Frankie V’s Prediction: Notre Dame vs. Louisville ’19

I am not starting the year great timing-wise with my weekly prediction post coming in pretty close to the wire. But, here I am in the Buffalo airport slugging down a Labat Blue and stuffing my face with buffalo wings and cranking out the first prediction post of the year.  There have been worst situations I’ve blogged in.

Things I am Worried About This Week

Scott Satterfield’s first game.  I hate having to face coaches in their first games at their schools.  You never quite know what you’re getting other than a coach who is looking to make a big splash in his first game.  There’s part of me that thinks he’s going to come out firing early and playing like someone with nothing to lose.  Then there’s part of me that says this guy is taking over a team that was 2-10 and he isn’t a miracle worker.

The problem is, we won’t know for sure until game time.  I hate unknowns like that. So for that reason, I’m worried.

Notre Dame’s passing game.  Worried is a really strong word here.  Maybe I’m mildly concerned?  Ian Book was reportedly not very sharp early on in camp before coming on strong at the end.  He is also playing without Cole Kmet or Michael Young, so he’s down a couple of weapons.  Neither loss was catastrophic, but add it all up, and I’m a little worried we aren’t going to see the crisp passing game we saw more often than not with Book in 2018.

I hope this concern isn’t warranted and I am just a nervous nelly here.

Any kicks from players in gold helmets.  Until I see Jonathan Doerer consistently make kicks and Jay Bramblett consistently help Notre Dame win the field position game, I am concerned with the Notre Dame kicking game.  Doerer reportedly came on strong at the end of training camp too, so maybe he’ll give Notre Dame fans some reassurance quickly.  Until he does, color me concerned.

Things I’m Not Worried About This Week

Notre Dame’s defensive line.  Why should I or any Notre Dame fan be?  Notre Dame’s second-string defensive line is as good – if not better – than some of its starting defensive lines in recent years.  The Irish do have two new starters on the interior line. We didn’t hear much about Kurt Hinish or Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa over the summer, but that could be a good thing because they didn’t stand out in a bad way.

Notre Dame’s running game.  Dexter Williams is not going to be running out of the tunnel for Notre Dame tonight, and there isn’t a home run threat to take over for him.  But I am not worried about the Irish running game because I am very confident in the Notre Dame offensive line in 2019.  With only one new starter in the lineup tonight, I think we’ll see the Irish line revert back to the form we saw in 2017 – even though Harry Hiestand won’t be there coaching them.

Jafar Armstrong flashed at times last year but never topped 100 yards and after his early-season injuries, he never looked fully healthy.  Armstrong eclipses 100 yards tonight.

The Irish secondary.  Notre Dame hasn’t had a secondary like it has in 2019 in quite some time.  If Julian Love had returned, it would probably be the best in the country.  As is, it’s a damn good unit.   They’ll be tested at times tonight – specifically Donte Vaughn and Shaun Crawford – but they will pass with flying colors.

Players I’m Watching This Week

Lawrence Keys – Losing Michael Young to a broken collarbone was a bummer because the junior had a great camp and it looked like he was ready to explode in 2019.  He still might once he’s healthy, but until then we will get a good look at sophomore WR Lawrence Keys.  He might not get a ton of targets tonight, but he’ll make a couple of nice plays.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – There might not be another player I am more excited to see tonight than JOK.  Had he not gotten hurt early last year, I don’t think tonight would be his starting debut.  He would have unseated Asmar Bilal by the end of 2018.

Tommy Tremble – Like with Keys, we are going to see more of Tremble than we would have had it not been for injuries.  With Cole Kmet out, Tremble should get a lot of looks tonight and in two weeks.  We might see him even once Kmet does come back, but for tonight look for #24 to make some plays down the seam.

Drew White & Asmar Bilal – A lot of linebackers are going to play tonight, but how White and Bilal handle their new positions will determine just how long we see a lot of linebackers.  If they come out and handle their business, Shayne Simon and Jack Lamb may not play too much.  If they struggle though, watch for Simon and Lamb to take more snaps.

