Notre Dame Analysis: Defensive Regression From Last Season

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Notre Dame, Virginia Tech
Notre Dame isn’t quite as good defensively as they were last year. (Ivan Morozov)

Let’s move on to Notre Dame’s defense and special teams, and then we’ll take a special detour into Fantasy Human Resources.

Defense

Mike Elko brought an aggressive 4-2 scheme to South Bend; Clark Lea, an Elko protégé promoted to replace him, carries on the scheme. You’ll recognize how the safeties fit from watching VT so much. Their whip/nickel equivalent is called a “rover,” which might be confusing, but when you see where he lines up (and it’s usually Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, #6) you’ll see that it’s very much like what Chamarri Conner does.

The scheme is a 4-2, but he’ll stand up his “drop end” and play him like a rush linebacker. It’s usually Julian Okwara (#42), who we’ll talk about more later. That’s the biggest wrinkle, but you’ll be more than familiar with the concept thanks to Bud Foster dropping his ends so often these days. They can be blitz-happy at times; at UVA, they ran a lot of Cover-0 that had all the free men rushing. Against four-wide sets they go to a three-man line (and seem to sub their linebackers), but I’m not expecting we’ll see too much of that given Tech’s depth at TE.

If there’s a big difference between the Lea and Elko (who is now at Texas A&M),

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