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The Triple Option: The story of Notre Dame Football’s regression is well underway

So let’s talk about it

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that when you get behind, the triple option offense can’t make up the ground. There’s still a lot of Notre Dame Fighting Irish news this May, and here’s some of the headlines standing out.


After almost every successful season for the Irish, there’s a hefty amount of news coverage in the offseason about their eventual regression for the next season. In a lot of ways, they’re not wrong, but there are nuances to this that seem to be ignored.

Sports Illustrated is right there to throw some gas on the situation, having Notre Dame at the top of their list of 3 teams to regress in 2021 — along with the Indiana Hoosiers and Florida Gators.


It’s like... a team that consistently recruits top 10 classes is incapable of having several successful seasons in a row. The thing is though — they’re not wrong entirely. The Irish did lose a ton of talent and production to the NFL Draft and NFL free agency — just like most top 5 teams do annually (or at least biennially).

Tim Prister at Irish Illustrated did the “talent drain” post this week, which shows that Notre Dame lost more talent to the NFL Draft than any of its future 2021 opponents. But here’s the thing... THAT’S BECAUSE NOTRE DAME IS BETTER THAN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF ITS 2021 OPPONENTS. It’s okay — you can say it.

Despite all of these losses from the talent pool, Notre Dame is still very likely to be the favorite in all of its games in 2021. While there’s a fair chance they aren’t as good as the 2020 team, they would have to do worse than 10-2 for it to be considered “regression” in my book.


Instead of thinking about the talent going out the door, I choose to dwell on the talent coming in the front door. Two of my favorite recruits, LB Prince Kollie (Tennessee) and RB Audric Estime (New Jersey) have been announced as Gatorade Players of the Year in their home states.

A lot of people expect contributions as freshmen from both Kollie and Estime. I personally don’t expect either to truly compete for a starting role at their positions, but I do expect them to become role players at their positions. Kollie’s athleticism seems like a gun at a knife fight for a Marcus Freeman defense, and Audric Estime is a walking power bomb of a running back that projects to be very dangerous in short yardage situations.

Drink up!


The Irish are adding Army to its schedule in 2024 and, of course, it’s going to be a neutral site game. What can be more triple option than that? Well, I’ll tell ya... stop playing Navy every year and rotate the service academies.


Notre Dame will kick off the 2021 season in Tallahassee against the Florida State Seminoles, and they fully expect a full-on full house for that Sunday night matchup on Labor Day weekend.