While a handful of programs started their season on week zero and a few more on Thursday night before almost everyone else starts their seasons today, Notre Dame fans still have to wait two more days for football. When the time finally comes for us all on Monday night, there are going to be a few new faces in the lineup. Faces Notre Dame fans should get used to seeing.
WR Lawrence Keys – When Michael Young broke his collarbone a couple of weeks ago, Notre Dame moved Chris Finke from the slot to the outside and elevated the speedy sophomore from Louisiana to the starting lineup. Lawrence didn’t record a catch as a true freshman in 2018, but it’ll be a surprise if he doesn’t end Monday night’s contest with a goose-egg in the catch column.
TE Tommy Tremble – Another player thrust into a more prominent role throughout the first few weeks of the season due to injuries, Tommy Tremble is another player who could record the first catch of his career on Monday night. Even without Cole Kmet‘s collarbone injury, there was a good chance that Tremble was going to have a role in the Notre Dame passing game this fall.
S Kyle Hamilton – Greg’s latest man-crush has been the talk of camp. He’s had upwards of 15 interceptions throughout the summer, and he is going to play a significant role on defense this year. He won’t start over Alohi Gilman or Jalen Elliott, but he is going to be on the field. Watch for him in the nickel package when Notre Dame looks to get its best athletes on the field. Given the first few opponents the Irish face, it might be a few weeks before we see him extensively.
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – While the linebacking corps are still in flux, there has been one constant all summer. Junior ROVER Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. JOK for short. He’s been a camp standout, and there is a lot of optimism that he will elevate the play of the ROVER position and bring back the big-play ability that Drue Tranquill brought to the post in 2017.
LB Drew White – Another new face at linebacker is junior Drew White. Injuries have slowed his progression over the last few years, but he is in the starting lineup to start the season and should be there at least for September while the Irish face some teams that like to run it. White will be challenged all year long by sophomore Shayne Simon who could ultimately take over here in October. For now though, White is Notre Dame’s quarterback of the defense and should be a steady force early on.
C Jarrett Patterson – The only new starter on the offensive line. Jarrett Patterson made the move from tackle to center in the spring, and he has not missed a beat. Everyone thought there would be more of a competition at center, but that competition lasted about 5 minutes into spring ball. Patterson has been the #1 center since then and no one ever seriously challenged him for the role. With so much experience around him, Patterson shouldn’t stand out in a good or a bad way as he eases into the role.
P Jay Bramblett – Notre Dame lost 2017 captain Tyler Newsome to graduation and will have a new punter for the first time in four years. Bramblett was an early enrollee freshman in the spring and took over the role. Expect a difference from Bramblett from Newsome. Bramblett isn’t going to bomb out 60+ yard punts like Newsome was more than capable of doing. Bramblett is more of a hang time type punter who should have shorter kicks, but few returns due to better hang time.
K Jonathan Doerer – Bramblett has big shoes to fill. Jonathan Doerer has gigantic shoes to fill. Justin Yoon left Notre Dame as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Replacing him was already going to be a monumental task for Doerer. Inconsistency in spring practice and early in camp made that an even taller task. There was some renewed optimism in Doerer over the second half of the summer though.
The Irish staff worked with Doerer on some of his mechanics, and the junior reportedly came on strong at the end of camp. Even still, Notre Dame fans should get used to Brian Kelly going for it more around the 30-yard line. Right now, the staff probably feels good with Doerer in that 42 and shorter range. Anything over that and it’ll be a judgment call for Kelly. That is a stark contrast from Yoon who had become so reliable by the end of his Irish career.