Chat Transcript: Why the trouble in Notre Dame's bubble? Book and his ceiling? Kiser on a roll?

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Eric Hansen: Welcome to Notre Dame Football Live Chat -- Double Live Bye Week Edition. Usually whining is banned as well, but a minimal amount will be tolerated today. PLEASE remember to include your name and hometown with your question. Let's get right to it.

Matt from Bridgman, Mich.: From my recollection, I thought that Notre Dame athletes have to stay in the dorms with other students (for at least the first two or three years) and don't have an athlete-dedicated dorm like many other universities have. Is this still the case and have any changes been made or considered during this COVID-19 season? Asking in light of the seven confirmed positive COVID-19 cases this week and no Wake Forest game. Please explain.

Eric Hansen: Matt, that is normally the case, but 2020 isn't normal and Notre Dame has altered those rules because of COVID-19. Even freshmen can live off campus, and many of the freshmen and sophomores took advantage of the new rule this school year.

Jumbo from Vero Beach, Fla.: Eric, thanks as always for doing this. How would you characterize the talent differential between ND and the middling teams in the ACC — Duke, Wake Forest, etc.? And how do you handicap the game against Pitt, which has experienced leadership at QB in Kenny Pickett?

Eric Hansen: The ACC this year has some impressive individual talent at quarterback and defensive line especially. When you look at some of the NFL Draft analysis websites, there's been quite a surge this year in draftable talent in the league. Where ND has an advantage over the middling ACC teams is the Irish are deeper and more complete throughout the roster. As far as Pitt, that's another team with a good quarterback and defensive line. It would have been even more formidable had Jaylen Twyman not opted out. The Panthers are No. 1 in rush defense and No. 3 in total defense nationally against admittedly two overmatched opponents (Austin Peay and Syracuse). If Pitt is going to give ND problems on Oct. 24, they're going to have to become a better running team, foremost.

John from Elkhorn, Neb.: Hi Eric. Appreciate you doing the chat, especially this week. What do you hear about Xavier Watts? Is he in the mix for playing time this season? Thanks!

Eric Hansen: John, the Irish coaches like Xavier, a freshman wide receiver, a lot. The wide receiver position is very deep, and it's going to get deeper when Kevin Austin and Ben Skowronek come back from injuries. Now, we know injuries and COVID-19 can change things in a hurry. Right now, bright future, but caught in a numbers game.

Clancy from Sheboygan, Wis.: Hi Eric, thanks again for being so helpful in keeping the ND fanbase together through your articles and chats. Here's my annual question about Javon McKinley: Is he getting playing time solely because of injuries/attrition or because Brian Kelly/Tommy Rees know he has a rare combination of great downfield blocking and smooth hands? Do you see an increased or reduced role for Javon going forward?

Eric Hansen: If Kevin Austin were healthy and playing up to expectations (and Ben Skowronek too), Javon McKinley would be a rotation player instead of a starter. That said, he's earned the starting status for now with ND not at full strength. His blocking is an asset for a team under OC Tommy Rees that wants to flex its physicality.

Tom from Kennesaw, Ga.: Hi Eric, I have really been impressed with how hard all of our running backs run, especially after contact. Is this a "trait" that the coaches look for when evaluating recruits or is it driven home once they get to ND? I have been impressed with C'Bo Flemister since he has arrived. And although he doesn't have breakaway speed, he is still fun to watch hit the hole. Thanks and stay safe and well. Go Irish!!!

Eric Hansen: Hi Tom. I think yards after contact is something that comes up in the recruiting process. Yet ND needed to upgrade its speed, which is why Chris Tyree was such a priority and why he's been afforded some early opportunities. Ideally, you'd like players who can give you both, and Tyree and Kyren Williams have shown signs of that. C'Bo is a nice complement the way he kind of storms ahead for yardage. So far, that position group has outperformed its offseason expectations. C'Bo has won me over, too.

Derek from Chicago: Hi Eric. What happens in November if a similar COVID situation arises with no open dates? Is ND forced to play with a limited roster or does the ACC potentially finish with an uneven number of games played between all the teams?

Eric Hansen: The ACC doesn't have set rules about a threshold of how many players — or players missing from a certain position group — are needed to postpone as some of the other conferences have drawn up. But there's no way they're going to push a team to play if it can't safety field a team or certain position groups. Therefore, there is a chance teams could play an uneven number of games.

Roger from Desert Hot Springs. Calif.: Will any future problems (missed games) because of coronavirus cause the number of games played to be reduced or will they just keep adding games to the end of the season?

Eric Hansen: If you're talking about Notre Dame only, the Irish do have an open date on Nov. 21 that could come into play. There's nowhere else to stack games at the end of the season, with the ACC championship game now defaulting to Dec. 19 from its either/or original designation of Dec. 12 or 19.

Bill from St Joseph, Mich.: Eric, is it now safe to assume that the ACC playoff game will soon be rescheduled to Dec 19 or perhaps a bit later?

Eric Hansen: With four ACC teams now playing on Dec. 12, it pretty much has to default to Dec. 19. I don't think you could play it any later than that. The CFP semifinals are Jan. 1. Moving the ACC title game to Dec. 26 would give teams less than a week to prepare for a playoff game.

Sean from Portland, Ore.: I know COVID is the big issue right now, but I have COVID fatigue. I don't want to criticize too much for a team that is 2-0 and only really had one bad quarter of football (the very first quarter of a weird season). Is it too early to criticize Ian Book at all? He just doesn't look good. In years past, Miles Boykin, Chase Claypool, and Cole Kmet bailed him out a lot. While he may have more speed at the skill positions now, he definitely has less big bodies to bail him out. Is it too early to assume that he has not taken any "major" steps forward?

Eric Hansen: Sean, I absolutely fine with fielding questions that have nothing to do with COVID. There's going to be a season, and those issues are important too — and fun to talk about. I think it's too early to make any conclusions about Book. I don't think it's too early to wonder. As long as we see progression, that's encouraging. Keep in mind players like Claypool and Kmet don't just "bail" a QB out. They create conflicts for opposing defensive coordinators that force them to make tough choices. That, in turn, can open up other facets of the offense. Kevin Austin projects as that kind of player. Let's see what the offense looks like when he gets up to speed next month.

Peter from Provo: Hi Eric. The depth seems much better now than in the past. My question is: Why did it take so long to get to this point?

Eric Hansen: Peter, a lot of it is the natural evolution of a program. Getting the right blend of player development and recruiting, along with roster management./attrition. The Irish would have likely gotten there faster on defense, had Brian Kelly not hired Brian VanGorder as defensive coordinator in 2014. Under him, player development and recruiting took a big hit.

Jeff from Shelby, Ohio: Eric, how do you think this two-week period between games will affect ND's play against Florida State?

Eric Hansen: Jeff, I've got to ask you since you're from Shelby, do you know a guy who'd be about my age (60-ish) named Brad Mawhorr? To your question, I don't think it will be an advantage, even though the team would have fresh legs. You're disrupting the rhythm of your practices. And remember, players in isolation can't work out at all. And players in quarantine can only work out individually. At least ND has a chance to play that game with a pretty full roster as along as it gets this outbreak under control quickly.

Tim from Pleasant Prairie, Wis.: I thought I saw Bryan Driskell report that the game has been moved to 12/12.

Eric Hansen: Yes sir. It's not an exclusive. He and every other member of the ND universe has reported it. Here's our link:

Ryan from Chicago: What was the reasoning behind "ACC + 1" schedule? It seems the +1 was a waste of a valuable calendar date given COVIE postponements were inevitable with the 14-day mandatory quarantine. For the record, I'm glad we've gotten to the point where we don't have to sweat out games vs. USF, Tulsa, etc.

Eric Hansen: I suppose it was extra TV revenue and better than trying to play 11 ACC games. I don't see the down side. The ACC schedule has much more cushion built into it than most of the other Power 5 leagues.

Denny from Beaverton, Ore.: Hi Eric. I am not throwing shade on Clark Lea. Great for Jack Kiser. Could you ask the coaches how something like that happens when a guy gets a chance to play. In a way it is perplexing that he was No. 4 just a few weeks ago. I wonder if teammates were surprised?

