Chat Transcript: Taking deep dives and splashing around in Notre Dame's biggest questions
Eric Hansen: Welcome to Notre Dame Football Live Chat for Aug. 15, 2019.
Eric Hansen: A full transcript will be available at ndinsider.com later this afternoon. Please include your NAME and HOMETOWN with your questions. 40-time is optional. Let's get to the questions.
Stan from Chester,Va.: If you haven't won the national sportswriter of the year award, there is no justice. Thanks for your insight. Now that you have had more visits to practice, do you see the team coming together into one that can be expected to compete for the national championship, or are there still areas of concern, i.e. linebacker and wide receivers?
Eric Hansen: Stan, if you aren't an agent already will you be mine? ... I do not see a national championship contender when I watch practice at this juncture. I do see elements of one. The good news is I see a team capable of pushing toward a higher ceiling. The tricky part is how much and how soon? I don't think wide receiver is a concern, provided Chase Claypool stays healthy. And this team needs good luck with health at most position groups. The cornerback situation is starting to look more promising. My biggest questions remain with the linebackers and special teams, and to a lesser extent how the starting interior linemen will hold up.
Michael from Chicago:If Derrik Allen’s decision to transfer had happened in the spring or summer do you think ND would have encouraged someone to stay that departed (e.g. Devin Studstill) or taken a grad transfer?
Eric Hansen: I don't think the staff would have gone either of those directions. You have two very strong starters, and Studstill wasn't a schematic fit once Brian VanGorder left as defensive coordinator, even though Studstill was a good teammate. The only thing that might have changed is either looking at someone like WR Cam Hart as a backup or auditioning one of the corners, perhaps Houston Griffith.
Steve from Pittsburgh, Pa.: Eric, I hope you're well and enjoying what's left of your summer! One of, if not the biggest, area of concern for me heading into the season was special teams, specifically the punter and place-kicker. It's never easy replacing two highly experienced veterans, and Jay Bramblett's and Jonathan Doerer's questionable spring did nothing to quell these concerns. Coach Kelly has had a lot of positive things to say about their development so far during camp. What is your independent analysis? Is there reason for optimism, as coach suggests?
Eric Hansen: Steve, thanks. I think Jay Bramblett does look more comfortable, more consistent and stronger than he did in the spring. His hang time is good. His distance is acceptable. Kelly thinks the bright lights won't bother him, and I wouldn't argue with that. Tyler Newsome had a stronger leg. I'm eager to see how good Bramblett is with placement. Newsome's weakness was not being able to pin opponents inside the 10. As far as the place-kickers, it looks like Harrison Leonard is being tutored on getting the ball up quicker and with a higher trajectory, so expect some growing pains with that. The hope is those clear up before the season starts. Jonathan Doerer looks more fundamentally sound than before, but we won't know if that's lasting until he does it in actual games. Overall, I see progress, but I see ND going for it on fourth down more this year.
Bob Rader from Whereabouts Unknown: Will Kyle Hamilton start at safety against Louisville? Isn't that the perfect game to test a freshman?
Eric Hansen: Why wouldn't you start your starters, both of whom are senior captains — Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott? What have they done to deserve a demotion? What a terrible message to send to your team. Kyle Hamilton is good enough to carve out a key role and EARN it. He doesn't have to start to make an impact this season.
Cliff from Battle Creek, Mich.: Who's your pick for biggest surprise player on offense and defense?
Eric Hansen: By surprise, I'm assuming you mean someone who hasn't fully emerged yet. In that light, I'll go with RB Kyren Williams in a reserve role and DT Jayson Ademilola on defense. My breakout players are C Jarrett Patterson and rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but they've already emerged, so they're no longer surprises.
Megat Muzaffar from Malaysia: Hi Eric. Who is the fastest Notre Dame player ever? Was Raghib Ismail faster than Troy Pride?
Eric Hansen: Megat, thanks for the question. Ever is a long time, but I'm confident at least when it comes to documented speed, Rocket is the fastest. Of the players who have completed their eligibility in the Kelly Era, here are the six fastest:
Will Fuller WR 4.32 2016
Darrin Walls CB 4.39/4.42 2011
Bennett Jackson CB 4.40/4.51 2014
Golden Tate WR 4.42 2010
Miles Boykin WR 4.42 2019
KeiVarae Russell CB 4.43 2016
Eric Hansen: All those times were recorded at the NFL Combine, ND Pro Day or both. ... For the record, Troy Pride Jr., was recorded at 4.32 seconds this past spring as timed by the coaching/strength staff.
