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AUGUST 26, 2023 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. Navy Midshipmen (Aviva Stadium - Dublin, Ireland)

Updated: Sep 11, 2023


Welcome to the 2023 Notre Dame football season predictions by yours truly, me!! Irish eyes seem to be smiling (at least at this time when the Irish remain undefeated).

And the 2023 optimism seems focused on the Quarterback Room.Gone are the QB Coach and Offensive Coordinator Tommy Rees (To hear some purported Irish Fans, Rees was offensive as the Offensive Coordinator!) and QBs, Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner.Tommy and Tyler both to Alabama and Drew to Arizona State.Current depth chart projections for the Crimson Tide and the Sun Devils do not include Tyler or Drew at #1.But what do Irish fans care about those QB depth charts when the Irish QB depth chart is headed by Sam Hartman, a Grad transfer from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.


For those of you reading this piece in the second half century of your existence, you may recall the 1970’s Norman Lear television series, soap opera genre spoof, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”. Unable to sell it to any of the then three networks, ABC, CBS, or NBC, the series went into syndication, and was often aired late at night after the local news shows.

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” centered on the life of a Fernwood, Ohio, housewife who experienced a veritable plethora of odd happenings, such as her daughter being abducted and held hostage, her neighbors being killed in a mass murder in which their goats and chickens were also killed leading Mary to say “who would kill two goats and eight chickens”, and, of course, as an afterthought “. . . people?”, her best friend’s husband being shot in the groin and receiving a testicle implant, another friend’s husband dying after being impaled on a Christmas tree stored in a closet, an 8-year old television evangelist, Jimmy Joe Jeeter, being electrocuted when a television fell into his bathtub, the Fernwood High School basketball coach drowning in a bowl of chicken soup Mary made for him to fight a cold while Mary and the Coach’s wife were oblivious to the fact his face fell into his bowl of soup when he passed out after drinking a wee bit too much beer, Mary’s 83-year old grandfather being discovered as the Fernwood Flasher, and Mary’s continual obsession concerning the yellow waxy buildup on her kitchen floor!

Many of our loyal readers will recall the televised Vice-Presidential debate when Senator Lloyd Bentsen scolded his younger opponent, Senator Dan Quayle after Dan compared his government experience to that of a young Senator John F. Kennedy prior to JFK’s election to the Presidency. Lloyd confronted Dan with, “I knew John Kennedy, and you are no John Kennedy!”

Paraphrasing Lloyd, I can assert unequivocally “Sam Hartman is no Mary Hartman!” Thank Goodness!!

Moreover, I can also as readily assert, “Sam Hatman is no Drew Pyne!” As well as “Sam Hartman is no Tyler Buchner!

Sam’s transfer to Notre Dame through the NCAA’s Transfer Portal from Wake Forest was by a very confident, skilled QB. Sam brought with him 110 TD passes with only 41 interceptions, 17 rushing TDs, a career completion percentage of 63.1%, and a career QB rating of 144.9.

Notre Dame may not recruit the #1 ranked high school recruit each year (or any year for that matter), but without question won the 2022-2023 Transfer Portal Sweepstakes.

Is there any reason not to recognize Sam as the #1 2022-2023 Transfer Portal Football player? No one else is even close. And, Sam quickly earned the respect of his new Notre Dame teammates and Coaches as he has been named one of four Captains of the 2023 Irish Football Team. That will make 4 seasons Sam has been a Captain of his football teams at Wake Forest and now at Notre Dame.

Sam the Man!


Oops! That is not “Sam the Man”, but “Stan the Man”. Sorry!

Here is Sam the Man:


For those of you who “take off” following Notre Dame football from January through mid-August, and are watching the Irish offense take the field against Navy only to find #10 at QB, do not despair, it is not former QB Drew Pyne. It is new QB Sam Hartman.

As for Sam’s offensive weapons, he has a “Five Card Poker Hand” of Stud RBs headed by Audric Estime (#7). I estimate you would not want to tackle this 5’ 11 1/2”, 233 lb. behemoth, would you?


Defenders will feel the pain not only when trying to stop Audric, but also Ji’Bran Payne (#3) and will pay the price with Jadarian Price (#24). Devyn Ford (#22) will make defenders believe they were trying to stop a Ford F-150 rather than a Devyn Ford. When all of that pounding has occurred, Sam can prove there is love in the RB room by calling on true Freshman Jeremiyah Love (#12) who is the fastest of them all!! Wooosh!!

But, of course, Sam did not come to lead the Irish simply to place the pigskin in the hands of the RBs. Nope, it was to place the pigskin in the hands of the receivers where only the receivers can catch it. And who might they be?

Well, Jayden Thomas (#83), Tobias Merriweather (#5) and Chris Tyree (#2) will be the first three. For others, let’s do a little history about ND football. Pick a year. Any year!

Okay 1917 is the picked year.That Irish near juggernaut went 6-1-1 for Head Coach Jesse Harper.That year will resonate with Sam as he targets true Freshman wide receivers in Jaden Greathouse (#19)


and Rico Flores, Jr. (#17)


Did someone say 1917?

And what do these numbers mean?

