Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy: Running Back

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 14: Cam McDaniel #33 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 14, 2013 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

The running game is the magic elixir for all that ails a football program. With strong-legged ball carriers who are fleet-of-foot, sure-of-hand, who run north and south and downhill, an offense is guaranteed a cloud of dust and four yards. Running the ball strips the game to its pure essence and credits the strong, the smart, the well-rehearsed. While football, and the running game in particular, is by no means as simple as that, a solid running attack is a necessary element to any offense, … [Read more...]

Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy: Defensive Line

credit: UND.com

When Notre Dame made its surprising run to the National Championship in 2012, it did so on the strength of a defensive line that shut down the run and got after opposing quarterbacks. With Louis Nix, III, and Stephon Tuitt at the top of their games, 2012 stands out among recent seasons, as the Irish surrendered 1374 rushing yards total, compared to 1806 yards the year before and 1870 the year before. In 2013, Injuries, ejection, and new O-line schemes specifically designed to stymie Nix and … [Read more...]

Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy: Offensive Lineman

Practice 1-1

Say what you will about the 2013 Figthing Irish football season, the offensive line impressed, and was a main reason for the team's offensive success. Coach Hiestand's charges, starters all, held otherwise indomitable defenses in check. Stanford and Arizona State, both FBS leaders in sacks per game, were held to one sack between the two of them. Michigan State's swarming attack averaged three sacks per game, yet left South Bend with none. The O-line's ability to open holes allowed three games in … [Read more...]

Walk On, Walk On: The Impact of Walk-Ons

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One of the apparent keys to developing critical depth on Notre Dame's roster is a concentration on the Preferred Walk-On (PWO) program. Frankly, that this was a thing sort of escaped my attention until Tyler James at the South Bend Tribune opened my eyes. I thought walk-ons were all the same and served a useful purpose when it came to simulating certain formations on the practice field. But, with Joe Schmidt making the move from walk-on to likely defensive starter and team captain, it's time we … [Read more...]

Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself: Quarterback

credit: @stogiesnbeer

Today, a mere eighty or so days from the opening kickoff against Rice, we begin our third season of "Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy..." In this series, we will analyze the best Irish player at a given position or position-group and compare him to the best our enemies have to offer. Frankly, I love this series because it forces us to look outside our little bubble of camaraderie and Field Turf and into a whirling maelstrom of Wolverines, Trojans, Seminoles, and Tree. It also gets the predictive … [Read more...]