Eye in the Sky: 2nd Quarter

Head coach Charlie Weis abandoned the no-huddle attack too early as the Irish stagnated in the second period.

Below is Part II of our offensive film breakdown. Click here for our review of the 1st Quarter.

1st ND Drive/2nd Quarter:

Breakdown: After Jordan Todman beat Notre Dame's new 4-4-3 defensive alignment for a 43-yard touchdown run, the Irish took possession at their own 20-yard line and managed just 15 yards on four plays (2:25) before punting back to the Huskies ND 14 UConn 7

  • (3-Wide/Rob Parris as the 3rd receiver): On 1st and 5 after a UConn offside penalty to begin the drive, Jimmy Clausen hits Michael Floyd for a 12-yard comeback and an Irish first down. Floyd was again a tad late on his break and as a result, made a heck of a catch with the ball eating him up above his head.
  • (3-Wide): Left tackle Paul Duncan is overpowered by Lindsey Witten for a sack and seven-yard loss. TE Mike Ragone was detached from the line (giving the formation a 4-WR look) and Duncan gave an inside lane to Witten who folded up the 5th-year senior for the takedown.
  • (3-Wide): Clausen is flushed from the pocket (right) and forced to throw the ball away to avoid another sack. The Irish junior QB actually missed an open Mike Ragone in the left flat (prior to his roll right).
  • (3-Wide): On 3rd and 17 from his own 35-yard line, Clausen throws a check down to Armando Allen out of the backfield for a gain of 5 yards, well short of the 1st Down marker. Clausen again missed an open receiver, this time Floyd who broke (wide) open late on a crossing route on to the left side. Poor use of pass progressions by Clausen on this sequence.
  • Skill position subs on the drive: None. Robby Parris filled the role of No. 3 WR for the entire drive.

2nd ND Drive/2nd Quarter:

Breakdown: Following a Connecticut field goal, ND gained an initial first down but managed just seven more yards before punting for the third time in five possessions. ND 14 UConn 10

  • (3-Wide/Duval Kamara as 3rd wide receiver): Clausen hits Ragone on an 11-yard stick route (hitch/stop…they call it a stick) from the right slot for a first down). Ragone gained separation with a subtle push off as he stopped.
  • (3-Wide): Clausen fires to Ragone on a delayed out-route to the right but its broken down by backup CB Dwayne Gratz. Clausen threw a bit late but it was a nice read by Gratz who released Floyd down the sideline to a safety over the top.
  • (3-Wide): Clausen hits Ragone again, this time on a quick slant from the left slot for a gain of seven yards.
  • (3-Wide): Ragone drops a point-blank throw on a slant route on 3rd and 3 from the Irish 28-yard line and the Irish are forced to punt.
  • Skill position subs on the drive: None.

Last ND Drive/2nd Quarter:

Breakdown: Leading 14-10 with 1:25 remaining, the Irish take control at their own 15-yard line. The final tally on the drive is 11 yards on four plays as the Irish head to the locker room with just a four-point edge after having complete control of the game's first 20 minutes. ND 14 UConn 10

  • (3-Wide/Kamara): Allen is allowed six yards up the gut after spinning out of an initial tackle attempt. Center Eric Olsen whiffed on his kick-out block or Allen could have run untouched into the Huskies secondary. Ragone threw an excellent block on the play, completely controlling his assigned ‘backer.
  • (3-Wide): Clausen fires low and incomplete on a hard slant by Floyd.
  • (4-Wide/Parris joins Kamara): With :58 seconds remaining, Clausen hits Parris for 9 yards on a stick route for an Irish first down bat their own 30-yard line. A tremendous catch by Parris on a pass that got away from Clausen on his release.
  • (4-Wide): Clausen's square-in to Tate is batted down at the line of scrimmage and Stewart is (correctly) called for holding to boot.
  • (3-Wide): Now facing 1st and 20 at its own 20-yard line, the Irish elect to run out the clock with a handoff over the left side to Allen for six yards as both teams march to their respective locker rooms (to a chorus of boos, I hadn't noticed live).
  • Skill position subs on the drive: Robby Parris as the 4th WR.

2nd Quarter Observations:

  • Following the first sack of the game, Clausen blatantly missed (did not see) two open wide receivers on consecutive plays…an occurrence I can't remember previously this season.
  • A poor quarter for the usually solid Eric Olsen.
  • I don't mind Charlie Weis' (admitted) plan of coming out no-huddle then attacking on the ground, but the Irish never actually committed to a real running game in a sub par second-quarter effort.

Halftime Score: ND 14 UConn 10

Personal Groupings (Includes Penalties and Irish sets prior to time-outs):

  • Three-Wide Receiver Sets: 27
  • Two-Tight End Sets:3
  • Shotgun Split (two-back) Sets: 1
  • Four-Wide Receiver Sets: 6
  • JUMBO: 4

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