Notre Dame secondary seeking more consistency
Even before Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell shared his thoughts on Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson, the ability of the Fighting Irish to stop the Tigers' passing game figured to be a key subplot when the teams face off Saturday night.
Notre Dame will enter Death Valley with the nation's No. 49 defense in terms of pass efficiency, and CSN Chicago notes the Fighting Irish are 70th nationally in explosive passing plays (20 yards or more) allowed with 12 and 82nd nationally in terms of allowing 30-yard passes (six).
Those figures are a bit inflated by successful trick plays both Virginia and Massachusetts pulled off against the ND defense, but head coach Brian Kelly still conceded he wants to see more consistency from his defense.
“There's times where we're competing and challenging throws, and then there's some times that we're not,” Kelly said. “I think that if you're asking (defensive coordinator Brian) VanGorder and (defensive backs coach Todd) Lyght, I think what we're looking for is consistency and competing for the ball.
“Some of it is technique where we're losing at the line of scrimmage in some instances, and then some of it is just not being as aggressive as we'd like to be to the ball. So at times, we are getting those two things. We just need to get it more consistently.”