The Mystery of Notre Dame's Run Game

Chris GreccoContributor IAugust 14, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - SETPEMBER 19: Armando Allen #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs for yardage against the Michigan State Spartans on September 19, 2009 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

From the early Heisman winners to Bettis, Jones, or Grant, Notre Dame has always seemed to have a solid running attack.

However, in recent years, that has vanished. Call it the system or blame it on the offensive line, but the players we have had should be breaking off some of the highlight reel runs seen on Sportscenter.

In 2007, Notre Dame got a commitment from two different running backs, both with great promise to do great things in South Bend. Let's look at two running backs who both came into college football from the 2007 class.

Running back No. 1: 5 foot 9, 181 pounds, four-star prospect, ranked the number two all-purpose back and the number 52 overall player. Ran for 1,127 yards his junior year of high school. Scholarship offers from Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee.

Running back No. 2: 5 foot 11, 198 pounds, three-star prospect, ranked the number 69 running back and not ranked in the top 150. Ran for 1,104 yards and 20 touchdowns, along with 98 tackles in his junior year of high school. Offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Nevada, and San Diego State.

So looking at the two backs, running back No. 1 was a highly recruited and the better of the two backs, right? Well lets look at college and figure this out.

Running back 1: Through three years as a starter, here are his stats: 362 carries for 1,630 yards and six touchdowns, 4.5 yards per carry. Only three runs of more than 20 yards, with his career long being 26 yards. He is returning for his senior season this upcoming year.

Running back 2: Through three years, here are his stats. 534 carries for 3,280 yards and 39 touchdowns, 6.1 yards per carry. He has, in just 2009, eight runs of more than 50 yards, including his career long run of 77 yards. He was a first round draft pick and is in the NFL.

Running back No. 1 is Armando Allen of Notre Dame, running back No. 2 is Ryan Mathews, formerly from Fresno State. Before anyone states that Fresno doesn't play anyone, Notre Dame has not played the giants of college football either. Notre Dame is a recruiting giant, they bring in many four and five-star guys year in and year out. So I keep asking myself, why have these running backs not produced.

I was one of the biggest haters on Darius Walker when he was at Notre Dame. Looking back, this guy is a Heisman candidate compared to what this running game has been since he left. In his two years under Weis, Walker ran for over 1,000 yards both seasons and had a career long of 56. Allen has had three years in the same offense as Walker, and he has just over 1,500 for his career.

Someone needs to let him know that if Notre Dame has any chance of being good this year, it will rely a lot on him and the other backs. 

Looking ahead, Notre Dame has a lot of good young backs on their team. I hope and I pray Brian Kelly doesn't have Mike Brey syndrome, which is going with the seniors and veterans who have been there.

If he does that, see Notre Dame's basketball success with going to Harangody on every possession and how horrible they fell. For some reason, Allen hasn't been effective, does that mean you abandon ship?

No, but instead of giving him every opportunity to get out of this three-year slump, how about we see some new young faces that can possibly help rid Notre Dame of the middle of the pack program status they have been at recently, and get back to being the Mecca of college football.