Wick36 azreinman Selvy9 the bigg dawgg whales30 Jolts57 droid43 Theezy Mcwoods06 GMONEY 15 2013 Team Previews It's almost time for a whole new season for OTP, let's get team previews out to show what's up. You can follow my basic template below, or make your own. Some guys do really cool stuff with graphics and tables and whatnot, but I am not that good . In any event, have fun with it. Notre Dame Fightin' Irish 2013 TEAM PREVIEW The Irish come into 2013 following an exciting season that got off to a great 11-0 start, only to have the team's dreams dashed as they lost the final game of the season to Georgia, then fell apart in the B1G Title Game to Michigan. The team finished on a positive note with a Capital One Bowl victory over Florida, but that was little consolation for the late season collapse and the team's disappointment in being passed over by the BCS. Despite the poor end to the season, ND exceeded most expectations for the season, and have a great young core that earned valuable experience. The Irish should have the horses to hang with any team on their schedule once again, it will all come down to execution and limiting stupid mistakes. All the pieces are in place for a big run again this season, it's up to the players and coaches to step up to the challenge. OFFENSE Notre Dame will continue to run their version of the power offense popularized by Harbaugh at Stanford. This year's team will focus even more on the power run game and two TE sets as Tyler Eifert amazingly passed on the chance to go in the 1st round of the draft and came back for his 5th year. He will be the focal point of the passing game and creates incredible mismatches for any defense. ND is also loaded with several high quality running backs, led by RS Senior Cierre Wood who is coming off a strong season despite playing a secondary role to 3rd place Heisman finisher Theo Riddick, who has left for the NFL. Wood brings more size and speed to the backfield, and is probably even better than Riddick. Behind him Amir Carlisle and George Atkinson III bring amazing speed and shiftiness and can hit a homerun at any time they touch the ball. They will be incorporated into the offense and really give defenses a lot to worry about. The WR group will miss departed Senior John Goodman and his 1000 yards receiving. TJ Jones and RS Freshmen Davonte Neal are small but fast receivers, we'll need a few Freshmen to step up and deliver some size at the position. At QB, Everett Golson had a solid season as a first time starter, but his youth showed during many big road games. Hopefully the experience has hardened him and he'll take a huge step up after a strong offseason in the film room. The coaches are looking at more ways to utilize his speed this year as well to keep teams honest. Once again ND boasts a ton of depth with Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and RS Frehman Gunner Kiel all capable of starting for most teams. KEY PLAYERS Cierre Wood Wood brings it in the game this year with 96 spd, 94 acc and solid break tackle and elusiveness. He'll be a nightmare for defenses and may be a dark horse in the Heisman race after gaining 730 yards (7.4/carry!!) in a backup role last season. Tyler Eifert Eifert is a matchup nightmare for any D. The coach loves to rely on his tight end in key situations and at 6'6" 251, with 89 spd/acc, this monster should be able to beast any defender. He incredibly returned for his 5th year after an 1150 yard 12 TD season. DEFENSE Notre Dame will continue with the 3-4 to capitalize on it's strong LB core, though the loss of the incomparable Manti Teo leaves a sizable hole in the middle. We'll try to fill that with physical freak Ishaq Williams, the RS Soph is 6'6 250 with 85 spd/89 acc, so he'll cover a lot of ground. The DL will be led by Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III who had 14 & 9 sacks. The DB's continue to be a concern on this team, though CB's Bennett Jackson and Lo Wood stepped up last year and should be solid as Seniors. FS Jamoris Slaughter returns for a 5th year and brings great speed to the position, but whoever rises to the top of the SS battle will be young and very green, no depth there at all. Overall, the strength of the D lies in the front 7, which is a good place to be. We'll again be an attacking D that tries to force the offense into uncomfortable situations. KEY PLAYER Stephon Tuitt The Irish D is going to rely on stuffing the run and pressuring the QB, and nobody does that better for the Irish than Tuitt. He's coming off a Sophomore season of 14.5 sacks, 21 TFL, and too many QB hurries to count. He was an 87 ovr and should blow by 90 as a Junior, he could be a great one by the time he's done. KEY GAMES TBD, but as always, the Michigan rivalry is the key to the season. After the Irish pulled off a sloppy win early in the season, Michigan went off the rest of the year and earned revenge in the conference championship game. It should be another couple of battles this season as both teams come back strong. Recruiting Priorities ND needs more LB's as the roster is getting very old at those spots. We'll also need a lot of help in the secondary, then continue to build up the D line and depth across the board. We may be able to take a breather on the O-line as we have a ton of depth there. Season Prediction Coming of a very strong 12-2 season that ended badly, the Irish are hungry for a big season. The key comes back to the Michigan game, and inevitable rematch in the championship game. The goal as always is a conference championship and hopefully improving on the 12 wins of a year ago. It won't be easy, but few teams have as explosive of talent on offense as the Irish do, it's up to the coaches to make the most of it.