The day after: Lasting thoughts on Notre Dame’s season opening victory

It was one fun opening Saturday afternoon for the Notre Dame football team, soundly defeating Navy 42-3 in Dublin, Ireland.

The offense was great, the defense just missed a shutout but played excellent. It was the kind of effort that we didn’t necessarily see last season, but it seems like head coach Marcus Freeman learned a thing or two from his first full seasons as the man in charge.

In the past 24 hours there have been plenty of thoughts that have stuck in my mind regarding the Irish’s win and what is to come this season. Find out below what those thoughts were.

Sam Hartman was fantastic


What a difference Hartman makes. He’s what this offense has missed for so many years. Four touchdown passes with no interceptions while leading the offense to a score in 5 of 6 drives, with the lone empty drive a missed field goal. I’m not counting the final one either, as the second team was in (more on that below) and just milked the clock. If this Irish offense is scoring at this level all season, they’re going to be tough to beat.

Steve Angeli needs to be developed


For as good as Hartman is, he’s just going to be around for one year. We’ve seen this play out before spot Jack Coan, when the Irish were left with talent, but extremely inexperienced talent at the position. That’s why Angeli needs more real opportunities. He’s threw just one pass, his first ever attempt. In our group chat, I was asking for Angeli the series prior to him getting into the game. Not sure what the objective is when he’s just handing the ball off and not really running the offense unless….

Another portal quarterback is on the way


The Irish are no stranger in the recent years of adding a veteran transfer quarterback for a season. It would be nice for the program to develop one, but going to the portal isn’t the worst idea. You are seeing plenty of quarterbacks across the country not waiting their turn and looking for a place to play. This could be what the Irish do next offseason if Angeli doesn’t develop.

Defensive line


Navy attempted “seven passes”, and the Irish came away with 2 sacks. You have to love that ratio, even if they actually tried to throw more but ended up running instead. One of the questions that I wanted answered was who would step up on the defensive line. It was Rylie Mills and Joshua Burnham, which was very nice to see. They both need to keep up their momentum.

Still a lot to learn about this team


Navy isn’t nearly on the same talent level as the Irish, so what they accomplished shouldn’t have been surprising. We really won’t know much about this team until they play a more modern offense and against better talent. Notre Dame did what they were supposed to against Navy, but that doesn’t mean they are a complete team.

USC is beatable


The Trojans are good, but didn’t look like they are dominant. They have plenty of receivers, Caleb Williams is still amazing, but it will come down to their defense. Can they get enough stops for them to consistently win games against the tougher opponents. In the three games USC lost last year, they defense gave up over 40-points, which Notre Dame couldn’t do last year. They can this year and that could be the deciding factor in that game in mid-October.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire