7 Questions Facing the Notre Dame Defense in 2012

stephon tuitt
(Photo - Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE)

With the Irish poised to start the 2012 season behind red-shirt freshman and new starting quarterback Everett Golson and an offense in transition without the likes of Michael Floyd and Jonas Gray, plenty of pressure will be on the Irish defense to step up. However, there are many questions surrounding the Notre Dame defense that will determine if the Irish will make strides this season or continue their form from recent years.

1. How will the Irish replace Aaron Lynch?

Last season Lynch led the Irish in sacks with 5.5 as a freshman. With Lynch choosing to transfer to USF to be closer to home and his girlfriend, the Irish find themselves trying to replace their most disruptive and productive pass-rusher. The Irish will need to replace Lynch’s production by committee. Players such fellow sophomore standout Stephon Tuitt, fifth-year senior Kapron Lewis-Moore, Chase Hounshell, as well as pass rushing linebackers Prince Shembo, and Ishaq Williams will be relied on to pressure the quarterback.

2. Can the inexperienced secondary do the job?

The Irish will return only one of four starters in the secondary this season in Jamoris Slaughter. With Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton, and Gary Gray all graduating there are many holes to fill. Senior Zeke Motta will fill in for Smith at safety opposite Slaughter to create a veteran duo. However, the cornerback position is not nearly as experienced. Bennett Jackson will start at one corner spot. The New Jersey native is coming off his first season at corner after spending his freshman campaign at wide receiver. Jackson showed flashes of ability last season and will be counted on to be the Irish’s shutdown corner. Lo Wood was scheduled to start alongside Jackson until he suffered a season ending Achilles injury; as a result converted slot receiver and true freshman KeiVarae Russell will be thrust into the spotlight as a starter. With such inexperience and lack of depth in the secondary the Irish will need to rotate defensive backs often, which means Jalen Brown, Josh Atkinson, Chris Salvi, Mathius Farley, and others will all be relied upon to play different roles.

3. Are the true freshmen ready to step up?

As a result of injuries and depth issues many true freshman will be counted on to make an instant impact for the Irish defense. As a result of the Lo Wood injury, KeiVarae Russell will start the opening game of the season versus rival Navy. With cornerback being a position of need Russell will need to play strongly throughout the season for the Irish. Elijah Shumate is another freshman cornerback that may see the field in certain packages. Early enrollee Sheldon Day has caught the eye of the Irish coaching staff and will see playing time instantly for the Irish along the defensive line. Finally Romeo Okwara could see time at outside linebacker as well as occasionally putting his hand on the ground as a pass rushing specialist.

4. Can the defense create enough turnovers?

Last season Notre Dame’s turnover differential simply wasn’t good enough, and not only because of the numerous turnovers by the offense. Last season the Irish recorded only eight interceptions and eight forced fumbles, recovering six. A total of 14 turnovers and two defensive touchdowns needs to be improved on. With a freshman quarterback the Irish defense need to create turnovers to give the offense extra opportunities to score as well as chipping in by scoring themselves.

5. Can the front seven make enough plays?

With an inexperienced secondary that lacks depth the Irish front seven will be relied on to lead the defense. One of the best ways to protect the secondary is to pressure the opposing quarterback and force him to make mistakes. Another way the front seven can help the secondary is to play well against the run and force the opposition into passing down and distances where the linebacking corps can help in coverage. The Irish front seven also needs to create more turnovers as Manti Te’o hasn’t had an interception or fumble recovery in his Notre Dame career. Furthermore the front seven as a whole only created three turnovers all of last season, all of which by players no longer on the Irish defense, Darius Fleming, and Ethan Johnson whose Notre Dame careers ended, and Troy Niklas who has moved to tight end.

6. Can Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt take their play to the next level?

Two of the biggest stars with the most potential on the Notre Dame defense are Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. Both have three years of eligibility left and the Irish will look for the duo to increase their level of play. Nix had 45 tackles last season, the most of anyone on the Irish defensive line; however, Nix found himself in a battle for his starting job all spring with Kona Schwenke. Questions came up regarding Nix’s work ethic, but he will be the opening game starter. Nix will need to continue to record plenty of tackles while eating up blocks in the middle as well as increasing his disruptiveness as he only recorded a half sack last season. If Nix’s play drops off he could find himself on the bench. The other half of the talented duo is Georgia native Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt recorded 30 tackles and two sacks in nine games last season, three of which he started. Tuitt’s workload will increase with Aaron Lynch’s departure and he will be looked to as one of the premier pass-rushers for the Irish. Tuitt has been reported to be looking very strong and dominant at times in practice and the Irish will look for him to continue that form in the season.

