Chat Transcript: Recruiting redux, probing the transfer portal, projecting ND in 2020

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Eric Hansen: Welcome to Notre Dame Football Live Chat, Holiday Edition. Per usual PLEASE include your name and hometown along with your question.

Michael from Chicago:Can a player considering transferring make contact with another school to gauge their interest before entering the portal and vice versa?

Eric Hansen: No, that's the whole point of the portal, that you can freely gauge interest from other schools. If there is no interest or not the kind the player was looking for, he can come back to his original school. However, there's no guarantee his scholarship will still be there if he wants to come back.

Jim from chilly New Mexico: Which signees can be expected to play in next season's game against Clemson. What is their likely impact?

Eric Hansen: Chilly New Mexico? My condolences. I think that's an easier question than who would play against Navy in the opener in Ireland, but still tough. I'm going to eliminate guys who might play as one of their four redshirt games, so these would be the players who have established roles of some kind. ... RB Chris Tyree, WRs Xavier Watts and Jordan Johnson, TE Michael Mayer, LS Alex Peitsch, DE Jordan Botelho, DL Rylie Mills and grad transfer S Isaiah Pryor.

Bob from Loganville, Ga.: Seems much of ND’s season is perceived from the Michigan loss. How much did the timing and decision of Michael Young’s transfer announcement attribute to that? Also how much of the Chip Long “issue” contributed to Michael Young’s decision?

Eric Hansen: Michael was considering a transfer before Michigan week, though not long before. I think you might be connecting too many dots. We're talking about a player with a handful of career catches but with some promising upside about to be overtaken on the depth chart by Braden Lenzy. We're not talking about a player entrenched on the field and in the locker room as a leader or an indispensable asset. Nice kid, but not essential to the success of the team. ... As to your second part, I would not rule that out as part of the equation and have heard rumblings to that effect. But until I hear it from Michael himself, I think it's unfair to paint that as an absolute in the decision.

Lee from Lancaster, SC: Hi Eric, the recruiting services rank Notre Dame's incoming class at 14th or 15th. As usual, Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State are are considered to have the best recruiting classes. If those schools continue to get the best players. how can Notre Dame close the talent gap and compete for a national championship?

Eric Hansen: I addressed some of that today in my analysis piece. Keep in mind, recruiting rankings, team and individual, is an inexact science. Also keep in mind the size of ND's class suppressed its overall ranking. And the class had to be smaller because of scholarship numbers this cycle. I think ND's new commitment to "verifiable" speed will help. It exposes overrated five-stars and shines a light on overlooked prospects. ND's 2021 class is also off to a very good start, so those two developments are encouraging. Player development, how the pieces fit together, etc., still matter. Those schools you mention do have a larger margin for error in the games they play. No doubt.

Vj John Weiler from Parts Unknown:Why no five-stars?

Eric Hansen: WR Jordan Johnson is a Rivals five-star. RB Chris Tyree is a 247Sports composite five-star. Those services will add more five-stars before the cycle ends in February. OT Tosh Baker, TE Michael Mayer and DE Jordan Botelho are are possibilities to join them.

Tim from Bangkok (it’s 82 degrees here at 10:15 PM!):With all of the discussion on signing day of verifiable speed, it made me wonder if there were some players in the past few years whose speed was not as touted before their arrival at ND. Any feeling for who those might be? Stay warm!

Eric Hansen: Tim, do you have room on your couch for a visitor? I think there are too many to name, actually, and Notre Dame is not alone there. We had 247Sports national director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong on Weekday SportsBeat yesterday, and essentially he said it's a huge factor in teams' "hit/miss rate." Look at a lot of the players who transferred from Notre Dame in recent years (and were not pushed out), who then have trouble getting on the field for a Group of Five school or even an FCS school, and you have your answer. It's not just skill players either. A lot of VanGorder recruits check that box.

RK from Duluth, Minn.: Eric, love your columns! I also love this recruiting class. Question 1: Will we get a bowl win? Question 2: Will we get any more recruits this cycle? Question 3: Will Ian Book lead us to Natty next year? Thanks, man!  Go Irish ☘️

Eric Hansen: RK, thank you. 1. If the Notre Dame players are invested in being in Orlando and not wishing they were somewhere else, the Irish are the better team. although I think Iowa State is much better than its record. 2. I don't think that will happen without a surprise departure. 3. I think ND is good enough as a team potentially to make a run to the playoff. Book is part of that equation, and it would have to be an improved version of himself. In fairness to him, the running game and offensive line need to improve as well. As opposed to Clemson, ND needs a lot more things to kind of fall into place that a team like Clemson does.

