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Possible change at the corners


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A Change For The Secondary

By Kevin Carretta

 

The Irish secondary was by far the team’s weakest link this past season. The main cause of this weakness was the lack of one-on-one coverage by our corners. I will admit that as the season progressed Ambrose Wooden and Mike Richardson did improve. But, their improvement wasn’t to the competitive level we need it to be in order to win every game on our schedule.

 

The Irish gave up 264 yards passing per game and only intercepted the football 8 times. During last season’s games, it appeared that the opposing team’s offense was able to throw and catch without any pressure from our coverage. Knowing that we gave up 14.6 yards per catch, I guess our opponents were able to do just that.

 

The weakness in our pass defense lies in our corners’ lack of ability to lock up on a receiver one-on-one without getting beat deep. Too many times early in the season Ambrose and Richardson were beat deep when they tried to put pressure on the receivers. As the season progressed, Coach Minter moved Ambrose and Richardson further and further off the line of scrimmage in order to protect against the big play. Our opponents reacted by just running short route after short route moving the ball down the field. It was a no-win situation.

 

I along with the rest of the Irish faithful hope that this situation will change come August. I hope to see our corners covering deep and being able to break on the football once it is thrown. I look to see our secondary play aggressive and have twice as many interceptions than Brady Quinn throws.

 

But, I don’t see Ambrose and Richardson being the source of this change. Rather, I feel that a couple of our incoming freshman will provide the spark that sets our pass defense ablaze. Yes, it will be strange to see two seniors who have been main stays in the defensive backfield the past two seasons lose significant playing time to freshmen. But, that is exactly what I expect.

 

The “STUD” and the most prized athlete in this year’s recruiting class is 6’0” 195 lbs corner Raeshon McNeil. McNeil is a cover corner that can not only play right away, but who also has a chance to become the corner that the Irish have so desperately needed for years. McNeil has size, speed and quickness. He can cover and he can tackle.

 

What impresses me the most about McNeil is his ability to break on the football when it is thrown. There is no wasted motion or energy in his game. His 15 career interceptions show that he has a natural nose for the football and goes after it aggressively when it is in the air. That type of “the ball is mine” attitude is something the Irish defensive backfield so desperately needs.

 

McNeil’s performance in the U.S. Army All-American game showed the nation just how talented he is and how fortunate we are to have signed him. His play not only showed he was able to compete against the top receivers in the country, but that he could also shut them down. Come August, I expect McNeil’s one-on-one coverage ability to earn him a starting spot at corner.

 

The other recruit who I feel will compete for substantial playing time in the Irish secondary is 6’1” 175 lbs Darrin Walls. Walls is big, fast and athletic for a cover corner. Like McNeil, Walls has the ability to break on the football once it is thrown. In addition to having the talent to lock up one-on-one with a receiver, Wall’s can tackle. He plays the game aggressive and smart. Both of these attributes are what our defensive backfield needs.

 

The last, and in some ways the most important, need for our secondary is a more aggressive style of blitzing defense. Last season Coach Minter did not blitz enough, which I feel contributed to Ambrose and Richardson’s demise. Too often our opponent’s QB was allowed to just sit in the pocket and wait for the open receiver. Although good, our defensive line’s pass rush wasn’t always able get the pressure on the QB that our secondary so desperately needed. Blitzing our LB’s more will force our opponent’s QB to throw the ball quicker, which should aid our corners’ coverage and present opportunities for interceptions.

 

As for Sergio Brown, Jashaad Gaines and Lenoard Gordan, I look for them to contribute in every facet of the kicking game. Their physical attributes will be key to our success in keeping our opponents deep in their own territory when we punt and kickoff.

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Guest SirJohn

Sir John Yesterdaysnews42@aol.com

 

Appreciated it all.

 

But I am coming from some ND fans that wanted to fire Minter for his 4-3 defense. :( :? So am quite protective till I see something worse than 3 defeats by total of 20 points from Notre Dame **fans** :lol: Be there for rick

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Guest bfabes05

Reading this gives me shivers and excitment up my spine! :D:D...I knew these two guys coming in would fight for spots and would make the competition for the corner spot unbelievable and make all of them better.

