Thanks to those who stopped by the re-scheduled Notre Dame chat today. We had plenty of questions about QBs and coaches, and even a few of you wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day. (Seriously, I'll be just fine guys. Thanks for your concern.)
Here's a transcript. And a few highlights:
Stephen Donnelly (Franklinville, N.J.): With michael floyd leaving for the NFL, do the fighting irish have any big body receivers to help out in the red zone this year?
Matt Fortuna (2:10 PM): Stephen, this should be a big concern, right behind that of the quarterbacks. We think there is talent at the signal caller position, though -- it's just a matter of nurturing it and making the right choice. At the WR position? There is talent, sure, but nothing like Michael Floyd, and no true downfield threat that we know of yet. That's what makes the loss of Deontay Greenberry hurt so much. Perhaps Justin Ferguson can step in and contribute right away, though that remains to be seen.
Rob Rod (San Francisco): What are your thoughts on the Booker for special teams coach?
Matt Fortuna (2:14 PM): Rob, he has drawn rave reviews from everyone for his work as an intern the past two years. The special teams will be shaken up, sure, but BK said it falls on the staff as a whole, not just one guy. They need a playmaker on punt returns, a threat to make something happen at any given time. Michael Floyd, when given the chance in the bowl game, showed he could do that. Now it's about finding another guy on the roster who can handle that.
Lucas (Indiana): Hey Matt. Thanks for answering my question last time. New questions...What is the schedule of Spring Practice and have they set a date for the Blue and Gold game? Is our RB coach here to stay or NFL bound? And given the history of our new Off. Cord. coach Martin...he seemed to run more than pass when he controlled the offense at other schools. Are we going to see more ground game this year than previous?
Matt Fortuna (2:49 PM): Lucas, spring practice is tentatively set to start March 21. The spring game is April 21. From the way Tony Alford spoke Friday, I'd say he's here to stay. He was very candid, which you don't always see from guys who interviewed at other places, and, most importantly, he hasn't been offered anything yet. As for Martin, I think that may be a wait-and-see approach with how quick the starting QB can develop.
Rich (NYC): Coach Kelly had a track record of player development in his previous stops (if you the equation is <2 star recruits who become NFL draftees). I admit that hearing Jonas Gray sing his praises, and seeing his turn around has peaked my interest. Do you see players who could have a "Jonas Gray" turn around for 2012?
Matt Fortuna (2:52 PM): Rich, just taking a guess here, but let's go with John Goodman, who is reportedly back, to the surprise of some. That speaks to Kelly's faith in him, and with a depleted and relatively young receiving corp, I could see Goodman playing a bigger role and rewarding the staff for its belief in him, much the way Gray did last season.