Chat Transcript: Talking Notre Dame's recruiting challenges and 2020 season logistics
Eric Hansen: Welcome to Notre Dame Football Live Chat, Memorial Day Weekend edition. Please remember to include your name and hometown with your question. Off we go ...
Alex from Jackson, Mo.: If they can’t play with fans in the stands in the fall, what is the drawback to punting until after the first of the year, if fans can return at that point? Is it simply a logistical nightmare, or is there more to it?
Eric Hansen: There's a lot more to it. First, schools are looking at models that would allow some fans to be in the stands. That's not an absolute, but it's gaining momentum. Second, it's not a given that it would be safer for fans in the winter/spring than it would be in the fall, considering the overlap in the winter of flu season with COVID-19. There may be better therapeutics in place by them or a vaccine. There may not. There may be better weapons to fight the disease come September. More problems with delaying the season are delaying revenue, overlapping with winter sports, having a short turnaround between the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Ryan from Philadelphia: Is the College Football Playoff a realistic expectation for this 2021 Notre Dame team?
Eric Hansen: For the 2020 team or 2021? For 2020, I would say it should be a goal. If they end up there, they've overachieved slightly. It also would mean, if the schedule stays intact, they would have beaten Wisconsin, Clemson or both. I still think this could be Brian Kelly's best overall team, and it's one that I think will adapt to the setback of the pandemic better than a lot of teams around the country — based on its leadership, returning players and the way the program approached training and teaching during the pandemic.
Marie from Atlanta: Hi Eric. Thanks for hosting the chat. Do you think one of the contributing factors to QB regression at ND following the first year of play could be due to the playbook becoming over-complicated for the QB in the second year. Simply put, do you think the staff asks too much of the QB. The first year of DeShone Kizer, Ian Book and others were all great, but it seemed the plays were simpler as the staff was aware of the lack of experience. Do you think results could be better if the plays were a little simpler in the second and third years, but allowed for a very high percentage of execution, as opposed to running complicated plays that blow up a lot more. Also, do you think the plays could be tailored more to the QB strengths and maybe ask them to do less of things they are not as comfortable with? Is this an approach offensive coordinator Tommy Rees might take? Thanks for you thoughts. Hope you are keeping safe.
Eric Hansen: Hi Marie. All good here and hope your family is safe as well. I'm not sure I'd agree with the premise of the questions, even if the same offensive coordinators and offensive play callers had been a constant in the Kelly Era. And I don't think the answer is one size fits all. Kizer, for instance, lost a lot of his supporting/surrounding cast, and then he started pressing to try to do too much. That wasn't about the playbook. I think a lot of the regression has been more mental than anything else. And part of coaching is helping the QBs process the pressure and transcend it. If there's been a common theme in the shortfalls to this point, I would start there.
Lawrence from Denver: Great to have these back. 1) Is running back a serious liability? 2) Does this O-line have the ceiling to be a dominant, run-blocking force like 2017 (not in terms of matching draft picks, but in changing the nature of a game)?
Eric Hansen: Lawrence, great to be back. And thank you for joining in. I don't think running back is necessarily a liability. I think it's an unknown. I do like freshman Chris Tyree's game a lot — certainly more than a lot of other people on the beat seem to. And that's not as a starter, but as an important part of the running back rotation. I think the offensive line has a chance to be really good in run blocking, much better than last year. And Tommy Rees — as the offensive coordinator — is committed to that, which is a good sign.
Rick from Kalamazoo: Any thoughts on roster movement to get down to 85? Thank you for the chats Eric. I very much enjoy!
