Crawford was expected to contribute, but the Irish are still pretty deep in the secondary.
Roccaro provides versatility for the Irish, with the ability to play all over the field.
And Muller, the Crusaders’ defensive coordinator, knows where he has to start.
Returning defensive tackle Isaiah Ward was ND’s only full-time starting sophomore last season.
When VanGorder was asked if there was anything that stands out that he feels really good about the defense, he paused for a moment and said: “I’ll say this, we have a high character room”. “We got beat, but there are a lot of things to build on and we just need to shake it off and get back at it”.
“I think primarily [it was], You’re this close”, Kelly said of his pitch to Stanley. Farley was one of Notre Dame’s best playmakers a year ago when it came to creating negative plays and still figures to be used in a lot of different roles this fall.
Williams will offer strong, vocal leadership up the spine for the Irish, and will help fuel the transition attack. KeiVarae Russell just returned for the Fighting Irish after missing last season, but now one of their top recruits at the same position goes down with an injury.
London quickly ticked off seven names who he said have done a “tremendous” job and will give the line depth and versatility as the Cavaliers attempt to become a power running team. So you win all your games and you’ve got a really good quarterback.
“I think anybody that has a setback that handles it in such a positive way”, Kelly said recently, “you know what their mental capacity is to overcome small things that are in front of him”.
As junior quarterback Malik Zaire and junior linebacker Jaylon Smith emerged from the hallway at media day, a crowd gathered around Zaire’s designated table, microphones, recorders, cameras and reporters all vying for space. To do so, it will have to feed off the activity of the defense and midfield, which it did during its preseason slate, outscoring Iowa State and Illinois 10-0. The veterans will be joined by talented freshman Natalie Jacobs, who has been active with the youth national teams and came in ranked No. 6 in the Top Drawer Soccer Girls IMG Academy 150 player rankings.
“My whole mindset was about how I was going to put myself in a position where I was ready for any opportunity”, Zaire said. “I carried the ball a lot (22 times) in the LSU game, because teams that had the most success against the Tigers were the ones that ran their QB”. He has the ability to cut at full speed, and we haven’t had that in my time here. In four other seasons under Kelly, the Irish have posted three 8-5 records and a 9-4 mark.
One thing was absolutely certain: The Pounders made the Irish earn it despite the final score.
SCHEDULENotre Dame kicks off the 2015 slate Friday when it welcomes Valparaiso to Alumni Stadium, and will then take on Toledo on Sunday.