Skip to content

Michigan Mailbag

Sep 5, 2013, 2:11 PM EDT

Central Michigan v Michigan Getty Images

Thanks to everybody for putting in some great questions. Sorry I couldn’t get to all of them. Let’s dispense with the nonsense and get to it.

Nudeman: I saw on another board that Bryant was off to the side by himself during some of the game last week, the implication being that he was sulking over not playing. As we know now he eventually did get in but it was garbage time and probably not what he was hoping for.

I was just about to quote Ferris Bueller when I saw somebody beat me to it on the comments. But I don’t think sulking is going to get Greg Bryant anywhere with Tony Alford and Brian Kelly, nor do I necessarily believe that it was happening.

I expect Bryant to get a few more looks on Saturday night as I think the running game is going to be a major factor. Steve Elmer didn’t get in the game after we heard all spring and fall that he was going to play. We’re just 1/13th of the way into this season, there will be plenty of time for Bryant to make his mark this season.

Andy44Teg: KA (Best Irish Blogger on the Interwebs) Who do you think has the better game: Devin Gardner or Tommy Rees??

How do I not answer that question, Andy? Obviously the answer to this question likely dictates the winner of the game. I’m not making any predictions, but I kind of think that Rees will play the better game, though Gardner has the ability to make mistakes with his arm and still be a gamebreaker, just because of his ability to keep plays alive and make plays down field.

If there’s one guy that should keep Bob Diaco up at night, it’s Gardner.

@jfoneil22: I was concerned/unimpressed with our D line play last week. Did someone get Nix a Xanax this week? Am I overreacting?

I think you are over-reacting. Louis Nix is a nose guard. He was double-team on about 2/3 of them. After spending the last nine months talking about Jadeveon Clowney, he only managed three tackles in his debut.

Nix is going to have to learn that being a preseason All-American puts a bullseye on your back. And he’ll also need to make some plays, regardless of blockers. But let’s pump the brakes for now.

upthera44: The thing I worry about this year (and specifically this week) is one of those recurring problems for Notre Dame. Do you think our guys able to play with some swagger this week? Because that’s what I think you need in these elite games: the belief that you’re better than everyone. I wouldn’t trade the class of our players. But they seem a little too nice sometimes. When interviewed about a good performance you ALWAYS hear our players say they owe it all to the team and other players, etc., talk about what a great game the other team played. Are our players a little too muzzled?

What these guys say and what they believe are two very different things. Being coached up when talking to the media isn’t an issue, though it does make for some boring interviews. I don’t think the Irish have a confidence or swagger problem. Maybe there’s a void that needs filling after Te’o was such a singular leader last season, but I think the Irish will come out on Saturday night with plenty of swagger.

@NDIrish1029: You probably watched Michigan v cent Mich video. Was Mich 59 points good or were cent Mich that bad?

CMU lost their starting quarterback and starting running back in the first half. I did watch the game and to tell you the truth, I can’t decide. CMU looked really bad, and somehow the Wolverines scored 59 while still throwing three interceptions.

chadwalters425: What would you rather fight, 100 duck-sized wolverines or one wolverine-sized duck?

Maybe you aren’t privy to my phobias, but I don’t want to fight any animals. Ever since I was attacked by two geese walking along the pond on hole 3 at the Warren Course in college, I’ve been freaked out of everything — domestic and wild — ever since.

What type of strategy do you use to fight an animal? Boxing? Wrestling?

To answer your question, I think 100 duck-sized wolverines sounds terrifying. A wolverine sized duck just sounds bloated.

mtflsmitty: Based on your observations and access, what gives with Tuitt’s performance this year? He came into camp overweight and all the tape we saw (Martin 3, Tuitt 0) suggested he had lost a step or five. Last week he seemed to being playing a strict contain technique most plays, or he was just taking plays off? What’s up?

Smitty, so far he’s on pace to have 13 sacks and have the choice of returning for his senior season or getting drafted in the first round. Tuitt plays a specific type of defensive end in Bob Diaco’s system. He’s not just crashing off the edge rushing the passer. He’ll be just fine as well.

@JMset3: Sierra Nevada Nut Brown or Sam Adams Oktoberfest. Choose wisely.

Both? I’m hardly a particular beer drinker, though have enjoyed both choices (I think).

irishhaggie: Heading into Michigan I am concerned about who our #2 QB should be in case Tommy was to be taken out (lets hope not). Do you think Andrew is a legitimate backup? I feel like we are an injury away from being an 8-4 football team. What have you heard about Malik’s development?

