College Football News Preview 2020: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

College Football News Preview 2020: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame

College Football News Preview 2020: Notre Dame Fighting Irish


College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish season with what you need to know.

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– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
Schedule Analysis
– Notre Dame Previews 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

2019 Record: 11-2
Head Coach: Brian Kelly, 11th year, 92-37
2019 CFN Final Opinion Ranking: 13
2019 CFN Final Season Formula Ranking: 12
2019 CFN Preview Ranking: 15

5. College Football News Preview 2020: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Offense 3 Things To Know

The Irish offense averaged 431 yards and 37 points per game, the running game was solid, and the team went on a roll over the back part of the season after surviving the Virginia Tech battle.

And now offensive coordinator Chip Long is an assistant for Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee Volunteers, and he’ll likely be a head coach somewhere soon.

CFN in 60 Video: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview

In steps Tommy Rees, the 28-year-old former Irish quarterback and the QB coach over the last few seasons to run the O. The passing game was efficient, but it has to do a bit more consistent. When it worked, everything else seemed to click.

Getting back Ian Book under center after throwing for over 6,000 yards with 57 touchdowns with 17 picks – hitting 64% of his throws – with eight scoring runs is fantastic.

He might have had a few down moments in big games – he threw six interceptions last year with two in three games, including the loss to Georgia – but he’s been a bit better than he gets credit for.

Phil Jurkovec is now at Boston College, so the spotlight will be on redshirt freshman Brendon Clark and on the way is star recruit Drew Pyne. The depth has to be developed, but it’s Book or bust.

Can Jafar Armstrong stay healthy? The 6-1, 220-pound junior was able to make a 13 catches and run for 122 yards, but he was never able to get going.

The talent is there for Armstrong to be the No. 1 running back, but he’ll split time with sophomore C’Bo Flemister, who took on a bigger role over the second half of last year and finished with five scores. Throw in sophomore Jahmir Smith, and the Irish have backs. It just might take a few games to come up with the right guy.

No matter who has the ball, he’ll have one of the nation’s better lines to run behind.

Liam Eichenberg might now be the nation’s best offensive tackle with Oregon’s Penei Sewell not playing. He’s a franchise NFL talent still in college. He’s so good that junior Robert Hainsey gets overshadowed on the other side. The Irish are more than set at tackle.

Tommy Kraemer is a future NFL guard, sophomore Jarrett Patterson is a future NFL center, and overall, the front five is going to be fantastic.

It’s a bit of a panic siren to suggest that the Irish receiving corps could be the team’s biggest early problem, but losing the top four targets – including Pittsburgh Steeler WR Chase Claypool and new Chicago Bear TE Cole Kmet – isn’t a positive.

Braden Lenzy is the team’s leading returning receiver after catching 11 passes for 254 yards and two scores – he averaged over 23 yards per catch as a fun, fast, big play talent – and Lawrence Keys returns after making 13 grabs, but the jobs are open for Northwestern transfer Ben Skowronek, senior Javon McKinley, and super-recruit Jordan Johnson to take over roles right out of the gate.

NEXT: College Football News Preview 2020: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Defense 3 Things To Know

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