5 Pressing Questions for the 2019 Depth Chart

As the calendar has turned to 2019 and Notre Dame’s season came to a grinding halt in Arlington we are looking ahead to the new football season. Ever forward. Since we’re still awaiting news from several players and their decisions to return to South Bend this is basically an early version of the early 2019 depth chart.

In case you missed it recently, quarterback Brandon Wimbush has moved on publicly with his decision to play somewhere else for 2019 and sparingly used defensive tackle backup Micah Dew-Treadway has decided to seek his 5th-year of eligibility elsewhere, too. We have updated our SCHOLARSHIP CHART for the upcoming new season. As of January 4, 2019 the Irish are sitting on 91 scholarship players which includes 5 graduate seniors, preferred walk-on J.D. Bertrand who we are projecting to pick up a scholarship immediately, but not preferred walk-on kicker Harrison Leonard for now.

As I survey the roster I’m seeing 5 immediate concerns for Notre Dame heading into spring and the summer session.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

Keeping in mind that Notre Dame is heavily favored to sign defensive end Isaiah Foskey and is still in the running for linebacker Asa Turner and we have ourselves the most intriguing numbers jam in the Brian Kelly era. Specifically, wide receiver, offensive line, and linebacker all have far too many bodies than is useful within the 85-man limits.

I’m getting the feeling that Boykin is going to try his hand in the NFL now. He’s been here 4 years and might ever-so-slightly be nudged out the door to try the pro ranks amid the 2019 off-season concern that the offense needs to put more speed on the field.

I can’t remember a roster in recent memory that featured more than 11 wideouts, either. With the position switches of Wilkins and Robertson here this past year things are definitely bloated. I have to think at least one more receiver will not be at Notre Dame for 2019.

Offensive line is crazy right now. With the handful of quality walk-ons to be used in practice there are enough bodies for 4 full lines. For spring ball! The status of Ruhland is one worth monitoring, though. You’d think he would be able to become the starting center but weirder things have happened. He’s not a lock-down starter by any means and could decide to use his final year elsewhere.

Fourteen linebackers makes me dizzy. Ideally, someone is going to grow into a defensive lineman which is rumored to be the future for rising redshirt freshman Ovie Oghoufo who is 6’3″ but on the 2018 a mere 223 pounds. Long-term a move to the front four makes plenty of sense but he’s probably another year away from impact.

We’re projecting a move for Bilal from Rover to Buck which makes a ton of sense to balance things out for the linebackers. Simon and JOK are the emerging young and athletic Rovers, Bilal stabilizes Buck, and plenty of questions remain at Mike.

An Emerging Backup

The ceiling at running back will certainly be at the forefront of the off-season discourse. I’ll buy up any stock in Jafar Armstrong as a quality starter-level back but questions remain about his ability to stay healthy for an entire season and just how much he’ll continue to improve following this position switch last year. I think he’ll be good but the offense is looking for great.

Behind Armstrong we’ve got work to do. Tony Jones appeared to level-off in 2018, the Avery Davis experiment if not a failure needs plenty of work, and neither true freshman from the fall blew the doors off folks. The good news is that this position traditionally has good odds of someone bursting on the scene and it’s helpful that 2019 freshman Kyren Williams is enrolling early with a chance to make an impact.

Option #3

God willing, we will hear news of Julian Love returning soon. With the glut 20 freshmen receiving a redshirt following 2018 there will be 4 “new” corners added to the mix during the summer which is a needed injection of youth.

It’s easy to assume Vaughn is going to be placed on the trash heap following the Cotton Bowl but that experience could theoretically drive him to improve greatly as a senior. His size juxtaposed with the diminutive Bracy fighting for the third outside corner will be fun to watch.

Assuming that Griffith remains at nickel (and Crawford comes back healthy) this position looks very solid for 2019. Yet, the future beyond that remains an enormous question mark. The Irish could really use one of those 4 young players emerging as an athlete good enough to push someone like Bracy for snaps.

Help in the Middle

Notre Dame is losing both of its starting tackles on the interior of the defensive line, Dew-Treadway transferred, and Franklin (essentially sliding into the two-deep by default) is coming off a quad injury. The trio of Hinish, MTA, and Jayson Ademilola is certainly a strength for the core of the interior but they will need some help.

