6. The defensive line is looking great in terms of depth and rushing the passer
Every year, Notre Dame seems to watch the Alabamas and LSUs and Ohio States and USCs of the world bring in blue-chip defensive line recruits, and then every year we hear that ND is building quality depth at the position and that a committee of bodies there will get the job done. We hear about defensive ends who will be great coming off the edge and getting to the quarterback, and about players in the middle who will really help out and give the team some good reps.
Then the season happens, and we see the same thing we see every year (except 2012). The defensive line gets pushed around. There is no pass rush. Injuries occur, and soon the excuse becomes that we just don’t have the depth to compete without our starters.
The latest good news about the defensive line? Accept what you hear about the known commodities – Rochell, Jones, Terry Jillery – but be cautious in getting excited about anything else in terms of the defensive front. The Irish just don’t bring in the same defensive line talents as the SEC, at least typically (exceptions like Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt and Sheldon Day do make their way to ND occasionally), and so it’s wise to always temper expectations around this unit.
Next: The Gang is all here