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Drue Tranquill

8 Notre Dame Defenders to Watch in Mike Elko’s Defense

Notre Dame LB Asmar Bilal (Photo: © Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Elko is still settling in as the new defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about players who will benefit the most from Elko’s defense.  Former defensive coordinator Brian Vangorder’s complex defense stopped working after about five games in 2014 leaving Notre Dame fans longing for a simple defense that produced results.  Elko’s defenses at Wake Forest did just that. Like Vangorder, Elko’s defense features a four man front, but where the two differ is in what Elko ran in 2016 at Wake Forest at the next level.  Elko’s utilized a 4-2-5 in ...

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Notre Dame Naming Captains Early Gimmicky or Needed Change?

Photo: © Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The annual Notre Dame Echoes Awards banquet rarely brings much in terms of breaking news outside of a potential recruiting commitment.  Last night, however, Brian Kelly’s program raised eyebrows when Notre Dame named seven captains for the 2017 season while the calendar still says 2016.  Was the move a head coach on the hot seat grab bagging or a necessary move needed to change the culture of the program? In past years, Brian Kelly hasn’t been ready to name his captains until well into training camp in some cases.  As he prepares for what is likely a make or break season ...

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Notre Dame Football Stock Report: Week 5

Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports

Things are bad right now folks, there are no two ways about it. Notre Dame is going to be in a downward trend no matter what happens the rest of the way, unless of course the Irish play like a completely different program for the remaining eight games, which I don’t think anyone sees as plausible. In last weeks stock report, Brian VanGorder was given the moniker of a “sell” and Notre Dame sold, as he was fired on Sunday as the defensive coordinator following the disaster that unfolded against the Blue Devils of Duke. For many Notre Dame fans, ...

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5 Defensive Players Notre Dame Needs to Step Up

Photo: Kevin Jairaj // USA TODAY Sports

After the offensive explosion from Texas in week one, the Notre Dame defense looked like it could be a train wreck this year.  Last week the Irish returned to their base defense – why they ever left it I’ll never know – and looked a lot more solid.  But it was Nevada after all.  What we can expect of this defense throughout the remainder of the season probably lies somewhere in the middle. What is clear, however, is this defense does have some talent.  Way too much talent for this unit to be giving up 500 yards and 50 points ...

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Notre Dame Wild Cards The Difference Between Good And Great

Jerry Tillery - Notre Dame DT

Going into 2016, if every player makes the contribution that is expected of them, it would be fair to say that Notre Dame is anywhere from an eight win team at the bottom to an 11 win team at the top, depending on injuries to certain positions and so forth. It’s also fair to say that for a playoff run to occur next year, some players are going to have to exceed expectations.  On paper this team  is not playoff caliber, not at this time anyway.  At this time of the year in 2012, the Irish didn’t look anything like ...

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Notre Dame Football’s Best 11: Defense

Isaac Rochell - Notre Dame DE

First we looked at the offense, now a look at the best 11 players on the defensive side of the ball for the 2016 Fighting Irish. As with the offense, getting the best 11 guys on the field seems an obvious task for the coaches; the defense, especially needs all the talent on the field they can muster given their performance the last two years under the embattled Brian VanGorder. However, as you’ll see, if Notre Dame wants their best 11 to be on the field, they had better play a lot of nickel, which makes getting their best out ...

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Questions Linger for Notre Dame Following Spring Ball

Drue Tranquill - Notre Dame S

Just as soon as it began, spring practice concluded last Saturday for the Notre Dame football team, with a somewhat uneventful game that ended up with a 17-7 Blue victory over the Gold. We learned a lot of things about the upcoming Irish football team–they are good at quarterback and the running backs are as talented as they’ve had in at least a decade–but there are questions that continue to loom over them like dark clouds on the horizon. To be fair, spring practice isn’t the type of exercise that is going to provide hard-and-fast solutions to all the problems ...

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Notre Dame Spring Preview: Restocking the Secondary

Nick Watkins - Notre Dame CB

The past several weeks UHND has examined some of the pressing issues facing head coach Brian Kelly’s squad heading into the spring practice session, including looking into Notre Dame’s pass rushing issues and going over the new faces at wide receiver. With practices set to begin this week, the final spring preview will take a look at how Notre Dame expects to fill the holes in its secondary. The Irish pass defense struggled in 2015 and failed to live up to its level of talent, ranking No. 57 in the nation in passing efficiency and No. 96 in interceptions. Making ...

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An Early Look at Notre Dame’s 2016 Defensive Depth

Jarron Jones - Notre Dame NT

In 2016 Notre Dame will have to replace two of the most dominant players in college football – Jaylon Smith and Sheldon Day, but they are not the only stars the Irish will be tasked with replacing in 2016. On top of these two tremendous players, the Fighting Irish will have to replace captains Joe Schmidt and Matthias Farley in addition to Romeo Okwara, Keivarae Russell, and Elijah Shumate. Jaylon Smith, the Indiana native, and Butkus Award winner last season was considered to be a top ten pick in this year’s NFL Draft, until his injury in the Fiesta Bowl. ...

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’15 Notre Dame Football Pre-Season Predictions

max-redfield-season-preview

We are about halfway through fall practice for the Notre Dame football team, the media has seen four full practices, the team has gone through it’s annual media day, Jac Collinsworth is delighting us with his new hipster haircut, so naturally it’s time to make some declarations. If you follow reports from those in the media who are allowed to attend practice and the subsequent interviews from players and coaches, you can certainly notice some common themes emerging regarding who is playing where, whose role is growing or shrinking etc. Unfortunately, that can at times require a lot of work; ...

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Duranko’s Digest: 10 frosh likely to play for Notre Dame in 2014

Nyles Morgan - Notre Dame ILB

Brian Kelly plays freshmen. Last year 10 frosh saw significant minutes and some were key contributors-on both sides of the ball. the 10 were Elmer, Folston, Fuller, Robinson, Onwualu, Rochell, Redfield, Luke, Butler.and some guy named Jaylon Smith. Here are ten frosh likely to play in 2014: Tyler Newsome – Okay, so punting doesn’t excite you.  But letting Newsome punt as a frosh would free up the undervalued but lion-hearted Kyle Brindza to focus on kickoffs and placekicking. Different muscle groups, skills, rhythms and techniques are used for punting and placekicking, and reducing and focusing Brindza’s role could strengthen both areas. Special teams, ...

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Drue Tranquill Commits to Notre Dame

recruiting

Notre Dame picked up its first commitment in a few weeks on Tuesday when former Purdue commitment Drue Tranquill decommitted from the Boilermakers and joined Notre Dame’s 2014 recruiting class – aka the #GoldenArmy14. Initially recruited by Notre Dame as an inside linebacker, the Irish changed their approach with the Indiana native in the middle of the recruiting process and instead recruited him as a defensive athlete leaving the door open for multiple positions depending on how Tranquill develops over the next few years. Based on their initial evaluation, it seems clear that the coaching staff feels confident that Tranquill ...

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