I have no idea what to expect out of the Cincinnati Bearcats’ opposition this Saturday.
Much like the Bearcats, Notre Dame seems to struggle in the first half. This has been the case in all four of their previous contests.
Which quarterback will Notre Dame use? Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan began the season as their signal caller but has been banged up on a couple of occasions. At times, he has also border on ineffective, including last Saturday against a stout Wisconsin defense. Speedy freshman QB Tyler Buchner spelled Coan in the first couple of games but he got hurt too. Freshman Drew Pyne looked like a leader and looked solid in relief. Will he end up being the Fighting Irish’s quarterback?
Notre Dame has so many talented wide receivers and running backs, it is never clear exactly who is going to get the ball or how much action any of them are going to get on a given Saturday.
We know their tight end, Michael Mayer, is a force all his own and a danger in the passing game. He seems to have become the preoccupation of opposing defensive coordinators in recent weeks. This has opened up the deep ball for the Irish, which they have taken significant advantage of lately.
Cincinnati should have an advantage along the defensive front. Notre Dame’s line has been porous at times and not especially effective in promoting the running game. This is a young unit that remains a work in progress.
On defense, Notre Dame certainly has a badass corps of linebackers: Jack Kizer, Drew White, and company are all sideline-to-sideline run stoppers. Safety Kyle Hamilton plays like a linebacker and figures prominently in the run stop. The Irish, too, have a steady D-Line. I think Cincinnati’s cadre of solid receivers will pose a genuine challenge for the Irish on Saturday.
If this is a close game, Notre Dame’s kicking, too, has been a bit shaky.
Kicker Jonathan Doerer was a steady Eddie last season but has missed a couple of big kicks already. The Bearcats want him out there in big situations.
On Saturday, we will learn a great deal about both teams.