Feb 16, 2010, 8:55 PM EST
While I wasn’t able to attend, the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen caught up with football coach Brian Kelly at Notre Dame Baseball’s Opening Night dinner. Kelly was the keynote speaker, and thanks to Hansen’s Twitter feed, we got some very good dirt:
* Chris Stewart has been a winter workout warrior.
This is incredibly good news for the offensive line. As I mentioned in the first edition of “Stepping Up,” I expect Stewart to be a big-time contributor for the Irish, and use this fifth year as a breakout season.
* Harrison Smith is moving back to safety and impressing the new staff.
Another sigh of relief should come over ND Nation, as Smith is a key defensive player that needs to get it back together. He’s far too good of an athlete with far too good a skill-set to be a liability in the secondary and be relegated to some niche linebacker position. Irish fans should hope the coaching change is a breath of fresh air to Harrison.
As we talked about when we tackled the size issues of the Irish defense, Smith has no real role as a linebacker in Kelly’s defensive scheme, and for the Irish to get maximum mileage out of Smith, he’ll need to find a home in the secondary.
* Junior recruiting is in full swing.
I expect the Irish to put together an impressive recruiting class next year, and Hansen reports that the staff likes their progress so far. While I’ll never do as good a job covering the day-to-day of recruiting as some of the recruiting sites out there, if the Irish win some football games next fall, expect one of the nation’s best classes to come to South Bend.
Great scoop by Hansen as usual.