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Notre Dame DT Jarron Jones (torn MCL) out for season: 3 things to know

 

 

Notre Dame has suffered a major loss before the season has even started.

Multiple reports began surfacing Friday that redshirt junior defensive lineman Jarron Jones had suffered a serious knee injury, and on Saturday coach Brian Kelly confirmed the news.

Jones has suffered a torn MCL and will miss the entire 2015 season. He'll have surgery to repair the tear next week.

In his 11 games last season, Jones was a force on the defensive line, finishing with 40 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also forced a fumble and blocked two kicks.

Here are three things to know about this latest development for the Irish.

1. Jones was expected to be a big part of Notre Dame's defense in 2015: Jones started 11 games for Notre Dame in 2014 and was one of 10 returning starters from last year's team. Those players, as well as the return of cornerback Kei'Varae Russell (suspended for the entire 2014 season), are big reasons Notre Dame heads into the 2015 season with high expectations, as it's currently ranked No. 11 in the preseason Coaches Poll and No. 10 in the CBS Sports 128.

2. This is not the first time Jones has been injured: Jones played in 11 of Notre Dame's 13 games last season, missing the final few contests after suffering a Lisfranc injury in his foot during Notre Dame's 31-28 loss to Louisville on Nov. 22. The Irish went 1-1 without Jones, losing to USC and beating LSU in the Music City Bowl, but the defense allowed 490 yards rushing in those two games. There's no doubt that not having Jones in the middle of the defensive line had an impact there.

3. Jones' likely replacements don't have a lot of experience: Kelly said Jones will be replaced by true freshman Jerry Tillery and sophomore Daniel Cage. Tillery is a four-star lineman from Louisiana that just enrolled at Notre Dame in the spring and is yet to play a single down in a college game. Cage did play in 11 games for the Irish last season, but he finished the year with only 11 tackles. Both will take on roles they weren't supposed to have in 2015, but if there's any good news it's that with so much experience elsewhere on defense, neither will be asked to carry the entire load alone.

 

 

 

 

USATSI_8325118.jpg

 

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25270775/reports-notre-dame-dl-jarron-jones-has-significant-knee-injury

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Hopefully they're overrated and were underrated. I was thinking it was a disadvantage for Texas to play ND for the first game of the year since were so inexperienced. Since we have a new offense and so many freshman playing, hopefully we can surprise them.

 

 

Notre Dame has high expectations and a lot to prove

 

 

 

The power of Notre Dame never ceases to intoxicate, please, annoy and amaze.

Confession: we media-types are all guilty of using the Irish's needle-mover to further our own agendas.

If Brigham Young hasn't learned by now, there is only one football independent with the gravitas to go it alone, with its own network, in a college football sea of sinners.

This summer offers a perfect example, with Notre Dame popping up in preseason top-10 lists from Lindy's to Sports Illustrated.

 

It seems like only yesterday USC drilled Notre Dame last Nov. 29 at the Coliseum. The score was 49-14 but it wasn't that close. Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler threw six touchdown passes, five in the first half, and completed 80% of his passes for 372 yards.

 

Eight-win Notre Dame returns a promising young quarterback, Malik Zaire, who replaced starter Everett Golson in the USC game and completed nine of 20 passes for 170 yards.

USC returns … Kessler.

That didn't stop Sports Illustrated from ranking Notre Dame No. 4 in its college football preview edition (USC is No. 8), which puts the Irish in the four-team playoff.

 

The euphoria is based, apparently, on Notre Dame's momentum after a three-point bowl win over the worst Louisiana State team Les Miles has fielded in years.

 

 

We get it. Notre Dame was a beat-up team when it got clobbered last November by USC. That said, the Trojans were still limping from NCAA sanctions and suited up only 56 scholarship players (85 is the maximum allowed).

No one is saying Notre Dame can't, or won't, have a great season. The tout is simply not (yet) warranted.

We get it II: SI drums up more interest if it anoints Notre Dame, the program everyone either loves, hates to love, or loves to hate.

 

The Irish represent what the kids call "click-bait," and all editors, writers and producers know it.

