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irish insider

Irish ready for physical game against Eagles

| Friday, September 15, 2017

On paper, Boston College-Notre Dame may not seem like much of a game.

The Eagles (1-1, 0-1 ACC) have largely been anonymous in the ACC over the past three seasons, going 6-18 in conference play.

Against Notre Dame (1-1), however, the Eagles always seem to turn it up a notch. Although the Irish have won the last five meetings, most recently a 19-16 victory in 2015, the Eagles, who were winless in the ACC and were expected to be a pushover, made Irish fans sweat for their then-No. 4 squad.

“It was a game that certainly we did everything we could to keep it close,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said on the affair. “They did a great job taking the football away. We know what kind of game it’s going to be against Boston College. [Eagles head coach Steve] Addazio will have his team ready to play. We’re going to have to play extremely well.”

Irish junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush tries to fight his way through two Georgia defenders during Notre Dame's 20-19 loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday. Wimbush rushed 16 times for only one yard.Sarah Olson | The Observer

Irish junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush tries to fight his way through two Georgia defenders during Notre Dame’s 20-19 loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday. Wimbush rushed 16 times for only one yard.

On the flip side, the Eagles are looking forward to welcoming the Irish to Boston again.

“That was a very exciting game two years ago,” Addazio said. “The atmosphere was fantastic and I think they are well aware of the fact that the atmosphere will be fantastic here as we move to 3:30 [p.m.], which will only help. And I think it’s going to be a great football Saturday in Chestnut Hill, [Massachusetts].”

For the Eagles, the strength lies in defense, which is led by senior linebacker Harold Landry. A potential first round pick last season who instead elected to return for his senior year, Landry’s explosive pass-rushing ability may give the Irish problems, in the same way the line struggled against Georgia’s talented front seven last week.

“He’s a really good football player,” Irish graduate student left tackle Mike McGlinchey said on Landry. “Quick off the edge, strong, shifty and he has a high motor, and that’s normally a good combination for getting past offensive tackles like myself. We’ve got to do a good job this week in preparing for him and the rest of BC’s defensive ends.

“ … The good thing about the offensive line is that most of what happens out there is in my control. Harold is going to have to react to what I do to him more so than I’m going to have react to what he does to me in terms of how to block him. That’s what I like about playing my position is that I just can keep working and working and working until I feel comfortable with how I’m moving, how I’m setting and how I’m getting on blocks.”

On the offensive side, the Eagles also have a rookie dual-threat quarterback at the helm in redshirt freshman Anthony Brown. And while Brown has struggled at home this year, throwing one touchdown to three interceptions and posting a 63.1 QBR, the Irish aren’t taking him lightly.

“I think he provides a little bit of dual-threat. I think he’s composed,” Irish senior linebacker Drue Tranquill said. “ … Last week, had the turnovers; I think his coaching staff will make adjustments and put him in better positions to make plays this week.

“And so I expect him to come back and bounce back, poised and play within their offense. I think their coaching staff will do a good job of establishing balance for him and allowing him to be successful.”

And for Notre Dame, the road in recent years has been a struggle, as the Irish has gone only 5-11 in true road games. While the team will have adjust the game plan for their first road test, consistency is key.

“I mean, I think going on the road with young guys is difficult. They haven’t necessarily experienced it. I can’t really, I’m kind of focused on this year and so I guess we’ll see how we perform on the road this year,” Tranquill said. “But our message is consistency, whether we’re playing at home or playing on the road. Offensively, there’s going to be adjustments obviously with crowd noise going on the road and potentially have to go on silent snaps. Defensively, going on the road is a little bit easier. It’s not as loud. You’re able to communicate better.

“Yeah, we are just focused on BC this week and I guess we’ll all see how we play on the road moving forward.”

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About Tobias Hoonhout

Toby is a junior PLS/Economics double major from Smithtown, New York.

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