Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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30 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MATT JONES T here were both expected out- comes and surprises in the first two weeks of preseason prac- tice at Notre Dame, setting up a season in which the Fighting Irish will again contend for a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff. The quarterbacks will split the snaps, head coach Brian Kelly said, a decision that became obvious as practice wore on. Senior left tackle Mike McGlinchey, a preseason All- American by some outlets, has been a consistent star on the offensive line. Isaac Rochell, a senior defensive line- man, continues to impress. "There's a number of different ar- eas for us that we like," Kelly said on media day Aug. 17. "Certainly from a defensive standpoint, we're going to be able to be multiple and do a lot of things and cause some confusion. We're going to do a very good job of playing the football. Our safety play is going to be really strong. "Up front, we'll be able to stop the run and at times get after the quar- terback. So defensively, we'll see a lot more of the things that everybody looks for from a defense that is much more pressure-oriented. "Offensively, we're going to be able to run the ball effectively. When you start with good football, you stop the run and you run the football." None of that news came as a sur- prise to Kelly, but some other matters did. A number of Notre Dame's fresh- men — part of a 2016 signing class that finished ranked No. 13 in the country — are expected to make an impact when the season begins Sept. 4 at Texas. "Probably some of the freshmen that have been able to handle them- selves," Kelly said when asked about surprises. "Not that they are going — like [running back] Tony Jones has been really good, but he's probably not going to play very much. We've got three great backs, but he's been really good. [Wide receiver] Chase Claypool, he's been really good. He's going to have a hard time playing a lot. "There's a lot of young guys that have come in here not afraid to com- pete, which I love. And that's what we wanted from our freshmen. All the DBs and safeties, they all have come in, not afraid to compete. I love FORGING AHEAD Head coach Brian Kelly said Notre Dame has gotten some surprises during the first several weeks of preseason practice Kelly boasts a 55-23 record, which includes a 3-3 mark in bowl games, heading into his seventh season at Notre Dame. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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