Chat Transcript: Talking football season scenarios, key dates, recruiting and more

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Eric Hansen: Good afternoon from semi-Arctic South Bend and welcome to Notre Dame Football Live Chat for what would have been Blue-Gold Game week. And when I say semi-Arctic, I mean we're expecting multiple inches of wet show tonight, and then a return to spring this weekend. I always enjoy these chats, and really appreciate you joining me today. OK, let's get to your questions. By the way, I am wearing shorts today in the house as an act of defiance about the weather.

Alex from Jackson, Mo.: Greetings from isolation. My question is about the dynamic between you all at the paper, and ND’s own media — Jack Nolan specifically. Do you all interact much, or is that considered competition?  Obviously, he has a direct line to the coaches and doesn’t exactly give real in-depth stories. I hope this doesn’t come off wrong. I enjoy his videos and coverage. Just wondering. Hope you are safe.

Eric Hansen: Alex, thanks and same to you. We also enjoy Jack's videos and coverage, and we know him well. But there really hasn't been opportunities for collaboration, nor would I anticipate them. I think the best way to classify what ND does in house is that it's kind of in its own lane. There's room for all of us on the beat spectrum, and that's how I look at it. I hope that answers your question.

Joey Everline from Westernport, Md.: Who do you believe is the toughest player (pound for pound) for the Irish that you have covered during your career? Golden Tate is my pick.

Eric Hansen: I'll warn you, I am not heavily caffeinated today, so going off the top of my head, which is kind of risky. Let me give you the few that come to mind quickly: Alohi Gilman, Shaun Crawford, Quenton Nelson, Drue Tranquill. There's a recency bias in this list. I'll circle back later in the chat if some more names come to mind, but I think it's going to be difficult to beat Quenton Nelson.

John from Champaign, Ill.: Eric, as a health care provider, it is becoming quite clear that college sports will not be a go in the fall. This is the word from my colleagues, who are advising high school and college administrators. Professional baseball is the one sport that is a realistic possibility. Do you get a sense that Brian Kelly and Jack Swarbrick really understand this and are preparing for this probability?

Eric Hansen: The thing I really admire about Brian Kelly's and Jack Swarbrick's approach is that they are preparing for a wide spectrum of outcomes and possibilities. We learn new things about this every day. There are people (medical/science) working hard to come up with answers and more quickly than anyone thought possible. So here's the deal. May 15 is a significant date on the calendar, because that's the day ND has designated as when it hopes to make its decision about summer second-term classes. I suspect other decisions/projections/contingencies will be made and announced around that time. So the world could look a lot different in a month. But going back to what I said originally, if things move faster than expected, ND will be ready. If they move more slowly and, say, college football plays next spring, they'll be ready.

Jim from Lebanon Pa.: In regard to Joey Everline’s question... good choice with Tate. I also agree with your choice Eric, of Nelson, but hands down, it's Chris Zorich!

Eric Hansen: Jim, thanks. I didn't include Zorich, because I wasn't covering ND at that time. I was at the paper, but I was the Big Ten beat writer when he played.

GB from Wasilla, Alaska: How is your hunkerng down going?  Well, the snow is finally melting here. I can see bare spots under the snow. Nutrition can help an individual and a team. I was wondering if ND gives the players vitamins, minerals and other supplements during the quarantine and during the school term. If so, are there restrictions or guidelines on using supplements?

Eric Hansen: GB, I know I personally believe supplements can make a big difference with my immune system. I know the players have access to a nutritionist remotely (and of course when they are on campus). I need to check to see if they are able to have supplements shipped to them via the university. I am not sure. ... So far hunkering down is going OK. I live in an area where I can get outside (when it's not snowing) and go for walks, which I love to do.

Louie from Delaware: Ireland and Navy — any word?

Eric Hansen: When I last talked to athletic director Jack Swarbrick a couple of weeks ago, it was still on, and as of last week Navy's athletic director also was not ready to pull the plug. Now there are two things in play. Will there be games at all as early as Aug. 29? If so, would that ND-Navy game in Ireland be moved to the U.S.? All of that is being looked at. Again May 15 is a key date. I know Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said Wednesday that he is pessimistic the season will start on time. I know ND and Navy are looking at all kinds of options if it can't be played either on time or in Ireland.