Eric Hansen: When I spoke to Clark in July for our special section preview, he was very complimentary of Jack Kiser and Osita Ekwonu among the other contenders for the position. This really speaks to ND's depth at the linebacker position group, which is why they didn't take any linebackers in the 2020 class, including top 100 prospect Cody Simon. The younger brother of Shayne Simon signed with Ohio State. Brian Kelly even gushed about how well Kiser (and JD Bertrand) were doing on scout team before the roster attrition happened. Now give Kiser credit for producing in a game and making the buck linebacker playing time an even tougher decision when ND's roster is fully healthy again.

Tom from Kennesaw, Ga.: Eric, I recently read where last Saturday's game was the fourth shutout in Brian Kelly's 11 seasons at ND. No question here, just a little history for some of your younger followers and Irish fans. The 1966 National Championship team shut out six of the 10 opponents they played. That included road shut outs at No. 7 Oklahoma and No. USC!! While it was the mid-60's and not the offenses of today, it was still quite an accomplishment by a great team. They lost shutout No. 7 when the second team gave up a score late in one of the games. Let's just say those players were not looking forward to practice on Monday!!

Eric Hansen: Thanks for the history lesson, and what a cool part of ND's history it is.

Jim from Albuquerque: Greetings Eric and thanks for hosting these Q&As for Irish fans! I was glad to see Tommy Rees’ game plan for game 2 was a great improvement from game 1. More open offense as opposed to running the ball up the middle countless times for little or no gain. Your thoughts? Thanks and Go Irish!

Eric Hansen: As I was watching the USF game, the offensive play-calling did strike me, and I was impressed. You're starting to see some of the philosophical differences too between Rees and predecessor Chip Long.

Tim from Pleasant Prairie Wis.: Eric, my apologies. I misinterpreted the question by Roger from DHS. He was asking if ADDITIONAL games being postponed had any room for makeups. I thought he was talking about the Wake makeup.

Eric Hansen: No problem. As you were.

Jeff from Phoenix: Hey Eric, I'd like your opinion. Regarding academic ineligibility affecting play after the fall semester. NORMALLY, if a player doesn't make the grades, this only has a potential impact on postseason bowls. But this year, with ND finishing classes on Nov 20, it could (?) impact three regular-season games, the ACC championship, and potentially two playoff games for a total of six games. With more freshmen contributing and the potential need for using more players given COVID, do you see this as an under-appreciated liability or a big fat nothing-burger? Thanks!

Eric Hansen: Jeff, I really hadn't thought about it at all until you brought it up. I think one nice bounce in the revised academic/athletic schedules is that if Notre Dame can keep the Nov. 21 open date, it won't have a game to prep for during finals week (Nov. 16-20). The upside is you play at North Carolina, Syracuse, at Wake and the ACC title game (if applicable) when there are no academic demands and when there aren't students on campus to help spread the virus (although they've been great -- 13 of the 41 active cases on campus are with the football program). I think that outweighs the possibility of a potential academic ineligibility or two.

Gabriel Weiss from South Bend: Putting football aside, who is your favorite Notre Dame player?

Eric Hansen: I'm not just being diplomatic, there really are too many to name.

Larry from Champions Gate, Fla.: Eric, thanks to you and the rest of the SBT sports staff for keeping everyone informed during these unusual and constantly changing times. My question pertains to Ian Book. Do you think that he has reached his ceiling as far as performance/capability or is he just affected by the lack of time working with his new receivers?

Eric Hansen: This is a variation of an earlier question, but yours has a little different twist. I think we'll know much more about Ian Book's ceiling if/when two things happen: Kevin Austin comes back and is playing up to expectations, and ND plays at Pitt on Oct. 24 and at home against Clemson Nov. 7.

Henry from Stockton, Calif.: Eric, I want to include my name among the others who thank you for this chat. You always are level-headed in your responses. You are appreciated.

Eric Hansen: Henry, thanks so much. I appreciate your comments and for just being a part of the chats.

Thomas from Windsor Heights, Iowa: Everyone, including me, wonder what the source of the infection is. I understand that the majority of players live off campus. If true, don't you think that the team should be moved back on campus?

Eric Hansen: Notre Dame itself is trying to get to the bottom of the source of infection. I don't know how moving players into dorms would change the formula. I would think that might increase the risk.

Jeff from York, Pa.: Are most of the football players taking their classes online? If this season is going to continue, the football team will have to be placed in a smaller bubble — one that isolates them from the rest of the student body.

