Brandon Wimbush looked very impressive in Notre Dame’s 24-17 opening weekend victory over the Michigan Wolverines. While only finishing the game 12-22 passing for 170 yards with one touchdown and one interception, I believe that he played better than his stats indicated. Aside from completing 12 passes, Wimbush was also Notre Dame’s leading rusher. He had 19 carries for 59 yards.
However, the game against Ball State did not replicate what the Irish showed against Michigan. Wimbush was 17-31 passing for 297 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions. Along with his struggle to distribute the ball effectively, the Cardinals consistency in getting into the Irish backfield made it hard for Wimbush to be a threat with his legs. Pairing a bad throwing and running day for Brandon Wimbush did not bode well for the Irish whatsoever.
The Vanderbilt Commodores from the Atlantic Coast Conference travel to South Bend this weekend with a record of 2-0. They have had two homes games thus far, beating Middle Tennessee 35-7 and then taking care of Nevada 41-10.
Even though the Irish should not have too much trouble with Vanderbilt, this game is a chance for Wimbush to show his true potential ahead of Notre Dame’s matchups with Stanford and Virginia Tech that loom large in the coming weeks.
Here are two things Wimbush needs to do to be more effective against Vanderbilt than he was against Ball State:
Improve Decision Making
Wimbush definitely has the ability to make all of the throws within Notre Dame’s offense. However, sometimes when he feels pressure in the pocket he has the tendency to make errant throws. Throwing the ball into traffic is what led to some of his interceptions last weekend. As the competition in the coming weeks stiffens, whether or not he improves his decision making could prove to be the difference maker in whether or not Notre Dame wins or loses.
Work on Passing Touch
Aside from making better decisions, Wimbush must also work on his passing touch. Whether it is fitting the ball into tight windows on short crossing routes or throwing a deep ball where only his receiver can catch it, putting more touch on the ball will improve Wimbush’s accuracy. Also, it will open up the playbook more offensively as the confidence in Wimbush’s ability to make hard throws grows.
To sum things up, even though Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are currently the eighth-ranked team in the AP Poll, there is still work to be done at the quarterback position in order for them to be championship contenders.
A strong outing against Vanderbilt this Saturday is the first step for Brandon Wimbush and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish offense to help fans put their outing against Ball State in the past and look forward to the rest of the season with a rejuvenated sense of excitement.
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