The Notre Dame football team suffered a big loss with Marist Liufau getting injured on Thursday, and will now lean on their LB depth in a big way.
The Notre Dame football team will take on the Florida State Seminoles in nine days, as they open up their 2021 season on the road in Tallahassee. Notre Dame is a team that the media is up-and-down about, as some feel they could challenge for a College Football Playoff spot, while some feel they will be closer to No. 15 in the country.
Whatever the case may be, those things do not matter right now, as the Irish are looking to get off to a fast start to the season. They will be taking on a Florida State team that has some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, but luckily for them, they have a veteran defense, one that should be one of the best in the country this season.
On Thursday, that veteran defense suffered a major loss, as presumed starting WILL linebacker Marist Liufau suffered what has been called a significant lower leg injury. The loss of Liufau is a big one for the Irish, as he has had a tremendous offseason, and was expected to be an anchor for Marcus Freeman in 2021.
Luckily, the Irish have some reinforcements and will lean on them in Liufau’s absence.
Notre Dame football has depth at linebacker
The linebacker group is an experienced one for defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, and he will now turn to them for answers. In terms of who starts in Liufau’s place at the WILL, that will likely be JD Bertrand, who has been taking second-team reps leading up to the injury and can slide right in and start.
Look to Shayne Simon to also get a chance to lock down the starting job, giving Freeman two very capable linebackers to choose from. Led by middle linebacker Drew White, linebacker is definitely a strength of this Irish defense, and while losing Liufau hurts, Notre Dame football is just going to have to go into this with a ‘next-man-up mentality.
With the release of the 2021 AP Poll to kick off the college football season, Notre Dame football certainly does not have an easy road.
Overall, this is a terrible loss for the Irish defense, but even more of a blow for Liufau. This is a guy that was supposed to have a breakout season in Freeman’s offense, and the hope now is that he can return at some point in 2021 and help the Notre Dame football team on the defensive side of the ball.