Mike from Rochester, N.Y.:Hi, Eric, first please pass along a thank you to Carter for the great chat he led during Signing Day — very informative and interesting. My question regards the commits who aren’t coming to campus until summer. Can (ND director of football performance) Matt Balis start working with them now on strength and conditioning or does he have to wait until they’re on campus? It sounded like at least some of the commits are going to need some time to get strong enough to be competitive at the college level.

Eric Hansen: Mike, thanks, I will pass along the word to Carter, who is already vacationing. Matt Balis can and does send those June-arriving players a program to follow at home. They don't have all the sports science stuff at their fingertips or Balis' motivation, but they do get a road map, which is helpful.

Fred Karam from Richmond:Eric, Merry Christmas. I would like to start by asking about the disparity of the ranking services when it comes to recruiting rankings. What is the most accurate service in your opinion? When I look at 247Sports, it has two Notre Dame recruits listed as five-star recruits, but they are listed as four-star prospects in others. It is a bit confusing, to say the least. Chris Tyree from my area has been a five-star recruit going back to last year. He suffered a sprained ankle early this year, and his numbers suffered. However it's just a minor setback, yet he dropped to a four-star recruit. The rankings seem very convoluted.

Eric Hansen: Merry Christmas, Fred, and welcome to my world. I too am confused. I usually try to get analyst Tom Lemming's take, particularly when there's a wide gap in opinion, and even often when there's not. The thing is, within those two organizations, there are variances, depending on what part of the country a player comes from. I think, all in all, it balances out — one is as right or wrong as much as the other. 247Sports was sure much more on target in the last cycle about ND safety Kyle Hamilton.

Skyler from Brevard, N.C.:Hello Eric, With a lot of young talent receiving a lot of reps in practice in preparation for Iowa State, who do you think will benefit the most from the extra reps? Will it show versus Iowa State?

Eric Hansen: Skyler, there are two kinds of "young guys" who will benefit: Those who are not playing in the game and will benefit for next year, and those who may be playing in the game. I think you want the second batch, so that's the group I will focus on in my answer. That group includes WRs Braden Lenzy and Joe Wilkins, DE Justin Ademilola, NG Ja'mion Franklin and OG John Dirksen. The first group (Kevin Austin, Isaiah Foskey, etc.) is much, much larger.

Tim from Ohio:Happy Holidays! I was wondering what you thought the chances were of ND making Clark Lea the head coach in waiting?

Eric Hansen: I don't think the chances are good, and maybe I'm influenced by my own opinion. I don't like the concept. If Clark Lea is the best man for the job when Brian Kelly steps away, then getting some head coaching experience elsewhere for two or three years, I think, would be more valuable for him and ND in the long run,. But I can understand why you're looking for creative ways to keep him as ND's defensive coordinator longer.

Tony from San Francisco:When do you expect Ian Book to make his decision about returning?

Eric Hansen: I think he has and he will return. I would expect him to make it public after the bowl game.

John from Boston, Mass.: Eric, Any word if ND is trying to reverse those 20 or so vacated wins with the NCAA? Seems whenever I read any anything about Kelly’s ND record or even his career W/L record, some include those wins as wins while others count them as losses. Love the chats as always.

Eric Hansen: I agree with you ... I wish ND would just use the real number in its releases and put an asterisk by it. Then if people wanted to subtract the vacated games, it would be on them to do the math. I asked athletics director Jack Swarbrick that very question 13 months ago. Here is his answer:

Q: Is there any recourse at this point to getting those 22 vacated games back on the record (21 wins and a loss)?

Swarbrick: “No. I suppose somewhere down the line the NCAA could revisit the whole issue of using that as a sanction for anybody, but absent that there’s no recourse, nothing we can initiate.”

Q: Not even using the legal system, as Penn State did?

Swarbrick: “Penn State was in a different situation, because the NCAA went into an area where it didn’t have rules. It created a different dynamic. While we expressed very aggressively our disagreement with the NCAA’s conclusions — especially (ND president) Father John’s letter. It’s over.”

Larry McDonald from Parts Unknown:Why won't the members of the press ask Brian Kelly about the elephant in the room — the power running game issues and the inability to convert short-yardage situations? Unless we can run the ball and eat the clock and or convert short-yardage situations, we will never be able to consistently compete with top quality competition.

Eric Hansen: It's been done over and over. And answered. Asking about it doesn't change reality, though.

