NOTRE DAME — Lou Holtz’s advice to Alabama?
Score on Notre Dame when you get the chance.
Teams like Stanford and USC learned that the hard way, getting to the goal line but coming up short when trying to break the plane.
In fact, Notre Dame has allowed only two rushing touchdowns all year — one from a yard out by Oklahoma’s Blake Bell and the second on a 16-yard dash by Pitt’s Ray Graham.
Although the Irish kept Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell, Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor, Oklahoma’s Damien Williams, Miami’s Duke Johnson and USC’s Silas Redd out of the end zone, Alabama’s 19th-ranked rushing attack hopes to join the ranks of Bell and Graham.
“Getting down there inside the 10yard line not scoring a touchdown is like reaching a par5 in golf in two and then sixputting,” Holtz said of Notre Dame’s goal-line defense. “You get nothing out of it.”
Here are Dr. Lou’s keys to victory for both teams:
Establish the run: “Alabama has a great offensive line. I think (center) Barrett Jones is not only a great player, he’s a great young man. They’ve got two great running backs in there.
“But you have to establish the run because (quarterback A.J.) McCarron is better at play-action passing than any other time. So if they can establish the run, then that makes a play-action pass and being able to go downfield effective.”
Don’t let the Irish execute another goal-line stand: “I would start with goal-line offense, and I would not allow (Notre Dame) to bring both corners off the side and stop the iso.
“Why people have not taken advantage of the fact that they always bring their corners hard off the corner and they’ve been able to stop everybody on fourth and 1, and then when Southern Cal was the first team to fake the iso and throw at the guy wide open but he stumbled a little bit and didn’t take a particularly good throw, so I think you have to start there.”
Utilize Theo Riddick and Tyler Eifert: “In Theo Riddick you have a young man who was a wide receiver for three years, now plays tailback. You have Tyler Eifert, could have went to school on a basketball scholarship.
“You can split him out, throw the alleyoop to him, throw the corner route, which they’ve done very successfully, so I think you do that because Alabama likes to match up according to your personnel. You have three wide receivers, they’ll go and play five defensive backs, but all of a sudden you don’t know whether they have two wide receivers, three wide receivers because of what Theo Riddick is going to do.”*
Disrupt an Alabama rhythm: “Alabama is going to make some yards running, but what you can’t let them do is go 4, 5, 6 yards like what happened to Georgia. I don’t care if they go 4 yards, 5 yards, minus 2, zero, and then you disrupt the rhythm. But you can’t let them get in a rhythm.”