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Know The Opponent: Notre Dame

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NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first of Burnt Orange Nation’s season opponent previews. Thanks to Joshua Vowles of One Foot Down for the great information.

Texas V Notre Dame

There are many important things that I'm sure Texas Longhorn fans want to know about this years version of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The thing is, Longhorn fans will need to get in line behind Notre Dame fans, because there are many things we aren't 100% positive about.

With that said, there are a few nuggets that should interest the faithful...

Quarterback Heart Attack

Remember that dope Notre Dame quarterback that torched the Longhorn defense last year? That was Malik Zaire, and he's probably not going to start against Texas this year. Instead, look out for another Ohio native, DeShone Kizer.

Being very aware of the Texas quarterback struggle over the last few years, I'm trying to put this as delicately as possible... Notre Dame has two quarterbacks that would start on day one in Austin. This is a delight to us and a huge problem for you.

Best offensive line in the country?

The Irish offensive line has been named as the best group in the country by Pro Football Focus, but perhaps we need to pump the brakes a bit first. It's true that this unit looks to be as solid of an offensive line that there is in the nation, but Notre Dame is also replacing three starters from last year. That could be good news for Texas in the first game of the season as the unit will still need time to become cohesive.

Where's that dude?

I'm not going to pretend to think that you need to be told about the skill position players that Notre Dame lost on offense. Two of the most explosive players in college football during the 2015 season will now play on Sundays. Will Fuller and CJ Prosise provided a dynamic duo in terms of instant "going yard" effectiveness. Notre Dame replaces Promise with the original starter from last year in Tarean Folston (injured almost immediately in last years game) and has developed Josh Adams as another home run hitter. Adams, had his first two touchdowns of his career against the Horns as a freshman last year, and hold the Notre Dame record for longest touchdown run EVER.

Notre Dame is also well stocked at wide receiver. Texas native Tori Hunter Jr. is great athlete coming into his own as a receiver and two other Irish speedsters Corey Holmes and Equanimous St. Brown (you know you love the name) are also ready for that step towards superstardom.

The defense will have a much harder time replacing Butkus Award winner Jaylon Smith as well as defensive tackle Sheldon Day and cornerback KeiVarae Russell. However... some Irish fans remain hopeful that a strong unit well-versed in Brian VanGorder's aggressive blitz package scheme, will be formidable against any and all competition.

Some final nuggets...

Notre Dame is right on the edge of becoming a REAL national power again. Brian Kelly has steadied a ship that has been getting tossed about in the storm that is college football. Kelly's teams have been consistently good over the years, but they have also been ravaged with injuries that have held the Irish back by providing a loss here and there almost entirely from a lack of bodies. While drawing Notre Dame as the first game of the season means that Texas will probably get the most healthy Notre Dame team this season, the Irish have struggled to win (not necessarily struggled with their play) true road games. This game will have the eyes of the entire nation on it, and Notre Dame will be ready to showcase what they have in store for 2016. Can Texas match? That is a great question that I can't wait to see answered.