Notre Dame's base defense will remain the 3-4, coach Brian Kelly said Friday following some rumblings about a switch to the 4-3. But, as was the case under former defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, Notre Dame and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will use four down linemen on about half of its defensive snaps.
What Notre Dame has personnel-wise and what type of offense it'll face will determine how the 3-4/4-3 split materializes. The challenge there is replacing Louis Nix, who proved to be an ideal nose guard in a 3-4 defense, as well as 322-pound end Stephon Tuitt. But Kelly feels comfortable with the size of his linemen to run a 3-4, starting with Jarron Jones and Tony Springmann at nose guard.
"I think those guys would certainly be in the picture to play there," Kelly said. "When you're talking about the 3-4 defense you need size and we have recruited some guys that we feel like are going to address some of those needs as well. Those two are certainly where you're going to start."