"Showtime Sports" recently announced it will chronicle Notre Dame's "quest for a college football national championship with weekly, all-access in a groundbreaking new series."

 

Given the program's last national title came in 1988, "Showtime" could open each "quest" episode with Don Quixote, on his donkey, singing, "To dream the impossible dream."

It takes all the willpower a sports writer can muster to resist artificially inflating Notre Dame to a higher preseason power.

There is a lot to like about the Irish, yes, just as there is much to like about Arizona State, which waxed the Irish by 24 points last year in Tempe.

Arizona State is No. 17 in SI's preseason rankings.

No need to call the journalism police for this foray into First-Amendment fun, especially now that rankings and polls can no longer directly influence the national championship.

A committee has taken the role of picking the top four teams

Notre Dame returns 18 starters and will get a balanced evaluation once the games begin. The schedule, as usual, pops. The Irish are all-but assured a playoff spot if they go undefeated against a gantlet that includes Texas, at Clemson, Georgia Tech, Navy, USC and Stanford.

Having expectations is great.

"It's not going to help them beat Texas," a person close to Notre Dame's program noted.

That person is sixth-year Coach Brian Kelly.

"Certainly it's going to be a long road," he added, "a difficult road to get to where we want to go."

Zaire, the quarterback who chased Golson to Florida State, will be protected by one of the nation's top offensive lines. He'll throw to Will Fuller, one of the country's top wide receivers.

 

The defense returns most of the pieces from a unit so devastated by late-season injuries it allowed an average of 41.6 points per game over the final seven regular-season games.

 

In the end, this is Notre Dame, still the best barnstorming act this side of the Globetrotters. The Irish play Boston College this year, at Fenway Park.

Boston College, located a musket-ball's throw from the venue, has been designated the "visiting" team in this neutral-site game and will receive an allotment of 5,000 tickets.

Notre Dame is the Green Monster.

There are reasons to be giddy, and not giddy, about a Notre Dame program that lost last year to Northwestern.

In case you're wondering: yes, we purposely slotted Notre Dame for the Sunday paper. It's our highest circulation day.

 

 

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-top-25-notre-dame-20150816-column.html

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Odds of beating ND are slim to none. We couldn't beat them with Earl or James Brown. Can't really expect the Swoopes lead Horns to do much, but going to go up there and cheer for the horns and hope for the best. If we win I won't need to use my return flight....I'll be on cloud nine and will float back to Texas......LOL

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My prediction.

 

Longhorns put on a coaching clinic in defense and points allowed.

Offense surprises the hell outta everyone, rolls up 450+ total offense, 35+ points.

 

The defense will hold Notre Dame to under 150 total yards for the game, and 12 first downs.

 

Texas will be ranked 19 after the game.

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My prediction.

 

Longhorns put on a coaching clinic in defense and points allowed.

Offense surprises the hell outta everyone, rolls up 450+ total offense, 35+ points.

 

The defense will hold Notre Dame to under 150 total yards for the game, and 12 first downs.

 

Texas will be ranked 19 after the game.

Sounds about right. Hookem!

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 their starting Center from last season quit so they will be breaking in a new Center... so things won't be so rosy for the Irish in the trenches on Sept. 5th.

 

I was casually reading these boards to learn about the match up and had to create an account to respond to this. Our former starting center Matt Hegarty effectively got forced out by rising talent. He signed on at Oregon and he's either going to start there at center or making a strong argument for the #1 spot (depending on what you read). So that sorta puts into perspective the sort of O line we're fielding. 

 

Anyway, looking forward to the game against you guys/football starting up again. I'll actually be in Austin that weekend, love your town. 

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I was casually reading these boards to learn about the match up and had to create an account to respond to this. Our former starting center Matt Hegarty effectively got forced out by rising talent. He signed on at Oregon and he's either going to start there at center or making a strong argument for the #1 spot (depending on what you read). So that sorta puts into perspective the sort of O line we're fielding. 

 

Anyway, looking forward to the game against you guys/football starting up again. I'll actually be in Austin that weekend, love your town. 

