2019 Notre Dame Football Preview

Digital Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: 2019 Notre Dame Football Preview

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Page 45 of 163

44 ✦ BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY BRYAN DRISKELL O ffensive coordinator Chip Long spent his first two seasons at Notre Dame establishing a foundation. It looked different both seasons, with the Fighting Irish thriving as a ground team in year one and operating as a more pass-oriented squad in year two. Year three is about getting the offense to play at a championship level. Long spent time with Blue & Gold Illus- trated in early June to discuss his squad and where he sees it heading in 2019. Blue & Gold Illustrated: You are now going into year three and more than half your start- ers have played in only your system. What are your expectations at this point? Chip Long: "We're always reaching for higher expectations. The biggest thing you have to fight is complacency with coaches and players. "You have to do the things that got you to the point where you are, and then go past them. We're always fighting complacency and push- ing our guys more. "Plus, the guys are getting older and more experienced, so they can retain more informa- tion. You've got young guys who want to play, too. There's competition day in and day out with our guys. "If you don't want to compete, then it's go- ing to be the next guy up. We've shown that and proven that. Last year we made a quar- terback change. It probably wasn't the most popular move, but it was what we needed to do, and guys saw that. "I'm usually the same person each and every day. If you meet the guidelines, you're going to play. If you don't, you won't. I think kids like that. They know the standard, and they know what they have to do to get themselves ready to play." BGI: What are areas you want the offense to improve upon this season? Long: "We need to get back to being able to run the ball with power like we did in the past. We want to get that solidified first, and then we want to keep being more explosive. We want to be able to push the ball downfield and attack the middle of the field. "Last year with Ian [Book], I tried to protect him as much as I could in the first part of the season. He started getting more confidence and started doing a good job. Now we need him to go to another level to be an elite guy, and he's working toward that. "And guys need to be there to help him get to that level and make elite plays. That's why we are always pushing and we're constantly recruiting to add speed, length and size so we OFFENSE Q&A Long is expecting much better production from the Irish offense in his third season in charge. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL NEXT LEVEL Offensive coordinator Chip Long expects his unit to be more explosive and physical this fall

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