From their storied undefeated season last year, to their BCS Championship Game loss to Alabama, to Manti Te’o and Everett Golson’s off the field woes, Norte Dame football has been in the headlines quite often over the past year. After all the publicity, both negative and positive, the program has received one might wonder how the Fighting Irish will fair this upcoming season, especially with the loss of so many key playmakers from last year’s squad. Something has got to give.
Head Coach Brian Kelly thinks that “consistent performance” will be key to the teams success this year, especially for freshman linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith is a five-star prospect who will be filling the spot of Te’o, no easy task for a true freshman. Along with the rest of the defense, one filled with many other first-time starters, Smith will have to uphold the tradition of stout Irish defenses. Last year’s defense ranked among the best in the country, and the entirety of college football will be watching this year’s team with scrutiny.
If anything is apparent about this year’s squad, it is that they will have to keep their attention focused on their ultimate goal of a National Championship being brought back to South Bend. The Notre Dame coaching staff believes they have a team that can really do something big this year, but the adversity and scrutiny they will face might be more than this young team can handle. Only time will tell if the irish can get back to their winning ways.