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Mailbag: Open for questions

May 7, 2014, 5:19 PM EDT


Drop them in the comments or on Twitter @KeithArnold.

  1. mtflsmitty - May 7, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    I’m not crying wolf here, and I realize ranking of recruits has plenty of flaws. But I’d like your thoughts on the health of our 2015 recruiting efforts.

    A few observations:
    – At this point in the 2014 recruiting cycle ND had secured commitments from eight recruits. One 5-star, five 4-star, and two 3-star.
    – The 2015 class seems not to be shaping up as well. Zero 5-star, four 4-star, and four 3-star players. Until yesterday, we had gone for five months without anything but 3-star commitments.
    – I expect we’ll have a smallish class this year (16-19 recruits). Therefore, I would have expected us to be more selective than usual. I also don’t see us in play with any 5-star guys.

    Are we having issues, or am I making an issue out of nothing?

  2. mikec2014 - May 7, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Hey Keith, do you have an opinion on where Brian Kelley and his coaches think they have the most work to do in shoring up the roster as regards recruiting?

  3. almostbrian - May 7, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Greetings Keith,
    Are fans coming into September down to earth regarding expectations? Or with Golson back do they have visions of Championships dancing in their heads? FSU, USC 2.0, Stanford, ASU and Michigan’s one great performance of the year. If they make it to the playoff, I’m dancing. If they make it to the Championship, I’m quite my day job to make and sell busts of Brian “Ditka” Kelley

    • mediocrebob - May 7, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      Are you asking Keith what the largest fanbase in the country’s thoughts are on the upcoming season?

      • dickasman - May 8, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        I forgot to add “rape watchers” too. Thank god Darby didn’t commit to ND. I woulda had a heart attack!

    • dickasman - May 8, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      I’m down to earth. I agree. BK will have Lobster face season although I don’t think it’s gonna be because of QB play. D Fence worries me. I think it’s time to dust off the good ol John 3:69 sign from the closet.

      Unless we have Crab stealers on the team, my expectation is 2-3 losses. With crab stealers? Undefeated babyyyyyy!!!

  4. lightskin350 - May 7, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Hi Keith, I sm very concerned with our recruiting this year. We are lost a lot of talent to graduation and to the NFL. I thought having (3) first round picks that Brian Kelly and staff would use that and bring in some elite talent. The two recruits who are must gets for the Irish are Justin Hilliard who has been on campus several times and still no verbal and Jashon Cornell are looking like they will go elsewhere.

    • dickasman - May 8, 2014 at 12:14 AM

      Hey listen. When you think of recruiting just ask yourself these questions.

      1. Would this guy steal crabs?
      2. Would this guy watch rape?

      3* all of sudden looks pretty dang good, don’t it?

  5. ndlv - May 7, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Keith, with the graduation of defensive standouts like Teo, Tuitt, and Nix the past two years, this year’s team looks eerily similar to some of the Weis teams. Supposedly EG and a receiving corp with potential will put up points, but the defense looks less than impressive. Kelly himself said it when he first go to ND that championship teams are built around a strong defensive line, but this year the line is not as highly regarded as the past few years. Also, similar to the Weis years, we have a new defensive coordinator with a reputation for an attacking defense (strangely enough, fan posts here seem to be enamored with this idea even though a bend-but-don’t-break defense got ND to the NCG two years ago).

    Am I reaching on making a connection between this year’s ND team and the Weis teams? Are we likely to see a 9-3 or 10-2 type season with ND outscoring most teams, but then a big letdown in a decent bowl game (it seems like offense-centric teams tend to not do as well in bowls when opponents have more time to prepare)?

  6. onward2victory - May 7, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Hey Keith, with the NFL dominating this week, can you maybe power rank ND’s top NFL players of all time??

    • mtflsmitty - May 7, 2014 at 11:59 PM

      A very generous softball tossed by you, Onward. But my guess is KA is contractually prevented from re-purposing content across properties. But imagine how impressed all would be if KA responded to your question with 1,000+ words.

      • onward2victory - May 8, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Haha I suppose you’re right about the contracts. Glad you at least picked up on the joke Smitty.

    • Keith Arnold - May 9, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      You guys are funny. I have no idea contractually if that’s a yes or no. But obviously when it comes to power-ranking, that was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.

  7. iamgolden4life - May 7, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Hey Keith, first time poster. Like many of you I think I was born an Irish football fan. I can’t help but like what the coaches are doing recruiting thus far, and know it’s a long process but think were going to land some big time recruit(s) on both sides by Feb. your thoughts? Lastly I think our Def is going to surprise everyone, our back end which was once a weakness is now the strength IMO. When Coach finds that one or two DL in the waiting to get nasty with it in the TRENCHES this Defense is going to complement our Sick Offensive next year. thoughts? oh my prediction Off- 28.0 ppg Def-17.0 Allowed, 5 offensive Turnovers. Go IRISH… Playoff BOUND!!

