Oct 24, 2013

When Legends Collide

I've known in the back of my head that I was going to avoid a new stat breakdown for this week's blog entry for a little while now.  Mainly, it's driven by my failure to review the USC game...well, at least I thought that until this started making its rounds:
Oh my Run CMD!  You're so focused, so strong, so....beautiful!  Now, We've all known for a little bit that Cam McDaniel was no ordinary guy.  NDtex first opened our eyes to Cam's relentless pursuit of perfection, even in the face of insurmountable odds.  However, I'm not sure any of us were ready for that sultry stare.  Bleeding profusely?  Sure, been there done that.  Scoring touchdowns, closing games, adding some life to the running game?  Knew that too.  It was a different animal altogether to see him do it, without a helmet, and with that stare....the arms....the hair.  For nearly a week ResLife has been fielding complaints from the female dorms' security, convinced that parietals have been broken.  But those non-stop sounds emanating from the dorm rooms have all revealed a lady-domer admirer swooning, lost in Run CMD's eyes.

In the face of ND's newest heart throb, a question greater than game analysis began running through my mind:  How does "Blue Steel" McDaniel match-up with all-time heart throb Brady Quinn's famous guns?  I begged on Twitter for someone else to take this on, but the plea fell on deaf ears.  Oh Internet, how I loathe you when you make me do my own work.

I elected to stack these two monsters of the gridiron, lighters of female passion, head-to-head in four all important categories.  Here are the results:

“Blue Steel” McDaniel:
Quinn’s Guns:
Less than six inches long, it’s not the size that matters for McDaniel’s efficient smirk. Am-I-right ladies?  Of course I am.  CMC is silently saying, “I’ve got all the moves to reach the end zone.”
With a bowling ball chiseled out of pristine marble tucked neatly into the upper part of each arm, there is no question that Quinn’s letting it all hang out.
A great facial expression caught in the heat of battle can catapult just about any sports star into an international sensation.  Just ask McKayla Maroney.  While she might not be impressed with Cam’s stealy calm, the rest of us are.  I for one can’t wait to find out all the historic moments I missed noticing Cam was there, assuring us "he's got this." 
The “gunshow” is a tried and true legend of mimic posing.  Well before the days of planking and Tebowing, dudes of all shapes and sizes have asked the simple question: “Do you have tickets to the show?” However, there are very few men who when they flex and over-excitedly say “the gun show” don't mean it as a joke.  Quinn’s one of them, and we all want a box seat.
Unfortunately for Cam, the NCAA doesn’t give a damn that it’s his natural good looks and his parents’ impeccable genetics that lead to this moment.  Although Cam hails from Texas and rumor has it there’s a football player down there known to have the playbook for making profit  in the face of the NCAA, Cam is still a Notre Dame man.  He’ll make his…just not yet.
While Brady Quinn had to sit in agonizing fashion on draft day as team after team passed over him, Quinn’s guns assured he’d have some money available to buy the alcohol necessary to ease that pain.  When your arms are talked about for years by announcers around the country, it’s no surprise that Myoplex inked him to a deal regardless of where he was taken.  That’s money in the bank.
Sex Appeal
Look at that picture of CMC again.  You see that?  That’s Cam, bursting through not one but two Trojans.  As a Catholic, this might be troubling, but there is no question that that was literally more man than the Trojans could handle.
If ESPN Radio ads and Cialis commercials have taught me anything, it’s that the ladies like a man who’s ready at any moment.  Quinn’s arms have been locked and loaded for years.   As stated above, his arms are chiseled out of marble meaning they are, in fact, hard as a rock.

I'll admit, selecting just four categories and splitting them appears to be a cop out, but the truth is, these two deserve to tie.  Yes, there's room in every lady's heart for both of these stallions, and really, why should anyone have to choose?  I know some have been discouraged by reports of fiancĂ©es and girlfriends and the like, but don't be.  Brady Quinn's NFL career lets you know just how many times he can switch his allegiances, and Cam's still got a whole career ahead of him.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go do some curls, tussle my hair, drink enough whiskey to get the whiskey goggles on (beer just won't do it), and see if I can capture just a small fraction of these Adonis' charisma in time for the game on Saturday.