Jacob Lacey is coming in early and could be a godsend. Most expect him to contribute (somewhere along the same lines as Jayson Ademilola from 2018 would be great) and he should be quite high on anyone’s list of impact freshmen.

Someone growing into a tackle feels like it’s needed. Could any of Wardlow (245 lbs), Justin Ademilola (246 lbs), or Jamir Jones (245 lbs) beef up enough to offer some help?

Spears, coming off his second knee surgery in two years, is unlikely to play as a freshman and Cross at this juncture (listed anywhere from 240 to 260) is more of a hybrid lineman who might not be ready for the physicality of the interior right away. Of course, the easy solution is to play Kareem on the inside a lot more in 2019 if it’s needed although I don’t love taking him away from the edge as one of the best strong-side ends in the country.

Special Teams Veterans & Newbies

One part of special teams is seemingly wrapped up with Chris Finke coming back as the kick and punt returner. There’s the possibility he gets unseated in either of those positions and if so that player will have to make some big moves which is always welcome.

The loss of Yoon and Newsome is potentially enormous as they’ve been rocks on special teams for what feels like a combined 74 years. Moving on to a pair of true freshman feels like a huge question mark that could really derail special teams in a way that hasn’t been seen before with Kelly. And that’s saying something.

Of course, a lot of this could be completely fine if Doerer steps up. Most punters come in to the game quite serviceable so Bramblett gets the benefit of the doubt for me. Leonard coming in as a walk-on to push Doerer should be healthy for special teams over the long run, too.

By |2019-01-04T12:53:51+00:00January 4th, 2019|Football|80 Comments

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Hitman
Hitman

Excellent (if somewhat troubling) analysis Eric.

I hope Vaughn develops, it seems like he has (right or wrong) become the whipping boy for the Clemson loss.

Brendan R

The crazy thing is he was in excellent position on the first touchdown and – gasp! – turned and made a good play on the ball on the second one. He really couldn’t have defended the second one any better than he did, and freakishly, the ball just bounced into Ross’s single outstretched hand and he got a foot in bounds by about an inch. It was nuts. I felt terrible for him in that moment and I’m sure it absolutely crushed him.

He was reportedly very good in fall camp and then things went south quickly during the season. I’ve seen it suggested that he doesn’t have as short a memory as the position needs, so maybe that’s something he can work on in the offseason.

Clay Cossé fka Mouth
Clay Cossé fka Mouth

Thanks for making these points for Vaughn, Brendan. He got “abused” for 2 TDs, but if you examine The Process–ie how did he go about his business, what was his technique, what could he have done differently–it’s hard to fault him on those plays. I mean sometimes you make a great play and the other guy makes an even better play. See Julian Love getting beat on the Godwin TD vs Georgia in 2017 for example. The more I think about it, the more I’m actually somewhat reassured by those plays. He looked better than he did during the season. Sometimes the results don’t add up despite great effort and technique. I’m not writing him off just yet.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

One difference though is the UGA game was the beginning of Love’s sophomore season.

The Clemson game was the end of Vaughn’s junior year (and he didn’t redshirt).

I think Brendan was totally right with his commentary on the context of Vaughn’s tough game, but this is a guy that’s settled into a backup role, most likely for a reason. He’s not going to measure up to a 1st team All American like Love, even if Vaughn does show improvement. Not saying to “write him off” but IMO best bet is Bracy takes a big step forward with the experience he got this season to join Pride as the starters and hopefully Crawford’s ligaments stay in tact and he can play the slot. Then Vaughn can rotate in or provide depth.

Regardless though, we all know and no doubt realize that without Love in 2019 the nation’s what, 5th ranked pass efficiency defense is bound to take a step back no matter what. Ironically enough maybe safety play will actually finally be a net positive to help things out for a change.

KG
KG

I wonder how much the injury in the game helped Love make his decision. It wasn’t the type of injury (if it was a concussion, or concussion-like symptoms) that would hurt you in draft discussions, but it is the type that might make you realize how fleeting a football career can be. Had he stayed, he might have had another AA season and moved from 2nd round to 1st round, thereby getting a lot more money, in addition to getting another shot at the playoffs. On the other hand, getting 2nd round money now is a lot better than getting hurt later and getting less or no money.

