NOTRE DAME — It’s well-documented that Notre Dame’s front seven is among the best in college football.
The No. 9/10 Irish (4-0) haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown all season and haven’t allowed a touchdown of any sort in eight quarters. They are allowing a measly nine points per game, third only to top-ranked Alabama and No. 15/13 TCU.
The young secondary, too, has made great strides in a short amount of time. It’s also kept opposing teams out of the end zone and accounted for three of five interceptions against Michigan two weeks ago.
Now as Notre Dame resumes play after its off week, all eyes are on the offense. Can it catch up to its defense?
“We need to score more points, no question about that,” head coach Brian Kelly said during a Tuesday press conference. “We’re not scoring enough points.”
Everett Golson, Notre Dame’s young quarterback, will get the start against Miami (4-1) Saturday, and Kelly continues to say that Golson is a work in progress.
“An analogy that I like to use is he’s still cooking,” Kelly said of Golson. “We’ve taken him out of the oven. He’s still learning all of the things that are not necessarily visible from game film. He’s still learning how to effectively communicate, and how he’s able to lead, and all of those things.”
Until Golson cools off and can give Notre Dame more scoring opportunities while he is under center, Kelly will rely heavily on his defense to help the offense along.
“You go through those times of having a football team where you manage the game accordingly,” he said. “So we’re going to make sure that our defense is on a long field. Because if they’re on a long field, they’ve got a chance to take it away, give us better field position, or turn it back to us. It makes an impact in how you manage and call the game.”
Veterans UNMOVED BY NOISE
It’s hard to tune out the BCS noise with the first 4-0 Irish team in a decade, but Kelly says his seniors know better than to buy into the hype.
“When I came before our team on Monday, and I talked about listen, for the last couple of days you’ve been getting patted on the back, and told how great you are,” Kelly said. “And they’re talking about games down the road that you haven’t played yet.
“The response that I got from my front row, my front row are my seniors. The response that I got catching their eye was, ‘Coach, we tune that out.’ I’m pretty confident that our veteran players, in particular, they have been through this enough to know that the focus needs to be on the next practice.”
Kelly said sophomore defensive end Chase Hounshell, who had yet to appear in a game this season, will have shoulder surgery and will be out for the year. Fellow ends Kapron Lewis-Moore (calf) and Sheldon Day (foot) are at full strength and cleared to play against Miami.
Kelly said Golson had a slight shoulder injury that has since healed.