Greg from South Bend:Hi Eric. There were lots of rumors about Kelly going to Florida State, and so on. Do you expect any rumors as the NFL season winds down about Kelly maybe looking at going to the NFL?

Eric Hansen: Of course. But rumors aren't reports or reality.

Ed from Sarasota,Fla:Will we be done with hand clapping or going to verbal signals pre-snap?

Eric Hansen: I think that needs to be addressed sooner than later. And perhaps with Chip Long gone, that process may be accelerated.

Kevin from Kent, Ohio:You keep saying “recruiting rankings are an inexact science,” but really they do a great job in predicting team success. People, like you will throw our lots of anecdotal evidence about this five-stars who failed or this top 10 team who under-performed, but the rankings are getting better and better, don’t you agree?

Eric Hansen: I do think there is more data, with all the national events, with which to formulate the rankings. But how do you explain Wisconsin, Utah and Boise State? How do you explain such a proliferation of three-stars and two-stars on All-America teams and players going high in NFL Drafts. Even people who create the ratings call it an inexact science. I did a lot of research on it and put it in our last preview magazine for the story I did on Kyle Hamilton. How did Clemson win its first recent title with classes basically in the same range as ND's current classes? So that's my answer. I didn't say they're irrelevant, just keep some perspective with them.

David from Columbus, Ohio:Hey Eric! Why do you think the change was made with Chip Long or what are you hearing as to why the change was made?

Eric Hansen: Same things as I've written about for the past couple of weeks ... he became increasingly a non-fit with players and fellow coaches.

Ken from Pensacola, Fla.:Merry Christmas, Eric. Thanks for all you do. Who do you think will be the most valuable player or — putting it another way — the most important player to watch when we play Iowa State?

Eric Hansen: Ken, Merry Christmas to you and yours. I would say pass rush and pass coverage are going to be huge, so I will go with Khalid Kareem and, what the heck, Kyle Hamilton.

Stan from Chester, Va.:Merry Christmas, Eric. In terms of quality not quantity, would you consider this class of recruits to be the best since the Lou Holtz Era? And do you think Chris Tyree's ankle injury will affect his immediate availability this fall? Thanks for all the good work you do.

Eric Hansen: Stan, no I do not, because there are no linebackers in it and not enough absolutes at cornerback. But I do think it addresses both weaknesses and strengths, with some dynamic offensive players to boot, and so I like this class ... just not "Holtz Era" like. As far as Tyree, he will be fine to go. Thanks for your kind words and your participation.

Sean from Portland, Ore.:Iowa State seems to be one of the better 7-5 teams in the nation, a dangerous opponent especially if underestimated. From the opponents that ND played against this year, who do they most remind you of?

Eric Hansen: USC from an offensive perspective. Not that they're air-raid style, but they've got a really prolific and efficient QB and a running game that's improving but not above average. Defensively, not in structure but in performance, I'd say Virginia Tech. So overall, one of those two teams, both of which played ND close at home.

Jeff from Phoenix:Hi Eric, do you think Brian Kelly will have the postseason one-one-one discussions with players that he pointed to as culture-changing several years ago? Or is this practice just not necessary as it is now part of the improved team culture.

Eric Hansen: He says he's more in touch with the players — so much more than in 2016 — that those exhaustive individual meetings aren't needed. However, he does a more abbreviated version and he also meets regularly with the leadership council.

Lee from Lancaster, S.C.:Brian Kelly was adamant about calling the plays at the start of his coaching tenure at Notre Dame.  Now, he's perfectly willing to allow the offensive coordinator or another coach on offense call the plays.  Why the change in philosophy?

Eric Hansen: He felt he was ignoring the defense and other areas of the team in practice and on game day, and he was right. He's had four seasons of 10 wins or more when not calling the plays in five years. One of 10 wins or more in five years of calling the plays.

Phil (Chicago): If you had to guess one way at this point, would you say the new offensive coordinator will be A: Tom Rees. B: Someone else on the current staff. C: Outside Hire.

Eric Hansen: I'd pick exactly that order of probability, but I think B and C are more in play than most people think, and need to be vetted.

Bill from Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Hope recuriting class and speed fill needs. GO IRISH! Don't know full story, but would have kept Chip Long in an heartbeat over Jeff Quinn. Number of false starts unacceptable last year, especially from an offensive coordinator's viewpoint. Nepotism has been a trademark of Kelly's time at ND — agree or disagree? In your mind why do you think ND's 2020 version will be really good? And how much depends on Ian Book coming back? Thanks for your great insight and making the chats something to look forward to each week!!!