I have been skeptical of Hendrix’s ability to run this offense since he stepped onto campus, and his mediocre series in garbage time didn’t do much to help. Tommy Rees is probably the most irreplaceable player on this offense outside of Zack Martin. You are right on the money with your 8-4 prediction if Rees goes down, and don’t expect Malik Zaire to strap on his cape and spring into action. He’s still out with mono.

@DanFree5: As a Notre Dame fan, why should I feel good about this game?

ND’s offensive line has an advantage over Michigan’s defensive line. ND’s defensive line has an advantage over Michigan’s offensive line. But I don’t know if any Notre Dame fan ever feels good about a game with Michigan.

@ndfanwabashman: Can Notre Dame win without winning the turnover battle?

I don’t want to step all over some six pack topics, but they’d be a lot better off not turning the football over. But they can, they’ll just need to play good defense and special teams.

@jajensen23: Would be helpful if you have everyone a history lesson on Brandon renegotiating the 20-yr contract agreed to by Bill Martin?

I’ve been asked this a few times. Here’s what I wrote back in May:

@SaturdaysNick: Should ND be concerned that their points came from big plays against a less talented D rather than sustained drives?

@JohnnyFlynn33: curious why Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston didn’t play more in the opener?? I understand they are freshman but come on.

They each got a series with the No. 1 offensive line, but I’m guessing they didn’t get as many touches because the game wasn’t that out of reach.

irishdodger: Do you think the three heartbreakers from 2009-2011 have Irish fans gun-shy? I don’t see many prognosticators or fans of other teams giving the Irish much of a chance.

There’s no question ND fans are still gun shy. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly surrounded by this group, but the panic-meter of Irish fans has the acceleration of a Porsche, going 0-60 in a play or two.

I’m not quite sure I understand the line on this game either, though the underdog has covered 20 of the last 24 times.

dudeacow: This is the most important game on either team’s schedule. Winner goes to a BCS bowl, loser goes to the toilet bowl. Last two years, this has been the case. Do you agree?

Makes for a perfect headline, but ND still needs to get by six of the top 29 teams in the AP ballot. I also don’t think one loss is the end of the world for either team (particularly Michigan), but it will certainly dictate the trajectory of each program.

  1. sullyp18 - Sep 5, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    who won the beer? did I miss something

    • irishwilliamsport - Sep 5, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      I hate to say this but I wonder how Lynch is feeling this week after losing 53-21 to McNeese St. ?

      • bearcatirishfan - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        Let it go, at least he’s with his baby mama.

      • jmset3 - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Then don’t say it if you hate it so much. Nobody needs to hear it.

      • seadomer - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        Karma baby ….like I predicted … just you wait … something should be brewing at UCLA

  2. dapperdanirish - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Keith,

    This new mailbag series is a very cool and interesting addition to the weekly reads. Thanks for all the great writing!

    Btw, wondered the same thing about Lynch. Guess there’s no benefit in wondering what might’ve been…

  3. fnc111 - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Lynch and Tuitt weren’t even allowed to play in this game two years ago. That makes me more ill than Lynch at usf now.

  4. irishaggie - Sep 5, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Aaron Lynch knew what he was getting into transferring to USF. He knew he wasn’t going to be competing for anything. He just wanted to be with his girl and go to the NFL (which hes still predicted as a top 15 pick). I dont support his decision I just try to have perspective and understand it.

    On another sour note. Deontay Greenberry is tearing it up at Houston. Ronald Darby is Florida State’s best corner. Taylor Decker starts at tackle for Ohio State.

    Those are the standouts of the “almost had them”.

    On a brighter note. We got Amir from USC, and we got big time recruits to flip like Greg, Max, and also landed Cole Luke when he was on an official visit to Oklahoma.

    • irish4006 - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      …and Day and Tuitt and Isaac and Jaylon and all these superstars on the defensive side of the ball who didn’t even consider coming to ND in the past. In CW’s 5 years (I still cringe when I think of those years – the 30+ point losses to any ranked opponent, the overall cluelessness of CW), the only notable defensive player that came to ND was Manti. It was a huge get, but one player in 5 years is nothing to be proud of.

  5. 1historian - Sep 6, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Good points all but I would argue that in the pre-Kelly years we would not even have been in the conversation for half of those players.

    • irish4006 - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      Bingo! I would rather get 10 and then lose 7 than not even be in the conversation… People bemoaning the high profile losses often lose sight of this simple fact.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!