Kyle from Orlando Fla.: Eric, thanks for the chats!! What’s your confidence level that Donte Vaughn holds down the starting cornerback position?
Eric Hansen: I think he'll get strong challenges from TaRiq Bracy and Shaun Crawford. Bracy had a really good day last Saturday. I'm eager to see the two of them play this Saturday.
Justin from South Bend: Eric, put on your Miss Cleo hat and look into the future of the Notre Dame quarterback position. Knowing who we have now and coming in (Ian Book, Phil Jurkovec, Brendon Clark, Drew Pyne, and Tyler Buchner) who do you project as the QB who will have the most success in their time at ND? I feel like this question is just as much about the other weapons in the offense as it is about the QB. Love me some Ian Book, but whoever wins the job when Chris Tyree and Jordan Johnson are here should have a field day.
Eric Hansen: Do I get Miss Cleo's 900-line revenue if I do that? It's going to be difficult to beat Book's standard. There is so little film on Buchner, because of injury. And a year ago, I probably would have said Jurkovec. I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say Buchner edging out Book.
Steve from St. Louis: Does Allen’s scholarship go to Leonard now?
Eric Hansen: I think it depends upon what his role is. Some other candidates would be center Colin Grunhard and cornerback Temitope Agoro.
RC from Albany, N.Y.: Hi Eric. Good to be back on the chat. All in all I think TaRiq Bracy had a good freshman season, despite a tough outing at USC. I think that Julian Love indicated that TaRiq needed to bulk up to help defend against more physical receivers and against the run. It doesn’t appear that happened this offseason. What are the implications for TaRiq and the cornerback group as a whole? Thanks.
Eric Hansen: RC, thanks. TaRiq is listed at 5-10, 170 — which is at least 16 pounds lighter than any of the other cornerbacks on the roster. I do think he's stronger than last year, but not markedly so. I like his mental toughness and confidence. He needs to continue to work on strength gains. As a whole, I'm starting to like the possibilities at cornerback more than I did last spring. I still need to see more to fall "in like" with them.
Ken from Pensacola, Fla.: Eric, just wanted to say that you, Darin and Tyler James do a "great' job in covering ND football. Thanks MUCHO! GO IRISH!
Eric Hansen: Ken, thank you. You have an open invitation to our next taco bar if you're in the area.
Dan from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: What was the team's reaction to Coach Holtz's visit?
Eric Hansen: We haven't had a chance to interview the players or coach Kelly since Lou Holtz spoke to the team earlier this week. I do plan to ask about that during our media access on Saturday.
Paul from Galway, Ireland: Hey Eric, great to have the live chat back (you're the best beat writer out there) and can't wait for the season to start! How does this team compare to all the others during coach Brian Kelly's tenure? Do you get the sense that this will be one of his better teams or more of a middle of the road ? Thanks again for all your great insights.
Eric Hansen: Paul, thanks for being here and for the kind words. It must be supper time where you are. I think the offense has a chance to be the best of the BK Era. Again good health plays into that projection. Why it isn't the best TEAM at this point is the linebacker position, foremost. I like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at rover. I like the long-term potential of the linebacker group. I think if you had Te'von Coney, Drue Tranquill — and cornerback Julian Love — you might have the best team overall. But they're not back. I thought in the spring, this was a 9-3 team. My sense is when the season starts, it'll look more like a 10-2 squad. That's why I rated ND No. 9 on my AP preseason poll ballot. That would make it either the third- or fourth-best of the Kelly Era.
David from Columbus, Ohio: Eric, Your predictions for the Irish record this year? OH
Eric Hansen: 10-2.
JT from Abilene, Texas: How has Ian Book looked throwing the deep ball? Seemed like that was a glaring weakness last year.
Eric Hansen: It was a glaring weakness last year, and one he and QBs coach Tommy Rees have worked to improve. I do see improvement, marked improvement in that area. He's not elite in that area, but he's certainly adequate.
Charlie from Cabarete, Dominican Republic: When Joe Schmidt got hurt in the 2014 season, the defense fell apart. To me, this was more because of what he brought in terms of leadership and getting the defense's personnel in the right position, rather than his physical talent at the position. Everyone is talking about replacing Drue Tranquill and Te'von Coney in terms of physical production and leadership, but how much are we going to miss their ability to get the right people in the right positions? Is it important that that role comes from the linebacker position? Or am I making all of this up?
