Notre Dame's defense needs to show improvement

Notre Dame's offense impressed last season under Charlie Weis. But for the Irish to take the next step, the defense must improve.

Updated: March 7, 2006, 4:42 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to ESPN.com
Spring practice breeds both optimism and unease. At Notre Dame, those sentiments apply to either side of the line of scrimmage.

On the offensive side, the Irish still have their brain, coach Charlie Weis, whose elaborate NFL system transferred seamlessly to the college level in one season. They also have their body, Brady Quinn, who bought into Weis' system and restored respectability to the quarterback position at Notre Dame.

Add studs such as wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, running back Darius Walker and a healthy WR Rhema McKnight, and the Irish offense could break all those records it set in 2005.