Notre Dame Football: 2020-21 Season Preview

notre dame football

It has been 10 months since the last Irish touchdown at Notre Dame Stadium. This Saturday, South Bend will finally see some action again. Unfortunately, there are new rules that do not favor Notre Dame football fans across the country. No tailgates and only student attendees will change the dynamic of pregame rituals. Upsetting? Certainly, but there is no doubt Irish fans will continue their support from wherever they are. Notre Dame fans do not let their pride go unnoticed.

What does Notre Dame football look like this year? After months of preparation, Brian Kelly claims the team has evolved well. Ian Book, Robert Hainsey, Shaun Crawford, Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji have been appointed as captains. As two of these individuals (Book and Hainsey) have already been captains in previous seasons, there should be no issues when it comes to leadership of the team.


In 2019, Notre Dame’s offensive line had its third best season in yards per attempt. Although losing Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet and Tony Jones Jr., this year looks promising. Book is back for another season. Technically a third-year starter, Book has made his impact on the field. Last season, Book accounted for 3,580 yards and 38 touchdowns. With a solid arm and athleticism, this season will be crucial for showing consistency. When playing tough competitors like Clemson, Book will have to show he is able to make game-changing plays that can keep his team on the board.

When it comes to the line, there are a few individuals to keep an eye on. Left tackle Liam Eichenberg has drawn national attention and predicted to be a first-round NFL Draft pick in 2021. A challenger to Eichenberg will be Hainsey, who has been set back by an injury in the 2019 season. A great pass blocker, Hainsey will have to prove his ability to be versatile in pass and run blocking. For the pass game, Northwestern transfer Bennett Skowronek will bring size and experience. After losing Claypool, this is necessary for the Irish to keep offensive competition strong.


ND’s defensive line has previously been known for leading the team to great success. In 2019, 24.5 sacks were made and 48 tackles for loss, which is more productive than the 2018 season. If this trend continues, the Irish should be dominating this year.

Back for their fifth year, Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji are predicted to lead this force with power and consistency. Although there is experience, young players are going to need to step up and contribute their talents. Sophomore Jacob Lacey and junior Jayson Ademilola are predicted to be part of the front four. Previously, Ademilola has been productive when it comes to defending the middle on a per-snap basis. If Ademilola can improve his quickness to the quarterback, there is no doubt he will draw national attention. Lacey also has the opportunity to make a mark, but he has to continue to be disruptive and make plays.

The Irish have a lot to live up to this weekend. Duke may not be the toughest competitor, but they have to prove to the nation that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Photo courtesy of Emma Farnan/The Observer