Coming off a disappointing one-point loss, Notre Dame is already at a crossroads in its season.
The Irish could rally and build off some of the positives through the first two games, or the negatives could snowball into another lost season. It’s tough to predict which direct this season will trend, but we’ll take a look at some questions raised by the first few games.
Where’s the pass rush?
Notre Dame’s pass rush through two weeks has been disappointing, especially against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia’s line was a mess last season, but Notre Dame managed to pressure quarterback Jake Fromm on just 11 of his 31 dropbacks.
And there doesn’t seem to be an obvious answer to the pass-rush problem. No one on the defense has more than two quarterback pressures (Coney, Trumbetti, Tillery and Tranquill are all tied for the team lead with two apiece).
If the Irish defense is going to be a force this season, someone is going to need to step up and create consistent disruption in the front seven.
Who’s going to help Brandon Wimbush?
It’s only two games, so it’s far too early to make any statements about Wimbush’s performance—good or bad.
But there’s no denying the fact that his passing chart is ugly right now:
Small sample sizes would make it easy to brush off any one of the zones in which he’s struggling, but when he’s struggling across the board, it raises an obvious red flag.
However, it may not entirely be his fault.
The Irish receivers already have 13 drops this season, well on their way to eclipsing last season’s total of 24.
We have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Equanimeous St. Brown, but the rest of the receiving corps is still an unknown. If no one else steps ups, Wimbush may continue to struggle to make plays.
Can Mike McGlinchey hold up at left tackle?
Expectations for Mike McGlinchey were through the roof last season when he took over for Ronnie Stanley. In 2015, as a right tackle, he allowed just five QB pressures all year.
However, he struggled to repeat that performance at left tackle.
In 2016, McGlinchey allowed 19 QB pressures, including eight in the Stanford and USC games combined.
On Saturday, McGlinchey allowed another three pressures against Georgia, and now there’s an obvious trend of him struggling in the biggest games.