Eric Hansen: Let me play the hypothetical game with you ... what if the infection was introduced through mixing with family and friends after one of the games ... or going out to dinner in a restaurant where there was poor ventilation? Out of 144 football players, including walk-ons, there are 13 active infections as of noon today. Out of the rest of the roughly 12,000 students — and employees — there are 28 known active cases. Ian Book is one player who is in a bubble and who takes his graduate classes online.

Grorge from El Segundo, Calif.: Hi Eric; hope you and yours remain well. Another season and another effort to make Ian Book into a "dropback" or "pocket passer." Why? I watch people fall all over Russell Wilson on Sundays and, from where I watch, Book is the poor man's Wilson. He's much better moving than standing still. And keeping him in the pocket takes away one of the Irish's best offensive weapons, namely his ability to scramble, which won two games last season (Virginia Tech and USC). Why does the coaching staff constantly try to make him into something he isn't and never will be?

Eric Hansen: George, I'm not sure I can buy into the "constantly" part of your question. The reason Book may not be on the move as much early in the season, including designed runs, is because of what the backup QB situation looks like. And last Saturday that consisted of one scholarship player, freshman Drew Pyne.

Jim from Florida: Eric, once again great job. I enjoyed reading all of your articles. My question for you has to do my observations over the first two weeks. I understand the quarterback has to get used to new receivers, but even after the South Florida game I didn’t think that our quarterback could throw the ball down field with accuracy. He had all day, because his offensive line was superior. And he did read through progressions, but he still missed throws and seldom threw the ball more than 15 yards. I’m very concerned that not only hasn’t there been progression, but there may have been regression. My question to you is: Do you think our QB could lead a healthy Notre Dame team to victory against a top-ranked team. I’m concerned that he could not.

Eric Hansen: The version of Ian Book you saw in the first two weeks would not be able to best Clemson. The coaching staff is investing in the notion he will get better each week. And there was progression after week 1, albeit more subtle than seismic. One thing to consider about downfield passing vs. USF is did ND really want to show much more than it needed to from a playbook standpoint in a 52-0 game? I'm not saying will we see significant improvement in the vertical passing game. I am suggestion it's too early to rule that out.

Jake8589 from Saratoga Springs, N.Y. So the question is will the media let Brian Kelly off the hook on how well Phil Jurkovec played as a first-time starter against Duke, when a third-year starter (Ian Book) struggled mightily against the same team. How does Brian Kelly not be held accountable for this — a five-star recruit with tremendous upside not getting the opportunity in favor of a three-star with a very low ceiling that has been matched. I just can’t believe that. Why has the media not pushed him on this? Are they afraid that they won’t have the opportunities moving forward, if so that is so wrong?

Eric Hansen: Jake, what would be the appropriate response from the media after ONE game? My response was to vote Jurkovec ACC QB of the Week (D'Eriq King of Miami won). Do you really think it's smart/fair/sane to base two college careers on one game? And what does holding Brian Kelly accountable look like? A spanking? Demanding he have Phil transfer back to Notre Dame? Typing my Zoom questions to the moderator in ALL CAPS? If Phil plays well at BC, it's going to be a perception issue for BK. Phil's comments to the Pittsburgh paper about his development should be taken seriously. One part of his complaint (Chip Long) isn't here anymore. My advice is to let the season play out and then try to form some conclusions about whether the right decisions were made.

Doug from Sunny Florida: Eric, some of those on the chat are missing the point and are trying to point to the general student population as the reason for the increase in positive tests. There are 13 positives out of 125+ football players for a roughly 10% infection rate whereas the student body has 28 cases for roughly 10,000+ students. The football team has 1/3 of the total positive cases for the entire school! The team appears to be the problem, because the student body went from 400+ at the beginning of the school year down to 28. What is the team doing differently going forward to protect the non-positives on the team that you know of?

Eric Hansen: Doug, thanks for your rant. To your question, first ND has to get to the bottom of what caused the outbreak before it can modify its protocols. And teams do learn as they go along. Look no further than Miami and St. Louis in Major League Baseball. I hope to gain more insight Thursday on the topic and will be writing for the web Thursday night, Friday morning print.

Jeff from York, Pa.: Hi Eric, my question was poorly stated. Your response was logical, and I agree with everything you said. My concern is that most of the things you mentioned need to be eliminated. In order for college football to succeed, a bubble like MLB is using needs to become the norm. It would also be good to test every day and to use the test that gives a result in five or 10 minutes.

