15 on 6: Cutler Making All the Right Moves

15 on 6: Cutler Making All the Right Moves

Sunday, September 27th

Two weeks in a row Jay Cutler has been carving up defenses with his decision making. When you go 21 for 27 you are working the neurotransmitters pretty hard to diagnose the right guy to deliver the ball. If Jay does not process all the information from his defensive keys, he still has the ability to adjust the velocity of his throw when he knows it is going to get harry.

Two glaring examples of Jay processing all the information happened in the first half of the victory over the Seahawks. First, the first quarter slant route to Bennett. Jay forced Earl with his throw to throttle in the hole when he diagnosed the safety was rotating weak on the snap of the ball. Earl Bennett is a young player. He has to see the safety also and should have geared down on his route. Jay threw it behind him purposely as to not get him blown up. It may have looked like an acrobatic catch and it was by Bennett, but he can make it easier on himself next time.

Secondly, the TD pass to Greg Olsen on the 4th and goal Bootleg right before the half. The Bears were stuffed on third and goal in the run game. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner gave Jay the option between two plays. Jay chose the Naked Bootleg during their sideline meeting. Ron's decision to leave it up to Jay signifies he does not want to call a play in crucial situations that his QB does not feel comfortable in executing.

Why call it if the QB does not have confidence in it? It is a hard sell to the guys in the huddle as a QB if you do not even believe in the play call coming from the sideline when the game is at stake. All Jay did was beautifully dissect, with his presnap read, that safety Deon Grant was the end man on the line of scrimmage. The play is called "Naked Bootleg" for a reason. You as the QB are responsible for the end man as he always will be unblocked. You are coming out of your fake "naked or exposed" so to speak if you are not ready for that man.

Jay knew he was coming and came out of his fake with a deeper drop in order to negotiate the blitzer enough to get the ball off. That was text book and a huge play for the Bears to go in at halftime with a score.

Jay is settling into the offense nicely and should be looking forward to a good game against the Lions in Week 4.

Big Ten poll update: Three teams in top 10, Huskers rise to No. 15 in both polls

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Big Ten poll update: Three teams in top 10, Huskers rise to No. 15 in both polls

The Big Ten landed three teams in the top 10 in both the coaches and the AP poll, and Nebraska moved up to No. 15 when both polls were released Sunday afternoon.

Ohio State remained the No. 2 team in both polls. The Buckeyes had a bye week this weekend. Undefeated after three non-conference games, including that big win at Oklahoma, Ohio State begins Big Ten play next weekend against Rutgers.

Michigan checked in at No. 4 in the AP poll and No. 5 in the coaches poll. The Wolverines had an impressive 49-10 win over Penn State on Saturday, getting six rushing touchdowns from five different ball-carriers and dominating on defense. Michigan has a huge showdown with Wisconsin next weekend in Ann Arbor.

Speaking of the Badgers, they rose to No. 8 in both polls after a dominant win over Michigan State. Wisconsin's defense was incredible, keeping Michigan State out of the end zone and coming away with four takeaways in that 30-6 win in East Lansing. Freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook was also impressive in his first start. The game against the Wolverines will be the Badgers' third against a top-10 opponent this season.

Nebraska jumped five spots in both polls, climbing from No. 20 to No. 15 after Saturday's 24-13 win over Northwestern. The Huskers were hardly mistake-free in the victory, fumbling twice on the goal line but avoiding any damage because of it. Mike Riley is now 4-0 to start his second season in Lincoln after winning just six games all of last year.

Michigan State dropped to No. 16 in the coaches poll and No. 17 in the AP poll following its loss to Wisconsin. Tyler O'Connor was intercepted three times, and the offense was generally unable to do much of anything — accumulating only 75 rushing yards — the team not faring much better on the defensive side. Michigan State takes on Indiana next weekend.

Iowa dropped out of the coaches poll after narrowly beating Rutgers on Saturday. The Hawkeyes still received votes in that poll, along with Minnesota and Maryland. Iowa and Maryland also received votes in the AP poll.

Notre Dame fires defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder

Notre Dame fires defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder

Notre Dame fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder on Sunday, ending a rocky three-year tenure in South Bend. 

Greg Hudson, who was on staff as a defensive analyst, was named interim defensive coordinator. VanGorder is the first assistant coach fired by coach Brian Kelly at Notre Dame. 

"This is a difficult decision," Kelly said in a statement. "I have the utmost respect for Brian as both a person and football coach, but our defense simply isn't it where it should be and I believe this change is necessary for the best interest of our program and our student-athletes.

"It's never easy to make a change on your staff, but I'm confident in Greg's ability to lead our defense. As a former player at Notre Dame and an experienced defensive coordinator, he not only understands the expectations necessary to compete at the highest level, but he'll bring a fresh perspective to our sideline, practice field and meeting rooms."

The struggles of VanGorder's defense have been at the heart of Notre Dame's 1-3 start to the 2016 season. The Irish allowed 50, 36 and 38 points in losses to Texas, Michigan State and Duke, with the latter one of the program's more embarrassing defeats at Notre Dame Stadium in the Kelly era. 

After Week 4, Notre Dame ranks 101st in scoring defense (33.5 points per game), 104th in yards per play allowed (6.18), 93rd in red zone touchdown rate (68.75 percent), 89th in forced turnovers (four), 126th in sacks (one) and 108th in tackles for a loss (17), among other damning statistics. 

Even with a host of NFL talent on its roster last season, Notre Dame's defense only ranked 35th in S&P+, which was good enough for the Irish to reach the Fiesta Bowl but not good enough for them to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. 

Hudson was hired as a defensive analyst this year after spending 2013-2015 as Purdue's defensive coordinator. The 1990 Notre Dame graduate also served as a defensive coordinator at East Carolina and Minnesota, and held coaching positions at Florida State (linebackers/assistant head coach, 2010-2012) and Cincinnati (assistant coach, 1997-2000). 

"Obviously, this is a difficult day for our coaching staff, but I'm excited and honored about the opportunity that coach Kelly has afforded me," Hudson said. "We've got to improve on defense, without a doubt, and I'm confident that we will. We have great student-athletes and a tremendous defensive coaching staff. I can't wait to get started with our group."