EXCLUSIVE: Brady Quinn Breaks Down What Michigan Can Expect From Notre Dame

EXCLUSIVE: Brady Quinn Breaks Down What Michigan Can Expect From Notre Dame

Football

EXCLUSIVE: Brady Quinn Breaks Down What Michigan Can Expect From Notre Dame

CHICAGO — Football season is one month away. It won’t be long before Michigan takes the field against Notre Dame under the lights on September 1.

But what do we really know about this matchup against the Fighting Irish?

Considering that the rivalry has been on hiatus the past three years, there isn’t the familiarity there was previously. But you know who is still very familiar with the Notre Dame roster?

Former Irish QB and current FOX Sports color analyst Brady Quinn.

In a WolverinesWire exclusive interview, Quinn broke down his expectations of Notre Dame heading into the Michigan game, and what Wolverines fans can expect to see out of the Fighting Irish in Week One.

“The biggest thing (Notre Dame needs) to improve from last year is their passing game,” Quinn said. “And that is still being decided right now. There’s the quarterback competition between Brandon Wimbush and (Ian) Book. And whoever comes out of that, there’s going to be a little more pressure on their shoulders, because Josh Adams moved onto the NFL. Dexter Williams is back, and they’ve got some depth there at running back. But no one with the same kind of proven ability that we’ve seen really do it at a high level in the backfield returning. So, that’s the first thing: there’s going to be more pressure on whatever quarterback that is. The running game is not proven like it was before.

“McGlinchey, Nelson – the left tackle and left guard that both went in the top ten of this year’s first round in the NFL Draft – those guys are gone. So, the interior offensive line should be really good. It’s the edges that are more concerns and probably more left tackle, considering that’s been the cornerstone of their offensive line, when McGlinchey was there, really, that left side – the blind-side – with Nelson on that side, too. With (Robert) Hainsey moving over to right tackle, they should be fine. And (Liam) Eichenberg is who’s going to be slated – I think right now – at left tackle. And that could be a problem spot, right? Especially when you’ve got a guy like Rashan Gary who’s on your defensive line. And then Chase Winovich on the other side. It’s not like you can just focus on one side. You’ve got two guys you’ve got to worry about, Week One.

“Their wide receivers are going to be tough for Michigan to match up with – not so much because of speed, but because of size. Miles Boykin – 6-foot-4, 230-pounds. Chase Claypool’s about the same size. Alize Mack, the tight end – he’s got a lot of size and athleticism, too. He’s like 6-5, 250-pounds. So, those are tough matchups, I think, even for the best cornerbacks, because unless you’re Richard Sherman, and you’ve got that 6-foot-2 frame, the ability to leap and still make plays on the football, it becomes tough then. When you’re not one of those taller, lankier cornerbacks or even safeties that’s that good in coverage. That’s something they’re going to have to look out for.

“From the Notre Dame defense, they should be improved upon last year, even though they missed some pieces. But they’ve got guys like (Jerry) Tillery coming back on the defensive front. Daelin Hayes is kind of poised for a breakout year as far as rushing the passer. And then, you look at the secondary – a lot of depth. You go through the two-deep on their defense: a lot of experience, guys returning that are juniors or seniors, upperclassmen. So, there’s not going to be any gimmes. There’s not going to be any busted coverages. Mike Elko left, went to Texas A&M, but Clark Lee, who was there last year as well, he’s taken over as far as defensive play calling. They’re going to be on the same page. Those guys should be a very disciplined group that they’re going to have to go up against.”

While we might not agree that Michigan’s cornerbacks will be at a disadvantage against Notre Dame’s receivers, he does make a good point about the size advantage they will have — which does pose an interesting matchup issue.

Looking towards where he thinks there are matchup problems on the Notre Dame side of the ball — with the exception of what he already mentioned with Michigan’s defensive line being in an advantageous position — Quinn broke down where he sees the Wolverines standing out, and why the Irish could have a difficult time with Michigan’s passing attack.

“I think, again, you look at some of the playmaking ability on the outside at Michigan, I don’t think anybody feels comfortable when you got a guy like Donovan Peoples-Jones, with that sort of size and ability, matching up against him,” Quinn said. “I think if you’re going to compare the cornerbacks at Michigan right now and Notre Dame, the ones at Michigan are more proven. Don Brown’s defense is more proven. There would be a slight edge towards Michigan, if we’re just being completely objective about it. That’s one of the things.

“But it should be a really interesting matchup. It really should be. Because there’s going to be growing pains that Shea Patterson goes through, right? That the entire offense goes through when you’ve got Warinner and McElwain and different guys now calling the plays. And it’s Week One, so you can’t really afford to make those mistakes. And Brandon Wimbush has more experience if he ends up being the guy. I think he will be, just because he adds that element of – he can hurt you with his legs.

“I know I’m not exactly giving you an advantage for Michigan so much, but for me, it’s a pretty even matchup. I think one thing to keep an eye on is with the youth – or, I should say, inexperience on the offensive line for Michigan, one of the troubles for Notre Dame last year was getting pressure with rushing four. That’s something I’m going to keep an eye on is how often Clark Lee has to bring pressure to get pressure on Shea Patterson and how does that offensive line hold up in that first game, with a lot of inexperienced guys working together versus that Notre Dame defensive front.”

The Wolverines and Fighting Irish will kick of their Week One contest, renewing their rivalry, at Notre Dame Stadium on September 1 at 7:30PM.

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