If it looks like Notre Dame’s defense is bigger than seasons past, it’s because it is. Consider that the projected starting 2011 defense, even with one less defensive lineman, is 205 pounds heavier than the 2006 defense. (Numbers courtesy of JRT)

2011 (3-4 alignment) 2006 (4-3 alignment)
Louis Nix, 345 Trevor Laws, 283
Ethan Johnson, 300 Derek Landri, 277
Kapron Lewis-Moore, 295 Victor Abiamiri, 270
Darius Fleming, 250 Chris Frome, 262
Prince Shembo, 250 Joe Brockington, 220
Manti Te’o 255 Maurice Crum, 220
Carlo Calabrese, 245 Travis Thomas, 209
Zeke Motta, 215 Chinedum Ndukwe 210
Harrison Smith, 214 Tommy Zbikowski, 210
Robert Blanton, 196 Ambrose Wooden, 193
Gary Gray, 195 Mike Richardson, 188

Total: 2,755 lbs. Total: 2,550 lbs.

If you’re looking for a reason to believe that the Irish can play dominant defense, here it is. Three NFL sized defensive linemen? Check. Big, strong, physical linebackers? Yep. In the past, it was the front-seven of the Irish defense that didn’t physically stack up. Not anymore.

This was always a thing when it came to Weis. The players graduating, going into the draft ALWAYS were too light or not strong enough. It's nice to see this. I was skeptical going into last season but now I'm excited.