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Offensive Film Review: Notre Dame

Taking a look at how the Tigers got it done in this marquee match up.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. What a win. What an amazing win. Stressful? Sure, I probably shaved about 4-6 years off of my life with that amount of 4th quarter stress. But we won. And bourbon and jubilee ruled in the Southland. But now, let's take a look at the offensive performance.

Shorthand and Nicknames

IZ- Inside zone, OZ-Outside zone, ZR- Zone read, RO- Read option, TrO- Triple Option, ExTro- Extended triple Option, PA- Play Action, JS- Jet Sweep, QS- Quick Screen, TS- Tunnel Screen, WC- Wildcat, NB- nickelback, LOS- Line of Scrimmage and HR- Hot read.

Nicknames- G-Drop (Germone Hopper), Whiffles (Jordan Leggett), Turnstyle (Ryan Norton), RM3 (Ray Ray McCloud III), Dr Schuess (Nick Schuessler), Wayne Train (Wayne Gallman)

1st Drive

1st and 10 at the 36, draw by Watson and nice double team to make the seam by Guillermo and Crowder but Peake and Cain just run with Watson instead of blocking, a theme maybe? Big gain…..1st and 10 at 26 of ND, JS motion and inside power by Gallman, follows Crowder nicely for 3…..JS PA slip to the left, thrown away by Watson….3rd and 7, Scott starts in the backfield and motions out and we screen to him, makes some great moves to pick up the first, Hyatt late to the outside to block corner….We go tempo on first down, ZR and Gallman bounces it for 8, Whiffles and Peake stalk but never actually touch anyone…..IZ Gallman for a two yard loss but I’m ok with that after the snap went through Watson’s hands and there was a shaky exchange….3rd and 4, PA TE slip to Whiffles for 6, same play we botched vs FSU on the goal line with Cole Stoudt last year……7-0 Tigers

2nd Drive

After a shanked punt by ND, Tigers start at the ND 40…IZ by Gallman on first down for no gain, Crowder and Gore generate no push on backside to create a cutback seam….2nd and 10, PA roll right, nice seal by Whiffles and Crowder to get Watson in space and great catch by Renfrow (who needs to play more), 1st down……1st and 10, QB draw but ND twists their D line to the offenses right and that throws off the blocking, once again we struggle with a twist but Watson breaks a tackle and bounces outside for 3…2nd and 7 quick slant to Scott and he once again refuses to go down and hits paydirt……14-0 Tigers

3rd Drive

1st and 10 at the Clemson 20, fake JS and power left, Guillermo and Crowder get shoved back gain of 3….2nd and 7, ZR with Gore unable to maintain the seal on DT, gain of 3….3rd and 4 and Scott and Watson not on the same page as Watson lofts it out of bounds as Scott takes off deep….Punt

4th Drive

1st and 10 at Clemson 4, intended to be a IZ for Gallman but either Watson opens up the wrong way or Gallman steps wrong side, Watson turns the bust into a gain of 6….2nd and 4, nice surge by Guillermo and MacClain for the 1st on Gallman dive…..1st and 10, JS by Scott to the left, Whiffles whiffs on OLB forcing Scott to break stride, otherwise it could have formed nicely, instead gain of 9….2nd and 1, ZR Gallman takes it for the first, nice seal down by Hyatt….1st and 10, ND sends 4 on the rush but keeps a spy on Watson, good coverage and pass falls incomplete, good pass pro by everyone though…2nd and 10, QB draw from an empty set, ND has adjusted and is ready for attack it, we need some QB PA in the future to make teams pay for being aggressive versus our QB run looks…..3rd and 12, RO draw to Brooks who almost makes a great play, he needs more touches! Crowder climbed well but then didn’t touch a soul….Punt

5th Drive

1st and 10, crosser through the hands of Cain, 2nd and 10, draw by Watson, Hyatt almost botched the play by dropping too shallow before turning shoulders and allowing DE upfield….3rd and 7, double screen, as we fake to WR trips and coming back to Gallman, Kraken was dead on that Gallman needs to chip the LB and then get into space, Cain needs to stalk corner better….Punt

6th Drive

1st and 10 at Clemson 29, inside power for 2 by Gallman…..2nd and 8, JS Scott, if Whiffles can sustain his block, it may be a bigger gain….3rd and 4, drop back and dangerous throw by Watson over the middle to Peake, he just lofts it into traffic, if safety wasn’t so keen on killing Peake by dropping down hard, he could have picked it, Crowder and Gallman both piss poor in pass pro….Punt

7th Drive

Not really a drive but a kneel down to take us to half. Solid first half but some mistakes as well, we came out and punched Notre Dame in the mouth but they started to punch back, especially Jaylon Smtih, he’s a bad bad man.

