It sure was a disappointing end to the 2017 season. It seems like just yesterday that Notre Dame was playing for a spot in the college football playoff. Now the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 9-3 and will be headed to a second tier bowl game. There is no doubt that this season can be seen as a positive, but there are still changes that need to happen in 2018.
The most glaring issue is the quarterback position. It is evident that defenses figured out how to defend Notre Dame as the season went on. The coaching staff never fully trusted Brandon Wimbush and he gave them no reason to. The Irish need a quarterback that is capable of making the simple throws in the offense. Nothing crazy about that. Brandon Wimbush had too many passes sail over heads and bounce in the dirt.
What if I told you before the season started, that Brandon Wimbush would account for 30 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions? For this reason, I see the potential in Wimbush. His running ability should not be overlooked. Yes, there needs to be improvement in the passing game. But I think an offseason of training can make him into a decent passer. I do not see a scenario where true freshman Phil Jurkovec starts from day one. And if he ends up starting at some point in the 2018 season it will mean that the Irish are having a bad season. In order for Notre Dame to be their absolute best in 2018, they need Brandon Wimbush to be their quarterback.
The next thing that needs to be addressed this offseason is the performances in big road games. I have always backed Brian Kelly, saying that he is the best coach out there who would come to Notre Dame. With that being said, 2018 is a make or break year for him. It will be year 9 with the majority of starters returning. Notre Dame will have big road games against the Virginia Tech Hokies and USC Trojans. There have been too many times during Brian Kelly’s tenure that Notre Dame has looked outclassed in road games with a similar opponent. This year was a step in the right direction for the program, but there needs to be another level that is reached.
Next year we will find out what the future holds for Notre Dame football.