Notre Dame 2010 season preview!

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Noknee, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Noknee

    Noknee Walk On

    Jul 1, 2009
    Notre Dame 2010 season preview!

    Welcome back to South Bend as the college football season is almost upon us. The depth chart coming out of fall camp has been set for the Fighting Irish, and the preseason rankings are out giving the Irish the #11 ranking in the nation. The defense looks to improve with 10 of 11 starters back. The offense that put up the highest points per game will be drastically different however, with a slew of new faces to replace 8 of 11 starters.

    The defense will be anchored by 2 All-Americans in DE Kerry Neal and FS Dan McCarthy. The game is won in the trenches so let's start there.

    The entire defensive line returns, and they excelled last year in stopping the run except for the OSU game. Where this unit struggled was getting to the QB. They had a paltry 17 sacks and the coaching staff is looking to push that to at least 30 this year. This will be done by utilizing more 4 man fronts and pressure from the linebackers this season. There will be some depth issues at DE if either of the 2 starters get injured.

    Defensive line grade A-

    The linebacking corps also returns intact. Brian Smith will be the captain, and Toryan Smith will see plenty of time in the 3-4 look as an inside backer. Steve Filer and Manti Teo return as the OLBs. They look to improve on their freshman seasons, and look to get more pressure from the outside than they did last year. They must also improve coverage in the flats against the smaller, quicker running backs. A benefit this year is the fact that this unit will have depth at all positions.

    Linebackers grade: B+

    There is some experience combined with inexperience for the defensive backs. The corners McNeil and Blanton return, along with All American McCarthy, but the SS will be headed by a true freshman and another true freshman will be at the nickelback position. The #1 recruiting class will be tested early with these 2 players being key on the defense.

    Defensive backs grade: B+

    The defense looks to be much improved and it looks like they will be using different schemes than last year to get pressure on the QB.

    Overall Defense Grade: A-

    Dayne Crist takes over the departed NFL draftee Jimmy Clausen. Clausen was All Big Ten so Crist has some mighty shoes to fill. Crist showed a lot of promise in the bowl game against Florida, but he will have to learn on the job as he will be looked at as the leader of the offense.

    Quarterbacks grade: B+

    The strongest part of the offense is loaded with depth and talent. Hughes returns along with Allen. Leading rusher Aldrige has departed, but the Lightning and Thunder of Hughes/Allen should be great this season if the line comes together. The backs in Gray and Wood are also jockeying for some playing time as the top running back recruit Ricard will be red shirting when he could be starting at most schools right away.

    Running backs grade: A+

    All American Kyle Rudolph will be the head of the TEs. Mike Ragone and Fauria will be his backups and should get some quality time during goaline and 2-3 TE sets that the staff likes to use. The TE is a key part of the ND offense and the ability to utilize Rudolph in the red zone and as a safety valve should help the development of Crist this year. Duval Kamara and Michael Floyd return in the WR unit. The loss of Golden Tate to the draft hurts but there is plenty of talent to soften the blow. The depth is good down to the 5th WR.

    Wide Receivers and Tight Ends grade: A

    The offensive line took the biggest hit to graduation and the draft. Replacing 4 starters however it will be anchored by All American Guard Trevor Robinson. JUCO transfer Sam Miller will start right away at RT and provide strong blocking. The line is very young, and will need to come together quickly if the Irish want to take on the big powers in the Big Ten as well as make a run at the national title.

    Offensive Line Grade: B

    The offense can't get any better than the most points of any team in NCAA last year. However the unit should be strong if the line can provide good blocking. They struggled with pass blocking and gave up a lot of sacks. Look for the Irish to counter this with screens and draws.

    Overall Offense Grade: A-

    At Special teams Allen and Blanton are both back to return kicks, and Walker will resume to handle all kicks while working with new recruit Andrew Yates. Look for the Irish to try to pin more punts into coffin corner as Walker has been heavily practicing them this offseason.

    Special Teams Grade: B-

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