8th Drive

Following a fumble on the kickoff (atta boy Ammon!), JS to Scott for 8 yards, Whiffles climbs upfield to 3rd level instead of sealing off the OLB…2nd and 2, screen to G-Drop is dropped, wouldn’t have gone well if he had caught it…..3rd and 2 fake JS power left by Watson, Whiffles seals very nicely, Gallman smacks the OLB on the kickout and MacClain climbs and seals the 2nd level. Guillermo and Crowder run with Watson to the endzone, they had no one to block because the frontside killed it. 21-3 Tigers

9th Drive

Following yet another fumble 1st and 10, TS to RM3 for a loss of 2, MacClain whiffed on Jaylon Smith…..2nd and 12, roll draw by Gallman for 3……3rd and 9, ND shows pressure but only rush 4, good pass pro all around and Scott drops the pass in the endzone from Watson, he simply misjudged it and it hit off his left forearm….we line up in a FG formation and Greg Huegel gets the direct snap and punts it inside the 10….

10th Drive

1st and 10 at the Clemson 8, IZ by Gallman with a nice cut for gain of 5….2nd and 5, IZ by Gallman again but Guillermo gets driven back into the backfield that kills the play by forcing and early cut….3rd and 1, QB power, ND attacking our obvious QB runs now but Watson gets the first, Crowder barely pulls around in time….1st and 10, inverted veer, give to Gallman but Watson should have pulled because the D flows hard to the outside….2nd and 9, rollout right, no one open so Watson pulls it down for a gain of 2….3rd and 7, PA roll right, ball hit out of Scotts hands and Renfrow almost makes circus grab off the tip but reviewed and found to be incomplete…..Punt

11th Drive

1st and 10 at the Clemson 16, fake JS IZ Gallman, nice lanes made by the 3 interior linemen and great climbs by MacClain and Crowder…2nd down, inside power Gallman, nice pull by MacClain and good double team to seal by Gore and Crowder….1st and 10, fake JS and toss left to Gallman, great effort by Gallman as there were 3 domers around him, he jukes and spins his was for a 1st…..1st and 10, ZR bounced outside by Gallman for 7…2nd and 3, QB power, Whiffles doesn’t seal well and Gallman doesn’t lead on the LB…..3rd and 3, motion 3 out of split backs and another QB power, Crowder with a nice oull and great lead by Brooks on the LB (seriously, why not more snaps for Brooks?)…..1st and 10, JS to RM3 is dropped, had his eyes upfield instead of looking the ball in, even on the tiny stuff you’ve got to be fundamental, especially in crappy weather….2nd and 10, ZR pull by Watson, Taylor Hearn in at LG and he gets annihilated and the blitzing NB kills the play in the backfield….3rd and 13 PA deep to Renfrow who draws the pass interference….1st and 10, deep shot to Peake who gives almost no effort to break up the pass, interception…

12th Drive

1st and 10, QS to RM3 for 12…..1st and 10, inside power by the Wayne Train as he leaves the station for 34, nice seal by Seckinger (what?) and great cuts by the Wayne Train….1st and 10, OZ and the Wayne Train tries to steam outside but get chased down, should have cut inside the slots block to take short gain instead of taking the loss of 1…..2nd and 11, straight dive by CJ Fuller for 1…..3rd and 10, timeout due to alignment issues….3rd and 10 again, QB power and if we could have collapsed Sheldon Day, there was a chance to a big play but he forces out cut by Watson….Field goal good, 24-9 Tigers

13th Drive

1st and 10 at the 44 after great Scott return, ZR give to the Wayne Train for 2…2nd and 8, power for the Train but Hyatt pushed back to limit the gain to 1…..3rd and 7, we try the same PA TE slip that got Whiffles his TD but ND’s safety keys it and chops Whiffles down….Punt

14th Drive

1st and 10, dive for loss of one…..2nd and 11, ZR and Watson pulls, nice fake as the camera followed the Train for so long that by  the time they panned to Watosn, he was going down….3rd and 2, obvious QB power as the motion the RB out and have twin TE right, ND keys it and kills it…Missed FG…..24-16 Tigers

15th Drive

Post goaline fumble, dive by Wayne Train for 2……..2nd and 8, IZ by the Train for 3….3rd and 5, QB power for 1, backside DE peeled around Hyatt to make play, the QB runs are fine and dandy but once a team keys on it, they’re too slow progressing to get consistent gains, need a PA out of these to make the LBs pay for crashing in.