7. How will the Irish coaching staff utilize Jamoris Slaughter?

The Notre Dame coaching staff has a good problem to have when it comes to what to do with Jamoris Slaughter. Slaughter will begin the season at his natural position of safety and will be looked on as the leader of the Irish secondary. When Lo Wood was injured there were rumblings that Slaughter would be shifted to corner because he possesses the athleticism to do so. If need be due to further injuries or poor play at the cornerback position Slaughter could factor into the rotation to help the defense. Additionally Slaughter has played a hybrid linebacker role against power run/option teams such as Navy and Air Force, and Slaughter will likely continue that role this year as he has the size and physicality to move up and play against the run. Slaughter is an instrumental player to the Irish success as he possesses the size, speed, and athleticism to be a jack of all trades for the defense.

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  1. JTRAIN,

    You nailed it! I guess “Anus Eagle/Buckeye” (I insist that they are one and the same lame name) can’t get enough of being intellectually sodomized by us. Oops, sorry, shouldn’t really bring up sodomy around members of a certain conference apparently fond of pedophiles in high places!

    (BTW: At the risk of opening a real an of worms, I can’t help but have a little bit of respect for the late Joe Pa. Don’t get me wrong, he showed an incredible lack of resolve and common sense with the whole Sandusky affair. No excuses can be made for that [sorry, Franco]. But do we forget about everything else about Joe Pa? I won’t debate anyone who disagrees with me because they’ll no doubt have many fine points of rebuttal.)

    Either way, Buckeye, perhaps like the other sodomites in your conference you enjoy being buggered.

  2. Buckeye,

    You keep accusing jc of using a dictionary for his posts but maybe you should invest in one yourself. You claim we are irrelevant but you have been coming back to a NOTRE DAME WEBSITE to discuss NOTRE DAME….what part of “relevant” are you having an issue understanding? This has been going for days and you are still around. We don’t even have to try with you. The material is literally writing itself.

    Lets discuss some of osu’s bcs wins shall we
    02 who was the star on that team? Why didn’t he stick around? Oh yea thats right! He went to prison. Maybe ol’ pinkett wasn’t so far off after all!
    ’10 arkansas…hey weren’t like 5 of you’re players ineligible for that game. Why was that again? Something about hanging out with some guy that was being investigated by the fbi for being involved in a drug ring.

    Like i said its all too easy with you…

  3. Amen SteelFanRob,

    I hope he takes my recommendation and visits his Proctologist by ambulance!

    Thank you for the back-up!

  4. Buckeye,

    When you said “OSU has been one of the top football programs in the country in terms of graduation rates” where were your facts? Like the lying pile of you know what that you are you thought you could just make this crap up. I don’t know what it’s like on your bogus OSU sites, troll, but here you’re challenged to back your points up with facts.

    You really thought no one here was going to call your horse s _ _ t out?

    Stick to your lame OSU sites and stop trolling where smart people have opinions baked up by facts!

  5. Buckeye,

    Go here for the real facts as opposed to your fantasies:


    Note that while ND graduates almost 100% of its football players, including its African-American athletes, OSU barely graduates 60% of all football players only a little over 50% of its black “student”-athletes. And that’s not even taking into account the bogus majors OSU players can have.

    The report was produced by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports of the Business School of the University of Central Florida and is thus not biased for or against OSU or ND. Of course, fcats and ethics are meaningless to OSU and its boosters!

  6. Buckeye,

    I wondered what slowed your recovery time, couldn’t google fast enough I take it? I know it is difficult for you. Especially now that your down to name calling. Blood pressure up a couple of ticks neophyte? Hahahaha.

    I highly doubt you have ever had a real dialectic discussion with anyone.
    So what’s your chief complaint other than you did not accept Allen Pinkett’s apology? Without question, Allen Pinkett is far more of a man than the ban of misfits you support.

    I know your visions of grandeur won’t allow you to accept the fact that OSU is not going to be relevant with Urban either; too many misfits to coral! Urban has lived a charmed life to this point he will flame-out. Saben would tap dance on your helments. #8 Michigan is getting stomped by Bama! So the Big Ten flop league isn’t doing so well on National TV Mr. #18 OSU fan.