Eric Hansen: You are not imagining things, but there's one important distinction. In 2014, Notre Dame was running Brian VanGorder's scheme, which was the football equivalent of calculus. Clark Lea's scheme is much more player-friendly. It does help to have someone with deep knowledge of the entire scheme on the field at the linebacker position, which gives Asmar Bilal a boost in value. However, you have two captains at safety, two captains at defensive end who know the defense very well. The other positions don't need as much help getting lined up as they may have without all that experience. Ideally, the two starters who emerge at the two interior linebacker positions will be really good athletes who at least know the linebackers' assignments very well.
Dan from Mackinac Island, Mich.: With Allen gone, will ND have room to pick up a linebacker in 2020? Is there a good one still out there?
Eric Hansen: The Irish do pick up another spot in the 2020 class if they want to use it, but with 13 linebackers on the roster, 10 of whom have freshman or sophomore eligibility, linebacker is still not a priority. Safety was and is — big time.
Chris from Newmarket, N.H.: Hi Eric, thanks for the chats. I know at this point no one has an answer for this (including the coaches), but how do you see the linebacker derby shaking out this season, both in the short term (Louisville) and in the long term (by Michigan)? I had high hopes for Shayne Simon but don't hear his name much these days. Is he still in the mix?
Eric Hansen: Shayne Simon is still in the mix. But after going from rover to buck to middle linebacker, he's working more at buck these days. My sense is there's going to be some rotation at linebacker (unlike last year) and some situational roles as well. Big guess here, but I'll go with Drew White as middle linebacker, Asmar Bilal at buck and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah at rover ... and I may change my mind five more times before the season starts. On third down, I think White comes off the field and Jack Lamb and JOK are on the field for nickel.
Tim from Pleasant Prairie, Wis.: Good afternoon! Just wondering what your opinion is on scheduling both Wisconsin games in pro stadiums when both campuses are withing reasonable driving distances of each other for students and so many of their fans? I get the whole Shamrock Series thing, even though I'm not a big fan of it. Personally I think the games lose something that would be nice if each fan base and student population could experience a game day and the traditions on each other's historic campuses. I, for one, refuse to go even though I'm smack-dab in between both places, living in Kenosha. If I wanted to see Lambeau, I'd go to a Packers game. What are your thoughts?
Eric Hansen: Notre Dame's commitment to the Shamrock Series superseded the desire to play on the campuses. When I asked ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick about the possibility of expanding the series to four games and adding home-and-homes, this was his response:
“The available inventory is such that you would be so far out that it was better to focus on what we could do right now,” Swarbrick said.
“We would love to do that. We think getting to Madison would be great. But when you’re trying to find these windows — we did an unusual deal recently with Arkansas, where the games are split by so many years (2020 at ND, 2025 at Arkansas). Most schools don’t want to do that, so you’ve got to find two windows that are right back to back, and we don’t have a lot of those.”
In my opinion, I think the home-and-homes would make sense in a four-game series and I think the Shamrock Series is running its course, but I actually like these particular neutral-site games. When people asked me, what Shamrock Series venue I thought made the most sense, I would say Lambeau Field. I got my wish.
Paul from Lititz, Pa.: Great job with the chats. When do you think we will realistically know if Phil Jurkovec can step in and play at a high level. He seems a bit inconsistent and would love to see him do some mop-up duty and look really sharp. Can I expect to see that early on this season?
Eric Hansen: Paul, thank you. I don't know that we'd know that for sure until it happened. Even the coaching staff was surprised at how well DeShone Kizer stepped in for Malik Zaire in 2015 and kept growing by leaps and bounds each week. What I have seen since an uneven spring and a bumpy first day of training camp is real progress in Jurkovec consistently since. Still has a lot of learning ahead of him, but he doesn't appear to be pressing. He's no longer his own worst ememy.
Pat from Bordentown, N.J.: Hi Eric. Sorry for leaving off my state last week (I heard the SportsBeat podcast). Right here in Central N.J., just miles from where Charlie Weis grew up. ... Do you think Brian Kelly will keep his foot on the gas against his old friend Brian VanGorder (vs. Bowling Green) or ease up a bit if the lead is safe?
Eric Hansen: I think it would be smart to get experience for younger players and not risk injury to the starters, The Irish play USC and Michigan in the two games that follow Bowling Green. I'm not sure what pouring it on would accomplish at any level.
