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Notre Dame Football

49 Questions for Notre Dame Football

July 16, 2022

All eyes will be on Notre Dame football in 49 days as the Fighting Irish travel to Ohio State to open the 2022 season. 

It won't be Marcus Freeman's head coaching debut, but it will be the first look at where the program is at under his leadership. The Fighting Irish will also be breaking in a new starting quarterback and it will be the first time this coaching staff works together in game situations. 

Fall camp will provide a small glimpse into the growth of the program and we'll return to these 49 questions during the bye week and following the season to see Notre Dame progress. 

1. How good can Tyler Buchner be? Buchner was electric in his last full season as a starting quarterback as he completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 4,474 yards, 53 touchdowns and just six interceptions while running for 1,610 yards and 28 more scores in his junior year of high school. 

2. Where has Drew Pyne grown? The junior quarterback will be the first to admit the Blue-Gold Game had ups and downs. Yet, Pyne was competing despite not being in a favorable situation playing for both teams. 

3. Can Buchner and Pyne keep the turnovers down? Both quarterbacks want to push the ball and create plays, but Tommy Rees and Notre Dame have become accustomed to low turnovers under Ian Book and Jack Coan. 

4. Where is the run game? Harry Hiestand is back and walked into a room with a plethora of talent. 

5. How far can Lorenzo Styles take his game? The sophomore receiver could have a Will Fuller sophomore type of season. 

6. Can Tommy Rees and company manage the lack of depth at running back and receiver? 

7. How healthy will Avery Davis, Cane Berrong and Eli Raridon be for Ohio State? 

8. Will the experiment of Jarrett Patterson at guard last through fall camp? It's intriguing, but Andrew Kristofic and Rocco Spindler will want to make moves in August. 

9. What does the Notre Dame offense look like? There are several directions to go with Buchner and the creativity is limitless if he takes a step forward. 

10. Can Michael Mayer carry a passing game if there are injuries at receiver? 

11. If freshman receiver Tobias Merriweather records 15 receptions for 305 yards and three touchdowns - will that be enough to give the offense a boost? 

12. When will Joe Wilkins Jr. return from his LisFranc injury? 

13. Who will emerge as the No. 2 tight end? 

14. Will Avery Davis finally throw a pass on a trick play this year? 

15. Who will make field goals? 

16. How good is Audric Estime? He looks the part and needs to keep the bruiser mentality. 

17. Who takes the biggest jump forward between Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas? 

18. Which coaches will be in the box?

19. How quickly does Al Golden adapt to the college game? 

20. How does Golden defend TreVeyon Henderson, while also slowing down CJ Stroud and the plethora of talented Ohio State receivers? 

21. Who gets in the first fight on Sept. 3rd as there won't be a lack of chirping. 

22. How does Golden manage the rotation at linebacker? Tons of talent and different athletes. 

23. How many sack records does Isaiah Foskey break this year? 

24. Can Harvard grad transfer Chris Smith adapt to the high-level Power Five football in a timely manner? 

25. How does Al Washington play Rylie Mills, Jayson Ademilola and Howard Cross III? 

26. Will Marist Liufau be the chess piece in the front seven that was missing a year ago? 

27. What kind of growth did Clarence Lewis and Cam Hart make over the last few months? Lewis didn't seem to have his confidence rattled coming out of the spring, while Hart missed most of the spring coming off shoulder surgery. 

28. Can freshman cornerback Jaden Mickey make a push at cornerback or nickel? 

29. TaRiq Bracy went through what Lewis is going through last year with confidence, but can he make another big jump in 2022? 

30. Who starts opposite Brandon Joseph? 

31. Which safeties play the most? Notre Dame has a great combination of veterans in DJ Brown and Houston Griffith to go with good athletes in Ramon Henderson, Justin Walters and Xavier Watts. 

32. Notre Dame is banking on Jacob Lacey and Chris Smith holding down the fort at 1-tech, but can young guy show the ability to play 10 snaps?

33. How many souls does Jordan Botelho take this year? 

34. Where did Justin Ademilola enhance his already versatile game? 

35. How much development did Al Washington make with his already talented group in the offseason? 

36. Can Notre Dame develop another young secondary player in Ryan Barnes, Jayden Bellamy, Benjamin Morrison, Philip Riley or Chance Tucker to go with Mickey? 

37. How game day changes will Marcus Freeman's staff make to the Notre Dame Stadium environment? 

38. Who will return kickoffs and punts?

39. Can freshman Bryce McFerson beat out grad transfer Jon Sot for the punting job? 

40. Adversity will come at some point. How does the team handle it under Freeman? 

41. Will Clemson fans take over Notre Dame Stadium in November?

42. What week will running back Logan Diggs make his season debut?

43. Where is sophomore linebacker Prince Kollie in his development? 

44. Will Notre Dame have three All-American offensive linemen in Joe Alt, Blake Fisher and Jarrett Patterson?

45. Who leads the Irish in interceptions? 

46. Will Tommy Rees use perimeter screens more this year to open up the box more?

47. How many fans will be done with Notre Dame football following the Shamrock Series jersey release? 

48. Will freshmen defensive linemen Tyson Ford or Aiden Gobaira get into the rotation? 

49. Can Chris Tyree, Braden Lenzy and Lorenzo Styles combine for more than 25+ plays of 25 yards or more? 

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