Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

Beyond the Numbers: Irish Defenders

After a week spent illustrating the harsh bottom line surrounding Notre Dame’s inconsistent defense, we examine the season’s high points – the playmaking defenders at scrimmage, getting after the quarterback, and winning on third down.

WINNING UP FRONT

The numbers below illustrate STUFFS recorded by each Irish player this season. Stuffs, for the purpose of this column, include all sacks, tackles-for-loss, and tackles limiting gains to zero, one, or two yards (none of which result in first downs).

After trailing defensive linemen Isaac Rochell and Sheldon Day in the category all season, All-America linebacker Jaylon Smith exploded over the final three contests to secure the team lead for Stuffs through 12 contests.  Look for Smith to maintain that through the forthcoming bowl game.

Notable below:

-- Romeo Okwara finishing the second half of his senior season with 17 stuffs, nearly three-fourths of his season total. Okwara’s 17 over the final six contests was just one less than Jaylon Smith’s 18 over that same span.

-- Nearly one-fourth of Greer Martini’s *15 stuffs occurred vs. UMass including two in garbage time. More impressive was the sophomore’s five combined Stuffs in starting assignments vs. option foes Georgia Tech and Navy.

-- Joe Schmidt likewise produced his best effort against a triple-option attack, registering 4.5 Stuffs vs. Georgia Tech. He added two more vs. Navy.

-- Sheldon Day’s five Stuffs at Temple stood as a team-high prior to Smith’s tour de force effort at Stanford (5.5 Stuffs, and he was part of an incredible seven (sharing three with teammates)

-- Day and Isaac Rochell are the only players to record a Stuff in each contest. Rochelle’s season-best effort of 4.5 came against rival USC.

-- Four of Daniel Cage’s seven Stuffs came in back-to-back wins vs. ranked foes USC and Temple.

-- Elijah Shumate was at his best first early, then late, recording five Stuffs in wins over Texas and Virginia to begin the season, then recording four over the final three contests. As well, 3.5 of fellow safety Max Redfield’s five stuffs occurred over the final four contests.

-- Drue Tranquill had an impressive 3.5 Stuffs in 2.5 games.

-- Notre Dame’s season-high Stuffs total came at Temple (22) while its low # was registered at Pittsburgh (11). The Irish defense recorded an impressive 15.5 and 16.5 Stuffs in losses at Clemson and Stanford, respectively. The team finished with 205.5 for an average of 17.1 per contest.

-- Chronologically: Texas, UVA, GT, UMass, Clemson, Navy, USC, Temple, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, BC, Stanford…

  • 30.5 – Jaylon Smith: 3, 2.5, 3, 0, 3, 1, 1.5, 2.5, 1, 3, 4.5, 5.5
  • 28 – Isaac Rochell: 0.5, 3.5, 2, 2, 1.5, 2.5, 4.5, 3, 1.5, 2, 3.5, 1.5
  • 24 – Sheldon Day: 1, 1, 1.5, 1, 2, 3.5, 1.5, 5, 1.5, 3, 2, 1
  • 24 – Romeo Okwara: 2, 0.5, 1.5, 0, 2, 1, 3, 4, 2.5, 4, 1, 2.5
  • *15 – Greer Martini: 0, 0, 3, *4, 0, 2.5, 0, 0, 0, 3, 0.5, 2
  • 14.5 – Joe Schmidt: 1, 1, 4.5, 0, 0.5, 2, 1, 0, 0.5, 1.5, 1.5, 1
  • 13 – Elijah Shumate: 2.5, 2.5, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 2.5, 1, 0.5
  • 11.5 – James Onwualu: 0, 0, 0.5 (FF), 4.5, 1, 0, 1.5, 1, 2, 1, DNPs
  • 7.5 – Daniel Cage: 1, 1, 0, 1, 0.5, 0, 2, 2, 0, DNP, DNP, 0
  • 5.5 – Cole Luke: 0, 0,5, 0, 1, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1
  • 5 – Max Redfield: 0.5, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0.5, 1, 0, 1, 1
  • 4.5 – KeiVarae Russell: 0, 1 (FF), 0, 1.5, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, DNP
  • 4 – Jerry Tillery: 1, 0, 1, 0, 2, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
  • 4 – Team: 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, 0
  • 3.5 – Drue Tranquill: 0.5, 0.5, 2.5 -- OUT FOR SEASON
  • 3 – Andrew Trumbetti: 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0
  • 1.5 – Matthias Farley: 0, 0, 0.5 (FF), 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0
  • 2 – Jarrett Grace: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0.5, 0.5
  • 1 – Te'Von Coney: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
  • 1 – Jonathan Bonner: 0, 0, 0, 1, DNP, DNP, 0, DNP, 0, 0, 0, 0
  • 1 – Nyles Morgan: 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
  • 1 – Randolph: 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
  • 1 – Matuska: 3 DNP, 1 stuff vs. UMass, 8 DNP
  • 0.5 – Watkins: 0.5, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, DNP, 0

