In the wake of both a disappointing national championship performance and suspension of a budding standout quarterback Everett Golson, the blemished but revitalized Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are ready to capture their first win at home on Saturday against the Owls of Temple.
Kelly had some obvious positions to fill after saying goodbye to a great batch of seniors including Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert but had an unexpected vacancy at quarterback after losing would be sophomore Everett Golson to an academic violation and subsequent suspension from the university. Golson may not of had the numbers but not many can say they led a team to a perfect regular season and National Championship game as a redshirt freshman. Regardless, Kelly has to forget about Golson for the time being and has turned to senior Tommy Rees to get the job done. Rees has solid experience having started games and closed out others in each of his three seasons at Notre Dame. Rees started all but one game in his sophomore year but lost the job to Golson the following season.
Rees will share the backfield with running back George Atkinson III, who has elite speed and showed flashes of exceptional instinct in some of his bigger runs last season. Rees’ main target through the air will most likely be wide receiver DaVaris Daniels who was one of few players who stood out for the Irish during last year's National Championship grabbing six passes for 115 yards according to NFL.com. Rees should have good protection this year as well with veterans Zack Martin, Christian Lombard and Chris Watt anchoring the offensive line.
Lining up on the other side of the ball will be the heart and soul for Notre Dame this season, the defensive line. The Irish will have two massive future early round drafts picks in six-foot-three, 326 pound Louis Nix and six-foot-six, 303 pound Stephon Tuitt stuffing the line of scrimmage.
These two are gonna be a lot to deal with and will draw double teams, freeing up others guys to make plays. Senior outside linebacker Prince Shembo will help pressure opposing quarterbacks with his combination of strength and speed. Senior cornerback Bennett Jackson will be relied on heavily to be a force in pass protection.
Notre Dame should win this game but Temple is not gonna lay down. Matt Rhule was recently named Temple’s head coach and is known to favor a pro-style offense. Temple is gonna try to attack through the air and catch Notre Dame out of formation.
According to the USA Today, Connor Reilly went into spring camp down the depth chart but ended up winning the job from senior Chris Coyer as quarterback as coach Rhule prefered a pure thrower.
The Irish will certainly try to establish themselves and begin to prove that last year's national championship run was no fluke and that Notre Dame is back in college football.