Jeff Brown from Oklahoma City: Eric, your friends with another outfit that cover Notre Dame have said that Book does not look like an elite QB that can lead a team to the College Football Playoff so far. More like a 9-3 QB. Still not accurate going downfield and throwing a decent amount of picks. What are your thoughts on this after seeing him as well.
Eric Hansen: I have no idea who you're referencing, so let's take that out of it and just go with my thoughts. I see an improved version of the Ian Book we saw last season. Remember, Chip Long and Brian Kelly challenged him to be more daring, so as to work through some of his shortcomings. So the interceptions don't matter as much now. They will during the season,and I think we'll see Book make good decisions during the season.
Tim from Pleasant Prairie, Wis.: Thanks Eric re: the Wisconsin home-and-home response: I understand scheduling restraints dictating available dates, by why do they dictate locations? Are both of these games considered Shamrock Series?
Eric Hansen: They are both considered that. The odd thing is Green Bay is technically ND's home game (NBC) and Chicago is technically Wisconsin's (not an NBC game). That had to be done to keep the right home/road split each season for ND. But all the other markings of a Shamrock Series game will be prevalent for both games.
Matt from St. Louis: Hi Eric, thanks for sharing your insights. I had no idea banana slugs were a school mascot. Super cool. I lived in Hawaii for a couple years, so I’d have to go with rainbow warriors. My question is about practice philosophy. What differences do you see in how the team practices now versus earlier in Kelly’s career and in comparison to other coaches? Thank you!
Eric Hansen: Earlier in Kelly's career we didn't have as much access consistently,so the comparisons are harder. This spring and training camp is the most we've ever had in the Kelly Era. ... Having said that, the biggest difference is Kelly. He used to be a screamer, pretty consistently. Not that he can't be intense now, but he picks his spots. He's also much more involved with the entire team. Previously, it was pretty much all offense, all the time and especially QBs. I think we see more 1s vs.1s than earlier in his career. The team stretches and prepares for practice differently. Certain assistant coaches have much different approaches and/or demeanors.
Neil from Indianapolis: Love the weekly chats, Eric, and the perspective you bring to them. Given the positive things we've heard about Foskey, the depth at DE, and the issue of pitch count for some of the DTs coming back from injuries, will we see a healthy dose of Kareem, Hayes etc. sliding inside on passing downs?
Eric Hansen: Neil, thanks. I truly love the chats, too. You guys make it fun. I think regardless of the state of the interior defense linemen, you would see a healthy does of Daelin Hayes inside on third downs. He's one of ND's best 10 players overall. He improves your interior pass rush and has the size and strength to deal well with running plays.
Manny from San Pedro, Calif.: Eric!!!!!! It’s so close to the season I can taste the stale popcorn already!!!!!! Why is the opening spread against LVille so low. I would expect us to win by two touchdowns.
Eric Hansen: Manny %^****$$$!@!! Who is making you eat stale popcorn? You deserve better. The opening spread is actually -20.5 right now, so you may want to fire your bookie. I'd expect ND to cover, but with a new coaching staff at Louisville -- and a much better one overall -- I would expect there to be a blind date element to this game for the Irish, where they'll need to make more adjustments than usual on the fly.
Jeff from Cleveland, Ohio: Eric, After the playoff loss to Clemson last year, the talk was that Kelly and the other coaches realized there was a distinct separation of team speed between the likes of Clemson/Alabama and Notre Dame. Chris Tyree is still a year away- how have we addressed this issue? Aren't the players this season essentially the same as what we had in that loss to Clemson?
Eric Hansen: Jeff, Chris Tyree is indeed still a year away and so is five-star receiver Jordan Johnson. However, developing the speed players already on the roster is the first step. That would include wide receivers Braden Lenzy and Lawrence Keys III, notably. They'll certainly be in the rotation this year. Getting elite speed at the WR and RB positions, though, is a process and not an event. It won't happen overnight, but certainly the Irish can ease in that direction.
Tom from Cleveland: Michigan an Georgia have lost as much or more this year than ND. Why do so many media observers look at their question marks as glass-half-full and the Irish’s as “9.5 over-under”?
Eric Hansen: I can only answer definitively how I view those teams. I can only speculate why/how others do. Georgia has recruited better than Notre Dame the past several years. They have more talent, and more margin for error. They have the more proven QB against elite defenses. They may have the best offensive line in the nation. I think other media see the same thing. As far as Michigan, I have the Wolverines 11th in my AP preseason poll. Don Brown as defensive coordinator is part of the reason why, even though the Michigan defense got shredded its last two games of 2018. One reason a lot of media are high on the Michigan offense is the notion of head coach Jim Harbaugh modernizing the offense and handing over the joystick to new OC Josh Gattis. I'm less confident than some other media on how that dynamic will play out.
