#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

[Read more…]

Potential Notre Dame Starting QB Tommy Rees Grew up a Northwestern Fan

The #1 storyline surrounding Notre Dame football this preseason is who will be the #1 quarterback, as senior Dayne Crist battles sophomore Tommy Rees for the coveted QB1 gig.

Crist opened 2010 as the starter, but went down in midseason with injury. Rees took over and finished the season 4-0, leading to the QB controversy we have today. Crist is bigger and taller, with a better down field ball. And he’s slightly more mobile. But Rees had a better passer rating, and he’s more accurate and superior in the short-range passing game.

Rees grew up in Lake Forest, a Chicago suburb; but he did not grow up root for ND, Chicago’s most popular college football team.

[Read more…]

Notre Dame Running Game in 2011: What can be expected from Cierre Wood?

If there was one weak link in Notre Dame last season, it was without question the ground game. If you look at the national rankings, on offense: 67th in scoring, 92nd in rushing, 34th in passing, 61st in total yardage.

Defense: 23rd in scoring , 50th in rushing, 54th in passing, 50th in total yards. 2010 was also the first year since 1971 that the Fighting Irish failed to produce a 100 yard rusher in any single game. And the fourth consecutive year without a 1,000 rusher.

Redshirt sophomore Cierre Wood hopes to change all that. He took over the job in week 6 when Armando Allen suffered a career ending injury. It was a tough way for Allen to go out. He was an underrated back. He’s on more all-time ND record lists than you would believe, and his place on those lists is much higher than you’d expect.

Wood filled in quite admirably though, posting over 600 yards on 5.1 ypc.

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

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND Defense

[Read more…]

Notre Dame Offense: Too Early Season Preview

“The quarterback spot? I really don’t know. I’m taking all suggestions. I can make a case passionately for any of the four. We can’t go into the season not knowing what we’re doing. We can’t do musical chairs.”

Those are the words of Irish football coach Brian Kelly last month when he spoke at an IMG sales luncheon in Chicago for clients of Notre Dame’s football radio network and at a dinner following the 25th annual Notre Dame Club of Chicago golf outing.

That quote pretty much says it all when it comes to what the main story lines will be for both the offense and the overall team when training camp opens next month. In other words, it’s all about Dayne Crist vs. Tommy Rees vs. Andrew Hendrix vs. Everett Golson.  More on that here and here.

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND Defense

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

[Read more…]

What can Notre Dame Expect from new QB Dayne Crist?

dayne-crist-nd

Quarterback is the most high profile position in all of team sports. At Notre Dame, the most high profile program in college football, it takes on an even greater prestige and responsibility.

Think of all the highly publicized quarterbacks in ND history: Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen, Joe Theismann, Steve Beuerlein. There’s even a subgroup of stars who wore the same number (#3)- Joe Montana, Rick Mirer, Ron Powlus.

But now that Clausen has left school early and joined the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the position belongs to junior Dayne Crist, who like Clausen, was a five-star recruit out of California.

By Paul M. Banks

[Read more…]