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Football

Staff Predictions: 2014 Season

, , , and | Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mike Monaco
Senior Sports Writer  

There’s plenty of youth, plenty of potential and plenty of inconsistency. There are also quite a few players currently out with injuries who, with prompt recoveries, could boost the Irish upon their returns. Basically, there’s a lot of unknown.

Still, I think Notre Dame is good enough to tally nine wins in the regular season, with likely losses against Stanford and Florida State, and then one against either Michigan, USC or Arizona State.

Everett Golson will lead a deep and talented offense, and an aggressive and young defense will have its share of big plays but also its share of glaring mistakes. This year, it will be the offense that needs to carry the team in games.

REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 9-3

 

Brian Hartnett
Managing Editor

Youth — Notre Dame has a lot of it. I guess that’s to be expected from a team that returns only 11 starters.

Young talent will benefit the Irish on offense, where Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston should form a formidable backfield, and receivers like Corey Robinson and Chris Brown should be appealing targets for a bulked-up Everett Golson.

On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame’s lack of depth, particularly on the defensive line and at linebacker, will spell trouble for the Irish. Look for true freshmen to step up in the team’s new defensive scheme, but don’t expect Notre Dame to escape a difficult October and November slate without a few struggles.

REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 9-3

 

Samantha Zuba
Assistant Managing Editor

There’s no question the Irish would like to improve on last season’s campaign. The question lies in how exactly they will get better. With a new defensive coordinator, a new defensive scheme, key losses on the defensive line and players shifting positions, Notre Dame’s defense is hardly a lock to be consistent.

The landscape looks uncertain on offense as well, as Brian Kelly must choose a starting quarterback, navigate a still-crowded backfield and establish the main receiving threats.

Still, questions mean possibilities, and the Irish have a great deal of potential. The key for Notre Dame will be capitalizing on young talent. If the Irish can do that, they should have an excellent season.

REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 10-2

 

Isaac Lorton
Assistant Managing Editor

Call me crazy, but the Irish will go undefeated this season — and not two-seasons-ago-undefeated when they didn’t win the national championship.

Everett Golson just spent a year with one of the best quarterback coaches in the country. Tarean Folston, Cam McDaniel and Greg Bryant are all more than capable in the backfield, and the offensive line is strong and versatile.

Notre Dame’s athletic and talent-laden defense will not skip a beat after the graduation of Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix, especially under the leadership of new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. Although defending national champion Florida State looks to be the biggest obstacle, Notre Dame will finish the season undefeated.

REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 12-0

Mary Green
Sports Editor

The 2014 season will be packed with many changes for the Irish. Two new coordinators will make their marks on both sides of the ball; the five-game ACC schedule officially begins; and a familiar No. 5 returns under center.

However, these changes won’t be enough for Notre Dame to make its second trip to the national championship game in three years — matchups against Stanford and Florida State assure that.

But the Irish will find themselves in a better game than the Pinstripe Bowl once the regular season concludes. A refreshed playbook and the sparks provided by young-yet-experienced players like Jaylon Smith and Tarean Folston and by veterans eager to return to the field from injury will get them there.

REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 9-3

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer Mike Monaco is a senior majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with a minor in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy as well as Business Economics. The O’Neill Hall native hails from the Boston area and is an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

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About Samantha Zuba

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About Isaac Lorton

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About Brian Hartnett

Brian Hartnett is a senior marketing major and journalism, ethics and democracy minor. The Carroll Hall resident hails from Clark, New Jersey and covers Notre Dame football, as well as other University topics.

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About Mary Green

Current Assistant Managing Editor, former Sports Editor of The Observer | Follow Mary on Twitter: @maryegreen15

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