Eric Hansen: Rick, with the addition of Nick McCloud as a grad transfer, Notre Dame is at 89. They may yet add another grad transfer at running back. When they do these kinds of things, the coaches have a very good idea of who is likely to stick on the roster and who is not. There are two walk-ons who were given scholarships for the spring and summer, knowing that those could go away in the fall. Wide receiver Isaiah Robertson, who did not play a single down in 2019, was going to be held out of spring ball to work on academic issues. So his roster spot wasn't guaranteed. I hate to speculate beyond that, as I don't think it's fair to the players if it's not an absolute. We should have a better picture of this in June. Notre Dame does not have to be at 85 until the first day of fall-semester classes, which is now Aug. 10.
Mike from Quakertown, Pa.: Thanks again for all of your hard work reporting on the Irish and for hosting these chats. I hope you and your family are safe and well. What do you think the offense will look like under Tommy Rees? Will there be dramatic shifts, or will there more of a focus on a 50/50 run/pass split, or more of the same just with a more preferred messenger for Kelly with Rees? Thanks again!
Eric Hansen: Mike, thank you and same to you. I think we saw small clues in the bowl game against Iowa State — more QB under center in short yardage, some different formations, an emphasis on being a more efficient running team. I think not having spring might dial back some of the changes this fall, but I didn't expect wholesale alterations anyway. I'm really eager to see how he uses an inexperienced, but very deep and athletic, receiving corps that will have to play catch-up in August, not having had the opportunity to work on chemistry. My plan and hope is to directly talk to Rees himself in June, now that there is momentum for a football season and one that may very well start on time.
Ron from North Carolina: Eric, hope you and your family are well. I have a question about a touchy subject. If getting these top players on campus is a priority to getting them to commit, why can't the NCAA allow schools like ND to just stagger the recruits on campus (no camps, workouts, meetings, etc). There's probably, what, five or six "must" have players. Why can't the NCAA just allow one or two recruits with family on campus at any given time (weekend) over a month's time period. I know it's a lot of work for ND, but if it's a priority, then you make it work. I mean, ND has a hotel on campus (where) they can isolate the recruits. Everyone can wear masks and gloves, but at least the recruits could get to see the campus, facilities, their future degree departments, maybe a few staff and get their questions answered — and ND wouldn't lose recruits to those kids' local schools? I get the guidelines to keep everyone safe, but I go to Walmart every day and there are 300 people there and not just to get food. What's your opinion on losing recruits due to the guidelines?
Eric Hansen: Ron, thanks for your good wishes, and back at you. That's just not going to happen. I think what might be realistic is an open period in July and/or August when visits can happen. I think it's unfortunate to lose recruits in part because of the extended dead periods, but I understand why those protocols are in place.
Jeff from Canton, Mich.: HI Eric, if the NCAA decides to cancel the fall 2020 football season, do you think they will grant an extra year to all the seniors and fifth years, so they can play in 2021? I would think an extension to 110 scholarships would allow for that?
Eric Hansen: I don't think the 2020 season will be canceled. If that had happened, you wouldn't be able to afford to extra scholarships in 2021. Many schools can't afford to give scholarships to the spring student-athletes who were granted an extra year of eligibility when their spring sports were canceled.
Erik from Granger: Thanks for being here! I’ve missed you being on SportsBeat the last few weeks, and hope that’s just a temporary situation. I was really disappointed about Will Shipley (both his decision and the “all-or-nothing” approach of the coaches). Do we have a realistic shot at Donovan Edwards now that we’re scrambling to move on from Shipley? I saw he’s keeping all his options open, but I always hear how schools who come in late have such a disadvantage. We need an elite complement to Chris Tyree.
Eric Hansen: Erik, thanks for being a part of chat and thanks for noting my absence on SportsBeat. My hope is it's temporary as well. That is the intention, I'm told. I do think ND has a realistic shot at Donovan Edwards, in part because he doesn't appear to be in a hurry to make a decision and the ND coaches will have a chance to deepen that relationship.
Tom from St Louis, Mo.: Eric, your chats are fantastic. Glad they are back. My question is short and sweet. What’s your opinion on the chances of the Navy game being played in Dublin? Thanks again!!
