Welcome back to another Bagpipe Monday on One Foot Down. Friends, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have one week left of their fall camp program before they start prepping for the Michigan Wolverines during the last two weeks of the offseason. There are plenty of questions, but there are also a whole lot of answers. Let’s take a quick look around the team and see where the Irish stand at each position group (briefly).
The biggest question for the team is still at quarterback. I think it’s safe to say that Brandon Wimbush will start against Michigan (if only because that’s what Brian Kelly is going to do) but that doesn’t mean we have the best answer. Wimbush has had a really good offseason by most accounts, but his last practice in front of the media showed an inaccurate passer with the short and easy throws. That one practice has been enough for the already vocal naysayers to get get louder, and for many of the hopeful — well, they have some doubts. Ian Book remains on deck....
Yes, we are 99% sure Dexter Williams is going to be unofficially suspended for the first four games. Tony Jones has been fairly unremarkable during just about every media viewing that they have had this camp. Jahmir Smith and C’Bo Flemister are freshmen that have already been hurt enough to miss practice. Avery Davis and Jafar Armstrong are sounding like the most dynamic options as they complete their position change to running back. There haven’t been too many negatives here, but there also haven’t been enough positives to inspire a ton of confidence.
One HUGE positive so far this camp has been this position group. Miles Boykin continues his meteoric rise, and Chase Claypool is looking more and more like the player we all know he can be. Chris Finke is forever the underdog, but still out there proving to be one of the best in the group. Javon McKinley has received high marks, but could still prove to be the biggest mystery. Kevin Austin has been getting a good look and will play this year, and a couple of running backs (Davis & Armstrong) are playing a little bit in the slot. Overall they look good, and seem to be the real playmakers on the offense.
More of the same here. Alizé Mack continues to impress in a practice setting. Nic Weishar is Mr. Dependable all around. Cole Kmet looks to be the next BIG thing at tight end. I don’t have a firm grasp on what Brock Wright and Tommy Tremble have going on, but with Weishar, Mack, and Kmet the Irish have a strong group.
Notre Dame has their starting five with (left to right) Liam Eichenberg, Alex Bars, Sam Mustipher, Tommy Kraemer, and Robert Hainsey. It’s a solid group, but I think once there comes a need with a substitution (for injury or whatever) they greatly reduce their power. I’m not sure Jeff Quinn and the Irish know what could happen if they need to get a little deeper help from the bench. They have a plan, no doubt — but how that plan will work probably remains very much a mystery.
It really looks like Notre Dame is finally two deep STRONG across the entire defensive line to help foster that all-important rotation. Khalid Kareem, Jerry Tillery, Jonathan Bonner, and Daelin Hayes will most likely form the starting group. The “2nd line” will hold Ade Ogundeji, Myron Tagovailola-Amosa, Kurt Hinish, and Julian Okwara. There is even a little bit of a battle between Okwara and Hayes for that starting role at the drop too. I LOVE it.
Te’von Coney is one of the best in the country and will prove that from the moment he steps on the field against Michigan. Drue Tranquill has made a pretty smooth transition to the BUCK from ROVER, and has looked strong during camp. The biggest question is at ROVER. Can Asmar Bilal improve enough in coverage to hold off Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and freshman Shayne Simon? The Irish seem to be creating depth at linebacker by cross-training and using guys like freshman Bo Bauer and Jordan Genmark Heath. A strong group that could be much stronger if the ROVER gets solidified.
Julian Love and Troy Pride Jr. are the starters and there is no question of that fact. Love is one of the best in the country, and Pride has been playing just as well as Love during camp. Crawford continues his role at the nickel. We’ve heard good things about Donte Vaughn (again) and freshmen Noah Boykin and D.J. Brown have impressed the coaching staff. The frontline is really, really good — but there are questions about depth here.Who steps up to be the next guy to step up?
This was one of the biggest question marks coming in, and the smoke is starting to clear. Alohi Gilman and Nick Coleman are going to start the season at safety. Both have impressed (greatly) during camp, and provide a strong skillset, along with experience and leadership. Freshman Houston Griffith is still going to see some time at safety, although Coleman has all but beat him out here. Jalen Elliott and Devin Studstill provide a ton of experience as back-ups. Another freshman, Derrik Allen has also impressed in camp, but may still find himself outside of the 2 deep. Without a game to go on, we can be cautiously optimistic about this groups potential.
Justin Yoon is kicking the crap out of the ball. Tyler Newsome is not getting any press, but I think we already know what we have. The return teams are still being assembled, but I have liked seeing the nice mix of veterans with speed and rookies with speed getting a look.
LAST QUICK THOUGHT
We still have a week to go before the depth charts really start to get finalized. With some keys positions still open for that starting role and the role of back-up, it’s hard to be too firm on any of these “rankings.” It’s a best guess at the moment, and one we HOPE to learn as truth come next Monday.
How confident are you with the perceived depth chart?
This poll is closed
I reserve all judgement until at least halftime of the first game.
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