Well, apparently a lot of Notre Dame fans are feeling pretty optimistic in tomorrow’s matchup with North Carolina. Our matchup with the Tar Heels tomorrow opened in Vegas with UNC the 6.5 point favorite (meaning they thought they’d win by a touchdown). I try to make it clear for those reading not understanding Vegas talk. Now a day prior to kickoff Notre Dame finds themselves as the 1.5 point underdog. Meaning a bunch of people were throwing their money on Notre Dame. So while I write my few pregame thoughts cautiously, I am glad and reassured to see so many of the Irish faithful still believing in this squad. Gives this guy hope after all the negativity that started this season.
Onto the game. Going into this one I am hopeful that we may be growing into a functional team. Our offense remains stagnant, looking as one dimensional as an offense can be. But, our big uglies up front were far more dominant on both sides of the ball and any sign of progress can be built upon. If we can continue to develop the blocking in this matchup and develop a full fledged ground assault, no reason the passing game can’t be addressed next. Easy to pass when the opponent is threatened to death of the run.
So, look for Notre Dame to run the ball. With so many questions about the Fighting Irish offense, I am not expecting Tommy Rees to do much other than coach to keep his job. Not going to shake it up to crazy in this one. Chris Tyree and the supporting crew will be looking to gain some ground yardage against a porous North Carolina defense.
Here’s hoping our lineman who looked far more reliable in the California game than they had against Marshall. Look for Notre Dame to build upon what was being shown in glimpses during the California win, a ground game with fresh legs for days. The offensive line stood up against California. Finding their blocks and allowing our offense the holes to run through. While it was solid, Notre Dame’s offensive line should be dominant. I’m looking for Notre Dame’s offensive line to outmuscle the Tar Heels tomorrow. No way around it. Just use your superior size and dictate the line of scrimmage. Here’s hoping Freeman has the boys ready to go.
Our defensive line showed hints that they could be as dominant as we had all hoped they could be. They have began getting the Tackles for losses we had expected they could. I’m looking for North Carolina’s less than highly touted offensive line to be entirely lost in this one. Our defensive line has begun to set some semblance of a tone that the team can begin to feed off of. Drake Maye is a good quarterback, a good playmaker that has been having to run for his life in the backfield. He will be used to seeing pressure, I’m just looking for Notre Dame to provide a wave of pressure, the likes of which he has never faced.
While Notre Dame’s been a tale of woe up until the end of that California game. North Carolina has been winning some of the highest scoring games in the country this season. While all of these wins are impressive, they have yet to face competition of significance this season. To their credit, they’ve won the games they should, as the best teams do. But I think with some of the point totals they’ve given up to opponents that could be deemed less than top tier, speak volumes to the true caliber of the Tar Heels.
That being said the Irish will need to finish plays through to the whistle. Drake Maye is used to having to create plays from broken protection, wheeling out giving his receivers extended time to get open. Marcus Freeman must make this apparent to the Irish. If plays aren’t finished, if coverage is given up, the North Carolina Tar Heels can absolutely make us regret it.
A lot of people unaware with these two programs and just hearing the national rhetoric will absolutely think North Carolina’s got this one. I don’t think this to be true. I’m really hoping that North Carolina’s defense may breathe life into the Notre Dame offense. North Carolina will give up points, they have all year. If there is any game for Tommy Rees to get something going and start building out an offensive playbook, this is it. The time is now Tommy. Run the ball, run the ball, and then let’s see if we can’t get Drew Pyne a few more shots downfield this game than we had seen against California. Let this be a get right game. While we’ve looked lost, no time like the present to deal with it.
Let’s go take it to the Tar Heels!
Play like an absolute champ,