- Moons

Oct 19, 2013

We've Got Pie(Charts)!

With the ND/USC game just hours away, ready to kick off the start of the second half of the season, it seems like a perfect time to look back at what Notre Dame's been doing offensively with usage.  In an effort to get this out prior to the game, and because after drinking a few Trojan Bloods no one's in the mood to read a lot of letters, I present, with limited comment, usage patterns through the first half of the season.


The least interesting and not even worthy of a chart has been ND's selection at quarterback.  Coming into the season, I expected there to be more of a split between Rees and Hendrix, but that has not played out.  Tommy Rees has been behind the center for 95% of ND's offensive snaps this season.  More than half of Hendrix's plays came in the first game versus Temple...on the clean-up-duty last drive.  Don't count me among those that expected or wanted to see Malik Zaire this year.

Running Back:

Far more interesting, and unpredictable was the question of how ND would split duty among its running backs.  There are two ways to look at this.  First, let's see how the carries have been distributed:

After starting the season as the featured back, Amir Carlisle has seen his carries dwindle further and further.  GA III's emergence in recent weeks has cut into Carlisle's carries, and there's no question that the closer is Cam McDaniel.  McDaniel's seen the vast majority of his carries in the second half when BK's looking to close out the game.  Those hoping to see Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston have been disappointed to this point.  The two talented true freshmen have combined for just 8% of ND's carries thus far.

There is a second way to look at this, which is, "who's been on the field the most?"  Charting every play and then excluding only penalties and victory formation offerings, here is the RB usage in terms of number of plays:

The disparity is interesting.  Carlisle, third on the team in rushing attempts, has easily seen the greatest number of snaps.  This is primarily the result of his usage as the slot receiver in ND's empty backfield set.  Another thing this points out is just how predictable the situations Cam McDaniel comes into can be.  While Run CMC is used occasionally as a blocker in pass protection, the easiest bet of the year has been "if Cam's in the game, we're running."

Wide Receiver:

The receiver numbers will not shock anyone.  First, the charts:

TJ Jones and Davaris Daniels unsurprisingly account for over 50% of both targets and receptions.  Daniels has been targeted slightly more than Jones, but Jones has hauled in the pass for a reception more frequently.  Troy Niklas has been targeted the exact same number of times as ND running backs.  While no one will confuse Hercules for Tyler Eifert or Kyle Rudolph, his 4 TD receptions is tied for the team lead.  The other interesting thing to note is Chris Brown's emergence as the #3 wide receiver.  Brown has been targeted 19 times resulting in 7 receptions.  Corey Robinson, William Fuller, C.J. Prosise, and Ben Koyack have been targeted a combined 18 times.  However, they've converted 12 of those targets into receptions.  It will be worth watching whether Brown losses targets to these other options over the second half of the season.

Offensive Formation:

Finally, let's quickly see how ND lines up from a formation perspective:

Notre Dame lines up in the 3 WR set nearly half of all snaps.  I'd argue that we've been most successful from the 2WR/2TE set in recent weeks, but that analysis shall be for another post.  Overall, the Irish have lined up in a empty backfield roughly 1 out of every 4 snaps.  Whether this is desirable or not continues to be a question worthy of healthy criticism.

As you watch Notre Dame tonight, play along, try to guess what'll happen.  Notre Dame's been slightly more likely to pass the ball than rush it.  Given that piece of information, we might expect that the most frequently run play would be a pass....out of the 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB set....to Davaris Daniels.  That's been the result on 22 of Notre Dame's roughly 400 offensive plays thus far.  However, Cam McDaniel getting the ball out of the 2 WR/2TE set has actually happened twice as frequently.  44 of McDaniels' attempts have occurred in that situation.

Enjoy the game tonight...and now you'll know what to expect from ND's offense.  Raise your Trojan Blood high, and Go Irish!