Notre Dame 2013 Team Preview
If you were lucky enough to read my 2012 preview of Notre Dame then you know that I was spot on. Many of the so called experts were counting them out before the season even started but I told you that they were BCS bound. Yes, they did catch some breaks along the way but they were a solid football team all season and made their own breaks. Let’s take a look at what the 2013 football season will bring for the Fighting Irish.
If you are a Notre Dame fan then you already know that things have not been kind to the Irish ever since the beating they took in the National Championship game. First it was the odd Manti Te’o story and then when things began to calm down and spring practice was over, word came that starting quarterback, Everett Golson, was dismissed from school. Although Golson plans to return to Notre Dame, (plans to re-enroll 2014) he will not be able to help the Fighting Irish on the field this year. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has already named Tommy Rees the starting quarterback headed into this season in place of the suspended Golson.
Notre Dame offense: As I mentioned above Notre Dame will be without Golson. Keep in mind though that Rees relieved Golson last year in some key games that included wins against Michigan, BYU, and Stanford. The Irish will miss Golson’s legs but Rees brings them quick decision making in the passing game along with experience. Other key losses to graduation include the backfield of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood and All-American tight end Tyler Eifert. The backfield will be replaced by speedy George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel. Five star recruit Greg Bryant will also likely see some touches. TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels return as wide receivers along with burner Chris Brown. While the Irish will miss some talent on the offensive side of the ball, the players that are looking to play more of a key role are more explosive. I expect to see more big plays from the Irish offense this year.
Notre Dame defense: This unit was the main reason why the Irish made it to the National Championship game last year. The main losses to this unit are Heisman runner up Manti Te’o, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Zeke Motta. Everybody else is back on this unit and I actually expect this year’s defense to be better than last years. The secondary is more experienced and the front seven will be very good. The Irish will have Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix returning and both are expected to be first round draft choices should they come out after this season. Incoming freshmen Max Redfield and five star recruit Jaylon Smith will be difficult to keep off of the field.
Overall outlook: The Notre Dame schedule will again be difficult this year. An early week two contest at Michigan could go a long way in determining the fate of this year’s team. Home dates with Michigan State, Oklahoma, and USC will also be tough. A neutral site contest with Arizona State and closing the season at Stanford are not easy tasks. However, if last year’s team taught us anything it’s that you can’t count this Notre Dame team out. They will need to be up for every game because they get everybody elses best shot. I expect them to be up to the challenge again this year. You will see another double digit win total and BCS birth for the Irish. Chase Diamond