2019 Notre Dame Football Preview

Digital Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: 2019 Notre Dame Football Preview

Issue link: https://comanpub.uberflip.com/i/1133608

Contents of this Issue


Page 83 of 163

82 ✦ BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY BRYAN DRISKELL C lark Lea's first season in charge of the Notre Dame defense was a rousing success. The first-time coordinator led a defensive resur- gence, with the unit ranking 10th nationally in defensive efficiency according to S&P+. Year two will be a challenge for the Irish coordinator, who must replace five starters, including a trio of All-Americans and a two- time captain. Blue & Gold Illustrated sat down with Lea in early June to discuss his first season and what he sees from his 2019 squad. Blue & Gold Illustrated: How did your first season running the defense go? Clark Lea: "It was a little bit what I ex- pected. I knew it was going to require new levels of awareness and big-picture thinking, but also knew that it wasn't going to require me to deviate from what my personality has been as a position coach. "The direction needed to be set as a staff, and that to me is less about controlling or the manipulation of people and more about the setting of agendas and making sure we're checking off the things we need to do each week. "I had a lot of fun doing that, and I think that would have been true even if the year had not turned out how it did, which is a great way to start. "In year two as a coordinator and year three with this overhaul, you just feel like as a unit we're closer to the spirit and alignment that makes for a really energized environ- ment, and that's exciting." BGI: Last year, you had 14 players with starting experience. Heading into 2019 there isn't as much experience coming back. Does having a less veteran roster change your ap- proach? Lea: "Any time the people change, the unit has to adjust in subtle ways, and maybe draw more from certain areas of the package than others. "Te'von [Coney] and Drue [Tranquill], the middle two positions, got into a comfort level of how they played and the calls they performed best in. As we turn the page on them and into this new order of second-level people, we're going to have to adjust a little bit of how we play. "It really ties back to the initial structure and functioning of linebackers in this pack- age. … These guys will be different. "In some ways, we're going to experience the evolution of young players who will be markedly better by the time we finish the season than when we start. They could DEFENSE Q&A BUILDING BLOCKS Despite personnel losses, defensive coordinator Clark Lea looks to continue last season's success After a strong first season in which the Irish finished 10th nationally in defensive efficiency according to S&P+, Lea wants to take his group to higher levels. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

Articles in this issue

view archives of 2019 Notre Dame Football Preview - Digital Edition