Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly likes to use tight end Tyler Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger grad, in multiple ways in the passing game.
And why not? At 6-foot-6, 251 pounds, Eifert can take advantage of favorable matchups by splitting out wide like a receiver.
Against No. 17 Stanford (4-1), the No. 7 Irish (5-0) will get a double dose of their own medicine on Saturday.
Stanford utilizes tight ends Levine Toilolo, 6-8, 265 pounds, and Zack Ertz, 6-6, 252 pounds, a lot like Notre Dame uses Eifert.
"It's a nightmare," Kelly said of having to defend Toilolo and Ertz. "Eifert is the same problem if we split him out, if we put the ball in a good location he's going to catch it every time so we've got to have some answers there. They're two wide receivers. It just become a matchup every time. We're going to have to look at key coverages, so we're aware of what our problems are, and we'll have to address them if the game shows them to be real issues."
Stanford doesn't limit Toilolo's and Ertz's offensive contributions to short, controlled passes.
Toilolo averages a team-high 21.4 yards per catch, and Ertz is averaging 15 yards per catch.
"You have to press them out. You can't give them off coverage," Kelly said of the big gains by the tight ends. "They're going to throw to them, he will run the corner over every time. You have to press him because you're bringing somebody down in the run game, and you're getting one-on-one press coverage.
"So if you're throwing the ball down the field every route gets converted when it's pressed, for the most part so it becomes a one-on-one throw the ball up there. Some teams have limited that, some have not. We hope to be the team that can limit that."