Eye in the Sky: Defensive Line

IrishEyes' full film review of Notre Dame's defensive line effort vs. the Midshipmen.

The Irish defensive front won very few one-on-one battles Saturday vs. a better football team.

Nose Guard Ian Willliams

Combined with Carlo Calabrese and Kapron Lewis-Moore to stuff FB Alexander Teich on his first carry inside (2nd and 3)…Controlled by a double team on the following play and Teich rumbled for 54 yards (Williams not the main culprit here)…Fought off a low center block to stop Teich after a gain of three yards to force what should have been an advantageous 3rd and 5 (screen pass TD one snap later)…Suffered a one-on-one stalemate up front as Teich pounded for two yards on 2nd and Goal at the Irish 6-yard line…Moved by the left guard on a Dobbs keeper up the gut for six yards down to the Irish 13-yard line…Controlled one-on-one as Teich powered for three yards up the gut and a Navy first down at the Irish 9-yard line with 13 seconds remaining.

2nd Half: Fought off a block and stopped Teich after a 4-yard burst over the left side. Public Service Message to future Defensive Coordinators: 4 yards is the bare minimum for the Midshipmen fullback if you don't cover the offensive guards…Completely controlled, moved and shoved to the ground by center Brady DeMell on another 1st Down, 4-yard gain by Teich…Stymied one-one one by DeMell on a 25-yard gain up the gut by Teich (Note that "stymied" should not lead to 25 yards, however). Williams had no help from his inside ‘backers over the 35-minute Navy offensive bloodletting…On the next play, Williams was caught under a mass of bodies and appeared to injure his knee. As of this posting, Williams is reportedly out for the season due to MCL surgery but we will update after today's noon press conference.

Observation: Controlled in most one-on-one situations for the first time this season. Williams's knee injury appears to be season-ending as we head into Game Nine.

Defensive End Ethan Johnson

Fought off two low blocks to chase slot-back Gee Gee Greene all the way to the sideline on a 10-yard gain…Made the best play of the first half by an Irish defensive lineman, playing off his block, (briefly) checking the fullback, then drilling and dropping Dobbs who kept the football for a two-yard loss on 3rd and 4 with 3:30 remaining.

2nd Half: Too high and was caught up in traffic as a result on a 12-yard gain over his gap to begin the 2nd half…Over-pursued a bit on Dobbs' crippling 9-yard cutback TD (28-10) but give me a break: no Irish front seven player is making that stop on Dobbs in space vs. this option offense…Slid down the line to help stop Dobbs for a yard as the 3rd Quarter neared conclusion.

Defensive End Kapron Lewis Moore

Hustled across the line and downfield to tackle Ricky Dobbs after an 11-yard gain over the vacated right side. Good effort by the backside DE…Turned inside and pinned on Dobbs' 4-yard touchdown run to give the Midshipmen a 14-3 advantage early in the 2nd Quarter.

2nd Half: Crashed to stop Teich after 4 yards on the half's second snap. Lewis-Moore reacted well when unblocked (not sarcasm) on Saturday. Navy took advantage of his gap on a 25-yard sprint by Teich, though that's a design flaw as KLM played his responsibility outside appropriately.

Observation: Points for effort for both KLM and Ethan Johnson. Lewis-Moore finished with 10 stops in a scheme wrought with error.

Defensive Linemen Sean Cwynar and Hafis Williams

Along with Hafis Williams, was single-blocked and controlled as Teich ran through their middle gap for 4 yards on 2nd and 6, early in the 2nd Quarter…Williams was shoved inside two snaps later as Teich gained 8 yards over right tackle down to the Irish 6-yard line…One series later, Williams recognized the QB keeper but couldn't make the play vs. Dobbs in the backfield; the slippery signal-caller burst upfield for a 13-yard gain on 1st Down.

2nd Half: Like Ian Williams before him, Cwynar lost his one-on-one battles with center Brady DeMell…Completely engulfed (along with Te'o) on Teich's 14-yard gain down to the Irish 7-yard line…Cwynar was pushed into the end zone (along with DE Ethan Johnson) on Dobbs final TD plunge of the day. 35-10 Navy…Rough final 18 minutes for Cywnar who was dominated by DeMell on yet another 16-yard gain over the left A gap.

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