You ask ‘em, I’ll (attempt to) answer ‘em. Every week this football season I’ll be doing a Twitter mailbag, so if you have any questions that you want answered tweet to our home account @OneFootDown or my account @RENorell_III with the hashtag #AskOFD. Whether it be Notre Dame related or not, feel free to fire away and I’ll do my best to answer.
Since this is the first week and I’m still trying to get this feature’s feet on the ground, we’re a little light on the questions. Hopefully as this gets more traction, we’ll get more and more questions. Without further ado, let’s go.
In 10 years, you're asked to compile an oral history of the 2016 #NDFB team. Who is your first interview? What is the book's title?— Jude (@andrewwinn) August 23, 2017
Interesting question from my esteemed colleague. For the first interview, I’m not going with Brian Kelly because that’s easy way out. I’ll probably have to say Malik Zaire because for whatever reason I get the sense that he thinks he was given a raw deal at Notre Dame, and to some degree he was. But I’d just like to know his thoughts on the season and how he think Kelly handled the QB situation at the beginning of last season. As for a title of the book, let’s see...I’d probably go with something along the lines of “A Notre Dame Tale: The Saddest Thing in Life is Wasted Talent.” Let’s be honest, there is no way that team should have been 4-8.
What's going on with Kevin Stephenson? What did he do to get on BKs list?— IrishHawk (@LeroyK25) August 24, 2017
Nobody’s stock has fallen as much as Kevin Stepherson’s. At the end of last season, most thought he would have been one of Notre Dame’s top targets in 2017. Now, he can barely find his way on to the field.
What I’ve heard and read is that Stepherson just hasn’t fully bought into the program. It seems to be an attitude issue with him. Whenever Brian Kelly is asked about him, he speaks about attention to detail and how it just isn’t there with Stepherson. This all seems odd because with as much and as well as he played as a freshman, you’d think he’d be bought in 100% by now.
Kelly was asked again about Stepherson yesterday and if he had been suspended. Kelly answered with “I can’t confirm or deny.” That doesn’t like it sound like it bodes well for the sophomore wide out. At this point the expectations for Stepherson this season should be, well there should be none.
On @TheHerd, Charlie Weis said Notre Dame as not being a place where a coach coaches forever. Is Brian Kelly toward the end of his era?— Matthew Kibiloski (@MattKib) August 24, 2017
First off, Weis isn’t wrong about that. Go look at Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz. All are Notre Dame legends and all have fairly a lot in common. All three won A LOT. All three retired after just 11 seasons. All three retired at a relatively young age. Holtz was the oldest and he was just 59, and Leahy and Parseghian were just 45 and 51 respectively. They all had to hang it up for really one reason, and it's not because they weren’t winning anymore. The reason was the pressure.
Like it or not, there is just way more pressure that comes with being the head coach at Notre Dame. Heck the pressure got to Leahy so much that he collapsed on the sidelines during a game in 1953 and was given his last rites. Oh and by the way, his team went undefeated that year! Story has it that doctors advised him to step away from coaching because that’s what was best for his health. The pressure is just so immense at Notre Dame, so that is true Notre Dame is not a place where you’re going to see a guy for 20-30 years.
As for the second part of your question, I think yes and surprisingly enough it’s not because of the pressure getting to Kelly. I think Kelly seems to handles fairly everything well. I think yes simply because he hasn’t won enough, and I don’t believe he’ll be the guy to seriously win. At some point 8-4 with the occasional 10 win season won’t be good enough for the higher ups at ND, and they’ll have to go in another direction.
Side note: Sorry for the lengthy response. Good question.
Who do you think provides the hardest test out of the middle tier opponents (MSU, UNC, Navy)?— John Olson (@CheannyBoy) August 24, 2017
Good question. Gut reaction says North Carolina, but then I think about it and think Michigan State will be tough as well. No disrespect to Navy, but that’s a home game and Senior Day. That’s a game you should win.
I’ll stick with my gut here. North Carolina seems like one of those tricky road games where Notre Dame shouldn’t have any business losing, but they’ll find some way to make it interesting. I also just think Carolina is a better team than Michigan State. I imagine it will be a night game, so the fans will be rowdy and ready to roll. UNC also plays that up tempo offensive attack which has given Notre Dame fits in the past, while Michigan State plays a style I think Notre Dame is better suited for.
Chances of double digit wins this year?— Mike (@KyNDfan) August 23, 2017
Last one here. I’ll go a little high here and say 45%. I’m with most people and think this a 9-3 team...but 9-3 also means they could be a play here or there away from 10-2. Heck, by the time the season starts I’ll probably talk myself into them going to the playoff.
All right, that’s all I got for this week. Remember to keep sending you questions in each week. I’m hoping to answer more and more as the season progresses. Lastly, I’m thinking I will try to post this on Tuesdays, so make sure to send in your questions for next week.