Notre Dame Football: Eddie George

Vote for your #UltimateTeam

July, 9, 2013

ESPN has teamed up with EA Sports to bring you the #UltimateTeam vote. We’ve selected the top 5 offensive and defensive players for 16 of the elite programs in college football history. Which is the Ultimate Team? Round 1 of the voting begins today.

Notre Dame checks in as the No. 14 seed, looking to pull off the upset against No. 3 Ohio State. It's not looking bright early on, as the Buckeyes currently hold a commanding 75 percent of the votes, but you folks can help change that.

Here are the rosters for each school.

Captain: Tim Brown
QB: Brady Quinn
RB: Jerome Bettis
RB: Ricky Watters
WR: Raghib Ismail
WR: Jeff Samardzija
DE: Justin Tuck
DT: Chris Zorich
DT: Bryant Young
LB: Manti Te'o
S: Tom Zbikowski

Captain: Archie Griffin
QB: Troy Smith
RB: Eddie George
RB: Beanie Wells
WR: Santonio Holmes
WR: Joey Galloway
DE: Mike Vrabel
LB: A.J. Hawk
LB: Chris Spielman
SS: Malcolm Jenkins
CB: Chris Gamble

Go vote for your picks in each of the eight matchups today.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In defending Denard Robinson this Saturday, Notre Dame is tasked with trying to contain a quarterback who doesn't make you pay for a mistake by gaining a few extra yards.

No, Robinson disheartens defenses by gaining every extra yard. That is, if you miss him once, the left side of the Michigan Stadium scoreboard will serve a reminder seconds later of the six points "Shoelace" just rang up for the Maize and Blue.

"Unfortunately it just is what it is," defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said. "We need to be perfect, because any little crease and it's over, he's gone. It's not like, somebody hits a crease and he rattles for eight, 10 yards and you get him on the ground. This guy hits the crease and he can punch a hole in the top of the defense like that."

[+] EnlargeRobinson
Brian Spurlock/US PresswireDenard Robinson accounted for 502 yards of total offense last season against Notre Dame.
As a linebacker at Iowa in the mid-90s, Diaco had experience against great runners -- Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George comes to mind -- and against great passers, like Indianapolis Colts opening-game starter Kerry Collins.

But Diaco has never faced the combination of threats that Robinson presents. At least not in one player.

"It's just a monumental task defending a runner at quarterback in particular, that it almost gives you the feeling like they're playing with 12," Diaco said. "It's a problem."

In last year's home loss, the Fighting Irish held Michigan scoreless during a seven-drive stretch in the second half. And Robinson still netted 502 yards of total offense for the game, including an 87-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Robinson accounted for all 72 yards on the Wolverines' final drive, which ended with a decisive two-yard touchdown run with :27 left to account for the 28-24 Michigan win.

"I think keeping the explosive plays down is something that we had stretches of where we did that very well," Irish safety Harrison Smith said. "And then we gave up a couple of plays, which is how they get those yards and how they move the ball so well with this offense. So it's easy to say, well, if we had just taken out that -- I think there was a 90-yard run or something at the end of the half — if we had taken that out, it wouldn't have been so bad.

"But that's part of the game. You can't have that if you want to win. That's our focus, to keep those plays to a minimum."

Defensive line coach Mike Elston remembers how difficult it was to scheme against Syracuse's Donovan McNabb when he was a graduate assistant at Michigan. But even Elston admits preparing for the eventual six-time Pro Bowler paled in comparison to what has awaited him in Week 2 these past two seasons.

"Denard Robinson is fantastic, because he is so much faster than everybody else," Elston said. "He's got a great arm and when he breaks it he can go all the way. Not a lot of quarterbacks can do that. They can pick up the first down, they can get a big chunk play but he can change the game with his legs at any time."

Which makes safeties coach Chuck Martin's approach all the more practical.

"We go to the grotto every day," Martin quipped. "Say some prayers."


St. Brown talks USC, Stanford and more
WeAreSC's Blair Angulo caught up with ESPN 300 WR Equanimeous St. Brown on Sunday at the IMG 7v7 West Regional to get the latest on his recruitment.Tags: USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinal, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, WeAreSC, Equanimeous St. Brown