Dave from Cary, N.C.: If you had to pick one play that was the most memorable for you while covering ND what would it be? Thanks for the chats and what you do. It is more helpful, especially in these times, than you could ever imagine.

Eric Hansen: Dave, I really appreciate that, and really look forward to these chats as well. There are so many plays that stand out (and not all of them good). Because it was in a big game that meant everything in terms of ND re-emerging as a legit national contender, I'm going to go with Everett Golson's 50-yard pass to Chris Brown early in the fourth quarter of ND's 30-13 victory on the road against a favored Oklahoma team back in 2012. The score was 13-13 at the time, and it set up the go-ahead TD. I've been at the paper since 1988, but covering ND since 1997. If I picked one from the time I was at the paper but wasn't covering ND, it would be Pat Terrell's deflection of Miami's two-point conversion in Notre Dame's 31-30 victory in 1988.

Mike from Quakertown, Pa.: Thanks for all that you do — especially in a time like this. The Irish can compete with any team in the trenches. We continuously have the talent and depth on both lines to be elite in that area. Considering the roster now, both established players and incoming recruits, do you think the Irish finally have the skill players to compete with the likes of Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama and the other perennial playoff teams?

Eric Hansen: I think they are trending that way. Chris Tyree, Jordan Johnson, Michael Mayer are significant additions along those lines in the freshman class. Adding 2021 commits Tyler Buchner and Lorenzo Styles Jr., so far is another step. Signing RB Will Shipley (who is down to ND and Clemson, it appears) would be huge for the Irish in that regard. There's more work to do, but these are good signs on the recruiting trail.

Denny from Beaverton, Ore.: Hi Eric. Thank you for responding to my Michigan game question last week. I have always liked Ian Book and felt his "Sophomore Jinx" ended with his gritty comeback in the Virginia Tech game.  In the quarterbacks you have known at Notre Dame, how would you rate his leadership and competitive desire to get the most out of his abilities with the others. You don't have to name anyone. Thanks for the chats during this time. Stay healthy. We need you!

Eric Hansen: Denny, thanks. You made me smile big time. To your question, I would put Brady Quinn at the top of the list of ND quarterbacks I've covered. I think Ian Book is probably next in the areas you asked about. And now he is in this unique situation to lead in a time of great uncertainty. I think ND is in very good hands in that regard.

Brian Sontchi from Batavia, Ill. Hi Eric. Two questions for you. 1) How are you and your family? 2) Do you think open air stadiums’ officials will require fans to wear face masks? Continue to pray we can get back to some type of normal soon. Thank you.

Eric Hansen: Thanks for asking, Brian. So far we have been very fortunate, but I've also been very careful. I've seen none of my six grandkids in person, nor my mom (who's 90) in person since February. I will literally do cartwheels when that changes. The mask question is tough for me, but my guess — and it's a guess — is that would make some sense until there is a vaccine. I'd wear anything they asked if it meant I could be back in a football stadium soon and be safe doing so. And I am praying, every day, for great things to happen for all of us.

Peter from Telluride, Colo.: I've often wondered after all these years of reporting the ND football program and interviewing Brian Kelly if you've ever influenced a game plan, their perception of a player or how they approach the program. Do you have any examples of this?

Eric Hansen: Peter, what an interesting question. I'm not sure they'd be eager to admit that if it were true. I don't have any examples of it, but i have plenty of examples of dumb ideas of mine that could have ruined game plans.

Lee from Lancaster, S.C.: The coaches at ND have often stated that recruits must visit campus in order to really understand and appreciate what Notre Dame has to offer. Since campus visits are currently not allowed, does this make it even more difficult for ND to win the recruiting battles against Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State for the four- and five-star players?

Eric Hansen: I do think ND is at a disadvantage in this recruiting cycle in that regard, though they do have a June weekend planned (which may or may not get canceled). They're doing their best with virtual visits and getting quite creative with those. I also think the prospect of going far away to school during these times is more daunting than usual, so I think there's an advantage for schools with large talent bases in their backyards, even more so than usual.

Lee from Lancaster, S.C.: If college football teams are forced to play games without fans in the stands, do you think that would negatively impact the play of the Irish during homes games?  The support of a large, boisterous crowd will be needed against Clemson.

Eric Hansen: Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Wednesday that he couldn't see the Irish playing games with NO fans in the stands. Now playing with some fans in the stands? That might very well be in play and is being explored.

