SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame will offer a glimpse at what it will look like for this football season today. And on Friday, the Irish got a peak at what their future schedules will look like.
The Irish and Atlantic Coast Conference announced Friday which teams Notre Dame will play from the ACC in the 2014-16 seasons.
Notre Dame joins the ACC this summer in all sports except football and hockey, and as part of the agreement, the Irish will play five football games against ACC opponents every season starting in 2014.
Notre Dame’s games against the conference will rotate between having three home and two road games and two home and three road games each season with the matchups changing every three years.
The football partnership between the ACC and Notre Dame will not only enhance our league’s already ambitious football schedules but also will provide terrific fan excitement, ACC Commissioner John Swofford said in a statement.
The Irish’s home games in 2014 are against Louisville, North Carolina and Wake Forest with road games against Florida State and Syracuse. In 2015, Notre Dame will play at Clemson, Pittsburgh and Virginia with home games against Boston College and Georgia Tech. In 2016, Notre Dame plays host to Duke, Miami and Virginia Tech and travels to play North Carolina State and Syracuse. Dates for the games were not announced Friday.
Before the Irish start scouting their future ACC foes, they will offer a preview of this season at the Blue-Gold game at 1 p.m. today. Coach Brian Kelly said he wants to see the offense run smooth today as last year’s starting quarterback, Everett Golson, returns to lead the team.
If you remember last year, the offense was sloppy, Kelly said. The ball was on the ground and there was some mistiming on handoffs. I really want to see a clean game from an offensive perspective.
The Irish will also look for new playmakers as tight end and Bishop Dwenger grad Tyler Eifert along with running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood left the team. Eifert and Riddick combined for 1,055 receiving yards and six touchdowns, and Wood and Riddick combined for 1,659 rushing yards and nine touchdowns last year. Backup quarterback Tommy Rees said the Irish have a good group of potential playmakers coming back.
Receivers TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels are back after combining for 1,139 receiving yards with Jones scoring four touchdowns, and George Atkinson III, who ran for 361 yards and five touchdowns, will be joined by Cam McDaniel and Amir Carlisle, who missed last season because of injury, in the backfield.
Maybe it looks different, but I don’t think we are moving backwards, Rees said. I think the group we’ve got coming into this year can be pretty dangerous.
The defense will also have a different look with starters Manti Te’o, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Zeke Motta lost to graduation, but a new group is stepping up to lead a unit that finished last season second in scoring defense (12.8 points per game) and seventh overall (305.5 yards per game).
You can tell people are picking up leadership and speaking when they need to, said defensive end Sheldon Day, who will likely fill Lewis-Moore’s starting role this season. We are working toward where we were last year. We are trying to mold are defense to become one of the best.
Note: Cincinnati announced Friday that former Irish quarterback Gunner Kiel, who decided to transfer before spring practice began, has enrolled at the university and will begin classes May 6.