Irish Blogger Gathering: Live from Dublin

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Another football season is finally upon us. And that means another year of the Irish Blogger Gathering, my attempt at trying to be social in the wonderful world of the Irish blogosphere. Our fearless leader, the Subway Domer, has tweaked the format and tried to add some energy to the proceedings. And since most readers here know I’m pretty slow to catch onto things, I’m fairly certain I haven’t quite grasped the new concept but here goes:

The IBG membership is the following:

The Subway Domer
Her Loyal Sons
Inside the Irish
Strong and True

Every week, we’ll trade off asking and answering three questions from each other. There’s a whole bunch of talk about round robin formats and after that it gets pretty sketchy. But I do know that Josh Flynt, the resident blogger for UND.com’s football blog, asked me some good questions and I’m going to answer them. On the blog. (I think. Or maybe it was his blog. After a long day of driving across the Irish countryside, I’m a little woozy.)

(FIVE MINUTES LATER: Turns out my answers are going to be at UND.com’s Strong and True website… Stay tuned.)

Here are Subway Domer’s answers to my questions:

This is the time of year where everyone tries to call their shot. Instead of picking a win total, name three things that Notre Dame has to do this season for it to be considered a success.

As we all know, success is defined very differently- especially within the Notre Dame fanbase. As far as my opinions on the matter for this season are concerned, I have three of them swimming in my head very clearly:

1. Beat Michigan. This is a team that Notre Dame has given away wins to since 2009. After ND’s 2008 win against the Skunkbears, the Irish basically said, “Here ya go UM, we don’y need this win in September- you take it.” Beating teams that Notre Dame SHOULD beat has been a problem ND has had for quite a while.

2. Quarterback Development. Perhaps I can even throw that under the hood of “Player development.” I don’t expect ND to win a MNC or even go to a BCS game. I do expect them to continue to mold themselves for those runs. It begins with developing and maintaining a QB that everyone is behind. Easier said than done at ND, but very doable.

3. Win your bowl game. Notre Dame is in a weird place as far as what bowl it can go to this season. It doesn’t matter. Wherever it is and whoever it is against- IT MUST BE WON.

If you had to put money on it, who would you bet is the team’s starting quarterback on the following dates:

* Sept 22 vs. Michigan
* Oct 27 vs. Oklahoma
* Nov 24 vs. USC
* Opening Day 2013

Quarterbacks don’t seem to last very long under Kelly at ANY school. Just ask Joe Montana. Seriously though, if Golson stays healthy, I expect him to start this year and next year.

Name one offensive player and one defensive player that people aren’t talking much about that you think will break loose in 2012? Any other shots you feel like calling before the year begins?

This is rough considering Irish fans seem to “touch em all” when chatting, but here we go…

OFFENSE: Christian Lombard. I think people expect him to be good, but I expect him to be on the same level as Zack Martin. Not a sexy pick (offensive line) but one that I think is absolutely for sure.
DEFENSE: Prince Shembo. People are enamored with Ishaq Williams, and for good reason as he has a ton of potential, but Shembo goes back to the position that made him a name on the Irish defense and won the starting job.
BONUS SHOTS:
  • ND wins 9
  • I’m just not sold on DaVaris Daniels
  • BYU will be easier than we think.
  • Wake Forest will be tougher than we think.
  • By week 6, the Wood suspension will have been a blessing in disguise.
  • Beer, beer, gin, beer, gin. Repeat.