Notre Dame football: 5 questions the Fighting Irish must answer in 2020

Ian Book, Notre Dame Fighting Irish. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Ian Book, Notre Dame Fighting Irish. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
1 of 5
Notre Dame football
Notre Dame football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Notre Dame football faces big questions for the Fighting Irish to reach their potential.

Brian Kelly’s 10 years at the helm of Notre Dame football has been able to bring success to the Fighting Irish, especially as of late. Over the last three years, the program is 33-6, one of the best three-year runs in school history. They also made a trip to the College Football Playoff in 2018. But the issue is that they’ve been a step below the truly elite teams, as evidenced by that CFP trip when Clemson ran amok all over the Irish.

Despite how good Notre Dame has been under Kelly’s watch, the expectations for a program with the history present in South Bend are always going to be high. And fans want to see this team start truly competing for a title. The Fighting Irish may have plenty of talent to be a top-10 team in the 2020 season but aren’t without their flaws or concerns.

These are the five biggest questions that Notre Dame football will need to face in the 2020 college season if they’re going to not only compete for another CFP spot but legitimately vie for a title.

5. Can Notre Dame reload on the line and backfield?

Tony Jones Jr. was the leading rusher for the Fighting Irish last season but, with only 144 carries, it’s clear that Notre Dame was comfortable working with a committee approach out of the backfield. That’s at least somewhat positive because, even including Jones, there was no running back on the roster who truly separated himself last year, meaning there’s no clear-cut guy to be a bell-cow back.

What’s good for the offense, though, is that the line has the potential to be one of the best units in the country. Liam Eichenberg has first-round potential as a tackle while fellow seniors Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey have already established themselves as veteran stalwarts in the trenches. No matter who’s running, the O-line should have a path cleared.

Having said that, having the right player be the featured back behind that offensive line could help produce a truly lethal rushing attack. As mentioned, though, there’s no one that fits that bill at first glance. Jafar Armstrong and several others just haven’t been able to separate themselves from the pack.

The best candidate to be the top dog in the running back group might be freshman Chris Tyree. A 4-star recruit out of Virginia, he was the No. 1 all-purpose back in his class according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings. If he’s able to entrench himself early, that could be a coup for Notre Dame’s run game.

With the offensive line ready to attack, it’s up to the running back group to determine whether that facet of the offense is good or great.