I wish him the best, of course. Can’t fault a kid for making either choice, really.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Flip side is maybe next year doesn’t go as well and he puts a little more shaky tape out there, which wouldn’t be tough to do since he played so clean this season.

Love doesn’t seem like a totally dynamic type of freak athlete corner, so I’m not really sure what a senior year does for his draft stock. Maybe it would help, but it certainly could hurt.

I would think if he runs a good 40 time he should def be a top-50 pick now, maybe even a notch higher. Like you’re saying with injury, if you’ve done well enough to get locked into that range now, that’s a great idea to go play and get paid.

Different story when it’s a Tillery/Coney type that are probably 5-7th round prospects last year, they have a lot to build upon and somewhere to go up. A lot more risk for Love with where he’s at, I don’t fault him at all either.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I don’t think Love had any chance of moving into the first round with his play. His play was already tremendous and really could not be significantly improved upon. The problem for him will be his 40 time and his height, neither of which would be improved much by staying for a year. He made the right call to leave, as a financial matter.

dannan14
dannan14

So, you’re saying his height could be improved some, but not much, by staying another year? 😛

Clay Cossé fka Mouth
Clay Cossé fka Mouth

One of the more reputable pay site guys says Love’s 40 time is already in the 4.4 range, so his stock may jump at the combine. Don’t think he’ll be able to get into the 6-foot range by then though.

juicebox
juicebox

Well not with that kind of attitude

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

We really missed Crawford against Clemson. Having a legit nickle corner who could have filled in for Love for a quarter would been huge. I hope for his sake he can string together some healthy games.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Looks good but not great.

Seems like 2019 is kinda a transitional year on offense for 2020 with Claypool, Boykin, Finke, Book getting one more chance before the guys like Austin, Lenzy, Keys, Jurkovec take over. In all those cases, to varying degrees, seems easier to be more excited about wishing the future was now..

But unfortunately the d-line probably isn’t reloading right away in 2020 following the Okwara/Kareem/Hayes losses after this year. The article lists the help in the middle and the LB bodies, but it will be really interesting to see how they handle the total losses of Tranquill and Coney. They’ve got the quantity, now need to hope someone rises to the occasion. And need Simon or JOK at Rover to really step up as well.

Brendan R

I’m positive Claypool will be back, but Boykin is more of a question mark. Either way, though, I would expect the young WRs, especially Austin, Keys, and Lenzy, to have some kind of role this season and be primed to take over in 2020. Don’t sleep on Joe Wilkins either, he looked really good at WR in fall camp.

And I’m not sure you meant this, but if so, let’s pump the brakes a bit on PJ unseating Book – I’m as enamored of his potential as the next guy, but in his first season as the full-time starter Book just set the school record for completion percentage and finished 7.5 points off Jimmy Clausen’s QB rating record. If he puts up a similar season next year and returns for 2020, I think Jurkovec would have to look like the second coming of Joe Montana to take the job.

I actually think Ogundeji will be fine at SDE in 2020. I have no idea who will back him up there, though. I think WDE will probably be OK between NaNa, (probably) Isaiah Foskey, Ademilola, Oghoufo, etc. We’ll figure something out there. Not as worried about that.

2019 LB is a major concern for me, no way around that. I have no idea how that will sort out.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

NaNa will likely end up at SDE, which is why the staff needed to get Foskey

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

That would be great. I thought NaNa was prototypical WDE.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

He’s already 231 pounds. If he adds 20 in college, that’s SDE size.

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

Who are likely transfers? It’s probably typically soph or jr who realize they are buried and can transfer and still have 2-3 years to play somewhere else or its a guy who can graduate and play 1-2 years elsewhere.

I don’t have any particular news or inside knowledge about these guys (some might desire to stay for the degree or just love ND). I’m not saying any of these will transfer only that I would expect anyone who does transfer to come from this list.

Soph
Tremble
Dirksen
Jones
Oghoufo
Mabry

With numbers deep at LB/OL do these more lowly ranked recruits see the writing on the wall already and decide to jump ship? With Tremble, he’ll be 4th but there’s also likely two highly recruited guys coming next year. So next year he could easily be 5th or 6th on the depth chart and never rise above 3rd or even 4th.

Jr
Wardlow
Davis
Robertson
Ewell
Gibbons

More OL who are buried (Ewell, Gibbons). And a couple of guys who have moved around (Davis, Robertson). Wardlow was not highly ranked and often these kind of recruits don’t end up contributing.

