The Irish are not playing around anymore. Unlike Hartman, Riley Leonard has a great offensive mind to work with in former LSU OC Mike Denbrock. What excites most people is that Denbrock worked with the reigning Heisman trophy winner Jayden Daniels at LSU after the Tigers landed him from Arizona State.
Some may consider Denbrock an offensive genius, but he is sure to make a massive impact with his new QB.
Should Riley Leonard have higher expectations than Hartman?
Most people believed that Sam Hartman was gonna save the Irish as a football program. Unfortunately for Sam, he came up short this year with some bad losses to Louisville and Clemson.
In fairness however, the Irish had a very difficult schedule and had someone who wasn't meant to be an OC. Riley Leonard on the other hand, has everything going for him. A mediocre schedule, good offensive coordinator, and a very good amount of weapons. Since the Irish are coming off their first 10 win season in the Marcus Freeman era, there are very high expectations for Leonard.
What does Riley Leonard bring to the table?
Riley Leonard comes into the season as the 4th ND QB in 4 years , showing truly how dominant the Irish have been in the QB market. Leonard is a dual threat pocket passer but doesn't quite get the recognition he deserves. That was until this year when his Blue Devils shocked the world beating at the time the #9 Clemson Tigers.
Duke was ranked for the first time in a long time, and it was all because of Riley Leonard. Even after his injury, I don't think that should affect him too much and if he can gel with Denbrock this can easily be a top 10 offense in the country.
Could the Notre Dame football be a legit contender?
12 team playoffs. That is the talk of college football next season. What needs to be mentioned is that the Irish can make the playoffs simply because of their preseason ranking and a soft schedule. So ifthe Irish were to make it could they potentially go on a run?
Absolutely. With Riley Leonard at the helm, a proven OC and still a very stound defense the Irish are trending upward to make a decent run. It will all have to do with whether or not Notre Dame football can beat the good teams and not blow the big games like they would in years past.