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"work volume" for the front 7 next season

by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Saturday, January 22, 2011, 11:18

If I get some time I might go back and do a little defensive charting for the last four games. I'm interested in how we changed and rotated after Ian went out, and am wondering if it offers any clues as to what we'll see deployed in the Fall. I'm curious about alignment (3-man fronts vs 4-man fronts) but I'm also curious about which players were inserted, in what situations, and for how many snaps per game. (Hence my questions about Ian Williams below, to which JN pointed me in the right direction).

Anyway, just collecting some links & quotes to refresh my memory.


on Ian's work volume, BK transcript 10/5/10

Q. I think we're running out of ways to ask you how good Ian Williams has been this year, but big picture what did you see with him when he got here and how far has he come as kind of that nose in your defense?

COACH KELLY: Well, two things: One was work volume, his ability to have a sustained effort, a high level, was not very good. We graded it out to be somewhere in the 30 play range last year. And then his play would taper off, physical conditioning, strength, all those things, nutrition, taking care of his body. Now he's up in that 50 play range.
So the first thing that's obviously noticeable is his work volume. He can now compete at a high level for a longer period of time. He's always had the intuitive, kinesthetic awareness, whatever you want to call it, he can get off blocks, so he's always had that. What we've really focused on is the work volume.


on Ian's work volume, 10/21/10

How times and waistlines and attitudes have changed as this year's bout of Naval gazing approaches Saturday. Williams is the bulwark nose guard for the Irish, never before committed and well-conditioned like he is now, producing the most consistently effective play of his career.

The senior is sixth on the team with 31 tackles and has 31/2 tackles-for-loss, but it's the disruption and congestion his 315-pound frame causes that the Irish value. Especially against Navy, it is Williams' duty to discourage the fullback dive in the triple option. If he doesn't, the defense crumbles inside-out.

"He really has bought into our scheme," defensive line coach Mike Elston said. "We line him up on a center, and he beats his brains in, and then he goes and makes a tackle. When you're 315 pounds and you're the strongest guy on the field, it seems like that would be pretty easy to do."

Ever since he logged his first significant minutes versus Navy, actually, Williams has demonstrated ample talent. Just never for very long.

With the arrival of the new staff and conditioning regiment, out went the midnight fast food runs and up went Williams' squat max, for one, from 485 to 600 pounds. His "work volume," as Irish coach Brian Kelly likes to put it, jumped 10 to 15 plays per game.

"He just physically is able to go at a high rate for a longer period of time," Kelly said.

Essentially, maturity and camaraderie with Elston sparked better decision-making in all facets.

"I know what to work on," Williams said. "If I mess up anything, I know where to check myself and say, all right, coach, what do you think about this?

"(I'm) just being an older guy for my teammates, just trying to be a leader and lead by my example on the field."

It showed when Kelly called Williams' name as the defensive captain against Michigan State. For four years, Williams' mother pestered him about such an honor. When he called with the news, she cried. All of this has been a long time coming.

"Someone could go through all four years and not put it all together," defensive tackle Ethan Johnson said. "I feel like he's starting to put it all together."


comments on Cwynar, Hafis, Schwenke

At 280 pounds, Cwynar weighs less the ends Ethan Johnson (285 pounds) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (283) and is 25 pounds lighter than Ian Williams (305).

But the Irish are confident Cwynar, who will be backed up by Hafis Williams, will be able to provide what they need in Ian Williams' absence. Ian Williams sprained the MCL in his left leg and will be out for four to six weeks.

"Sean's been, you know, a consistent performer in there when Ian came out of the game so, we feel good about Sean stepping in for that position," coach Brian Kelly said. "The next player, really, for us, is Hafis, and Sean can't play the whole game. He doesn't have the work volume to do that yet. So Hafis and Sean, together, can get that done."

Defensive line coach Mike Elston said what Cwynar doesn't have in size he makes up for in technique using his hands and leverage with his shoulder pads.

"Sean's played a lot of football, and so has Hafis," Elston said. "They are not the type of player Ian is right now, because Ian is a senior and has a lot of experience. He was a starter. There was a reason why he was the starter, he's an impact player. It's not going to be hard for them to do the jobs we want them to do. They may not do them as well as Ian, but they will get there."

Hafis Williams has been playing a backup role at defensive end this season, but defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said the junior is ready for the move inside.

"The next guy is not just haphazard," Diaco said. "The next guy has been prepared to perform. He's played in the games. He's played the position in the games. He's had a massive amount of reps in practice. He's ready to go.

"He's gotten reps in practice at nose. He also played nose in high school. It is not foreign to him to play on or close to the ball."

Ian Williams' injury has also forced Notre Dame to call on freshman Kona Schwenke to play this year.

Schwenke didn't play in the first eight games, but with Hafis Williams moving inside the first-year player was told he will play against Tulsa on Saturday.

"He's more than ready," Elston said. "Now is he going to go out there and play great football, we will find out. But he's mentally ready. He had his best practice today, a very physical practice. I'm excited to see Kona. He brings an element to the defensive line; he's got a good skill set. He's very quick off the ball, a very good pass rusher. I'm excited to see him play."


front7, process


interesting comments re Cwynar in Kelly's presser

by JRT, Island of Misfit Toys, Saturday, January 22, 2011, 17:29 @ Jay

Cwynar had offseason surgeries on a stress fracture on his foot and a disc in his back.

Kelly attributed the disc injury to Cwynar's increased work volume after Ian went down-said going above 30 snaps/game is what did it (and that Cwynar had been playing hurt since then).

Kelly down played the disc surgery and said Cwynar could recover from that in 4 weeks.

To me, a disc injury in an undersized DL is cause for concern.

In any event, I don't think there's much chance Cwynar takes over 30 snaps/game next year, even if healthy. Expect a lot of Hafis or Nix, even if Cwynar starts.


Pat's charting of the Pitt game

by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Saturday, January 22, 2011, 11:24 @ Jay

Here's the data:

and some observations:

Johnson - 29
H. Williams - 14
KLM - 3 (dime defense, more left DT than DE)
I. Williams - 1 (late to field, he slid in at DE)

I. Williams - 32
Cwynar - 12
Johnson - 1 (when Ian was late to field)

KLM - 31
Cwynar - 9
I. Williams - 3 (dime defense, more right DT than DE)
Shembo - 1 (played legit DE with B.Smith and Fleming at OLB)

Fleming - 47 (every snap)
Neal - 19
B.Smith - 13
Shembo - 5

Te'o - 47 (every snap)
Carlo - 41 (every non-dime defense snap)

Boundary CB
Gray - 35
Blanton - 9
Walls - 3 (possibility I mixed these 3 up)

Field CB
Walls - 36
Blanton - 8
Gray - 3 (possibility I mixed these 3 up)

H. Smith - 47 (every snap)

Slaughter - 27
Motta - 20

Blanton - 10

Motta - 6

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