I reviewed the offense here, and I’ll publish the same stats here for the D.Â I felt like the defense progressed during the year, and I was pretty impressed with their development.Â Despite a somewhat patch-work DL, they played well throughout the season.Â Â The biggest issue was consistency (sound familiar?).Â Just when it seemed like an opposingÂ offense had NO shot at moving the ball against us, we’d give up a nice, long 70 yard drive for a TD.Â A D that was stiff and stout and whatever-else-means-the-ball-ain’t-moving, would all of a sudden become soft and easy.Â Some of it was a delay in adjusting to an Offense’s half-time adjustments.Â Some of it was our guys getting tired when the O started going 3 and out repeatedly.Â Some of it was probably youth and depth issues.Â I’m not sure why, but those shifts seemed to happen in each game.Â
Another aspect that never really materialized was all that pressure we were going to bring on the QB.Â The blitz packages seemed more basic than what Tenuta did at Tech, but that could be a function of his personnel, his working with Corwin, or maybe both.Â But whatever it is, I’m hoping we can get a few more Irish players in the backfield next year and really cause some disruption.
% Underclassmen Starting
|Top 10 & ND|
Holy Lord, Florida is super-young on Defense too.Â This is going to be a powerhouse of a team the next few years.Â I really hope they get stomped in the NC.Â This smells likey Dynasty, and I don’t like it.Â PSU is a really experienced team, and I think it has a lot to do with how well they performed this year.Â Yes, you can have a crappy team with a ton of seniors starting, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to build a winning season around seasoned players than raw guys straight from Prom.
ND’s D stacks up as relatively young compared to other Top 10 teams, but nowhere near the majority of young players starting on Offense for the Irish.Â
ND’s offense definitely faced some pretty experienced squads this year.Â Only UNC was a ‘fair’ matchup in terms of age, when ND’s 55% underclass offense faced a D with the same number of young guys.Â The rest of the defenses were significantly older than the Irish O.
ND’s D falls right in the middle on % Underclassmen.Â Next year I don’t expect much of a difference, with young guys like Blanton and Johnson likely becoming starters and keeping the youngness of the D intact.Â But it will be nice to have a LB corps full of Juniors.Â Hopefully Tenuta can use that experience to bring the heat for real next season.
Months in the Program
|Top 10 & ND|
ND pops up the list a bit on this measure, as the upperclassmen are somewhat heavy on Seniors relative to Juniors, which bumps their numbers up a bit.Â Kuntz, Bruton, Crum and company have been around for a while, and while they’re not the most heralded recruiting class, they helped form the core of the D this year.Â New leaders will have to emerge next year.Â
ND’s inability to put up mad crazy points against a young/crazy bad Syracuse D is also especially maddening when looking at where they fall on this chart.
|Top 10 & ND|
Not surprisingly, similar story.Â ND’s D is pretty young, and is only more experienced than 3 teams on the schedule.Â But not as young as the O.
So if everything’s so consistent, why did I run all three sets of numbers?Â Well, I thought that folks could poke holes in the % Underclassmen.Â “Well, if you have a bunch of young folks and they play with a bunch of 5th years, it evens out.”Â That’s legit.Â And then I thought people might bring up the experience angle – represented in avg letters earned – and that’d be legit too.Â “Yeah, we’re young, but our players have a lot of game experience.”Â Â But in the end, things fell out pretty consistently.Â Across an offensive or defensive roster, experienceÂ and age and all that tie together.Â While we may have somewhat more experienced young guys than an average team, they’re still just young.Â In 2 years, we’ll be the oldest freaking kid on the block.Â Â But for now, we have a young team often fighting against guys that average 1-2 years older.Â It’s most definitely not an excuse, but I can’t wait til we’re older than everyone we play against, and (hopefully) able to just beat up on them with some solid, experienced talent.