Chat with Matt Fortuna
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, Notre Dame blogger Matt Fortuna stops by to chat about the Fightin' Irish's football season.
Fortuna joined ESPN.com in 2011 after working for MLB.com and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he covered college sports. He grew up in New York and is a Penn State graduate.
Send your questions now and join Fortuna Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Matt Fortuna (2:02 PM)
Greetings, everyone. Hope everyone's done watching the Big Ten Network's replay of Notre Dame-Michigan from earlier this season. Now, let's get to questions ...
Brian Dvorak (Minneapolis MN)
Matt I would first like to say what a great job you have been doing with you Notre Dame blog! I was wondering what your take is that next season the Irish might take a step backwards or at least not move forward next season. They are set to lose one of the best receivers in College football Michael Floyd, and Manti Te'o very well might leave too. Plus almost their entire secondary is leaving, and like you said Eifert might declare as well. I think with all the talent they lose it will be very difficult for them to replace those players and the schedule is always tough.
Matt Fortuna (2:05 PM)
Thanks, Brian. Appreciate it. I think a step backward is inevitable with that schedule and their personnel losses. One thing to keep a close eye on is the QB situation and see how that progresses next year with so much young talent on the roster there.
Will it be Hendrix next year because Kelly said he doesnt have the ssame chemistry with Floyd that Rees does and sense Floyd isnt coming back that chemistry wont matter like it does now?
Matt Fortuna (2:08 PM)
Nate, there is a long time and plenty more factors that will go into that decision than just Michael Floyd. Rees is starting the bowl game, as he has the last 11 games, but Hendrix should see plenty of time and it will be taken from there. Throw in Everett Golson, and I highly doubt we see just one QB next year.
evan gorzkiewicz (bremen, indiana)
Have you seen enough to think Brian Kelly is the coach to return us to the national spot light? Do you think we are a few years away from contending in the BCS picture again?
Matt Fortuna (2:11 PM)
Evan, harsh as it may sound, if ND wins the bowl game they would have improved in each of his first two seasons. I think the biggest thing is they don't get pushed around in the trenches anymore and have some stability there. But yes, the BCS is a few years away (if it even still exists a few years from now ... fingers crossed) since next year's schedule is so brutal.
LeLand (Craawfordville, FL)
I believe that Notre Dame's D-Line be key in stopping FSU's offense. Am I right to believe so?
Matt Fortuna (2:13 PM)
FSU's offensive line is suspect, to say the least. ND's front seven will be key, but it looks like this game may have fewer points than LSU-Bama with the combination of these two defenses.
the game with FSU seems to be a match of strengths, ND's offense against FSU's defense, how do you predict the other sides will affect the game meaning both teams special teams matching up against one another and ND's defense against the FSU offense?thanx alot
Matt Fortuna (2:16 PM)
Brandon, FSU's strength is its special teams, and Jimbo Fisher said this week they're not afraid to play to their strengths. That could, and I stress could, be the difference. I'm not ready to make a prediction yet, but a defensive or special teams touchdown could end up being critical here.
Big Papa (Forest, VA)
I want to know what Kelly's problem is? I'm a Kelly fan - but not starting Hendrix is completely stupid. All FSU needs to do is pull the tape of the BC game to see what needs to be done to stop Rees. Then what? You're not going to pass on FSU...you have to do more. Help me understand that common sense - simple reasons why... Thanks!
Matt Fortuna (2:20 PM)
"Big Papa," It's not as simple as Hendrix played better than Rees in one game and now he starts. Rees started the last 11 games, is 12-3 overall as a starter and can't be tossed to the side just like that. Hendrix showed plenty of promise and will likely get the chance to do so in the bowl game. It keeps FSU's defense off-guard having to prepare for two different quarterbacks, it keeps Rees happy (not saying he would throw a fit, but you never no) since he starts and it keeps Everett Golson interested knowing the man immediately ahead of him hasn't already won the job for next year.
Kenny, Bx [via mobile]
Why is it that a man like B Kelly does such an amazing job at Cincy and every other stop, yet has been a disgrace at ND? The team plays as if they don't practice, the turnovers, missed assignments,false starts....... Why does this happen?
Matt Fortuna (2:23 PM)
Kenny ... I think disgrace is a bit hard. Look at the list of ND coaches who won eight games in their first two years, there aren't that many. Also, the pressure and extracurriculars that come with coaching at ND is unlike any other place and can easily get to anyone. The alums, the admins, the tradition, etc. Look at the last three ND coaches -- one's at Kansas, one's at New Mexico and the other's out of a job. Not suggesting this is the fate for Kelly but it is a ridiculously tough job to do.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think is the Best Notre Dame Fighting Irish that is Playing in the NFL Right Now?
Matt Fortuna (2:26 PM)
Chris, since you asked a Giants fans ... JUSTIN TUCK!
