Click here for Part I and the game's defensive recap.
Third And In-ProgressA year after being unable to feature a dime package due to a dearth of trustworthy defensive backs, Kelly and Diaco have embraced the six-DB look in most third-down passing situations.
Dime package personnel includes:
- 3 or 4 defensive lineman, with Ishaq Williams as either a DE or a second "inside" linebacker placed in coverage. Prince Shembo (DE), Stephon Tuitt (DE), and either Sheldon Day (NG) or Louis Nix (NG) are the primary linemen.
- Either 1 or 2 inside 'backers, with Jarrett Grace the constant, and Williams often aligning next to him.
- 3 safeties, including Austin Collinsworth aligned as another roving linebacker in the box.
- 3 cornerbacks, with freshman Cole Luke covering the slot receiver and joining the perimeter starters Keivarae Russell and Bennett Jackson
The Irish dime package forced four punts in 10 opportunities. They won a fifth holding Purdue to a field goal attempt on a 33-yard march and stiffened to force a 47-yard field goal (made), though were beaten by two third-down situations on that same drive.
Overall, the Dime "Won" six times and lost four. Considering the offense's disadvantage in third and 6 or more, the Irish are likely looking for at least eight wins in 10 opportunities.
Of note: Notre Dame employed a base 4-3 look on Purdue's final touchdown, a 4th and 7 pass for a nine-yard score. The Irish defense was in a base 4-3 when Purdue scored its first touchdown as well, a screen pass on 3rd and 12 to Akeem Hunt.
Purdue's other touchdown, a quick look to the slot that turned into a catch-and run through the Irish secondary, came against a base 3-4 defense.
Jackson's 34-yard interception touchdown occurred on 3rd and 3 with the Irish in a 4-3 front.
Around the GridironInteresting to see "Stud" defensive end (it's the position name, not my observation) Stephon Tuitt aligned to the boundary at times Saturday night. Tuitt usually plays to the field but I noted both Sheldon Day and Ishaq Williams as Stud (field side) DE at times vs. the Boilers. My guess? Tuitt's not moving as swiftly as last season and some time covering boundary roll-outs is considered prudent rather than putting him in open space.
Of course, it might have been strategic -- the left side of Purdue's offensive line is stronger than its right, and in each instance, Tuitt matched up as such.
- I'm not sure how much Collinsworth brings to the table over other safeties in coverage, but he's been fantastic as a blitzer off the edge over the first three games. Unfortunately for the Irish secondary, it appears both Collinsworth and Elijah Shumate are better closer to scrimmage than on the back end….
- Speaking of safety play: time to step it up, Matthias Farley. He had a hand in three of Notre Dame's five worst defensive plays at Michigan and in two of Purdue's three touchdowns.
- Backup defensive lineman Kona Schwenke played better vs. Purdue than he did vs. Michigan, and much better in both than he fared vs. Temple. Scwhenke brought late pressure that should have resulted in a turnover on downs near the Irish goal line but miscommunication between Dan Fox and KeiVarae Russell resulted in a touchdown instead.
- Both Sheldon Day and Ishaq Williams were blatantly held (arm and jersey grabs) in front of the line judge on the right side of Purdue's offensive line. Neither drew a flag…
- Though I thought he played poorly vs. the Wolverines, Shembo was the defensive player of the game vs. Temple and was better on film than live Saturday at Purdue. Look for more production from the senior OLB/DE over the next three weeks.
- Of Note: Notre Dame faced 62 snaps Saturday night. The 64 recorded below include two Purdue plays called back due to penalty.
Defensive Sets vs. the Boilers:
- Base 3-4: 30 snaps
- Base 4-3: 24 snaps
- 3-Down Dime: 8 snaps
- 4-Down Dime: 2 snaps