Kyle Hamilton – Couldn’t make it through a full post without mentioning freshman phenom safety Kyle Hamilton.  I really, really want him to get his first interception tonight just for the Twitter reactions from Greg.

Shaun Crawford – He made it through training camp without issue after his 3rd significant injury.  It will be fascinating to see how much of his explosiveness and agility he still has.  He is listed as a starter, but I still think we see a lot of rotating with Donte Vaughn.

Tommy Kraemer – Of all the returning offensive linemen, Kraemer is the one I am most interested to see.  If he takes the step forward that has been projected for him, the Notre Dame offensive line could be one of the best in the country this year.  If he is “just another guy” again, the line can still be good, but it might not be elite.

Prediction Time

I’ve gone back and forth on this one a bit.  I was actually much more confident in a blowout when I made my original prediction in the season preview post than I am now, but I still am not expecting much of a game past the first quarter.

Louisville will come out a juiced up in their first game under a new coach, but that’ll last a few minutes into the first quarter.  Then the athletes will take over.  Notre Dame just has too much talent for this game to be close in the end.

While I am not as confident in this pick I was previously, I will stick with Notre Dame winning by 24 and more than covering the spread.

Notre Dame 41, Louisville 17

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  1. Finebaum is mildly vindicated. Book looked as skittish as he did vs. Clemson. That’s really bad news. Thought he would have gotten over it. Appears he doesn’t have the demeanor to calmly go through his reads. Exits the pocket WAY to quickly. Can you imagine his nerves in Athens? Yikes

  2. Spicey,

    You think Book actually looked better in the second half? I guess he looked so bad in the first you’re right.

    The running game got shut down after the first quarter or so.

    I don’t think the problems on O are easily fixable, Spicey. There are problems at QB, RB, WR, and OL. The TEs were missing until Tremble got on the field. That’s my sole positive take away on O.

    The D did adjust. But UL is far from a juggernaut, friends. The Cardinal dropped a lot of balls and missed open receivers. Plus they gashed the ND D all night in the run game. The pass rush will have to get better, too.

    IF ND doesn’t address the issues on O it will be a long season, friends.

    Hopefully this was just a bad opening game.


  3. One attribute from last season was Notre Dame performing at a higher level in the second half of games. Tonight was no different. I know the offense has some obvious improvements to make in the next couple of weeks. I think the areas of improvement are easy enough to fix.

    The defense has real deal talent. Big props to Shaun Crawford for coming back with all the setbacks. Also, sometimes I’m wary of homerism and overhype. Kyle Hamilton seems like he lived up to the billing. Great debut by Hamilton

    Hopefully Claypool is fine. He came down hard on his shoulder and looked banged up.

    Tommy Tremble may be in line for a breakout season.

    Ian Book looked much better in the second half. Hopefully the rhythm is coming back.

  4. Of course, now the apologists appear after the game is settled.

    Except, ND was a three touchdown minimum favorite and struggled to pull away until late in the fourth.

    This is what has become acceptable at ND: not cover the spread against bad teams.

    What’s the standard at places like Bama and Clemson: win it all while crushing opponents on the way to titles.

    I remember when that was the ND football standard, too. But I guess we’ll settle for not covering the spread against a dog like Louisville.

  5. People, whoa! We are winning by double digits on the road against a team with a new coach and something to prove. This game was circled on their calendar. They won’t play a bigger game this season. This is it; this is their big one. And we’re winning handily.

    The sky isn’t falling. Kelly isn’t on the hot seat. Book doesn’t need to be benched. We came across a motivated opponent who played us tough. We responded by wearing them down and winning the game in the second half. That’s what a good football team is supposed to do.

    There is plenty of room to improve, but this is a good win.

  6. Where’s the vaunted ND pass rush?! This is probably the worst opposing O line they Irish D will face,too.

    Can you imagine what Fromm will do against this D?!

