Will ND Run More?
I don't think it's a stretch (get the pun?) to think that Notre Dame will run the ball more and more effectively in '07. Much of our ineffectiveness in the running game stemmed from Weis's reliance on Brady Quinn and a lack of faith in our ability to beat teams at the line of scrimmage, but I also believe that if we'd committed to the run we would have been more effective. In games we were successful running the ball, Quinn had a far easier time making the passing game work. ND05 has a quick, but insightful analysis of Notre Dame's running attack:
Today's running game is about maximizing the amount of time coaches have with their players. If you run a sophisticated, NFL-caliber offense, like Notre Dame, there is a heavy emphasis on pass protection, and that takes a lot of time to teach. In addition to the technique work, Notre Dame has a dizzying amount of protections to learn - all with various adjustments vs. different fronts and pressures.Wait, ACross stuck in a late 80s early 90s mindset... who'd a thunk it?
Notre Dame's running plays are no less creative than Minnesota's - yet the Gophers (though down this year due to Russell's expulsion) ran all over opponents during Mitch Browning's tenure there. If you want the truth, Notre Dame actually has MORE running plays than the typical college team (certainly more than the Gophers). They (1) aren't committed to running the ball and (2) just don't teach it as well as some other places.
(There was a great film comparison on this very point at the 2006 Nike COY Clinic in St. Louis, showing ND running inside zone vs. Michigan's odd front, and then Minnesota doing the same...)
Notre Dame runs:
Ride Series - your basic inside zone
Wham - Called Ride 32/33 - That's the play you see when the TE comes in short motion and traps an unsuspecting interior defensive lineman.
Jab - Misdirection off of inside zone - usually a 2 back play.
Jab Sub - the one back gap play vs. 6 in box. BS G for PS LB.
H-42/43 Ace - Their "softball" draw game - which has been great for the Irish.
38/39 (Toss) - Perimeter stretch play.
Ted/Boss Series - Their outside zone game.
(Note: this outside zone game is not of the Alex Gibbs variety in that we use moving parts and pull the C and PST. Gibbs, again, says that is too hard to teach and rep.)
To speak specifically to ACross's point about bringing MORE people to the backfield - that is playing into the defense's hands today. That is not what you want to do. Look at the top rushing teams in the country...they're not doing it with two backs. That allows teams to bring down that 8th hat into the box, and teams have FAR better run "fits" than they've ever had before. The two-back gap play has been relegated to short yardage.
Lastly, those of you expecting our running game to look any different next year are living in a dream world. It's the same stuff - exactly - that he ran with the Patriots. Exactly the same.