Eric Hansen: OK, thank you for your questions. Let's unpack them.: Is nepotism a trademark with Kelly? I think a lot of coaches like to work with people they have some familiarity with and have had success with. I don't think Brian is unique in that way. I do think hiring and retaining Brian VanGorder is an example of that concept going terribly wrong. I think what Mike Elston has done at ND is an example of that concept going incredibly right. So I think it's unfair to say that just because there's familiarity, it's not going to end well. Brian Kelly should be open to candidates familiar and less familiar, and may the best person get the job. ... Why I think the 2020 Irish have a chance to be really good is based on the number and quality of the returning players, some key additions and minimal position groups with big, red flags.

Stan from Rockford Ill.:The 18th recruit, Ramon Henderson, might be the biggest sleeper of all with his size and speed, at CB or WR.

Eric Hansen: If your question is will he play wide receiver or cornerback, the bigger need is at cornerback.

Terry from Cincinnati:Do you think Jeff Quinn will be coaching the O-line in 2020 or do you think he could be shifted to coaching the tight ends? Because of the injuries to Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey, my instinct is that coach Kelly will stick with Quinn. I'm hoping we find someone stronger in teaching technique. Based on what I have read, that appears to be a deficiency of his.

Eric Hansen: Terry, you make some good points within your question. I think both of the scenarios you raised are in play ... and a third, hiring a tight ends coach who shares that position and the O-line coaching with Quinn, may be the best scenario. Who gets the coordinator job will in part influence what happens in your question.

Alex from Jackson, Mo.:Merry Christmas to you and your family, Mr. Hansen! My question is in regard to the relationship between Chip Long and the QBs, specifically, Ian Book and Phil Jurkovec. Do you believe the change will be good for them?  Book seemed to regress earlier in the year, and there has been speculation that Jurkovec isn’t progressing like the hype would have lead us to believe he would. Any of this on Long, or is that too simple of a thought?  Thanks as always.

Eric Hansen: Alex, thanks and Happy Holidays to you. For a story I did on QB development at ND, Brady Quinn told me the MOST ESSENTIAL relationship for a QB to have a good one with is the offensive play-caller. In Quinn's case, that was his head coach. In Book's case, it would have been Long. At least publicly, Book was supportive of Long. I think they got along fine, but it may have been the relationships with the players around Book with Long that may have affected the Book dynamic somewhat. I'm not going to throw all of that on Long. There were other factors in the regression.

RC from Albany: Hi Eric - happy holidays. I am excited for the last game of the season and the opportunity for the team to get to 11 wins. What is your sense of the team’s mindset?  Given the recent coaching changes and the external perception issues related to the Camping World Bowl, will the team be hungry and looking to close out the year strong?  I have no doubt that Iowa State will come in ready to play. And despite their 7-5 record, the Cyclones are too well-coached and too talented at key positions to chalk this game up as an easy win. Thanks and Merry Christmas.

Eric Hansen: RC, Happy Holidays to you. We've only talked to the players once since the bowl announcement and hope to again Saturday, but that's a small sample size. I would say the prevailing sentiment is that you'll get a full effort. They found a way to find meaning in five November games after their playoff run ended at Michigan. Why would this game be different? I would say the fan base largely looks at this game very differently and most can't get past the word "Camping" in the title of the game.

Tim from St Louis: Eric, very impressed with your status as one of 15 voters on the AP All-American panel. Knew you were outstanding reporter, but this is national recognition that you should be very proud of. My question concerns the amount of time and dedication you put into your selections? (Have got to mention some of the 2019 selections were real head-scratchers.) Specifically, can you discuss the tight end vote this year? You mentioned voting for Cole Kmet on your second team. Who did you vote on the first team? Have looked up the preseason and midseason All-America lists for tight end, and nowhere (among various publications) were Harrison Bryant (Florida Atlantic), Hunter Bryant (Washington) or Charlie Kolar (Iowa State) even mentioned. How can Bryant go from no recognition to first team from a Florida Atlantic schedule? Good for him. Also saw he had 1,000 yards of reception, but seriously it looks like this was a planed effort versus a team effort.