GETTING OFF THE FIELD – 3rd DOWN WINS

The totals below include any play – a QB pressure, a tackle short of the sticks, a pass defended, a turnover created, etc. – that resulted in a third (or fourth) down win by the Irish defense.

  • Jaylon Smith 20.5
  • Sheldon Day 14
  • Joe Schmidt 12.5
  • Team D/Dropped Pass/Bad Throw/Bad Snaps 10 
  • KeiVarae Russell 9
  • James Onwualu 8.5
  • Isaac Rochell 7.5
  • Drue Tranquill 5
  • Romeo Okwara 6.5
  • Elijah Shumate 5.5
  • Max Redfield 5
  • Cole Luke 4.5
  • Matthias Farley 3
  • Greer Martini 3
  • Jarrett Grace 2.5
  • Andrew Trumbetti 2.5
  • Jerry Tillery 1
  • Greer Martini 1
  • Jonathan Bonner 1
  • Daniel Cage 0.5

Notable above:

-- Smith set the season standard with 4.5 third-down wins against Texas. He led the Irish in the category against Virginia, USC, and Wake Forest as well while tying with Joe Schmidt for the team lead at Pittsburgh.

-- Sheldon Day led the Irish with 3 third-down wins against both UMass and Temple. He added three more against the Longhorns.

-- Drue Tranquill paced Notre Dame’s defense with 3 third-down wins against Georgia Tech, that despite missing the entire second half due to injury.

-- James Onwualu posted a combined 5 third-down wins in marquee October matchups vs. Clemson, Navy, and USC.

-- After recording 13 third-down wins against Boston College (a season-high) and previously 12.5 vs. Wake Forest, 12 apiece vs. both Texas and Georgia Tech, and 11 vs. USC, the Irish defense managed just four in defeat at Stanford.

BRINGING THE HEAT…SO TO SPEAK

Notre Dame was technically credited with 51 QB hurries (compared to just 16 from their 12 foes).

I noted a much more impressive total of 74 QB “pressures” in my film reviews as indicated below:

  • Sheldon Day: 19
  • Joe Schmidt: 12.5 (You could argue 11.5, as one resulted in a touchdown pass)
  • Jaylon Smith: 10
  • Isaac Rochell: 8
  • Romeo Okwara: 8
  • James Onwualu: 3
  • Andrew Trumbetti: 3
  • Max Redfield: 3 (one resulted in a touchdown pass, but Redfield made contact with the QB on the throw)
  • Drue Tranquill: 2
  • Greer Martini: 1.5
  • Cole Luke: 1
  • Jonathan Bonner: 1
  • Elijah Shumate: 1
  • Jerry Tillery: 0.5/1

http://www.scout.com/college/notre-dame/story/1619521-beyond-the-numbers...



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