Eric Hansen: Tom, thank you. I think both Notre Dame and Navy are still looking at ways to make that work. They haven't run into a dead end yet. However, my sense is that it will be played in the U.S., likely in Baltimore, Philly or Annapolis — the latter of which has never hosted the game. I am more confident that the game will retain its Aug. 29 date than its overseas venue, though if it's going to be played stateside, you have some wiggle room to play on Sept. 5.
Drew from Youngstown, Ohio: Is there any word — and, if not, what is your opinion — about the football weekend experience, which in my opinion is much more than the game! Will the band play on the steps and drum circle? Will the buildings be open, etc.? Our renewal of season tickets will depend on these questions.
Eric Hansen: Drew, I know the deadline is coming up, I believe, June 1. I don't think all those decisions will have been made by then. I would be surprised if many of the building were open to the public, simply because it would make it tougher to keep the student population safe. The drum circle would seem to invite the prospect of fans standing close to each other and not social distancing. Tailgating is going to be a challenge to regulate. I would assume a more limited gameday experience if I were you.
Brian Sontchi from Batavia, Ill.: Hello Eric. How are you and yours? Continue with the increased dosage of Vitamin C and D-3. The NCAA made a statement to the effect that fall sports will be allowed only if students return to campus for studies. Pertaining to college football, does this mean that ALL BCS/Division I universities have to have students on campus for a 2020 season to materialize? I ask this, because the University of California system stated they will only have online classes this autumn, which would exclude UCLA and Cal from participating in football. Do you have additional information regarding this NCAA guideline? Thank you.
Eric Hansen: Brian thanks for the vitamin advice and for being on the chat. This is a little hard to follow, because some stances and statements have changed. Cal and UCLA are part of the University of California system, and that system is planning a hybrid model of online and on-campus learning for the fall. The Cal State system in the one that has committed to online only, yet notably San Diego State, San Jose State and Fresno State are all intent on playing football in 2020. Your confusion is understandable and is due in part to incomplete reporting. NCAA chief Mark Emmert did say in early May that he did not envision schools being ready to begin competing in college football or other fall sports unless students return to campuses around the country. But that's not his call to make. It's up to the university presidents and commissioners.
Alex from Jackson, Mo.: That makes sense. I assumed there was more to it than logistics. Thanks for the answer, as always! Stay safe and stay healthy!
Eric Hansen: Thank you Alex and same to you.
Ryan from Philadelphia: Meant 2020, my bad. This season.
Eric Hansen: No problem.
Rick from Orange County, Calif.: Will ND go back to a cadence or stay with the clap? The clap gives our offensive line no advantage over the defensive line, as both lines hears the clap at the same time. Might cut down on the anticipation/offsides penalties, too. Last night I watched the 1991 Orange Bowl, with ND vs Colorado. Boring game, but ND used Rocket, at 175 pounds, all over the field. Will ND use Tyree in the same manner? Love the chats, thanks!
Eric Hansen: That's a question I plan to ask Tommy Rees when we get a chance to chat, and I anticipate the clap will likely go bye-bye. I do think you'll see Chris Tyree in the slot at times and in the return game. And he's excited about that. He said the first five games of his high school career were at the slot receiver position, because they had too many running backs. Imagine that. Thanks for the kind words, too.
Patrick from Fort Wayne: Eric, has there been any discussions about ND completing a full 12-game schedule this year? I am thinking about COVID-19 cancellations ahead of the start of the season.
Eric Hansen: That's really dependent on whether their opponents are able/willing to play a 12-game season. Those models are still being played out and discussed.
Tom D. from Lansing, Mich.: Thanks for the chat and for taking my question, Eric. I've heard less talk lately of playing football in the spring. Does it look like fall or never? Also, do you see rosters being impacted by players saying they just don't want to take the chance competing this fall? Stay safe, my friend.
