Five keys to the Notre Dame-Temple game
REDEMPTION UP FRONT
Members of Notre Dame’s offensive line has been in a hurry to put last season behind them. What better way than to manhandle the Temple defense? The Irish should look to dictate the tone of the game with tempo and physicality. Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher, Alex Bars and Tommy Kraemer have a point to prove. Let them line up and clear the way for running backs Josh Adams, Dexter Williams, Tony Jones Jr. and quarterback Brandon Wimbush with a relentless rushing attack.
Temple head coach Geoff Collins doesn’t want to reveal his starting quarterback. It shouldn’t matter. If the Owls had a clear-cut starter, there wouldn’t be any secrecy. So regardless if Frank Nutile, Logan Marchi or Todd Centeio takes the field, Notre Dame should be capable of stopping him. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko brought a focus on the fundamentals to the Irish in the offseason. Those fundamentals shouldn’t change depending on the quarterback. There’s no need for guessing.
HANDLE WITH CARE
Brandon Wimbush can make the throws. There’s little doubt the junior Irish quarterback has the physical traits to succeed. But in his first career start, Wimbush has to protect the football. He can’t rely on his arm to squeeze the ball in tight coverage when it’s not needed. Temple’s secondary, which could include four future pros, is the strength of its defense. They’ll be looking for opportunities to get their hands on a Wimbush pass.
DISARM THE OWLS
Ryquell Armstead figures to be Temple’s best offensive weapon this season. The running back rushed for 919 yards and 14 touchdowns as a backup last season. He’s back and bigger and ready for more carries. The Irish defense has to limit his production. Last season, Notre Dame finished in the bottom half of the country in stopping the run by allowing 175.6 yards per game. Armstead provides the Irish their first chance to show improvement in the front seven.
EYES ON THE FIELD
Everyone in Notre Dame Stadium will be staring at the new video board. Well, maybe not the poor souls in the south end zone. Just don’t expect the players on the field to be distracted by the flashing images. There are video boards to deal with in nearly every stadium the Irish play annually. But it’s only natural for the players on the sidelines to want to see the footage the program has put together with their help in the offseason. Anyone getting distracted better not be on a special teams unit or the Irish could end up a player short on an important down.