Justin Meko from Philadelphia: Do the Irish land Will Shipley? How bad did the cancellation of the March 22 recruiting weekend hurt Notre Dame?

Eric Hansen: No one has landed Will Shipley yet. The running back prospect from Matthews, N.C., is actually scheduled to be our guest Thursday night on the Pod of Gold podcast, so you'll want to download that episode. The March visit weekend, I believe, would have provided ND with some much-needed exposure and momentum. They hope to get some of that back in June, if that visit weekend can actually happen.

Tom from Kennesaw, Ga.: Hi Eric, I sure hope that the Hansen clan is doing well. These chats are a relief to the lack of sports we are facing right now. Thank you. First, it is great to hear that classmate Terry Hanratty is back home and doing well after spending a week in the hospital fighting coronavirus.  Prayers are powerful! First question: When this virus is over and we can go out again, what is the first restaurant that you will go to where you can go inside, sit down and have someone wait on you? And don't tell me some local pizza place! As for Irish football, I am concerned about the linebacker situation, looking to the future. A less-than-stellar group in 2019, none in 2020, and I don't believe any thus far for 2021. People criticized Todd Lyght for not being able to recruit (cornerbacks), although he did a decent job of developing what he had. Shouldn't we be saying some of the same things about Clark Lea? What do u think?  I know that he has done a marvelous job as defensive coordinator, but shouldn't someone else step in and help with linebacker recruiting?

Eric Hansen: Tom, thank you, and I hope you and your family are and stay safe. And I just saw the great news about Terry's recovery. We hope to post something about that later today. ... First restaurant I am going to would be Brio in Ohio for a number of reasons. One, it's my mom's favorite, and it means I'll be having that dinner with her. Two, because it means Brio recovered from its recent filing from bankruptcy. Three, the food is amazing. Let's take a closer look at the linebacker recruiting. Including rovers, there are 11 linebackers on scholarship for 2020. Only one of them, Jordan Genmark Heath, has expiring eligibility. There's a chance Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could leave early for the NFL if he continues to ascend. Even then, you'd have nine players for 2021, with some potential rising stars that include Marist Liufau, Jack Kiser and Jack Lamb. Not recruiting a linebacker in 2020 was a choice, not a default position. I would say for the '21 cycle, there is some urgency at that position. So I would let the cycle play out.

Eric Hansen: Back to GB's question about supplements. I asked someone much smarter than me about that during the chat. She told me ND is allowed to send supplements to the players, and that they are indeed doing so.

John from Elkhorn, Neb.: Hey Eric, what do you hear regarding Corey Robinson and his role, if any, on ND Football Saturdays. Thanks!

Eric Hansen: John, I had an interview scheduled with Corey the week that all the stay-at-home orders and sports shutting down started to come down. NBC asked if we could delay the interview until there was more certainty about the sports landscape. I think they'll define his Notre Dame role as soon as they know what the next college football season is going to look like. He will be involved in pro sports coverage as well.

Michael in Walnut, Calif.: Which recruit do you think we need most for 2021 and have a good shot at that hasn’t committed yet? I am by no means a recruiting expert, but Shipley looks fantastic.

Eric Hansen: My vote is for RB Will Shipley.

Jeff from Phoenix: Toughest guy for my vote, was 5-11 and 200 pounds — Tom Zbikowski, punt returner and boxer.

Eric Hansen: Sheesh, how did I forget him. He's definitely on the list.

Bob Gorman from Columbus, Ohio: Eric, my oldest son (ND '00) wants to go to the Stanford game rather than Clemson, since he is concerned about our corners matching up with the elite receivers of Clemson. Can our coaches microwave the corners to get them ready in time? And do you agree with a comment of Rick Neuheisel (last fall he said Sooner corners were too small) that competitive corners need to be 6-1 or 6-2 with long arms to match up with elite receivers?  Last question: Have you gone to Fr.  Bede Griffith's place in India with your mom yet? Can't believe she made another recent trip.

Eric Hansen: Hi Bob, nice to hear from you. I think the answer to your question depends so much on how much time will new cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and defensive backs coach Terry Joseph get to work with them IN PERSON before the season starts. Two things to feel good about that will help the situation: ND's pass rush figures to be better than average and maybe much better than average. And, Kyle Hamilton will be a starting safety, who can erase some mistakes. As far as taller/longer corners, I think it's a preference, but not an absolute necessity. Of the top 12 CB prospects in this draft, six are shorter than 6-feet even. That includes ND's Troy Pride Jr. I have not been to India, with or without my mom. She got home only a few weeks before all this craziness started. She is stir crazy these days.

