Sep 24, 2013, 8:50 AM EDT
Former Notre Dame football linebacker Kory Minor (@KMine4) will be recapping the defensive play of each game in “Getting Defensive With Kory Minor.” Minor, a four-year member of the football squad, went on to the NFL for a few years and is currently traveling the country speaking at colleges, universities and corporations on leadership and the concept of winning. Minor’s first book, “Make a Touchdown of Your Life” was just released a week ago. You can order the book and keep up with Minor’s speaking at KoryMinor.com.
I think it is safe to say that getting a win in college football comes at a premium and Notre Dame did just that this past weekend. While many spectators would say the contest was not as exciting or as enjoyable as perhaps some other Irish games, the mission was still accomplished.
Yes, the defense did show signs of improvement, but it remains frustrating to me that our defense cannot get off the field on the opening drive of each and every game. We keep allowing teams to move the ball on us at will and take an early lead. Even though Michigan State did not score because of a missed field goal, they were still in scoring position and that just won’t do! Coach Kelly has been preaching and harping about the concept of starting fast and our team has yet to respond to his challenge.
One of the problems that is noticeable to fans is the lack of performance on third down. I was very pleased to see a huge improvement in that category against the Spartans. However, the Irish still need to put the work in to be even better on third down, but I felt as though this week was a step in the right direction.
It was also apparent that during the week of practice the Notre Dame defensive coaches worked with their defensive backfield to ensure better productivity at covering receivers throughout the entire down. It was very pleasing to see our defensive backs more aggressive and challenging Michigan State receivers. There were still a few fundamental breakdowns such as missed tackles and blown assignments that will need to be corrected. With that being said, as long as there is tremendous effort, success can still be in our favor when there are fundamental mishaps.
Another positive from the weekend was seeing (Louis) Nix and (Stephon) Tuitt be more active and cause more disruption in the Michigan State backfield. Nix really has been a mainstay from the beginning of the season and, in this game, it seemed as though Tuitt started to get more comfortable. To be an exceptional defense we still need to be more consistent in creating big plays whether it’s a sack or sack fumble, an interception or fumble, as a unit Notre Dame must be more conscious on getting defensive takeaways. Takeaways are huge momentum shifts and true game changers.
If you really want to know what football is, I will enlighten you: it is a game of field position and match ups. That is really it. If our team can win the battle of field position and exploit our matchups then we’ll be in prime position to win. I would like to send huge kudos to Kyle Brindza, the ND punter, who late in the game gave ND great field position with his extraordinary punting.
All in all, another victory for the Irish as we now turn our attention to Oklahoma. If we continue to do the little things correctly, then we will always find a way to win. Football is a tough sport but the team who is the sharpest in the fourth quarter, will usually be victorious….
Until Next Time……
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