A Problem Neglected by Irish Fans

Notre Dame has had simply put an eventful and disappointing six months since January. Sure, there are still positives for the team, but overall the news coming out of South Bend has been negative. Many of the programs problems have been talked about ad nauseum- the failure to retain five star recruit Eddie Vanderdoes, the semester suspension and subsequent lost season of starting quarterback Everett Golson and Brian Kelly's rumored NFL interest; one problem for Notre Dame remains largely under the radar. That problem is the lack of defensive line depth and star power in 2014 and beyond.

Presumably Notre Dame will lose Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt to the NFL draft after this upcoming season. In addition to these projected first round picks, the Golden

[caption id="attachment_455" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Nix is widely regarded as the best interior lineman playing college football"]Nix[/caption]

Domers will also lose Kona Schwenke, Tyler Stockton and Justin Utopo. The names left along the Irish DL are underwhelming both in numbers and prestige as Sheldon Day will the lone contributor in his position group from the Irish's 2012 undefeated season.

Notre Dame fans saw the impact of Louis Nix leaving the field during the Pitt game and it was not pretty. A player with Nix's skill set is rare and almost certainly whomever plays the interior defensive line will have different responsibilities than Nix. No longer will defensive coordinator Bob Diaco be able to utilize a prototype Nose Guard and as a result, the identity of the defense will likely change. Stephon Tuitt leaves big shoes to fill- All American shoes. The loss of these studs and the depth behind them on the depth chart leaves the Irish in poor shape for the 2014 season.

Truthfully, there is no easy solution to this problem. Either way Notre Dame's defensive line play will be a question mark heading into the season. What the coaching staff can do

[caption id="attachment_456" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Day will have to step up for the Irish to enjoy continued success on defense"]Day[/caption]

is minimize the damage that will be done through recruiting, moving personnel, and a change in philosophy.

Already there are two verbal commitments along the DL in Poly Prep product Jay Hayes and New Jersey native Andrew Trumbetti. For Notre Dame to maintain the

dominance of their front seven, they should ideally bring in at least one if not two more studs. There is no obvious heir apparent to Louis Nix at nose guard and that is fine- a player of his caliber is a luxury and they do not grow on trees. The Notre Dame defense can operate just fine without Nix and could return to their pre-Nix form by using players like Sean Cwynar. The problem however, is that there is no Cwynar on the roster or the recruiting radar. The coaches must address this problem by coaching up the talent they have such as and getting more bodies on the line.

More ways to resolve the problem could include getting the most out of Chase Hounshel, Jarron Jones, Tony Springmann and others. Additionally the coaches may opt to move some linebackers to having their hand in the dirt such as Romeo Okwara and Ishaq Williams. Perhaps the coaches may opt for different schemes.


[caption id="attachment_457" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Trumbetti (left) and Hayes (right) are 2014 DL commits and stud athletes."]Hayes & Trumbetti[/caption]

Whatever the answer may be, we will find out soon enough. Hopefully for the fans Notre Dame can maximize the talent already in South Bend and bring in some big fish to continue the defensive dominance Coach Kelly and Diaco produced in 2012.

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