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Smart Football dissects Notre Dame’s offense

Last week, we had Chris Brown give us a little bit of insight into the Pistol offense. This week, over at Dr. Saturday, Chris broke down the defensive challenges Michigan will face when trying to stop Charlie Weis’ offense.

Give it a read, as I think there are a lot of very interesting things, both from a pure schematic point of view and from the perspective of a defensive coordinator.

Here’s a sampling:

But I don’t think Robinson will stick with as much man-to-man against the Irish. The least threathening aspect of Notre Dame’s offense, pretty much from the moment Weis arrived, has been the between-the-tackles run game, and the one area Notre Dame can take the Pepsi challenge with against any team in the country and come out well is a comparison between receivers. Golden Tate and Michael Floyd are both big, fast, dangerous downfield threats at all times, and Michigan is unlikely to spend most of the game daring Weis to throw to them on the outside. He’s going to be dialing them up no matter what.

In response, Robinson is more likely to go for deep, bracketing type coverage. A common one is a variant on “quarters coverage,” descriptively called “quarter-quarter-halves.”

To the wide side of the field, the corner and safety play “quarters,” which means they divide the field into fourths but, if only one receiver threatens deep, they double-team him. On the other side the “halves” refers to a Cover 2 defense used to the short side of the field -- the corner rolls up and plays aggressive at the line, while the safety “rolls” over top so that they bracket that receiver high and low. This is a common strategy to try to contain dangerous outside receivers and keep the possibility of double teams. Michigan plays this coverage against Western Michigan’s four-wide look below, though WMU runs a run play up the middle.

Check out the rest of it here.