Eric Hansen: Jeff, agreed, daily testing and with quick turnarounds will improve the numbers across the board. The NFL has daily testing and with great success so far, without having a true bubble. That will be part of my story for Thursday night, just how much impact daily rapid testing could improve things.

Tom from Downers Grove, Ill.: Hi Eric, I'm enjoying our Stanford-esque offense more than I thought I would. Do you see ND sticking with under center/multi-tight end sets when our receivers come back healthy?

Eric Hansen: Maybe not in such predominant numbers, but when you look at the tight end talent on this team and the inability of a lot of teams to match up with it, I'd say it's not going away.

Jim from Oregonia, Ohio: Ugh! Super bummed there is no game on Saturday. I think we may have maxed out regarding Ian Book's overall potential. And honestly I am OK with it. I think this team can ride this O-line and running backs. And when we get Kevin Austin back, I think the pass game will improve. I think Tommy Tremble is a beast and when watching his postgame and media interviews, he looks to be just an outstanding young man. How can you not just love his attitude!!! I know it was USF, but Jack Kiser has got to be considered a strong candidate to get more involved moving forward — do you agree? Maris Liufau still seems undersized, and I like Kiser's aggressiveness more than Shayne Simon's. Love the potential of this year's defense and IF IF IF the offense progresses. this could be Kelly's best team. What say you, ole soothsayer!?!?

Eric Hansen: Jim, just for the record I do prefer the adjective "ole" to "old" when referring to me — even though both technically would be accurate. Kiser did play himself into the conversation. With Kiser being a former safety (and quarterback), I would expect his coverage skills to be as strong as his run fits. ... And I've said since last year, this has a chance to be Brian Kelly's best team, but there are still some boxes to check before that happens.

Jules from Joliet, Ill.: Eric: Thanks for hosting these great chats. I never played organized football, and some of the terms are unclear to me, specifically at the receiver positions. Can you clarify “field," “boundary” and “slot” and what type of player fits in each. It’s my perception that there are many articles that specify that so-and-so is destined to be a slot receiver, or so-and-so will do better when he can move to boundary, etc. Thank you.

Eric Hansen: Sure. The distinctions, especially the outside receivers (boundary and field) are more pronounced because the hashmarks on the field are so much wider in college than they are in the pros. So here's an simplified version of those terms. The boundary receiver lines up to the short side of the field. If the ball is on a hashmark, he is trying to run his routes in much closer quarters. Usually, you like big, physical receivers at this position. You also like bigger, more physical cornerback to defend those receivers. The field receiver usually is a guy with elite speed. Think Will Fuller, Braden Lenzy, Kevin Stepherson. Because he might have up to 3/4 of the field to play with, he usually commands safety help and is a tougher cover. The slot receiver usually lines up on the inside part of the formation. ND occasionally will line a second tight end in the slot, but usually it's a fast receiver (Chris Finke last year) who is not necessarily a physical receiver. I hope that helps.

Bob from Loganville, Ga.: Eric, Is the university, ACC or both giving more weight for return to action to a 14-day quarantine over a negative COVID test? Seems to me if you have the virus, you test positive. And if you don't, you test negative regardless of your symptoms. I understanding the quarantine process if we were still in March. Now with regular testing. it seems reasonable to believe a test result provides the info if positive or negative.

Eric Hansen: First, because of the incubation period, tests are not reliable in the first few days of infection. And not everyone is doing daily testing yet. The NFL does, and it can cut the quarantine time down to eight days. It can also identify positive cases faster, which theoretically would reduce the window of how long a positive case may have exposed other people. It's on the way, and once the ACC adopts it league-wide, I'd imagine there will be modifications to the quarantine windows.

Lawrence from San Diego: In Ian Book’s first eight or so games as a starter he was an incredibly efficient passer in quick throws 5 to 15 yards from scrimmage. His completion percentage was elite. What happed to that? Did he regress? For a while teams were definitely selling out to press and he couldn’t make them pay with the long ball. Now it just seems like that part of his game dried up. What happened?

Eric Hansen: Lawrence, some of it was the competition Book faced. Some of it was about teams needed time to identify his weaknesses and then attack them. Even now, Book has not faced the competition that most of his predecessors have. That doesn't mean he can't perform well against an elite defense, but he hasn't had many exposures to them.

