Depth Chart Engineering 101 UPDATE

Quick follow up based on some of the comments from yesterday’s Depth Chart Engineering 101 post.

zibby-blog.jpgTommy Zbikowski to Linebacker
Can’t believe I forgot about this one yesterday. There have been posts clamoring for Zibby to move to linebacker for the past two seasons, and prior to the addition of Corwin Brown, I would have agreed with them. Brown, however, has just got done turning Kerry Rhodes into a Pro-Bowl caliber safety, and I would like to see what Brown can do with Zibby this year. The weight gained Zbikowski gained for his fight last summer looked like it may have slowed him down a hair. Instead of seeing him bulk up and play linebacker, I’d love to see him slim down a bit and remain at safety. One think people tend to forget is that most of the deep plays given up were aimed at the other safety.

Terrail Lambert to Safety
This is an interesting one, and one I had not really thought about much. That said, I think its pretty intriguing. I’m not quite sure if Lambert is physical enough to play safety, but he would be able to provide the deep coverage that Notre Dame has been lacking. Lambert will start the Spring as one of the starting corners, but if some of the young corners show they are ready to start, a position change to safety is not completely unthinkable. I still have questions about Lambert’s ability to stop the run though. He was a sound tackler most of the year, but he isn’t overly physical.

Munir Prince to Wide Receiver/Flanker
Another interesting one. I think Prince probably has the speed and the moves in the open field to play the position, but on the few opportunities he had to catch the ball, he didn’t exactly show great hands. It’s hard to judge based on those limited chances, so I wouldn’t rule this one out. With Robert Hughes and Armando Allen joining the backfield in 2007, Notre Dame will have the numbers at running back to make such a move. Seeing Prince with the ball in the open field could be an exciting scenario for Notre Dame fans. He doesn’t have the size to be the kind of receiver that gets the tough third down because he will have to deal with a lot of jams at the line. If he could line up in a multiple receiver set he has the speed to get downfield.

Stay tuned for DCE 102 later tonight for my crack at projected the offensive depth chart.

[tags]Tom Zbikowski, Munir Prince, Terrail Lambert, Notre Dame Football[/tags]

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  1. Yeah, I think they helped Holtz out w/ admissions early on (chris Zorich, Tony Rice…both of whom graduated) b/c the program needed a boost after the Faust years. Then when Holtz started winning w/ the great classes that RC Vinny Cerrato was roping in, they ran Cerrato off to the NFL & tightened the admissions again. That course of events almost mirrors what Weis has. It seems he & admissions have a good relationship thus far, what w/ the early admission last year & this spring. Time will tell.

  2. Realist, point taken with the Holtz players. I went to Grad school at ND and one of the profs knew Holtz. One of Holtz’s biggest gripes as time wore on was the admissions folks stonewalling him on frontline players. I don’t think that is a big surprise, but it kind of ties in what was done and what we are failing to get done now.

  3. Aaron, I heard the theory posed by Cowherd as well. He claims that the top front 7 players have more of a killer instinct & are preoccupied w/ the physicality of f’ball rather than the whole college experience. His point was even if the kids were bright enuf to be accepted into ND, that they aren’t as concerned w/ academics to make that a tipping point when choosing a college. I mean most universities offer reputable degrees if you want them, the difference in ND is that it’s one of the main selling points at ND. Cowherd claims that this isn’t a priority for the the elite defensive front 7. He goes on to point out as proof of this that schools like ND & Stanford continue to put OL, DBs & offensive skill players in the NFL but you rarely see any front 7 players from the elite academic universities. I wish someone would have asked him to explain Lou Holtz’s ability to put some pretty decent front 7 def. players on the field. Chris Zorich, Jim Flanigan, George Williams, Junior Bryant, Bryant Young, Justin Tuck, Michael Stonebreaker, Ned Bolcar, Pete Bercich, the list goes on. Funny enough, I believe Stonebreaker did miss a year due to academic problems. IN closing, Cowherd makes an interesting theory b/c, right now, it’s got some credibility b/c we aren’t getting those top DL &/or LB.

  4. USC does a good job DCEing. Brian Cushing was recruited at LB, USC had 6 all american candidates in front (an exaggeration, but barely) and bulk him up and move him to DE. That kid is tough. If our S&C coach can bulk Zibby up 15 lbs like Cushing has, then he is a monster at OLB. Regardless of these comments, Weis and Brown are going to have to find consistent ways to pressure the QB. Our front four were solid this past year, but they didn’t disrupt the passing game of Mich, USC, and LSU. It doesn’t matter if they dominate avg opponents. Does anyone listen to Colin Cowherd? He had an interesting theory on why the Irish don’t have top notch Def talent. It was something along the lines of this: Def players are mean and dumb and these kids don’t fit in at ND. I wouldn’t say that’s 100% accurate but he might be onto something. Even our Def in 2001-2002 was opportunistic not dominant. I use the 31 pt loss to USC as case in point. Sorry for the rambling…

  5. Why not move Lambert to safety? How often are both safeties big time run stoppers? My perception is that one is better at pass defense & one is the big hitter ala Roy Williams of the Cowboys. If they’re gonna have a big physical kid at strong safety, like Zibby then I don’t see the problem w/ Lambert at the free safety position. I would definitely be excited about Prince filling a role similar to what Rocket did when he was in South Bend. Run out of the slot, wide out, tailback, anywhere to maximize his talents. Finally, I give up on hoping for Zibby to move to LB. As a DB, he has yet to progress at pass defense & continues to bite on the play action. I think he actually regressed last year from 2005. If he truly wants to be a first day draft pick next year, he should concentrate 100% of his efforts on football & not make the mistake that he & Samardzija did last year w/ pro boxing & pro baseball respectively. Personally, unless Zibby makes substantial improvement at the safety position, I think he has a better shot at being selected an All-American at LB. Remember Frank Stams? One year he’s an average FB lost on the depth chart. In comes Lou Holtz who moves him to LB where’s he’s named All-American & leads the defense to a Nat’l Championship season. Stranger things have happened

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