Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
2015 Record 10-3
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2016 Preview
Despite losing quite a bit of talent the Notre Dame Fighting Irish look to make noise on the national scene in 2016.
Overview: Brian Kelly has to be accustomed to high expectations because his Fighting Irish always have abundant talent. The key is to stay healthy and keep that talent on the field with the hope of making a run at the National Championship.
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Offense: The first order of business for Brian Kelly is to settle on a quarter back as Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer give the Fighting Irish a pair of quality options. Whoever Notre Dame has under center they will be throwing to Tori Hunter Jr., Miles Boykin, Alize Jones and Equanimeous St. Brown. The Irish backfield is set with Josh Adams and Tarean Folston being a quality one, two punch although the offensive line returns just two starters. The Fighting Irish receiving corps and the O-Line might be a bit unproven but the talent is in place with most 3-4 star rated athletes so it’s difficult to feel all that badly for Notre Dame that will likely average 30+ points once again.
Defense: The Irish defensive line might be the strength of the ‘D’ with DE Isaac Rochell recording 7.5 TFL while NG Jarron Jones returns after posting 7.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks in 2014. The departures of linebackers Jaylon Smith and Joe Schmidt and their 150+ tackles and 13 TFL won’t be replaced but the front seven had depth in 2015 and that will come in to play for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame FS Max Redfield, and corners Cole Luke and Devin Butler lead the secondary with Drue Tranquill and Shaun Crawford hoping their ACL injuries are behind them. However, the defense is loaded with highly rated athletes in backup roles and we’ll see some of them.
Special Teams: Big leg punter Tyler Newsome averaged 44.5 yards per boot while placekicker Justin Yoon’s 15-17 performance on field goals speaks for itself. CJ Sanders will be the primary returner and scored on both kick and punt returns to give the Irish a quality unit.
Outlook: I believe the success of the Fighting Irish depends on how well the defensive side of the football performs. When I say success I mean this team could be in the playoffs or ‘just’ top ten which isn’t too shabby.
9/3 @ Texas
9/17 Michigan State
10/1 @ Syracuse
10/8 @ NC State
10/29 Miami (FL)
11/5 @ Navy
11/19 Virginia Tech
11/26 @ USC