As is the nature for freshmen players adjusting to the college game, Jaylon Smith has adjustments to make while transitioning from the high school game.
First and foremost, Smith needs to pack on weight to his frame.
As a DOG linebacker for the Irish, Smith is not only responsible for dropping into coverage against intermediate routes, but also for setting the edge against the run. And at just 230 pounds, that won't be a simple task for Smith.
His cohort at the drop linebacker position, Ben Councell, checks in at 254 pounds, while Spond, the former starter, played a pound or two shy of 250.
The good news is that this "problem" can and will be fixed by Notre Dame football strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo. Unfortunately, it's unlikely Smith will add the necessary weight as a freshman this season.
Expect to see Smith arrive at next year's fall camp closer to the 250-pound rage.
As a high phenom at Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers High School, Smith dominated smaller competition, though it'll be an entirely different book when Notre Dame's season begins Saturday.
Taking on and shedding blocks against opposing tight ends and pulling guards who weigh anywhere from 250 to 300-plus pounds will be an unenviable task for Smith.
And while the freshman linebacker has quickly picked up the concepts of the Irish's 3-4 scheme, Smith will be thrown into the fire from the start, and how he reacts in given defensive situations will speak volumes about the breadth of his scheme knowledge.