Ken from Pensacola: Eric, Given the current optimistic predictions that COVID-19 has reached a plateau and there could be a return of the football season, what do you think the team's overall reactions to ideas like playing with no fans in the stands or other crazy suggestions? Thanks & Go Irish!!!!!!!!!!

Eric Hansen: Ken, I try to frame these as opinions and not predictions or being overly speculative. As we learned Wednesday through Vice President Mike Pence's discussions with leaders in college athletics, there are extra layers of complications when it comes to ramping up college sports vs. pros. And then there's economics. The NFL gets an incredibly larger percentage of its revenue from TV than college does, and so college is much more dependent on the gate and game day revenue. There needs to be some universal thinking in terms of when is it the right time. You can't have some college teams ready to start in September and others not willing to play until next spring. Getting students back on campus is a key marker for readiness of some sort. I'm open to listening to all suggestions. Then we can figure out which ones are crazy and which ones are not.

Dave from Whereabouts Unknown: Do college football teams track passes blocked by their defensive linemen? How does ND compare.

Eric Hansen: Dave, they do track pass deflections from every position group. Last year ND was credited with four from its D-linemen — one each from Khalid Kareem, Jayson Ademilola, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Ovie Oghoufo. I don't know how that compares with other teams, and there's not an easy/quick place to look that up, but it's way down from Notre Dame in 2018, when Kareem had five by himself and the D-line had 10 as a position group.

Jim from Raleigh, N.C.: Eric: A trio of UNC students has developed a remote learning and collaboration platform customized for sports teams. They list Notre Dame as one of their partners along with other prominent universities and professional teams. Do you know if the football team is utilizing this program? If not, what platform is in use? Thanks for keeping the Irish faithful informed.

Eric Hansen: Jim, if you could provide me with the name of the software, I can check on that for you. ... And thank you.

Jeremy from Goshen: Which true freshman do you see making the biggest impact this year?

Eric Hansen: I think some of that now depends on when the season starts. And the longer that we go until the start of the season, the more the later-enrolling freshmen, I would think, catch up with the early enrollees. Basing it on need and what positions can get up to speed the fastest, long snapper Alex Peitsch, running back Chris Tyree, tight end Michael Mayer, maybe defensive lineman Rylie Mills — and a surprise contributor in wide receiver Xavier Watts.

Tom from Atlanta: Eric, with so much uncertainty about the football season, do you think season ticket holders will opt not to renew for 2020?

Eric Hansen: I would imagine there's not unanimity in that answer, depending on age/susceptibility of the folks involved, whether they're a drive or a flight away from campus, etc. That's a good story idea for me to explore once the May 15 date gives us some clarity about the start of the season. May 15 is the renewal deadline, and that was pushed back a few weeks from its original date. I do know Notre Dame will fully refund for any games that are canceled.

Don from Cincinnati: Eric thanks for your chats. How are Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey doing with their rehabbing?

Eric Hansen: Don, actually going into spring, they were both doing well, ahead of schedule. Next time we talk to Brian Kelly, I'll get a rundown of everyone. But they both should be ready to go now whenever the season and/or training camp starts.

Marty from Sylvania, Ohio: Hi Eric. Thank you for covering ND football so well. I hope EVERYONE is staying safe and do what the governors are asking to do. I'm asking you to speculate. I know (probably not very fair, right?). I listen to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine news conference almost every day. He is doing a great job, as is his staff. I'm not convinced we will jam football stadiums this year and therefore not jam locker rooms full of players. This is expected to be a great Irish team this year. What will happen to all the seniors and fifth-year seniors who are counting on this season to finish a great career. Many will probably say, 'I have to go pro now or I may not get a chance.' There are so many scenarios. However, one death is not worth anything else, is it now? Go Irish, my friends.

Eric Hansen: Marty, I am going to focus on your question and not address the various premises. There seems to be very strong sentiment at the moment that the college football season will get played sometime in the 2020-21 academic year. Now that could mean fall. That could mean next spring. So the seniors should get some sort of chance to play before the next draft cycle.

Chad from Toledo: I’m trying to hope for a normal season for college football?

Eric Hansen: Aren't we all?

