The 2022 season could be dubbed a success for first-year Notre Dame football coach Marcus Freeman. The Irish had a couple of hiccups early on, but they bounced back to finish the season ranked.
Now, entering the 2023 season, the Irish will look a little different with a new quarterback in Sam Hartman, Michael Mayer moving on, a number of key defenders leaving for the NFL, and Tommy Rees taking a job with Alabama.
But the expectations should still remain high.
With spring ball upon us, however, what are the biggest questions surrounding Notre Dame?
3. Will the defense reload?
Notre Dame is losing a lot defensively from an improved 2022 unit. The Irish took a step in the right direction last year and held teams to under 330 total yards per game which was down from 2021 in which they were allowing over 360 yards per game.
But the defense will be losing Brandon Joseph, Houston Griffith, TaRiq Bracy, Bo Bauer, Isaiah Foskey, and Justin and Jayson Ademilola.
Can the defense reload?
The Irish bring in Javontae Jean-Baptiste from Ohio State and he’ll be there this spring to show if he can take over on the edge or at a linebacker spot as well as Thomas Harper from Oklahoma State. There’s also a solid incoming freshman class with seven early defensive enrollees — six of them were rated as four-stars.
With a lot departing, will the Irish have enough to reload instead of rebuild?