Notre Dame heads to Atlanta this weekend with a significant on paper advantage. The reality is, if the Irish play their game this contest won't be close. If Georgia Tech has any chance of keeping it close it will involve its young, but very talented offense, making plays.
For Notre Dame, keys to success revolve around making stops and forcing mistakes by Georgia Tech.
1. Shut Down The Run Early - The first three keys sort of go together, but it all begins with Notre Dame controlling the line of scrimmage and not letting Georgia Tech get its run game rolling.
Freshman quarterback Jeff Sims and freshman running back Jahmyr Gibbs are extremely talented, athletic and dangerous. If they get rolling early, like they did against Louisville, the Jackets should be able to score some points.
If Notre Dame shuts down their run game early and make Sims sit in the pocket and throw the ball this game won't be close. Sims has a good arm, but he's not overly accurate and like all freshman quarterbacks, he doesn't have the experience to pick apart a defense like Notre Dame's.
Forcing Sims to sit in the pocket also limits his playmaking ability, which only further increases the odds that Notre Dame shuts down the Yellow Jacket offense.
2. Tackle Well - A key to slowing down the run game, and keeping Sims from gashing the Irish defense with scrambles, is tackling well.
That means the front needs to play gap sound football and keep contain, it means the linebackers must take good angles to the football, it means all the back seven defenders need to play under control, wrap up and not allow Georgia Tech to rack up yards after contact.
If Notre Dame's plays sound football and tackles well I don't see Georgia Tech being able to sustain drives.
3. Limit Big Plays - That leads us to the final part of this building blocks of success discussion, Notre Dame cannot allow big plays. Georgia Tech has two home run threats in the run game (Sims, Gibbs), but it also has big play potential in the pass game.
Notre Dame's secondary has the talent and experience to shut down the Georgia Tech pass attack, but the Yellow Jackets are talented enough to turn mistakes into big plays.
The reality is Georgia Tech can only stay in this game if Notre Dame makes a lot of mistakes. Avoid those and this is not only a win, it's a comfortable win.
4. Get The Ball - The stand alone point is this, get the ball. Georgia Tech ranks 101st (out of 102 teams) in turnovers lost with 22. They have fumbled it away 10 times and thrown 12 interceptions. There will be chances for Notre Dame to get the ball, and when those come, the defense needs to capitalize.
Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content, our premium message board and gets you a FREE subscription to Sports Illustrated! Click on the link below for more
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!
Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes.
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachD178
Follow me on Parler: @BryanDriskell
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook