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Instant Analysis: Offense Rolls, Defense Holds Stout, Irish Dominate in Week 0 Thrashing

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter @LiamFarrell_IT


Via Notre Dame Athletic


Notre Dame set the tempo early in their Week 0 victory over Navy. In the first half, Notre Dame was perfect from an offensive standpoint, scoring on every possession. Sam Hartman was elite in the first half, along with a stable ford of running backs that evened out the Irish attack. The Irish defense bended, but didn't break as Notre Dame gave up a lot of yards on the ground, but proved tough as Navy went deep into Irish territory. Let's breakdown Notre Dame on each side of the ball, along with some quick initial thoughts.


Offense

Via Notre Dame Athletics


Sam Hartman: The old man on campus did more than impress in this one. Hartman threw for 251 yard on 19/23 passes and 4 TDs. In the first half, Notre Dame made a presence on the ground, while having Hartman open up lanes with some play action passes. While Hartman was late on one deep post to Tobias Merriweather that resulted in an incompletion, he was rather perfect the rest of the day. Improvising in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield, and recognizing the blitzes, Hartman was simply taking what the defense was giving him and capitalizing. Sam also displayed a perfect two minute drill right before half that had the Irish go up 28-0. Hartman did have another hiccup in the second half where he almost threw a pick six on a 3rd and 11 pass


The Five Headed Monster: Remember when some fans were nervous about Notre Dame's running back depth after they moved Chris Tyree to the slot, and Logan Diggs transferred to LSU? Nothing to worry about anymore. Audric Estime, minus the fumble that went out of bounds, was everything we saw and more in the 2022 season. Estime seemed to gain some speed in the offseason and it showed. Gi'Bran Payne was extremely shifty and showed toughness between the tackles while picking up good yards after contact. How about Jadarian Price? After a season-ending injury last fall, most fans completely forgot about the sophomore back. Best way to jog people's memory? A 19-yard touchdown on your very first touch of the season. Throw in a couple of touches for freshman Jeremiyah Love and Deyvn Ford, and the Irish have 5 capable running backs to go to in any situation.


Wide Receiver Room: Notre Dame has some absolute dogs in the wide receiver room. All fall camp we heard about the Irish secondary shutting down Notre Dame wide receivers, and how they were the biggest question mark for the Irish. They certainly passed the eye test. Jaden Greathouse busted on the scene with a touchdown catch and showed awareness sitting in soft pockets of the Navy zone defense. Jayden Thomas emerged as the wide receiver one by catching a touchdown pass during Hartman's two minute drill. Chris Tyree was also great in space, displaying his elusiveness and speed all across the field. Deion Collie also added a touchdown to his name, in addition to a very impressive contested catch over a smaller Navy defender. The biggest letdown? Tobias Merriweather. Merriweather had a bad drop on the first drive, and didn't record a single catch in the first half.


Dominant in the Trenches: The offensive line did a fantastic job. The Spindler, Coogan guard play question marks went away fast. Running lanes were wide open all day, which led to Hartman having plenty of time, and running backs to run free. Joe Alt and Blake Fisher will continue to be the best offensive tackle duo in the nation, while Zeke Correll held it down in the middle.


Defense


The Run Game as a Whole: While it wasn't pretty to watch, the Notre Dame defense did their job. The Irish only gave up 3 points in the game, but in the first half especially, Navy was getting their way. On Navy's first possession, the Midshippmen had two receivers run into each other on a 4th down drop. The Irish defensive also forced a couple fumbles in the game, but didn't recover any (The Betrand one in the first possession of the second half definitely should have been our ball). The whole half time show, Maria Taylor and co. kept on saying how the Irish had the bad second half last year etc. etc. Well, Golden and the defense made the defensive adjustments they had to in order to secure the blow out victory.


Difference Makers: I thought Marist Liufau was flying all around the field, and showing more of his natural instincts, when sometimes last year it felt like he was over-thinking everything. Javontae Jean-Baptiste was another player who showed his athleticism on the edge. Jordan Botelho made a couple good plays in space, as well. Jaden Mickey also showed his ability to tackle in space and on the perimeter.


Special Teams


Kicking: Spencer Shrader missed ugly on a 41-yard field goal, but was perfect on extra points, as well as having four touchbacks.


Punting. N/A. Thank you Sam Hartman.

1 Comment


Luciano Antonini
Luciano Antonini
Aug 26, 2023

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