Frankie V’s Prediction: Notre Dame Gets Back on Track this Weekend in Home Opener

Notre Dame returns to action this weekend for its home opener looking for its first win of the season. The Irish offense was sluggish on the road last weekend but has a perfect opportunity to take a big step forward this week as they host Marshall for the first time in program history. Will they seize it?

What Worries This Week

A slow start. A week after a sluggish offensive performance, there’s always the chance for a slight hangover into the next game. I don’t necessarily think there WILL be a slow start by the Irish offense, but it is a worry because if there is a slow start, things could snowball quickly after last week’s performance.

In last year’s home-opener, Notre Dame couldn’t get much going offensively against Toledo until the fourth quarter when they scored 18 points, including a last-minute touchdown from Jack Coan to Michael Mayer a play after Coan dislocated his finger. Notre Dame can’t do the same tomorrow against Marshall.

Home game distractions. In The Horseshoe, Marcus Freeman did not look like a rookie head coach on the sidelines. He was calm and in control from start to finish. However, this week poses a new challenge for the first-time head coach with all that comes with a Notre Dame home game. There are many more responsibilities and distractions that come with a home game. It’s not a huge concern by any means, but in a week like this sometimes it’s a stretch to find things to worry about.

Special teams not helping the offense. Freeman said on Thursday that Notre Dame worked on special teams – specifically kick and punt return – a lot this week after an uneven performance in Columbus. The kick return unit looked so out of sorts, however, that I don’t know if those kinks can be worked out in just a week. On the other hand, after last week, if Notre Dame just took touchbacks on any kickoffs – which hopefully will only be a couple – it might be a win until Brian Mason gets things figured out.

What Doesn’t Worry Me this Week

Offensive line rebounding. Notre Dame struggled in the Toledo home-opener last year in large part because the struggles of the offensive line from the Florida State game lingered into week (and then weeks 3, 4, and 5). I don’t expect that to happen again this year. For one, Jarrett Patterson is apparently likely to play this week after being unable to go against Ohio State. Secondly, the line has too much raw talent this year for the it to continue to struggle like we saw last year until mid-season. Look for the Irish offensive line to have a big bounce-back performance against Marshall.

Notre Dame’s passing game. Tyler Buchner started last week’s game by hitting his first eight passes before struggling in the second half. But, like the line, I expect a big bounce back from Buchner. Greg predicted Buchner to go over 300 yards on this week’s podcast and for Lorenzo Styles and Michael Mayer to both top 100 yards receiving. I don’t know if I am as bullish as Greg is on the passing game, but I do think we see the offense that Notre Dame wants to run as opposed to the offense they thought they had to run.

Players to Watch

  • Lorenzo Styles – Styles had 2 total targets last week. He’ll have more than that by half-time this weekend.
  • Isaiah Foskey – He had a rough week one, but like his counterparts on the OL, he’ll bounce back with Marshall forced into a lot of obvious passing downs.
  • Jarrett Patterson – Does he play? And if he does, is he the same player we’ve grown accustomed to, or does the foot injury limit him?
  • Josh Lugg & Zeke Correll – Joe Alt and Blake Fisher were pretty solid on the edges of the line, but the interior really struggled last week. How they bounce back will be significant for Notre Dame.
  • Audric Estime – We saw flashes of Estime last week, but I think we see Notre Dame fully unleash the beast this week.

Prediction Time

Unlike last year, Notre Dame won’t struggle in this year’s home opener. Will the Irish look as good as they did in week two in 2020 when they beat South Florida 52-0? I don’t know that I’ll go that far, but I see Notre Dame looking a lot stronger on offense while continuing its strong defensive performance from a week ago.

Notre Dame 45, Marshall 13

2022 Game by Game Tracker

WeekOpponentPredictionResultResult DifTotal Dif
1Ohio State31-3810-21+3+38
2Marshall45-10

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24 Comments

  1. SpicyIrish is right on the mark. We need to wipe the depth chart clean and find out who, besides Bracy, Kiser, Bo Bauer, and MM and Buchner on offense really can execute on Saturdays. I still like Freeman to succeed…it just won’t be this year

