What's wrong with Notre Dame?

#1
It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Irish. Notre Dame saw themselves (as always) entering this season as a team with playoff aspirations. But those are on life support, at this point, halfway through the Duke game.

First of all, the Irish are not getting any interior penetration, on either run or pass plays. Isaac Rochell is a good player, but, Trumbetti and the tackles are not doing what players like Stephon Tuitt, Sheldon Day and Irish Chocolate did in the past.

Secondly, the Irish don’t have the sort of TE outlet that has become a staple of the Brian Kelly offense and creates the deep opportunities for Irish WRs. The suspension of Alize Jones is hurting as Durham Smythe has yet to establish himself in the offense.

Thirdly, speaking of those WR,s Will Fuller is definitely missed. CJ Sanders is fast, but he’s not really a serious deep threat the way Fuller was. He hasn’t yet shown an ability to track the ball deep or make contested catches like Fuller could. Yes, Fuller would drop some balls, but he had the size and hands to throw to on jump ball situations. Equanimeous St. Brown can obviously win jump balls and he’s a red zone menace, but hasn’t shown much in the way of vertical speed.

Fourthly, the Irish lack defensive playmakers. Jaylon Smith was a special talent and would have probably been a top10 NFL draft pick without his unfortunate injury. He was the sort of player to change the story line in a game fast. With the dismissals and suspensions, nobody on the defense this year is filing that role.

Finally, the Irish are “beating themselves” this year. A gambler might call it luck, a tragic sense of the world might call it fate, but however you put it, ND isn’t getting the breaks to go their way in the fashion a championship team needs. They fumble handoffs, they miss tackles, they a couple of inches short in the “game of inches” cliché.

This could be a long year.
 
#3
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