Nov 23, 2013, 11:39 AM EDT
The snow flurries have already started. And they don’t look like they’re going anywhere. Today’s Senior Day should also be a Snow Day, with weather playing a factor from the start. Temperatures will start in the high 20s and continue to drop all afternoon.
Football weather? Frozen tundra weather. It’s a good day to be in the press box.
With that in mind, let’s get to some final thoughts before kickoff.
Can Notre Dame establish the running game? Throwing the football in this weather isn’t ideal. With wind blowing around 20 mph, the wind chill will be close to single digits, making this one of the coldest Saturdays in recent memory at Notre Dame Stadium.
There are about 10 men in the world that can effectively throw the football in this kind of weather. They won’t be in Notre Dame Stadium, and most of them are playing on Sundays. So if the Irish are going to get an offensive attack going, it’ll need to be started on the ground.
This BYU defense isn’t as stout as the one that Notre Dame faced last year. But then again, this running game isn’t as good as last season’s either. This will likely be the X factor for the Irish offensively.
Can Notre Dame slow down BYU’s ground game? This will be the difference in the game. If Notre Dame can keep Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams in check, they’ll have gotten all they need out of the defense to get a W.
How they do that is the big question. Without Louis Nix in the middle, the snaps will likely fall to Kona Schwenke, who isn’t close to 100 percent after a service academy cut block injured his ankle. Then snaps fall to Jarron Jones and Tyler Stockton, two guys that will need to play the games of their lives.
Stopping a running game like this is more a function of eleven guys playing assignment correct football. We’ll see how well coached up Bobby Diaco’s boys are for this one.
Holding onto the football. Ball security is always important on a weather day like this. And with both Taysom Hill and Tommy Rees capable of giving the ball to the other team via air, the team who turns it over the least will likely win this football.
Brian Kelly is still undefeated in games where his team doesn’t commit a turnover. But this will be Tarean Folston’s first football game in cold weather, and that’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
Starting fast. Emotions will be high at kickoff. Can Notre Dame parlay that into a quick start? This team hasn’t shown an ability to get out of the gates quickly, but if they can get out front of BYU, they could disrupt the Cougars offensive game plan.
Keeping pace with BYU’s offense. Replicating the speed of BYU’s hurry-up in practice won’t be easy. But the Irish defense needs to get acclimated quickly, or else they could put the offense into a hole that might not be that easy to climb out of on a chilly day like this.
Enjoying the moment. There are so many great stories to keep track of on a Saturday like this. Will this be goodbye to Louis Nix? Stephon Tuitt? Thanking seniors like Zack Martin, TJ Jones, Chris Watt and Prince Shembo for really impressive careers. Honoring guys like Danny Spond, Cam Roberson and Tate Nichols, players who walked away because their bodies couldn’t make it.
This would also be Senior Day for Matt James, the blue-chip offensive lineman that died during a tragic Spring Break accident. He’ll be honored by high school teammate Luke Massa, who’ll be wearing James’ No. 78 as he fulfills his holding duties this afternoon. Sophomore Ronnie Stanley will wear No. 69 instead.
The South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen wrote a tremendous profile on Massa and James in today’s paper, revealing quite a bit about the guy Massa has become, even as a knee injury has robbed him of the athleticism he once possessed.
Jul 13, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT
One of the last players on Notre Dame’s radar during the 2014 recruiting cycle was Kolin Hill. Our next installment in the Irish A-to-Z series takes a look at the incoming freshman from Texas.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
After spending 2013 on the sidelines, opportunity comes to Mike Heuerman in 2014. With Troy Niklas a surprise entrant in the NFL Draft and the departure of veteran Alex Welch to Miami (Ohio), Heuerman and fellow sophomore Durham Smythe are the next men in for Brian Kelly and the Irish offense.
Jul 11, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Matt Hegarty’s football career almost ended when a stroke suffered during a November practice in 2012 revealed two small holes in his heart. Healthy again and a key contributor late in 2013, our next stop on the Irish A-to-Z train takes a look at the New Mexico native and his road back onto the playing field.
