#10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: College Football 77 in 77

Here it is- THE BIG ONE! Of all my 77 in 77s, this is my piece de resistance. The team I cover the most, Chicago’s home college football team, the program covered in the media unlike any other. Yes, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the most storied and well-documented team in the history of the game. This preview will be longer than the others, so let’s get right to it.

Storyline #1 QB controversy: Crist has risen, announced two days ago. (For more on that go here)

Coach Brian Kelly on the situation: “Dayne (Crist) overcame a serious knee injury just to be able to start the season (in 2010). He had another serious knee injury. He got himself ready for the spring and fought through the uncertainty of that as well. Then, the work in the summer and preseason , and it puts it in perspective. He is a much better quarterback. He’s the kind of guy I want to coach.”

Go here for a podcast previewing the 2011 Notre Dame season

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Notre Dame Defense: Too Early 2011 Season Preview

manti-te'o

In 2010, the Notre Dame defense improved dramatically over its 2009 output, making big leaps in scoring defense (63rd nationally to 23rd), interceptions (50th to 19th) and sacks (89th to 54th). Those numbers come mostly from the final four games, when they seem to just “get it,” a stark contrast from the first nine games where they showed potential but were also very inconsistent.  In the final four, including the Sun Bowl win over Miami, the d held opponents to less than 10 ppg. Limiting Army and Utah to just 3 apiece.

The Fighting Irish D return eight players who started at least eight games last season, including junior linebacker and All-America candidate Manti Te’o, who led the team with 133 tackles. He’s a Butkus Award front-runner and a likely first round pick in the next NFL draft.

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND offense (passing game)

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND offense (running game)

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Best Defensive End in College Football? Notre Dame, Michigan Have Candidates

Notre Dame senior defensive end tandem of Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson were named preseason candidates for the 2011 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Lewis-Moore and Johnson are one of three sets of teammates to appear on the list of 35 players. The other two are North Carolina’s Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss; and USC’s Wes Horton and Nick Perry.

University of Michigan football senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen was also named to the list; which honors the nation’s top defensive end.

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Notre Dame Decisively Beats Purdue at Line of Scrimmage

kapron-lewis-moore

Just like on so many college football Saturdays, the numbers don’t accurately tell the whole story. In their 23-12 opening day victory, Notre Dame outgained the Big Ten‘s Purdue Boilermakers 358-322, and by 51 on the ground.

But those statistics don’t reflect all the tremendous pressure that Boilers quarterback Robert Marve faced all day. If it wasn’t for Marve’s blazing 4.5 speed and superlative escapability, the numbers would have been skewed even further in Irish favor.

And the Boilers averaged a very meager 3.2 yards per rush for the game. Everyone close to the Purdue program knew the offensive line would be one of the most questionable position groups heading into this season, and the OL looked pretty brutal most of the first game.

Boilermakers Head Coach Danny Hope disagrees, and he thought his OL played better than they were given credit for.

By Paul M. Banks

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