Thursday, October 22, 2009
What to watch from Notre Dame, Week 8
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
What to watch from Notre Dame in Saturday's home game against Boston College:
1. Stopping the run: Montel Harris broke Boston College's single-game records by rushing for 264 yards and five touchdowns last week against NC State. The Eagles used him to great effect in two different Wildcat packages. You can bet that will be a big part of their game plan again this week in South Bend. Notre Dame's defense, while still giving up too many points and yards, has been worse against the pass than the run recently, which is good considering future opponents like Pitt, UConn and Stanford all rely heavily on the handoff.
"I'm encouraged by the fact that our run defense has been improving steadily over the last few weeks," coach Charlie Weis said. "It's a good thing because we're going to get dialed up as the year goes on, starting this week."
2. Jimmy Clausen: The Notre Dame quarterback had a nightmarish game last year against BC, throwing four interceptions in Chestnut Hill. Of course, Clausen is a much better player this year, though his turf toe injury was aggravated last week against USC when a couple of defenders stepped on it. BC has allowed some big passing days this year to Florida State and Wake Forest, and Clausen should find suitable lanes in which to throw.
3. Notre Dame's pass defense: Weis is shuffling up his secondary, seeking playmakers at cornerback. This could be a good week to find some. Boston College ranks just 106th in the FBS in passing offense behind 25-year-old freshman Dave Shinskie. If the Irish get shredded through the air this week, the secondary may just be a lost cause.