By Matt Heinz @MattHeinz_Rant on August 15, 2014
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming off a 9-4 season in 2014, and at Notre Dame, that isn’t close to good enough. Quarterback Everett Golson is back to lead the offense, and Brian Kelly has returned to his play-calling duties. Here are the five questions the Irish must answer in order to have a successful season.
Notre Dame has turned into “Tight End U” after having Troy Niklas, Tyler Eifert, Kyle Rudolph and Anthony Fasano all drafted to the NFL. After Niklas surprised many to leave for the draft, Ben Koyack is the next tight end in line. The former four-star recruit according to rivals.com has experience as Brian Kelly used two tight ends frequently last year.
The transfer from Florida played both safety and corner for the Gators and was a two-year starter. The Irish are planning to use Riggs at corner to play opposite of junior Kavari Russell. Russell will be one of the best corners in the nation this year, and the Irish need Riggs to lock down his side.
Greg Bryant was listed by rivals.com as five-star running back recruit out of Florida. Bryant got injured last season and was forced to redshirt as a true freshman. This year Bryant will be fighting for carries with Tarean Folston and Cam McDaniel, but Bryant is the more talented of the three. The Irish need Bryant to live up to his hype.
The Irish lost Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt and Prince Shembo to the NFL Draft in April. They also lost starting linebackers Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese to graduation. The Irish need Sheldon Day, Jarron Jones, Jaylon Smith and either true freshman Nyles Morgan or walk-on Joe Schmidt to step up as an inside linebacker. Former five-star recruit Ishaq Williams at defensive end also needs to live up to his billing.
Brian Kelly was known for his high-scoring and fast-paced offenses at Cincinnati but not so much at Notre Dame. For the first time since he came to South Bend, Kelly gets a mobile quarterback with college level experience. After watching the offense struggle at times with Tommy Rees, Dayne Crist and Golson as a freshman, the Irish get Golson back with a year under his belt. Kelly is also resuming his play-calling duties this season.
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