Notre Dame Football: Making the Offensive Blueprint to Beat Alabama

Mike Shiekman@TheRealShiekFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17: Everett Colson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish pitches the ball to Cierre Wood #20 on a 60 yard touchdown play against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Everybody knows Notre Dame has a formidable defense. It’s their offense that is the enigmatic unit headed into their national title matchup with Alabama.

Armed with a freshman quarterback, many will not give the Fighting Irish a chance against A.J. McCarron’s experience on the other side.

In several games this season, such as a home matchup with BYU, their defense had to carry the load. In others, like their 30-point outburst in Norman, the offense reached a higher gear that would scare even SEC units.

What will the Fighting Irish offense need to do to beat Alabama?

Here’s Notre Dame’s offensive blueprint to victory.

Spread Out the Alabama Defense

In Alabama’s one loss, its defense was spread out throughout the game because the offense dictated the terms.

Texas A&M routinely put out three to five wide receivers, which opened up the running lanes and passing windows. What resulted was a 29-point output, good enough to outlast the Crimson Tide at home.

For a Fighting Irish team to have a similar offensive impact, they’ll have to use the spread to open up the playbook.

Against a powerful Alabama front, the Irish would be better served widening their opponent's alignment and take defenders out of the box.

The power of formations cannot be overstated; if Notre Dame can execute from passing formations, it will have similar success to the Aggies.

Get Everett Golson Going Early

Rhythm is so important for a quarterback’s confidence. Heck, just ask Mark Sanchez.

Therefore, making their freshman quarterback a factor in this title game has to be high on the Irish's wish list.

Yes, the running game with Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood will ultimately carry this team. Without a passing game to balance out the offense, though, Alabama will be able to key on certain running tendencies and force Golson into mistakes.

It’s a Notre Dame fan’s nightmare. Hence, getting Golson to move the chains early will be paramount.

Feature Tyler Eifert

Notre Dame doesn’t use Eifert as much as many would expect. The Irish’s tight end is a borderline first-round prospect and yet, his best game this season was a six-catch effort for 85 yards.

The national championship game would be an opportune time for his breakout game.

But this isn’t just about wishful thinking for Eifert. The Crimson Tide have yet to face a threat down the seam as talented as Notre Dame’s big target.

A tight end that averages 14 yards per catch has to be involved if the Irish want a fighter's chance.


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