What To Watch For: Notre Dame Offense vs. Wisconsin

What I'll be looking for from the Notre Dame offense early in its matchup against the Wisconsin defense
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If Notre Dame is going to develop into the team I thought it could be the offense must get better. The Irish offense has regressed each week but a bounce back is needed against an aggressive, physical and very well coached Wisconsin defense.

We should know very early on if Notre Dame has made the necessary adjustments and is prepared to play at a higher level. Here are the five things I'll be looking for early to know if the Irish offense is ready to thrive.

1. Offensive line is playing assignment sound football - Notre Dame's offensive line doesn't have to play elite football to win this game. It doesn't have to look like the 2020 unit, or the 2017 unit, or the 2015 unit. It just has to play sound, assignment correct football.

It's simple, just do your job and get a body on a body. With the talent Notre Dame has at the skill positions all they need is for the line to give them a chance to shine. It doesn't take much room for backs Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree to hit home runs. Clean pockets for Jack Coan will result in a lot of catches and yards for the Irish wideouts.

Do your job, get a body on a body. If we see that early in the game this will be a fun game to watch.

2. Kevin Austin and Braden Lenzy have rebounded - Both Kevin Austin and Braden Lenzy made crucial drops last weekend, and Austin's performance was especially disappointing. How will these two talented players respond to their week three struggles? The answer to that will be something we hopefully find out in the first two quarters.

Notre Dame needs them both to be on their game this season, and part of being a big-time player is bouncing back after a rough game. I would like to see OC Tommy Rees design ways early in the game to get these two playmakers the football, which would certainly help them quickly get into a groove.

3. Tommy Rees is mixing up route depths - Speaking of Rees, I've liked a lot of what he's done this year but he has to adapt to the fact his offensive line hasn't been very good. Far too often this season we've seen Rees call well designed pass concepts that had receivers coming open, but the depth of the route combinations often prevent Coan from being able to get the ball out in the face of pressure.

Rees needs to adapt and do a better job mixing up the depth of his pass game concepts. Still run the verticals and downfield concepts but there is a need for more levels concepts, more screens, more quick game and more routes built into those deeper concepts that allows Coan to get the ball out if pressure is coming.

I'd also like to see Coan and the receivers connect on some back shoulders in this game. They are downfield routes that can come out quicker and also can make teams pay for being so aggressive with their coverages.

4. Michael Mayer is back involved - Purdue did a great job shutting down Michael Mayer with an aggressive coverage scheme. Wisconsin will look to do the same thing. Can Rees and Coan figure out ways to get Mayer back involved in the offense? I'd love to see that early in this game.

5. Offense makes Wisconsin pay for its aggressiveness - Wisconsin isn't a team that blitzes a ton of guys but they do like to attack. Rees needs to have a game plan designed to make them pay for that. Whether its run calls that get outside of inside stunts, using formations and motions to gain leverage advantage, screens, quick throws behind the linebackers, whatever it is there needs to be a plan to attack the aggressiveness, rip off some big plays and force Wisconsin to back off.

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