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Notre Dame Football Bye Week Q&A, Part 1: Jessica Smetana

Bye Week means I’m out here interviewing lots of people: Jessica Smetana (SB Nation/OFD), Ty Hildenbrandt (The Solid Verbal podcast), Pat Kuntz (former ND DL, current IU football GA), Tom Noie (Notre Dame Insider)’s Part 1 with Jessica

NCAA Football: Miami (Ohio) at Notre Dame Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

What’s up, mah nerds???

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team doesn’t play anyone this weekend, which means there are no rules and I can do absolutely anything I want.

So, for my weekly Q&A, I wanted to do something special and review the season so far with multiple great interviewees, while additionally asking some ridiculous questions along the way.

Here’s the ragtag crew I set out to interview:

  • Jessica Smetana (Video Producer and occasional writer for SB Nation; One Foot Down contributor)
  • Ty Hildenbrandt (The Solid Verbal podcast)
  • Pat Kuntz (former ND DL, current IU football graduate assistant)
  • Tom Noie (ND Insider)
  • Pete Sampson (guy who refuses to answer my amazing questions...also Irish Illustrated)
  • Mark Proksch (Nate Nickerson in The Office)
  • Pope Francis (the bishop of Rome)

Now, I ran into a couple issues with some of these people. First of all, Mark Proksch did not reply at all.

Neither did Pope Francis, and he’s not even super famous for yo-yo tricks like Proksch.

However, he might have subtweeted me instead of responding directly to me, as a friend of mine pointed out, so I guess there’s that:

Anyway, between those two not answering and Pete Sampson playing his usual game of pretending like he’ll answer my questions and then not actually doing so, I count myself lucky to have secured thoughtful, interesting interviews with the rest of that list.

So, today, we start with Jessica, a Notre Dame alum and an honest-to-God SB Nation employee, who is also a valued contributor here at One Foot Down. You may know her from her spectacular weekly “The Good, the Bad, and the Irish” posts.

I asked Jessica about Josh Adams’s Heisman candidacy (and how ND fans can help), which other Irish players deserve more love, Brian Kelly’s projected reaction if ND beats USC next weekend, and who she would put on her ND football Family Feud team, among other things.

Please enjoy, and stay tuned for more analysis and hard-hitting answers from Ty Hildenbrandt, Pat Kuntz, and Tom Noie in the coming days.


Why on earth should Heisman voters, fans, media, etc. care about Notre Dame running back Josh Adams when discussing Heisman candidates???

Josh Adams is having an incredible season! He has more rushing yards than Saquon Barkley, who many are already proclaiming the probable Heisman winner. Granted, Barkley does have more receiving yards on Adams, but if you compare the two head-to-head, it’s a close competition.

Adams is 6th on the leaderboard, but he’s made it there with only 86 rushing attempts, versus an average of 140 for the top 5 backs. Basically, he’s crushing it on yards per carry and busting out LONG runs almost every time he touches the ball. He’s one of the most efficient backs in the league.

What's OFD doing for the "Josh Adams for Heisman" campaign? How can fans get involved?

We here at OFD made a storystream that we’ll update throughout the season so that you can check out all of his wild plays in one spot.

If you want to get involved, take that storystream and shove it in all your friends’ faces. Every time your friends/family/coworkers even think the word Heisman, shout back JOSH ADAMS at them.

Besides Josh Adams, who on Notre Dame do you think deserves much more love, either nationally or just from ND fans, considering how great they've been so far this year?

I am a big fan of what this defense has accomplished this season. Not every game has been perfect, but compared to last year, the turnaround has been miraculous.

In particular, Shaun Crawford and Julian Love have impressed me. Both have been huge playmakers for the Irish so far this season. I’m not sure if fans could tell you who either was last year, but now if either one went down with an injury you’d see a lot of sad fans, as they’ve become huge factors in the Irish defense.

How do you see the last 6 games playing out for ND, considering the 5 currently-ranked teams the Irish will face?

I’m a Notre Dame fan, so naturally I’m extremely against overconfidence.

I think best case scenario we come out with a winning record to end the season, but I don’t necessarily see this team winning out (I hope I’m wrong!).

After last season, finishing with four wins and no bowl game, I’d be more than pleased with a nice 8-4 or 9-3… but anything compared to last season feels like a blessing.

If ND beats USC next weekend, do you think BK will do some more dancing and shout "THIS IS A JEWELED SHILLELAGH"? Please describe the scene you would expect to witness if you were in that locker room.

I picture Brian Kelly celebrating with the Jeweled Shillelagh the way that Mr. Krabs danced with his millionth dollar. Google it.

You are building a 7-person 7-on-7 team made from ND players of the 21st century. What 7 players do you choose, assuming you get them in their prime?

Without really paying attention to positions:

  • Brady Quinn
  • Jaylon Smith
  • Golden Tate
  • Darius Walker
  • Manti
  • Tom Zibikowski...

and ME.


Follow-up: same question, but you're building a team of 5 for a game of Family Feud

I love this question… In Family Feud you need to think really fast, like quarterback, therefore my first two picks are DeShone Kizer and Brady Quinn.

Next I’d go with Mike Golic Jr. (I’m confident he would know pop culture references better than anyone), Corey Robinson, because the kid’s a genius, andddd..


Jessica (again).

You have to trade one ND football starter for one ND basketball starter to fill each other's spots. Who do you choose and why?

Bonzie Colson for Alizé Mack - Bonzie is HUGE and crazy athletic. I could see him filling in the tight end roll nicely and throwing some blocks. He’s slightly taller and only a tiny bit thinner than Mack.

At 6’4” 250, Mack could definitely hold his own on a basketball court, and from what we can tell he has pretty good hops.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

What's it like being an ND fan working at the very company, and alongside the very people, that made the 4-8 jokes so prevalent last year?

Painful, abusive, offensive, rude, depressing, oppressive.

Give me your ND bar power rankings, and if Backer isn't #1, explain yourself.

  • 1. CJ’s
  • 2. CJ’s
  • 3. CJ’s
  • 4. Brothers
  • 5. O’Rourkes
  • 6. Backer
  • 7. FND
  • 1999009099000929338404. Finni’s

***Pat Rick Note: Jessica never explained herself***

Finally, our great and powerful site manager asked me to ask everyone this:

Taco vs. burrito. Choose one and explain why.

Taco, you feel less like you want to die after you eat one. You can only eat one burrito.


I want to give a huge shout out to Jessica for answering my questions super-fast but also super-well, and encourage you all to follow her on the Twitters. She’s an excellent follow for any sports fan, but especially great for Notre Dame, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Steelers commentary.

Come back soon to see what Ty Hildenbrandt has to say about the first half of ND’s season, what Pat Kuntz is up to coaching in Bloomington, and how far Tom Noie thinks the 2017-2018 Notre Dame men’s basketball team can ride the momentum Mike Brey has built up over the past few years.