    All the kvetching in the world is not going to save you from your hybrid ineptitude! Or maybe you need to check in with your Proctologist he may be able to help?

    I know with with your extreme self-regard, I would have to get out crayons and draw pictures for you as to what an OSU (fan) narcissist looks like in real life. Better yet stand in front of a mirror. Unfortunately, that may still be too ultrasophisticated for your comprehension level.

    Hmmm…Facts you don’t like: Bama 41 Mich 14! Yeah, another real big ten conference contender bites the dust! Hahahaha! Don’t you just feel the love?

    So keep on bloviating!

    Here come the Irish! 2012 BCS Bowl: ND 55 OSU zip!

  7. Notre Dame was impressive today! There was certainly room for improvement, but we saw the Irish completely dominate the game today from start to finish. That was good to see. Today was the first glimpse of an Irish team that is better than any in recent memory (since early – 90’s). I thought we would see that and we did. We are now starting to see the talent, depth, and speed necessary to compete for National Championships in today’s major college football arena. They are very young though, particularly in the secondary, and that was exposed to some degree. That is an area that the Irish will need to improve upon, and they will in due time. By the second half of the season I think we will see marked improvement with this group.

    I am looking forward to following the Irish this year! They are going to be a lot of fun to watch!

    Go Irish!

  8. You guys are hilarious. Miami of Ohio did stay with the Buckeyes in the first quarter just like ND was relevent once upon a time. OSU has had their ‘big boy pants’ on forever, how many BCS games has ND won?

    Look, you can make your jokes about OSU but they are immature and lacking in humor. And your assertion that you have to compete on an uneven playing field is just sad because excuses won’t fix your problem.

    Like it or not Navy looked like a high school team today and you guys had the foresight to laugh it up when the Buckeyes struggled early but we saw how that turned out. You say that you would play the “Urban renewal program” anywhere anytime but according to you guys we already have enough cupcakes on our schedule, besides we’ve been there done that. You do remember those beatings don’t you?

    And JC, I don’t think I have ever come across anyone who tries so hard to show how smart they are. You use words that you didn’t even know that you knew – until you looked them up.

    You are ND but you are also a pompous fraud because deep down I know you would not want any part of playing the Buckeyes. You may not be as smart as you try so hard to appear but I don’t think you are that stupid either.

  9. Buckeye,

    Your pugnacious position on OSU is indefensible, your program is second class to the SEC. Not to mention, I mean, WOW your such a preseason power house. Only 7 spots ahead of ND on the AP poll! We may sneak upon on you after today! By the way, no-red-face-screamer-today just all business! Anytime anywhere we are ready to play the Urban renewal program. Love to see you again in a BCS bowl chump.

    Doesn’t seem like ESPN has their lips super glued to OSU this year or next! Besides, USC could also mop the floor with you since you are both on the NCAA’s favorite infraction list along with Penn State!

    Your unimaginative jibberish is directionless acrimonious debate exlusively tied to your prevarication of the facts. Pontificating meaningless drivel and rhetoric is definately all you have in your personal armamentarium. You need a serious excuse for being born.

    We have to play on an uneven playing field with chumps like OSU and put up with your dogmatic OSU zealot nonsense and bravado. I’m sure you yourself did not even graduate from DeVry University based on the unwittingly tin-foil-hat content displayed in your posts!

    To hear such abject ignorance of OSU’s storm of failure on a ‘National Level’ via the NCAA, coupled with you pathologically reinventing the truth exemplifies an OSU fan…..the dum don’t know their dum! Especially, when their setting in jail for setting fires in Columbus! Yeah, your relevant to the police department’s well being on a day to day basis. WHO LET THE APES OUT!

    WE ARE ND!

  10. Buckeye,

    What’s it like to have your face verbally ripped off? You question our schedule with the service academies? Really? Do you know what navy would do to miami of ohio? Do you remember when navy was a 2pt conversion from taking your “great” team to overtime? It was rather recent so i would think you do. Did you guys manage to squeeze in a fcs team on your schedule this year? As i look down your schedule i don’t see little numbers next to very many teams on it. Basically what i am trying to say is if you are going to question schedule you should make sure your team has their big boy pants on.

