Notre Dame Football: Defensive Questions Still Remain

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 02: Greer Martini
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 02: Greer Martini /

Heading into the match up with Georgia, there are a few questions as to how Notre Dame football program, in particular the defense, stacks up.

After the season opener, we saw improvements all around from the 2016 season. We now know that Notre Dame has an offense capable of putting points on the board. Brandon Wimbush is a strong QB that will only improve from here. And the running backs will be dangerous. The real question of this team is how will the defense be?

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Did they play well against Temple? Well compared to the atrocity of what we watched last season the answer would be yes. But did they play well enough last week to beat Georgia?

Front Seven

The front seven made improvements and could be dangerous. But they have an interesting challenge this week. Georgia has a strong backfield. Nick Chubb was a 1000+ yard rusher last year and rushed for 96 yards in week 1. His side kick Sony Michel is just as dangerous. Michel was just behind Chubb with 87 yards last week.

What makes this an interesting challenge for Notre Dame’s front seven is that while Georgia is great at running the ball, they have their own questions in the offensive line. They believe their line is much better than last year, but they will have to prove that with freshman QB Jacob Fromm stepping in for the injured Jacob Eason.


The biggest issue with the defense last season was in the secondary. They were the least experienced group entering 2016, but with a new system and some moves, Mike Elko is hoping to have the answers.

Drue Tranquill made his come back last week starting in the rover position while Nyles Morgan played in the mike position. Against Temple, things were clicking for Morgan racking up eight tackles. Tranquill had a game himself with four tackles and a fumble recovery.

Looking at the secondary Notre Dame was able to limit Temple to 245 passing yards. But if there is one thing they have to improve on right away is tackling in the open field.

The one-on-one situations are scary for the Irish. While it still matters, Notre Dame might be able to slip by in this challenge. The Georgia wide receivers are not a group to look past, but not the Bulldogs strong suit. Terry Godwin came out of last season averaging 10.4 yards a catch racking up 397 yards on the season. Those are numbers we expect to grow this season.

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Defensively the Irish have the opportunity to challenge the Bulldogs if they take advantage of the questions Georgia has in their own offense.