It usually doesn’t make sense for seniors to transfer because they could just stay at ND for the year and then transfer without having to sit out. But if any of these players could graduate early and transfer to play 2 years elsewhere it could be these:

Sr
Morgan
McKinley

Did I leave anyone out? Or is there any news to the contrary for any of these players?

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Somebody on one of the sites did a breakdown of the likely attrition to get to 85, and based on historical data it was likely to be 3 or 4 from the 2018 class, 1 or 2 from the 2017 class, and 1 or 2 from the 2016 class.

Ideally, it would be 1-2 OL, 1-2 WR, and at least 3 LBs (particularly those that don’t have future DE potential). Everybody from your Junior and Senior list above other than Wardlow would seem to be addition by subtraction at this point.

Brendan R

Love just announced he’s leaving.
comment image

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

Not surprising. But your picture says it perfectly. We can try to talk ourselves into it being ok. Crawford will finally be healthy and be a solid starter, Vaughn will finally step up or one of the young guys will make a leap. But don’t believe any of it, or actually you can believe any of it, it just won’t make up for losing Love.

Maybe Crawford really will step up to be an above-average starter…..

juicebox
juicebox

Liar. I hate you.

Scarponi
Scarponi

So I think this is up-to-date, anyone want to confirm?

Announced Leaving
Wimbush
Mack
Dew-Treadway
Love

Nothing Official
Boykin
Finke
Bilal
Crawford
Ruhland

Announced Staying
Okwara
Kareem

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Finke said he’d be back, as did Crawford. Rumors on the Internets that Boykin has signed with an agent – https://www.reddit.com/r/notredamefootball/comments/ad6bun/notre_dame_wide_receiver_miles_boykin_signs_with/

Scarponi
Scarponi

Yep Boykin made it official just an hour or so after you posted. So we have:

Announced Leaving
Wimbush
Mack
Dew-Treadway
Love
Boykin

Nothing Official
Bilal
Ruhland

Announced Staying
Okwara
Kareem
Finke
Crawford

KG
KG

Boykin hurts a bit, because he’s better than Claypool as a receiver. I’m trying to tell myself that maybe it means Austin steps in and flourishes and it makes room for a speedster, but he and Love are the two that would have been nice (of those declared leaving).

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I’d be shocked if Bilal and Ruhland aren’t back. Those are two starters on next year’s team (Bilal likely at buck; Ruhland at center). Neither have pro prospects, so the only reason they’d not come back is they are done with football.

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

Boykin is a little surprising, no? He’s been a solid college player bit is he really NFL ready? Maybe he won’t get much better but isn’t he like a late rounds guy at this point?

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Late rounds was always his ceiling anyways and he’s got a degree. Why play for free next year when he can start a pro career now? It may not pay off but probably a good idea in the field of football to turn pro as young as possible before age/injuries take the potential to slow a player at all.

Pretty much the only guys coming back are the ones who don’t have NFL prospects at all or don’t have a degree and can improve their draft stock a ton with a great season (Okwara, Kareem). Boykin probably has hit a ceiling at the college level.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

There have been a number of stories that all but explicitly said that Studstill will be graduating and moving on.

MTI98
MTI98

That might be a situation like Hayes from last year or Wimbush from this class where he realizes what the depth chart will probably look like next year.

As disappointing as it can be to lose players we love, it is a sign of a healthy program when contributors get their degrees and move on for other opportunities (NFL and grad transfer both).

Aaron
Aaron

And my conscience can remain clear because these dudes are mostly/all earning a degree.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Honestly, we should really not worry about the morality of this. ND should be very straightforward: if we offer you a football scholarship, that means we are offering you the opportunity to get a free degree at a top-notch school. In other words, one way or another, you are thus entitled to four years of free education at ND.

What they are not entitled to is a football scholarship and a spot on the team, given the 85-man cap. If a player not good enough to be taking one of the 85 scholarships allotted for football players, that player should be shuffled off that and into some other way to completely pay for school (medical scholarship, very generous financial aid packages, whatever). If they want to keep playing football, do it somewhere else.

