Has this fall camp for Notre Dame been as quiet as we have had in recent memory? If not, it sure seems like it. That, of course, isn't really a bad thing as we could be flooded with news about injuries and quarterback battles and, well… nonsense.
I haven't heard much "nonsense." Of course, the media has been pretty well shut out from viewing practices aside from a wee bit here and there, but it's not like they would be shown a ton anyways. Still, there are questions. Here are 5 things we know and 5 things we don't know about this years Notre Dame football team thus far…
What do we know? Tommy Rees is the starter. Yes, REESUS LIVES! There was some uncertainty when the news about Everett Golson broke, but that was quickly squashed by Brian Kelly (even if it was in a weird fashion). Tommy brings a lot to the table. He has the experience, the support from the team, and he knows the Notre Dame offense like he knows his momma's voice. We know that Tommy is the safest pick heading into the season.
What we don't know: Who is really number QB 2. Andrew Hendrix is listed as the number two quarterback, but there are some who are putting a lot of stock in Malik Zaire very early in his career. Will this order last the entire season, or will there be a shuffle if something like an injury or poor performance hits Tommy Rees?
— Brendan McAlinden (@verypiratey) August 12, 2013
What do we know? Notre Dame has great experience returning at cornerback. KeiVarae Russell and Bennett Jackson started every game for the Irish in 2012 and will look to do the same in 2013. There was some talk that Lo Wood might possibly pass Russell on the depth chart, but that seemed to be merely unbased speculation. Jackson is a real candidate to be an All-American and even a captain. Russell is a returning freshman All-American, and will only continue to get better. The Irish are solid on the islands.
What we don't know: The true order of the depth chart. After Jackson and Russell, is it really Lo Wood or has freshman Cole Luke impressed enough to be the next man in? The "word" is that Luke is in position to be the nickel back over Lo Wood. Will Luke make a splash at the position like Shumate did in 2012, or will his contribution be even greater?
What do we know? The Irish appear to be well stocked at running back and have better depth at the position than at any point in the past decade. Still, it is very young and unproven talent that we base this assumption on right now. Atkinson, Bryant, Mahone, Folston, McDaniel, and Carlilse can't all play, all the time, but they have created enough competition to put the best man up for the job.
What we don't know: Who will be the "go to" guy? Forget about who the starter may end up being (and logic points to GA3 for right now). Who will be the back that ND relies on the most in its rushing attack? Hell, will they even have a "go to" guy? I'm guessing at some point they will, but that may not happen until week 3 or 4.
What do we know? Tuitt is a massive human being. He checked in at 6'6" and 322 pounds- not neccesarily the normal size for a defensive end. In clips, he has looked a bit slow and lethargic and seems to be out of shape. He is also an All-American and still figures to be a nightmare for opposing defenses. He also appears to be pretty annoyed by all the questions surrounding his weight.
What we don't know: How Tuitt will be used in this defense. Is his size what we really want with the loss of KLM? Is this extra weight still a product of Stephon's offseason surgery? Perhaps the biggest question is if Tuitt will be as productive this year as he was last year- particularly in the first half of the season.
My motivation for today. http://t.co/1kB2zxE51Y
— stephon tuitt (@DOCnation_7) August 17, 2013
What do we know? Chuck Martin will be calling the offensive plays in 2013. Martin has been with Kelly forever, basically. Kelly trusts Chuck, and equally important, the team trusts Chuck. We know that a Chuck Martin offense is more inclined to run more of a power offense than what we have seen in the past 3 years.
What we don't know: We don't really know if this will last. Will Kelly get frustrated if the offense sputters and then take over the reigns? It's a strong possibility given the lack of returning, proven playmakers on offense and the amount of young talent that will be relied upon to perform. Even if the offense sputters and Martin continues to call the plays, will the offensive philosophy change? That is another strong possibility early in the year as Notre Dame's schedule is once again "top heavy" and the opponents will all be true challenges.
There are, of course, plenty of other questions that are equally known and unknown. We won't have any definitive's until the season gets going and perhaps even a few games into the schedule.
Any way you slice it, this figures to be another big year for Kelly and the building of the Notre Dame Football program.