Notre Dame safety Drue Tranquill looks to be a big part of the Irish defense in 2016.
There was a time last year when the Georgia Tech game loomed large over the hopes of the Notre Dame faithful. The Irish have had some difficulties in the recent past with Navy and their option attack, and now Notre Dame faced this “more athletic” Navy type attack from the godfather of modern option football, Paul Johnson and his Yellow Jackets.
Enter Drue Tranquill (with an awesome assist from Notre Dame staff analyst Bob Elliot) and that pretty much ended Georgia Tech’s option attack. Tranquill’s stout play, and unmatched emotion that highlighted his tough play.
Unfortunately, Tranquill injured himself while jumping up in celebration towards the end of that first half against Georgia Tech- and there went the season and a whole lot of “what if?”.
So, the question is… what will Notre Dame have with Drue Tranquill this year? A lot of people will say the term, “box safety.” They will say it so much, you might start to believe that the Notre Dame defense is a new study method for geometry. What it is, is the safety rolling up closer to the line of scrimmage to help against the run.
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And why not? Tranquill is the quintessential run stopping defensive back. For Drue, however, I’m sure this term isn’t as complimentary as one would intend. In his heart of hearts, Tranquill believes himself to be an every down safety, and can defend the pass well. The truth is actually somewhere in the middle.
After all of the stories and hoopla, Notre Dame will start Max Redfield at free safety (with pressure, I’m sure from Devin Studstill). The other safety spot is still a little murky and includes 6th year senior Avery Sebastian as well as Tranquill. I firmly believe that when it is all said and done, Tranquill will see a majority of the snaps at strong safety but be moved around with different dime and nickel packages.
After two straight years of major knee injuries, we can’t count on it- but we sure do hope it.