Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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34 SEPT. 24, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED sophomore Carlos Basham Jr. have taken over on the outside as start- ers, while fifth-year seniors Willie Yarbary and Zeek Rodney returned inside. Like most programs, a rota- tion has been employed to keep play- ers fresh. "The interior has been stout," Quinlan began. "The defensive ends Carlos Basham, [redshirt sophomore] Manny Walker, Chris Calhoun and [redshirt freshman] Tyler Williams have been rolled as a committee at defensive end and are productive, but it will be a work in progress to replace the production that Ejiofor and Dunn had the last two years." The second level features two pro- ductive linebackers in redshirt junior Justin Strnad and fifth-year senior Demterius Kemp. Strnad was second on the team in sacks in 2017 with 4.5, while Kemp registered 63 tackles. "Strnad has been very steady and Kemp is solid, but occasionally gets himself out of position on plays gam- bling," Quinlan noted. "Sophomore DJ Taylor has struggled some at Mike. A true freshman, Ryan Smenda Jr. from Florida, has outplayed him and is getting more and more snaps. "I would not be surprised to see a switch there at some point this sea- son. Smenda has been more produc- tive and graded out better." Wake Forest's strength heading into the new year defensively ap- peared to be the secondary with two returning starters at cornerback — redshirt junior Amari Henderson and junior Essang Bassey — and fifth-year senior Cameron Glenn, the team's top tackler in 2017 with 98, also back for another season. Despite the experience and pro- duction, replacing safety Jessie Bates — who left early for the NFL Draft — has been tough at times, while Henderson is being challenged by sophomore Ja'Sir Taylor opposite of Bassey. "Bassey is a true playmaker and he will gamble at times, but has a knack for being in the right place at the right time to come up with a breakup or a pick," Quinlan said. "He may be the best player on the defense overall. Henderson has been more up and down, so Ja'Sir Taylor is playing more now and started the game against Towson at corner. "The safety group has been a work in progress. Cameron Glenn is the best player there, but he didn't play against Towson. Senior Chuck Wade Jr. is starting at strong safety and he was a starting wide receiver a year ago, but moved because of the depth at that position. He has been okay, but nothing special. "[Redshirt sophomore] Luke Mas- terson, who they expected to take over the strong safety slot, has been out with an injury and so Wade has split snaps with [redshirt freshman] Tyriq Hardimon. Neither has been particularly impressive." Heading into the game, linebacker is the biggest worry in Quinlan's eyes for Wake Forest. He expects the De- mon Deacons to keep it close, but for Notre Dame to secure the road win. "The Irish are more physical and have the edge at many of the skill positions," Quinlan said. "I do think Wake Forest makes it a game, but I say Notre Dame wins 35-24." ✦ GAME PREVIEW: WAKE FOREST Through two games, junior cornerback Essang Bassey was tied for the team lead in tackles with 14 and had one interception among five passes defended. PHOTO COURTESY WAKE FOREST 2018 NOTRE DAME SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Sept. 1 Michigan W, 24-17 Sept. 8 Ball State W, 24-16 Sept. 15 Vanderbilt W, 22-17 Sept. 22 at Wake Forest (ABC) 12 p.m. Sept. 29 Stanford (NBC) 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Virginia Tech TBA Oct. 13 Pittsburgh (NBC) 2:30 p.m. Oct. 27 vs. Navy* (CBS) 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at Northwestern TBA Nov. 10 Florida State (NBC) 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 vs. Syracuse^ (NBC) 2:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at USC TBA * at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego; ^ at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, N.Y. 2018 WAKE FOREST SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Aug. 30 at Tulane W, 23-17 (OT) Sept. 8 Towson W, 51-20 Sept. 13 Boston College L, 41-34 Sep. 22 Notre Dame (ABC) 12 p.m. Sept. 29 Rice TBA Oct. 6 Clemson TBA Oct. 20 at Florida State TBA Oct. 27 at Louisville TBA Nov. 3 Syracuse TBA Nov. 8 at NC State (ESPN) 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 Pittsburgh TBA Nov. 24 at Duke TBA

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