Notre Dame Offense: During my film study, I was quite taken back how modern the Irish offense was. In the above image, Notre Dame is using 21 personnel (2 running backs/1 tight end) and in a “Pro Weak Right” formation. The “Pro” indicates that there is a flanker and a split end both in the game and positioned on opposite sides. The “Weak” indicates that the fullback is positioned directly behind the quarterback with the tailback lined up behind the weakside guard. From this formation, the Irish could release five players into the passing game or go with maximum protection and still have a two-man pattern. It’s equally effective in the run game, especially with a sweep to the field side (strong side) with a pulling guard and fullback providing blocks at the point of attack.
Michigan State Defense: The Spartans got out of their base 5-2 defense and shifted into a 4-4 Stack defensive alignment. The down lineman are in “Over-G” look, which means the play side defensive tackle (Bubba Smith) is aligned head up on strong side guard (2 technique) and the other defensive tackle is lined up over the opposite guard. The inside linebackers are in a stack alignment, directly behind the defensive tackles. The strong side outside linebacker is in a “solid” look, meaning lined up on the line of scrimmage able to set the edge in the running game or turn and run if the tight end release into a pass pattern.