  11. C-Dog,

    Congratulations on giving it to Navy but if you guys ever want to win 10 games on a consistent basis you will also have to have the coast guard or maybe the mall cops on your schedule.

    I despise tattoos and I don’t own a gun besides your team has a few guys in some trouble. If you use Pinkett’s twisted logic I guess that means a NC can’t be far off. Keep enjoying mediocrity.

    1. Really Buckeye! Miami of Ohio and you struggled in the first quarter. The Big is sooo stacked this year, it’s the best conference in the country. Maybe you can go to your locsl correctional facility and find the next Clarett. You guys are like the Nebraska of the late 80’s only you get lit up by the SEC not Miami

  12. I have never been on an Ohio State blog site. Once or twice I went on a Michigan blog to provide some very respectful comments. When you go to someone’s house that is what you do. It truly a sad reflection on some program when one of it’s moronic fans shows up to spew some dreck. Unfortunately, Buckeye is likely very representative of the ignorant and unintelligent fan, student, and alum of Ohio St. I have not been impressed with the quality of individual associated Ohio st or the Buckeyes. I do find it strange that a Buckeye fan would bother showing up here. Maybe he is a real loser. I do find it interesting that Ohio st is not ever rated as high academically as Notre Dame, but does have the fine distinction to be on probation.
    Buckeye, your lack of class makes you the class of Buckeye nation. Maybe you need to get a tattoo or threaten to shoot someone.

  13. SteelFanRob,

    Don’t talk about juvenile, conference full of pedophiles? OSU has been one of the top football programs in the country in terms of graduation rates but I don’t think you care about facts. I guess ND prepared Alan Pinkett well for life off the field. And what does “including its black athletes” mean?

    Your comments are garbage! Notre Dame is terrible on the field and the fan base is delusional. You wish your football program could live up to the standards that OSU has set but now I see where you are coming from – envy.

    1. Graduation rate should be high when basket weaving and dance are majors. I wouldn’t even wipe my ass with an OSU diploma. Your state sucks, not even the best state for high school football. Even Lebron realized and left, so did the Cleveland Browns

    2. Buckeye,

      Do the math. How many teams in your garbage conference? How many coaches, assistant coaches, ex-coaches, staffers, administrators, boosters,etc. have been implicated or associated with child abuse scandals? A whole lot for such few teams. Sorry you can’t figure that out but you are after all an OSU fan were intelligence isn’t a requirement or even preferable!

      I for one am not delusional and have in fact been attacked by some of my brethren on this site for being too realistic about the current state of ND football. It has been mediocre for a long time now. But of course when you have actual standards for your football players and require them to go to scholl and get real degrees it’s tough to compete with the likes of glorified diploma mills like OSU, Alabama, LSU, and the like.

      Believe me, Buckeye, I’m not envious of a school that gave us Art Schlichter, Woody Hayes sucker-punching opponents on the sidelines, rules-breaking coaches like Jim Tressel, pedophile boosters, and on and on. You’re scum and so is your program. A disgrace to an already disgraceful state of big-time college sports.

      Hope you’re proud, scum-sucking troll!

  14. Buckeye,

    Strength of schedule is an argument you’ll lose every time. ND consistently plays a tough schedule. This season is exceptional only in its extreme difficulty. I dare say ND this season is playing tougher teams than OSU plays out of conference in five or more seasons combined!

    My point stands. You recruit scumbags who will never darken the door of a single classroom on your campus. You’re university will not do right by its football players by not preparing them for life off the field. ND meanwhile will graduate 99% of all its players, including its black athletes.

    You started the juvenile antics, friend. Now you’re trying to get on your high horse. The fact you’re even on this site proves you’re juvenile. You won’t see anyone here trolling OSU fan sites. We don’t need to. ND fans don’t need juvenile entertainment. Perhaps that’s normal for a school and conference full of pedophiles!

  15. Suspentions? How is that Notre Dame education working out JC? When you can’t win an argument with facts then slurs are used. I thought this was a football site? If it is then the facts say that the Buckeyes have had more players drafted in the last ten years than any other school. They won 1 NC, played in 2 others and finished ranked in the top 5 more than any other school. To say that they have done that using thugs and criminals is absurd.

    Notre Dame fans have always looked down their nose at other schools but never more than when they have failed on the field, which has been for most of the last 2 decades.

