Press conference notes


While the headlines coming out of yesterday’s press conference were the good and bad news on injuries regarding Michael Floyd and Dayne Crist, there were still more than a few interesting tidbits gathered yesterday. Here are a few notes from the press conference.

* John Goodman is now working as the third-string quarterback. Weis was clear that this was simply an emergency precaution, but he wanted to be prepared just in case.

The thing is if we don’t start training him to be ready to go what we
don’t want to do is be down another quarterback, regardless whether it
was one of the first two guys and now be scrambling to get them ready
to go. Even when we tried our gadget plays in practice, and reverse
passes with Goodman, which, believe it or not, we do have them. He’s
not been efficient throwing it because of being rusty.

In training camp when we threw it a lot, he would look pretty good. But
because it’s been a while. So we have to knock off some of the rust.
It’s not a question of whether Goody can throw the ball or run the
offense. It’s the question of you don’t want to take away from his
competing at the wide receiver position but at the same time get him
ready to go. He’ll be a marginal rep guy at quarterback, and his reps
will come at wide receiver.

This kind of emergency situation is around because Nate Montana decided to spent this fall at Pasadena City College, hoping to get some playing time and develop his skill set. The transition hasn’t been easy for Nate, he’s completed only 31 of his 88 passes, throwing 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, although I’m guessing Weis would feel more comfortable with Montana under center than Goodman, who hasn’t played there since his senior season in high school.

* It’s pretty obvious that CW is happy to have Michael Floyd back. It’s also obvious that he did everything by the book to protect Michael, even consulting with Dr. James Andrews, the most prominent doctor in sports medicine.

Our trainers did a good job. And talked to the doctor guru down in
Alabama. And he agreed, let’s go. And Michael called his mom up to make
sure that we were all on the same page. Because I let him, you know —
I let Michael make the call. Once he got cleared to go, you know, still
let Michael make the call whether or not this was the week or not.

He talked to his mom. Talked to me. Came back to me and said, I’m ready
to go. Wasn’t too long before I was getting a text from No. 7. He might
have been as happy as No. 3 was. I think No. 7 might have been just as

Weis was clear that the Irish have a game plan with Floyd and that he won’t be on the field for the entire game. Still I think the decision to let him play against Navy was smart, and it’ll let him get accustomed to contact and game speed before the showdown with Pitt next weekend.

* Weis addressed the Golden Tate / fair catch issue, specifically whether or not Golden has been conservative back there in calling fair catches. I’ve long thought Golden has been pretty risk averse as a return man, which doesn’t really seem to fit his on-field personality, but CW attributed the fair catches to the spread punt alignment.

I think everyone’s in this spread punt right now. It’s the big in vogue
thing in the country. You spread them out all over the place, and
instead of two gunners, you have seven of them. Just about every week
you’re dealing with the same thing. That forces you everyone’s playing
one-on-one in space.

You’re blocking one-on-one in space. So it’s not like you had double
teams on this guy or double teams on that guy. There’s always one guy
besides downside guys that’s running completely free on account of
running down there. In our case usually our lone snapper. He’s running
down there and nobody even touches him. So the ball goes down there and
it’s like having another gunner down there.

Whether it was Tommy Zbikowski back there or Joey Getherall, Irish fans have gotten used to fearless punt returners that never signaled for fair catches. Still, I think Tate has been a little more conservative than either he or Charlie would care to admit, and that’s probably a product of the tight games the Irish have been playing in. Still, with hands like Tate’s, he’d be better off taking a chance on catching the ball, maybe making someone miss, and if he gets hit early, he’d get the Irish an extra 15 yards. (Also known as the Getherall special…)

Notre Dame gets 10 invites to NFL Scouting Combine

2013 NFL Combine
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Notre Dame will send ten former players to the NFL Scouting Combine. The annual event in Indianapolis serves as the unofficial apex of draft season, a meat-market where the best professional prospects are poked, prodded, questioned and tested in a variety of on- and off-field drills.

Heading to the festivities from Notre Dame are:

Chris Brown, WR
Sheldon Day, DT
Will Fuller, WR
Nick Martin, C
Romeo Okwara, DE
C.J. Prosise, RB
KeiVarae Russell, CB
Elijah Shumate, S
Jaylon Smith, OLB
Ronnie Stanley, OT

For a prospect like Smith, it’ll be teams first opportunity to talk to the elite prospect and check his progress medically as he returns from a Fiesta Bowl knee injury. Russell will also be a non-participant in physical drills, waiting until Notre Dame’s Pro Day to go through testing.

Invites to Chris Brown, Romeo Okwara and Elijah Shumate are crucial in finding their way into the draft, as the three former Irish starters participated in the Shrine Bowl, where scouts had an early look at them. Likewise, Nick Martin and Sheldon Day continue their ascent, both coming off strong Senior Bowl weeks.

For Irish fans, it’ll be fun to watch early-enrollees Fuller and Prosise test. Both are expected to be some of the fastest players at their position. Brown may also have the ability to surprise teams, with his track background and leaping ability capable of earning him an extended look. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley will look to impress as well, hoping to check out as one of the draft’s most impressive athletes at offensive tackle.

Ohio State led all schools with 14 invites. National Champion Alabama had nine former players invited.


WR Corey Robinson named Notre Dame student body president

Notre Dame v Florida State

On Wednesday, wide receiver Corey Robinson added another impressive title to his resume as a student-athlete at Notre Dame: Student Body President.

The junior, paired with classmate Becca Blais as his vice presidential running mate, won a majority of the votes cast by his fellow students, a runaway winner with 59.4% of the votes, nearly triple the next highest vote getter.

