Notre Dame Notebook: Brian Mason Talks Combating Irish Special Groups

Notre Dame Notebook: Brian Mason Talks Combating Irish Special Groups

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Within the wake of last week’s upset loss to Stanford, it’s straightforward for a blocked punt to acquire lost in the walk. Notre Dame first-365 days particular teams coordinator Brian Mason’s squads had a behavior of blocking off kicks when he held the same build at Cincinnati for four years and he has introduced that that mentality with him to South Bend. He shared some thoughts on his particular teams items and gamers.

A Penchant For Punt Blocks

Prince Kollie’s 1st quarter punt block in opposition to Stanford changed into once the 2nd blocked punt by the Combating Irish this season. It gave Notre Dame a golden opportunity to attain, however the offense got here up empty after getting stopped on a 4th and 2 play at the Cardinal 5 yard line.

“That’s some extent of emphasis for us that we are attempting to impact the punter,” Mason acknowledged of blocking off punts. “One thing you never know—now we be pleased got heaps of in actuality unbiased correct gamers, defensive gamers, and we are attempting to acquire those guys to flee adore they’d on protection. Steadily you don’t know who’s going to be the fellow that can no doubt enact it and originate the block. We’ve had some guys which be pleased been stop and it’s proper extra or much less getting that no doubt feel for straightforward systems to enact it, and originate it, and coulda, woulda, shoulda had mighty extra. You proper peep that Bo Bauer, (Kollie), some varied guys be pleased extra or much less a knack to originate those performs. Steadily, in a transition, you’re proper attempting to resolve out personnel. You’re attempting to acquire out who can in actuality enact that. It’s a particular downside to preserve a watch at to resolve out who can enact it. You resolve out how one can build those pieces in better positions.”

Shedding Bo Bauer

Captain Bo Bauer has been a particular teams staple one day of his 5-365 days Combating Irish occupation. The linebacker played in 56 video games in his occupation, with the large majority of his taking part in time approaching particular teams. His occupation got here to an discontinue attributable to a knee after Notre Dame’s lift over BYU.

“It’s a giant loss,” Mason acknowledged of Bauer’s afflict. “That’s any person that changed into once in actuality a warrior for us. He wasn’t taking part in as mighty on protection as he potentially wished or anticipated to. He’d been banged up. He extra or much less had a self-sacrifice that ‘I am going to be a particular teams captain; I’m going to play every play on particular teams’ sooner than he received injured. He wished to play every get of the season on particular teams even supposing he changed into once taking part in thru just a few assorted injuries — shoulder and some varied issues that had been going on, that exiguous him in some varied ways that he extra or much less sacrificed, ‘If I’m going to be pleased a feature on this workforce, I’m going to be a particular teams captain and I’m going to talk and enact those issues. That’s a super void to omit.

“It’s likely you’ll well perhaps peep on movie, he is in actuality clearly communicating and doing issues, placing individuals in the fitting situations. Principal leader,” Mason continued. “Primitive participant. Phenomenal to witness when you occur to will be pleased big younger individuals adore that — he got here here to play linebacker, however given the downside, he sacrificed to attend all individuals else. I’la infinitum indulge in him for that. It’s an example I will without end command. We’re not ready to interchange him with any individual particular person, so it’s extra or much less adore who are our varied frail guys and guys we belief on each and each varied unit that can extra or much less beget that void. Nonetheless absolutely that’s a void that’s advanced to beget.”

Extra Jordan Botelho?

Jordan Botelho’s taking part in time with the protection has been up and down thus a ways, however adore Bauer, he has been a relentless ingredient on particular teams. Mason says he can envision a feature much just like the one Bauer had for the linebacker.

“He’s somebody that would be adore Bo sooner or later,” Mason illustrious. “Be that leader. Be a in actuality particular feature for him. I talked with coach about that. ‘Howdy Botelho would be a man adore Bauer. He has that no doubt particular skillset for obvious.’

“He’s performed a giant job on particular teams,” Mason continued. “He made two tackles, he’s on punt block, every get he’s on kickoff. He’s a backup on punt and kickoff return compatible now, however he’s performed an ideal job on punt and kickoff — coulda, woulda, shoulda blocked a punt in opposition to BYU. Makes originate tackles on kickoffs last week and has been a in actuality bodily participant.”