Jul 11, 2014, 8:59 AM EDT
Watch List week continues with more Irish veterans recognized for their potential 2014 season. In addition to Everett Golson, KeiVarae Russell and Jaylon Smith, four more Irish players found their names on awards lists, with Kyle Brindza, Sheldon Day, Ben Koyack and Nick Martin being tabbed.
Jul 10, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT
A new time-lapse video released by Fighting Irish Digital Media and UND.com gives us an update on the FieldTurf installation going inside Notre Dame Stadium.
Jul 10, 2014, 9:26 AM EDT
Notre Dame scoured the country for recruits as they prepared for life after Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. Our next A-to-Z installment looks at Jay Hayes, the incoming freshman defensive lineman looking to replace them.
Jul 10, 2014, 8:17 AM EDT
Entering his junior season, offensive lineman Mark Harrell has yet to make his way onto the field for the Irish. Our next installment in Irish A-to-Z takes a closer look at the Charlotte native and what he needs to do to see the field.
Jul 9, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
Our Irish A-to-Z tour continues with safety Eilar Hardy. A knee injury derailed his freshman season. A suspension before the Stanford game did the same after earning two late-season starts in 2013. What does 2014 have in store for the veteran?
Jul 9, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT
With some of the top recruits in the country at The Opening, Notre Dame commitment C.J. Sanders put on a show. Making the SPARQ testing finals, Sanders dazzled as he showed elite speed and explosiveness.
Jul 8, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
When Notre Dame offered legacy lineman Conor Hanratty, many raised an eyebrow. With sons of former stars like Tregg Duerson and Jake Golic doing little with the full ride many perceived as a nod to their famous predecessors, Hanratty had the profile of a player whose best attribute was his father, former Irish quarterback Terry Hanratty.
Jul 8, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
A career-threatening leg injury has put Jarrett Grace’s status up in the air. Our latest Irish A-to-Z takes a closer look at the future of Notre Dame’s middle linebacker.
Jul 8, 2014, 8:39 AM EDT
A trio of Notre Dame football players find themselves on the watch list for some very impressive postseason awards. Quarterback Everett Golson is on the Maxwell Award’s watch list while junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell and sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith were both selected to the Bednarik’s watch list.
Jul 7, 2014, 11:11 PM EDT
A few weeks after being suspended indefinitely from the football team, Irish wide receiver Will Mahone is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame.
Jul 7, 2014, 1:17 PM EDT
No game means more to Notre Dame fans than the annual battle with USC. As we finish our post-spring viewing of the Irish’s 2014 opponents, let’s take a closer look at college football’s greatest intersectional rivalry.
Jul 4, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
For all the thousands of words dedicated to Everett Golson’s comeback, few have talked about the fact that he’s still very much a quarterback in progress. Our next stop on Irish A-to-Z looks at the most important player in the program.
Jul 2, 2014, 11:36 PM EDT
Notre Dame may have missed out on Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard on Wednesday, but they won the commitment of jumbo receiver Miles Boykin. The Illinois native chose Notre Dame over Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida and a slew of other offers.
Jul 2, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Will Fuller served as Notre Dame’s human go route during his freshman season. As we continue our Irish A-to-Z, expect Fuller’s duties — and production — to expand greatly in 2014.
Jul 2, 2014, 10:20 AM EDT
Notre Dame ended up bridesmaids in their recruitment of Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard, two elite defensive prospects in the Midwest. The defensive end and linebacker made joint announcements, both deciding to attend Ohio State and play for Urban Meyer.
Jul 2, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
While most people expected a freshman running back to burst onto the scene in 2013, few thought it’d be Tarean Folston. Our next installment of Irish A-to-Z takes a look at a potential star-in-the-making.
Jul 1, 2014, 9:03 PM EDT
The recruiting train continues for Notre Dame, with Washington D.C. area defensive back Ashton White pledging his commitment to the Irish on Tuesday evening.