No disrepect to Dwayne Allen, but I believe Eifert should have won the John Mackey award. I have only briefly seen Allen play but I beileve that his team's record was a major factor in him taking the hardware home. Sadly I believe it's why a lot of the awards only go to certain players. Were you not surprised when Eifert's name wasn't called and do you feel that players from overall better record teams are more deserving than those who have just as good if not better stats on teams that aren't? For example, the heisman seems to only be won by offensive players on high scoring teams. Remember this is for individual achievements, not team.
Matt Fortuna (2:28 PM)
Chris, I wasn't too surprised but I do think he deserves it, for many of the reasons you mentioned. I know it's not MVP, it's best player, which is why I can't believe how little attention BC's Luke Kuechly receives. I liked his coach's rant yesterday about the Heisman.
Nancy McManus ( Parkersburg, West Virginia)
It looks to me like Notre Dame recruiting has hit a brick wall with the dissapointing season and the loss of our OC and possible loss of RB coach. Do you think Notre Dame has a realistic chance to steal a big recruit or two( other than Gunner Kiel) like they did last season? PT has to be attractive to some of these kids.
Matt Fortuna (2:34 PM)
Nancy, I'd say they have a realistic chance at Kiel, though I can't imagine how that would play out with the current QBs on the roster, none of whom are past their second year yet. I don't think the coaching change(s) necessarily affected recruiting picture. As for playing time, seeing freshman ends like Lynch and Tuitt make an immediate impact has to be encouraging for promising recruits, who know they will get their chances if they prove themselves.
I have enjoyed reading your articles all year. Great job. What do you think is the key in this bowl game to propel the Irish for a great 2012-13 season?
Matt Fortuna (2:38 PM)
Nick, appreciate that. Seeing what Hendrix can do in different situations will certainly help. I'm anxious to see how he fares against such a lethal defense in different situations. Going off that, I'm also anxious to see how Rees (or anyone, for that matter) fares against this defense.
Mark (San Diego)
Much has been written about the fact that the D did not progress this year from how it finished in 2010. Do you think Bob Diaco is the answer or is he "over his head" with the level of D that ND (and teams of this caliber) must play to be successfull against big-time competition.
Matt Fortuna (2:41 PM)
Mark, I wasn't as hard on the D as some. They were MUCH better against option teams this year. Their front seven was strong, and their defensive line was very good despite being killed by injuries. The secondary was OK and will be a big question mark next season with everyone but Slaughter and Motta leaving.
John Anderson (Rochester, Michigan)
Is Florida States D as good as their fans think they are, or are their defensive rankings more a product of their 70th ranked strength of schedule.
Matt Fortuna (2:42 PM)
John, I do have some questions about their lethal rush defense when the best ground attack they've faced is Maryland's. That being said, I'd be concerned about them, especially with the way the offensive line played at Stanford.
A lot of talk of Rees vs. Hendrix but it seems to me that the guy who is best equipped to run BK's offense is Golson. Think we could see Golson in the 2nd QB spot next year?
Matt Fortuna (2:45 PM)
Paul, why not? I don't think he'll start, at least not to open the season, but he certainly has the skill set Kelly covets. He's the guy I (and I think everyone else) is most excited to see, and he has by most accounts done a great job in practice so far. (We haven't seen them practice during the season.)
Matt, FSU boasts a stout defense, but their SOS leaves something to be desired. Not to mention their most impressive win is against a 7-5 NCState team, the only team with a winning record they have played. That being said, how much do you think ND wins this game by?
Matt Fortuna (2:49 PM)
I think that's a bit premature, though I agree with the schedule. I'm not ready to make a pick yet but do think the Irish defense will need to make some plays to help the offense out.
John (Indy )
MattYou keep talking about the schedule and I think it looked 2012 much worse going into the season then now see belowSept. 1 Navy (Dublin, Ireland) Should WinSept. 8 PURDUE Still along way from where they wereSept. 15 at Michigan State Losing Cousins who seems to have ben there for 7 seasonsSept. 22 MICHIGAN Tough oneSept. 29 Open Date Oct. 6 MIAMI (Soldier Field, Chicago) Will be down with SanctionsOct. 13 STANFORD Can they adjust without LuckOct. 20 BYU Winable at homeOct. 27 at Oklahoma ToughNov. 3 PITTSBURGH WinNov. 10 at Boston College WinNov. 17 WAKE FOREST WinNov. 24 at USC If sanchez and oythers leave they will be very thin and being at the end of the season could be scaping for players due to sanctions
Matt Fortuna (2:53 PM)
Geez, John ... Looking there I count six games they probably should win. But considering they lost to South Florida this year, can you even say that with confidence? I'm not so sure.
I would love to see Gunner Kiel head to ND, but getting the top rated passer may throw yet another wrench into the QB situation. What are you hearing from the boys who follow recruiting the closest?Also, I think B. Kelly is the guy and the team has improved both of his seasons at the helm. We just need to figure out the QB situation early going into next season.
Matt Fortuna (2:55 PM)
Mike, I don't see how landing a five-star QB could hurt ... but yeah, things get awfully complicated then with four promising QBs.
Matt Fortuna (2:58 PM)
All right, folks. That's all from me today. Hoping to have reaction later from the team's awards show tonight. Thanks for stopping by.