 

But after reading this it makes me feel very very good about our chances of being not only an unbelievable offense, we all know that is coming. But having a good defense as well. We already have pretty good special teams, so add it all up = a great team, great teams contend for national titles...:D:D:D:D....cant wait to see these two guys in the blue and gold next year

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Guest IrishCupaJoe

I couldn't have agreed more with the article. Since we couldn't steal Gerald McCoy from Oklahoma, then we have no savior coming to our D line this year. So, it's just gonna be more of the same, and that's scary. When we play the big boys (i.e Michigan, Penn State, USC) then our D line simply isn't going to get the penetration needed to pressure their QB, so we need McNeil and Walls badly. When Ohio State's OL completely shut down our DL, I knew 2006 was going to be a long year as well (on the D line). Since no DL newbie is coming, we have to pray that these two kids are all we hope they are. If Minter insists on Wooden and Richardson given their experience, then we're looking at another 3 losses this coming year.

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You know guys that we sometimes forget about the other 15 recruits the year before that we didn't get to see play yet..At safety we have Ray Herring who i think is going to get some playing time this year.I believe that he got an injury early last year that made him sit out most of the year or didn't even get any playing time.Steve Quinn who i think is a sleeper at LB which CW took away from Penn State is going to get a deal of playing time.But,the one recruit that we did have come in this year Sergio Brown is being over looked by some of writers.He has size, speed and knows how to hit.And I believe he plays SS.I know we need help at the corners but, I think we need help in all DB positions..And the other LB Scott Smith.I read alot of good things about this kid.I guess we'll have to see what happens in the B&G game to see if these kids live up to there hipe.Don't get me wrong i can't wait till we get Mcneil and Hall on campus. :lol: :lol:

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Guest bluester2000

I can't disagree with this post more. Our problem on defense last year wasn't the corners. They played their butts off and were the one position on defense that improved significantly from '04.

 

The safeties and the d-line need to get better.

Safeties-

"Our corners got beat." I don't believe that, from the tape it becomes evident that it's not so much our corners getting beat, it's our safeties failing to provide help over the top because they're both peaking in the backfield on play action. How many times did we see a ball thrown to the inside shoulder of a post/streaking receiver for a big gain? In most coverages that's the safety's responsibility.

 

Defensive Line

Abriamiri needs to pick it up and Leitko will hopefully be back. Both were highly touted coming in, and it's frustrating that neither have developed into a fantastic DE. Then Frome can move inside and be rotated with the DTs filling Bedaistch's role. Talley/Brown can then be rotated with the ends. This is the area where our lack of depth was aparent last year. Generally, there wasn't enough depth to rest guys, so getting pressure on the QB was impossible.

 

McNeil and Walls can't do anything to change either of those two problems. Ndukwe should get moved to OLB, find a new field safety (Bruton?). Either way Richardson and Wooden are starting August-January.

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Guest Shamrock83

Then again.. how many times did we see a corner bite on a hesitation from a WR and make a move for the ball that wasn't even thrown yet.. all at the same time the man he is supposed to be locked on to is streaking down field.. sure the safety should be there.. but one on one coverage on a streak play is never a good thing

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Guest bluester2000

Honestly, my order of blame regarding the passing numbers of last season:

 

1) Minter's vanilla scheme with less than fabulous talent.

2) D-line's inability to get pressure.

3) Safeties peaking in the backfield.

4) Cornerbacks lack of talent.

 

During Minter's first run, you can run a vanilla scheme because he just had much more talent than the other guy. When you're not as talented as the guys across the field you need to take more risks (blitz? stunt? zone blitz? zone instead of man?)

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Guest bfabes05

If you watch the Fiesta Bowl again, its a combination of things that all together equals bad defense...Lackluster pass rush, lack of effort besides Zibby, and THE CORNERS. Ive watched this game at least 3 times, and i lost count of how many times that Richardson and Wooden looked straight up awful...I dont know if these guys will be starting next year, I think the two freshmen studs can get in there, but i know this much...if the corners play like they did against Ohio State, then i dont want them in there.

 

Now I do agree that the pass rush was not sufficient enough, but at times they do their job and the corners do not, thats why we got these two studs, so they can actually cover for more than 2 seconds, now as far as the safeties go, Ndukwe, yes played bad. but Zbikowski i have no complaints, he may need to work on his coverage a bit, but last i checked this guy lead the team in interceptions and also was one of the leading tacklers on the team. He also was third team all american on some ballots, and one of the only guys actually looking like he was trying to win when we played Ohio State. I agree that Ndukewe at linebacker would be a great fit, and the Irish should make that move.

