The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have wrapped up their time at Culver and are back in South Bend to continue their fall camp training. While there is still a long ways to go before game week, the overall picture is becoming a little clearer.
Here are some of my thoughts after week one. (Not all of them).
A BRUTAL GAME
Like most teams throughout the country, fall camp for Notre Dame has seen the injury bug creep up and bite them. At first glance, it seems like a really big deal — but it’s not all that terrible. Quinn Carroll is lost for the season, but he was not going to be a factor in 2019. Jahmir Smith has a broken hand, but he is still practicing — although a broken hand on a running back is never ideal.
The biggest news of course was that of Cole Kmet’s broken collarbone. Others have sources that say Kmet will be out 3-6 weeks, but I find that extremely optimistic with a broken collarbone. It’s a natural reaction from me, as injury news from ND usually has a couple week curve (unless you’re mutant Drue Tranquill).
Others were nicked up here and there, but everything else seems good to go. It’s important to remember that injuries happen — there isn’t a curse, and it’s not Brian Kelly’s fault — but vent as you need.
ALMOST “I TOLD YOU SO” PART 1
As far back as the spring, I was one of the few voices that believed Donte Vaughn would play a big role at cornerback once fall camp rolled around. It’s still very early, but Vaughn came out as a starter on day one and was there as a starter on the last day at Culver.
Speaking of which... according to some reports, and a very positive one on the BGI Podcast, Donte Vaughn has been incredible. They’ve had Vaughn at the field and Troy Pride Jr. at the boundary, and Vaughn is making a strong case for it to be that way in week one against Louisville.
ALMOST “I TOLD YOU SO” PART 2
I have also said for quite some time that I believe Harrison Leonard (Lacrosse Bro Kicker) would eventually win the job as place kicker over Jonathan Doerer. The Irish would then have Doerer as its number one kicker on kickoffs, and Jay Bramblett as the punter. This is a philosophy that Brian Kelly likes, as he believes it helps with leg fatigue to delegate the duties.
(Please remember part 1 and part 2 are “almost” and I could be dead wrong)
IT’S A 2 QUARTERBACK SYSTEM
All of football is a two quarterback system. you need a starter and you need a back-up. Notre Dame has two guys slotted in those positions — and total faith in one, with starter Ian Book. After Culver, there is a lot more comfort with Phil Jurkovec as the back-up as his play improved significantly.
ALL LINEBACKERS EVERYTHING
I’m going to keep this real simple... Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is the starter at ROVER, and after that it’s still up for garbs at the BUCK and MIKE. Pencil in names like Drew White, Asmar Bilal, Shayne Simon, Jordan Genmark Heath, or whoever.
It’s still very much a work in progress and will hopefully be more settled in a few weeks.
The hype for 5-Star safety Kyle Hamilton is real. It’s real because everyone is talking baout him, and it’s real because everyone is talking about him because he has BALLED OUT during his time at Culver. Can you imagine where he’d be right now if he would have been able to enroll early?
Hamilton is going to play for Notre Dame this fall, and he’s going to get real, meaningful minutes. I fear that anything short of a “spectacular” season from him will now cause Irish fans to say “overrated” and crap like that. It’s the way this hype train is going, but screw it... I’m on board.
The return to South Bend really just means that the team is still working through their fall camp as they prepare for the season. We will learn a lot over the next couple of weeks, and as we learn (and think we learn) we can continue to discuss here at OFD.