Brian Kelly made a change on his coaching staff this off season that surprised many. He replaced his Offensive Coordinator with former Irish Quarterback Tommy Rees. Rees is only 28 years old but Kelly has to be happy with the early returns. Notre Dame has focused it’s offense on a strong running game and outstanding blocking. While they don’t have the consistency you need from their receivers, they have found a way to get their best players the football and they have delivered.
Ian Book returned at Quarterback this year after some speculation that he could turn pro. Book had a strong 2019 season and he’s started this season well with a 62% completion percentage and three rushing touchdowns. Book hasn’t been asked to do nearly as much this year and it has worked out well for the ND offense. While they haven’t been able to generate a lot of big plays in the passing game, they have put up a ton of points with ease.
The Running Back position is the key part of this offense in 2020. Kyren Williams was mentioned as a possible breakout freshman last season but that never materialized. He’s been a star so far this season. Williams is a dynamic and violent runner who can break big runs or grind out tough yardage. He’s been a walking highlight reel so far this year. The Irish also have C’Bo Flemister in the backfield and he ran for 127 yards against USF in his first action of the season. Chris Tyree had a big game against FSU and is second on the team in rushing. These guys are a more explosive version of what UofL saw against Georgia Tech and they have to find a way to slow them down.
Kyren Williams leads the team in receiving, so you can get an idea of how little ND has gotten from it’s receivers so far. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have talent outside, however. The Irish haven’t found a consistent guy at receiver but Javon McKinley could be that guy. The Irish have a talented group of young players who just haven’t found their way yet and Louisville has to make sure that they aren’t the reason they do.
Once again Notre Dame has an absurd group of Tight Ends and they have deployed all of them so far this season. Tommy Tremble plays a role similar to Marshon Ford and he is a great blocker on the edge. He can also catch the football and is the most athletic out of the group. Michael Mayer was the top ranked Tight End in the country last recruiting cycle and he’s been on the field plenty so far this season. He has shown real promise already and I think he could be a big factor in this game in the middle of the field.
The Notre Dame offense has been regarded as the best in the country and I can’t say I disagree. This offense avoids negative plays really well but more importantly, they give their skill players room to operate. Louisville has to disrupt their blocking schemes to have a chance at stopping this offense. If not, these guys will push people around and give Williams and the other Running Backs huge rushing lanes.