    And to Shazamrock, why the cheapshot about Miami of Ohio? You are playing….Navy? Come on, strength of schedule is not an argument you really want to get into. Join a big time conference and you will find out. Besides the Buckeyes have played Notre Dame 3 times in the last 20 years and what were the results? They absolutely destroyed Fat Boy Slim and the Mighty Quinn in the Fiesta Bowl to the tune of a record for yards conceded by a Notre Dame team, that was embarassing.

    This is a site dedicated to Irish football and you cheapen it by talking about fires in Columbus and what bowl will the Bucks be in this year. That is juvenile stuff. I will argue football only and to that end the Buckeyes may have to sit it out this year but don’t ask what bowl will the Bucks be in next year because I don’t think you will like the answer.

    1. Buckeye,

      Interestingly enough, your buddy Tressel refused to play us year in and year out like Michigan. As you very well know the Big Ten is desperate for us to join. We don’t need to share the wealth.

      Do you really think we are afraid of you with our schedule? Michigan is the only tough game you have on your schedule.

      Furthermore, your exactly right with your well known scrofulous program; you are indeed limited to arguing football only. Ethics and integrity is definately out of the question with your kind.

      Hmmm…I remember in 1968 an opposing player received a ‘sucker punch’ by your infamous head coach along the sidelines! Who was rightfully fired I might add. I could teach you a history lesson if you want me to completely destroy your position.

      If we had the same dubious latitude you have demonstrated over the years; we would also have 10 cupcake wins every year too, along with a BCS bowl appearence without fail.

      Sorry, OSU does not play by the rules therefore your vainglorious results are meaningless. Suuuure you were only caught once!

      I love trolls who like to think they can narrow the scope of the debate, to eliminate their obvious intellectual discomfort.

      Especially ignoring graduation rates and GPA’s of the football team! Yeah, you got guy’s in the NFL. But can they spell their name? A great disservice to the human race.

      I can see you think your a deep thinker for a tyro.
      However, there’s no cure for your severe case of acatalepsia concerning ND vs OSU. Read Forbes magazine where OSU is amoung the top colleges in the nation. Hint, your going to be disappointed.

      As to your emotional vampirism, your likely to be in the toilet bowl again next year with more historical cheating.

      Any more unconscious incompentence worth listening to?


      1. JC,

        Wow, those are some big words you used, I guess it took you a couple of hours to find your dictionary. You need a few lessons but where do I start?

        Michigan is not even the toughest game on our schedule never mind the only tough game. ND finally plays a decent schedule and you can’t stop talking about it. You guys beat up on the service acadamies year after year and still get 10 wins and you would never see 10 wins in the Big Ten.

        You also need a history lesson. It wasn’t 1968 when the great Woody Hayes lost his composure, they won a National Championship that year.

        And the only reason I am here is because one of your idiot ex-players forgot, or should I say displayed, the ethics and integrity that he learned at ND. What a joke you are trying to lecture anyone about integrity.

        You ARE Notre Dame, arrogant and proud – of what I still don’t know? There are many schools better academically than ND claims to be and your football program is in the toilet with a red-faced screammer the latest in a revolving door approach to coaching. HE is the embarassemnt following in the footsteps of the original, Fat Boy Weis. Let me see, Tressel vs. Weis or Meyer vs. Kelly, if it were a fight they would stop it.

        I have not narrowed the scope of the debate, I thought the debate was about football? You have expanded the debate you can’t win the football debate.

        Finally, with a fan base that likes to boast about its altar boy like reputation I would steer clear of smearing a whole conference with the pedophile label, that reeks of hypocrisy doesn’t it?

      2. Buckeye,
        Go get a tattoo and play with guns like a good Buckeye!
        Oh, and have fun on probation.
        You need not look any farther than your own mirror. You have no good reason to come onto our blogsite other than perhaps being rejected by the rest of your fan base who cares not one bit about ethics.
        I can’t tell you how many Ohio State fans who I’ve heard say winning is more important that ethics. So, maybe Maurice Clarrett is your banner carrier.
        Enjoy living in your gutter, Buckeye.

  16. Come on Irisheye62,

    Get in here, I know your reading all this buckeye bravado, what you say? You probably see the fires in Columbus burning from your house on maniacal game days! I know my son does in Ashville.


