Notre Dame Football 2023: Year Of Possibilites

The week leading into the first college football games of the season is a special one for football fans. Everyone is excited, and optimism and lofty dreams are had by all. Fans from coast to coast toss and turn at night wondering how their squad will look in game one. It’s a beautiful thing.

Zooming in on Notre Dame – it’s quite interesting. Last year’s team was ranked in the top five to begin the year, this team is ranked outside the top ten yet I feel it has a much higher ceiling than the 2022 version did.

Let’s examine exactly why…

Sam Hartman

Photo Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
Photo Courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics

Notre Dame has been operating for years with quarterbacks who were, quite frankly, not good enough to take the Irish where they needed to go. Even Ian Book, who led the Irish to undefeated seasons and left Notre Dame with the most regular season QB wins of all time, was severely limited in comparison to playoff game-winning signal callers.

This year is very different. Notre Dame features a 6th-year player who’s thrown 77 TD passes in the last 2 years and has 110 overall. He has experience, poise and can physically make every throw needed in every game Notre Dame will be in. His presence changes what’s possible for this team and it will be very fun to watch.

"Blue Chip Ratio"

247Sports has one Notre Dame player on their preseason freshman All-American team

For most of my life, Irish fans have talked about how Notre Dame needs to “close the gap” when it comes to overall talent in comparison to the yearly title contenders. Finally, after decades it seems, I believe we are seeing this begin.

Notre Dame’s depth chart features more year 1-2 players than it used to. Sometimes this is a huge red flag, if for instance young players had to play out of necessity, but that isn’t what’s happening here. These players are arriving at Notre Dame bigger, faster, and more prepared to play than younger players ever did in the last regime. This effect will compound as the years do and Irish fans will like the results.

Marcus Freeman

Notre Dame football releases their depth chart ahead of season opener vs. Navy
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Freeman is smart and humble. I have no doubt he took some off-season time to analyze his challenging first full year at the helm and has adjusted some of his approach. The whole operation should be in a more stable position entering year two.

You often hear about the improvements teams make between games 1-2. I feel that this will apply to Freeman as well from years 1-2. He should be much more comfortable navigating all that comes with being the Irish lead man and this will permeate the locker room with a calming presence of confidence. The vibes are good entering this year, will the results be too?

For more Irish news & notes follow John on Twitter @alwaysirishINCAlways Irish on Youtube and or your preferred audio podcast provider.

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire