there are a few things that might have caused this. I have embedded the video down below again for reference. Ok, that said--
First, let's look at the formation. Notre Dame is in 11 personnel with a "heavy trips to the right/field side with a spread wr to the boundary." The TE to the 3 wr side is what makes it a heavy call, but the back is also to the TE side which does 2 things at least. One, it makes that side truthfully a 4 wr side, as he can easily flare out to the side and be a "hot" receiver on a blitz. The fact that this is the field side also is an attempt to force the defense to defend the flood zone with the 4 eligible wr to that side. Two, it really negates the "heavy" side as the run strength because most gun teams don't like to just turn and hand it to the back on the same side he lines up on, they want him to come across the qb's face and build momentum side to side so he can then make his zone read and cut.
Basically, Notre Dame is telling Georgia that there is little threat of run with this formation. Granted, it's 3rd and 11 but in my opinion you're almost better off just emptying out if you're going to do this because you're making their protection reads so easy and your adjustments harder.
Georgia is in what I would call a true "even" nickel front with the Sam Over; a db is in for the WLB, the DL is in outside technique on both the guards and the tackles (to set up the one on one threat on both sides of the line), and a MLB is in a head up to slight shade on the center at depth with the Sam playing over the top in an outside shade on the TE. In truth, I suppose it could be a dime with a SS in there for the Sam, but I don't know there personnel so I will just call him a Sam and with where the Sam is playing, he can cover the rb on a flare or even the TE on a quick seam. They definitely have "numbers" to our right but we have them outflanked on any run play or even a quick circle route by the rb or a drag by the TE to the offensive left.
Georgia is absolutely giving us an inside handoff to the left on this play, betting that they can rally to the ball and stop us before we get 11 yards. They're also very heavy to the offensive right side, daring us to turn the protection that way (I'm recalling that their DE gave McGlinchey a hard time this game, so they might have been trying to make us think that they want to set up the 1 on 1 between those 2).
Ok, I could go on for days on that, but basically here's what the possibilities are that fucked up this call, IMO:
1) Wimbush fucked up his call and turned the line the wrong way. I tend to think that is very doubtful, as he is sliding his protection away from "numbers" and away from the field side is contrary to what he's likely been taught.
2) because the DE was their best pass rusher, we were trying to give Mike help by allowing the slide protection to go to his side so he can overset to take away the outside rush and have help back inside with Quenton in case there was a stunt with his man inside. I think that this was the more likely scenario
3) we always slide our protection one way or the other (away from the TE or back). While this is possible, I tend to doubt this as well given the personnel we're looking at as well as the fact that, if anything, we would slide protection to our "weaker" side (2 AA's on the left side of the line, 2 newer guys on the right).
Basically, I think Georgia baited us into a slide left in a cat and mouse game between their front and the one on one matchups (Kelly thinks that they're trying to set up the 1 on 1, but they can't fool him, he's smart! We'll slide that way anyway!). Instead of letting our stud LT try and handle that guy one on one and slide the protection right, we'll help him out and stay short handed on the numbers side because we don't think they'll really blitz there anyway. I think that we out think ourselves in this respect ALL THE TIME and it shows up on tape.
Here's what I humbly suggest would be a better option here and where the guys over on Final_Flanner and FOFM's board get all pissy and start complaining that it's not 1988 anymore. I would have had the qb hand it to the running back going right to left and I would have run inside zone to the left with the rb making his read on the MLB. I doubt that we would have made the first down, but it's 3rd and 11 anyway and a pass is low % as well. By taking the numbers, we at least give them something to think about.
Another option would have been to move the TE back off the line as more of an H and then motion him across the formation. This would have caused Georgia to tip man or zone coverage and it would allow our TE to chip on the DE before going into his route, if we were really worried about that. You could have also moved the back to the opposite side pre-snap, which would also cause a defensive adjustment. Basically, that SAM backer is what is causing the numbers issue and by motioning or moving him you can solve your numbers issue.
Truthfully, the OL is taught that whenever a guy blitzes from depth he is the qb's "man" and they aren't responsible for him, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. Wimbush needs to read that and move/create time until a route develops. However, this is a young qb in one of his first starts and that's an advanced move to make.
I think that we overthought this, I think that we tried too much to help an All American and there were other things we could have done here to help him more (namely, run it right at them), and I think that our protection scheme here was exposed. I would have almost preferred man across the board with the center getting depth and helping on a looper, letting the guard come off his man to take a blitzer if needed.