The Eye in the Sky

A film review of Saturday's 1st Quarter effort by the Irish offense.

Key Personnel: LT Zack Martin; LG Chris Stewart; C Braxston Cave; RG Trevor Robinson; RT Taylor Dever; TE Kyle Rudolph; TE Tyler Eifert; TB Armando Allen; WRs Michael Floyd and Theo Riddick are later joined by Tai-ler Jones during the first series; QB Dayne Crist.

1st Quarter Running Game Notes

A full whiff in space by Kyle Rudolph allows unblocked Thomas Keiser to make a stop on Armando Allen after a minimal gain…A pulling Zack Martin stops in his tracks and executes a backside block on an Allen run over right guard; poor decision by Martin as Allen is met in the hole by what appeared to be the redshirt-freshman's true assignment, Delano Howell. There was a sizeable gain available had Martin continued to and secured Howell…

Allen picks up 3 hard-earned yards up the gut thanks to a powerful block at the point by Trevor Robinson and a fine seal outside by 2nd tight end (lined up outside RT) Tyler Eifert. It appeared a down block by Taylor Dever was the wrong assignment, but Allen fought through the unblocked tackler (Owen Marecic) for the first down. Braxston Cave was overwhelmed on the play but Allen was unaffected…

Chris Stewart whiffs in space and took too long getting through the whole but Allen, after banging into the lead blocker, spins to gain 4 yards on what could have been a loss; nice effort by both Dever and Robinson on the right side as well as Eifert lined up tight while Rudolph also sealed his man in space from a lead-blocker position…

In the first (unfortunately named) Leprechaun formation, Allen receives a direct snap on 2nd and 4 at the Cardinal 15-yard line. A fake handoff to Riddick (aligned to his left) and determined run over left guard gains four and an Irish first down. Allen escaped an ankle tackle in the backfield to move the chains. Zack Martin sealed his man outside but a pulling Dever missed in space. Good job by the rest of the Irish line, holding blocks at the point on the slow developing (due to Dever's miss) carry. Of note Great effort by Floyd outside who held his block, however inconsequential…

Another Leprechaun formation follows, this time with Riddick cutting underneath Allen for a shuffle pass over the right side. A pulling Stewart secured his assignment in space and the right side of the Irish line seals their assigned defenders but T.J. Jones is shed in his block attempt vs. safety Delano Howell who limits Riddick to three yards on the play…Allen gains two on a Leprechaun run over the right side. He may have scored had LT Zack Martin not completely whiffed on his block on the move. Floyd held his block yet again at the goal line to Allen's right.

Trailing 10-3 with under two minutes remaining in the 1st Quarter, Allen gains 5 on a delayed handoff up the gut for another Irish first down. Adequate block by Cave and a solid hit by Robinson to open a whole, though Stewart was pushed back, then lost his block as NT Sione Fua dives on Allen to make the stop. Rudolph also whiffed in space vs. Marecic, who's proven to be a tough assignment in the early going…

No room for Allen over the left side as an unblocked Thomas Keiser (LILB) shoots the gap, stretching Allen outside where Rudolph loses his block on LOLB Chase Thomas, who makes the stop after a two-yard gain. Tremendous kick out block by Zack Martin goes to waste as the first quarter comes to a close. Stanford 10 ND 3

1st Quarter Passing Game Notes

Allen picks up an outside blitz allowing Dayne Crist a secure pocket for a 10-yard out to Theo Riddick from the left slot. Riddick adds five after the catch; nice protection by LT Zack Martin as well and a Trevor Robinson pickup of a delayed blitz aided Crist's open passing window…Crist hits Riddick on an 8-yard out to the sideline; the Irish employed a moving pocket with Crist rolling right; Chris Stewart missed a backside block but the pursuit didn't bother Crist on the move…

Allen failed to recognize a delayed blitz around right tackle by Chase Thomas who buries Crist on a deep sideline route to Michael Floyd (incomplete). The Irish front five did not react well to a zone blitz by the Cardinal, engaging two interior linemen who faked a bull rush then dropped into short coverage; nice job by Rudolph vs. Shayne Skov in pass protection to Crist's left…Crist takes a shot after an offsides pass rush from Thomas Keiser (of course, the hit still adds up)…

Riddick drops an out-route from the slot that hits him in the middle of the "6". The catch would have resulted in a 1st Down; Zack Martin was pushed into Crist by OLB Chase Thomas on an outside blitz…Crist hits Floyd on a 3rd and 5 slant for a first down; Floyd adds yards after the catch with a cutback to the sideline, then takes a shot to the head (uncalled) as he's wrestled to the ground…

Shayne Skov appeared to be slightly offsides on a timed blitz, sacking Crist who had no chance to avoid the untouched defender – and who logically assumed a flag was imminent. I must admit, Skov's timing looked much closer when paused on TV than live from the press box. The sack turned 2nd and 6 into 3rd and 13. A closer call than I thought, but generally the hint of impropriety draws laundry on such plays…A terrible throw by Crist on a scramble to the right should have been intercepted on the following down. T.J. Jones had broken open late downfield but the Irish were forced to punt…

Following a muffed Stanford punt, Crist hits Riddick on a tunnel screen for six yards through a maze of Cardinal traffic. Robinson executed his block in space perfectly to give Riddick room but both Stewart and a opposite slotted Allen whiffed in space. Stewart actually failed to block anyone, deciding between two defenders, both of whom contributed on the stop…

A 3rd and 5 out to Kyle Rudolph is stopped for one yard at the Cardinal 4-yard line. The tackle in space forces an Irish field goal. Shades of Jim Colletto's "Blarney Offense" during the Ron Powlus days as Rudolph appeared to be the No. 1 option on a 1-yard out-cut from the 5-yard line.

Trailing 7-3 with 3:37 remaining in the quarter, Crist is hammered on a zone blitz over right guard by Shayne Skov. The resulting fumble is recovered by Stanford at the Irish 15-yard line. Horrendous blitz pickup by Cierre Wood who began the 1-play drive in place of Armando Allen. Ridiculous non-effort by Wood…Skov added a few words and a shot to Crist's neck as he got up to celebrate.

Floyd makes a tremendous stab on the sideline on the quarter's penultimate play; that's the Michael Floyd we knew early last season.

Miscellaneous

Chris Stewart and Kyle Rudolph had a tough first quarter attempting to block the cagey Cardinal defenders in space…If Cierre Wood gives similar effort in pass protection at Boston College the Eagles talented linebackers will put Crist out early…Jones should have had his third touchdown in as many home games but Crist through woefully short (and possibly to a different target; that's how far off the throw appeared)…

Nice to see John Goodman get involved, catching his first pass of the season on a quick out and roll left from Crist…Floyd came to play Saturday: his wrong shoulder catch of a Crist sideline pass was NFL material and not the only impressive grab in the early going…Rudolph has run short of the marker twice on 3rd down in two games (including overtime at MSU) and been stopped short on both occasions.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories