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Breakout Performance Predictions: ND VS Navy

Written by Mike Stacey|Writer|Twitter: @MikeStaceyIT IG: @mikestaceyit


LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, IT'S TIME!!!


After what felt like a lifetime since Notre Dame beat South Carolina in an epic Gator Bowl finish, it is finally that time of the year again for Notre Dame Football. I don't know about you, but I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve once again. Shuffling impatiently around the house, envisioning multiple outcomes of the next day, and undoubtedly will be up well past my bedtime in anticipation for the greatest day of the year. When I was a kid, the ideal gift was a bike, as an adult it's Notre Dame football. (And alcohol) The first game of the year brings with it great hope, joy, and excitement. With that being said, it also brings some uncertainty and this year is no different. Who will be the breakout players this year for the Irish? Which players will play up to their projected standard? Which will under perform? These are all questions that will soon be answered. Like so many of you, I have some suspicions of which players will fall under these categories. But before we discuss who will do what for the entire season, let's dive into who I think will have a breakout performance in the opener against Navy.





Offense:


Sam Hartman:

Yeah I know, SUPER HOT take here, but it doesn't change the fact that this is how I feel. I think Sam and Notre Dame are going to come out and make a statement in the opener. Notre Dame has had trouble with the passing game for the past few years now, and the biggest problem is being vertical. Notre Dame has lacked far too many deep balls for success over recent years and I think Week 0 will address that problem in an aggressive fashion. Look for Sam Hartman to let everyone know who he is and what he can do. Put the man on notice!


Prediction:

25/32- 320 Yards- 4 TD's


Tobias Merriweather:

You can argue that Tobias Merriweather is the most important player for the Irish this season on offense. As I mentioned above, Notre Dame has lacked the superstar production needed to be a contender in the receiving game and part of that is due to a lack of explosive play by the wide receivers, but Tobias has the skill set to be just that, explosive. I think Notre Dame realizes his importance and tries to get him and Sam off to a quick start to continue to build their chemistry throughout the season. I think coach Parker is going to be intentional about getting him the ball early and often on deep ball attempts, utilizing his speed and size advantage. Look for Tobias to have a coming out party in week 0.


Photo by ON3


Prediction:

6 catches- 130 yards- 2 TD's


Offensive Line:

Let's not forget about the hogs up front! The offensive line will have a huge advantage against the Midshipmen. With elite tackles, a veteran center, and 2 new starters at guard, this combo of talent with the "something to prove" mentality should bode well for the Irish in Ireland. I expect them to keep Hartman clean, (maybe a sack given up in garbage time) and give the talented running backs some eye widening gaps in the run game. Expect this unit to come out with a purpose and throw their weight around in pursuit of another Joe Moore Award.


Prediction:

220 Yards Rushing- 1 Sack given up





Defense:


Rylie Mills:

Rylie has had a BIG spring. He is poised to be a breakout player for the Irish this year on the defensive line and I fully expect him to go out Saturday and show exactly how dominant he can be. Ryle will have a notable size advantage over the Navy O-line, standing at 6'5 and 300 lbs. Rylie also has experience playing the edge before he was moved inside this year, so you know he has great athleticism and speed for someone his size. I expect him to have a field day on Saturday and let the Irish faithful know who the next bad man on the D-Line is.


Prediction:

8 Solo Tackles- 3 TFL- 1 Sack


JD Bertrand

JD Bertrand is an extremely physical linebacker. He is a great leader, intelligent, and being in year 2 of Al Golden's defense should only make him better. I think a game like this sets up perfectly for an inside backer who has a nose for the ball. Expect some big time collisions come Saturday thanks to JD. Perhaps a forced fumble as well?


Prediction:

7 Solo Tackles- 2 TFL- 1 forced fumble


Let's see how these predictions hold up after Saturday. Please feel free to make your own predictions in the comment section. We would love to see what you are expecting and who turns out to be right! Also, check out our pump up video for the game tomorrow below!








1 Comment


Luciano Antonini
Luciano Antonini
Aug 25, 2023

Great Article!

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