Welcome, Irish

 

Yeah, it's kinda like when our starting C, Espinosa, went down last year. Everyone on UT boards talked about what a huge loss it was, but a local NFL scout considered Doyle an upgrade. I'm sure ND has plenty of capable bodies on both the OL and DL. I expect a physical game

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Welcome, Irish

 

Yeah, it's kinda like when our starting C, Espinosa, went down last year. Everyone on UT boards talked about what a huge loss it was, but a local NFL scout considered Doyle an upgrade. I'm sure ND has plenty of capable bodies on both the OL and DL. I expect a physical game

 

absolutely. Jarron Jones going down is a big loss for us, but we've got a 6'7" 305lb freshman the coaches have been drooling over to fill the gap. We're all curious to see how that's going to work out.

 

We've got a pretty solid team this year, but our teams have a recent tendency of shitting the bed at home. USF came in and beat us on opening day a few years ago. With so many questions surrounding Texas this year (seems like the barometer has flipped from no one being very high on the team during spring ball to now you may be a contender) i'm getting very anxious for the season to start already. 

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I was casually reading these boards to learn about the match up and had to create an account to respond to this. Our former starting center Matt Hegarty effectively got forced out by rising talent. He signed on at Oregon and he's either going to start there at center or making a strong argument for the #1 spot (depending on what you read). So that sorta puts into perspective the sort of O line we're fielding. 

 

Anyway, looking forward to the game against you guys/football starting up again. I'll actually be in Austin that weekend, love your town. 

 

Welcome to the board. Hope you'll stick around for the game at least.

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I was casually reading these boards to learn about the match up and had to create an account to respond to this. Our former starting center Matt Hegarty effectively got forced out by rising talent. He signed on at Oregon and he's either going to start there at center or making a strong argument for the #1 spot (depending on what you read). So that sorta puts into perspective the sort of O line we're fielding. 

 

Anyway, looking forward to the game against you guys/football starting up again. I'll actually be in Austin that weekend, love your town. 

 

Welcome.  If Texas was to pull off an upset, what would be the reason from the Notre Dame side of it. What do you see as the weakness of your team that Texas might exploit?

 

Don't worry we won't tell Charlie Strong. ;)

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Welcome.  If Texas was to pull off an upset, what would be the reason from the Notre Dame side of it. What do you see as the weakness of your team that Texas might exploit?

 

Don't worry we won't tell Charlie Strong. ;)

I hope you don't mind if I offer my take on this question. On the offensive side of the ball, starting QB Malik Zaire has to be the biggest question mark heading into the season. To this point, he has started a total of one game, which was versus LSU in the Music City Bowl. He also saw some garbage time action in last year's home opener against Rice and in relief at Southern Cal when Golson was finally pulled down 35 in the first half. During the spring he split time with Golson, who transferred to FSU soon after the spring session was over. The point is, Zaire has not had a lot of experience as the number one quarterback in the program. As recent as April he was splitting the starting reps with someone else. This fall camp has been extremely important to get him comfortable in his role for a full season.

 

Thus far Malik has demonstrated that he can run the ball, even against LSU's tough defense. He has also demonstrated an arm that is more than adequate for the college game when throwing from the pocket. But can he throw under pressure in game situations without turning the ball over? If Texas loads the box and gets a good pass rush going, will Zaire be able to move the ball downfield consistently when he's flushed from the pocket and doesn't have the option to leg it? If I'm the Longhorn coaching staff, I'd be willing to test that arm in his first home start. Bring the house, blitz, make him throw on the run. Yeah he'll extend some plays with his legs, but sooner or later he's going to have to chuck the rock. Make him do it for a full game with the full weight of the program on his shoulders. There will be no one to come into the game as relief this time. The Irish have a talented receiver corps, but that won't help if Malik cannot get them the ball.

