Fiction #1 - Notre Dame's defense is only about its front seven.
Fact - The defensive backfield has been surprisingly outstanding this year.
From the first game of the season many observers figured that Notre Dame would be strong up front but their Achilles heel would be their pass defense. As each week passed I kept waiting for the inevitable to happen and for Notre Dame's backfield to be lit up, but guess what, it never happened. Never. Quarterbacks had some success here-and-there, but Notre Dame's plan played out very well by keeping the play in front of them, even when cornerbacks where forced to play one-on-one.
Notre Dame's pass rush has been good but slow to start. The fact that the front line has dominated teams against the run has certainly helped the defensive backfield by allowing the linebackers to change up schemes and participate in pass defense. But don't think for an instant that defensive backs throughout the year didn't have to play strong one-on-one coverage. They did and they did.
Zeke Motta has led the crew and knows how to tackle. It's between him and junior cornerback Bennett Jackson for the most outstanding DB this year. Jackson is the most underrated and least talked about player on Notre Dame's defense. Try to find an article about him or positive comments from TV announcers. It's like he doesn't exist. I guess that’s a very good thing for a cornerback.
Fiction #2 - Notre Dame's offense is a liability
Fact - Notre Dame's offense has controlled the line of scrimmage.
Notre Dame has consistently driven the ball down the field and controlled the football. A big concern for Notre Dame starting the season was that even though they have a great defense they would tire since they would have to be on the field most of the game. It hasn't happened. Thanks to a solid offensive line, multiple underrated skilled players and a quickly maturing, multi-dimensional quarterback the offense is good and better than most think. They have not been dominated this year and in fact they scored more points against Stanford than Oregon did. Yes, you read that right. Notre Dame's offense has helped the defense more than people know. The real issue for the offense has been finishing the job. The red zone offensive production has been the only disappointment this year.
Fiction #3 - Notre Dame Can't Beat an SEC team
Fact - They can and it's a simple formula.
Continue what they have been doing on both offense and defense
Score TD's in the red zone
If I could give any advice to Coach Kelly it would be this:
Keep Theo Riddick and/or Cierra Wood in the backfield in the red zone. They play an integral part of a well balance offensive attack and you move the ball down the field on the ground and in the air. Don't go empty backfield inside the 20 as you did against USC. You limit your options. Now get to work on you red zone offense. You are going to need to if you plan on raising the National Championship trophy.