    Let us just be sure he learns everything he needs to learn before next year…and win enough games to get us into a bowl game. Just to clarify this for you all: The villain here is neither Coach Kelly, nor Coach Freeman. The villains are administrators who make the same mistake iterum iterum iterumque. You just can’t take a man, even a great man, and ask him to be head coach at Notre Dame without any head coaching experience. You just can’t. People who think it can work are just plain silly. I mean, after all, this is Notre Dame, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not Division 2, where Kelly started, or Miami (OH) where Ara started, nor William and Mary, where Lou Holtz started. Notre Dame is not a good place to learn how to be a good head coach! It’s under an electron microscope before, during, and after every game. And ND has a target on its back every week. Neither of those things is a problem at William and Mary.
    Imagine the self inflicted pressure Coach Freeman is under now. I remember Dan Devine going 0-2 in 1978. He answered his phone saying Joe Kuharik, or Hugh Devore that week, as self-deprecating joke…but he had many years of head coaching experience and after that, that team won 9 of its next 10 games.
    I’d love to see Coach Freeman do something like that…but having Joe Montana was an advantage DD had that Coach Freeman doesn’t. But the real point here is this; some light hearted humor about it would probably serve him and our team better than denial, defensiveness, and high pressure. Then get on the practice field and get done whatever needs to be done. I honestly don’t know what else to say.

    BGC 77 82

  2. If only they waited a few weeks, had a proper coaching search probably have Fickell right now. But hey, the players love him.

    1. Freeman still might turn out to be great value for the rock bottom price…..of a no name coach. But he wasn’t going to win the NC in year one.
      ND fans are delusional foamers, and the media enjoys taunting idiots.

  3. Offensive line and Defensive line both looked anemic. There is no success and there may be fewer than 5 wins until those are fixed.
    The QBs aren’t horrible just average. So the running game needs a punch. I hate the RPO and I hate run read. Setup the play so your line and your back make the first punch.
    Freeman needs to quickly evaluate his coordinators and both line coaches. It’s not gelling.
    Kelly is a jerk and other than wins has no idea what Notre Dame is about. I’m glad he’s gone.
    If it’s an arms race to pay coaches and players more than it’s not worth watching so I hope this group can make some noise in the next 2 years. Otherwise let college football implode.

  4. We had a coach who was delivering 10 win seasons and we wouldn’t fork over the cash to build the facilities he felt he needed to get to the next level. So he left.

    And here we are.

    1. Ha! David would agree.
      Coach Freeman will learn head coaching skills on the job. Or not. Let’s start with correctly determining when
      a team is ready to play a given game
      Then we’ll move onto a hundred other things

      BGC 77 82

  5. This is beyond shameful. I certainly had more expectations about this team’s performance than what was seen today. A change at QB and having an OC who can be creative by dialing up plays that fit current personnel skill sets would be great. Not much more to say.

  6. “I had 13 years of head coaching experience before I came to Notre Dame, and I needed every one of them.” ARA PARSEGHIAN

    BGC 77 82

  7. Throw out the depth chart. All positions this week in practice are up for grabs. This offense is shameful. The defensive line is shameful.

  8. Maybe the coaches are too busy reading press clippings about how they are good at recruiting instead of coaching.

    The elite offensive line and defensive line? There is nothing elite about Notre Dame in any compartment. Even speed, Marshall is faster than ND. This team is a bad team and deserve to lose to the better team which is Marshall.

    1. this o line could not block a stiff wind! how much is ND paying teams to lighten the schedule so they can come into ND stadium and manhandle the football team? rees is very predictible with his play calling…i have said for years. fire kelly, fire swarbrick. fire jenkins.

      so now: fire swarbrick. fire jenkins. and hopefully freeman can win more than 4 games.

    2. After the Oklahoma State game I pointed out the collapse of the team in the second half and that Freeman didn’t pull Coan when he obviously needed to exert his authority as head coach.Rees is mediocre at best and Buchner has shown he is not ready.Just a horrible start with a terrible offense

  9. Who from hell runs between the tackles TWICE against a Gap 8 defense? Unbelievable! On third down play action, go deep. On fourth down, assuming you don’t score on third down, punt. This is nonsensical football.

    BGC 77 82

  10. Well, I was wrong about the offense scoring a lot of points. I was not wrong about hiring Mike Sullivan as O-line Coach instead of Harry.
    Let’s hope my publicly expressed fear
    of once again hiring a Head Coach with zero head coaching experience was misplaced. I get it, from the ND Administrative point of view…Harry is cheap compared to Mike Sullivan’s price tag, assuming he’d leave the
    pros for enough money. And hiring an assistant coach as head coach, instead of a successful head coach, is cheap as well.
    Lord God Almighty, I hope I’m proven wrong in the next 30 minutes. By the way, Marshall has a very highly experience head coach, in case you somehow couldn’t tell. GO IRISH.

    BGC 77 82

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