  17. Amen SteelFanRob,

    Well, to the ND haters we are only 99% perfect and working real hard on that 1%. It’s fun to drive them crazy with a big laugh or smile.
    We will do it the ND way and win. Not to mention, why cheat like USC and OSU and collect meaningless awards? Ours may be old, but guess what they still shine!!! It is difficult to polish a turd once they start cheating! Good Luck Urban you stepped in it!


  18. Hey, JC,

    Good to be back!

    Glad to see you’re still keeping folks here honest.

    You know what, JC, I’ve been thinking about recent comments made in the national media about ND football. Here’s the bottom line. No matter what, Nd football is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. If ND continues to do things the right way and loses, then it will be called irrelevant and worse. If ND eases its standards just a bit and wins, then it will be damned as having sold out to win games. (Recall that that’s exactly what pundits and ND bashers were saying at the height of the Holtz era.) That’s the bottom line with ND haters the world over– ND is damned no matter what it does or doesn’t do!

    The only way around this is either to win the right way, meaning, the ND way, with integrity for both sport and academics. Or, far from likely, have a sea change in the world of college athletics where everyone is compelled to play by ND’s high standards for its student athletes. One or the other.

  19. Hey what about it Steelfan welcome back!

    Well, a trolling buckeye badness. Hey buckeye, who allows the apes out of the zoo at game time to turnover cars and set Columbus on fire? When is the last time you saw that in South Bend Indiana Mr. unfounded cheap shot! Next do want to compare GPA’s or would you really like to compare suspentions over the last 3 decades to be fair! Hahahahahahahaha.

  20. Better to lose the right way, staying true to ND’s principles, than win the wrong way, with criminals like Ohio State recruits. By the way Buckeyes, thanks for following the PSU lead and letting pedophiles get close to your program. As a result we were able to land a good-looking LB recruit away from you. When is Ohio State going to remodel its showers?!

    “Anus Eagle” are you trolling our site as “Buckeye” now? Given your pitiful posts it sounds like you are one and the same.

  21. More sanctimonious ND crap, this time from Pinkett. His warped logic is really just an excuse for the lack of success ND has had for an increasingly long time. Success for ND will only come on the field and not from unfounded cheap shots against schools that are equal or superior to in every way. As long as this attitude exists I don’t see ND being relevent and that doesn’t bother me one bit.

    1. You should be concentrating on your own teams’ big time match up with MAC powerhouse Miami of Ohio?

      I’m sure the angry Redhawks will be much tougher challenge at home than Youngstown St was.

  22. Jc

    I too understand what pinkett said i was more referring to the news stories of those individuals. But montana, unbelievably disappointed with him. He played for both of my favorite football teams and really respected him. Even if he really felt that way about kelly he should have the professionalism to understand that it casts a negative light on his alma mater. Just ridiculous if you ask me. I appreciate what joe did for the team and university but those comments were unnecessary.

    1. Well, we all know what he was upset about. Not everyone gets to start at QB at ND. Even if you have a famous last name. Seems fair to me, you have to earn it!

      EG does indeed have the best talent for BK’s offense. Most everyone on this board and everywhere else people see his potential.

      GO IRISH!


    I thought I was the only one extremely flustrated, boy, poor Allen Pinkett with his comments evoking an immediate response from Swarbrick. However, I have high regard for Allen and knew exactly what he really was trying to say. Some times thoughts come out verbally or written the wrong way! Add ardent flustration and you must read between the lines.

    The good news on this site, many times I pull the scab off on an issue and Shaz with some others put a band-aid on the issue in a good way. In the end, we all want the same thing, a great football team with high moral and academic standards! An extremely difficult task in today’s society by any stretch of the imagination.

    WE ARE ND!

    1. First Rick Reily, then Joe Montana, now Allen Pinkett…

      All former players or fans Dis’n the ND football program???


      Is this the beginning of the Apocalypse?

      Cats sleeping with dogs?

      Jimmy Johnson and Lou Holtz holding hands and singing Kumbaya?

      Might the four horsemen be preparing to ride agian?

      A wise man once siad… ” It Ain’t nothing winning can’t cure”

  24. This will be more of test for the front 7 versus secondary. I wonder how the trip over the pond will affect both teams saturday night. C-Dog, you’re right, a good mentally tough game would be nice to see as evidenced by good tackling, no fumbles , no costly INT’s.

    1. What about it storespook,

      If I remember it’s about a 6 hour flight to Dublin. I use to fly from South Bend to Cincy then to Europe.

      Cincy has a lot of international flights to Europe, and I might add it is the safest airport in the country.

