Chat Transcript: Playing for the future? Positions to watch in Notre Dame's spring practice

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Eric Hansen: Welcome to Notre Dame Football Live Chat, late March edition. Please remember to include your NAME and HOMETOWN with your question. Here we go.

Frank from Rockwall, Texas: What positions do you feel ND should look for in the transfer portal?

Eric Hansen: Spring practice will either confirm or dispel the needs at these positions ... But going in, I would be keeping an eye on cornerbacks, safeties and defensive ends ... with defensive end more of a numbers/maturity thing than a lack of quality on the roster.

Tommy Wilson from New Castle, Del.: Do you think fans will be allowed in for the 2021 season? If so, are there plans to announce when tickets will go on sale?

Eric Hansen: I wish this was as easy as Yes or No. Indiana's governor, Eric Holcomb, on Tuesday announced the state would expand vaccine eligibility to anyone age 16 and over starting next Wednesday. A lot of mitigation strategies are or will be relaxed. If the latter doesn't negatively affect the momentum of the vaccines, then I would say yes there will be fans in the stands in 2021. And I expect that to be the outcome. Governor Holcomb said he's going to leave all decisions about venue capacity to local officials. But given the fact that everyone on campus will be able to be fully vaccinated by the end of the semester, if they so choose, there seems to be momentum for fuller stadiums this fall. This should be much more easy to answer in a couple of months.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick told me last month that they'll wait until they have enough data about what capacity should be before they start to sell tickets. Again, by May, that data would seem to be much more concrete than it is at this moment.

Peter Burke from Coto de Caza, Calif.: I can't remember the last kickoff return for a TD we had, or for that matter a punt return. Do you believe ND's current special teams philosophy is "don't screw up" vs. "let's score?"

Eric Hansen: Hi Peter. The last kickoff return for a touchdown by ND was in 2016. C.J. Sanders had two that season. If you exclude block/returns, Sanders is also the last ND player with a punt return for a TD, in 2015. I don't think Notre Dame's philosophy is either of the choices you gave me. They want to maximize field position, both in terms of coverage and returns. I would say ball security on punt returns, though, trumps everything, which can be maddening for fans taking that in. I do think Notre Dame has the talent at both return positions this year to have more of a chance for big plays if they scheme up for that.

Bruce from Centralia, Ill.: Eric, I wish Clark Lea every success at Vanderbilt, but he has taken on a daunting task. James Franklin won there, but other than that, it has been long run of futility for Vandy. I think you could be a good football coach and still go 4-8 every year there, because the competition is so tough and the academic piece is such a challenge. So my questions are: (1) What do you think Lea’s chances are of winning?; and (2) How much winning does he need to do to remain a viable candidate to return as head coach at Notre Dame? Thanks as always.

Eric Hansen: Bruce, I think the good news for Clark is that he knows what he's getting into. He played at Vanderbilt and his hometown is Nashville, so he knows the challenges and the potential of that job. He's also the right fit to embrace and sell the high academics, rather than ruing them. James Franklin went 6-7, then 9-4 and then 9-4 again in his three years there. The Commodores are a combined 3-18 over the past two seasons. I think for Clark to parlay his time at Vandy into a more attractive head coaching job, he needs to show consistent improvement. So going 2-10 or 3-9 this season wouldn't be the end of the world. It actually would be a step in the right direction. Eventually he'd have to get Vanderbilt to a bowl game, I believe.

Travis from Newport, Ky.: Hey Eric! Hope all is well! I'm feeling extra Irish today as an ex-Irish star is doing business with my company and I got to be on a video meeting with him, and I was star-struck! I'll leave it at that to respect his privacy. Anyways, my question: In the event, God forbid, ND finds themselves a few games in and they aren't competitive, how soon do start "playing for the future?" For example, assuming Jack Coan wins the starting job and plays well, but ND ends up below .500 for other factors, at what point do you start playing younger players in order to gain experience for the next year. I doubt that happens, and don't see it happening, but just something I've considered thinking about the huge experience gap at a lot of our skilled positions.

Eric Hansen: Travis, congrats on your star-struckness. I don't think you ever sell out seniors that have given their all for you in order to play for the future. Ever. Now if there's a high-ceiling younger player that has earned playing time, then it shouldn't take a lost season to get him on the field. He should be playing as soon as that's earned. How Brian Kelly plays for the present AND the future is through practice. His 2s get a lot more reps than in a lot of other programs and WAY more than they did under Charlie Weis. That's why when Charlie's roster turned over in 2007, he went 3-9. There was a lot of young talent on the roster in 2007, but they spent the first season or two under Charlie taking mental reps in practice rather than getting used to the flow and speed of the game. Back to Kelly, certainly when there's lopsided games that are decided before the fourth quarter, by all means get the younger players some game experience.

One postscript, this 2021 squad IS a young team. Because of the COVID exemption and redshirting, there are 61 players with technically freshman eligibility in 2021, and 13 others with sophomore eligibility.

Fritz from Plainwell, Mich.: Hi Eric, not only are you a great sportswriter but a wonderful humanitarian. Several years ago you assisted me in contacting a health expert for my friend, Bill Martin, who had Stage IV colon cancer. I, for one, will never forget your kindness. Never miss these chats as they are in the category of "Never Miss", in my book. Keep up the great work and GO IRISH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric Hansen: Fritz, thanks so much for the kind words. I do remember Bill and the situation. If I remember correctly, former ND player Ethan Johnson was involved.

Tyler from Cleveland, Ohio: Eric, how do you see Marcus Freeman and the ND defense transitioning to a 3-3-5? In my opinion, the strength of the ND defense is its D-line in both depth and talent. We’d have to take one of our better D-lineman off the field for the three-man front, and I’m not sure that’s conducive to ND winning this year. Would Isaiah Foskey/Jordan Botelho move to the Will linebacker, so we can keep them on the field? Should we expect 4-2-5 this year and more 3-3-5 next year? Also any concerns that we recruit for a 3-3-5 and then Freeman is gone in two years? Or just hope another stud defensive coordinator is out there that can adapt his current and future schemes the same as Freeman is doing now. Thanks for the time!

Eric Hansen: Tyler, we got a little bit of a glimpse of Marcus Freeman's vision for his defense at ND in a Zoom back in February. And as we follow recruiting, it appears ND continues to recruit for a base four-down front. That doesn't mean you can't show three-down looks at times. But he's going to play to his CURRENT personnel, and there's a wealth of talent and depth at the two interior defensive line positions as well as some intriguing rising talent at end. Will ND eventually recruit for a three-down look? It's certainly possible, but that's not the way the current team is constructed, not what Brian Kelly said he wants, and it's not how recruiting is progressing. I haven't had a chance to ask Marcus yet, but playing three-down at Cincinnati may have been the result of it being easier for a school like that to recruit really good outside linebackers than really good defensive ends in volume.

Alan from Whiteland, Ind.: Eric, in your opinion, what will be the one or two biggest differences between a Marcus Freeman-led Notre Dame defense and the defense we have seen under Clark Lea? Thank you for answering my question.

Eric Hansen: Alan, without getting too nuanced, I think you'll see Notre Dame attack more and blitz its linebackers more. If they can handle it, the cornerbacks will be asked to play more man and play press coverage more. Spring should be a good time to find out if the Irish can execute that part of Freeman's philosophy. Clark Lea played more zone and didn't feel the corners could be exposed to a lot of press and man coverages last season. I don't think these guys (Lea and Freeman) are worlds apart. And they both have been statistically successful, not to mention the teams' bottom lines.

Bob from Toronto: Eric, thank you for your ability to keep the Subway Alumni interested in football, no matter the season, and your willingness to answer all our questions. I love the fact that the Irish are independent in football, but it makes the playoff mountain harder to climb. At the end of the last Live Chat, you stated, "I do not favor a full-time move to the ACC for a number of reasons." Could you please elaborate on that thought? Thanks a lot.

Eric Hansen: Bob, thank you. I didn't elaborate last week, because I was out of time. I've also written about this a lot, but certainly it's reasonable to revisit, given that ND played as a conference member last season. To keep this to a chat answer and not a never-ending story, I'll focus on the most pragmatic reason — recruiting. Here is a list of where ND's recruits have come from in the 2018-21 cycles (only states with three or more listed):

California 11

Georgia 10

New Jersey 8

Florida 6

Indiana 5

Illinois 5

Ohio 4

Pennsylvania 4

Maryland 3

D.C. 3

Hawaii 3

Missouri 3

Virginia 3

As you can see, there's a pretty large contingent from outside of the ACC footprint. Among the 11 commitments in the 2022 class, only two are from ACC country. Notre Dame must recruit nationwide to be successful. You stop playing regularly in California, and see how many kids you can get from California.

Joey G from Philadelphia, Pa: Hi Eric, Hope all is well! I’m a lifelong ND fan going back to the Era of Ara. I judge the program in a different light. Yes, the recent success is far better than the Weis, Willingham and Davie eras. But the Kelly era comes down to the record in the big games., which we all know is abysmal and embarrassing. I think like back in “64” it’s time to give the keys to a young energetic and aggressive coach with a dynamic recruiting strategy. In my view Marcus Freeman is the obvious choice, And I would hate to see ND make the mistake it did with Urban Meyer. If ND really wants to win a national championship, do you think it’s gonna happen with Kelly or Freeman?

Eric Hansen: Why can't it happen with Kelly AND Freeman? I do find your point of view regarding Kelly way out of whack. Yes, ND's next step is being consistently better in big games, but they did beat the No. 1 team in the nation four MONTHS ago. I also find it interesting that in The Athletic's ratings of all the FBS head coaches, both Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel rated Brian Kelly No. 3, behind ONLY Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney.

Denny from Liberty Hill: Hi Eric. Do you know if Marcus Freeman will be on the sidelines coaching during games or in the booth?

Eric Hansen: Don't know that yet, but he was on the sidelines at Cincinnati, so my sense at this point is that would be what he'd like to do at ND as well.

Gabriel Weiss from North Liberty: Hello Mr. Hansen. Thanks again for brightening our football lives with these chats once again. When Notre Dame can get a kid on campus to visit, they have a much better chance than most schools when it comes to his commitment, even if he visits other schools. What makes Notre Dame's official visits so special compared to other schools?

Eric Hansen: Hello Mr. Weiss. Thanks for being part of the chat. There are a lot of layers to the answers, including the structure of the visit — how organized ND is at being able to show off football and the 4-for-40 academic/life concept. But in asking former players this same question over the years, two things resonate beyond the sheer beauty of the campus and what I just mentioned. ... It's the people and it's the aura, a spiritual feeling that this is home. It tends to surprise prospects who had never been on campus before, because it's so unexpected. So that's the short version of my answer.

Erik from Granger: Thanks for being here! How do you think Marcus Freeman’s defensive scheme will translate at the Power 5 level. It was obviously very effective against the teams in Cincinnati’s conference, but offensive coordinators are more advanced at P5. Do you see him thriving at this level? He should have better athletes to work with, but he's going against better athletes as well.

Eric Hansen: Erik, I think you're selling short the coordinators and the players in the AAC, especially UCF (No. 2 nationally in total offense) SMU (No. 12) and Memphis (No. 22). UCF scored 33, SMU 13 and Memphis 10. Georgia, a much-improved offense once JT Daniels was elevated to the starting QB, scored 24. If you can, I would recommend you finding the Georgia game on YouTube and watching that.

Michael from Chicago: Is there any chance that ND could move a home opponent to the week before FSU? Even with FSU being "down" last season, it would seem more ideal to get a home game in (say Toledo) before going on the road with a new QB, new/reconfigured OL, etc. Or is that opening game fixed by the ACC or some other reason?

Eric Hansen: Michael, there are five "Week 0" games on Aug. 28, so it would be possible, but I'd leave Toledo (and other home games) right where it is. And remember as we settle into post-pandemic life, there's going to be a reluctance to moving games more than a day or two (Saturday to Friday or Thursday). The 2020 season was unique in the game-shuffling business, because you didn't really have to take into account fans coming to the games. If you think a road opener at FSU is daunting, you may not want to peek at the 2022 schedule. The Irish open up at Ohio State that season.

Mario from Stafford, Va.: I have two questions and a comment, I keep hearing about the Irish needing to land a top tier QB. Gunner Kiel and Phil Jurkovec both came to ND and left after a year. Timing, coaching or development? The second question is in regards to the defensive coordinator hire. Going back to Foge Fazio, Gary Darnell, Bob Davie or Jon Tenuta and Barry Alvarez, attacking defenses tend to bomb at ND. What makes this hire any different? Last. I truly believe RP2 will be the starting QB at ND within a year. No he wont win two Heismans, thanks the late great Beano Cook, but he will surprise many.

Eric Hansen: Mario, I guess would should say the urgency is landing a top-tier quarterback AND retaining him. Gunner Kiel's situation at ND (and post-ND) and Phil Jurkovec's couldn't have been more different. I'm going to be doing a story this spring on identifying and developing greatness at the QB position. In just doing the research for it, it's fascinating to see the different pathways to success. But what needs to be emphasized at ND is the need for elite production at the position. Whether it's a three-star QB or a five-star one, ND needs someone who can be top 15 nationally in pass efficiency, and certainly wide receiver talent/production/skill sets play into that.

If you're going to reference Foge Fazio, you're going to lose your audience. Nothing in today's football is relevant to Foge Fazio. The last attacking defense at ND, Brian VanGorder's, did bomb. But was it the scheme or the coordinator that caused that? You know the answer. As far as your assertion about Ron Powlus II being the starter at QB in 2022, on what are you basing that projection?

Jeff from Phoenix: Hey Eric, I would appreciate if you could give more detail on the enigma (at least to me) that is Kevin Austin. First, is he healthy heading into spring practice? Are there any signs of offseason work that point to him fulfilling his high potential? Is it possible that he could be a dangerous punt/kick returner or does he just need to focus on becoming a highly productive receiver? We know you see him as on the brink of being a major contributor, so just want to ask you to go into more detail. Thanks much.

Eric Hansen: Jeff, because Kevin Austin did not have surgery immediately after the second break (foot) last season and waited, I don't anticipate him being cleared for contact this spring. I've really hesitated on getting into injuries much, because my preference is to be able to hear it from Brian Kelly and to be able to follow up with questions. I also don't want to give anyone an incomplete list. So trust me, I'll ask injury questions to BK this weekend. But I want to answer your question the best that I can.

I think Kevin Austin is a top five talent on the 2021 ND roster, despite the lack of production at this point to back it up. His decision to stay at ND and make things right after he got suspended (in 2019) says a lot about his work ethic and his intent to be the best player he can be. It would have been easy to jump into the transfer portal. When I ask other players about Kevin, there is nothing but raves. In the few practices I witnessed him healthy, Austin was impressive. If he is fully healthy this season, I expect him to be ND's leading receiver. Could he return punts? Yes. Will he? I doubt it, but I think freshman Lorenzo Styles Jr., could work his way into that role.

Nate from South Bend:I’ve seen a lot of positive news regarding ND recruiting lately specifically with “elite” talent. What’s been the biggest difference between years past and now? Is it truly as simple as Marcus Freeman is that good at recruiting? Also, I’ve seen some reports that Brian Kelly isn’t a great recruiter “unless he really wants to be.” Any chance you can elaborate on that? Seems like someone as successful as BK at a school like ND would have to be a great recruiter in order to maintain the success we’ve seen. Thanks for the chats!

Eric Hansen: Nate, I think there are a few things at work leading to your perception of Marcus Freeman, which — by the way — is entirely accurate. First, he's that good. Second, Brian Kelly's directive to aim higher on the recruiting trail. Third, the ability of Marcus to collaborate with others on the staff to enhance what he brings to the table alone. I can assess what I've heard about Kelly as a recruiter, but let me do that independently of building on the quote that you had heard or read elsewhere. I plan to ask the question in a future installment of Inside Recruiting, but here's what I've been told when I've asked analysts informally. 1. Kelly is a very good closer. 2. Kelly needed to be more present at critical junctures earlier in the process than he had been, with key recruits. 3. Kelly has done that, and it seems to be making a big difference.

Mark from Orange County, Calif.: Hi Eric/ Thank you for hosting these chats. We ND fans are a very easy group to keep happy — who only want undefeated seasons and a national championship. Do you foresee any player positions not being settled by the end of spring practice?

Eric Hansen: Hi Mark. I'm not sure they'll have the offensive line lineup settled by the end of spring, but we should know who the top options are. I'd say rover might not be, because June arrival Prince Kollie could be a factor. I'd say cornerback will be a perpetual competition, especially if ND adds a grad transfer. I'm not sure that wide receiver will be completely decided either.

Mike McFadden from Williamsport, Pa.: Hi Eric. How about a question a little on the lighter side. With a name like McFadden, I know exactly what and how to do an Irish gig for the big day (March 17). With a last name like Kelly, what in the world was Coach Kelly trying to do last Wednesday, March 17th when (Shaun Crawford) challenged him? What was that ???!!! (laugh here).

Eric Hansen: Mike, I'm not Irish, but isn't it an Irish "jig" and not "gig?" What I believe — and this hasn't been confirmed — is that Brian Kelly was trying to execute something called the Junebug Challenge. Having seen other versions on social media, I was concerned for his health. Was he mixing in Yoga? Was he injured? I guess, the good news is he hasn't lost his sense of humor.

Here is Exhibit A for those who missed it.

Alex from Jackson, MO: How do you see the Cards doing this season? I’m really excited to see Arenado play the hot corner.

Eric Hansen: Alex, Rick Hummel or Derrick Goold can provide you a more accurate answer. But between you and me, I'm excited.

Ken from Pensacola, Fla.: Eric-, are you going to be able to produce an "ND Insider" this year? Thanks & as always GO IRISH!

Eric Hansen: Ken, thanks for asking. We are. Still trying to figure out the format and the dates, but there definitely will be one this summer.

Richard from Warner Robins, Ga.: Eric. I know this gets old but a BIG THANKS to your continued coverage of the Irish. It is a welcome relief down south especially during college football downtime. My question is: Do you believe Brian Kelly's "legacy" at ND will include an asterisk if he never wins a national championship, especially if he is the longest-tenured coach? Thanks, and again, You are the Man!

Eric Hansen: Richard. A big you're welcome (and it never gets old for me). I don't think an asterisk is necessary. A national title would put Brian in a different category than he is now. But even if he doesn't get that, he has raised the bar on the perception of ND football, expectations, and the reality of how relevant the Irish could be when they could have easily evolved into what Nebraska is.

Ben C from South Australia, Australia: Hi Eric. Love reading this. When I get the chance to do it, have followed the Notre Dame for the last 20+ years. Do you think Tommy Rees has the strength in his coaching/playing repertoire to take the offence (correct Aussie spelling) to a new level, especially with the likes of Jordan Johnson and incoming skill-position freshmen or are we going to be relying on our defence to keeping us in the games? And, do you think Tyler Buchner can make the jump into the starting lineup? Would be good to see us put some youth into the lineup and not just go with the longest-tenured players over highly talented first- and second-year players.

Eric Hansen: Hi Ben, thanks for staying up late or getting up early to participate. When you talk to people who know Tommy Rees and his coaching potential well, there is an overwhelming sentiment that it's a matter of when and not if Tommy Rees will prove to be a prudent hire. The question is what does his learning curve look like in the meantime, and that's one of the aspects that makes the 2021 season so fascinating to me ... not just from the X's and O's but watching Rees as a recruiter. My expectations for this team are less than what they were in 2020 or what they are for 2022 and 2023, but that doesn't mean there can't be pleasant surprises. I don't know that the offense needs to (or will) make a quantum leap forward this season, but there needs to be a move in that direction. As far as Tyler Buchner, I don't anticipate he'll be ready to be the No. 1 QB this year. I do think he needs to eventually turn out to be the QB the Irish had on top of their recruiting board in the 2021 cycle. And I think he has the chance to do that. In time.

Tom from Kennesaw, Ga.: Hi Eric, have you had your COVID shots? How long did your bracket last before it fell totally apart? With so many question marks on the offense this year — new O-line, new QB, unproven receivers — do you think that there would be a good possibility for an upset early in the season? If so, who and why? As always thanks so much for these chats and the tremendous job that you do, now including double-duty on the recruiting front, of keeping Irish fans abreast of what is going on with Irish football. Stay safe.

Eric Hansen: Tom, thanks. I have had both shots and I am past the two weeks after, so my life has changed a lot in the last week. A lot. Fortunately, enough brackets from the other people in my pool fell apart that I am in fourth place at the moment and still in contention to win if Alabama and Gonzaga get to the Final Four (among other things). ... I think the program is in a place, from an infrastructure and player development standpoint, that there shouldn't be an early upset. Now, when the five-game stretch of Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC, North Carolina stretch begins, there will still be some growing pains likely happening at the spots you mentioned. And there are some really good teams in that stretch. So that's when we're going to see how good this 2021 Irish team is. I feel better about their chances, though, in an offseason with fewer COVID hurdles.

Marie from Atlanta: Hi Eric. I know you must be excited for the start of spring practice. Any word on who may be replacing Chris Watt? Also given the inexperience of the O line, any chance ND takes an experienced offensive lineman with leadership potential from the transfer portal? Are you hearing anything about any young players, (incoming freshmen or redshirt Freshmen) who have impressed so far either in the weight room or during 7-on-7? Thanks for hosting the chat. Always love hearing your takes.

Eric Hansen: Marie, thank you for being here. Chris Watt turned a season as a grad assistant into a full-time O-Line coach gig at Tulane in one year. It's not surprising either. He's that impactful. I don't know that there's someone like that out there, but ND has not yet announced an offensive grad assistant coach. Yes I am not only excited for spring practice, which starts Saturday. As far as rumblings about the young guys, I kind of want to see them for myself and talk to people on the record before I pass along what might be incomplete info. Since the media won't be allowed into any of the first 14 practices, I guess I'll have to rely on coaches' eyes only and not my own. ... The only reason I'm hesitant to say yes to a grad transfer at O-Line is there is so much talent at that position group, and really would an more experienced player (who may be less talented) provide you with better continuity? 

Joe H from Williams Bay, Wis.: Hi Eric. Missed the chat last week. With spring practice (a few days) away, I was wondering which players will be limited and also what position battles are you going to be most interested in watching. Thanks again for all you do.

Eric Hansen: Hi Joe. I'll defer on the injury question for a few more days, but can answer the latter. Quarterbacks ... more for who's going to be Jack Coan's eventual successor than who Ian Book's will be; the offensive line shuffle, linebackers, the corner spot opposite Clarence Lewis, the safety opposite Kyle Hamilton, and especially the whole wide receiver thing.

Mike McFadden from Williamsport, Pa.: OMG Eric, a big thank you for addressing my question. I, of course, saw the "moves" but my PC did not have the sound like yours did just now. Much appreciated. I laughed even harder this time. Great job you do at what you do. And, yes, Brian Kelly does have a sense of humor. Later.

Eric Hansen: Thank you!

Travis from Newport, Ky.: Hi Eric. Thanks for answering my first question. As I read along, I thought of a second I hope you have time for. With the pandemic scholarship situation, Brian Kelly alluded to making sure 2022 class was "the right fit" due to possibly having less room on the roster. However, this seems to be shaping up to be a relatively large class. Thoughts on that?

Eric Hansen: Jack Swarbrick probably gave me the best answer to this. I don't think you'll see a lot of players using their extra COVID season of eligibility. I think once players have their degrees, they'll either move on to the NFL or the job market, or take a grad transfer. There will be exceptions. But I think that's how ND will be able to make the numbers work with what should be a very talented and not tiny 2022 class.

Stephen from Toledo, Ohio: Hey Eric! I gotta speak up for Kelly here. So many fans want to talk bad about him, but, man, he is legitimately a top 5 FBS head coach. To have the kind of turnaround, program building and success he’s had in the time he has been here is astounding. ND is one of the most difficult coaching jobs there is because of the academic standards as well as the high standards not only expected from the university but by its die-hard fans. For me he’s been amazing. I will say I want more, but I think a large part of the missing piece is being addressed by offering top talent earlier and Kelly getting more involved. I do want to see the playbook open up more like (Steve) Sarkisian and (Steve) Ensminger, but we need the talent to do that first. Sorry for the rant.

Eric Hansen: That it was a rant and not a manifesto, I'll take it.

Gabriel Weiss from North Liberty: I just wanted to say your argument for ND staying independent is exactly right. In order for ND to stay a top program they have to recruit nationally much more than most schools. Example is Stanford. They are even in a hotbed of talent, in California, but can not compete like ND does due to academics and not being able to recruit nationally, like ND.

Eric Hansen: Thanks, Gabe.

Megat Muzaffar from Malaysia: Marcus Freeman prefers a four-man front. How good can his three-man front be?

Eric Hansen: Megat, if I understand your question ... a three-down look would likely be a third-down package, with five or six DBs and two or three linebackers. So it can be very effective if you have the right personnel to make that work.

Eric Hansen: OK, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the great questions. By the time we do the next one, spring practice will have started. The next chat will be TBA because we have Pro Day next Wednesday. As soon as we have a media schedule, I'll post the chat time and date on Twitter and our website.

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