Forget about the playcalling part of being an OC. Sure, it’s the most visible. It’s what we see work, it’s what we see fail, and it’s what we yell at the TV about. But this week will be the test to really see how good Charlie really is.
Because if Charlie can put together a winning offensive game plan after losing his #1 receiver, I’ll believe he’s legit as an OC. Scratch that – as a COLLEGE OC. We all know he was legit as OC at New England (booooo), but he’s had fits and starts at ND, and it’s been tough to really get him. Is he that genius? Is he too clever for his own good? Forget all that. Let’s see how he ‘dials up’ (he freaking loves that phrase) his offense this week against (yaaaaaawn) Purdue, and we’ll see if he’s really got game.
Last year, the ND offense fell apart without Floyd. Teams rolled up coverage on Tate, and we were left with few passing options in a pass-happy offense. This year, things should be a bit better given that emergence of a serviceable running game thanks to an improved OL and Allen, and also because we have a solid, and somewhat experienced crew of WRs to fall back on. None of them will come close to replacing Floyd on his own, but as a group, pending on the gameplan, the production just might add up.
My guess? Robby or Kamara as the Y, and a lot of Shaq in the slot when we go three-wide. I also expect copious amounts of Kyle Rudolph and Allen/Hughes out of the backfield.
Also of Note: Clausen is freaking amazing
I know it’s been sort of looked over because everyone wants to whine about how the sky is falling, but Jimmy Clausen has looked unreal so far this year. Even with a gimpy foot, he looked in control of the game on Saturday – managing the offense, leading his team, and making plays. Even his scrambling looks a bunch better. If nothing else, we know for SURE that Charlie can develop a QB. Brady, Quinn and now Jimmy. The transformation from last year – in terms of leadership, decision-making, and even accuracy (though he was pretty solid in that respect last year already) is really impressive.
If ND happened to have the ball with 1:23 left at the end of the Michigan game, and Clausen leads a drive to take that win home, he’s in the discussion for the Heisman big time. Given that loss, and the loss of Floyd, it’s looking like much more of an uphill battle. But he at least deserves the props for great growth from last year to this year. Love watching that kid play.
EDIT: A few stats to add in here on Jimmy…
He’s 62 for 91 attempts, with more than a few (coughcoughGoldenTatecough) drops in there, for a completion percentage of 68.1% (20th in the nation). He’s thrown for 951 yards (4th in the nation), good for almost 10.5 (4th in the nation) per attempt. 9 Touchdowns (2nd in nation), ZERO INTs (tied for 1st). QB rating: 188.6 (2nd in the nation to Mallett, who’s only thrown the ball 61 times).