      The nice thing about international flights, the planes are bigger which equal bigger seats that recline into sleepers!

      The bad news, not all people can sleep on a flight. Factor in the time change and it can be difficult to get your bearings back the 1st day.

      Further, getting back in the groove returning home is the toughest, and can take 2 or 3 days back to normal balance.

      I fully understand why BK is not a fan of international

      GO IRISH!

  25. The only thing I want to see against Navy is an Irish squad that plays mentally sound. It won’t matter so much that they play spectacularly. They need not to make mental errors. Frankly on the QB situation, once Rees is reinstated, I’d put him in until ND gets inside the 35 then pull him so he can’t shave points by throwing interceptions or fumbling. He’s either a head case or has some bad debts to pay. Otherwise, the offense likely will look vanilla and basically show you what it’s all about in the first series of the Navy game. The defense is going to have to carry this team. That’s a big question in my book. They’ll look good against Navy, unless Diaco blows the scheme. They should look good against Purdue unless the corners are exposed. Michigan St. should show us if the defense can excel without Lynch. Michigan will show us whether the team is running on most of it’s cylinders. The coaches better learn a scheme to put the hurt on Robinson, and the players, especially the secondary better learn to outjump receivers on Robinson’s underthrown moonballs.

    Michigan is the game I want from this team. Other than that I just hope they don’t choke like they have so often once or twice a season for the last 12 years, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they beat any of the better teams they play.

    You could tell if the Irish had a contender pretty early in the season. I suppose we’ll see if this is a bunch of football players with Notre Dame uniforms, or truly a team belonging to the almost forgotten Notre Dame tradition.

    1. cdog

      Barring injuries or a total collapse or a blowout rees will not see the field. He has been fitted for his red hat.

      Kelly has said he knows golson is going to make mistakes and him starting is a commitment to the future.

      I already know what he said last year about crist but it had to be done. The team wasn’t confident with crist and it showed.

      1. Hey thank you JTRAIN,

        I need to order one of those “RED” signal caller ND ball caps, to match my red bass boat for fall fishing.

        Last year they sold out early, thanks for reminding me!

        GO IRISH!

      2. Jc,

        Here to help anyway I can!!

        But seriously I’m ready for the season. Tired of listening and reading the same hacks spewing the same tired “nd isn’t relevant” crap just to get page views. Tired of listening to the almighty lord of everything sports ESPiN talk about 6-6 season. Tired of joe montana and alan pinkett. Tired of the fanbase at war with each otger over things that don’t matter like field turf and uniforms. WINS matter, WINS…

        ahh, 2 more days…..

        As always
        GO IRISH

      3. I get it, IF Kelly doesn’t undermine Golson’s confidence. I can understand one QB having issues inside the redzone, but when both Rees and Crist had major tendencies to turn the ball over inside the red zone, something funky was going on. I thought Rees was pretty good except for that, well and not throwing a forward screen pass with accuracy. Hey, who knows, maybe the Rees baby face belies a point shaving game throwing gambling addict. Something abnormal drove the turn overs.
        As for Crist, well, I think he was just a victim of circumstance. He’s making the best of it. Someone said he had a chance to go to Wisconsin instead of Kansas. Playing for Weis gives him a chance at having a mentor with Pro connections. He’s already got degrees from ND and is merely taking his shot. I love that story. He’ll have a great career either in football or doing what the rest of us do.

        As for Kelly, we’ll see how his QB’s do this year. I just am not sold on the coach yet. Worrying about uniforms, turf, and jumbotrons seems like smoke and mirrors to me. A commitment to the fact that Notre Dame is the University of Our Lady, that is Mary the Mother of God to those who forgot, that’s what I want to see return.

    2. Amen C-Dog,

      Hahahahaha. Shaving points did cross my mine last year!
      Don’t you just love all the preseason routine upheavals?
      Maybe we can trip-into-a-winning-season-of-significance! Fingers crossed and purple at this point.

      WE ARE ND!

  26. I know I’ve probably beaten this into the ground by now, but I think we are truly going to see a different team this year. Since this article was on the defense, I’ll start with them.

    This defense is going to improve this year and the biggest reason why is that this is the 3rd year in a row with the same DC. Diaco knows these players and these players understand his system. When you change schemes and DC’s all the time, there is more thinking and less reacting. These players know the system, so their talent will come out this year.

