Millions of words have been written and spoken about it. A 10-2 season, that included a berth in the College football playoff and a pandemic, guarantees that 2020 will not soon be forgotten.

  • Conference affiliation!
  • Quarantines, vaccines, social distancing and contact tracing (oh my)!
  • Canceled games,
  • and a reshuffled schedule!
  • Limited attendance and no tailgating!
  • A win over number 1 ranked Clemson!
  • 10 straight victories to start things off and
  • 2 losses to end it.

But now Owusu Koramoah, Liam Eichenberg, Tommy Tremble, Ian Book and 10 others have ridden off into the NFL sunset. That talented core group posted an impressive ledger mark of 43 wins and -8 losses over four seasons.

In fact, that kind of eye-popping accomplishment has the 2021 Irish on the spot as they look to prove that the last four years was not just a temporary phenomena. Indeed, this year’s “hypothesis” that the Irish are out to prove is that Notre Dame football is now a program that can be counted on to remain among the nation’s elite no matter how much talent drains from season to season.

So in the last few months Brian Kelly has been playing “mad scientist”, as he looks for another winning formula.

Up the depth chart have moved key ingredients. Isiah Foskey, Lawrence Keys, Braden Lenzy, Kevin Austin, Tariq Bracy, Zeke Correll, Jack Kiser, Bo Bauer and Houston Griffin, will all be counted on to take their games to new levels.

Also mixed in have been carefully calculated measures of newcomers like freshman left tackle Blake Fisher, Quarterback Jack Coan, defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman and a “dumptruck”, grad transfer; Cain Madden.

And as with any experiment, there are the control variables. Dr. Kelly is happy to welcome back, proven veterans like Kyren Williams, Chris Tyree, Avery Davis, Michael Mayer, Jarrett Patterson, Kyle Hamilton, Kurt Hinish, Drew White and Myron Tagliovoa- Amosa.

For certain, plenty of intriguing elements will make up the 2021 Irish, but there are many unknowns and few sure things.

And counted on to pull it all together will be the longest tenured head Coach at ND since Knute Rockne. In fact, with 4 more wins Brian Kelly will become the all time winningest ND head coach.

The first results of the Fighting Irish season 133 experiment will be revealed this week against a historically great but most recently down program at Florida State. At a special time and on a special date, the Irish kickoff a new season, with the new “formula” will be revealed on Labor Day weekend Sunday, during prime time.

And “Dr.” Kelly’s grand experiment will move from theory into observation, with cautious hopes of a grand conclusion.

By Phil Houk

For 25 years, bringing you the glory of Notre Dame football.

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