 

The other offensive question mark is the running back situation. Most of you now know that second string running back Greg Bryant has left the team following an academic eligibility suspension. That leaves the team with talented junior running back Tarean Folston and a ragtag ensemble of backups. In the spring the coaching staff knew Bryant would miss some time early in the season, and began giving slot receiver CJ Prosise reps as a back. This summer a second receiver, sophomore Justin Brent (of Lisa Ann fame), has begun to practice with the RBs. In addition, two freshmen RBs joined the team this summer, Dexter Williams and Josh Adams. Of those four, CJ has the most potential for immediate impact. He is a bigger body (6' / 220) with true home run speed. Brent (6'1 / 220) is also an incredible athlete, but he has not played out of the backfield since high school. I'm sure the two freshmen will get some game reps at some point, but who can say what impact they will have at this point. Williams appears the more ready-made of the two, for what it's worth. All the more reason for Texas to load the box, stop the run in its tracks, and create constant pressure for Zaire.

 

On the defensive side, well... there's no question that the Irish defense struggled last season against teams not from Ann Arbor. Some will point to the significant injury attrition sustained as the 2014 season progressed. Others will point to the amount of points given up by offensive turnovers (a lot). The bottom line is the defense has to be better this year, regardless of the circumstances. They have to be better against tempo offenses, prepared to absorb inevitable injuries, better against the triple option, and ready to counter unfortunate turnovers.

 

The strength of the Irish defense is in their linebackers and corners. There are questions around the safeties (especially safety depth) and the defensive line. The starting safeties are talented and athletic, no question, but they seemed lost at times last year, the first under DC Brian VanGorder's pro-style 4-3. And once you get past the starters, the safety position gets unexperienced and (frankly) scary. The defensive line has much more experience depth. They have done well against the run (pay no attention to LSU's 285 yards on the ground  :unsure:). They have not provided adequate pressure up front against the pass, however, without additional blitzing. During the off-season, a new defensive line coach, Keith Gilmore, was brought in to help rectify that issue. Has it helped? Yes? Enough to make a difference? We'll see? Can the Irish offense limit turnovers, especially ones that gift points to the opposition? Can the defense stay relatively healthy? I don't know, but I sure hope so!

 

I have read around these parts that Texas will feature a tempo offense this season. If they can run the tempo effectively, they will really test the ND defense. The Longhorns will have to avoid All-American linebacker Jaylon Smith and throwing the ball toward cornerback Keivarae Russell, the sole survivor amongst last year's Frozen Five suspensions. There is a lot of individual talent on the Irish defense, and they have a chip on their shoulder after last season. But talent and potential be damned, can they be effective as a unit in their second season of the VanGorder era? In Coach Strong's shoes, I would do my best to test their preparation and run the offense as quickly as possible. Don't give them the opportunity to get defensive play calls from the sideline. Don't let them line-up. Exploit any and all blown assignments. I know there is doubt about the Texas offense, but even Northwestern was able to put up 43 points late last year. Yes, the same Northwestern from the M00N game.

 

TL;DR: Create pressure on first year starter Malik Zaire. Make him throw on the run, and prevent him from extending plays with his legs. Create and exploit turnover opportunities. Run a tempo offense and test Notre Dame's defensive preparedness and improvisational abilities.

 

I discussed the offensive and defensive lines further last month in this post, if anyone is interested. Sorry for another long, rambling post. I just can't wait for September 5!!

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I hope you don't mind if I offer my take on this question. On the offensive side of the ball, starting QB Malik Zaire has to be the biggest question mark heading into the season. To this point, he has started a total of one game, which was versus LSU in the Music City Bowl. He also saw some garbage time action in last year's home opener against Rice and in relief at Southern Cal when Golson was finally pulled down 35 in the first half. During the spring he split time with Golson, who transferred to FSU soon after the spring session was over. The point is, Zaire has not had a lot of experience as the number one quarterback in the program. As recent as April he was splitting the starting reps with someone else. This fall camp has been extremely important to get him comfortable in his role for a full season.

