T-Minus 40 Days: Quick Look at the Irish

Since we last saw our pals in South Bend, a lot has changed. They've lost an unlikable coach and all of the wonderful trappings that came with him...Plus, he's been replaced with a guy that I have a hard time disliking. Kelly has been no-nonsense since his arrival at UND and hasn't once mentioned any specific advantage his team has because of his abilities. Amazingly, they might actually have some because of Kelly's ability to develop offensive talent and spread the ball around to a number of different weapons. Quite honestly, the chasm that Weis left angers and saddens me. But, as the NDC hype machine cranks up in the fall, the embers in my gut will be stoked once again as we're all reminded of Subway Alums, stuck-up students and an heir of cockiness as talk of Waking up echoes, great tradition, or all their success of the past becomes louder and louder.

Here's what we know of the Irish right now:

As usual, they're chucked-full of talent with four and five star recruits sprinkled throughout the offensive and defensive line-ups, but there are plenty of variable in South Bend too. Dayne Crist is now the QB. Like Clausen, he was one of the top players in the nation out of high school. But, he was only used as an option QB in '09. Armando Allen returns at running back, Floyd and Kamara at WR, Ragone and Rudolph at TE, but their offensive line has gone through a major overhaul as they lost three starters. Defensively, they return 9 players from a mediocre defense. But, Manti Te'O is probably now ready for primetime as he's had a full year to bulk up and prepare.
And of course, Kelly, who has been successful everywhere he's been, will surely change the look of the Irish. One thing to watch is the fact that Kelly might struggle with one of the same problems that Weis had- an offense-first coaching philosophy.

Off the field, 8 Irish players were arrested for underage drinking. Kelly has done nothing about it other than issued firm warnings. Of course, the arrests probably aren't too important as none of the players looked to be significant contributors in the coming season.

Around the team, in spite of suffering another mediocre season, the Irish media still are quite confident.

UND's rivals site has been rating all 12 opponents on their schedule along with the Irish by position. Not surprisingly, Purdue is not getting a ton of respect...Coming off of a 5-win season, I can't really blame them. But, their objective outlook isn't even-handed. The site consistently has the Irish in the top-3 of most categories and has them at a current average just behind USC. The 10-win Pitt Panthers, 8-win Stanford Cardinal and the 10-win Utah Utes all trail the Irish in most categories, according to Irishillustrated.com. So at very minimum, if the Irish don't have great success, at least they'll always have their world-class confidence.

2010 Purdue Football: Game 1

Don't Mess With Nick (or Albert)