Eric Hansen: Tom, thank you. I'm not sure it's a fall-or-nothing proposition as much as it is fall is beginning to make the most sense for a lot of reasons. There may be some rosters impacted, but The Athletic did a player survey they published today. Of the 45 players surveyed (from different teams and conferences), none of them said they wouldn't play. The world changes every day, it seems. We'll certainly have a lot more information in July and August than we do now.
Tom from Naperville, Ill.: Hi Eric. If you had to choose one or the other, would you prefer Notre Dame to beat Clemson this season or win a New Year's Six bowl game? And why?
Eric Hansen: I don't have a personal preference, but in terms of what might provide the best perceptual boost for the program, beating a No. 1 Clemson team would go much further than say winning a non-playoff New Year's Six game.
Matt from Augusta, N.J.: If conferences decide to play a conference-only schedule, how will ND play? Would the ACC allow ND to be a conference member for one year and play an all-ACC schedule. Does ND go all independent games? I know this would be a worse-case scenario. Also saw comments about Randy Moss being denied admission and his application was the reason for denial, not the fight in high school. Have you ever heard this? Would love to see that application. I also have too much time to think with COVID-19. Hope to see ND football this year, ☘️.
Eric Hansen: Matt, if every team played a conference-only schedule (and I don't think that will happen), ND could play other independent and FCS schools. AD Jack Swarbrick is confident it won't come to that. Some possibilities are a conference games-plus one model, which would put ND in high demand. The ACC would seem to be on board with this, considering ND's relationship with the conference. Right now, 12 games is not off the table. So don't write that off just yet. As far as Randy Moss, I wasn't covering the team at that time. so I don't have direct knowledge of what may or may not have happened behind the scenes.
Dan from Grand Rapids, Mich.: Hi Eric, being from the Peoples Republic of Michigan, what is your professional opinion of ND getting offensive guard Rocco Spindler and/or running back Donovan Edwards from UM's backyard? They both would fill a huge need if they are as good as advertised. Be safe and thanks for all you are doing to keep us informed. I really need a haircut. Do you know a good barber? It's only about a two-hour drive!
Eric Hansen: Dan, I think Spindler is more likely than Edwards, but ND has a shot at both of them. Thank you for the good wishes. I know a lot of good barbers, and they're all open for business here.
Kim from Wichita, Kan.: I have full confidence in Ian Book, but who’s the next man in?
Eric Hansen: I think not having spring practice locks Brendon Clark in as the No. 2 option, although I did not anticipate freshman Drew Pyne overtaking him had there been spring practice.
Terence Connors from Rochelle Park, N.J.: Hi Eric. Do you think Notre Dame has a realistic chance to end up with a commitment from Donovan Edwards, Logan Diggs or one of the other top running backs in the 2021 class? Or are they grasping at straws after losing out on Will Shipley? Thanks for keeping this Q&A going. Stay safe and GO IRISH!
Eric Hansen: Terence, you stay safe, too. Notre Dame has an uphill climb here, but it's doable. Our recruiting guy, Carter Karels, thinks Edwards will end up in the class.
Ken from Pensacola, Fla.: Eric, It’s GREAT to be able to chat with you once again! With all the difficulties everyone has experienced with COVID 19, will you still have an ND Insider this year AND is this year’s ND team able to bring home a national championship? Thanks & GO IRISH!!!!!!
Eric Hansen: Ken, thank you for chatting with me. Now that we know ND has committed to in-person classes for the fall and college football is moving toward a reality, we are putting plans in place to produce the ND Insider mag. ... Except it most likely will take a different form — a broadsheet special section instead of a glossy magazine. It still would have all the same content, except maybe for opponent previews. We still have to finalize our plan with our new corporate ownership and with advertising. Thanks for asking. I am not predicting a national title for ND, but I think this team has a chance to be special.
Michael from Sanford, N.C.: Eric, no real question today, but I did want to thank you for taking the time to field all of our questions and provide a quality forum for Irish fans to participate and enjoy! Thanks so Much!!!
