Aj Latiolais from Lafayette, La., writes: Just wondering if you know what freshman have chosen to be red-shirted. Kelly said there was a deadline to select players to redshirt and there were ages in mind for him. Figuring since we're past halfway in the season I was wondering if you heard anything. What is Tee Shepard's status? Any chance he might come back to nd? I can't really find any news about it and givin our DB situation it would be a great if he came back.
Matt Fortuna: A.J., by my count, it looks like the redshirts from the Class of 2012 will be Gunner Kiel, Jarron Jones, William Mahone, Mark Harrell, C.J. Prosise, John Turner, Scott Daly and Amir Carlisle (who transferred from USC and was granted immediate eligibility before breaking an ankle in the spring). The Tee Shepard ship has sailed.
Stefano from Toronto writes: TUNA!Long time listener, first time caller - love the blog.Of the three "gimme" games before SC, I'm fearful that this week will be the trap. The Irish have struggled to score points at home, and Pitt has a pretty experienced offense. Is there cause for concern?Keep up the good work!- Stefano
Matt Fortuna: Funny stuff, Stefano. Yes, Pitt is the best opponent Notre Dame will face between now and the USC finale, though I don't see the Panthers giving themselves much of a chance to win if they don't establish some semblance of a run game early. That will be tough against the Irish's stout run defense, though it could help free some matchup problems on the outside with Mike Shanahan and Devin Street. All told, this opponent is a much better team than Boston College or Wake Forest, that's for sure. Notre Dame just needs to, as always, avoid turning the ball over and keep from making this a closer game than it should be.
Nate Carr from Anchorage, Alaska writes: When do I have to start worrying about Diaco getting offered a head coaching job? He's done an amazing job with the defense and I'd hate to see him go.
Matt Fortuna: A good problem to have, Nate. I'll be surprised if he doesn't get serious consideration for some head-coaching vacancies come winter, though I'm not going to speculate on potential openings that aren't, well, open just yet.
Brandon from Takoma Park, Md., writes: Hey Matt, I'm always around on the game of the week chats and following this blog. I was hoping you could give a shoutout to a friend who is currently stationed overseas. He sketched this into his military helmet and it would be really awesome if you could, in one of your lunch links or something, give him a shout out with the picture.
Matt Fortuna: Anything for our heroes, Brandon. Thanks for sharing.