Eric Hansen: Tim, I take the vote very seriously and do a lot of research for the preseason, midseason and postseason votes. Keep in mind, the preseason vote is an educated guess. No one has done anything THIS season to earn those spots. The midseason is a sample size of 5-6 games. The final vote is after the season is over and all conference championship games are done. Making one of those early teams doesn't give you an inside track for the postseason team. Stats mean a lot. Team success can factor in too. Hunter Bryant played on a team that won its conference. He had the best stats of any college tight end. He is on the radar with the NFL folks. And if you think he racked up big numbers against weak competition ... in a 45-21 loss to Ohio State, he had the most receptions (6) and receiving yards (79) of anyone on either team. The next week against UCF, he had four catches for 51 yards. In the league championship game, he had four for 39 and a TD. I hope that helps.

Don from Texarkana, Texas: Relative to recruiting, I get questions about ND's ability to recruit against southern powerhouses. My response is national schedule, national university and value of degree, all of which argues against joining a conference. Do you agree? Thanks.

Eric Hansen: Don, it's as if we were separated at birth. Couldn't agree with you more.

Doug from Sunny Florida: Eric, any talk about Mike Sanford returning as an offensive coordinator? He seemed to be well liked and successful while at ND previously and would probably like the return to the big time.

Eric Hansen: Well liked, yes. Successful? He didn't have a lot of opportunity to find out. He did not call the plays or really wasn't in control of the offense when he was at ND. Then, his short time as a head coach at Western Kentucky raised some red flags. He's at Utah State now as an assistant. I don't see a reunion happening.

Matt in Augusta N.J.: How do you project Alohi Gilman at the next level, NFL? Is he a safety, and does he have the speed to play that position in the NFL? Would he be better off putting on 20 pounds and playing linebacker (a la Drue Tranquill) or is he just too small for that? He has been great for ND, and I hate to see him go, but I question where he plays in the NFL.

Eric Hansen: I think he's a box safety, and there are systems that fit him more than others. He's really good on special teams, which can keep you in the league for a while. I do not think he could play linebacker at that level. Just remember he's been underestimated his whole life and he's been able to make that work for him.

John from Jackson, Miss.: Is there any news regarding who/what kind of offensive coordinator Brian Kelly is looking for? I know people like Matt Canada are out there, but being let go by Ed Orgeron doesn't seem to be the best recommendation in the world.

Eric Hansen: John, I expect that — identifying outside candidates — to get serious after the bowl. We know what the internal candidates look like. Brian Kelly isn't open to major overhauls in the offensive structure, so he's looking for someone who's more similar to him than not. If the outside candidate pool becomes viable and real in a week or so, we will be sure to report on it. Very good question.

Tom from Indianapolis: What do you consider our ceiling next year with Ian Book as our QB?  To me, he is a fine college QB but not one that can beat Clemson in November in South Bend.  I could see a top-tier bowl, but not a playoff. This is frustrating, because I feel like most of the other parts we need are there.

Eric Hansen: I hate to answer with I don't know, but I don't know. To this point, Book has not been competitive (at least statistically) against elite defenses. Iowa State is better than average (but not elite). That may tell us something new. A new offensive coordinator/play caller may make a difference as well. But until ND plays Wisconsin in October, we're probably all guessing.

Denis from Niagara Falls, Ontario: Hi Eric. It seems as if Notre Dame could get key players returning such as Cole Kmet, Shaun Crawford and even Ian Book.  Plus, perhaps some of the incoming freshmen could have an immediate impact next year. If all this comes to fruition,

Eric Hansen: Denis, your question cut off. So I'm going to guess how it ends ... if all comes to fruition, can ND make a run at the playoff? Yes, the Irish can. Will they without a doubt? That's taking it too far.

Brian Sontchi from Batavia, Ill.: A few weeks ago I asked if you could find out what transpired in the two weeks leading up to the Ann Arbor meltdown? Have you been able to discover any details from the coaching staff? What do they plan to do to prevent these one-sided losses from happening again? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Eric Hansen: Brian, that's something that has to be done in the offseason, not in the height of recruiting, while there's an offensive coordinator search going on and bowl prep. I've started to gather info, but not enough to even come close to conclusions. This is not an easy or fast answer. Happy Holidays to you and you'll eventually get your answer, or at least my version of it.

Lee from Lancaster, S.C.: Eric, Happy Holidays to you and your family. Thanks for doing the chat. Any chance that any of the players that are expected to be drafted in the early rounds of the NFL draft choose not to play in the bowl game for fear of injury?

Eric Hansen: So far the answer is a big no. Everyone is planning on playing. If that changes, I will be sure to report it.

Michael from Chicago: Any chance ND recruits (Michigan transferring wide receiver) Tarik Black or any other transfer portal entries? With Shaun Crawford applying for a sixth year, does ND pass on a cornerback grad transfer?

