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Optimal Offseason: What Brian Kelly needs to address before spring

Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith


With a Music City Bowl victory in the rearview mirror, the Irish can head into the offseason without the stench of November’s woes still clinging to the team. For a bowl game that felt of minimal importance when most assumed a loss, the Irish’s 31-28 victory certainly turned the tides.

For the next month, Notre Dame’s coaching staff can loudly trumpet their victory over one of the SEC’s premier programs as they try to conclude the recruiting cycle with a few more strategic signings. With the Irish continually trying to make in-roads into Louisiana -- defensive end commit Bo Wallace comes from powerhouse program John Curtis -- Brian Kelly acknowledged what the victory could do moving forward.

“It certainly allows us to continue to recruit down in this area without having to apologize for who we are,” Kelly said after the December 30th win.

Recruiting is just one focus of the next few months. Improving this team before spring practice is critical. For the players, that means work with Paul Longo in the weight room. But for the coaching staff, it means evaluating the 2014 season in all facets before moving into a critical spring for on-field development.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a look at some of the big offseason questions and drill down. How should Kelly balance his two quarterbacks? Is the Will linebacker position the best home for Jaylon Smith? What’s the best starting five along the offensive line? Can we expect any spring position switches?

Do you have a big-picture question that you think the Irish coaching staff needs to address or a position battle you think will be crucial to Notre Dame playing up to its potential in 2015? Drop it below in the comments.

With the transition to 2015 officially started, the games on the field are finished. But with Signing Day just weeks away and spring practice just around the corner, there’s still plenty to talk about.