Analyst: Biggest Issue Notre Dame Must Address To Win A Title

first_imgNotre Dame RB Dexter Williams rushes against Clemson.ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 29: A.J. Terrell #8 of the Clemson Tigers tackles Dexter Williams #2 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second half during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Notre Dame came two wins away from a national championship last season. Brian Kelly’s team reached its first College Football Playoff, falling to eventual national champion Clemson in the semifinal.It was a nice step forward for Notre Dame, and also proved that the Fighting Irish could reach the four-team field without the aid of a conference. While ND doesn’t appear to be challenging the Alabama/Clemson top tier, they should be in the general CFP discussion.Entering the year, Notre Dame sits at about 50/1 to win the title. The Irish return quarterback Ian Book, who looks to expand on a breakout 2018, but lose a decent amount from the strong defense that helped carry the team last year. 247Sports’ Chris Hummer identified the major issues facing Notre Dame and the other major contenders in college football entering 2019.For ND, there are two pretty glaring weaknesses  as we come up on a month before Week 1. Each side of the ball has something that needs to be addressed.On offense, Notre Dame needs a more efficient, consistent rushing attack to open things up for Book. Defensively, there are a lot of holes in the middle of the defense due to graduations and NFL attrition.The run game, which finished 61st nationally in yards per carry, must improve to return some balance to the Irish offense. Notre Dame often got behind in early downs due to an ineffective rush – Dexter Williams’ home runs covered up for a lot. The Irish must also find playmakers in the middle of their defense. Covering up for the loss in production of Jerry Tillery (9 sacks), Drue Tranquill (86 tackles, 9 TFL) and Te’von Coney (123 tackles, 9.5) is a tall task.These are both important areas of improvement, considering the schedule that Notre Dame faces. Fellow CFP hopefuls Georgia and Michigan highlight a pretty tough schedule.If Notre Dame makes the Playoff again, it will definitely have earned it.[247Sports]last_img read more

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