Eric Hansen: I chatted with recruiting coordinator Brian Polian Wednesday after his press conference, and one of the things we chatted about was the viability of the transfer portal for ND. There are a lot of things that have to align for ND to dip into that pool that don't have to align elsewhere. The Irish did recruit Tarik out of high school, and if he has maintained a high academic profile, that is a potential fit that a lot of other potential transfers don't have. But then you have to weigh fit NOW and weigh need as well. Not sure if either of those are real, especially if he has to sit out. ... Crawford coming back very much affects the notion of adding experience at CB through the grad transfer market. He also takes up a roster spot (and deservedly so).

Chad from Denver: If ND is to compete for a national championship in 2020 or 2021, which position groups need to have the most player development? And is it possible with this staff and group of players ND has on its roster?

Eric Hansen: Let's look at 2020, because the answers would be different from 2020 to 2021. For 2020, the offensive line must be elite. The running game must surge. Ian Book needs to be better at QB. The raw wide receiver talent must translate onto the field. The cornerback position must find more answers beyond Shaun Crawford coming back.

Tim from Pleasant Prairie, Wis.: Hi Eric. I am not so sure the fans who are disappointed with the Camping World Bowl are that way because of the word "Camping."  Personally, even if it were a New Year's 6, I would not be any more excited than I am now (which isn't very). I think the problem is that serious fans, each year, have their sights set on making the playoff. And in this era, where only those two semifinal bowl games matter to that end, all other bowls have lost their luster. Gone are the days when big bowl games on New Year's Eve and Day determined how everything would shake out for the national title. Any credence to this in your eyes?

Eric Hansen: I think there are different levels of glee/satisfaction/tolerance. Brian Kelly has raised expectations, so now more people see the playoff as a realistic goal. Some fans understand there are going to be years at ND when that's less realistic and they can live with that. The biggest complaint I've heard this year is being excluded from the New Year's 6.

Irish fan from Irish land: Merry Christmas Eric! If I don't ask for anything else this year and I'm good all next year; may I have a ND national championship next year? Or a hula-hoop (I don't want a hula-hoop- I just like saying it.)

I'll start with concerns. Coach Chip Long said he prefers to run more than pass. Was that the issue? Was the issue with other coaches? I know Kelly is tight with Quinn. There has been a huge drop off since Quinn took over. False starts are a regularity, getting beat in one-on-ones. And against physical opponents, we fold the tent.

This was a weak schedule due to other teams having a down year. We have had 9-4 teams that I think may have been better than this group. This is still a great lead team. I wish them all the best in the Camping World Bowl.

Recruiting: Now that we have even more depth, can we finally have a scrimmage in the spring. I think we waste an opportunity to really practice at a high level ever year. I'm tired of the ... we don't have enough excuse. It's been 10 years. If we don't have it by now, we are ...

Eric Hansen: Merry Christmas, you got a manifesto through. I'm in a giving mood today.

John from Hudsonville, Mich.: Hi Eric. This might be off-topic, but is that Mike Brey on the Alka-Seltzer Plus commercial walking on a treadmill?  I hope he is thinking about another career, since he is not long for coaching.

Eric Hansen: John, Tom Noie would give me the evil eye if I answered a hoops question, and quite frankly, that one's out of my lane.

Michael from Chicago: Was this a misprint in Kelly’s transcript? Am I overlooking someone or are they considering a transfer in?: “ On if they could add any additional players on between no and the February signing date: KELLY: “Probably just be on the offensive side of the ball, yeah.”

Eric Hansen: Not a misprint. Not a probability either. He just left the door open in case the unexpected happens.

Marie from Atlanta: Happy Holidays, Eric. Now that Brian Kelly has said that he will at least consider outside possibilities for the offensive coordinator job, who do you think are some realistic candidates, and who would you choose and why? Also, if there is an outside hire, with a fresh set of eyes, do think there would be a chance for a legitimate QB competition in the spring? As always, thanks for all the great coverage.

Eric Hansen: Marie. I'll get to some of those outside candidates after the bowl. By then we'll have a better feel if there are actual ones in play. I don't think there's an urgency to open up the QB position in Brian Kelly's eyes with recent improvements by Ian Book. Thanks for being a part of the chats.

Eric Hansen: OK, that's going to do it for today. Thanks for all the great questions. We'll do this all over again after the bowl game. Happy Holidays to you all and thanks for helping to make this a fun season for me.

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