published Friday, August 17th, 2012

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Fan’s guide to this year’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Coach: Charles Fant (first year) Stadium: Jim Eberle Field Address: 2701 Vermont Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37404

THREE STRENGTHS

1) Speed. The Irish may be somewhat inexperienced and particularly may be short on experienced linemen, but almost everybody from tackle to safety will show better speed than opponents recently have seen. Sophomore Auston Banks has clocked a 10.7 100, and classmate receiver Kareem Orr is extremely fast also.

2) The defense, led by tackle Robert Kidwell and linebacker Taylor Bankston, is a fairly experienced group that must keep the Irish close as the offense catches up. They changed defenses in the middle of the 2011 season but decided to stay with a similar scheme this year, so Fant feels they’ll be much better for it.

3) The coaching staff is new with Bo Campbell, a former Central head coach, as defensive coordinator and former Baylor running back Cortney Braswell brought in as offensive coordinator. A volunteer who has been a fixture on Irish staffs for years is former Tennessee receiver Nate Middlebrooks.

THREE CONCERNS

1) Josh Moore and Matt Reilly combined for 20 touchdown passes. Both have graduated and rushing leader Shaqualm McCoy (1,200 yards) transferred to Ridgeland. Receiving hopes are pinned on Orr, who had 22 catches in a secondary receiver role a year ago, and good-hands possession receiver Tim Barnes. The Irish will remain a spread-based offense, but the trigger man will be in a learn-as-you-go situation. Webb impressed in spring scrimmages and Darras is coming off a good 7-on-7 summer.

2) Offensive line is a thin position. There just isn’t a whole lot of beef and the Irish’s season hopes may come down to keeping the guys up front healthy.

3) The Irish must rely on untested sophomores and freshmen learning as the season progresses. In addition to Darras, who could double as Notre Dame’s kicker, keep an eye on freshman running Ricky Ballard, freshman linebacker Tyler Enos and sophomore safety/H-back Chris Hornsby.

  • photo
    Notre Dame quarterback Alex Darras had a strong summer in preparation of taking over the Irish offense.
    Photo by Jake Daniels.
    enlarge photo

Three questions with ...

GRAYSON HARGETT

(Senior center)

Q: What are your thoughts on Notre Dame football?

A: We were headed in the right direction toward the end of last year. Practices have been a lot more rigorous. I’m expecting big things.

Q: How much has football at Notre Dame changed since your freshman season?

A: A lot. My freshman year, people in the halls were dogging the team and there weren’t many in the stands. Last year that really changed. We started 2-0 and won three of our first four and we started to see the whole atmosphere change. My first two years it was “Oh, it’s just the football team.” Last year it was “It’s THE football team.”

Q: Is your athletic career over after this year?

A: Football, yes. I’d love to play baseball somewhere, whether it’s Chattanooga State or Cleveland State or elsewhere.

BY THE NUMBERS

1 — Winning seasons the Irish have had since going 13-1 and reaching the state semifinals in 2005. They went 8-3 in 2006.

2 — Quarterback candidates seeking to replace Josh Moore, who threw for 1,941 yards last season. Freshman Alex Darras or sophomore Tanner Webb will take over an offense starving for production.

3 — Head coaches the last five years. Charlie Wiggins’ last season was 2008, and then Josh Sellers lasted three years (9-22) before giving way to Fant, a former offensive coordinator at Boyd-Buchanan and Ringgold under Robert Akins.

Recent history

They opened with a season-high 61 points and followed with another victory for the school’s first 2-0 start since the 2005 team that went 13-1. They stubbed their toe the following week, however, and limped into the postseason with a 5-5 record before being eliminated in the first playoff week. Here’s a look at the regular-season win total for the last five years:

Season

2011 —————(5)

2010 —(1)

2009 ———(3)

2008 ————(4)

2007 —————(5)

2011 stats leaders

RUSHING Att Yards Avg TD

Shaqualm McCoy 147 1226 8.3 15

*Taylor Bankston 23 174 7.6 1

*Kareem Orr 19 146 7.7 1

*Josh Deocampo 21 138 6.6 3

PASSING Comp-Att Yards Int TD

Josh Moore 124-215 1941 6 25

RECEIVING Att Yards Avg TD

Matt Reilly 56 1240 22.1 20

*Kareem Orr 22 251 11.4 2

*Josh Deocampo 13 93 7.1 1

TACKLES Solo Assists Total

*Taylor Bankston 124 77 162.5

Matt Reilly 80 43 101.5

*Christian San Miguel 53 44 78.5

*returning player

Schedule

Aug. 17 Grace Academy

Aug. 24 McMinn Central

Aug. 31 at Chattanooga Christian*, 7

Sept. 14 Bledsoe County*, 8

Sept. 21 at Lookout Valley

Sept. 28 Signal Mountain*, 7

Oct. 12 at Sequatchie County*, 8

Oct. 19 at Whitwell

Oct. 26 Grundy County*, 8

*District 7-AA game

Games start at 7:30 Eastern except where noted.

Roster

1 Kareem Orr Sophomore

2 Josh Deocampo Senior

3 Josh Russell Sophomore

4 Jared Andrews Sophomore

5 Ricky Ballard Freshman

6 Auston Banks Sophomore

7 Tim Barnes Senior

8 Nick Chambers Senior

9 Chris Hornsby Sophomore

10 Nicholas Coronis Senior

11 Clay Heltzel Junior

12 Taylor Bankston Senior

13 Christian San Miguel Senior

14 Tanner Webb Sophomore

15 Alex Darris Freshman

16 Anthony Flemister Sophomore

17 Addison Hutton Freshman

18 Thomas Carter Jr. Junior

19 Will DeBarge Senior

20 J.R. Davis Freshman

21 Sam Cromer Senior

22 Brandon Harris Junior

23 Allan Dunlay Freshman

24 Grayson Bruce Freshman

26 Cal Burton Sophomore

28 Zack Davis Freshman

30 Aaron Marini Freshman

32 Michael Flynn Sophomore

42 Michael Quatrano Freshman

43 John Janciewicz Senior

44 Keeley Green Sophomore

45 Tyler Enos Freshman

51 Grayson Hargett Senior

52 Nick Grannon Freshman

53 John Quatrano Senior

54 Robert Kidwell Junior

55 Joe Dossett Sophomore

56 Robert Murphy Freshman

60 Tony Marini Senior

61 Hunter Stolpmann Sophomore

64 Christian Captain Sophomore

66 Michael Hutton Freshman

67 Joel Dossett Sophomore

70 Hunter Whiting Sophomore

75 T.J. Thompson Junior

77 Jacob Harrod Sophomore

80 Jocorey Elston Sophomore

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