Enjoy the holiday weekend ...
Bronson from New Philadelphia, Ohio, writes: Hey Matt, I'm a religious follower of your Notre Dame coverage and I appreciate all of your hard work. There are a few things I've been wondering that I'm having trouble finding online or otherwise. #1, what is the injury status of Amir Carlisle? #2 What freshmen have the best shot to starting from day 1 or by midseason? Actually, I have a third one...Right now, if you had to guess, who will be the starting running back? My guess would be Atkinson/Carlisle, or the other way around....but a lot of people are saying Greg Bryant could start....then there's Will Mahone.....Thanks Matt. Keep up the good journalism.
Matt Fortuna: Appreciate the kind words, Bronson. Carlisle broke his collarbone Saturday in practice and is expected to miss four weeks, which will likely sideline him for the rest of spring. The freshmen question is a little more difficult to answer since only five enrolled early and we won't know about the progress of the others until they get on campus, but I'd be surprised if Jaylon Smith, Eddie Vanderdoes, Greg Bryant, Max Redfield and James Onwualu didn't all see the field at some point in 2013. (I have a hard time seeing any true freshman starting, barring any unforeseen injuries). As for the backfield, I think Atkinson will get the first shot and probably get the most carries, but I doubt it will be a situation where he's a 20-25 carry-a-game back with a true backup. Carlisle, by all accounts, has made great strides, and we could see him in the Theo Riddick-type hybrid role from last season, especially with Davonte Neal now out of the picture at the slot. I'm really interested to see what Bryant does in his first year, and would not be surprised if he were to receive a fairly heavy workload late in the season.
GP from Los Angeles writes: you should state the new schools where the players transfered. make your report complete and credible. thx
Matt Fortuna: GP, the head coach publicly naming players that have left the program isn't credible enough? When I -- and, more importantly, the players -- know those guys' next destinations, I will write them.
Mark from Southern California writes: "Nothing he says is ever remotely offensive"?You must have been advising him the past couple of yrs then. His attitude hurt him at ND on and off the field. His attitude will undermine him on draft day. Yes -- he is a young man. Yet should not, as older men, enable him. He has been enabled enough.
Matt Fortuna: Mark, I ask again: What did Cierre Wood ever say that was offensive?
Jason from Iowa writes: Hi Matt, how did wr robby toma perform at the Pro day today? Does he have a chance to be another Wes welker type wr in the nfl? Jason.
Matt Fortuna: Jason, Robby performed well. He had the fastest 40-yard-dash time among all Notre Dame players (4.50), had a 31-inch vertical and benched 225 pounds 15 times. While I have a hard time seeing him getting drafted, I don't doubt that a kid like that would make the most of an invite to an NFL camp (though the Wes Welker comparison is a bit much right now.)
Nancy Henry from Fayetteville, Ark., writes: Will there be any spring practice info on UND.COM? And will the spring Blue/Gold game be televised, or shown on UND.COM? Where else on the internet can I get info on ND this spring? thanks
Matt: Nancy, the game will air on the NBC Sports Network. There are far too many places on the internet with Notre Dame coverage for me to list here, but since you've already visited the ESPN blog, I suggest — all humility aside, of course — that you keep it right here.