Eric Hansen: Michael, thank you so much. I'd like to have a virtual beer with you.
GB from Wasilla, Alaska: Eric, I presume and hope you are staying COVID-free. What do you think Kelly and Co. can do to improve recruiting?
Eric Hansen: I am, and I hope you are too. I think the best thing they can do to improve recruiting is get kids on campus once the rules and safety allow for it. Indiana has opened up sooner than a lot of other states and has a lot of good safety protocols in place. The approval in this instance must come from the NCAA for campus visits.
Penny from Adrian, Mich.: Why are they waiting so long to make a decision on the Dublin game? I know it's a Navy home game, but it just seems to be dragging on and on. I have a party of four that have bought packages to go, and we now don't want to. We can't voluntarily cancel. We will lose our money. They are bringing students back early, no fall break, to end classes before Thanksgiving, because they don't want them to return to campus and possibly bring back the virus with them. So, let's take over a 100 players and staff out of the country, expose them to who knows what, and then return to campus?
Eric Hansen: Penny, I think they'd really like to have the game there if they can figure out how to manage it safely. They've invested a lot in it happening. If you'd like to cancel, I think you should be able to, though it's not up to me.
Lee from Lancaster, S.C.: Can you envision a scenario whereby the players, coaches or fans in the stands will be asked to wear masks during the game?
Eric Hansen: Coaches and fans, very much so. And I will wear one too, because I want to keep others safe from me.
Dwight from central Arkansas: I read Carter Karel's article with interest. I know a recruit must avoid contact at specific times, and during this quarantine meeting face-to-face is not allowed. If I understood the article, there are loopholes to a prospect visiting a campus. If a five-star athlete wanted to tour a campus, could he do so legally by contacting a non-coach source, such as Carter Karels or yourself or someone not affiliated with ND, as long as he did not come in contact with anyone on the coaching staff?
Eric Hansen: If I understand your question, there's nothing that would prevent the prospect from touring campus on his own, but there wouldn't be much point to it. Wouldn't you want to meet the coaches, the academic people, etc.? I sure would.
Tyler from Cleveland, Ohio: Happy Friday eve, Eric! Love the work. Seems like Brian Kelly is finally getting some credit he deserves for getting this program turned around. Lots of people saying he’s a top 5/10 coach in the country. Even if he never wins a national championship, I’ll be pleased to see a 10-2 ND team year in and year out than a 7-5 ND team winning a no-name bowl. That being said, he is definitely on the back 9 of his career. Any news on a succession plan or too early to tell? Love Clark Lea, and he is a great fit at ND. Seems to get our culture and can recruit the ND student-athlete and more importantly develop that athlete. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was a fringe three-star prospect and now is being talked about as a top-tier draft prospect. (Imagine him with Jaylon, sigh.) ND has to be crazy to not throw a bunch of money at him to ensure he stays, right? Was about to lose it when I heard he may be going to BC. Thanks!
Eric Hansen: Tyler, thanks. I think the succession plan would be different with each passing year. If Kelly left after this season, the list of candidates would look different than if he left after 2024. Consider whether Jack Swarbrick would still be AD in 2024, for one? Would Clark Lea have been a head coach, say, at Vanderbilt by that time? If so, was he successful as a head coach? That's why I always dance around this question when I get it, because my mind doesn't work that way. It's not a bad or unfair question. It just the best answer is: nobody really knows.
Pat from Springfield, Ill.: This might be an unanswerable question now, but if there is a limit on spectators, any idea what will be the maximum number of fans allowed?
Eric Hansen: We should know that answer pretty soon. I would say no more than half, and likely a little less than that.
David Kaminski from Elkhart: Thanks for all you do, Eric. I always know I am getting accurate information from your writings. My question is how does this team's chemistry compare to 2012? It appears similar with a bonded upperclassman leadership group on and off the field, followed by a group of underclassmen that are buying into the program and taking coach Kelly's "Development of Traits" mantra to heart.
