Well, it wasn’t exactly the year that the Notre Dame faithful were hoping for, but there is always next year, right? Let’s take a look back at the year that was 2016.
Notre Dame finished with a final record of 4-8.
Seven of the eight losses were lost by a margin of 8 points or less.
- Texas 50-47
- MSU 36-28
- Duke 38-35
- NC State 10-3
- Stanford 17-10
- Navy 28-27
- VT 34-31
This year’s Shamrock Series was against Army, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, and Notre Dame won by a score of 44-6. This was the eighth Shamrock Series game, and Notre Dame has won all eight of the Shamrock Series matchups.
There were five graduating fifth year seniors on this team, and 22 seniors.
|46||Anderson, Josh||Running Back||5-9/205||GS||Chatsworth, CA/Notre Dame|
|61||Daly, Scott||Long Snapper||6-1.5/250||GS||Downers Grove, IL/South|
|94||Jones, Jarron||Defensive Line||6-5.5/315||GS||Rochester, NY/Aquinas Institute|
|8||Sebastian, Avery||Safety||5-10/200||GS||McDonough, GA/Eagle’s Landing Christian|
|75||Harrell, Mark||Offensive Line||6-4/306||GS||Charlotte, NC/Catholic|
It was a year full of surprises and heartbreaks, starting with the double overtime loss to Texas in Austin, followed by the abrupt departure of Coach VanGorder, the lucky breaks that just didn’t fall their way, and culminating with the NCAA ruling demanding that Notre Dame vacate two years worth of wins and placing them on a year of probation.
Notre Dame scored a total of 371 points this year, to their opponents 334; and averaged 30.9 points per game, to their opponents 27.8 points per game. The Fighting Irish had 254 first downs (244 for their opponents), 107 of which were rushing, and 132 were passing. Notre Dame’s total rushing average was 1,960 yards on the season (2,189 for their opponents), and their total passing average was 3,051 yards (2,357 for their opponents); for a total offensive output of 5,011 yards (4,546 yards for their opponents).
The Fighting Irish converted on third down 68-of-168 times (40%), and on fourth down 13-of-20 times (65%). Notre Dame had 78 penalties for 638 yards, compared to their opponents who had 68 penalties for 606 yards. Notre Dame’s average time of possession per game was 28:56. They scored a total of 47 touchdowns, made 13-of-17 field goals attempted, scored in the red zone 40-of-48 times (83%), and scored a touchdown from the red zone 30-of-48 times (63%).
It was a roller coaster season which could have been very different had a few breaks, or a few officiating calls have gone our way. Now the offseason looms, filled with coaching speculations, from the top spot all the way down. Who stays? Who goes? Is any job safe?
But is it just a coaching issue? Where is the leadership on this team? Who will step forward in 2017 to guide this team, encourage them to make better decisions, to shake off mistakes, to play for a solid 60 minutes and to find a way to secure the win.
This offseason seems to be filled with more questions than most. How will recruits feel about the turmoil that is Notre Dame right now? Are Notre Dame football players truly displaying what it means to be a Notre Dame man?
So what are my thoughts, you ask? Yes, we had a 4-8 season, but I don’t believe that all hope is lost. The talent is there. Our coaching staff needs to find a way to develop not only football players, but leaders both on and off the field. Leaders who push their teammates on when the going gets tough, who display good sportsmanship, and who find success not only on the field but off the field as well. Who support each other as well as their coaches. Who can unify this fractured team and bring it back to the glory for which it is destined. What say you?
Cheers & GO IRISH