- With all the talk of Golson and Zaire on Saturday, it was the play of the running backs that took center stage. The Irish have an embarrassment of riches at that position. While they have just three in Tarean Folston, Greg Bryant and Cam McDaneil, they could all start for most major college football programs. McDaniel lacks the game-breaking speed Folston and Bryant do but he is steady and reliable. Folston can move the chains as well as break a big run. Bryant looks the part. He runs violently and had a nice 51-yard run Saturday. That trio will keep ND in a lot of games this year.
- Prediction: Folston will lead the team in rushing yards. Bryant will have the longest run from scrimmage and McDaniel will lead the team in rushing touchdowns.
- Kelly has the pieces on both offense and defense to make some noise this fall. The problem is the amount of variables. Who will be QB1? How will new defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder get his squad to perform? I think the biggest question mark is special teams. Special teams at Notre Dame under Kelly have ranged from pedestrian to abhorrent. Kyle Brindza is handling both kicking and punting duties this year. He had his ups and downs Saturday He nailed a 50-yard field goal then missed a 36-yard try. He averaged less than 35 yards per punt.
- Final prediction: If Golson or Zaire thrive at QB, the defense gels under Van Gorder and the special teams cracks the top 40 in the country, the Irish will make some noise this fall. If everything falls into place, a 10-2 season is within reach. No matter how well things go, road wins at Florida St. and USC seem like tall orders.
We’ll have to wait and see until the new-look Irish step onto brand-new field turf in their brand-new Under Armour uniforms.