Eric Hansen: David, thank you for your compliments and your question. I really like the leadership of this team. You don't know for sure what that looks like until you encounter a big puff of adversity, and this team (and the whole world) has. So it will be fascinating to see how that shows itself in August. My sense is that it will make a difference in ND's bottom line.
Jeremy from Goshen, Ind.: Who has a bigger impact this year: Kyren Williams or C’Bo Flemister? Why?
Eric Hansen: C'Bo is the safe answer. I'm going to go with Kyren, because I think he's the more dynamic player and can do more things.
Andy from Ponte Vedra, Fla.: Hey Eric, what position(s) or parts of the offense or defense worry you the most about this ND team this year? Where do expect to see improvement? Thanks.
Eric Hansen: I think the areas that worry Brian Kelly the most are cornerback and running back, because there are the most unknowns at those positions and not a lot of margin for error if injuries become a factor at those positions. I think the offensive line and linebackers will be most improved.
Robb, Colorado: Hey Eric. I concur on your optimism on Tyree. I will even go a step further and say he ends up a Freshman All-American. Lots of all purpose yards for him.
Eric Hansen: Duly noted.
Jack from Oak Park, Ill.: Looks like ND needs, at least, a “conference-only PLUS one” format to save its season. Do the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 have a timetable, and who decides (conference or each school)? Stay well & Go Irish.
Eric Hansen: Jack, to your timetable question. it's a big puzzle. One conference's decision is impacted by another's. States reopening at different speeds and to different extents also play into the formula. I think commissioners and presidents want to wait as late as possible to make a decision, because every day it seems like we get more data with which to make those kinds of decisions.
Jake from Mishawaka: What went wrong with Will Shipley? Did ND do anything wrong or were they never really a realistic option geographically?
Eric Hansen: I think if the pandemic hadn't happened and he visited ND in March, he would be in Notre Dame's class. The pandemic has prompted a lot of kids to consider staying closer to home. USC's resurgence, when it had been losing elite California kids left and right, is another illustration of that trend.
Jeff from York, Pa.: Why is Notre Dame doing such a poor job in recruiting? The class is currently ranked 12th. BK promised a top five class, which is badly needed after the poor class, ranked 21st, of 2020. Is it because the coaches can't recruit? Is it because the school places too much emphasis on academics? Is it because too many four- and five-star recruits have juvenile records and a history of bad behavior? A ND football coach is not a good coach unless he wins a national championship or two during his tenure.
Eric Hansen: Jeff, you sound like you're having a bad day. I'll keep this simple. A top five class is an aspiration, not a promise. And I think it's good to have high aspirations. If you put limits on yourself, it usually doesn't end well. I'm not trying to make excuses for ND here, but the pandemic's effect on recruiting is real. As things start to reopen and kids get a chance to take visits, I think we'll see a bit of a shift.
Kyle W. from St. Louis, Mo.: What are ND's chances of landing offensive linemen Nolan Rucci and/or Rocco Spindler?
Eric Hansen: Spindler better chance than Rucci.
Paul from Hebron, Ind.: What is your opinion of linebacker Jack Lamb? Does he have what it takes to play meaningful snaps this fall?
Eric Hansen: I like his game a lot. Big, rangy linebacker who can cover in space. His challenge has been staying healthy. If he can in 2020, he'll be in the mix to start at Buck linebacker.
Luke F. from Cicero, Ind.: Thanks for doing the chats. Honestly, they are very insightful, and it is nice to hear an opinion from someone who lives around ND and is able to get a perspective from close up! Outside of Shaun Crawford, Nick McCloud, and TaRiq Bracy, who is able — physically and mentally — to step up and play meaningful snaps at corner? Who will be the player to step up and play meaningful snaps in 2020 and beyond?
