By Kavin Caruso
The 2011 Notre Dame Fighting Irish is predicted to play in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State Cowboys. Well that's what the USA Today College Football magazine predicted. Dayne Crist who is a senior will be hoping to have a healthy season. He missed part of the season last year due to a season-ending knee injury.
Notre Dame will have running backs Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray, wide receiver Michael Floyd, if he is back with the team, and Theo Riddick. Micheal Floyd was suspended for DUI last year, coach Brian Kelly will have his hands full in dealing with Michael's charges.
Back up quarterback Tommy Rees who went 4-0 when Dayne Crist was injured will take over the duties if Crist does get injured again. He played some good games last year, Notre Dame thought their season was down the drain; but Tommy Rees went undefeated and guided Notre Dame to the Sun Bowl. Notre Dame went 8-5 last season, when Dayne Crist got injured they were 4-5.
The Notre Dame defense will have 8 returning players, they run a 3-4 defense; they will be led by junior linebacker Manti Te'O. He had 133 tackles last season. If the defense plays well this year, watch out! Notre Dame will do something special. On the special teams, they will have kicker David Ruffer and punter Ben Turk. Last season Ruffer made 19 out 20 field goals.
They start the season at home on September 3rd against South Florida. South Florida is another team that is predicted to have a great season this year. Notre Dame will be 2nd year head coach Brian Kelly.
So if South Florida Bulls surprises the Fighting Irish on September 3rd, the Fighting Irish might have a long season. Notre Dame goes to Ann Arbor to face Michigan the following week. Notre Dame's schedule is a little brutal in the first few weeks of the season.