Kyren Williams carries Notre Dame football vs. Duke

Over the weekend, Notre Dame football opened its season with a visit from the Duke Blue Devils. This was an important game for the Irish. Being a home opener, they had the chance to display what they have been working on over the past months. As the newest member of the ACC, it was their opportunity to demonstrate power and dominance to future competitors. Despite rainy weather conditions, the Irish were able to pack away their first win of the season 27-13 against Duke.

A slow start

It was not the most impressive start to a season. Notre Dame had a hard time offensively. As Duke took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, the Irish continued to struggle moving the ball. Irish quarterback Ian Book seemed quite frantic and uncomfortable at times when he was rushed. If he is to hold his spot as a Heisman contender, Book has a few improvements to make. First, pass accuracy. At times, Book’s passes were too hard or too high for the receiver to catch. Second, timeliness. Book seems to underestimate or overestimate how much time he has to complete a play. Third, awareness of players on the field. There were a few times where exceptional plays could have been made if Book was scanning the field for opportunities.

Kyren Williams

The player of Saturday’s game. A sophomore from St. Louis, Williams kept the Irish moving. Running for 112 yards and receiving two passes for 93 yards, he did not leave the field unnoticed. This season is the first time in a while Irish fans are getting to watch the running back. Last year, Williams played in just four games. He touched the ball a total of four times for 26 yards. Already tripling his numbers from last year, Williams has a lot of potential moving forward.

There are many reasons why Williams stood out against Duke. First, he is tough and runs hard. Notre Dame needs a running back who is not afraid to take hard hits. Second, he is decisive and has great agility. When Williams ran the ball, he knew what he was doing and executed appropriately. Lastly, he has a great readability of the field. Being a great running back includes knowing where the weak links are on the field. Williams took advantage of that against Duke, making his debut an exceptional one.

Second Half Team

Brian Kelly claims the Irish are a second half team. While this game did prove that to be true, it is essential that Notre Dame learns how to be explosive right off the bat. If the Irish sink into a habit of only playing efficiently in the second half, they will have no chance against teams such as Clemson. During Saturday’s game, the Irish scored a majority of their points after halftime. Not even putting up points in the first quarter, there is a level of concern on how Notre Dame plans to reshape its first quarter approach. Much of this could have been due to the longevity of the offseason, but nonetheless, there should be change during this Saturday’s game against South Florida. This is Notre Dame’s chance for a first quarter redemption.

Photo by Hayden Adams | The Observer