Eric Hansen: Luke, thank you. Spring ball was going to inform us on that question. Since 14 of the 15 got canceled, I'm going to cheat and go with who Troy Pride Jr. told me to keep an eye on, and that's Isaiah Rutherford as the most likely CB outside of the group you mentioned to emerge. I'd keep an eye on Cam Hart, too. But keep in mind, this is the position group most likely challenged by the effects of the pandemic.
Tom from Georgia: Will ND go to Culver? Will ND alter the established timing under Kelly for travel to away games?
Eric Hansen: That's a great question for me to ask Jack Swarbrick next time we chat. I would think Culver would be an unnecessary safety risk and would condense the area that players spent time in instead of spreading them out. I'm not sure if I understand the second part of the question, about away games, but I wouldn't think that would be altered.
Dan from Grand Rapids, Mich.: Another easy one for you, Eric: Who does ND have as a game-breaker receiver who would strike fear into the defense? Hopefully, more than one. Anyone who has size, great hands and speed? The top teams — OSU, Clemson, Ala., LSU, etc. — have multiples. We need some! Thanks again!
Eric Hansen: I'd put Kevin Austin Jr. at the top of that list, followed by Braden Lenzy. I'm eager to see what freshman Jordan Johnson looks like coming in the door and if Javon McKinley can make another leap in his game. I really like Xavier Watts to be a surprise player. I'd like him more if spring had taken place.
Doug from Sunny Florida: Eric, a lot has been written about the recruiting challenges at ND and how ND goes after players that can understand the differences and demands that an ND student-athlete has compared to most other schools. My question is centered around the coaching staff. It seems like it took BK a few years to understand and accept these challenges, but he now talks openly about them and tries to use them to his recruiting advantage. How hard is it for him to find prospective coaching hires that understand, accept and can buy into these challenges and can openly recruit with these challenges in mind? How long is the list of prospective coaches that can really recruit and coach in ND's environment?
Eric Hansen: I'm not sure Brian Kelly's adaptation to selling ND's academic strengths was as long or disjointed as you're portraying. Notre Dame is very much about fit, so you're right in that respect in assuming some coaches who have been successful elsewhere may not succeed at all in ND's environment.
Mike from Pittsburgh: What does a dream 2021 recruiting class for the Irish look like? Can just be numbers, doesn’t have to be all the names. Thanks for doing this!
Eric Hansen: Mike, Carter did a story today on predicting how the class will fill out. Here's the link: https://www.ndinsider.com/recruiting/predicting-the-members-of-notre-dames-2021-recruiting-class/article_47a17ce0-5a1a-5d77-beb4-f79f50c624c1.html
Sean from Greensboro, N.C.: Eric, hope you and your family are staying safe. What in the name of all that is holy was the coaching staff thinking by putting all its running back hope in one guy? This seems insane.
Eric Hansen: If it had worked, it would have looked very sane. They took a chance. You have to do that sometimes.
Fred Karam from Parts Unknown: Eric, I hope you and your family are well in these trying times. My question is this: The lines and predictions have the Irish as an underdog against Wisconsin. I don't understand the disrespect. We have an accomplished returning quarterback, a strong offensive line, strong talent across the entire team. I watched Wisconsin and have never been impressed and don't believe they have the same talent as the Irish. When they have played the big boys, they usually get thumped, I know we have some problems in the past as well, but coach Kelly has narrowed the gap with talent and coaching as well as strong recruiting classes. What are your thoughts? Have a wonderful Memorial Day!
Eric Hansen: Fred, thanks and I'm going to assume you are from Wisconsin. Betting lines, especially, early ones are not a sign of respect or disrespect, although smart coaches will sometimes use them as motivation anyway. I think Wisconsin is a really good program, but I think they lost a lot of difference-makers from their lineup.
Eric Hansen: That's going to do it for today. Thanks for all the great questions. I'll definitely be back in June to do this and likely more than once during that month. Everybody stay safe.