That’s still more morally pure than, say, Alabama, where they will threaten to pull scholarships in practice (from what I’ve heard third-hand) and then occasionally do it in reality.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Third hand is BS, ND09.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I heard it from a HS coach of a recent Bama defensive lineman. So third-hand, but not “things I saw on the internet.”

Orlok
Orlok

Does this put us at 88 scholarships then? Eric said 91, then Boykin, Love, and (maybe?!) Studstill are all leaving.

Assuming we get one of Turner / Foskey, that puts us up to 89. Four to go…

kiwifan
kiwifan

Totally off topic, but I don’t know where to post different topic stuff. Read this and you will laugh your ass off–do read the comments below the main article–they’re even funnier:

https://www.rollbamaroll.com/2019/1/4/18167470/nsfw-its-meltdown-time-bowl-edition-part-two

And we think we Irish fans suffer angst?? Not even close, I’d say….well, maybe so over at that other place

More Noise
More Noise

Thanks, Kiwifan — good to see all that angst roll around, you’re right. I don’t go over to that other site, just to avoid our own virulently negative crowd.

More Noise
More Noise

Off topic, also but also like Kiwi, I don’t know where to post other stuff.
I just woke up over here and was watching Sports Center on AFN to see how the Seahawks-Cowboys game came out, and saw by accident what seemed to me to be an unusually insightful bit from ESPN re: Clemson-ND. The discussion was on Venables and his excellence as a DC, and the examples were from our recent lamented game. Basically he showed Venables vs Chip Long, and being about two cycles ahead in play calling. Like, Clemson shows pressure coming to our left, so Venables knows that Ian (or Sam, or somebody) is going to audible to slide the line right, so Venables has actually set up another pressure to take advantage… one of the examples was something like that. I found it all quite insightful.

Eric asked for folks who wanted to write this winter. I am wondering if anybody — especially including our ace well-paid Staff film analysts! — could take on this whole angle of (in some detail) how our OC got outcoached by their DC?

More Noise
More Noise

By the way, this is not meant to be disrespectful of Coach Long, who IMO did one hell of a good job this year. But BK himself talked about “tactical” areas to improve and maybe Coach Long was exposed to what we might call a learning experience? Or, maybe not and my premise is off base. But the entire issue fascinates me.

Concrete Charlie
Concrete Charlie

I don’t think it is disrespectful to harrumph about coaching when we only managed to score 3 points. That was pretty awful, IMO. Long had a good year up until then, but some of the calls in Dallas were real head scratchers.

More Noise
More Noise

Thanks, Charlie!

kiwifan
kiwifan

Thanks Noise, I’m going to see if I can find that on demand. I might actually learn something about exactly why our offense was stalled out.

More Noise
More Noise

Hope you can locate it, I would love to see it again, and especially I would love to get your opinion and that of others on how just how perspicacious that segment really is.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Uh oh, perspicacious alert!

More Noise
More Noise

Hey, I voted you up, and I used the word… too much French in my vocabulary these days…

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I hope I’m not the only one that had to look that word up.

idocd
idocd

Cold comfort, but at least our DC seems to be better than Alabama’s. Helps make up for some of the deficiencies on offense…

KG
KG

Golden Tate with the winning TD for the Iggles against the Burrrz.
Maybe we can hype that up to get a 5-star WR recruit?!?!

(sigh)

More Noise
More Noise

Our other famous grads still in the playoffs have been awesome — OL especially. Not that anyone seems to care… (subtle reference to recent debates on this site)

KG
KG

ON THAT NOTE…

and also in keeping with the requests for off-season content….

I was wondering if someone smart about line play (Burgs? Larz? Anyone?) could do an article breaking down this year’s O-line “problems.” How much of it is being spoiled last year with an All-Pro guard and 1st round tackle on the left side? How much did the change from Hiestand to Jeff Quinn factor in? What’s the likelihood they get any better? There’s been lots of talk that we over-emphasize line recruiting, but on the other hand if it’s our biggest recruiting strength should we be expecting more? Maybe the loss of Nelson and Glinch + Hiestand means a general drop in quality, no matter how many stars we sign on the O-line. If so, what do we do to work around it?

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I fret over the same issue. This line was very young and very inexperienced. I am far from an expert but I have to think those factors played a big part in line play. As far as Quinn vs Heistand and their ability to coach, I would think it’s much too early to pass judgement on it.