    The offense will improve this year, not because of Golson, but because of Chuck Martin. Kelly hasn’t come out and said it, but in several interviews, I got the impression that he and Molnar were not on the same page last year. Martin also brings an understanding of defenses that he and Kelly will be able to exploit. Golson will be a huge weapon, but they are going to play it safe with him for awhile. But from what Kelly has said, they are going to attack the defense with multiple personal groupings so the defense will be confused on who to cover which will create mismatches.

    I’m also getting the impression that they are committed to speed and getting the best talent on the field. I think they are going to be a smooth-running machine when it all pans out and I really believe this is going to be a great season. Since 2007, Kelly has the 5th highest winning percentage and he the most talent he has even had. I think he is going to do something special at ND and this year is when we get to see it start unfolding.

  27. Barring any further distractions, the 1st two games will set the tone for the season. EG will have to achieve an early lead and maintain it. Week by week improvement will determine 6-6 or 10-2 or better.

    I don’t see where we don’t have the best talent on the field this year, unlike last year. I won’t be surprised if BK makes changes early and often as needed due to inexperience at key positions. Diagnostic therapy on the fly this year!

    I like the speed card we have this year even though most of it is inexperienced. I think Davonte Neal will electrify us returning punts.
    I’m betting we get 10+ yards returning punts this year.


  28. Chrisj

    I saw the “official” depth chart and seen goodman and tj were starting out wide but during kelly’s pc the other day he said daniels and brown were starting. I wonder which is true. Also in his pc yesterday he did say they are all going to play significant time. That tells me that goodman by the end of the year will see little to no time.

    1. JTRAIN,

      This is great news! Put the fastest guys out there with the best ball skills. Goodman is neither of these, although people have always talked about his ‘blazing speed’…whatever…

  29. Davonte Neal is at the top of the depth chart for returning punts for game 1. This is very exciting as I heard this kid has ridiculous game breaking skills. It was clear last year that Kelly was being really stupid not putting someone else back there when Floyd took the very first punt return 45+ yards in the bowl game. Goodman better not see the field if he is his old self. I don’t care if he is a fifth-year Senior with leadership qualities. The dude has sucked his entire ND career and I really don’t see the potential there either but he is listed as our top receiver. Seems scary to me, but I guess we’ll see.

  30. I think our secondary is faster than than it has been in a long time and hopefully that will be a bit of an equilizer in the passing game.

    We should learn 2 things about them in the next two games.

    First, can they tackle? They will be tested in run support early and offten vs Navy.
    Navy isn’t going to put the ball in the air 25 times.
    They like to run the ball and draw in your secondary, then try to get a reciever in behind you.

    While they may only attempt 12 passes, their past box scores shows that they usually hit one or two of them for big plays in each game.
    Run support tackling, and closing speed on pass plays, will be key.

    Purdue however, will put the ball in the air 25 or more times.
    We should soon see if our D-Line and linebackers can get pressure, if our corners can cover, and if they have been taught(unlike previous seasons) to turn their head and look for the ball when it is in the air.

    If our secondary can do those things over the next two game, then there is certainly reason to be optimistic.

    Anyone know who will be handling the punt return duties?
    (please don’t tell me “fair catch” Goodman)

      1. Seriously, though, I need to see it on the field.

        There’s been so much crap talked about outside the ball field. I just want to see it on the field.

  31. I think the defense will be up and down this year because of the younger players who will be forced to play because of depth issues. On the other hand, if they win the the spot to start, then, I’d rather have the best player, not the whether what year he is in school, playing the position. I think there is some good younger talent in the ranks but they will have some growing pains through the course of the year. Hence, that is why I think you’ll see the D be up and down throughout the season due to this. The offense better score more and more quickly this season because the ND secondary is probably going to get hit very hard by some good passing QB’s we’ll see this season, ending up with a lot of points on the scoreboard.

    Go Notre Dame

  32. I fully expect to see Tuitt and Nix mentioned in the same breath as Clowney by the end of the year. The only thing preventing Tuitt from being there now was his late season injury last year adn Diaco’s wimpy ass scheme. Lynch had better stats because he free-lanced, which was a liability but got him more press.

  33. 3. Are the true freshmen ready to step up?

    “As a result of injuries and depth issues many true freshman will be counted on to make an instant impact for the Irish defense.”

    The season hangs in the balance.

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