We've had a little fun with hypotheticals this week already, from rescuing our favorite players from a busted party to the will-we-or-won't-we conference tease, but that doesn't stop the 5WF train from rolling along. Let's go to work.
You get to pick one assistant coach who has to stay at Notre Dame for the rest of his career. You can move him around the coaching staff, but he can never leave. Who are you holding hostage?
The way I see it, there is no shortage of quality options here, which speaks well to the coaching staff currently assembled under Coach Brian Kelly. Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco has done an incredible job turning around a defense that suffered from lack of continuity and underrecruitment at multiple positions. Offensive Coordinator Chuck Martin is most likely to receive a head coaching job elsewhere in short order and has a portfolio of experience that few assistant coaches can match. Tony Alford is everyone's favorite recruiter, while the early returns from up-and-coming Scott Booker show that he is not too far behind. New assistants Harry Hiestand and Bob Elliott bring decades of experience and are already very popular in the locker room and on the recruiting front.
So who is it gonna be? I have to take Bob Diaco. If there is one thing the Weis regime showed us is that discontinuity on the defense can derail seasons and individual college careers. While Brian Kelly will always bring some continuity to the offensive side of the ball, he does not have the same pedigree on defense. Bobby Diaco can provide that stability. He is a stickler for fundamentals, always an interesting interview, and just looks like a Notre Dame coach. Never leave, Coach Diaco.
Only three wide receivers on this fall's roster have ever caught a pass in their careers. Between the five guys on scholarship (excluding the injured Luke Massa) who have to yet to haul one in, who will get on the board this season?
Chris Brown, Davaris Daniels, Justin Ferguson, Davonte Neal, and Daniel Smith are your contestants. Daniels and Neal seem to be the favorites to contribute often this season. Daniel Smith is an intriguing guy who has yet to contribute for a number of reasons, most notably some injury troubles. Brown is an absolute track star with the height you look for on the outside, and he has even put on some much-needed pounds so far this offseason. The book on Ferguson is that he has the size and polish already, but lacks the explosiveness that everyone looks for.
I'm going to go with 3. Daniels seems automatic. Neal, while I don't expect him to contribute a whole lot, will likely see the field with that speed of his in the slot. The last guy I think will get on the board is Smith, mostly due to his seniority. Ferguson and Brown will have some work to do to be ready to see the field, so redshirting those guys seems likely to me. But if TJ Jones, John Goodman, and the three guys I'm going with don't produce enough, we could see those guys very soon.
Pick a neutral site that you want Notre Dame to play at.
The Irish have played at great locations in recent years and have more on the docket in upcoming schedules. They have already played at Yankee Stadium, the Alamodome, the Meadowlands, and FedEx Field. Upcoming, they have Aviva Stadium in Ireland, Soldier Field, Cowboys Stadium, and even more Meadowlands. So where else can they go? The Colosseum. No not that one. The actual Colosseum. In Rome. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!?
Phil Steele ranks Notre Dame at 21 for his preseason poll. Sound right to you?
It sounds about right to me. Some think that this is outrageous, but it's really not. It's not like there are 30 other teams out there without questions and concerns for next season, and realistically, ND pissed away a bowl game that would have left them 9-4 and ranked. The Irish are a good team with plenty of questions to be answered and a tough schedule. In other words, they are about the 21st ranked team in the country. Right? Not right? Who cares, it's a preseason poll? All of the above?
Eugene Polley, inventor of the TV remote control, passed away this week. Few people have had a bigger influence in each of our lives, which is both true and sad. Please leave some kind words to eulogize the departed American hero.
Your effect on my sports-watching life will never be taken for granted, Mr. Polley. The experience of blasting that volume button to feel the roar of the Notre Dame Stadium or Wrigley Field or United Center crowd inside of my living room has brought pure thrill and excitement many times in my life. The therapy provided by hitting that off button and firing the remote across the room after Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS or after the 4th quarter debacle against Michigan last season saved years of my life. Through the ups and downs, you Mr. Polley, have been there in my living room, enhancing some of my most important television-watching experiences, and for that, I thank you. Rest in peace.
Have a great weekend, everyone.