Thought: Florida & Notre Dame's Direction

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 29, 2012


Mitchell Thought: Florida & Notre Dame's Direction


- Fiutak: Top NFL Prospects - GET OUT NOW
- Cirminiello: Here Come The Fired Coaches
- Zemek: Lane Kiffin Needs To Prove It
- Harrison: Here Comes The BCS Disaster
- Mitchell: Florida & Notre Dame's Direction
- Doan: Barkley's Story Has The Wrong Ending 

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

Notre Dame and Florida. There’s no denying that the Gators have played the tougher schedule – in terms of both reality AND the BCS, the Gators have played more teams ranked higher and playing better football.

That said, as we step into November, these are two programs moving in opposite directions - as far as 2012 goes.

The Gators and Irish have excellent defenses that play both the pass and run well. However, Florida has been playing a one-dimensional offense for most of the season, and it finally caught up to the Gators Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville. Even though Florida never trailed by more than a single possession, the Gators seemed unable to settle themselves, and felt compelled to throw the ball.

A running offense takes commitment, particularly in the SEC. You wear a defense down by committing to the run, and gain most of your rushing yards late in games.

Against the Bulldogs, Florida attempted 28 passes to 41 carries; put another way, 41% of the Gators’ offense vs. Georgia was devoted to the forward pass. By comparison, in their other two close SEC games, the Gators’ pass-to-run ratios were 12-58 (LSU, 17%) and 17-48 (TAMU, 26%). This despite the fact that Georgia’s run defense (tenth in the SEC) is worse that both the Tigers and the Aggies (second and sixth, respectively).

Florida seemed unwilling to dance with the girl they brought. Even two thirds of the way through the season, Florida is a team that’s still trying to find its identity – at least offensively.

Identity is not a problem for Notre Dame.

Even balancing inexperienced, injured quarterbacks, as September turned into October it became clear this Irish team was going to live and die with a specific offensive formula, and they’ve stayed true to form. Against Oklahoma, Notre Dame had 27 passes to 39 runs (41% passing). Versus Stanford, 28 to 44 (39% passing). Against Michigan, 19 to 31 (38% passing). Even in a 40-3 blowout win against Miami, 26 to 50 (34% passing).

Brian Kelly and his coaching staff have found a formula that works for their offense, and they’re sticking with it (absent of course a major injury to quarterback Everett Golson, though the same could be said about almost any team). This consistency has the Irish controlling their own fate…poised for a shot at a BCS title.

Meanwhile, the Gators’ lack of late-season consistency has them on the outside, looking in.

- Fiutak: Top NFL Prospects - GET OUT NOW
- Cirminiello: Here Come The Fired Coaches
- Zemek: Lane Kiffin Needs To Prove It
- Harrison: Here Comes The BCS Disaster
- Mitchell: Florida & Notre Dame's Direction
- Doan: Barkley's Story Has The Wrong Ending