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Mailbag: Spring football, position changes and feeding the trolls

Joe Schmidt

Joe Schmidt


Well crew, I’ve gotta say... I’m a little underwhelmed by the mailbag question. And in the 150+ comments of people screaming at each other about mostly stupid stuff, I think I speak for everybody when I say:

a. You’re better than that.


b. We are in some need of football.

Let’s get to a few mailbag questions:

MattyMill: Keith, sorry if this is a repeat question, but as I’m writing this there are 155 other comments, and I’m guessing there are about 15-20 football related where the rest are either trolls or responses to trolls.

Here’s my question: the #1 most intriguing storyline of Spring ball has to be the QB battle. In your opinion, what is 2nd most intriguing storyline?

That’s a great question. And I think it has to be the evolution of Brian VanGorder’s defense. We need to see if the first half success of last year’s defense was smoke and mirrors or what we can expect from this group at full strength.

The safety depth chart is hurting. Cornerback play needs an upgrade (outside of Cole Luke), which hopefully comes when KeiVarae Russell returns. Notre Dame also needs to find a pass rush from their front four, and guys like Jhonny Williams and Jon Bonner will get their first shot.

After Joe Schmidt went down this defense never looked even close to the same. So we need to see how VanGorder decides to use his linebackers and how he plans on combatting opponents who try to move quickly, because North Carolina exposed that vulnerability.

grammarnazi69: Which players will (not should, but will) switch positions?

Right now, the only player I can tell you “will” change positions this spring is Michael Deeb. Per a report from Christian McCollum at, Deeb is going to open up spring as a defensive end, bulked up to nearly 260 pounds of chiseled granite.

I’m intrigued by the move. And Deeb’s only path to the field last year came after Schmidt went down, Greer Martini went down and Nyles Morgan was temporarily out as well. This could be a great move for Deeb, or it could be a bit like when we saw Lane Clelland get a chance at defensive end after struggling to advance on the offensive line depth chart, and then flipping back after the move didn’t pay off.

As for making declarative statements about other position changes, I’m unable to do that. But I’d keep an eye on talented athletes with diverse skill-sets, players like Amir Carlisle (who will probably take some snaps at running back this spring), Justin Brent (big, strong and fast can translate to safety) and Matthias Farley (he’ll likely need to take some snaps at safety to help the depth chart).

Update: After listening to this week’s Irish Illustrated Podcast, it sounds like Doug Randolph will be playing defensive end as well. So add him to the list.

billtetley53: How can this fanbase, year after year, continue to be so ignorant as to think they have a shot at the National Championship? How are they so unrealistic every. single. year?

Hi Bill,

Thanks for writing. I enjoyed going into the blogs archives and looking up every post you’ve made... and then deleting them. If you’re looking for ignorant, you likely see if every morning when you brush your teeth or pull out the shaver. Or at least that’s what I see when I see everything you’ve written in the comments here.

The pleasure you derive coming here to spar and throw internet haymakers makes no sense to me. Especially if you aren’t a Notre Dame fan. What else do you want us to talk about on a blog called, “Inside the Irish?”

Did you forget that Notre Dame played for a national title just two seasons ago? You know how many teams have done that since then? Florida State. Auburn. Oregon and Ohio State.

There are a whole bunch of idiots who write around here. And if we had the manpower to monitor it, or a better spam filter or banning protocol, believe me, I’d initiate it.

Few things annoy me more than anonymous internet people spewing hate at each other. So thanks for making this website a worse place, and reminding me to continue to delete whatever you post here from now on.