Robinson posted the following on Twitter, thankful for the opportunity to serve his fellow students:

Robinson’s time at Notre Dame has been filled with accomplishments both on and off the field. He was named an Academic All-American as a sophomore. He’s a six-time Dean’s List member in the prestigious Program of Liberal Studies and is also pursuing a sustainability minor. He’s won the team’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award as well.

That’s quite a bit on the plate of Notre Dame’s lone senior wide receiver. But as you might expect, Robinson is well prepared for the next challenge ahead.

“I’ve planned ahead, gotten all of my hard work out of the way this semester, and I’m finishing up my senior thesis,” Robinson told The Observer. “I’m doing all the hard stuff now so in the fall and the spring, I just have to take two classes pretty much.”

Robinson’s other contributions as a student-athlete at Notre Dame include One Shirt one Body, an opportunity for college athletes to donate their athletic apparel to local communities. Robinson has presented the plan to the ACC as well as the NCAA, earning immediate support from both organizations.


Mailbag: Now Open (scheduling input requested)

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 01:  Actors Mike Myers (L) and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World" onstage during the 17th annual MTV Movie Awards held at the Gibson Amphitheatre on June 1, 2008 in Universal City, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Okay folks, we’ve had enough semi-positive encouragement to keep the video mailbag going for another week. With that said, I’ll need some reader participation to keep this thing rolling on.

As always, submit your questions below or on Twitter @KeithArnold. You can also ask your questions live via Facebook. You’ll need to LIKE THIS PAGE first, and then at the appropriate time, head on over to watch and participate.

To that point, let’s pick a time that works for everyone. Right now, here are the options that work at Inside the Irish HQ.  Weigh in and the best time wins. (How’s that for a democracy?)



Restocking the roster: Offensive Line

Notre Dame offensive line

When Notre Dame takes the field this spring, there’ll be two very large holes in the offensive line that need filling. All-American left tackle Ronnie Stanley is gone. As is captain Nick Martin at center. Both three-year starters leave Harry Hiestand with some big decisions to make in the coming months as the Irish look to fill those key positions and still field a unit with the ability to dominate in the trenches.

The Irish have had incredible stability at left tackle, with Stanley sliding in seamlessly after four seasons of Zack Martin. Perhaps the best six-year run in the program’s storied history at the position, Stanley will likely join Martin as a first-rounder, back-to-back starters at a key spot that often dictates the play of one of the most important units on the field.

Replacing Nick Martin could prove equally tricky. Rising junior Sam Mustipher served as Martin’s backup in 2015, filing in capably for Martin after an ankle sprain took him off the field briefly against UMass. But Mustipher will face a challenge this spring from rising sophomore Tristen Hoge, the first true center recruited by Hiestand and Brian Kelly since they arrived in South Bend.

Kelly talked about 2017 being a big cycle on the recruiting trail for restocking the offensive line. You can see why when you look at the depth, particularly at tackle. Let’s look at the work that’s been done the previous two classes as Notre Dame continues to be one of the premier programs recruiting in the trenches.


Ronnie Stanley
, Sr. (39 starts)
Nick Martin, Grad Student (37 starts)

Tristen Hoge
, C
Trevor Ruhland
, G
Jerry Tillery
, T
Parker Boudreaux
, G
Tommy Kraemer
, T
Liam Eichenberg
, T

Hunter Bivin, T
Quenton Nelson, LG
Sam Mustipher, C
Steve Elmer, RG
Mike McGlinchey, RT

Alex Bars*, T
Colin McGovern*, G/T
Mark Harrell*, C/G
Tristen Hoge*, C
John Montelus*, G
Jimmy Byrne*, G
Trevor Ruhland*, G

*Has an additional year of eligibility remaining. 

It’ll be a fascinating spring up front for the offensive line. We’ll get our first look at potential replacements and see if the Irish staff values a veteran presence (as it has done in the past) or puts former blue-chip recruits in position to become multi-year starters.

For now, I’m putting last season’s backups in line to ascend to starting spots. That’s not to say I think that’s what’ll happen. Hunter Bivin may have been Stanley’s backup last season, but as long as Alex Bars is fully recovered from his broken ankle, I think he’s the best bet to step into that job. Sharing reps at guard—not a natural spot for Bars to begin with—was more about getting him some experience, with the aim to move him into the lineup in 2016. That allows Bivin to be a key swing reserve, capable of playing on either the right or left side.

At center, the decision is less clear cut—especially since we’ve yet to see Tristen Hoge play a snap of football. Size and strength is a genuine concern at the point of attack for Hoge, not necessarily the biggest guy hitting campus. But it sounds like he’s had a nice first season from a developmental standpoint, and if he’s a true technician at the position, he could be a rare four-year starter at center if he’s able to pull ahead of Mustipher this spring.

On paper, the other three starting jobs don’t seem to be in question. Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey are ready to step to the forefront. Concerns about Steve Elmer’s buy-in will certainly be answered by spring, there’s little chance he’ll be on the field in March if he’s not going to be around in August. I’m of the mind that Elmer’s too good of a character guy to leave the program, even if his life doesn’t revolve around football 24/7. Now it’s time for him to clean up some of the flaws in his game, the only starter from last season who held back the Irish from being a truly elite group.

Depth isn’t necessarily a concern, but there isn’t a ton of it at tackle. That happens when you move a guy like Jerry Tillery to defensive line and lose a player like Stanley with a year of eligibility remaining. That could force the Irish to cross-train someone like Colin McGovern, a veteran who can swing inside or out if needed. McGovern seems to be a guy who would start in a lot of other programs, but has struggled to crack a two-deep that’s now filled with former blue-chip recruits, all of them essentially handpicked by Hiestand and Kelly.