When Notre Dame appears at the dance on Dec. 29, Dabo Swinney expects the Irish to dance with who brought them.
In other words, Clemson’s head coach expects Notre Dame to be Notre Dame and to do things that helped it go 12-0 in the regular season. The Tigers will play Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl Classic as part of the College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 29 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
What got Notre to the national semis?
The Irish played good football. They were not flashy in doing it, but they were solid.
On offense, they play with a quick passing game that will not try to beat you over the top too often, but instead will mix in screens to the running backs and tight ends and then the short passes on the outside to the wide receivers.
On defense, they play tough. They try to make an offense earn every play and rarely give up the big plays. In other words, they are not great at any one thing, but they’re good at everything.
“I think everybody is who they are at this point,” Swinney said. “That does not mean you have some game plan and specific type wrinkles, but when it is all said and done, we are who we are, and they are who they are.
“They are going to do what they do. They will not vary too much from that because that is what got them here.”
Below is a scouting report from Swinney from after practice on Wednesday when he was asked about the Notre Dame offense.
“At the end of the day, they are really good. The quarterback is a heck of a player. He is slippery. He has a very good arm and the ball comes out fast. They do a lot of quick game and a lot of short stuff in the passing game. They do a lot of screens. They get the ball to the back in the passing game and then they have two giants on the outside in 82 and 81. Those guys are some big, long-dudes. The quarterback has a really good feel on the back-shoulder balls and those guys have great body control and are great route runners. They have a slot guy, No. 10 and have three good running backs, 2,8 and 6. They are good up front and are one of the better offensive lines out there.
“They are just well coordinated so I don’t think they will vary from who they are. I’m sure they will have some game plan specific things they will try to attack us with, but when it is all said and done, they are going to do what they do.”