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Reason: Defensive Line Won't Be Surprised by Option
The Fighting Irish gave up quite a few yards to the option attack of Air Force in 2011, but when it was time to face a similar yet less dynamic offense in Navy, Notre Dame played very well in a 54-14 victory.
While every position on defense needs to be disciplined in order to stop the option, the defensive line is as vital as any to a team's success against that type of offense.
With a year of experience behind them, Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt won't be caught sleeping. Both players will be able to get into Navy's backfield, and Louis Nix shouldn't have a problem plugging up the middle.
If the Irish defense can stay disciplined, then the team should start out 2012 1-0.
Navy will have a new quarterback that is more athletic in Trey Miller (he saw limited action against the Irish last season), but the change shouldn't make too much of a difference.
Plus, the Fighting Irish have to win in Ireland. Don't they?