Notre Dame is 2-1 and even though coach Charlie Weis has recruited what every recruiting service has declared are several top 10 classes in a row, most of the blue-chip prospects--with the exception of Jimmy Clausen and Michael Floyd--haven't distinguished themselves or demonstrated much development in the Irish system.
How badly has all of this affected Weis' program?
Up to now, not much. His recruiting class for 2010 is rated among the top 10 to 15 in the nation by every recruiting service. It includes Christian Lombard of Fremd, one of the nation's leading offensive linemen, and quarterback Tommy Rees of Lake Forest.
But there are concerns. While the offense has played well, the defense is hurting.
Offensively, as long as Clausen remains healthy, Notre Dame is a force. Golden Tate, Armando Allen and Kyle Rudolph are big-time players. The offensive line has allowed only one sack in three games.
But the defense...well, safety Kyle McCarthy has been the only standout. No. 28, the one who made the game-saving interceptions against Michigan State. He is an overachiever. He wasn't rated a high school All-American by me or anyone else.
The Irish have All-Americans on defense but they haven't been developed. Sophomore Darius Fleming of St. Rita is starting to look like the All-American he is supposed to be. The defense isn't struggling for lack of talent. Several defenders were recruited by all of the elite programs in the country. The talent is there but the coaching staff hasn't found a way to put them together.
The main problem is there is no punch in the defensive line. Opponents aren't scared by the Irish defensive front. One starting defensive lineman didn't record a single tackle in the first two games.
So Notre Dame's problems start with the defensive line. It is the one position that Weis and his staff haven't recruited an All-American with the exception of Ethan Johnson.