NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
All articles by 17 year old chris dailey
Founder, The Sports Court
Kyren Williams is a legitimate Heisman candidate. Notre Dame’s speedy, pass-catching running back is one of the nation's best and most productive returning running backs.
However, the 5’9 21-year-old from Missouri also has a lot going against him this upcoming season. For instance, the junior back has unfamiliar faces protecting him up front. Four of the five Irish starters are now pursuing their NFL dreams, with three of them being drafted.
Jarrett Patterson will be returning from injury and moving positions as the guard will move over to center as per Brian Kelly.
One of Williams’ keys to success last year was his amazing offensive line that would make holes for Williams to exploit, and Williams sure did.
The kid from Missouri ran for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns on 211 attempts.
The turnover in the offensive line will be a tough task for Brian Kelly and his team to handle, as experience at the OL position is vital. However, Notre Dame is known for producing offensive linemen and Jeff Quinn, Notre Dame’s offensive Line Coach, will be sure to have the new boys ready.
Another reason Kyren Williams might not be a legitimate Heisman candidate is because of just how good Chris Tyree is. Tyree, a sophomore, rushed for a steady 496 yards, getting limited reps because of Williams’ ability.
This season, Tommy Rees will want to give more touches to Tyree - who as a senior in high school won the award for the fastest football player in the nation.
On the flip side, there are many more reasons pointing to why Williams puts up a legitimate case for the Heisman Trophy.
For starters, Notre Dame lost a lot of talent this past offseason and their new QB, Jack Coan, isn’t the running-around, playmaking QB that Ian Book was. This will make Tommy Rees rely much heavier on the run game, something that Wisconsin did when Coan started there, with their running back (now Colts star) Jonathan Taylor putting up record-setting numbers as the Badgers relied on him heavily.
Rees will have to adjust to the way his new QB plays and a run-oriented offense will likely be the way he does so.
Secondly, Kyren Williams is a dual-threat running back. The St. Louis native is also very effective in the air, catching for 313 yards last season.
His ability to catch the ball will be very important for this Irish offense who lost two of their biggest targets last year in Ben Skowronek and Javon McKinley.
Lastly, Kyren Williams has experience on a very inexperienced team. As a junior, he was named captain of the team, showing just how much his teammates and coaches trust in him and his abilities.
Williams is one of the nation's best returning backs and one of Notre Dame’s most experienced returning offensive players. The Irish have a tough schedule, facing the likes of Kedon Slovis and USC, and a very good Cincinnati Bearats team, but if Williams performs well he has the ability to change a game and in Notre Dame’s case, a season.
Image via Matt Cashore/Pool Photo via AP
Founder, The Sports Court
Jack Coan has been announced by Brian Kelly as the starting QB for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their week 1 game against Florida State on September 5th.
Coan - who is a graduate transfer from Wisconsin, started 14 games and threw for 2,727 yards with a 69.6 completion percentage as a junior in 2019.
The Sayville, New York native ranked #1 in Pass Completion Percentage, third in passing efficiency rating, and fourth in pass competitions in his junior year at Wisconsin before falling to Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks in a heartbreaking 28-27 loss in the 2020 Rose Bowl.
Coming into the 2020 season, Coan was labeled as one of the best returning QB’s in the nation and was put on the Manning Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Maxwell Award, and Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list.
Unfortunately, Coan suffered a right foot injury in preseason practice and had to undergo surgery.
Coan was out for the majority of the season but was able to make the roster for the final three games. However, he didn’t see the field.
Following this, Coan entered the transfer portal and was snatched up by Brian Kelly and Notre Dame.
This came with uncertainty whether Coan would start at Notre Dame. 5-star freshman Tyler Buchner, just joined the program and sophomore Drew Pyne was waiting patiently for his chance under Ian Book.
The experienced Jack Coan managed to climb his way to the top of the depth chart and prevail. The pocket passing, pro-style QB will be the face of a new-look Irish team who were hit hard this off-season with lots of seniors leaving for the NFL.
From ND’s all-time winningest QB, Ian Book, to the Dick Butkus Award winner, Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah, Notre Dame will have a lot of new faces seeing game time this season.
Even defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who was formerly at the University of Cincinnati, where he led them to a top 10 ranking, is a new face to the Notre Dame program.
Jack Coan will have big shoes to fill and with a tough schedule, it’s not an easy task. However, Coan doesn’t seem fazed by the pressure that comes with being the Notre Dame quarterback. If he can keep on learning the program and developing a connection with his receivers, anything is possible.
Founder, The Sports Court
Ian Book, the undersized, 3-star recruit from El Dorado Hills, California, managed to string together one of the most impressive careers in Notre Dame Football History.
Despite being first in all-time wins for QB’s in school history, critics are still harsh on Book for not having a good enough arm.
However, Book didn’t listen to the critics, instead, he outperformed the rest of the country in nearly every statistical category. Including wins.
Book didn’t see the field as a freshman, but as a sophomore, he got on the field and played scarcely throughout the season.
It was in the 2018 Citrus Bowl, Book’s last game of his sophomore season, that he rose to prominence. Book connected with Miles Boykin in one of the greatest ND Football plays of the 21st century.
Following his sophomore year, Book started every game, including his 5th year, leading Notre Dame to two College Football Playoff games, both of which ended in heartbreaking losses to Clemson.
Book also produced some of the greatest Notre Dame moments in recent memory. In the 2020 regular season, including a regular-season win at home against Clemson. In a tightly contested matchup, Book fumbled late in the third quarter while attempting to run in for a touchdown.
The 23-23 game seemed to shift Clemson’s way, but Notre Dame’s defense led by Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah stayed strong and held Clemson to a field goal.
Later in the game, with only 26 seconds left, down 33-26, Ian Book dropped back and delivered a bullet pass which helped Notre Dame tie the game and force it into overtime where Notre Dame, led by Book’s heroics, prevailed and won 47-40.
The Fighting Irish, who didn’t see much success following the days of Tony Rice and Rocket Ismail, finally tasted what it felt to be on top again after Book stepped into the program and took over the reins after Book got announced as the starting QB.
All of this information leads all Notre Dame fans to a question asked many times, where does Ian Book rank amongst the all-time great Notre Dame quarterbacks?
If there is one thing Ian Book is, it’s that he’s a winner. He may not have the strongest arm but he has one thing that the Notre Dame program was lacking for nearly 20 years, the ability to change a game. The ability to carry a team. The ability to win.
Ian Book helped Brian Kelly save his job and provide relevancy to the Notre Dame program again.
While analyzing stats and only judging players off of their stats, ability, and what they did for the Notre Dame program and only the Notre Dame program, Ian Book puts himself in top ten positioning.
Book falls short to the likes of Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, John Huarte, Joe Theismann, and Jerry Rice; he prevails over the likes of Brady Quinn, Evertt Goldson, Jimmy Clausen, and many more all-time greats.
Ian Book produced some of the greatest recent memories in Notre Dame history, however, unlike some of his all-time legend counterparts, he didn’t win a Heisman or National Championship which sees him as the 7th all-time best Notre Dame quarterback behind the 5 previously mentioned as well as Joe Montana. Right behind Book at the 8 spot is Brady Quinn followed by Irish legend, Ron Powlus, at the number 9 spot.
Overall, Ian Book proved all the doubters wrong with his heroics in his fifth year at Notre Dame. Many said Book could never reach the potential of one of the best QBs in the nation, yet he did. Although he couldn’t get to the National Championship Game, Book provided some of the greatest games and plays in Notre Dame history and left South Bend as the all-time win leader, a stat that should not be taken lightly.
THE SPORTS COURT - BY CHRIS DAILEY