Eye in the Sky: QB, TE, WR

Our full-film review of the Notre Dame passing attack in Saturday's win over the Broncos.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Not many people in the great State of Michigan can guard Michael Floyd. His three-game totals: 20 receptions, 320 yards, 5 TD vs. UM, MSU and WMU (toss in a fumble lost vs. the Spartans to be accurate).

Michael Floyd: Showed his athleticism and more important, receiver instincts, securing a slightly underthrown deep post from Dayne Crist with a body catch, then spinning from contact and sprinting the final 49 yards of a first-play, 80-yard touchdown reception to give the Irish a 7-0 lead…Nice adjustment to a low throw by Goodman on the reverse-pass trick play touchdown to give the Irish a 14-7 edge to begin the second quarter. Impressive balance by Floyd as your standard receiver would go to his knees to make such a catch…Completely sealed his defender inside to clear a path for Crist's 9-yard touchdown run (20-7 ND).

2nd Half: Held his block on the sideline to allow Wood five yards over the right side…Deterred the pursuit lane of safety Mario Armstrong on the following play to give Wood the corner: the sophomore ‘back did the rest on a 39-yard TD run…Just as impressive as his touchdowns and downfield blocking: Floyd fought for every yard he gained after short receptions with his back to the defense…Key crack-back block on an 18-yard screen to Cierre Wood in the left flat…Ran through defenders after a hook route on the following play, gaining 13 yards on his seventh catch of the day…Interfered with (no call) on a square-in, would-be touchdown pass from Crist on the following play…Fought and scrapped but was stopped just short of the goal line on another hook two plays later…Scored the easiest touchdown of his life: hooking uncovered at the goal line as the defense flowed with Mike Ragone's out route underneath him. Floyd took the rest of the afternoon off to rest his balky hamstring.

Theo Riddick: Non-block (just overwhelmed) resulted in a 3-yard loss on an early bubble screen to Floyd…Took a short cross from Crist and broke two tackles for a 12-yard gain and first down inside the Broncos 10-yard line.

Never considered blocking anyone on a pretty 14-yard run by Wood in the third quarter.

A rough day for Riddick considering he also left the contest in the second half with an ankle injury. Its important to remember this is likely his first effort as a down field blocker as well (not many tailbacks are asked to block in high school or as college freshman).

Robby Toma: Caught his first pass of the season, an 11-yard out but looked out of place trying to block defenders in space on two separate occasions. Neither Riddick nor Toma executed a block on the afternoon from the slot position.

X Receivers: Tai-ler Jones and John Goodman: Jones executed a block for Floyd on a bubble screen by Riddick missed badly, resulting in a 3-yard loss. Jones was called for a hold on the play but it was off-screen (looked good early)… Goodman missed a wide open Tyler Eifert downfield on his trick play touchdown pass to Floyd, though I'd likely choose the latter as well…Nice downfield screen block on Tyler Eifert's 39-yard catch-and-run TD to end the half.

2nd Half: Wrongly identified for offensive pass interference on an 18-yard gain (it was on Goodman downfield, same side: I happened to watch it live though its not on the TV tape)…Jones caught a tunnel screen on 3rd and 11 but needed one more downfield block, instead gaining 7 yards to force an Irish punt. Jones caught the ball in heavy traffic (all his linemen) which disrupted the set rhythm of the play.

Tyler Eifert: Sealed his man on a middle screen to Wood but Riddick whiffed badly on a cut-block attempt in space…Made a catch on a looping post inside the Broncos zone but carried the ball high and loose, fumbling on a poke out attempt by the defense (bailed out by a recovery by teammate Braxston Cave)…Open on a deep corner but his high school teammate John Goodman hit a solo covered Michael Floyd for the ND's second touchdown. Goodman likely owes Eifert dinner for that decision…

Clean release on a bootleg to the left flat for an easy first down catch (13 yards)…Finished his seal block off the right side to allow Crist an untouched 9-yard touchdown run…Skated free for an easy 39-yard TD on 4th and 5 on ND's final first half possession; Eifert was open from the snap but wisely turned and slid right (with his scrambling QB) to ensure an easy passing lane.

2nd Half: Executed two blocks on Cierre Wood's 39-yard TD run. Eifert should have a strong second half of the season, especially with Ragone on hand to absorb snaps (and wear and tear).

Mike Ragone: Strong block as the move tight end but the rest of the Irish front failed Cierre Wood on a stretch to the left…Great seal block for Allen on a stretch to the left side but the rest of the Irish front failed to execute, limiting the gain to 3 yards…Open for an easy touchdown down the left seam but Crist bounced short of a double-covered Riddick.

2nd Half: Sealed the backside pursuit Wood's 14-yard run early in the third quarter, then completely controlled his assigned defender on a 9-yard run (called back due to a Braxston Cave penalty) on the following play…Quality block inside the 5-yard line on a sweep to Wood but the rest of the Irish were outnumbered on the play…

Ragone fared well as a run-blocker in his first extended action of the 2010 season. Probably not his fault on the deflected interception, but poor plays in the passing game seem to follow Ragone. The senior caught a 12-yard out from Nate Montana to get on the board, late.

Dayne Crist

Off target with his first easy throw of the day with a pass off Armando Allen's back shoulder in the flat…Found Floyd on his first designed roll for a 13-yard out route and Irish first down…Erred spinning back to the left after a designed roll right (there will generally be an unblocked backside defender bearing down on a rolling QB) and suffered the first of three first-half sacks to end Notre Dame's second possession with the ensuing punt. Crist was fortunate not to fumble on the spin back inside…Threw low (where it had to be) into traffic but Riddick could not make the catch. Tough throw to make for the QB…Bounced a pass to a covered up Riddick on the following series; Mike Ragone was open for a deep touchdown on the left side…Rushed the throw and hit Allen low (under the knee) under heavy pressure on a designed screen to force another punt…

Had a pass tipped at the line off a three-step drop; again looking for Riddick down the seam…Delivered in stride on a short roll left to Eifert for 13 yards and an easy first down…Threw high and behind Floyd, destroying any semblance of timing on a tunnel screen to Floyd that appeared to be well set up (limited to 3 yards)…Took his time on the next play and hit Riddick in stride on a crossing route for a catch-and-run of 12 yards…Executed his best read-option fake of the season, pulling the ball from Wood's belly at the last moment to score an easy 9-yard touchdown run to the right pylon…Following an 8yard sack, threw intentionally deep to a well-covered T.J. Jones down the left seam; Crist had Floyd open on a short cross…Crist had no chance on a blitz vs. the Broncos. There was nowhere to go with the ball on 3rd and 17…

Missed a wide open Eifert short on a short cross; Crist was under slight pressure and just rushed the throw…airmailed his next offering while scrambling to his left; Crist had Floyd wide open on the sideline and had time to set and deliver (or fire a standard pass)…Converted a key 4th and 5 into the fourth TD of the first half, hitting a wide open Eifert down the right seam for an easy score. Nice pocket awareness by Crist, who scrambled up, then away from pressure, to extend the play and convert at the WMU 36-yard line.

2nd Half: Hooked up with Floyd three times for 9, 13 and 9 yards before finding Floyd for a 2-yard touchdown on his only touchdown drive of the third period…Also found Cierre Wood for a well-blocked 18-yard screen…Threw behind and hot to Ragone and the resulting deflection was picked off to kill Notre Dame's first 4th Quarter drive.

Nate Montana: Replaced Crist with 13:18 remaining in the game and completed his only pass, a 12-yard out to Mike Ragone. Montana ran the read-option, keeping five times with a long gain of just two yards as the Broncos teed off on the backup QB in a limited offensive set.


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