16th Drive

Post defensive stand and onside kick recovery, VICTORY FORMATION! (From the gun though? Shudders….)

Player Grades

As always, the scale is as follows:

All American 9.5-10, All ACC: 8.0-9.5, Solid: 6.0-7.9, Average: 4.0-5.9, Hot Seat: 0.0-3.9

All American

There wasn’t a sole player that blew the doors off of this game, but I’ll take a solid team performance all around every day of the week.


Wayne Gallman (8.2)- He ran hard and with a mean streak all night, minus a couple of blocking snafus, he was great. Big game for the Wayne Train.


DeShaun Watson (7.4)- Did what was asked of him and did it well, but what held me back from making this and All ACC performance was some of his decision making. The lofted ball to Peake early that could have been picked was a bad throw and the deep ball to Peake later on was maybe a bit too Tahj Boyd (aka was going to Peake all the way instead of reading the D) but pick not all on Watson. Still, was great at what he was asked to do.

Eric MacClain (7.2)- Outside of his one whiff on ND’s best player on D, he played an outstanding game. Was pulling well, getting to the second level and making contact, and had some nice seals.

Zac Brooks (6.8)- If he gets more touches he could move to All ACC level but the coaches aren’t feeding him the ball for reasons unknown to science. He blocks well, catches well, and has been running well this year. Baffling move by the coaches to not get Zac more involved.

Hunter Renfrow (6.6)- The diminutive walk on continues to play hard and fight for every inch of the field. Peake needs to take notes, and the coaches do too. He needs more playing time.

Joe Gore (6.6)- Had some good seal blocks and doubles but didn’t jump off the film. That’s essentially a solid performance.

Tyrone Crowder (6.4)- Was hitting ND in the mouth a lot but also was just kind of running in space some too. I like that you want to be free Tyrone but hit somebody downfield, those little guys mean easy pancakes! Also, had one bad play in pass pro on a blitz pickup. Pulled well and with authority though on inside runs.

Mitch Hyatt (6.2)- Same as Gore really, but graded a tad lower due to a couple of plays, but to play against this front and hold your own as a true freshman is remarkable.


Jay Guillermo (5.9)- Had some great doubles with Crowder but other times got shoved back. Also snap placement was a little sporadic.

Artavis Scott (5.8)- May be graded a little high due to special teams play, but also may be a bit low due to the drop. I was expecting more of an impact by Scott in the game but he still plays like a mad-man who refuses to be tackled.

Jordan Leggett (4.8)- Had the TD grab and showed some effort in blocking, I think at this point the blocking may just be incompetence and low football IQ rather than effort.

Ray Ray McCloud III (4.0)- Had the one drop but ran well on the screen where people actually blocked for him.

Stanton Seckinger (4.0)- Has some questionable blocks but did have a nice seal on the Wayne Train’s long run.

Hot Seat

Taylor Hearn (3.9)- Got destroyed in some of his snaps and others he didn’t jump off the tape. Needs to work on pad level.

Deon Cain (3.8)- Lacked concentration on his one target of the night and didn’t show good effort in blocking. Hoping he’s not shadowing Peake too much….

Charon Peake (2.0)- My hopes for Peake are gone. Gives zero effort on balls that are not right to him and doesn’t seem willing to block. Put Renfrow outside, he at least gives effort.

Group Grades

As we can see, the O-line had a solid night and it showed on the field, the tight ends and receivers were average and given the conditions I'll take it, but some of the down grading was blocking related so this needs to be remedied. Blocking is a culture and an attitude.

Moving forward, if this offensive line continues to play at the same level, I will be content and we should be in every ball game. It all starts up front. Watson needs to make some smarter choices but the coaches also need to put him in the proper positions to succeed. Keep your foot down coaches, playing tippy toe football with 10 minutes to go is how you shave years off of my life. And for goodness sakes, some QB play actions or screens instead of straight draws, if Tim Tebow can do it, Watson sure as hell can.

Great win though, and it's tough to be too mad about it but were far from our perfect game and I cannot wait to see what we look like when we reach it.