Orlok
Orlok

Larz said on another post that he’d been very impressed with Quinn – said he’d been getting the most out of the line. For me, next year is the real referendum on Quinn since the line will be older (read: stronger), more experienced, and have had roughly half of their years on the team coached by Quinn (this year was mostly coached by Hiestand).

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

To funny.

KG
KG

….anyone else feeling a hell of a lot better about Clemson torching Vaughan?

Might be a testament to how good Julian Love is that they didn’t do it when he was in the game. This is a clinic. Hope the current 28 point deficit as I write this moment holds up.

DrIck
DrIck

JFC Ross looks unstoppable. I kind of want to watch more Clemson games next year because of the Lawrence-Ross tandem.

KG
KG

If you played this game 10 times, Bama might win 6 or 7. But Clemson played out of their minds tonight, and I see no reason to feel bad at all about anything.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

It also shows the importance of speed at the WR position. Boykin, Claypool and Finke are all good route runners, but none possess top end speed. Losing Boykin probably puts Austin on the field who has good speed. As hard as it is to say, I am hoping Keys or Lenzy go past Finke, preferably in spring ball for numbers reasons. I would have preferred to lose Finke over Boykin, but I am not going to lose sleep over losing Boykin.

It is a shame that, other than Young and Austin, nobody in three classes of WR really pushed for playing time this year. We redshirted 4 FR WRs, Robertson and McKinley (again). Thus, the numbers at WR are somewhat deceiving. Of the 11 WR on the depth chart, only 5 saw the field. Given that we probably line 3 up on about half the snaps, that is not a good comment on our WR depth.

The question will be if we put that speed on the field whether Book can make the throws that Lawrence can make, or at least something resembling it. I understand Book had a great completion %% and all the efficiency stats. So did Kelly Bryant and Jalen Hurts. I remember the simple out route early in the game against us. Lawrence put it out fast, on a rope. Book can’t make that throw with that force. Look at about twenty of the throws Lawrence made last night, and any in the air more than 50 yards (including sideline distance). The top 5 or 10 QBs can make those throws. Book has not shown that he can.

I like Book. I think he is the starting QB on a very good to near elite team. I don’t think he can be the starting QB on an elite team. Few can. I am not sure Jurkovec can be either, but the rumors are he possesses the arm strength. The other problem is that next year the home run plays will have to come from the passing game with Williams gone, at least until one of the RBs shows they can hit a home run.

Elite teams play great defense and can score from anywhere on the field. Even with Love gone, I think our defense will be solid. With Book, the WRs that return and the RBs that return, do you think we can score from anywhere on the field?

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Agree about your speed on the field in skill position request, that’s really jarring and one of the aspects that separates ND from Clemson (and Bama).

To this, I think Kelly needs to re-examine his approach. He almost never plays a lot of snaps with true freshmen WR. Talks a lot about “traits” and seems to go hard on them in order to get them to be proven and reliable. That isn’t necessarily bad at all, and certainly they have to be focused and be relied upon to play. But from the outside looking it sure seems like the process to mold and shape these WR into what they want to see takes 2-3-4 years to really get them where they want.

Taking a look around, the other powers emphasize more athletes, less on the “traits” Kelly so harps on. Of course, you need it all to be a champ but unless a lot more is going on than we know of, there’s no reason Austen should be left off the travel roster and not playing. In this day and age you have to find ways to get the young talent out there.

Also I think using the playmakers will attract more. If the croots know Kelly is a pain in the ass and it’s tough to get snaps early, why do it? Makes more sense to jump into a Bama/Clemson/tSU/UGA/USC place where you can get on the field.

Style of play and perhaps more importantly PERCEPTION of future matters a lot to these guys, as Amon Ra St. Brown illustrated so well. Get a reliable QB (check) and prove that you can showcase those kids and more will follow. Hopefully next year the Austen’s and Lenzy’s of the world really get the looks to be more explosive.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

I agree. I am not sure why some of these guys don’t see the field. A good one won’t stay for the 5th year on a redshirt anyway. I can understand a willingness to block and the QB needs to know you are going to be where you are supposed to be, but those should be the only reasons. Talent needs to be on the field. If that means a FR replaces a SR, so be it. The game is about getting the ball to your playmakers in space. We need to play people who are more likely playmakers and get them the ball. This is not a hard game.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Yep, it’s curious. That’s why it’s my hope Kelly will self-analyze his habits and tendencies and compare his program to the top ones and it’s obvious he needs better high-end players at skill positions to compete with the top guys. He’s been able to take some good corrective actions in the past with the more broad concepts of the team.