KJ near California Channel Islands: Is Kelly doing any special drills this year to try and ready this team for the chaos of the UGA environment ?
Eric Hansen: Notre Dame has chaos periods, a bout of unexpected conditions that the players have to react to, to get them ready in general for tough environments they'll face during the season ... and other forms of adversity. In terms of Georgia-specific prep, I would expect Kelly to address that the week of the Georgia game and not before.
Stan from Chester, Va.: Comparing coaching demeanor: Lea vs. BVG / Waikiki vs. Mauna Loa?
Eric Hansen: Haha. Good call.
ND65 from Sarasota, Fla.: Appreciate if you'd describe the responsibilities of the ROVER and the NICKEL and DIME formations.
Eric Hansen: it really depends on who the rover is. When it was Drue Tranquill in 2017, he stayed on the field in nickel and dime. In 2018, Asmar Bilal came off the field in those situations. In 2019, I anticipate Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to stay on the field in nickel. In fact, the Irish may play less nickel because of JOK. What they do in dime depends on who is playing inside. I would think JOK or Jack Lamb would be the one linebacker on the field if Lamb indeed stays in the running for a role at buck linebacker.
Joe from Georgia: I am strangely ill at ease seeing all the near-gushing by Kelly since camp began. I do believe this team will be better than Team 130 (12-0). It just seems so unnatural for an ND coach to talk this way before the first whistle even blows. Talk me down, Eric? Is the current rhetoric more standard than not in your experience?
Eric Hansen: Joe. I'm not getting the same gushing vibe you are. He certainly isn't gushing about freshman safety Kyle Hamilton, and has every right to. I think there's a mix of truth and politics/purpose in his answers. My only nit with Brian is his apparent lack of expertise when it comes to knowing the value of a digital recording device.
James from Dallas: How many five-star recruits have taken visits to Notre Dame in each of the last three years? I read where Georgia has a 5-star player in every position group. They have signed 16 five-stars in four years. That suggests that Georgia hosts full weekend visits from a dozen or so five-stars each year. I'm convinced that five-star visits and signings are, at this point, the critical measure of Notre Dame's future program growth.
Eric Hansen: James, I don't have time to research the exact number in a chat setting, and I'm not sure if you saw my magazine piece on Kyle Hamilton (STAR SEARCH: Notre Dame's elite freshman Kyle Hamilton brings welcome dose of normalcy to twisted recruiting world ). I addressed the whole five-star phenomenon extensively in that story. Here's an excerpt:
(Tom) Lemming said some recruiting services skew their rankings based on the player’s offers rather than his talent. “If you’ve got offers from Alabama and Clemson, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll end up a five-star,” he said.
Some are distorted based on exposure — or lack of it — to national camps and competitions. Other players have seen a drop in their rankings, Lemming said, because they committed so early in the cycle that there’s not an interest from the fan base of following them anymore.
“I always tell players to take the ratings with a grain of salt, mine included, because that’s really all they’re worth,” Lemming said. “When you look back at it and you see all the guys like J.J. Watt in the NFL and they have zero, one or two stars, it’s kind of ridiculous.”
It’s also not predictive of ultimate success on the college level.
Of the 281 Rivals five-star prospects recruited nationally between Kelly’s first cycle at Notre Dame (2010) and last season’s freshman class (2018), only 11 percent became Associated Press first-team All-Americans.
Even if you exclude the 2017 and 2018 classes and include only players who have at least completed their junior years in college, the number rises to a modest 13.7 percent.
Elite talent is important. Elite talent and fit is even more important. It doesn't do any good for Notre Dame to recruit a player like Aaron Lynch if he's going to leave after a year.
The talent shift from the Midwest, Pennsylvania and the Northeast have made it more difficult, but not impossible, for the Irish to recruit the elite talent. They've recalibrated. Right now they've got five players in the Rivals 2020 Top 100. That's a move in the right direction.
Joseph from South Bend: Bigger concern: Special teams or lack of depth in safety positions
Eric Hansen: Special teams, and not close. There are options at safety. They just need to decide which ones make the most sense.
RK from Parts Unknown: Any recruiting news? 2020 class or 2021?
