Some personnel notes

If you aren’t that on top of Notre Dame’s roster, at least outside of Ian Book, here are a few things I’ve dug up for your attention.

First, from PFF:


Georgia LT Andrew Thomas vs. Notre Dame’s Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara

When Notre Dame heads down to Georgia, it will be the largest collection of draftable talent facing off in any game we’ve seen yet this season. The marquee matchup will be right along the line of scrimmage. Both Andrew Thomas and Julian Okwara look very likely to be first-round selections come next April, checking in at 10th and 17th on the PFF draft board, respectively. Kareem is more of a Day 2 guy, but that’s still a great litmus test for both him and Thomas. Okwara is one of the best players in the nation at converting speed-to-power with a prodigious combo of length and burst. Kareem is more of pure power player and even played defensive tackle early in his Notre Dame career. Thomas is currently the highest-graded tackle in the country and won’t face a better edge duo all season, and the Notre Dame duo won’t face a better tackle. This is tape scouts will be coming back to frequently next spring.

Notre Dame’s defensive front may be a little soft in the middle, but it’s got real talent on the outside.  I’m not so much concerned about how Thomas handles whoever is lined up on his side as I am at the other tackle and, perhaps more significantly, how the interior of Georgia’s line — I’m looking at you, Trey Hill — handles the inevitable stunts and twists I expect the Irish to utilize to try to get at Fromm.

Here’s another key matchup.

Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool vs. Georgia Secondary

The Georgia secondary is loaded with draftable talent. The safeties J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte are the headliners after grading out exceptionally in 2018, but redshirt sophomore cornerback Eric Stokes could make his way up boards here soon as well. They’ll face a man who looks like an NFL wideout at 6-4, 230 pounds with good speed but has yet to produce like one until this season. Claypool was a basketball standout in high school yet that hasn’t translated as well in contested situations as we may have liked going 6-for-14 on those last season. The key here will be the play of both Claypool and Stokes at the line of scrimmage. Bigger receivers often lack the flexibility and quick to deal with good press corners, and Stokes has played the eighth-most snaps in press of any corner in the nation (64).

Well, remember that Georgia tends not to flip its cornerbacks to follow particular receivers, so it’s unlikely that Claypool finds himself matched up against Stokes all day.  In fact, I would expect Notre Dame to do what it can to exploit Claypool’s talent and size against the corner on the other side, who will either be a Tyson Campbell who is nursing an ankle injury, or Daniel and/or Stevenson.  In any event, you have to think Smart and Lanning are going to have to provide some safety help if Claypool proves to be too much for one DB to handle.

Jake Rowe has some more player details here.  I will say that I have a lot of respect for Ian Book’s game; he’s one of those scrappy running quarterbacks who seem to give Georgia defenses plenty of problems over the years.  Containment is going to be a huge deal for the defense tomorrow night.  I hope I’m not pulling out my hair watching that breakdown constantly.

Book’s completion percentage hasn’t been as great as I expect Brian Kelly would like it to be, but he hasn’t thrown an interception in Notre Dame’s two games and he absolutely ripped New Mexico’s pass defense apart.  He’s also averaging better than 5.5 yards per rush and has two running TDs to his credit.  A real threat, in other words.

If you want more, Rowe also has a unit group comparison posted here.


Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

9 responses to “Some personnel notes

  1. What hasn’t been mentioned is physicality. And this isn’t taking anything away from Notre Dame. Georgia just might be the most physical team in the country. Georgia was still learning how to be that physical team two years ago. It’s one thing to see it on tape, its something else to see a bigger/faster/stronger team that not only intends to defeat you, but to also break your will not only to win but to play…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this could be similar to the Bama game in 2015 where we looked across the field and thought, “Uh, oh” when you saw the grown @$$ men on the Bama sideline.

      I have a feeling there are going to be some coaches on the ND sideline thinking, “What have we gotten ourselves into?”



    Great stuff Senator. It’s the battles within the battle. That’s how you win the game. I’ll be watching this one on one battle fromSection 137.


  3. This one I continue to view as another classic Smart-style game arc: Contain the ND offense, push the UGa OLine straight at ’em & squeeze out their will by the 4th Qtr.

    And ND has very questionable depth of talent at RB & WR. They will find consistent movement difficult vs. this Dawg defense.


  4. J-Dawg

    I wish it was an afternoon game so the heat and humidity are additional factors in wearing ND down. Also, can ND truly play a slobber-knockin smashmouth football game successfully? I think not! My prediction: Dawgs win, 38-10.


  5. Russ

    As I commented in that article, I think our AA left tackle will perform much better than their AA left tackle did two years ago. Mainly because Thomas sees much more defensive speed everyday in practice than ND can bring, and I doubt the ND DEs are much stronger than ours either.

    The stunts up the middle worry me, but just get the ball outside a few times and that will stop.


  6. Cojones

    Oh! So now you tell us how good their players are after your easy-peasy synopsis of their threat a couple of days ago. Now we hear of their first rounders; similar to pronunciations of the doctor who says, “Your heart did well on the clot passing through, but now you will die of stroke.”. Niiice.


  7. addr

    Who’s their backup quarterback? Asking for a friend…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cojones

    Rowe’s comments are pretty spot on. Reading a close by article about the CFB QBs left me coming away with even more appreciation of Jake;s passing game.

    Not enough attention is paid to Fromme’s passing prowess. Did know that his passing avg is over 73% this year, but didn’t know he was 2nd in the country when it comes to targeting his receiver – nearly 90% of the time. Holy smoke, that means the receivers touch (or should touch) 17 % (or lower, if you subtract the intentional throwaways) of his tosses without catches. That’s a huge revelation to me as to his on-target precision and what our passing game is capable of for the rest of the year since the expectation is that they will get better (especially the freshmen) at snagging the ball and there is still room for Jake to perfect his passing game.

    Thank goodness my new closed mug has arrived in the mail so that I can now drink the Kool-Aid while in a cold shower.