76-78-52-50-54

No, these are not numbers called out by the Bingo coordinator on your next cruise!! Irish fans everywhere want those numbers to represent the uniform numbers of the best O-line in college football. Just one photo at this time but he is the best of the best. Left Tackle Joe Alt (#76):


C-Correll

LG-Coogan - RG-Spindler

LT-Alt-------------RT-Fisher

Returning readers will recall your author really got a kick out of Blake Grupe (#99), the diminutive 2022 Irish placekicker who scored early and often for the 2022 Irish. The littlest guy with the biggest number will be missed but not be forgotten, and must be replaced. Another dip into the Transfer Portal for Blake’s replacement brings us Spencer Schrader (#32) from the University of South Florida Bulls. The Irish-Tennessee State game one week hence will not be Spencer’s first appearance in Notre Dame Stadium, as he performed “so to speak” as the Bulls placekicker when the Bulls ventured to South Bend in 2020 only to be shut out 52-0. (Irish fans will rather forget the Bulls 2011 trip to Notre Dame Stadium in a game interrupted by long delays due to dangerous weather.)

Despite Blake Grupe’s graduation, there will still be a #99 performing for the Irish against the Middies in Dublin. Not so diminutive D Tackle Rylie Mills (#99) will be a force in the middle. Such a force that he will soon be known as “General Mills”. (While Rylie may have eaten his Wheaties on a regular basis, he will not be not a cereal tycoon.)

Notre Dame must not enter this contest over confident. In 2022, the Irish led Navy 34-10 at the half. The final score was 34-32!! Instrumental in that second half Navy comeback was the Navy defense which produced a 3 & out, another 3 & out, and an interception for the first three Irish second half possessions. The Middies return 9 (YES NINE!!) starters on defense, a defense that limited the Irish to only 66 rushing yards in 2022, and limited the entire Irish offense to only 12 yards total in the second half of the 2022 game.

Also instrumental in the 2022 Irish/Navy game was Navy Fullback, Daba Fofana (#46) who gashed the Irish D for 133 yards (NOTE: MORE THAN DOUBLE THE IRISH RUSHING YARDS THAT GAME!!) on only 15 carries and one TD. Irish fans certainly will remember Fred Flintstone, from the town of Bedrock and a place right out of history. Irish fans will also remember Fred and his friend Barney Rubble were members of the Grand Order of the Water Buffaloes, and Fred was fond of saying “Yabba Dabba Doo”. Well, 2023 will see no repeat of 2022 by Fofana as there will be a “Yaba Daba Don’t”.

Navy’s Head Coach is Brian Newberry who will be coaching his first game as a Head Coach. He was the Navy D Coordinator for the last 4 years under former Head Coach, Ken Niumatalolo, who engineered 4 victories over the Irish during his 15 years at the helm of the Middies, a more than 25% winning percentage against the Irish following the Irish string of 43 consecutive wins over the Middies!

Newberry is expected to stay with the Navy Triple Option offense but with added passing, particularly short, quick passes, being employed. But, unfortunately for the Middies, one of their best receivers is Nathan Kent (#82). Kent is out for the Irish Game. I guess not every Kent is superman!!

Uncertainty reigns supreme at QB for the Navy. Expected to start against Notre Dame in Dublin is Tai Lavatai (#1) who is returning from a 2022 injury. Sophomore Blake Horvath (#11) is also expected to see plenty of action at QB. There is, of course, the adage that says if a team is playing 2 QB’s, it is because the team really has no #1 QB. Uniformly speaking, even with #1 and #11, it says here Navy has no #1 QB.

Meanwhile, in preparation to face the Triple Option, the Irish scout team when running the expected Navy offense was led by Chase Ketterer, a walk-on RB who ran the Triple Option as a high school QB. If the Irish D rises to the occasion, might a “Game Ball” be in line for young Mr. Ketterer?

It says here that Sam will pass for at least 3 TDs and Audric will rumble for 2 TDs.

“Estimated Estime arrival in end zone is sooner rather than later.”

With all of that being said, look for Irish Eyes to be smilin’, not only throughout America, but also throughout the Emerald Isle, as the lads tend to more than a “Doublin’ in Dublin” against the Middies to the tune of:

Notre Dame 54

Midshipmen 13

GO IRISH!!


Here are your Irish Trivia Questions for this week.


1. Notre Dame prides itself on affording its students an opportunity to study abroad during their undergraduate careers. The 2023 Irish football team is being afforded an opportunity to play one of its football games abroad. This will be the third time the Irish have played a football game in Ireland. But Ireland is not the only place the Irish have played a football game abroad. How many other Irish football games have been played abroad? Where was/were the game(s)? Who won the game(s)? Who did the Irish play in the game(s)?

2. Which of these players won the Heisman Trophy while playing for the Irish or Middies? Wayne Hardin, Knute Rockne, Roger Staubach, Johnny Lujack, Rick Forzano, Doc Blanchard, Joe Theismann, Joe Bellino, Tim Brown, David Robinson, Leon Hart.

3. Can you name the brothers, one of whom captained the Navy football team and later became the Superintendent of the Naval Academy and the other of whom captained the Notre Dame football team later winning a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs?


And, of course, our hearts forever . . .

. . . Love, thee Notre Dame!

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