Jon Sot – From Ivy To Irish

Punter Jon Sot has been one of Notre Dame’s most constant particular teams gamers. The Harvard grad transfer has averaged a occupation-high 45.4 yards on 27 punts this season. It’s 3.2 yards better than his old occupation easiest at Harvard in 2019. He has boomed eight punts of higher than 50 yards, with a protracted of 75 yards.

“I dangle there’s heaps of assorted issues,” Mason acknowledged of Sot’s improvements in his first 365 days at Notre Dame. “(The) belongings he has here. There’s loads that goes into the punting. The long-snapper goes into the punting. The protection goes into the punting. Inserting him in situations to originate him a hit. Understanding situational punting and additional or much less working with the full unit to be unbiased correct and situational punting is extra or much less what capability that you just will be unbiased correct as a punt workforce. Some individuals beef up and command those issues better than others. Real having the last observe leg doesn’t originate you basically the most straightforward punter or basically the most straightforward punt workforce. It’s likely you’ll well perhaps like to create in varied situations in response to where you’re at on the sphere, where you’re at in the sport. What the punt return workforce is giving you. There’s about a cases we’d adore to be pleased support—namely in the BYU sport—however as a total we’ve performed a first rate job.

“I dangle he’s proper in his fifth 365 days of faculty,” Mason continued. “He’s older. He’s extra veteran. He understands technique better. We work with him on situational punting and how one can address varied issues. Harvard additionally canceled a 365 days of soccer so didn’t prepare as mighty with COVID restrictions. He changed into once ready to acquire into a strength and conditioning program with Coach (Matt) Balis here that no doubt helped alternate his physique.”

Lack Of Kick Return Alternatives

Chris Tyree showed the extra or much less sport changer he would be on kickoff returns alongside with his 96-yard return for a touchdown in opposition to the Wisconsin Badgers in Chicago last season. Tyree’s alternatives be pleased been a ways extra exiguous this season. The workforce has proper seven returns for 119 full yards thru six video games, with Tyree totaling six of them for an moderate of 15.3 yards. His longest return is 32 yards.

“There changed into once some extent of emphasis, starting up in the spring, that beforehand we perhaps had moments that we changed the sport adore Wisconsin, however we had been potentially a little bit inconsistent,” Mason outlined. “We are attempting to originate that some extent of emphasis: punt being No. 1, kickoff return being No. 2. …. It’s frustrating when you occur to don’t peep those dividends pay off thru the first half of the season on one thing we absolutely made some extent of emphasis.

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“(We are) mute attempting to smash thru, obtain extra constant on kickoff return for obvious,” Mason continued. “It’s been a little bit bit one thing we’ve been challenged with. We know now we be pleased got a first rate returner and we proper wish to construct it all collectively. Whether or not it’s we didn’t enact effectively catching the ball or attempting to bustle sooner than we caught it in the BYU sport, or all individuals working collectively to acquire on physique. We’ve confronted some unbiased correct kickers, that’s going to occur. When now we be pleased got those alternatives now we be pleased got to smash thru and confidently we enact that this week.”

Brandon Joseph’s Punt Returns

The hope changed into once Northwestern transfer Brandon Joseph may well perhaps add some oomph to Notre Dame’s punt returns this season. He averaged 28.5 yards on four returns for the Wildcats last season (even though 65 of it got here on one punt). His moderate is 9.3 yards on 10 returns, with a protracted of 17 yards this season. His 9.3 yards per return ranks 28th nationally.

“Number 1 most important thing is acquire the ball for the offense,” Mason acknowledged when asked about Joseph’s returns. “He’s performed a giant job of that. So, it’s straightforward to nitpick afterwards. He’s secured the ball: that’s the #1 just. Now we be pleased confronted some in actuality unbiased correct punters. We are attempting to reach the ball when there’s not heaps of dangle-time: Low four (seconds) underneath four (seconds). There be pleased been those alternatives where they’ve had an underneath four-2nd dangle-time after we’ve affected the punter and we haven’t returned it. That’s frustrating, we are attempting to be extra aggressive in those alternatives for obvious. I dangle there (had been) two last week we ought to mute’ve gotten; there (had been) extra earlier in the 365 days. We’re mute attempting to regulate and adapt to be better at that. For obvious we are attempting to be extra aggressive in those situations. Nonetheless we’ve confronted some unbiased correct punters and they’ve proper (performed effectively in opposition to) us.”

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