4-8 will do that to you. Here are some thoughts on thoughts from various reports.
DL - Hayes, Tillery, Bonner, Trumbetti
I don't know that anyone's comfortable with the DL at this point. You can't point to any one position with certainty. D. Hayes is still learning and he has the undersized (but talented) Okwara behind him at Drop. The good (or bad) news is that he's been beating McGlinchey. Tillery is talented, but he's not been consistent. Cage is carrying some extra lbs. Bonner is undersized at DT. Trumbetti may end up benefiting the most from Elko's defense. There's talent, there are big bodies but I wouldn't be surprised if Ewell came in an started in the fall given the lack of excitement around what we have here.
LB Tranquil, Morgan, Martini
Elko's defense plays to the LBs. Morgan is poised for a big year and Tranquil/Bilal have looked good at rover. That's probably where Tranquil should have been playing all along. People are saying good things about Martini at Buck, but he seems more like a Mike player to me.
DB Watkins, Coleman, Elliot, Love
Moving Coleman to safety should really pay off for the Irish this year. Coleman and Elliott both have very good athleticism for the safety spot, but both are also very green. There's little depth behind them. Nick Watkins has been one of the talks of the camp at corner and Julian Love is starting at the other corner spot.
ND has good talent on defense, but significant questionmarks at safety and DL. Elko's defense relies on negative yardage and turnovers, but you wonder if we have the DL who can penetrate or safeties who can prevent the big plays. If ND is running at tempo a lot, then the defense will have to be on the field a lot more. Not sure that's a great strategy with so many questionmarks. Box of chocolates situation.
Wimbush has looked very good so far with one exception, lack of consistency on the deep ball. He apparently outsprinted Coleman (sub 4.5 guy) to the endzone in practice. If his practice play translates, he'll be very hard to defend. It will also be hard to for Kelly to not screw him up and try to do too much with him. Book is Tommy Rees with better legs.
The big surprise is Tony Jones who at 225 pounds is a very good inside runner and surprising outside runner. All three backs have looked very good and will play. Really nice looking 3 back rotation all of whom can catch the ball out of the backfield, have size and can make big plays. Tony Jones, surprisingly, seems to have broken the most big runs. He reminds me of a Wiscy back.
WR ESB, Claypool, Boykin
My fantasy hath come true. 6'4" Boykin, 6'5 ESB and Claypool lined up as starters. Boykin and Claypool are borderline TE sized kids who can run. Boykin ran a 4.51 laser timed 40 in HS, which is flying for a guy that big. I think the big downside surprise has been CJ Sanders. ESB is lined up in Fuller's spot, Claypool is the slot and Boykin is the boundary.
Pretty much everyone around the program thinks Alize Jones is a match-up problem at TE and now that he's blocking better, ND can mix and match in a way that will be hard to defend. ND can put 4 6'4" bodies out there and run at you or, with the same personnel, run by you. We've also apparently run the TEs in a HBack/fullback role and Long likes putting two tight ends on the field. ND won't have to give away the call by it's personnel. Something Kelly excelled at.
OL McGlinchy, Nelson, Mustiper, Bars, Kraemer
It's likely that at least 4 of the 5 starters will play in the NFL. On paper, it's the most talented unit on the team. Top 50 player Tommy Kraemer looks to have the nod at RT with Bars playing inside of him. I'm not sure I like the idea of running "tempo" all the time with a unit as talented and as big as ND has. With ND's OL, TEs, WRs and running backs, ND could put together a punishing ground game.
I think what people are excited about with the offense is that it has the players to play almost any type of game. ND can run at you with a big lineup and 220 pound backs or they can send WRs and TEs out that will be very hard to defend against. My worry is the same as it's always been, that ND will get fancy, put everything on Wimbush's shoulders and throw jump balls to its big receiving corps rather than own the line of scrimmage with a big OL.
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