  7. This O stinks!

    The O line is so overrated yet again! When will ND have an O line worthy of its rep?!

    This is going to be a long year if things don’t change and soon!

  8. Like I said earlier today, put Coach Satterfield on the short list to succeed Brian Kelly. This game reminds me of Holtz’s first game at ND against Michigan…a loss for ND, but much closer than anyone expected. This will be a loss for Satterfield as well, but don’t mess with him two or three years from now! That man knows what he is doing. (But what do I know, right?)

    BGC ’77 ’82

  9. Wow! Wow! Wow! I haven’t seen Ian Book play this bad. I’m stunned. Accuracy was his selling point. It isn’t there tonight. That has been the biggest negative of the night.

    The defense has adjusted well. Louisville’s quarterback is very good when moving around. The QB, Pass, can’t pass. That has been the difference maker at this point.

    Tony Jones looks great. Gilman is fantastic. Drew White has stepped up and began to make plays. Hope for a good 2nd half.

  10. The ND passing game is non-existent. I knew losing Boykin was going to hurt, just not this much.

    Of course, the QB play is terrible. Book looked like Wimbush throwing in the first half.

    Win or lose ND will not be in the top ten or perhaps even top fifteen after the first week.

    1. Timing looks off with Book and the receivers. Plus Book seems a lot less compose in the pocket. Hopefully the 2nd half is much better with Book. I’m not ready to call for any changes.

  11. You just can’t win in today’s college football without a stud QB and studs all over the field. Case in point: Bama and Clemson!

    Until ND can get studs again like they did under Holtz, the Irish will not compete for a title.

    Book is a disaster!

  12. You just can’t win big at this level without a stud QB and great athletes. Proof positive: Bama and Clemson. Until ND can get to that level of athlete it won’t come close to winning a NC again!

  13. The lack of athleticism on this O is appalling! WRs can’t get past anyone. The QB is slow and unathletic. The RBs don’t have breakaway speed. The TEs don’t exist. The O line is once again the most overrated unit on the team.

    The D seems more athletic but undisciplined.

    The coaching staff is once again getting its ass handed to it by the opposite sideline.

    This team isn’t a top ten team. PERIOD!

  14. Book is not solid as proved on that drive. Claypool had to reach back to make a tough catch. Under threw Finke on fourth down.

    Book is small, slow, and has an average arm. He’s a mid-level D1 QB at best.

  15. If those two lead footed morons on the left side of our defense don’t pick up grade school level fundamentals of defending an option, NAVY will torch them for 45 points and 450 yards! Unbelievable! CLUELESS!

    BGC ’77 ’82

  16. You can’t win all the time by just running the ball. At some point your QB has to make a throw!

    BK will win a lot of games at ND but never a NC.

    The anti-ND ESPN booth loving the evening so far!

  17. As usual, BK has his team ready for a prime time match-up!

    When the lights are on, BK’s teams are ready to go!

  18. I also hate seeing ND playing against a team with a new coaching staff and nothing to lose. Anxious to see how NDs ILBs and DTs do.
    Louisville returns 15 starters and both kickers, the punter considered one of the best punters in school history. Let’s hope he has a busy day.
    The good news is only two starters return along an OL that has a shortage of scholarship players (8) and gave up 43 sacks and 93 TFL.
    Their poor D’ does return 8 starters. If ND controls the LOS as they should, and stops their run game, it could develop into a field day for ND’s DL, if their QB Pass, who didn’t win any games he started last year, is forced to pass.
    I couldn’t care less about the spread- neither Mich., The OSU, or OK covered the spread – just win!
    It would be fun to watch a rout, and if ND shuts down their O’, pressures their QB, and doesn’t get sloppy, it could be.

  19. Look for my 3 super Irish Fan nephews in the stands tonight. They will do something to get noticed. Frank, glad to see you aren’t “ afraido” the Cardinals.

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