Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has had the fighting Irish rolling over the past few years. Playoff appearances are beginning to seem like the norm in South Bend but if there is a time for them to stumble it’s now.
They’re having to replace two of the leaders on last year’s playoff team in long-time quarterback Ian book and defensive leader Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. These are huge losses for the team but there are many that still believe in the Irish’s ability to reload for the coming season.
One of the reasons for their recent success comes from their offensive scheme which is conservative enough to become innovative in the spread heavy landscape of today's football.
Some staples of this scheme are:
- The use of multiple tight end sets- usually in bunch formations
- Using pre-snap motion and larger personnel to overwhelm the smaller hybrid defenders in today’s defenses
- Lots of pulling linemen
- A quick and easy passing game
- Leveraging their running game to open up play-action shot opportunities
There's a new sheriff in town leading the Irish’s defense. Marcus Freeman, who led one of the better defenses in the country in Cincinnati last year, is looking to translate that success to Notre Dame.
- The defense will trust its secondary in man coverage- much like Clark Lea’s defense did before him
- They will feature predominately one high safety looks
- They have a hybrid 3 down front- that often uses linebackers as inserting lineman
- Heavy technique by the ends allows them to have more agile hybrid linebackers on the outside- Look for standout Safety Kyle Hamilton to potentially make an impact here
These concepts are hard to grasp with mere bullet points. For a better understanding and film analysis, this video breaks down everything you need to know before watching FSU face off against the Fighting Irish.
This Irish team is a hard one to project. Transfer quarterback Jack Coan may be the answer they need to bridge the gap after Ian Book. Kyle Hamilton may be able to make Marcus Freeman’s defense one of the best in the country. It's hard to know for sure.
But what I do know for sure is that it's football season and there is no better time of year.