Jimmy Clausen and his offense might be one of the best in the country. Give the Irish an actual defense, and you are looking at an undefeated team.
However, Weis does not have the luxury of an elite defense, and therefore, has to play shootout week after week.
Clausen has shown incredible strides from his sophomore to junior year under Weis. His leadership has been phenomenal, as he has put the team on his back in last-minute drives to lead the Irish to three late victories.
He is being considered as a Top Five Heisman candidate thus far in the season and is showing very few, if any, signs of slowing down. With Michael Floyd coming back, expect him to produce at an even higher rate in the second half of the year.
Golden Tate and Michael Floyd are the best pair of receivers in the country. If it weren't for Floyd's injury, you might be looking at a ranked Notre Dame team with one loss and in the top 15 in the nation. He is that much of an impact player for the Irish.
On the other hand, Tate has produced so rapidly that he is now even ahead of Clausen on some Heisman lists. An all-purpose threat, he is making the best out of Floyd's absence—something that many thought he wouldn't do.
Kyle Rudolph has also filled in for Floyd in many situations and has developed not only into an elite receiving tight end, but a very good blocker also.
Another big surprise coming from the receiving corps is Robby Parris after having a career game against USC, even while being targeted as Taylor Mays' personal punching bag.
Whether the fault falls on the shoulders of the backs or the line, the running game can be described as slightly above average.
Armando Allen missed some time due to a bruised hamstring, but had a fairly productive first half of the year. He has shown the ability to keep his feet moving in the pile and has been picking up yards after contact—a new asset to his game in '09.
Robert Hughes has been a huge surprise for this "average" unit. Supplying tough yards and a bruiser-type style, he has been a perfect compliment to Allen. He has a history of disappearing after breakout games, so Irish fans should keep their fingers crossed he is here to stay.
The first few games, Frank Verducci was being praised for his offensive linemen's play and protection. After USC week, some are now dubbing this unit as yet another average one.
This line has been an improvement over it's '08 lineup. Although they let up five sacks against the Trojans, that number is only one higher than the average. Nothing to worry about here as the line will get back on track as Verducci seems to figured out his unit fast.