Eric Hansen: RK, don't know what city or planet you're from, but don't expect a lot of recruiting news until the season starts and official visits start occurring. Remember, there are not a lot of spots left to fill in the 2020 class.
Tyler James from down the hall: Road trip food you are most looking forward to this season?
Eric Hansen: I have a feeling Michigan is going to serve chicken. And while I like chicken, my instincts tell me Georgia is going to be phenomenal.
Brian from Detroit: Which freshman do you see making an impact this season?
Eric Hansen: Punter Jay Bramblett tops the list, because he has the clearest path to playing time. Others with high impact: S Kyle Hamlton (I know, duh), NG Jacob Lacey, RB Kyren Williams, maybe K Harrison Leonard, LB JD Bertrand, DE Isaiah Foskey, CB KJ Wallace, DT Howard Cross.
Nick from Blacklick, Ohio: Hi Eric! I hope the weather is a beautiful in the Bend as it in Cbus today. I thought I saw only the Virginia and USC home games are sold out. Any word if the same struggles exist with the exceptions being Michigan and Georgia?
Eric Hansen: it is nice here today. As you know Michigan and Georgia are on the road, so those don't factor in. I would imagine it's going to be hard to move Bowling Green and New Mexico tickets especially.
Nick from Blacklick, Ohio: One more quick question: Any of the runniing backs starting to emerge/take more snaps over the others? Thanks!
Eric Hansen: Yeah, Jafar Armstrong is the clear No. 1 and Tony Jones Jr., the clear No. 2. Of the other three, freshman Kyren Williams is surging as of late.
Bob from Franklin, Tenn.: You foresee a 10-2 season ... which teams to you see beating us?
Eric Hansen: Georgia and Stanford.
Joseph from South Bend: I think I noticed in some replays of last years' games how much crucial players like Gilman and Claypool were on the field, especially punt coverage and other special teams plays. Are efforts being made to find replacements or are they vital in these positions. Also, does the experience in other aspects of special teams help the actual kickers? And finally, who is our holder?
Eric Hansen: I know Chase would like to play on even more special teams that he did last year. We'll see what Kelly thinks. The roster is stronger from players 60-85, so I think you'll see a blend of starters and young, athletic players such as S Litchfield Ajavon, for instance. ... To the experience question, I'm not sure I understand it. If you're holder and snapper are good, and people block well. I'm not sure experience matters. Jay Bramblett is likely to be the holder with Nolan Henry a second option.
Daniel from Bunn, Va.: Why is there talk about Shaun Crawford moving to safety when the safeties are both back and Kyle Hamilton is thriving? Who plays the nickel if not Crawford? That was the weakest spot on the team last season while he was hurt.
Eric Hansen: The reason Crawford is cross-training at safety has several layers. What is one of the starters gets hurt? What if both of them do? What if you don't want them to play a zillion snaps each and wear down? As we saw in the Cotton Bowl, having good backups (or not having them) at all positions matters. ... Crawford could end up as a starting cornerback. He could be the No. 1 option at nickel. The coaches are still sorting through that. Jalen Elliott is also a strong nickel option. In that alignment, Hamilton comes in and plays strong safety. When ND lined up in dime the other day, the six DBs were Pride, Bracy, Crawford, Hamilton, Elliott and Gilman. It was effective.
Eric Hansen: Shame on the Tyler James impersonator, but good question anyway.
Jon Pyfer from Mishawaka: Do you think ND will run read-option running plays with Ian Book? Have they ran any in practice?
Eric Hansen: The read-option plays pretty much is in a form of RPOs that Chip Long has installed, with most of those plays having actual pass options. So yes, they run those every practice.
Lawrence from Denver: Big fan of your work! You’re the best at what you do, and I really appreciate the diligence, judgement, and narrative you inject into your writing.
A question for you — and for Brian, if you get a chance to ask: Why has there been so little development (and even examples of regression) for Kelly quarterbacks over their years at ND? BK has shown his ability to continue his own growth even after so many years of coaching experience, so what is he doing to reverse this trend with Ian and his current QB crop?
Eric Hansen: Lawrence, thanks, and I hesitate to try to answer that question in a chat format, because I can't do it justice. I have written about it in depth and commented on it. The short answer is Brian Kelly's game-day demeanor, Chip Long's handling of the offense and Tommy Rees' chemistry with Book are all reasons I believe that trend won't continue this season.
Eric Hansen: That's going to do it for this week. Thanks for all the great questions I'll be back to do it all over again next Thursday at noon EDT.