Eric Hansen:

Starts against top 10 teams in total defense

Everett Golson 21.7%

Brandon Wimbush 18.8%

DeShone Kizer 17.4%

Ian Book 13.6%

Tommy Rees 12.9%

Brady Quinn 10.9%

Dayne Crist 9.1%

Jimmy Clausen 6.1%

Starts against top 25 teams in total defense

Everett Golson 34.8%

DeShone Kizer 34.8%

Tommy Rees 29.0%

Dayne Crist 27.2%

Brandon Wimbush 25.0%

Brady Quinn 21.7%

Jimmy Clausen 18.1%

Ian Book 13.6%

Starts against top 45 teams in total defense

DeShone Kizer 69.6%

Tommy Rees 54.8%

Brady Quinn 47.8%

Dayne Crist 45.5%

Everett Golson 39.1%

Brandon Wimbush 37.5%

Jimmy Clausen 36.3%

Ian Book 27.3%

Starts against teams 85 and below in total defense

Ian Book 45.5%

Dayne Crist 36.3%

DeShone Kizer 26.1%

Jimmy Clausen 24.2%

Brady Quinn 21.7%

Brandon Wimbush 18.8%

Tommy Rees 16.1%

Everett Golson 13.0%

Note: Lists include ND quarterbacks since 2003 with 10 or more career starts.

Eric Hansen: That chart does not include the two games played in 2020.

Matt from Bridgman, Mich.: I've often heard that college football teams will make the most improvement from week 1 to week 2, especially so in a season where there was no spring football and a somewhat abbreviated fall practice schedule. With that in mind, how do you evaluate last week's dominance against USF? Was it more Notre Dame taking making that jump from week 1 to week 2? Was it more that USF is transitioning to a new coaching staff amidst the strange pandemic schedule? Or a combination of the two? I read that USF's coach said that he felt like he was playing Clemson in Gold helmets. I'm really excited about what I saw last week, but should I pump the brakes a bit?

Eric Hansen: Well, I would say the old saying is a cliché and not a fact. However, it do think it's important to show improvement from week 1 to week 2. Look, USF isn't good. Jeff Scott will make them good in time, but they're not good now. However, ND took a lot of leaps forward in a lot of areas and with a reduced roster. It'll be interesting to see how this layoff affects that momentum. Mentally, this is a mature team with good leadership. So it's OK to be happy.

Jumbo from Vero Beach, Fla.: Eric, in June I was telling myself I didn’t care whether we went 7-5, so long as the season got played and there were no serious health issues. Now, having seen the team on the field, I have gotten greedy for a College Football Playoff appearance. Does that make me a bad person?

Eric Hansen: It makes you the kind of person that people like to buy beers for. Enjoy.

Sean from Portland, Ore.: Ceiling of Isaiah Foskey as high as Stephon Tuitt's?

Eric Hansen: I'm not sure I'm ready to go that far yet and I love Isaiah Foskey. They're a little different in what they bring to the table. I think Stephon was more complete (run/pass rush) at the same age, but you mentioned ceiling, and I think Foskey will become that complete defensive end, plus he's faster off the edge.

Tim  from Pleasant Prairie, Wis.: I mentioned to my wife, a critical care nurse of over 40 years and currently a nursing director at one of the best hospital systems in the country, the fact that a lot of football programs were using or trying to get the quick tests for COVID that give feedback sooner. Her surprising response was: "Shame on them, using it for football players, if that's true." (And she is a big football fan) Her reason? She said they can't even get enough of these quick-test kits at hospital to test people with actual symptoms, including the more vulnerable such as the elderly, to see if they should be hospitalized. She believes all available quick-tests (or whatever they are called) should be reserved for hospitals testing patients who show real signs of having COVID.

Eric Hansen: I don't like to get into these conversations about which segments of society are more deserving or tests, vaccines, etc. Indiana, for instance, has had a really good state testing program from the start (and I've used it). Why haven't other states? I don't know. But should I feel bad because I live in Indiana? The point with the rapid, later-flow, point-of-care tests is that there are a lot of manufacturers near the end of the FDA approval pipeline along with the ones that have already emerged. That should help both price and scale ... for hospitals, for sports, for elderly, for schools. The aim is to make this available and affordable for everyone. If the supply chain gets kinked, I don't think it's because there is a shortage of available tests. Not as we get into October anyway.

Henry from Stockton, Calif.: I love Book and he will graduate with a lot of Notre Dame QB records. However, I think we’ve seen his ceiling. He still is jittery in the pocket, and his down-the-field accuracy is inconsistent. I hope he finds his A+ game for Clemson, but I’m doubtful.

Eric Hansen: You have company in your opinion. We shall see.

Ryan from Elkhart: Hi Eric. Was there any possibility of ND trying to arrange a single-room situation for the entire team to avoid contract tracing? I wonder if there would have been NCAA benefits concerns? Players living together certainly doesn't seem ideal, given the lengths the team is going to avoid contract tracing in practice/meetings.

Eric Hansen: They had single rooms in the summer at the Morris Inn and will have single rooms at hotels on road trips. We're not sure how much of the current spread is due to roommate situations. So that may not be the problem. Remember they come in contact with each other during games and every day in practice.

Marie from Atlanta: Hi Eric. Thanks for hosting the chat. The O-Line was much better this past weekend. Do you think we will start to see more inside runs in the upcoming weeks? Ian Book was better but still seems to lack confidence. It seems he passes better when he is outside the pocket, and also when he has less time to think. I know the pocket can not be abandoned, but can the offense be schemed so he is throwing outside of the pocket more just until he gains some confidence back? Also, do you think there should be more plays run under center, especially on play-action? Thanks for you thoughts.

Eric Hansen: Marie. thank you. I've answered a little bit about Ian and the pocket, so let me address the other parts of your question. ... Inside runs? Sure, especially if a defense is susceptible there. I'm not sure that'll be the case with Florida State. I haven't studied them in depth yet, though. I think Tommy Rees has done a nice job of mixing in under-center snaps for Book. It's been a nice change of pace, especially in short yardage/goal line but even in some of the situations you'd like to see it as well.

Jim Reagan from Baton Rouge, La.: Hi Eric.

Eric Hansen: Hi Jim. Do you have a question?

Jim Reagan from Baton Rouge, La: Hi Eric. Is it possible that Notre Dame could strengthen the bubble for players by inviting them to relocate residency to one building, a functional equivalent of the jock dorms that some schools have? It might not be, and it goes against the Irish even if it is. Yet the university is all in with every aspect of safely playing except this one. I hope players do not catch COVID-19 by acting recklessly. Living in dorms poses a predictable normal risk of exposure, and off campus a higher one. Thoughts?

Eric Hansen: Jim, you did post it successfully. And now you may want to scroll, because I addressed this. A key recap, we don't know that the spread was caused by players living together. We don't know if it was through postgame contact through family/friends.

Jake from LaPorte: Eric, I see where Wake Forest game has been rescheduled for Dec. 12 instead of trying for next week. I'm guessing that wasn't enough time. My question is; If a similar case happens later in season, do games just get canceled? Also was there any talk of playing game if they were able to contact trace?

Eric Hansen: Well contact tracing doesn't eliminate the 14-day mandatory quarantine for those identified through contact tracing ... even if they subsequently test negative. Then there's the 10-day isolation period with no conditioning for the 13 players who have actually tested positive. If there's a run through a particular position group, and I understand there has been, that also complicates the picture.

Keith from Gilbert, Ariz.: Eric, I was just wondering your opinion of the tight end play and tight end coach, John McNulty. I know it has only been two games, but I personally think tight end play has greatly improved. The main reason might be we now have a coach who can concentrate mainly on coaching the tight end position. Thanks.

Eric Hansen: McNulty earns high marks through two games from me and on the recruiting trail. A nice start.

Stancakes in Chester, Va.: I have one if it's not to late. How much stock can anyone put in the team's performance after just two games, and against less-than-the-best competition?

Eric Hansen: Well, you look at the level of execution, self-imposed mistakes, rising to the occasion when the roster was reduced — and I think those are all good signs.

Eric Hansen: Frank from Missouri, if you can type out your whole question, I'll sneak you in.

Eric Hansen: Ok. That's going to have to do it for today. Even though there is no game this weekend or next, we'll do this against next Wednesday at noon. Thanks for all the great questions today.

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