2013 Notre Dame Spring Football Analysis
2013 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Head Coach: Brian Kelly
Why To Be Excited The schedule isn’t nearly as bad. While the Irish were able to get through the 2012 regular season slate unscathed, it appeared to be devastating before the season started with road games against USC and Oklahoma to go along with nasty battles with Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and BYU. Most of the usual suspects are back on board, but the games against the Trojans, Spartans, Sooners and Cougars are all at home. Going to Michigan and Stanford won’t be easy, and a neutral-site game against Arizona State in Jerry World in Arlington will be tough, but Temple, at Purdue, at Air Force, Navy and Pitt shouldn’t be that big a problem - overall the slate isn’t the same killer.
| 2013 Schedule|
9/7 at Michigan
9/14 at Purdue
9/21 Michigan State
10/5 Arizona State
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/26 at Air Force
11/9 at Pitt
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/30 at Stanford
On the field, with each Brian Kelly recruiting class the talent level is getting stronger with a defense that shouldn’t slip too much despite the loss of Mr. Te’o, safety Zeke Motta and end Kapron Lewis-Moore. Even with eight starters gone on offense, there’s enough speed and ability across the board to be more than fine.
Why To Be Grouchy Okay, so the schedule is still nastier than anything anyone outside of the SEC has to deal with, and losing an Heisman-caliber linebacker and eight offensive starters really does matter. Like last year, it’s asking way, way too much to get through a regular season schedule like this one unscathed, but now the bar is set at BCS or bust. That might be tough to do with a revamped O line that has to find the right five this spring so the summer practices can be all about tuning up. The backfield needs to find a steady running back with Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood done, and Everett Golson – assuming it still is Everett Golson under center – needs a new No. 1 target with Tyler Eifert off to the big leagues.
What Needs Working On The return game has to be better. There’s too much talent and too many good options to be so mediocre in any phase of the special teams. George Atkinson III is a touchdown waiting to happen every time he has the ball in his hands, but the Irish averaged fewer than 20 yards per kickoff return and Davonte Neal and the punt return game averaged a paltry 2.19 yards per try. The kicking game wasn’t bad, but the kickoff coverage was pedestrian.
Team Concerns For 2013: As good as last year was, a lot of problems were glossed over by the team's terrific ability to find ways to win. Everett Golson might have been great, but he needs to be a more consistent and efficient passer despite the loss of tight end Tyler Eifert and with so much turnover on offense. The defense should be special again, but it'll have to go on without Manti Te'o and find a replacement for Kapron Lewis-Moore on the end. The return game was inexcusably bad considering how good George Atkinson III is. The Irish averaged a pathetic 2.19 yards per punt return and just 19.6 yards per kickoff return.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive tackles. This is a fantastic class with a star for just about every spot,
highlighted by the late get of defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, the
overall star of the class. Once again, the Irish have a pipeline to tight ends with Durham Smythe and Mike Heuerman each looking the part. The receiving corps is terrific with Will Fuller and James Onwualu the best prospects, but Torii Hunter and David Robinson's son, Corey, the two big names in the bunch. Getting Jaylon Smith makes the linebacking corps special, and Cole Luke and Max Redfield are two starting defensive backs with next-level skills. However, the best overall position is offensive tackle with Steven Elmer, Mike McGlinchey and Colin McGovern all good enough to be the star of anyone's offensive line class, and Hunter Bivin isn't too far behind. John Montelus might be the nation's best guard prospect.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 20. That Class Was Heavy On ... A star quarterback. Head coach Brian Kelly brought in some nice options over the years, but he didn’t get anyone like Gunner Kiel, Scout.com’s No. 1 ranked quarterback, who switched from LSU to Indiana to the Irish. The talent level is quickly improving over the last two classes with the most noticeable difference on the lines from the last two years. This year, if everything goes according to plan, the secondary will provide the biggest boost with a few nice safety prospects and corner Tee Shepard out of Fresno to soon be the team’s shutdown coverman on one side.