Matt Cashore /

Status Report: Irish Offensive Backfield

The first in a series of mid-season evaluations examines Notre Dame’s roster with a look at each individual’s status entering the bye week. Is he ascending? Has he stagnated? Or did he take a step back since the conclusion of training camp.

QB DeShone Kizer: Was lights out over the first five contests but has scuffled of late including a temporary second half benching in Saturday’s loss to Stanford. Kizer has thrown for 14 touchdowns (vs. 7 interceptions) while running for another seven scores. He’s completed 58.1 percent of his throws though a 9-for-26 passing day in Hurricane Matthew did not help (61.5 percent removing that contest with no change in his touchdown total.)
Status: Stagnant in the aggregate; multiple steps back of late

QB Malik Zaire: Has struggled mightily in a backup role, one for which he clearly is not mentally suited. Zaire has not shown well in competitive game action (Texas for a half; Stanford for about a quarter) though did move the Irish offense vs. Nevada after the outcome had been decided.
Status: A step back. At least…

QB Brandon Wimbush: It’s all going according to plan for Notre Dame’s future starter – well, other than the 2-5 mark that currently accompanies his planned sophomore season redshirt.
Status: Ascending. Why not? At the rate this season’s going, change is plausible from top to bottom entering 2017.

QB Ian Book: Planned redshirt remains intact, and barring injuries to Kizer and Zaire, Book will enter 2017 a year behind Wimbush (3 yrs. vs. 4) in terms of collegiate eligibility.
Status: N/A

RB Josh Adams: Has 30 carries for 208 yards in two Irish wins (6.9 per carry) vs. 59 carries for 208 yards (3.5 per) in five defeats. Adams’ longest rushes in five defeats are as follows: 10, 7, 12, 12, and 7 yards.
Status: A step back. Adams does not appear fully healthy

RB Tarean Folston: Looked better vs. Stanford than he had at any point prior, an outing, not coincidentally after the senior had been out of the lineup for two weeks due to an ankle injury. A fresh Folston could buoy a dead-in-the-water running game going forward.
Status: A step back, but suddenly hope springs eternal

RB Dexter Williams: Did not carry the ball in losses to Texas and Michigan State but nonetheless has scored more touchdowns via the rush (3) than Adams and Folston combined (2). Has averaged 6.5 yards per rush on just 27 carries.
Status: Stagnant, and that’s the problem. Free Dexter Williams!

RB Josh Anderson: Former walk-on notched a four-yard gain against Nevada, the first gain of his collegiate career.  
Status: N/A – graduate student has aided the Irish practice field for the better part of five seasons.

RB Justin Brent: Has not played this season after undergoing LisFranc (foot) surgery in the summer. Brent redshirted in 2015 (non-medical, it is believed) after playing in nine games as a 2014 freshman, mostly on special teams.
Status: Stagnant. If a tree falls in the woods… Top Stories