Joe from Asbury Park, N.J.: Worst case scenario — season cancelled. What happens to the fourth- and fifth-year guys? Do they come back for a fifth and sixth year or just move on to the NFL or the working world, in your opinion?

Eric Hansen: This is similar to Marty's question. If that happened, and it seems unlikely, I don't think there would be uniformity in what choices those players would likely make. Remember, they are continuing to take classes, so they are working toward their degrees.

Brian from New York City: In the run-up to the NFL draft, scouts share their notes. Over the last two years on Miles Boykin and Chase Claypool; I have read some direct quotes from scouts that do not give Ian Book much credit (the WRs "overcame" a poor QB). Question: College football is as QB driven as ever. In your coverage of the team, what is the most common perception (ND is 33-6 despite Book or because of Book) and is he thought to be a legit NFL prospect?

Eric Hansen: Ian Book was not considered a draftable quarterback in the 2020 draft cycle had he chosen to jump into it. That being said, you can be a good college QB and not get the NFL decision-makers excited. Book could improve his pro outlook with his 2020 season, but I would not expect him — based on traits — to move up significantly in that regard. Again, that doesn't take away from what he could potentially do for the Irish in the upcoming season. As for the 33-6 question, I'd classify him as a contributor.

Martin from Phoenix: How much damage to the health of the other sports would there be if the football season is canceled?

Eric Hansen: I don't want to generalize, but I suppose I am, it'd be crippling, even missing a single season.

Ed from Duluth. Ga: With social distancing it will be impossible to seat 85,000 in a stadium. Do you think colleges will play before reduced crowds or no crowds at all?

Eric Hansen: We are learning a lot about testing/tracking and what effect that can have. We are learning about new medicines. But I think just based on what we know now, if there is a safe way to play in partially filled stadiums, athletic directors are open to that possibility.

Terry from Cincinnati: Assuming all the offensive linemen are healthy and the starters are Liam Eichenberg, Aaron Banks, Jarrett Patterson, Tommy Kraemer and Robert Hainsey, where does Josh Lugg rotate in? Can he spell players at guard and tackle?

Eric Hansen: Yes, he can, and he can play center in a pinch. He's a very valuable guy.

Tim from Atlanta: How will strength and conditioning compensate for missed training, especially for offensive line and defensive line players?  Those positions require more power lifting reps with heavier weights.

Eric Hansen: They are using resistance bands when working with actual weights is not possible. I guess all teams theoretically would face the same challenges, so there would be a level playing field.

Patrick from Los Angeles: What do you hear about the possibility/probability of a spring season? Based on everything I read and hear, I am not sure there is any chance of a season until virtually everyone can be tested, there is very effective treatment protocol and/or there is a vaccine, which at the earliest may be a year a way under a best case scenario.

Eric Hansen: The idea of a spring season is getting a lot of play right now. Again, I emphasize, the world can change a lot in a month in terms of strategies, discoveries, etc. I don't like to think or type in terms of absolutes.

Bill from Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Do you have an opinion on new the cornerbacks coach? On paper, he looks to be an upgrade recruiting-wise.? Don't know if offers out are for cornerbacks that will grow into safeties or if we're looking for pure cornerbacks? Please stay safe. The California governor doesn't look like he's going to move off mandate of no large crowds, pro or college, anytime soon! GO IRISH.

Eric Hansen: Bill, I have not had a chance to meet/interview Mike Mickens yet, but I hope to soon. And from some coaches I respect very much, they feel the hiring of Mickens will help Notre Dame a lot in recruiting and on the field.

Raymond Haines from Oglesby, Ill.: I wonder if there will be Blue-Gold Summer Game to make up the canceled spring game?  It’s just my thoughts. Thanks.

Eric Hansen: Raymond, I think there initially was the hope that spring practice could be moved to June and there could be some sort of intrasquad game in that structure. With classes om campus starting no earlier than July, that's off the table. If there were to be some additional prep time before a traditional training camp, it would be heavy on the conditioning and very light on X's and O's. ... and thanks for including your hometown.

