Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Update
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have only a few weeks left to prepare for their season opener against the University of Southern Florida. The Irish have to answer multiple questions regarding both sides of the ball. For starters who's going to Quarterback for the Irish? Dayne Christ or Tommy Rees? Both are proven starters. Christ started the season for the Irish before sub-coming to a season ending injury and thats when Rees took over the helms for the Irish winning his way into the eyes and hearts of the Irish faithful by leading them with wins over Utah, USC (University of Southern California), and a bowl game win over Miami (FL) University.
Another key position to watch is Running Back for the Irish. With Half Back Armando Allen gone will tailback Cierre Wood who picked up the slack for the Irish after Allen's injury or tailback Jonas Gray be able to pick up the running load left behind by Allen or will it be a new powerhouse runner who has yet to emerge to the world of collegiate football.
Allen who had support from the offensive line and Tight End Kyle Rudolph was a premiere rusher for the Irish before sub-coming to an injury. Rudolph was the most revered Tight End in the league do to his size, speed, hands, athletic ability, blocking ability and football intelligence. It is by no surprise that Rudolph went to the Nation Football League and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. The question now is who is going to pick up that pivotal spot on the offensive line and provide a safety net for passing like Rudolph?
However, Notre Dame will try to mix up the offensive strategies with different Tight Ends providing different formations and knowing how Head Coach Brian Kelly likes to score, the only questions that remains is who, how, and when.
Thats just the offensive side of the football. However, the Irish do not have many questions on defense and are looking to magnify the defensive abilities of each player. Keys to the Irish defense last year was Safety Harrison Smith and Middle Linebacker Manti Te'o.
Smith however, was not as top notch. Smith often would be kept quiet throughout most of his games of would get burned deep by opposing receivers but came into the spotlight in the last few games against USC and Miami. During these games Smith amassed pivotal interceptions helping the Irish seal wins.
Te'o was a top notch defender when it came to tackling for the Irish. Te'o led the Irish in tackles throughout the season and also helped put pressure on the opposing Quarterback. Which often helped the defensive line led by Defensive Tackle Ian Williams. Williams has since left the program and leaves a huge whole in the Irish defensive front. Williams who was a Nose Tackle for the Irish was also a leader in tackles and sacks.
Luckily for the Irish the defensive side of the ball has fewer questions than the offensive side . When you leave college it isn't always about replacing talent, its about the leadership that each one of these Players brought to the locker-room, the field, and in the classroom.
For when Notre Dame takes the field it is a team of class, gamesmanship, and honor. There is no other team quite like Notre Dame in tradition but all are going for the same goal, a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) trophy and immortality in the collegiate world.
By: Eric Monahan
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.