National Titles, huge rivalries, and domination of the college football landscape, are just a few of the "echos" that Notre Dame tries to awaken year in and year out.
However, as this decade has shown, this task can not be taken up by just anyone. It takes a man of talent, will, strength, and guts to coach the Fighting Irish of South Bend.
Heading into the 2010 season the main question on America, and the rest of the Irish Faithfuls' mind; is Brian Kelly that Man?
With a 34-6 record at Cincinnati, and two Division II National Titles at Grand Valley State,(along with other coaching honors) Coach Kelly's background fits perfectly with what Notre Dame has searched for over the years.
Surprising to some, the Notre Dame roster for Kelly's first season has a lot of potential on both sides of the field.
Starting under center for the Irish will be Junior Dayne Crist, who is coming off a torn ACL last year. Luckily for Crist, he was able to participate in every spring practice, so foundation for understanding Kelly's spread offensive has already been established.
Despite the fact that Crist has only attempted 20 passes at the varsity level, his backfield has plenty of veterans to help him along the way.
Returning Seniors Armando Allen and Robert Hughes lead the way for the Irish running attack, along with Junior Jones Gray, and Sophomore Cierre Wood. Incoming Freshman Cameron Roberson became apart of the Irish backfield on National Signing Day, however the bench might be where his first year is spent.
For someone who doesn't know much about Notre Dame Football, the initial thought on the receiving core would be negative with the loss of Golden Tate to the NFL, right?
Hold on a second football fans, here's a name you might remember: Michael Floyd...ringing any bells?
Well if not, here is some knowledge to refresh your memory. Despite missing five games due to injury, Floyd had 44 receptions for 795 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Standing along side Floyd is Senior Duval Kamara, who despite having fallen behind Tate and Floyd on the depth chart last season, had 1 touchdown and 218 yards on 23 receptions in 12 games.
It will be up to Kamara and Floyd to lead the rest of the Irish receiving core which consists mainly of Sophomore and Freshman wideouts.
Standing at Tight End will be fan favorite Kyle Rudolph, who is expected by some to be the best pro prospect on the Irish squad. Rudolph was a favorite target on the Irish passing attack last year, with 3 touchdowns and 33 receptions for 364 yards in 10 games.
Finally, and arguably the most important piece to the puzzle, is the offensive line.
Under the Weis era the Irish had a bulked up offensive line to properly suit his pro-style offense. Under the Kelly spread offensive, however, the entire line had to be slim and trim in order to be mobile, agile, and swift.
Key linemen this year are Fifth-Year Senior Chris Stewart,(who is entering his third year as a starter,) Junior Trevor Robinson, Sophomore Zach Martin, Senior Taylor Dever, and Junior Braxston Cave rounding out the starting line.
The rest of the depth chart includes mainly Juniors, however a few Sophomore and Freshman linemen have made the cut.
From an offensive stand point, and the fact that it is only Kelly's first year, the Irish look prominent and ready for action.
However only time will tell if the Kelly's spread offense will lead Notre Dame to their first National Championship in 22 years.
Look for my next article in which the Defense of Notre Dame is broken down from Linemen to Cornerbacks.
The offense is set, but everyone knows, defense wins championships.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!