I would guess it’s probably physical development. Maybe a guy like Lenzy truly isn’t ready to compete against a top defense.

I always look to Will Fuller, basically did nothing as a frosh – and probably wasn’t ready too – but showed a flash or two (6 rec, 160 yards, 1td) by his soph season he was the focal point of the offense with 76 rec. Hopefully the young guys now can be on a similar path.

Personally I’m less concerned about the WR especially now that Boykin is gone. The RB quality and lack of quality depth is a lot more glaring at this point. Clemson’s 4th string next year is likely better than the ND starter. Ditto Bama. That’s tough to compete against.

DrIck
DrIck

Also, “but ND only scored 3 points! And Clemson was playing scrubs late in the game!” narrative

KG
KG

Between Georgia falling on its face and this, I. Don’t. Give. A. F…..

kiwifan
kiwifan

And they’ll get more great receivers with Lawrence there the next couple years

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

They have signed 2 top 50 WRs in their 2019 class.

KG
KG

@can’t wait to see them again in 2020@

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

Well we CAN safely say they won’t be as good on the defensive line! That’s…..something.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

At this point, it’s possible that Lawrence and Ross will be sitting out the entire 2020 season so as to not jeopardize being the #1 and #2 overall picks.

More Noise
More Noise

Ho ho to all. Yes, KG, last night’s beat down of the Tide did make me feel a lot better, at least about our defense, maybe a touch better about our offense. It was by the way great to see Bama fold at the end. So, we can say we got beat by a really damn good team. And good coaches, among which Venables is some kind of hellacious DC, seems to me. Also… Clemson played their scrubs at the end as well!
KG, I am not sure about Bama winning 6 or 7 out of 10,

tlndma
tlndma

Clemson’s red zone D was ultra impressive. I thought Bama’s play calling in the red zone showed how much respect they had for the Clemson front 7. Perhaps too much.
They’re only playing once and that was a Whooping.

KG
KG

The comment I made at the time was that Maryland should preemptively fire Mike Locksley for that 4th down Tua run that went NOWHERE. Seriously, that was horrible. And that FG fake was beyond ridiculous. CLEMSON’S D IS IN THEIR BASE 4 DOWN SET, EXPECTING YOU TO FAKE IT. AND YOU ARE GOING TO RUN YOUR BACKUP QB HOLDER WITH THE KICKER (!!) AS THE LEAD BLOCKER?!?!

My feelings on Bama winning it’s share in a hypothetical 10-game series assume that this sort of boneheaded playcalling and decision making is fixed, because that’s not the Saban we all know and hate. But as you say, they only play once this year, and man it was a whooping.

kiwifan
kiwifan

I thought ALL of the red zone goose eggs were on the Bama coaches. My brother and I were watching together and we looked at each other and said what the f… is he thinking?! He’s coached with Saban and was shocked. Thinks Locksley’s head was already at Maryland.

KG
KG

I respect Saban too much to think he’d get punked like that again. Clemson was clearly the better team last night, but as with any game, little changes can snowball into big things. I’d go maybe 6 to 4 Clemson–I was really caveating so as not to be too caught up in the moment. But the bottom line is that there are these two, and no one else close.

kiwifan
kiwifan

That’s almost funny. Wouldn’t surprise me these days.

KG
KG

On the Bruce Feldman/Stewart Mandel podcast (“The Audible”), Bruce was quoting one of the Clemson co-OC’s after the game as saying that while they really felt ND’s defensive backfield was a challenge to prepare against, they knew they’d get some opportunities against Bama to make big plays deep. The implication Feldman took out of it was that Clemson respected our pass defense more than Bama’s. That sounds crazy, but then they brought up that most people had forgotten that Bama lost its entire starting secondary last year, and while their players are all highly rated 4&5 stars, they’re inexperienced. Might simply be post-game talk in the heat of the moment, might not mean a thing. But makes me feel better (as with above) that the Clemson offensive staff thought highly of our pass defense, and reinforces the feeling that we were doing well against them until Love went out and they pounced on it.