notre Dame has
three, no make that four guys who can effectively run the football. Josh Adams provides reliability. Tony Jones Jr. is not only an effective runner, but perhaps the best pass catcher of the bunch. Dexter Williams supplies the explosiveness. And Wimbush, as mentioned before, is electric with the ball in his hands. There is no good reason not have a run first mentality.
When announcers say, “I could run through those holes the way the offensive line is blocking,” this is what they mean. pic.twitter.com/YxQVTN2N5b— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) September 4, 2017
The offensive line was creating huge holes that any of us could have run through. Yes, it probably won’t be that way against Georgia, but if you believe your offensive line is really that good, stick to the run. The o-line will let Georgia know if they are good or not.
Other Odds and Ends
- Julian Love played a very nice game. He had some great plays on special teams, and also had perfect coverage on a pass play in the second half.
- Jeff Czerniakowski talked about this in his player evaluations, but Alize Mack looked a little rusty. I can’t imagine someone so talented staying rusty for that much longer.
- We knew they were going to do this, but it was so nice to see Notre Dame line up under center and with a fullback.
- Daelin Hayes was an animal. He was all over the field making tackles, breaking up passes and pressuring the passer. Definitely a good sign for the Irish.
- Drue Tranquill also played a very nice game. He seems like the perfect fit for that rover position.
- Te’von Coney was all over the field in the second half, including a fourth down sack.
- Freshmen defensive tackles Kurt Hinish and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa got valuable snaps.
- Justin Yoon looked shaky. Two weeks ago in the open practice he missed both FG attempts too. There is not much confidence there when he lines up for a kick. The numbers show he’s not as good in September. He’s just 6-12 in September, but 22-24 in months afterwards.