In the Film Room: Patrick Muldoon

It's nice to see Notre Dame dipping into the state of Ohio under Charlie Weis. What's been even nicer is that the Irish have actually had some success in the state of Ohio. After striking out the previous year this past recruiting cycle the Irish landed two of the states' top five football players in Kyle Rudolph and Dan McCarthy.

They've dipped into the state again this year to land St. Ignatius standout Dan Fox. Hopefully the Irish will be able to continue this roll by landing Cincinnati native Pat Muldoon.

The 6-foot-4 St. Xavier standout is the latest Ohio player the Irish are making a big push for. Coach Weis actually cut his vacation a bit short to come back to meet Muldoon when he visited. Head coaches don't cut short vacations for players they don't really want. Muldoon fits the blue collar, tough, and aggressive players I like to see Notre Dame go after along the front seven. He has good height and a good frame. While I don't buy him being 250 pounds right now, I do believe he has the body to build up his body and will have big strength gains in college. I see Muldoon being a player who can play end in the 3-4 as well as stay outside in situations where Notre Dame runs a four-man front. But with his frame I also believe he could possibly get big enough to where he could also get some reps on the inside in those four-man fronts when the Irish want to be quicker and rush the quarterback. Muldoon has good natural strength, especially for a high school player. He will need to get bigger and make some gains in the weight room once he gets to college but he has a very strong punch and good overall strength.

I was a bit surprised by Muldoon's athletic ability. I was expecting him to be similar in style to current Irish end Sean Cwynar. Muldoon isn't that kind of player. While he isn't all that fast, Muldoon does have good quickness and gets off the ball quickly. His initial burst allows him to run by offensive tackles to get to the quarterback and to split potential double teams off the ball simply with speed. As he matures as a player he will need to become more consistent with his burst off the line. This is especially true in run situations. He will tend to sit back at times off the snap in an attempt to see what is happening. What I'd like to see is for him to remain aggressive at the snap while focusing on finding the football. He does a very good job of keeping his head up and his eyes in the backfield looking for the football when he's engaged with a blocker. Muldoon shows decent closing speed and is relatively fluid in the hips. He has good short range agility and has the ability to quickly change direction.

I have to give some credit to the coaching staff at St. Xavier. Like the majority of his teammates, Muldoon is fundamentally sound and plays with good technique. Often times in my reviews I mention that one thing linemen have to work on is that they don't use their hands well. I'll also mention that those players need to learn how to make their hands and feet work together. Both of those techniques are areas that are strengths at this point for Muldoon. At times he will tend to lunge a bit, but that is something that can easily be coached out of him. He will also play a bit high at times, but for the most part he plays with very good leverage. Muldoon does a decent job wrapping up but as he faces better competition in college he will have to do a better job here. I'd also like to see him take better angles to ball carriers.

What I like about Muldoon is his potential as a run stopper. He will enter college with a lot of experience playing in a 3-4 style defense. Despite his high sack numbers (12 as a junior), his primary responsibility is as a run defender. At Notre Dame the defensive ends will be asked to pressure the quarterback at times, but their biggest strength must be against the run. That's one of the reasons I feel Muldoon would be a very good fit for the Notre Dame defense. As I mentioned earlier, he will need to be more consistent firing off the ball against the run, but when he does come off he is very hard to block at the high school level. He uses his quick first step, strength, and good leverage to get into the chest of blockers.

What I really like is how he uses his hands to punch and extend the blockers. Most high school players I see want to go chest to chest and then try to extend. Muldoon does a very good job shooting his hands, getting inside the chest of the blocker, and then getting a push. This allows him to easily disengage and pursue ball carriers. He uses that quickness to also do a good job splitting double teams. Muldoon knows how to anchor against double teams and as he gets stronger he'll improve even more. Muldoon also does a fine job moving lateral and scraping down the line while engaged. When he makes his read he disengages and makes the play. He also is good as closing down on the backside and sealing off the cut back. At times he will get too wide off the snap which will lead to him getting beat by the draw.

Muldoon is productive in high school as a pass rusher. He has potential to be a solid college pass rusher but he will need some work. The quickness I've talked about before allows him to get a jump on offensive tackles. He uses this quickness to either beat tackles to the outside or to set them up for a decent inside move. At times he will also use a bull rush to beat blockers.

I'd like to see him develop more pass rush moves and use his hands better when rushing the passer. He has quick and strong hands and uses them so well against the run. If he is able to use his hands in the pass game (swim, club, rip, push/pull) he'll be even more effective as a pass rusher. When he develops this aspect of his repertoire he will cause problems for offensive tackles. He might not post high sack totals but he will be very effective getting pressure and collapsing the pocket. As I talked about previously Muldoon also has good agility and is efficient with his footwork. This helps him as a pass rusher.

You can't have enough high-energy, high-effort, tough and aggressive football players along your front seven. Muldoon fits that bill. No matter how good the Irish offense will be over the next few seasons I believe what will make or break this football team is the defensive front seven. The Irish coaches need to continue to develop the players who are already on board. But they must also continue to bring in players along the front who add depth and talent to the roster. Pat Muldoon fits that bill. Despite already landing three defensive line commitments already, the Ohio State Buckeyes continue to go after Muldoon. That says something about his ability as a football player. Hopefully when February comes Notre Dame fans will be cheering about another victory over the in-state Buckeyes for one of their top in-state players. Top Stories