Mark from Grand Haven, Mich: Eric, always enjoy the info from these chats. Thanks as always for hosting. My question involves ND’s current status among the college football elite. When I was a student there in the 70’s, the SEC, as a conference, did not have nearly the prestige it has today. I can point to three factors. 1) The increase in population in the south, which has expanded the talent pool. 2) The expansion of TV coverage, and 3) The clever way the SEC has made itself appear elite by scheduling so many non-conference patsies that everyone in the conference appears to be good based on their overall record. But is there more to it, specifically that the conference is crooked in the way it attracts talent? Tough subject to address, but I appreciate your perspective as a journalist. Is this something you talk about with your cohorts inside the SBT?

Eric Hansen: Mark, to be honest with you, I don't give a lot of thought or research to those premises/questions. It's not really relevant to what I do on a daily basis. I do know the SEC consistently has more NFL prospects than the other Power 5 leagues. Why that's so is a better question for someone who covers football in that area. I'm not saying that isn't a intriguing road to go down, but it's not one I have studied much.

Pat from St. Paul, Minn.: Eric, thanks again for hosting these chats! Who is the next to commit to the Irish?

Eric Hansen: OK, I'll play psychic. I'll say OG Rocco Spindler.

Marie from Atlanta: Hi Eric, Thanks for hosting the chat. For ND to win the national championship in 2020, omitting QB play as one of the answers, what two areas of the offense and defense would have to improve the most?  If Tyler Buchner enrolls early and establishes himself in spring practice next year, do you think Brian Kelly would overcome his reluctance to start true freshmen? Finally, any thoughts on the hiring of Chris Watt? I think if he can teach the mentality with which he played the game to the current players that will benefit the offensive line tremendously. As always I appreciate you comments. Stay safe.

Eric Hansen: Hi Marie, and you stay safe too. Offense, I'd say offensive line play and running backs. Defense, cornerbacks — far and away — and then safeties beyond Kyle Hamilton. ... On the Buchner question, I'd say yes to that. Regarding Chris Watt, that's an incredible resource to have as a grad assistant.

Ed from Palm Beach, Fla.: As the college football and basketball landscape morphs into a mega-million-dollar business, with university outlays at historic proportions which include bloated staffs, athletic perks beyond normal, do you think this pandemic will give cause for concern as to where we go from here designating funds for athletics?

Eric Hansen: It already is.

Jack from Strongsville, Ohio: Hi Eric. Thanks for the great job you do for the SBT and on SportsBeat. Another inside baseball question. Much of your writing and analysis is based on statistics and factual evidence. Do you find yourself rooting either for or against certain teams, and how do you maintain an even hand in reporting on a team?

Eric Hansen: Thank you. I find myself rooting for noon kickoffs. I think I owe it to my readers to keep an even hand, because they deserve that. So no rooting, except for a good parking space and plenty of time to write before deadline.

Frank from a cabin in rural Missouri: It seems inevitable the football season will at least be postponed and likely canceled. Is there a date for deciding?

Eric Hansen: No, but May 15 is a key date for some decisions and more info.

Chad from Toledo: I'm trying to figure out how we can have some normal college football season? With that said I’ve always been a fan of playing the heavyweights and cancel the cupcakes! So what’s your thoughts on only playing 10 games and cut out the two weakest — not just Notre Dame, but every Power 5 school? I believe this will attract more viewers and make it easier to select for playoffs! We need to condense the season for safety and less nonsense (like 'Bama vs The Citadel)!! I know it’s way to early to know what’s going to happen, but it’s a perfect time for quality over quantity!! Amen. God Bless America.

Eric Hansen: I'm not sure your math works, but I'm for anything that gives us a safe college football season.

Mike from Maine: Eric, I believe that this happened in an ND game last year. I have seen it a couple of times, and it baffles me as the most counter-intuitive football rule. ND kicks off and the kickoff lands around the 5-yard line, just a few feet in-bounds.  the receiver slides (intentionally or not) so that his feet are out of bounds, and then reaches back for the ball. The ball never goes out of bounds, but ND is charged with a penalty for a kick out-of-bounds, and instead of getting the ball at their own 5, the receiving team gets it at the 35. The broadcasters explained that the rule required that. I could not find it in the NCAA rulebook. Are you familiar with this rule, and do you agree it makes no sense?

Eric Hansen: Mike, I'd have to see the play on film to be able to answer this.

Eric Hansen: And thanks Mark, for your amusing conspiracy theory re Michigan I didn't get a chance to get to.

Eric Hansen: That's going to do it for today. Thanks for all the great questions. Because there was such a tremendous response today, we'll continue to do these every 2-3 weeks or so.

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