No Luck Needed Next Year—Irish Will Be Ready: Three Key Players in '09

Heath McGuffCorrespondent IJune 8, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 11:  Jimmy Clausen #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks upfield against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on October 11, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Notre Dame one of the most storied and successful franchises in the history of college football will be ready for the '09 season. Head coach Charlie Weis and the fighting Irish finished the season strong breaking a NCAA record nine-bowl game losing streak.

Charlie Weis was on the hot seat at the end of the '08 season and their was speculation that he was going to get fired after their combined 15 losses from '07-'08 marked the longest losing streak in any two year. Notre Dame intends to keep Weis for the '09 season despite their 7-6 record in '08.

Weis has had three winning seasons in his fours years as the Fighting Irish head coach. Last seasons bowl victory put the franchise 7-6 which led the Irish to it's 102 winning season in 120 years of football.

There have been seven Heisman trophy winners in the Fighting Irish history and Jimmy Clausen or Golden Tate could be the next?

The '09 season is going to bring many things the Irish's way, they could be good or bad depending on what these three guys I'm about to list contribute to this ball club.

Jimmy clausen, Golden Tate and Ian Williams are going to be three great players for the Irish next season.

Jimmy clausen: The highly talented QB from California is nothing short of great. He lead his team to an impressive 42-0 record as the starting QB for the Westlake Lions in High school. Clausen started in the second game of his freshman year making him the earliest starter for a Notre Dame QB since 1972.

Clausen's freshman season he completed 138-245 passes and gained 1,245 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. In '08 Clausen connected on 268-440 passes for a total of 3,172 yards and 25 TDs with only 17 interceptions. Jimmy Clausen is the number one piece to the Notre Dame offense.

Golden Tate: Clausen hooked up with Golden Tate a few times last season and when they did it was effective.  Tate still polishing his receiving game up a little in the off season because he primarily played running back in high school and is trying to make the best transition to wide receiver as possible for the '09 season.

Tate played in all 12 games last season as a freshman making him one of eight freshman to start for Notre Dame. Tate gave the Irish a true deep threat last season as well as a excellent kickoff return man. Tate started verse both UCLA and USC and recorded six receptions for 131 yards(21.8 avg.) and one TD.

Tate also averaged 21.7 yards per kick off return in those two games as well. In the '08 season Tate caught 58 rec., for 1,080 yards and ten TDs. Golden Tate needs to be truly breath taking next season to give the Irish that extra surge on offense.

Ian Williams: As a freshman Ian Williams appeared in all 12 games only one of four players to do that. Ian Williams was ranked sixth on the team and second on the Defensive line in tackles his freshman season despite coming off the sidelines most of the year. Williams recorded 45 tackles(19 solo), and 1.5 stops for a loss.

Ian Williams recorded third most tackles by a freshman D-lineman in Notre Dame school history. I think Ian Williams can be a big part of the Notre Dame defense next season. Williams can physical dominate an offensive line and block several running gaps.

I think these are just a players of the talented Fighting Irish, there are a few other guys to mention like Kyle McCarthy, Armando Allen, and that's just the start of a long list.

I would like to hear what all Notre Dame fans have to say about next season and what they have to do in order to achieve the franchise 103 winning season in 121 years as a football team. I hope you agree with most of the players I have chosen as key players.