One of the major frustrations early on in 2022 for both the Notre Dame team and its fanbase, was the defense's lack of turnovers caused. It's not that ND's defense was playing bad, and in fact, they were probably the reason ND was even in a position to win against Ohio State, they definitely weren't the main reason we lost to Marshall and they certainly bottled up the Cal Bears when our offense was completely sputtering. All that being said, we still were not seeing fumbles being caused, nor interceptions, let alone passes broken up / passes defended. There was a lack of playmaking taking place and some of it could be attributed to a defense that was not wanting to make mistakes due to the fact that they all knew the offense could not be counted on to score more than 20 points in a game.
College football is a game of momentum, it's a game where a home crowd can make a difference, where one special team's play can completely change the outcome. And it is a game where each side of the ball absolutely feeds off the other, especially the defense when they know they have a dynamic, scoring offense that will be taking the field on each and every series.
In 2023, ND's defense will probably take a step back as we all know the issues at defensive line, we are waiting for the linebacker rotation to be set, and there are still some questions at safety. A lot of this will get figured out in the spring with some new additions and the hopeful ascendence of some of the younger Irish players, but what can make ND's defense better is their knowledge / confidence that their counterparts on offense, led by Sam Hartman, could be fielding one of the best ND scoring machines in a really long time.
A defense that knows that its offense is going to put up points, and a lot of them, plays with more abandon, they play with more freedom and they are not as tentative as they might be if they know they don't have to hold an opposing offense to 17 points in order to win the game. With that more confidence, with that more swagger....the turnovers will come. The batted balls that then become interceptions will come, the forced fumbles will come, the balls that bounce in our favor will come. It's a different mindset from 2022, it's a mindset that the defense is excited to hold up their end of the bargain / prove their worth to an offense that is doing their part, and all this will help ND force more turnovers and be more opportunistic, especially early on in the 2023 season.
None of this is to say that in 2023 the defense is not going to give up a good number of points in games, in fact, we might actually see some total shootouts next season. But our offense should light up the scoreboard in every game as we won't be playing to keep the other team off the field. We will be looking to score a lot, in bunches and very often.
This new offensive mindset will help ND's defense create an attacking mentality that will lead to turnovers, create excitement and have a completely different feel (lots of good, some bad) from what we saw in 2022.