Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy (42) runs the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half of the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Is Notre Dame Set for a Title Run in 2014?

When the college football landscape thinks of Notre Dame, the resonating image of Eddie Lacy juking and shifting through the Irish defense during the 2012 BCS title game surely still comes to mind. As far as the 2014 team is concerned, there should be no problems with that. With the Irish coming off a 9-4 record, fans and media across the country might be in for a surprise with Brian Kelly setting up Notre Dame for another title run.

What outsiders may be missing is that this team has built upon the growing pains and successes from the past two seasons. Aside from losing marquee players, coach Kelly has established depth into a reloading factory without the needing to rebuild.

The running backs, linebackers and defensive backfield are more athletic and have been in the system gearing-up with championship expectations. It is up to coach Kelly to manage the depth chart and for new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder to ingrain his 4-3 scheme; but the player-talent and improved coaching staff still hover under the radar as fans and media-heads amp up over the next five to six weeks.

Without writing off Rice, the Michigan game in week two, will undoubtedly be an earlier barometer of what should be coming of the 2014 season. Notre Dame has slopped across the field against the Wolverines each of the past three match-ups – even though the Irish could have snatched a victory in each of the contests.

A decisive victory over Michigan might just put the rest of the nation on notice that this team is for real. Then again, from Irish fans and everyone else, it is only Michigan and the schedule will only get tougher as the season grows.

How many victories do you think this team is capable of?


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Tags: Bcs Brian Kelly Brian VanGorder Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Esteban Soto

    Should start by posing the question this way: how in the hell can they run the tables with huge questions marks on defense. LBs and the D line are nowhere near figured out.

    Irish go 9-3. They won’t be able to hang with FSU, and two others will upend them.

  • S B Flood

    Thanks for the comment and feedback, Esteban. I think the majority of the questions on defense have been answered in recruiting and experience in ’12 and ’13. The talent is there, execution will be the only question. Jaylon Smith will lead the D behind Day, Jones, Williams, Rochell and contributions from Okwara, MLB would be the biggest question, but Nyles Morgan can potentially step in if/when Grace is not able to play. Shumate and Redfield at Safeties, and do need a corner opposite of Russell.. it should be Cole Luke’s spot to lose. They are young, but experienced from ’13 and there is actually depth beyond those positions in Riggs, Hardy, Baratti, Collinsworth and Onwuala looks like he can bring it too, at OLB. Of course there are questions, but the talent across the D at every position out-classes the ’12 team.

  • Kurt Coolman

    i believe football games are won or lost on the field on both sides of the ball. There seems to be more faith in the defense at this point, which is one side of the ball. The hype for Golson is great, and Zaire looked pretty sharp during the spring. Zaire’s self prediction for being the starter this fall doesn’t seem like it’s going to come to fruition. So, in my opinion, if Kelly’s offense continues to be predictable, not much will change the outcomes. It’s time to plan to play like the elite teams to be able to match up. If ND has the players, then turn them loose with an explosive, elusive, well oiled scoring machine. Seems like the rest of the formula will have a better opportunity to take care of itself. 45 points per game should be an objective. Play to win, not to lose. GO IRISH!

  • S B Flood

    Awesome Kurt, and I agree all around. Zaire looks pretty polished and appears to have a higher ceiling than Golson. Also that BKs play calling in super predictable with those WR screens in-space and the hb-counter-stretch-type play from motioning the RB.. I expect the OLine to bully most of their opponents front 7s and Folston, McDaniel, and Bryant to make defenders miss with strength, speed and agility. The WRs seem solid and deep too, and was really encouraged by Koyack’s development last season at TE. 35-45 points per game could be done and is expected for sure.