Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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62 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED for mistakes. The thing that fans are most excited about is his presence. "He's a confident kid that has presence when he's on the field. Tyrone Swoopes does not have presence." Whoever takes the snaps will have some help surrounding them. Sopho- more running back Chris Warren III (6-2, 252) and junior running back D'Onta Foreman (6-1, 249) — who are nicknamed the Smash Brothers — combined to rush for more than 1,000 yards in 2015 and are the backbone of Texas' run-first offense. "It's going to be a run-oriented offense because two of Texas' best players are running backs," Autullo said. "They're going to make first downs through the running game, and that does benefit Buechele that he's not going to be asked to win games." Defensively, Texas finished the 2015 campaign ranked 111th against the run, allowing 219.2 yards per game. The Longhorns will lean on several freshmen on the defensive line to fix those problems, but Au- tullo said that's still an area of con- cern and could impact the entire defense. "They should be better, but that's a pretty low bar, because last year's de- fense was the worst in school history statistically," Autullo said. "They could, quite frankly, be bad on the defensive line. That's their biggest weakness. "People are going to talk about the quarterback situation, but to me the biggest concern or the biggest pen- dulum swing is going to be how the defensive line plays." The Longhorns, who are consid- ered a slight underdog on their home field against the Irish, don't necessar- ily have to win the game to give fans hope. There just can't be a repeat of last year's 38-3 blowout loss in South Bend. "The most important thing is that the product looks good, that the of- fense we've been writing about for months looks the part, looks like the real deal," Autullo said. "That the sophomores who were promising as freshmen have improved and look more ready than they were a year ago. "If he loses closely to Notre Dame, just about any realistic Texas fan is going to be OK with that. If you do 38-3 again, watch out." ✦ GAME PREVIEW: TEXAS 2016 NOTRE DAME SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Time (ET) Sept. 4 at Texas (ABC) 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 Nevada (NBC) 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17 Michigan State (NBC) 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24 Duke (NBC) 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 vs. Syracuse* TBA Oct. 8 at North Carolina State TBA Oct. 15 Stanford (NBC) 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 Miami (NBC) 3:30 p.m. Nov. 5 vs. Navy^ (CBS) 11:30 a.m. Nov. 12 vs. Army# (NBC) 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 Virginia Tech (NBC) 3:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at USC TBA * at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.; ^ at Ev- erBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.; # at Alamodome in San Antonio 2016 TEXAS SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Time (ET) Sept. 4 Notre Dame (ABC) 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 UTEP (LN) 7 p.m. Sept. 17 at California (ESPN/ESPN2) 10:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at Oklahoma State TBA Oct. 8 vs. Oklahoma* TBA Oct. 15 Iowa State TBA Oct. 22 at Kansas State TBA Oct. 29 Baylor TBA Nov. 5 at Texas Tech TBA Nov. 12 West Virginia TBA Nov. 19 at Kansas TBA Nov. 25 TCU (FOX/FS1) 3:30 p.m. * at Dallas; LN — Longhorn Network, FS1 — FOX Sports 1 Last season, sophomore running back Chris Warren III finished fourth on the team in rushing yards (470) and third in rushing touchdowns (four). PHOTO COURTESY TEXAS

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