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Thursday, September 30, 2010
What to watch for Notre Dame: Week 5

By Brian Bennett

What to watch from Notre Dame in Saturday night's game at Boston College:

1. Can the Irish run the ball?: Notre Dame is by no means a great running team, but it has looked competent at times this season with Armando Allen. Boston College owns the nation's sixth-best rushing defense, allowing just 71 yards per game, and has stuffed the Irish backs over the years. There was a depth chart change this week, with Robert Hughes moving ahead of Cierre Wood as Allen's backup. Hughes is the biggest back Notre Dame has and may offer some a physical style. But the Irish offense could become one dimensional if they can't move it on the ground.

2. Is stopping the run enough?: The Eagles' Montel Harris is the leading rusher in the ACC, and the Irish are sure to see healthy helpings of handoffs to him. But Boston College is making a quarterback change, and all indications are that true freshman Chase Rettig will get the call. Notre Dame went back and studied some high school film of Rettig this week just in case. Unless Rettig is a natural, this should be an advantage for the visiting team. Look for defensive coordinator Bob Diaco to stuff the box and make Rettig prove he can beat the Irish.

3. Charting Crist: It seems like every week we're talking about the development of Dayne Crist, but that's because the quarterback is so important to this offense. Last week, Stanford often dropped eight men into pass coverage, and Crist and the offense did not respond well. He also got knocked around quite a bit. Boston College could try similar tactics, though that's not really their style. Either way, Crist has to make better decisions, and if the defense is going to drop that many in coverage, he may have to run the ball more himself, too.