Know Your Opponent: Notre Dame
By Ben Neuwirth
First posted on bostoncollege.247sports.com
The Shamrock Series is back as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-1) travel to Chestnut Hill to face the Boston College Eagles (1-1, 0-1 ACC) Saturday at 3:30.
Notre Dame thrashed Temple in their opener but dropped a 19-20 heartbreaker last week to Georgia. Questions swirl around Brian Kelly and the Irish as 7 of their 8 losses last year also came by 1 possession. Expectations were high coming into the year, this week will be crucial to determining how the rest of their season will go.
Every week this season, Heights247 will take a look at the Eagles’ upcoming opponent to open the week. Here’s a few thing to know about Notre Dame before we get into a deeper look the rest of the week.
Head Coach: Brian Kelly(60-32, eighth year)
2016 record: 4-8
2016 bowl: None
Returning starters: 15 (8 offensive, 7 defensive)
Notre Dame primary uses a ground based attack, sporting a 54-46 run-pass ratio, and are led by junior back Josh Adams as well as his classmate QB Brandon Wimbush, who has the 2nd most rushes on the team.
Adams is a big, bruising back, measuring 6-2 225lbs and has been extremely efficient this year, totaling 214 yards on only 38 attempts, good for 5.6 ypc. Notre Dame has an experienced and talented offensive line that can smash through and fatigue the best defenses. LT Mike McGlinchey is a projected top 5 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
Wimbush has been effective running the ball himself, 107 yards on 28 carries. The threat he brings with his legs opens things up for Adams, forcing defenses to stay honest. Gap integrity is crucial against running quarterbacks and just one mistake can lead to a huge play.
The Irish run the Brian Kelly spread attack so they throw the ball a fair amount as well. WImbush’s favorite targets include wideouts Equanimeous St. Brown, a top NFL prospect, and Cameron Smith as well as TE Alize Mack.
The FIghting Irish have a fearsome defense led by their linebackers Nyles Morgan, 15 Tackles, and Te’von Coney, 12 tackles. They are backed up by a fast flying secondary that has only allowed 386 passing yards in the first couple games, headlined by senior corner Nick Watkins.
Their 3-4 formation is vulnerable to opposing running games but overall this unit is tough, experienced and solid. They return more than half of last season’s defense, which was ranked 40th despite the disaster season, and sport athletes at every position. Their defensive line has taken some hits to its depth the last couple of seasons but this is a vet laden team that doesn’t make many mistakes.
Sportsline: ND -13.5