The 2021 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football season is officially underway with the start of fall camp yesterday. It’s a ridiculously exciting time for the team and for fans. Because of this excitement, we tend to dive in head first with every bit of new information — and that’s absolutely fine. If anyone gets it — I do — but we have to remember that the start of fall camp is NOT the same as the first day of game week when we evaluate everything that comes from practice.
So for various reasons, I decided to do a little experiment this season and lay back in the cut just a bit. Here’s my underreaction of Notre Dame’s first day of fall camp.
Brian Kelly said that the starting quarterback will be announced after their first scrimmage. Thank the gods. Nothing is worse than dragging out the quarterback “competition” throughout the entirety of fall camp. Pretty much everyone expects it to be Jack Coan that comes out on top because it’s going to be Jack Coan that comes out on top. I’m just happy that we can put this to bed and move on with our guy.
Speaking of leadership roles... on Monday we will find out who the 2021 captains will be. Kelly talked about how 12 different players could fill those roles. We should probably expect 4-6 to finally be named as a captain. I was going to take a swing and guess which five guys, but I’ll just say that I am most confident in two; Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Jarrett Patterson.
STAYING HOME WITH THE NEIGHBORS
Speaking of Jarrett Patterson... he is going to be the starter at center which many on the beat have been proclaiming for weeks now (including here at OFD which I absolutely love). Patterson’s move to stay at center plus the addition of Marshall transfer guard Cain Madden means that the two deep from spring football is going to be very different.
The Irish came out with (left to right) Tosh Baker, Zeke Correll, Jarrett Patterson, John Dirksen, and Josh Lugg as the first team unit to start fall camp. The second unit (left to right) consisted of Blake Fisher, Rocco Spindler, Andrew Kristofic, Cain Madden, and Quinn Carroll. Obviously, this isn’t what any of us were predicting a weeks ago — and I don’t think it matters as much as we may have thought.
These were the two groups — not exactly the 2-Deep on the depth chart. We’ll see how this develops over the next week, but we should all probably expect that the starting lineup to look different than this.
WIDE RECEIVER STUFF
Avery Davis is about the only player that we should expect to emerge as the starter at his position in the slot — and that may still come with a heavy rotation with Lawrence Keys. The X and the W are another matter entirely as the next two weeks will prove vital to the depth chart. While it is a little scary when you look at returning production numbers, this group has as much potential as any on the roster.
There is definitely something to all of the rumors that surrounded Jordan Botelho, but he was there on day one of fall camp. Kelly downplayed the situation somewhat, but that doesn’t mean things are over and everything is cool. While I believe that everything will be fine in the end, we’ve seen weirder stuff happen.
SPEAKING OF ELSTON’S MONSTER
The defensive line will have a formidable 3-Deep for 2021. On Saturday the first unit was Isaiah Foskey (V), Kurt Hinish, Jayson Ademilola, and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (SDE). The second unit was Justin Ademilola (V), Howard Cross, Rylie Mills, and NaNa Osafo-Mensah (SDE). I thought NaNa was moved inside, but this move is quite interesting. I do believe that Justin Ademilola can (and will) be used as a SDE at times as well — so how much we actually see Osafo-Mensah out there remains to be seen.
PICK A NUMBER
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember a fall camp with as many jersey number changes as we just saw. Here’s the full swap list:
- D.J. Brown from #12 to #2
- Xavier Watts #82 to #2
- Litchfield Ajavon from #23 to #4
- Joe Wilkins #18 to #5
- Clarence Lewis from #26 to #6
- Marist Liufau #35 to #8
- Justin Ademilola #19 to #9
- Justin Walters #20 to #22
- Nana Osafo-Mensah #55 to #31
We already have day two in the books, and no apocalyptic situation or news has surfaced — so we’re cooking with gas!