 

But as far as the corners go, whoever is starting next year better be better than the play that was out there this year, because this year it was no where near where we need to be, yeah they improved, but not nearly enough to be at a high level that we want to be. So whether its Richardson or Walls, or Wooden or McNeil, they better bring it, otherwise were looking at another 9-3 season and a wasted chance at a national title.

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Guest SirJohn

Sir John Yesterdaysnews42@aol.com

 

I really don't know what is meant by a wasted chance at a NC title. This was our first year.

 

I dropped a Defense of Notre Dames Defense over in General just a bit ago.

 

Corners? Blitzing? Pass rushers let's look at what Coach Weis said in his last Presser Feb 1st

 

Here's some sound bites of Weis from his signing day Presser on Feb 1st.

 

Wade, Ryan: One of the things we wanted to do we wanted to bring in some pass rushers.

 

Paddy: Getting into the mix.

 

Mo Richardson: (Needed) Line backers and guys who could go after the QB, pass rushing.

 

Toryan: Getting into the mix.

 

AND: Get us some corner covers.

 

I think the situation has been addressed. Whether it's enough 2006???

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Guest bfabes05

The meaning of me saying that is this: that if next year we lose games because of the corner position, that the very talented team that we have especially offensively, is wasted. Now im not coming out and saying that hey no one can stop us and were going to win it easy. I am saying we have the talent of a team that can not only contend but win a national title. Now the schedule is rough, but what i was saying is that if the corner spot screws us, than its a waste of all the talent (Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight, Tom Zbikowski etc..) that is leaving after next year.

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Guest SirJohn

Sir John Yesterdaysnews42@aol.com

 

Not knocking you bfabes :D I think the defense had to go and choke on the pablum 2005 A bit much better 2006. Hopefully one heck of a wrecking Defense by 2007?

 

I agree guys just got out manouvered. I could put anyone in the right spot but if they bite too soon too late? I can't teach an instinct. INSTINCT. WHEN to make a move.

 

An anology is I had a German shepherd once. She was intelligent, big and well trained. Sit, heel stand, stay. You name it.

 

I would get smallish inflated beach balls at 89 cents and we did football me centering ball and chasing the dog, Or soccer style where i would dance up to the ball fake this and that kick watch the dog crouched ready to pounce.

 

She'd be 4 feet off ready and alert give only a slight move at my fake kick but almost never miss the real one. :lol: Instinct. Her favorite game then would puncture the ball within ten minutes and i blew another 89 cents as she wagged her tail.

 

I didn't digress, because buried in that little side story is "I can teach you some things, I can lift you only so far to be impressive. The rest is up to you whether or not you have it." :)

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Guest bluester2000

SJ, what do those quotes have to do with blitzing other than "Mo Richardson getting after the QB"?

 

BFabes, sorry I disagree with you about Zibby. Kid is a hell of an athlete, tons of talent, tons of guts, but in my mind he could be a first round draft pick if he wasn't so darn concerned about stopping the run. The kid wants to make the big hit and be the star, unfortunately, when he's peaking into the backfield on play action looking to lay out the running back, Ginn Jr. is streaking down the sideline.

 

Think about it this way, there's plenty of blame to go around on the defensive side of the ball and it's not our job to figure out where it belongs. The buck stops with Charlie, so if the defense isn't vastly improved next year it's no one's fault but his, and he'll own up to it because that's the kind of guy he is.

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Guest SirJohn

Sir john Yesterdaysnews42@aol.com

 

You got me on a technacality bluester :) I think the quotes were telling us he knows the problem areas. If rushing the passer is not blitzing then I sure missed something somewhere in what you said there. :shock:

 

No war with you, your too good :lol:

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blue, try this on. You're wrong. Zibby's problem is NOT trying to stop the run. first, he is out of position. the big problem with Zibby's play is simply on the pass, not on the run. He bites too quick on the fakes. no problem with him and the run.

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Guest SirJohn

Sir john yesterdaysnews42@aol.com

 

:roll: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I got me inadvertently in the midst of another gun battle :cry: :cry:

 

:shock: :lol:

 

But standing by my opinion. :wink: I'll go with the Colt 1873 model revolver. (Peacemaker) I can open er up file the roller on trigger to where you breath on it the dang thing will go off and fire. Heat up the hammer so here's no curl or delay of thumb cocking it , or go fan it, take off the front site or cut the barrel, wax a holster and do all that. That's a COACH.

 

Now if I don't have the ammunition or speed. Leave the revolver in a drawer and go home. >>>>>>>>Player. All that then is just a show and no go.

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