Nobody knows what to expect from the Irish this year!
Inexperienced QB? Questionable offensive line? Same old Lame Defense?
I'm going to go (way) out on a limb and say "Big Surprise"!
As far as the defense is concerned, I think Corwyn Brown is quietly making big strides. He changed the defensive scheme and has Zibkowski, Wooden, and Terrel Lambert returning. Munir Prince will also lend considerable speed to the defensive equation. There's even a rumor that a real pass rush might be imminent!
The big issue, of course, is the offense. Sources in the blogosphere seem to be suggesting that Coach Weis is dialed in on the running game. Big Time! Which brings us to what I consider to be Notre Dame's strong spot - Running Backs. They have punishing power backs in James Aldridge, Junior Jabbie, and Asaph Schwapp and, oh..yeah.....
Robert Hughes coming in as a Freshman. Added to that, we have the ever dependable Travis Thomas and speedburner Armando Allen!!
If Weis can harness all that running talent, it will take a lot of pressure off Clausen, Sharpley, or Demetrious Jones. If it turns out the speedy Jones takes the snap, it will add another running dimension for opposing defenses to worry about.
The kicking game is what scares me the most. I haven't read anything positive about that yet. Ryan Burkhardt has a good leg, but he couldn't even beat out last year's kicker in a head to head competition!
I was lucky enough to get tickets to the home opener against Georgia Tech. The first thing I will be looking for is crisp execution. We had it big time the first year of Weis's tenure. Second year.....Not so much! There was a lot of distraction leading up to last year, however, with things like boxing matches and minor league baseball going on in the pre-season. Zibkowski even showed up a mohawk!
I think the focus will be back this year.
We will know when we see the first drive!