Apr 24, 2013, 4:25 PM EDT
With the spring game in the rearview mirror, and the long abyss ahead of us before fall camp, we thought it was a good time to get the old band back together, with the Irish Blogger Gathering reuniting for a one-day special.
With Josh Flynt off to greener pastures at the Monogram Club, we’re waiting a few beats before UND.com’s Strong & True blogger is selected. But until we get there, we decided to add a new name to the crew — with the Subway Domer swinging for the fences and adding Mike Coffey from NDNation.com to the group. Known mostly as El Kabong, Mike’s been one of the leading voices online talking about Notre Dame football, and is probably the reason you stumbled your way to this blog.
Mike was kind enough to post my answers to his rather thoughtful questions. Mike answered questions for the gang at Her Loyal Sons. And of course our ringleader, the Subway Domer, will get around to this when he’s good and ready.
(And not selling an amazing t-shirt.)
So here goes. I asked The Subway Domer a few post-spring questions and he answered:
Give me your top three surprises heading out of spring football?
This would be a lot easier to answer if it had been 3 things that DIDN’T surprise me, because this has been a fairly predictable spring- but I will do my best…
1. Maybe I wasn’t listening, but I’m surprised that we haven’t heard more about Danny Spond. We heard a lot about Ben Councell coming up behind him, but Spond was missing as he stood right in front of our eyes. Maybe that will change in the fall when Jaylon Smith gets thrown in the mix, and maybe it won’t. I just thought there would be something of note floating around in my head post-spring, but there isn’t anything at all.
2. Despite some massive personnel losses in Riddick, Wood, Cave, and Eifert, I really thought the offense would have looked much crisper in the spring game. I realize that there are a ton of different factors causing the “blah” play, but it was a bit surprising as I bought into some of the coach speak leading up to the game.
3. I guess with all of the bad karma at the end of the season, I think I was expecting some disastrous injury to jump out of the bushes. It sucked that Carlilse was slowed down by one and it really sucked that Hounshell will miss another season… but, none of that comes close to a Nix torn pectoral, or a Golson torn ACL, or a Tuitt leg amputation. Although these things would have been “shocking,” I’m more surprised that we came out of spring pretty damn healthy.
Everybody knows ND needs to replace the heart of the defense, Manti Te’o, and the engine of the offense, Tyler Eifert. Outside of the two first-round picks, who else is going to be the most missed?
There are two guys that I kept wishing were returning this year. Braxston Cave and Kapron Lewis-Moore. Not only will their play be missed, but more importantly it’s their leadership in the trenches, the huddle, and in the lockeroom that I know Notre Dame will miss this season. Somebody will step up, but it was a nice luxury item to have last year.
How boring was this spring? Do you think it was a product of how crazy life was this winter (BCS, Te’o, Kelly and the Eagles, etc.) or is this what life is like when your program wins games and has some stability?
Nail, meet hammer. Boring is exactly how I would word this spring. Maybe it was because January and February were so hectic. Maybe it’s because we are 100% sure Golson is the starting quarterback. Maybe it’s because the staff returns intact. Maybe it’s because we get so little real and useful information out of spring ball.
For me, it’s a big mix of all of these things, but also because I think I have finally learned my lesson about spring football. It’s about the little things and not the big things- and that, my friend, is how the word, “boring” comes across the tongue.
At any rate, it’s still football and it adds to the anticipation of the fall- even if it’s just adds more questions. We’re addicts and after getting back to the top of the CFB world, the spring high is just a little low.
Aug 27, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT
It appears that the Greg Bryant era at Notre Dame is over. The junior running back, who was declared academically ineligible to play for the Irish this fall, has enrolled at ASA Miami, a junior college with a new football program run by former Irish assistant Ernest Jones.
Aug 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
After two seasons of trying to find carries for a handful of emerging running backs, Notre Dame has the opposite problem: Trying to spread out a growing workload among a smaller, highly-differentiated position group.
Aug 26, 2015, 1:56 PM EDT
With the season right around the corner and preseason camp finished, it’s time to get our final preparations done before the games start counting and the journey begins. We spent the summer pumping out tens of thousands of words on Notre Dame’s evolving roster, so if you’re looking for 50 hours of easy reading, check out the Irish A-to-Z series.
Aug 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT
Have a final question before we have actual football to talk about? Today’s the day. Drop them below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Aug 25, 2015, 5:06 PM EDT
Notre Dame announced a number of enhancements to Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday. Most notable among them, a video board that’ll go atop the south end zone.
Aug 25, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT
Our final installment of the A-to-Z series is perhaps our most important one. Because Notre Dame’s fate is in the hands of quarterback Malik Zaire.
