Notre Dame’s Running Back Depth Decimated by Dismissals

Deon McIntosh - Notre Dame RB

Notre Dame had a nice little string of good news going so obviously it had to stop.  After learning that both Tevon Coney and Jerry Tillery were coming back for their senior seasons and that Jonathan Bonner had a change of heart and will return for a 5th year, Notre Dame announced the dismissal of four players: Kevin Stepherson, CJ Holmes, Deon McIntosh, and Brandon Tiassum.  Dismissals that have left Notre Dame’s running back depth chart decimated.

The dismissal of Stepherson should hardly be a surprise.  After being involved in last summer’s highway arrest that led to Max Redfield’s dismissal and his early season suspension that was never officially announced, Stepherson was on the thinest of ice.  So when he was picked up for shoplifting and speeding with a suspended license all in a two day period, his fate was sealed.  And honestly, a dismissal was the only option here.

As for Tiassum, his dismissal comes as a surprise as there has not been any reports of issues with him in the past, but from a pure football standpoint, the dismissal will have little impact on the Irish.  If Tiassum saw the field next year, Notre Dame was in trouble to begin with.

Losing Holmes and McIntosh, however, are big losses that destroy Notre Dame’s depth at running back.  Without both on the roster, Notre Dame is down to just Dexter Williams, Tony Jones Jr, and early enrollee Jahmir Smith.  That’s three healthy running backs for the 2018 season as the roster sits now.

Yikes.

McIntosh showed in 2017 that he can be a pretty good college running back too.  As injuries to Williams, Jones, and Adams mounted this season, McIntosh played much more than anyone anticipated.  When he played, he also played well.  McIntosh racked up 368 yards on 65 carries (5.7 ypc) and 5 touchdowns highlighted by a 12 carry 124 yard 2 touchdown performance against North Carolina.  His season came to a crashing halt though when he was sent home from the Citrus Bowl days before the Irish took the field.

Holmes didn’t play much in 2017 but did have his redshirt burned late in the year.  Holmes was arrested along with Stepherson for shoplifting in early December and had been indefinitely suspended ever since.

Ok, so the only glimmer of good news here is that there are reports that CJ Holmes has a path back to the team depending on what he does to get back in the good graces of Kelly ala Michael Floyd in 2011.  Remember, Floyd was arrested for a DUI, dismissed from the team for the spring, but had an outline given to him of things he needed to display to be welcomed back on the team.  It worked for Floyd, so there is hope it works for Holmes too.

If it doesn’t, Notre Dame will need to get creative here.  Playing with just three scholarship backs is a dangerous proposition – especially when two of them spent much of 2017 injured with various nagging injuries.  Notre Dame does have some options though.

First, Notre Dame could give incoming freshman Tariq Bracy a look at running back.  He was a dynamic high school running back and was recruited to play offense by some schools.  With Notre Dame adding Joseph Wilkins and Houston Griffith at corner and still heavily pursuing Noah Boykin, they could afford to look at Bracy at RB.  At 6’2′ and just 170 lbs currently though, Bracy would need to hit the weight room hard this spring to add some weight to hold up at running back.

Notre Dame could also look to the current roster for a position change.  One name that comes to mind is Isaiah Robertson.  It doesn’t make much sense to move a player who will be in the two deep already but Robertson played some offense in high school and might have a tough time cracking the two deep at safety.  At 6’1″, 195 lbs, he has the size to hold up.

The Irish could also look at add another running back in the class.  Even with the early Signing Period come and gone there are still some backs out there.  It’s tough to get a recruit this late in the game, but remember, Notre Dame made a huge push last February and ended up with Jafar Armstrong, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Kofi Wardlow so it is not unheard of.  Expect to hear Notre Dame being mentioned by some new recruits the next few weeks.

The last option, would be to go the graduate transfer route.  Offering a running back Notre Dame isn’t fully in love with late in the game just to fill out the depth chart ends up taking up a roster spot for four years.  If they can find a stop gap back via graduate transfer, the Irish could load up on backs in the class of 2019 instead to compensate.

Just to end on a positive, perhaps this will put to end all of the in-game tweets pleading for Dexter Williams to get more carries as there really will be no other option but to feed Williams the ball more in 2018 and pray he – and Jones – stay healthy.

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81 comments

  1. david 2 years ago

    Tweet from Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated:

    “Bit of a sobering thought when looking at raw talent among other college football heavyweights. Here’s the number of Top 40 prospects signed the past five years by… Alabama 27 Georgia 16 USC 16 Ohio State 13 Clemson 12 Notre Dame 1 ”

    Brian Kelly is a poor game planner, a downright terrible game day coach, a shi++y playcaller, has a rapidly diminishing circle of potential ass’t coaching hires, and is a very weak recruiter.

    But ND thinks he’s adequate, and you clearly think he’s fine.

    So I guess it’s just me.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

      That writer (Pete Samson) just quantified one of the first things I posted on this site 2 years ago…that BK never has gotten that dominant defensive “impact” player to come here that everyone of the great coaches during my lifetime had…Stock and Page for ARA…later Browner and Bradley (who played for ARA and DEVINE), then Golic, and finally Zorich et al recruited by HOLTZ. We need that guy to be recruited successfully.
      But it does not follow from that recruiting deficiency that BK is a “weak” recruiter. The cupboard is not bare here at ND, the way it was trending to be when Coach Willingham left. Now there was a “weak” recruiter, though I do not know why TW had trouble filling spots. Recruiting certainly was TW’s Achilles heel, and it was becoming critically alarming.
      BK has filled our roster with 4 star recruits (though very few 5 stars admittedly).
      This coming year will be pivotal for that strategy to either pay off with a playoff berth, which we had runs at in 2015 and again 2017, or flop again, which would probably a defining moment for the whole 9 year old program. The question is: can ND compete against those teams Pete Samson listed with mostly 4 star recruits? We played Clemson close in 2015 and Georgiavery close in 2017…but beat neither and fell short of the playoffs both years. It’s interesting.

      BGC ’77 ’82

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        Sorry, definitely add Lynch to that list, and possibly Crable as well.

        BGC

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      2. david 2 years ago

        Kelly is not as bad as “Golfin’ Ty”.
        High praise.

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    2. ndcrazymike 2 years ago

      Well here we go #1 KELLY does not call the plays Chip Long does! #2 We all know ND doesn’t get the top players because of Academics, SAT Scores, and the fact these kids don’t want to worry about grades there 3 and out guys!! #3 Kelly is just an average coach, but he has won 10 games 2 of the last 3 years. how bad were the COACHES he game planned against? #4 So much for the rapidly diminishing list of ASST. coaches, ND WILL hire a top O-LINE coach!! #5 IRISH are now the #6 team in recruiting this year!!!! #6 CRYING DAVEY : why don’t u say who should b next coach? Because you know nothing!! YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT ONE THING DOPEY……. IT IS YOU!!!

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        NDcrazymike,
        Everything you said is exactly right.
        Add this: (1) The two “D” coaches who stayed are more important than the ones who left. It reminds me of Kelly and Yonto staying after ARA retired. It was huge. AND (2) Coney will be playing like a “5” star dominant impact player next year…like a Lynch or a Stock or a Golic type LB. Tranquill will be right behind him; both will make somebody’s AA team, and I’m thinking that Tillery MIGHT pan out into a Boo Williams/Chris Zorich type factor in the middle of that line. Plus, the secondary now has both experience and help on the way! And the edges look set to me as well! Watch out ND haters and ND deniers! This could be a VERY depressing year for you guys.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      2. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        Sorry, wrong Williamson I think. Long time ago.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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  2. Michael the Archangel 2 years ago

    Saban decides against Chip Long. So at least that’s one destination Long can’t choose – for now.

    https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/alabama-coach-nick-saban-playing-it-safe-and-smart-with-new-oc-mike-locksley/

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    1. david 2 years ago

      Making Saban’s consider list put him on everyone else’s short list.

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    2. southside 2 years ago

      MTA , thank you again for digging up latest news regarding ND football team. Locksley was the favorite and well liked by the ‘Bama players

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      1. Michael the Archangel 2 years ago

        The latest update was that Saban offered Long the position of co-OC with Locksley, but Long declined.

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  3. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

    Duranko, thanks for listing me as a finalist in such select company. Very flattering. Very tough competition to win this distinction. Poor David, it hurts the hater more than the hatee.

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    1. duranko 2 years ago

      You know, Mr. Greg Kelly, I THOUGHT you were a scrapper. Yeah, it’s tough competition, sort of the BCS.

      Now there are some tough contenders Like Bruce Gregory Curme and “Truth in Labelling” NDCRAZYMIKE.

      Brian Kelly is the Nick Saban of the group.

      I’m sort of the UCF of the group, just a ham and egger. but I try, I try

      Greg, you just gotta buckle that chin strap! Victory requires sacrifice! Don’t let Curme and CRAZYMIKE outtough you!
      suck it up!

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  4. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

    HEY EVERYBODY,
    Let me be clear here: I sure don’t believe that the sins of the father should be visited upon the sons. Let Chunkie Charlie’s son find his own way in the world….and let BVG’s son finish the education he deserves at ND in peace. But that doesn’t make what CW with his contract right in my eyes. Just because you CAN do something does not necessarily mean that you SHOULD do it. And as far as I’m concerned, BVG got criticism that he deserved…maybe not even soon enough! They are big boys in a big league…if you do well there are accolades (not to mention a lot of money). But if you fail as a coach, you drag a whole team and support staff down with you. I know these days in our country we have a “zero consequence” type of mentality that seems to pervade. To me, that’s sad…but maybe it’s just the way the culture has to evolve – I don’t know. A lot of it started with that 2008 Wall Street bailout…the warnings that “investments can and do lose money” became a farce. And it seems like nobody has been held accountable for anything on any level since then.
    well, some of us hold Chunkie Charlie accountable – and BVG too – and David, for that matter, for his shotgun approach at using insults and slurs. Of all the “names” he has called me (quite a few, soon he’ll need a Thesaurus to keep going) the one that I like the most is “ARROGANT”…all my career, especially in the face of incompetence, injustice, and corruption, I’ve always been ARROGANT. And it never helped me. Close friends, family and co-workers will tell you this for sure. Everyone has flaws – it’s just a matter of degree, isn’t it.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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    1. duranko 2 years ago

      Yeah, but

      Charley Weis STOLE from Notre Dame. I don’t care about contracts. Fatso looted his alma mater’s treasury.

      But on “Arrogant>” Well

      Consider Danton

      De l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace et la Patrie sera sauvée!
      Some audacity, more audacity, always audacity and the Fatherland will be saved!
      Speech, Assemblée legislative, Paris (1792-09-02), reported in Le Moniteur (1792-09-04)

      The quote on audacity was anglicized to “Audacity, Audacity, Audacity!” and
      was used and cherished by both General George Patton and Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler

      So, BGC, are you ARROGANT or AUDACIOUS?????????????????????

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      1. david 2 years ago

        Stole? You are an utter buffoon among idiots.

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      2. duranko 2 years ago

        Weis committed financial matricide, taking money under false pretenses.

        Mere contract is the last refuge of scoundrels, including obese ones who blaspheme God during their Notre Dame press conferences.

        But here is the rub, and you will not understand this.

        It’s a lyric from Pretty Boy Floyd

        “Some people rob you with a six gun, some people with a fountain pen.”

        Let me repeat Weis STOLE and robbed Notre Dame with a fountain pen. He ripped off his alma mater.

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      3. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        DURANKO, as I said, just because Chunkie Charlie had a contract that said he COULD hit ND for 20 million, that does not mean that he SHOULD have hit ND for all of that. The night he started for us as coach, addressing a dejected bowl losing ND team at the site of the bowl, he said something to the effect that “you guys are a 7-6 team and that’s not good enough” or something like that. I agreed and was glad to hear it. But 5 years later, after he ran the program for 5 long years, Chunkie Charlie’s team was guess what…about 7-6! So how did that 7-6, just 5 years later, magically become “good enough” for him to have the gall to collect 20 million from the University?!?
        I was teaching HS Physics here in Indiana, coaching Academic Competition Teams, and heavily involved in union negotiations during that period. You would not believe how much CW was detested and resented by some of the Indiana HS football coaches and assistant coaches I knew…all across the northern (at least) part of this state. It was telling, to say the least. Some of them did not want ANYTHING to do with Charlie Weis. They certainly did not want him, or his associates, visiting their schools. Is that ever a good sign for a college coach…when instate football coaches don’t even want you around?

        BGC ’77 ’82

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  5. david 2 years ago

    ND Football. “We’re no longer elite, but our fans are elitist!”

    You’re welcome. No charge.

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    1. david 2 years ago

      Addendum: ….as well as some completely uneducated, truly embarrassing, and mentally deficient.

      Apologies to NDcrazymike for the oversight.

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  6. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

    OK, I’m stumped, for the humble readers enlightenment, ” does Ole Galloway have any eligibility left”

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  7. duranko 2 years ago

    Mr. Curme, you are in good company being mocked by our board strange presence.

    He recently on one of his rants used Rockne as a throwaway line.
    ‘Coach Rockne says “they’re swell!”’

