Monday, April 15, 2013

Explosive plays in the passing game (for real)

Good video on how Connor Reilly budgets his limited time (ignore Ryan Day's appearance).

Excuse me for bringing up a sore subject, but one of the promises Steve Addazio made all last spring and last summer in alumni gatherings from New York City to Los Angeles was "explosive plays downfield in the passing game."
We all know how that turned out.
The explosive plays downfield in the passing game were made AGAINST the Owls, not for the Owls a season ago.
I attended last year's Cherry and White game, heard the comment after seeing zero explosive plays downfield and had my doubts about Daz delivering on the said plays in the fall. The Cherry and White game featured what seemed like 34 carries by Spencer Reid for what seemed like minus 17 yards.
The offensive season itself wasn't that bad, but was bad enough.
Unfortunately, when it came to Daz and empty promises, I was right.
Now we're hearing that from a number of football alumni who attended Alumni Day that several explosive plays were made downfield at Saturday's all-out scrimmage.
Poland checking in (thanks, Poland).

That scrimmage was the most important one of the season, even more important than Saturday's Cherry and White game (1 p.m. kickoff) because new coach Matt Rhule is not likely to tip his hand to any Notre Dame scouts in attendance.
First-team quarterback Connor Reilly, poised and confident, delivered both the deep and intermediate ball effectively to a variety of receivers who made defenders miss. Reilly looked off defenders to deliver the ball. We all know that both Khalif Herbin and Jalen Fitzpatrick have the ability to make that first tackler miss and gain numerous yards after catch.
Hopefully, Notre Dame (see countdown count to the right) finds that out the hard way on August 31.
There are two ways to look at this:
The defensive backs who gave the Owls so much trouble last year are still on the field or that a commitment to the passing game also makes it harder for a defense to find out where the ball is going.
I hope it's the latter.
After all, when you run all the time on first and second down like the Owls did last year (75.1 percent), defending the pass on third down is easy.
When you offer the THREAT to throw the ball on first and second down, defending the pass (and the run) is not so easy.
That, in a nutshell, is how the Matt Rhule offensive philosophy differs from the Steve Addazio one.
I don't expect him to promise "explosive plays downfield in the passing game" after Saturday's Cherry and White game.
Just delivering them in the fall would suffice.