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FSU Mailbag: Just in time

Michigan v Notre Dame

Michigan v Notre Dame

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Let’s get some answers to questions before we turn our attention to the big game at hand.

(And yes, everybody that mentioned the struggles we’ve been having recently in the comments, I’m going to look at things over the off week. Even my mom had to tell me that people weren’t behaving themselves. So I’ll be looking into IP banning, public shaming, new filters, etc. Exactly how I want to spend my time...)

Rant over. Now on to the questions!

c4evr: Kelly pointed out before the season that Golson “rode the bus” to the 2012 title game. Besides being a shortsighted thing to say, how much has Kelly ridden the bus to a 35 and 8 record on the backs of Diaco and BVG?

So you thought the 80th ranked offense was the driving force to the BCS title game? I saw Kelly make that comment live, and it was in good fun -- certainly not an indictment of his starting quarterback. Though if you think back and look at the stats from that year, there were seven games Notre Dame won that they averaged just 19 points on offense. So I think the analogy is pretty appropriate.

I’m not quite sure what your question is here, although it’s kind of clear that you’re thinking that the head coach is only as good as his assistants. So I guess you at least need to give credit to BK for hiring the right guys?

If you’re not a fan of Brian Kelly at this point, I’m worried that the love-child of Leahy and Rockne wouldn’t be good enough for you, either.

blackirish23: What would your criteria be for evaluating a candidate if you had a vote for the Heisman? Keeping said criteria in mind, would you have voted for Manziel and Winston?

I wouldn’t have voted for either if I had a vote. For Manziel, it would’ve been more because his numbers weren’t that far outside the norm for quarterbacks playing in Kevin Sumlin’s system. For Winston, it would’ve been for the rape allegations.

Interestingly, the Heisman pulled the word “integrity” from their definition/bylaws this offseason. Sad, but probably appropriate for the coolest award in all of sports.

irishking: Do you believe that ND’s young secondary can contain Winston and his receivers?

It’ll be a tough challenge, especially to be assignment correct and not blow any coverages. But the bigger test is on getting a pass rush after Winston. If the Irish front can get a body in his face and cut down his decision-making time, that’ll be huge.

sm29irish: Hi Keith, from a historical context I feel that this is the biggest REGULAR season game that Notre Dame has played since the 1993 Notre Dame Florida State game. Many consider that to be the last great hoorah for ND football. I know there have been other big ones such as usc ’05 and Oklahoma ’12 but to me this is bigger. Interested to hear where it ranks in your book and how you think it could bring national credibility back to the program. Thanks.

I’m far from a Notre Dame historian. I actually think I lost 10 bucks on that game in grade school. Peter O’Keefe had Notre Dame and I was pulling for Florida State at the time.

I think this is probably the biggest “opportunity” we’ve seen in quite some time, but I have a hard time erasing 2012, especially considering that season came right when there was real doubts as to whether Kelly was going to be able to get it done in South Bend.

There’s no real downside to this game, other than getting run out of the gym in the first five minutes, like what happened against Alabama. If the Irish can withstand the opening minutes, I think it’ll be a fun one for Notre Dame fans.

jommy995: What do you think Jameis would’ve done with all the cash had he not so generously donated those 950 autographs?

Seriously, think about this for a second. How long does it take to autograph 1,000 things? Especially signing them on the sweet spot or on the right position of the jersey. This is likely HOURS of time. I don’t think my poor right hand could even sign that many things -- I’m cramping up now every column I type, and it’s done damage on my handwriting.

What a giver.

finnick23: My brother wants to get into football blogging and has always had a real passion for sportswriting. He was always an excellent writer growing up and his knowledge of the game is second to none. How did you get your start and how should he go about it?

Just start writing. In a business that’s losing money and shrinking by the day, nobody’s going to start by handing you a pay check.

Sign up for a free blog and get to work. If you build it, they will come.

rdw71: Keith, coach and players look relaxed in interviews this week. Are they happy to finally be the hunter instead of the hunted? Is any of it relief to finally know the status of the Five? Has Kelly been secretly prepping them psychologically for this game all season?

After watching Brian Kelly these five seasons, he’s not a “big game” coach, he’s a process-driven coach. Every week counts the same and you win by the work you put in Monday to Friday, not for getting up on Saturday.

All that being said, I hope they go in feeling like the hunter. Playing loose is the best way to win this game.

bowser75: First time this year ND plays on natural grass (Titway Bermuda), how do you think this will effect the Irish? Are we going to see the backs, receivers, and db’s for ND slipping and sliding all night?

I think the turf in Doak Campbell is in a little bit better shape that the sod was in Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish practiced on grass practice fields this week, but this shouldn’t be an issue.

irishnole: Grew up 30 minutes from South Bend and have been an Irish fan my entire life, BUT I have a degree from FSU. What would you suggest I do to not give myself a heart attack on Saturday?

DVR the game and go golfing. Turn off your phone. Then watch it alone on your own accord. Or just cheer for Notre Dame.

irishdog80: Redfield was flying around and made some touchdown saving tackles against North Carolina. Is he starting to really get it and will fully realize his 5 Star status?

I think so. He’s a sophomore playing his eighth college football game (and one of those he was ejected in the first 30 minutes). There’s no doubt he’s talented. And this is a big stage for an elite athlete to show that he can dominate against FSU’s athlete’s, too.

Not many players are plug-and-play guys, especially at a program with a deep roster like Notre Dame’s. Redfield is right on time. He’ll be a good one by the time he’s done.

prodigolson: What is the best/most influential/favorite book you have ever read? Interpret the question however you want and perhaps a list would be sufficient if there isn’t a clear cut answer. Thank again for your work and Go Irish!

Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods. Spent months (maybe years) thinking about that one. And then I’d probably throw in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald wrote that when he was 25, I think. That’s just crazy.