    • dickasman - May 8, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      Hey babe!!! ***waves herrrroooo***

  8. dickasman - May 8, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    Hey Keith. MB Post was garbooch baby. The bacon cheddar biscuit was dryer than my moms golden retrievers milk bone, yuck! EL STINKO! Thumbs up for little sister though!

    How’s the D line looking this year? You can say whatever you want but I think it’s looking like mighty dog poopish to say the least? Name some d lineman that you think will have a great year! I’m talking lynch, Tuitt, nix types. Besides Day, I just don’t see it.

  9. steincj36 - May 8, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    Any chance we can progress reports on the turf installation? And has there been talk of paint schemes for the field, or will it stay ND traditional?

    • danirish - May 8, 2014 at 9:14 AM

      Great question, I’m voting for traditional

      • 4horsemenrideagain - May 8, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        so long as the monogram doesn’t take up 2/3 of the playing surface like it does on the basketball floor, it will be fine.

  10. mediocrebob - May 8, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    Is there any chance you could brainwash people on here to not trusting these recruiting websites quite as much? I know 5/4 star sounds nice, but I think this coaching staff may have an idea of what they’re doing and who they’re bringing in to play for the Irish. Thoughts, Keith?

  11. danirish - May 8, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Besides playing bad music like “Crazy Train,” how can the Irish home crowd get into the game? I’ve been to a few games and tire of being “shushed” by fans because I’m yelling for my team. (Keep that heavy metal Irish jig sounding song)

    Second – Jalon Atkinson – punt returns? Kickoff returns? Why not?

  12. irishdodger - May 8, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    Keith, with the least experienced team of the Kelly Era, what are the “musts” in getting this team to 10 wins?

  13. bernhtp - May 8, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    With good coaching and development, you can turn a bunch of three and four star recruits into a very, very good football team, but it seems hard to break into the elite group (i.e., those making the playoffs) without getting your unfair share (3-5) of five stars as powerhouse teams like Alabama do every year. Furthermore, many of the five-star recruits ND has signed, didn’t last (e.g., Lynch, Kiel, Neal, Vanderdoes). Does this limit the ceiling for the program?

  14. irishdog80 - May 8, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    How much of a positive impact will the new turf have on the team both offensively and defensively? Negative impact? During winter weather? In the past, was recruiting negatively impacted by our natural grass field?

  15. oldestguard - May 8, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    How does a top 10 – 20 football program scout the entire country effectively ? Do they rely on any of the recruiting sites at all ? …or is it strictly in-house ?

    When you send out 100 offers, what do you tell the players as far as when to respond, and if their offer will stay valid at any time. Obviously there is a known pecking order and those lower down the list have to just wait, but how do you then keep your #2 guy still interested ? Obviously there’s never enough room for all that are offered and certainly some recruits are more coveted than others – but how is this communicated / handled with the high school players ? Any insight that the average fan is not privy to ?

    • martyhealy - May 8, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      I was thinking of asking almost those exact questions oldstguard! I would love to see an entire article on recruiting in general and how ND might be a bit different in relation to academics and citizenship.
      Obviously, ND does not want to spend untolds hours evaluating a kids physical talents only to find out he might not be accepted for academic/behavior etc. Do the 4 recruiting services give a rating to kids academic. etc. ?

  16. ndgoldandblue - May 8, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Keith, better 80’s cartoon: He-Man or Thundercats?

    • mmanor01 - May 8, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      I am quite partial to M.A.S.K. myself.

    • Keith Arnold - May 9, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      I was a He-Man kid.

  17. mtflsmitty - May 8, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Bob, I think you and I would agree that player star rankings can be flawed in many ways. Take for instance the changes to 2014 recruit Jhonathon Williams’ movement from low-ranked 3-star to solid 4-star within 3 weeks. During that short time he went from few offers from tier-2 schools to offers from MO, Michigan and finally offer from ND. Player didn’t change. Recruiting sites simply followed the offers being made by big time schools. So, I’m with ya.

    But certainly you and I would also agree, everything else being equal, a class full of 4-star players will generally outperform a class full of 3-star players, right?

  18. onward2victory - May 9, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    Now that the 1st round is over and we know that Tuitt didn’t go in the 1st 32 picks, is it safe to say that he should have come back for his senior year?

    Also, am I just a biased ND fan or is TJ Jones being highly undervalued by the NFL scouts?? I think he’s going to be a highly productive player for years.

  19. markaherman - May 9, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I wonder if Koyak will be able to continue our trend of having valuable play from our TE, and what your opinion of what his production will be. I think that the TE position will be a barometer of how good our offense is because there may be some growing pains from the QB to WR position with Golson taking a year-long powder (or Zaire if he wins the job) and the youngsters that will likely be starting.
    On the Defensive side, what do you think will be the starting 4 DB’s and do you think our new D-Coordinator will employ a 3 safety nickle to maximize our wealth of Safties?

  20. jerseyshorendfan1 - May 9, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    What’s your take on who the starting D will be?

    Also, The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson’s best? Discuss.

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