What's on your minds?
Jon from Boston writes: Hi, Matt -- great job covering the team! My question involves the hurry-up offense. When will we see the speed and tempo to this offense that had everyone expected when Kelly took the job? It's Year 4 and I would expect it by now to have taken on a more uptempo pace! If you remember the game against Maryland two years ago, I thought the Irish played uptempo that whole game and with Rees under center. ... Is Kelly just holding back and can we expect to see a faster run offense against Michigan? Go Irish!
Matt Fortuna: Thanks, Jon. I think we would have seen more of it had Everett Golson returned this year, as he was a true Kelly recruit at quarterback and a guy the staff had really invested in as its quarterback of the future. That Maryland game was a good example, but, let's face it, that was a Maryland team that went 2-10 and finished 108th nationally in total defense. So we cannot expect it to be as simple against the USCs and Stanfords of the world.
Chris Ladner from Raleigh, N.C., writes: Matt, I keep seeing the experts pick U-M to win this game. Looking back at the last three years, ND has dominated except for silly mistakes (i.e. 2011). I believe Kelly has this team focused and will play almost mistake-free football (and finally win going away). Tell me why I am wrong?
Matt Fortuna: Chris, I do think if one team can win going away, it is Notre Dame. It simply has more bodies and experience on both sides of the lines. But if there is one thing I have learned about this matchup over the last four years, it is to throw logic out the window. Michigan is at home, the Big House has its second night game, the Wolverines have a bit of a chip on their shoulders from the Irish breaking the series off with them ... I just have a feeling that the bounces will go Michigan's way Saturday night.
Scott from Chicago writes: Matt, I've written several times the last month or two and I appreciate all the responses. One thing though, that I'd really like to see some digging on, is: This was game 1, I get it, so the staff was using it to sort through some depth chart things, specifically WRs and even more RBs. the amount of talent the Irish have is impressive. However they can't, I repeat CAN'T continue to play that many bodies in and out. No running back had even a window of chance to get in a zone/groove or feel for the game. I know part of it is balancing "promises" to young recruits, no redshirting (that's an assumption) and on the outside looking in, it just seems like the staff is almost afraid to leave one of these horses out of the rotation in fear of another transfer. I an appreciate depth, and as a pretty savvy guy as far as football IQ, I just don't see how this much of a rotation is gonna work. Like to hear your thoughts, or ask that you dig on that topic with BK this week in press conferences. Thanks for everything you do to keep us Domer fans in the loop! On a side note, my opinion: Depth chart as far as touches in Game 2 has to be: Amir, Bryant (if he knows playbook), Atkinson III, McDaniel, since redshirting Folston obviously wasn't a consideration. ... Sorry, a bit wordy....
Matt Fortuna: Thanks, Scott. Sorting out a rotation won't get any easier this weekend with Will Mahone back in the mix of things, too. I don't see much of a problem playing all of these guys right now, especially since none has a ton of between-the-tackles experience, and I doubt transfers are in the back of the staff's mind, either. I think Bryant could end up being the best long-term, but he's got a climb ahead of him, especially if, as you said, Carlisle proves to be as big of a playmaker the rest of the season as Week 1 indicated he could be.