 

Thus far Malik has demonstrated that he can run the ball, even against LSU's tough defense. He has also demonstrated an arm that is more than adequate for the college game when throwing from the pocket. But can he throw under pressure in game situations without turning the ball over? If Texas loads the box and gets a good pass rush going, will Zaire be able to move the ball downfield consistently when he's flushed from the pocket and doesn't have the option to leg it? If I'm the Longhorn coaching staff, I'd be willing to test that arm in his first home start. Bring the house, blitz, make him throw on the run. Yeah he'll extend some plays with his legs, but sooner or later he's going to have to chuck the rock. Make him do it for a full game with the full weight of the program on his shoulders. There will be no one to come into the game as relief this time. The Irish have a talented receiver corps, but that won't help if Malik cannot get them the ball.

 

The other offensive question mark is the running back situation. Most of you now know that second string running back Greg Bryant has left the team following an academic eligibility suspension. That leaves the team with talented junior running back Tarean Folston and a ragtag ensemble of backups. In the spring the coaching staff knew Bryant would miss some time early in the season, and began giving slot receiver CJ Prosise reps as a back. This summer a second receiver, sophomore Justin Brent (of Lisa Ann fame), has begun to practice with the RBs. In addition, two freshmen RBs joined the team this summer, Dexter Williams and Josh Adams. Of those four, CJ has the most potential for immediate impact. He is a bigger body (6' / 220) with true home run speed. Brent (6'1 / 220) is also an incredible athlete, but he has not played out of the backfield since high school. I'm sure the two freshmen will get some game reps at some point, but who can say what impact they will have at this point. Williams appears the more ready-made of the two, for what it's worth. All the more reason for Texas to load the box, stop the run in its tracks, and create constant pressure for Zaire.

 

On the defensive side, well... there's no question that the Irish defense struggled last season against teams not from Ann Arbor. Some will point to the significant injury attrition sustained as the 2014 season progressed. Others will point to the amount of points given up by offensive turnovers (a lot). The bottom line is the defense has to be better this year, regardless of the circumstances. They have to be better against tempo offenses, prepared to absorb inevitable injuries, better against the triple option, and ready to counter unfortunate turnovers.

 

The strength of the Irish defense is in their linebackers and corners. There are questions around the safeties (especially safety depth) and the defensive line. The starting safeties are talented and athletic, no question, but they seemed lost at times last year, the first under DC Brian VanGorder's pro-style 4-3. And once you get past the starters, the safety position gets unexperienced and (frankly) scary. The defensive line has much more experience depth. They have done well against the run (pay no attention to LSU's 285 yards on the ground :unsure:). They have not provided adequate pressure up front against the pass, however, without additional blitzing. During the off-season, a new defensive line coach, Keith Gilmore, was brought in to help rectify that issue. Has it helped? Yes? Enough to make a difference? We'll see? Can the Irish offense limit turnovers, especially ones that gift points to the opposition? Can the defense stay relatively healthy? I don't know, but I sure hope so!

 

I have read around these parts that Texas will feature a tempo offense this season. If they can run the tempo effectively, they will really test the ND defense. The Longhorns will have to avoid All-American linebacker Jaylon Smith and throwing the ball toward cornerback Keivarae Russell, the sole survivor amongst last year's Frozen Five suspensions. There is a lot of individual talent on the Irish defense, and they have a chip on their shoulder after last season. But talent and potential be damned, can they be effective as a unit in their second season of the VanGorder era? In Coach Strong's shoes, I would do my best to test their preparation and run the offense as quickly as possible. Don't give them the opportunity to get defensive play calls from the sideline. Don't let them line-up. Exploit any and all blown assignments. I know there is doubt about the Texas offense, but even Northwestern was able to put up 43 points late last year. Yes, the same Northwestern from the M00N game.

 

TL;DR: Create pressure on first year starter Malik Zaire. Make him throw on the run, and prevent him from extending plays with his legs. Create and exploit turnover opportunities. Run a tempo offense and test Notre Dame's defensive preparedness and improvisational abilities.

 

I discussed the offensive and defensive lines further last month in this post, if anyone is interested. Sorry for another long, rambling post. I just can't wait for September 5!!

Dude, great f'n post! Very insightful and lots of great information from what you guys are thinking on the other side. Thanks a bunch!

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