Notre-Dame Fall Camp Preview | linebacker


The last decade has seen some of the best linebackers of all time at Notre Dame. Three Butkus Award winners is more than any program in the country (Alabama and Georgia had two each) and with the way they’re recruiting for the job, they could very well add to the room of trophies in the near future.

Could it be as early as this season? No one is predicting that this summer, but maybe that will change as we move forward.

Before all of this happens, it will be the internal competition at fall camp. There are a lot of young talents mixed with players who have a lot of experience.

Mike’s linebacker position should be one of the most interesting battles in camp. After being a substitute for the last four years, Bo Bauer must see this as a golden opportunity to expand their role to be more than a subset defender.

Bauer is going to play into that defense to some degree. He’ll have to earn a starting job and I don’t believe he’s come out of the spring with a job close to closing. He was so good at his role that he didn’t ask him to do things he didn’t prove he was particularly good at. He is an effective passing thrower and has played well man-to-man covering the backs of the backfield.

We know its soil. How high is its ceiling? We’ll have a better idea after camp.

Its main competition seems to be JD Bertrand, who had three figures in total tackles last season as a replacement for linebacker Will. It’s not Bertrand’s best spot and he’s certainly been exposed at times in coverage and when asked to be an overhand defender. Mike suits him better.

We didn’t get to see that firsthand in the spring, though. He was recovering from a wrist injury he suffered last season and we only saw him in non-contact drills. He needs to tackle better and hopefully a healthy wrist will fix some of those issues. He also needs to be better at coverage and he just might be who he is in that department.

I think he and Bauer have similar strengths in many ways, so it will be interesting to see who differentiates himself from the pack.

I don’t believe anyone can count JR Tuihalamaka That is. Yes, he’s a real freshman, but he showed that he already belonged in the conversation in the spring as a first-timer. If he makes a jump in August, then maybe he can get to a point where he splits the work with one of Bauer or Bertrand or maybe wins the gig.

We don’t expect there to be such a heated competition in Will where everyone and their mothers are eagerly waiting to see Marist Liufau becoming the starter and being the player he was promised to be last summer before suffering a season-ending injury. Liufau was back healthy in the spring and played again.

With his game, it will be more about staying disciplined when he needs it without losing any of the instincts that make him so unique. It would be considered a surprise if there weren’t many people buzzing at the start of the season.

Prince Kollie had an uneventful first season at Notre Dame with a late positional change from Rover to Will mixed in. This spring, he looked a lot more like the player he was in high school. He was playing fast and confident. The future looks bright for him.

Can he shine bright enough to see him win a bigger role in September? That’s not out of the question with a big camp. He will be one of the most intriguing defenders to watch.

Nolan Ziegler was more of a safety/Rover in high school, but it always seemed likely that he would make a transition similar to the one Drue Tranquill made at Notre Dame where Ziegler would end up at inside linebacker. That’s where he was working in late spring and it’s good for him to get a head start there and get comfortable.

It made sense to move him away from Rover as they already have plenty of bodies. Return starter Jack Kisser is back and he’s someone appearing on the verge of a breakout season.

Is this his best position? For the moment it is an unanswered question because we haven’t seen it enough elsewhere. I wonder if we’ll see him work a bit as an inside linebacker at camp.

Part of that could be determined by how Jordan Botelho look at Rover. The Blue-Gold match was the best we’ve seen from him at any position. He played with controlled violence and made plays. If he can continue this summer, maybe it will give Al Golden and Marcus Freeman the freedom to look at other linebacker combinations.

Like Botelho, Wbad Schweitzer is another Vyper who moved to linebacker. That’s what Schweitzer played in high school and he didn’t look out of place at Rover. I don’t think anyone expects him to make a fuss in camp, but there’s always a surprise or two from someone changing their position. Perhaps that surprise comes from Schweitzer.

I know a lot of fans were hoping for more splashes of Jaylen Sneed in the spring given his high rookie rank. Athletically, he more than looked the part. He also looked like he was learning to play in the Notre Dame system and it can’t be ignored that for the past three seasons he’s played wherever his high school needed him. He went from linebacker off the ball to finishing in a three-front to play as a free safety.

How he has developed physically over the summer will be important, but his knowledge of his role within the program will be equally critical for him and any freshman if he is to get into the mix at camp. .

The biggest question for the linebacker job is whether things will stay the way they are now with Mike, Will and Rover or if the staff will decide to mix the game up a bit with players working in places other than they shouldn’t. now. If they choose the latter, things could get very interesting.

It’s a very talented group and there will be a lot of competition to see who will also see the field in 3rd practice. If the defensive line is the strength of the defense, linebackers aren’t far off making that claim as well. Under Armor Men’s Training Hoodie


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