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When Marcus Freeman was named as the new head coach, the players were shocked. Change that to euphoria!
Fans were jacked, and the school was jacked. And apparently, recruits have been jacked.
Brian Kelly was very good at winning and restoring national prominence to the place. Yet Notre Dame could not be more excited about the refresh – perhaps bailing for LSU while the team was still in contention for the College Football Playoff had some effect. Now…
It seems like everyone around the Notre Dame program is having… fun?
It’s about buying stock early – Notre Dame isn’t supposed to be a place where a head coach first coaches. But that’s a testimony to how big of a rock star Freeman can be.
Now comes the tricky part. 1) Patience. 2) Kelly was a great success, but he wasn’t when it came to getting over the final hurdle. Will Freeman be able to do that? Only time will tell.
Pass protection needs to be much better.
It was one of the most overlooked parts of Brian Kelly’s era. His offensive lines were amazing.
The front five of last year’s team was to be overhauled, which everyone knew going into the season.
Although there were likely to be some problems due to the addition of so many new components, it was all about the idea that these tremendous young prospects – such as OTs Blake Fisher or Joe Alt – would be part of a dominant team over the next few years.
Even so, the offense still gave up 35 sacks and 82 tackles for loss. They also sometimes struggled to run the ball; they were ranked 83rd.
With four starters at the front, great depth and more mobility than Jack Coan at QB, it is clear that the line can be dominant once again.
Continue to take the ball away. Notre Dame’s defense was not always outstanding over the past few years. However, any concerns or mistakes were often wiped out by a lot of takeaways.
The Irish have created 20 or more takeaways each year for four years.
The defense was even more impressive last year with 25 takeaways, thanks to a steady two in nine of the 13 games.
The Irish had an 8-1 record when they came up with two or more takeaways. Oklahoma State was their only loss, the Fiesta Bowl. They won 35 consecutive games before that, returning to their 2017 heartbreaker against Georgia when they forced many turnovers.
Clemson, Nov. 5Let’s assume the Ohio State opener is a loss on the road. If it’s not, it’s still found money.
There are still concerns about going to North Carolina or Syracuse. BYU is a danger in Las Vegas. But there’s no reason to not go through the remainder of the slate up to the regular-season finale at USC.
Except for the date at Clemson.
This Tiger team is better than last year, but Notre Dame should be ready for them by November and South Bend will be rocking.
Talent-wise, there is no reason this season can’t or shouldn’t see another double-digit win total.
Marcus Freeman’s coaching team is outstanding. Freeman will be fine. Now it’s about being able to handle home games and not letting down against the better teams that the Irish should be capable of beating.
The last part of Brian Kelly’s era was a bit different. Although there were some ugly playoff losses, his teams never lost to any team that wasn’t good. Other than that 4-8 outlier in 2016, I will ignore that season for the sake of this rant.
Take a look at the last few seasons. Last year’s losses were to Cincinnati and Oklahoma State, which should have won the Big 12 title. Clemson lost the ACC Championship to Clemson and the CFP against eventual champion Alabama in 2020.
The Michigan loss of 45-14 in 2019 was unlike the Virginia loss in 2016. And if you remove that 2016 clunker from your timeline, you will have to go back to 2014, when Northwestern won a thrilling 43-40 match against Notre Dame. This was the last time the Irish lost to a team that had not won at least nine games.
North Carolina is dangerous. It is possible to win it.
Syracuse will be a hornet’s nest. It’s possible to win it.
BYU Las Vegas will be more complicated than anyone thinks. You can win this, too.
Since Freeman and the changes have X factors, it is reasonable to assume that Ohio State will be a loss to start the season. That would be in the Loss column regardless of who was the head coach. Then, it boils down to splitting against Clemson or USC and not missing against any other. Check out the top new sportsbooks for betting on Notre Dame!
I think the Irish can get to ten wins, but that means no screw-ups against mediocre teams and a win over a very good BYU.
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