Aug 24, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT
With the injury to freshman cornerback Shaun Crawford, an unlikely candidate has emerged as the frontrunner for the No. 3 cornerback job: Devin Butler. The junior, who struggled mightily at times last season after he was forced into action, looked to have lost his grip on that spot this spring after strong work by sophomore Nick Watkins.
Aug 24, 2015, 12:27 PM EDT
No freshman will be tossed into the deep end quicker than kicker Justin Yoon. Essentially Notre Dame’s sole option to kick field goals in 2015, Brian Kelly and the Irish coaching staff are putting a ton of the shoulders of a true freshman, who’ll be asked to fix a three-point operation that went haywire down the stretch after the Irish’s all-time field goal leader Kyle Brindza lost his mojo.
Aug 23, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT
When Brandon Wimbush enrolled in school this summer, he became the latest blue-chip quarterback to join the Notre Dame football program with the burden of great expectations. The New Jersey state player of the year, Wimbush would be wise to forget about the prep accolades, instead focusing his efforts on learning the playbook, with the third-string quarterback closer to the field than you’d ideally want.
Aug 21, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT
Keith Gilmore’s move to Notre Dame reunites him with Brian VanGorder, two football lifers who have known each other since they shared a huddle as players. After a long coaching career, Gilmore also reunites with Brian Kelly, a coach he’s worked for at Grand Valley, Central Michigan, Cincinnati and now Notre Dame.
Aug 21, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Notre Dame landed another Indianapolis product when safety Mykelti Williams joined the Irish this summer, the freshman lending some much needed depth to the secondary. Hailing from Warren Central, the same program that brought Notre Dame Sheldon Day, Williams’ might not contribute as quickly as Day did, but he’ll have a chance to compete for a spot in the two deep behind Max Redfield at free safety.
Aug 20, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT
With Notre Dame’s running back depth chart down Greg Bryant, freshman Dexter Williams has a clear line to the football field this fall. While wide receiver Justin Brent has converted to the backfield and Tarean Folston returns as a starter, Williams and fellow freshman Josh Adams couldn’t ask for a more advantageous situation, especially with C.J. Prosise taking time to heal an ailing hip flexor.
Aug 20, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT
Don’t talk to KeiVarae Russell anymore about his suspension. He’s not all that interested. He discussed it with Sports Illustrated, he discussed it at the opening of training camp and he continued to answer questions about it on Media Day.
Aug 19, 2015, 10:13 PM EDT
Talented freshman cornerback Shaun Crawford tore his ACL at practice on Wednesday and is lost for the season. Brian Kelly made the announcement Wednesday night via the sports information department.
Aug 19, 2015, 1:49 PM EDT
As part of a talented group of freshman defensive backs, Ashton White has made his presence felt on campus quickly, joining Shaun Crawford and Nick Coleman in their attack on the depth chart. Another cornerback with good length and athleticism, White’s career begins as the freshman class looks to make an unlikely imprint on the 2105 season.
Aug 19, 2015, 4:03 AM EDT
It was the standard Media Day dog-and-pony show in South Bend on Tuesday, with national reporters descending on Notre Dame to pay proper respects to the Irish football program, all while likely wondering if this is indeed “the year.” And perhaps it’s because Brian Kelly already delivered a lengthy state of the union address to open camp—or more likely—because he’s already sick of talking about the enhanced expectations for his sixth team, Tuesday afternoon felt like a redundancy that coaches and players alike wanted to put in the rearview mirror.
Aug 18, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
One of fall camp’s biggest surprises, tight end Nic Weishar has taken off his redshirt and is intent on making up for lost time. In a position battle that lacks a returning starter (or anybody with any significant experience), Weishar is making sure that the coaching staff sees him as a viable option to contribute, especially in the pass game.
Aug 18, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT
After a freshman season swimming in the proverbial deep end, cornerback Nick Watkins enters his sophomore season with a better understanding of Brian VanGorder’s defense. And he better. Because with KeiVarae Russell and Cole Luke in front of him, Watkins’ path to the field is just as tough as it was in 2014.
Aug 17, 2015, 9:55 PM EDT
John Turner went from the bottom of the safety depth chart to the top of the outside linebackers in a spring, one of the primary beneficiaries of the transition to defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. And while Turner was surpassed by converted wide receiver James Onwualu, the Indianapolis native supplied key support in special teams while providing some athleticism at a position that desperately needed it.
Aug 17, 2015, 2:11 PM EDT
After enrolling early for the spring, defensive end Andrew Trumbetti nearly became Notre Dame’s first ever true freshman starter at the position. He didn’t do it, with the Irish defensive staff choosing junior Romeo Okwara to run with the first team. But it’s worth putting that quick ascent into context, the young defensive lineman both quick out of the gate and one of the only options at a position that needed reloading.