    So if he’d toss in an irrelevant Rockne quote just to feather his own nest, why would he not mock you.

    Remember this, BGC, “You can tell a lot about a man by the nature of his enemies.”

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    1. david 2 years ago

      More pompous slogans. Your head is completely up your arse.

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    2. duranko 2 years ago

      Greg, you, as being naturally curious, are probably interested in this quote, and its background.

      Once upon a time I was in the District of Columbia, in an intense, but marvelously cordial, meeting/negotiation with a guy who had part of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission, not Bama’s conference) team which went after Fifth Avenue Bus lines, whose counsel was pederast McCarthyite Roy Cohn. The SEC won, Cohn lost.

      As you faced this guy your eye was drawn to a framed letter on his wall just over his right shoulder. It was a scathing missive from the pederast banshee Cohn, accusing the guy behind the desk of all sorts of badinage including constitutional ururpation, and denial of due process of law. It first seemed odd, until you noticed the small engraved plaque just above it.

      It was from John Fitgerald Kennedy and said “You can tell a lot about a man by the nature or his enemies.” Our mutual enemy not only mocks Rockne but thinks John Fitgerald Kennedy is pompous.

      I wonder who he hates more, BGC, you, Rock or JFK? Heck, it might be a photo finish!

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        He hates Brian Kelly more than I hate Satan, but I don’t know why. BK can be arrogant and he can be annoying…and when he first got here I had some real questions about his “style” dealing with players, at least in public on TV…but I don’t see anything he’s ever done that is worthy of hatred. Perhaps David will explain.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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  8. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

    What, Charlie Weis Jr. stolen by Lane Kiffen at Fla Atlantic. He would have made a great OC learning in His Dads misfoot steps.

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    1. david 2 years ago

      He might— just might — turn out be a good coach.

      With 100% certainly, he’d love to come back to ND as a visiting team, and put 100 points up. With starters playing to the final whistle. Hard.

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        Holtz son has already done exactly that – in a rare home opening loss – less the “100” point thing.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      2. david 2 years ago

        I, and I suspect everyone else here, would surely already know that.

        As far as having any relevance, are you implying that the motivations and feelings of Lou Holtz’s son and Charlie Weis’ son towards ND on the occasion of their returns as opposition coaches would be similar?

        …Really?!?

        If so, you continue to prove you are as smart as a bag of hammers.
        Apply for a well-deserved refund on that degree.

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      3. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

        No, David, I do not see their returns as “similar”…because I do not see either Lane, with or without Chunky Charlie’s son, having any chance of winning the game.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      4. ndcrazymike 2 years ago

        I guess now your gonna tell us what a great job that FAT SLOB did at ND!! His kid gets a job at NOBODY UNIVERSITY with LAME KIFFIN wow DAVEY! I can see why u like WIDEASS WIESS u both are long winded full of shit losers! YOU SIR ARE A DOPE!! DAVEY find another team to rant about everybody on this site knows your a little WHINEING BITCH!!!

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      5. Ron Burgundy 2 years ago

        They paid his dad nearly $20M to not work, pretty tough to hold a grudge on that one.

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      6. david 2 years ago

        The guy who GOT the (contractually obligated) (professionally humiliatiing) $20 million sure holds a grudge.

        But you believe his son would side with ND over his dad.
        Sure.

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  9. Damian 2 years ago

    Well, I knew the period of no player drama wouldn’t last. Looks like we’re back in the old player suspensions/dismissal/leaving for the NFL/QB controversy mode. Last offseason was nice for a change in the sense there was a lack of all that. I guess this is our default position anymore. I’m not well versed enough in the entirety of CFB to say whether this is a BK problem, or just the way of things in this day and age of CFB.

    I guess one piece of good news we should see more Dexter Williams on the field this year. I honestly don’t know why he spent so much time warming the bench this year (outside when he was hurt). Tony Jones looks like he can be a contributor as well. But this puts even more pressure on Wimbush because we are going to need a QB that can pass the ball more than 50%.

    In an ideal world, the coaches would talk Wimbush into taking other roles on the team as a RB running direct snaps, and even straight up RB plays, and have a regular QB in their who can throw accurately. Now that’s about as likely to happen as pigs are about to fly. It’s rare for a QB to accept any other roles, but it would be the best case scenario. Unfortunately that means Wimbush will be warming the bench much of the year before he becomes the next in a long line of ND QB’s to finish their career elsewhere under BK. By this time next year I wouldn’t be surprised if Book is the next one benched in favor of the next ‘big QB’, but I digress.

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