Irish employing familiar strategy vs. Oklahoma 'O'

Irish employing familiar strategy vs. Oklahoma 'O'
September 27, 2013, 8:15 pm
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One of the takeaways from looking at Blake Bell's film in his lone career start -- two weeks ago against Tulsa -- is a good chunk of his yards came on short routes that Sooners receivers broke for big gains after the catch.

Bell still showed incisive accuracy and a strong arm, to be sure, and Notre Dame's defense will have to negotiate those on Saturday. But if the Irish defense successfully employs the same strategy it did last year in Norman, those after-the-catch runs won't be present in South Bend.

[More: Plenty at stake for Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma]

Notre Dame gave 10-yard cushions to Oklahoma receivers last year, allowing Jalen Saunders to catch 15 passes for 181 yards. But the key there: No touchdowns. Notre Dame tackled very well last year and didn't allow the deep ball -- and with the same strategy in place for Saturday's game, they'll have to do more of the same.

"We just gotta keep the ball in front of you, stay above the cut," cornerback Bennett Jackson said. "You can't let them run over the top of your head."

Tackling was a problem for Notre Dame against Michigan (see: Jeremy Gallon's first touchdown) -- if Notre Dame expects to beat Oklahoma, those same issues can't arise again.

"When you put those guys in space, they make plays," Jackson said of OU's receivers. "You gotta be in the right position."