Know your foe: Which Midshipmen could give Notre Dame problems

The season opener for Notre Dame football should be a win against Navy, but that doesn’t mean the Irish will walk all over the Midshipmen.

The gimmicky offense that Navy trots out there is a blast from the past, one that Notre Dame won’t see again all season. It does help that it’s game one, but like last year, can give quality teams problems.

Navy almost pulled off the upset against the Irish last season and the following week did exactly that against a ranked UCF team. The venue changes this year, but the Middies scheme doesn’t. Find out below which Midshipmen could give the Irish problems.

Running back Anton Hall


The junior back had a very solid season and with Maquel Haywood transferring out, he has the second most yards last year of returning players. His performance against Army was impressive, going for 99 yard on just 7 carries with a score. He’s not a big receiving threat, but his long catch last season did got for a score.

Linebacker Colin Ramos


The heart of the Navy defense, Ramos broke out last season. He had 79 tackles to go along with 4 sacks, two forced fumbles, one recovery and a pick. Ramos is on the smaller side, but has a nose for the football is is constantly making plays. He’ll need to continue to do so to stop the improved Irish offensive attack.

Fullback Daba Fofana


Most likely the only time this season you’ll see me mention a fullback, but Navy’s offense is a ground and pound and Fofana has more of a tailback size at 5-foot, 8-inches and 205-pounds. He led the team with 769 yards on 186 carries last season with 6 touchdowns. Fofona is even less of a receiving threat than Hall but a bigger rushing challenge.

Safety Rayuan Lane III


Lane is like having an extra linebacker in the box, third on the team in tackles last season with 71 and even added a sack. He’s solid in pass coverage as well, deflecting four passes. Most Middies are on the smaller side, so Lane isn’t an imposing figure but he’s a solid player regardless of his size.

Quarterback Tai Lavatai


The linchpin for the Navy offense, Lavatai will get the start over Blake Horvath, who will see some time as well. Not much of a thrower, he’s more of a game manager, but could have more than a few explosive plays in his back pocket. Lavatai led the team in passing last year, but only completed 46.2% of those throws. They lost their best runner in Xavier Arline, but don’t expect their game plan to change much from the power running attack.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire