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Bye-week Mailbag: Life at the quarter turn

Purdue v Notre Dame

Purdue v Notre Dame

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As summer officially ends after this weekend, Notre Dame fans get one last uninterrupted Saturday to soak it in. So while the Irish are off, hard core fans can get an early preview of Florida State with their visit from Clemson. After that the options are pretty slim.

Stanford has Saturday off. So does Arizona State and USC. North Carolina faces an interesting challenge in East Carolina, while Louisville should handle Florida International handily. Northwestern should get their first win against Western Illinois. Navy has an interesting game on tap against Rutgers as well, with the Midshipmen getting another shot at knocking off a Big Ten team.

So there’s your opponent viewing schedule. Let’s get down to the mailbag:

@OpenMikeSports: What would be more appealing to the selection committee:11-1 with a FSU W and a weird loss or 11-1 with a respectable FSU loss?

That’s a great question. I guess we’d have to know how well Florida State plays for the rest of the season, and who the “weird” loss was to. But as the Irish strength of schedule takes a beating, getting into the playoff might not be possible, unless it’s a tight loss to a Stanford that wins 10 or 11 games, and then Notre Dame puts together an impressive win streak to close the season.

Until we see what this committee actually does once or twice, it’ll be a learning experience.

@CCND99: Anything on the Frozen 5?
@IrishFanZone: Keith give me an estimated date of when this is going to wrap up?

Anybody that tells you that they know what’s going on -- outside of a student representative on the Honor Code committee -- is likely making something up, or spreading a rumor they’ve heard.

And while we’ll eventually know (hopefully soon) when players return or don’t return to the practice field, this isn’t a situation where you should expect a press release or a big statement from Notre Dame. So looking for clarity? Unless a player provides it voluntarily, sorry.

Like most of you, I think this is dragging on far too long. But I also know enough to know that we really don’t have any clue as to how complex this process has been or become. But the moral high ground that Notre Dame very much likes to inhabit is turning into a place that feels mighty tone deaf.

blackirish23: I re-watched some games and it just seemed to me like Golson is beginning to fall in love with Fuller and in some instances forcing some throws to him. What do your stats say about my theory?

If falling in love is what you do to your No. 1 receiver, then maybe. But it’s not as if the numbers are all that lopsided when you consider that slot receivers Amir Carlisle and C.J. Prosise have a combined 17 catches and Fuller has 19. That’s a pretty normal spread when you look at a team’s lead receiver.

It’s hard to know exactly how things would be if DaVaris Daniels was out there and Corey Robinson was healthy. But Fuller -- while still needing to make progress -- is the Irish’s most dynamic receiver. Just ask Michigan fans.

irishaggie: The uniforms used on the last two Shamrock Series have been sick and from what I saw on twitter and facebook fans loved the helmets, myself included. I know ND is big on tradition, but we have turf now and will likely have a jumbotron soon. Do you think we’ll ever see ND change to a uniform that permanently inludes the logo on the helment? And would you personally like to stay with the traditional look or move to a more modern uniform?

The helmets aren’t changing. And if they are, it’ll be once a year. But for those of you that like to talk “tradition,” Notre Dame athletics just released their five core values and Jack Swarbrick’s section on tradition is quite an interesting statement:

“I’ve always appreciated the enormous asset that tradition is at Notre Dame, and yet I’ve come to better understand in some ways it can also be an obstacle. The value is in making sure we are protecting and honoring the great traditions. To do that effectively, however, we must avoid the temptation to call everything a tradition, while also allowing each generation the chance to create its own traditions,” Swarbrick says.

ndadvocate: Ben Koyack is a solid player but is just not on the same level as the other tight ends we’ve had the last decade. From Carlson, Fasano, to Rudulph, Eifert and than Niklas. Is this the first time in a decade we don’t have an elite level tight end? Do you see Koyack getting drafted?

I’ve probably been tougher on Koyack than most. But I agree with your assessment that he’s not Carlson, Fasano, Rudolph, Eifert or Niklas. And guess what? Most tight ends in college football aren’t.

I think Koyack is a very good college tight end. He’ll likely be a mid-to-late round draft pick. But I think the Irish will get by just fine with Koyack’s not-quite-elite skill-set, as long as he doesn’t cough the ball up again like he did last weekend.

danirish: Which freshman is ready to take the next step and become a starter by the end of the season?

That’s a tough question. There are freshmen, there are redshirt freshmen and then there are semi-starters like Trumbetti and Bryant.

I don’t think anybody but Bryant breaks into a true starting role, and even Bryant isn’t going to take more than 50 percent of the carries.

onward2victory: If Daniels gets re-instated, how much do you think he impacts the offense?

He’s the team’s best wide receiver. So a lot.

johngaltisabozo: I watched Auburn, Oregon and Missouri and I just don’t understand why Brian K in year 5 doesn’t slightly resemble some sort of up tempo offense. How are these teams able to install an offense so fast and run it like clock work.

Not sure what the fascination is with the hyper-quick offense like Auburn or Oregon. Ask USC how well that super-speed worked against Boston College.

Brian Kelly wants to improve the tempo of the offense. But he also wants it to be efficient. To be that, he’s not going to just have Everett Golson run into a bad look. So while the Irish are a “no huddle offense,” they aren’t one that runs at hyper speed.

sm29irish: Keith, I know Joe Schmidt has performed pretty well thus far but are you surprised we haven’t seen more Nyles Morgan especially with Van Gorders ability to create special roles for players? He certainly looks the part and could be a useful cog down the stretch to what extent do you see his role being on this team moving forward this year?

I’m not surprised in that it’s tough to find a niche role for a middle linebacker. You’re either the man in the middle of it all (literally) or not. So while Morgan’s got a fine future, he’s not ready to be the man running the show. That doesn’t mean that there’s not a limited package for him that we haven’t really seen, but it’s fairly telling that Joe Schmidt is the team’s leading tackler right now. You don’t take that guy off the field.

jerseyshorendfan1: What am I supposed to do this Saturday?

Enjoy yourself. Stay off the internet. That’s my goal. No typing this Saturday.