Chat with Matt Fortuna
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 2 p.m. ET!
Matt Fortuna (2:00 PM)
Greetings, all. And Happy New Year (and happy full slate of bowl games today). Lots to talk about today, so fire away ...
Happy New Year Matt, keep busy this off season...My question...surprise, surprise is on the subject of the QB position. After Tommy Rees' performance Thursday night how long can ND continue on this path of..."well he's won 12 games as a starter" before you say, yeaaaa well that was nice when we didn't expect much out of you but now it looks as though you've hit a wall and this is the best we're gonna get out of you. Change is necessary at the QB position next year, a lesson on how to throw accurately would be appreciated as well.
Matt Fortuna (2:04 PM)
Surprise indeed, Aaron. More than change I think is the fact you need one guy to stick with to get the offense as close to its potential as it can under Kelly's schemes. Throw in the fact that the season starter was yanked after one mediocre half, and the message is sent that much is expected from that position the rest of the year. Expectations clearly were not met.
Another 8-5 year...the turnovers were obviously the catalyst of those 5 losses but who do you put that on? The players that just can't make smart decisions(Tommy Rees) or coaches for not preparing the players to be disciplined with the football?
Matt Fortuna (2:07 PM)
Francis, I think there is plenty of blame to go around. I don't want to discredit some of the defenses they faced this year because there were several elite units, but the red-zone decision making was very questionable at times throughout the year. The trick with turnovers mid-season is to not have players thinking about them and second-guessing themselves in practice. I don't think 10 or 11-2 would have been too much to expect from this team, in retrospect. (Never really in the Stanford game, were lucky to be there with a USC team that was clearly better.)
Matt put yourself in the shoes of an irrational, stubborn and impatient Notre Dame football fan(I know its hard to do since there are so few) and ask yourself....after seeing tommy rees play less than good the last couple of games and Hendrix being completely shut down, who do you want to see take the first snap next season, do we just let Golson go like Clausen and work out the bugs and gain the knowledge while playing? Or do we create a two maybe three headed monster for next year?
Matt Fortuna (2:09 PM)
Aaron, you're asking a lot of me there (I kid, I kid). I'm a strong believer that if you have two quarterbacks you have none (and unless you plays INCREDIBLE special teams and defense like LSU, that won't fly). Many will be calling for Golson as people think he can't be worse than what was on display this year, but we really won't know for sure until we see how he handles an actual game situation.
George (Terre Haute)
I miss Brady Quinn...
Matt Fortuna (2:10 PM)
George, something tells me that you are not alone ...
Chris P (P'cola, FL)
According to the USC blogger, Tee Sheperd (and by association, Deontay Greenberry) are no longer early enrolling at ND, but keeping their options open. Is this correct or just speculation because I believe I read somewhere on this site not long ago that both were "100% committed to ND." Do you have an update for them or is it just nonsense from USC?
Matt Fortuna (2:15 PM)
Chris, according to our Greg Biggins, Shepard said he is no longer a rock-solid verbal to Notre Dame and will wait until Feb. 1 to decided between the Irish and USC.
John (Rochester, NY)
On a scale of 1-10, how angry is Brian Kelly with the Urban Meyer/Tim Hinton/Ed Warriner trifecta this morning?
Matt Fortuna (2:21 PM)
John, I'd imagine pretty high. He said the day before the Champs Sports Bowl that he was excited to keep his staff in place for 2012. A few weeks ago when asked about Tim Hinton, he said he would have heard from Urban Meyer if anything was up. Those guys did a great job with the o-line and run game this season, and it'll be interesting to see what the next steps are for this staff moving forward.
Is there going to be anymore coaching changes or hirings?
Matt Fortuna (2:24 PM)
Tony, Scott Booker has no specific assignment yet other than a promotion to full-time. Even with that, there are still two open spots on the staff when you subtract Molnar, Warinner and Hinton.
Auntie Em (Kansas)
Matt - with news of Warinner and Hinton leaving rather abruptly it appears the sky is falling to ND fans again. Let me know when it's safe to come out of my bunker.
Matt Fortuna (2:25 PM)
Looks like you're writing from Kansas. I'd suggest stopping by Lawrence and taking solace in whatever success Charlie Weis and Dayne Crist can manage together next season.
shea mccormick (pennsylvania)
who will start at QB next season?
Matt Fortuna (2:27 PM)
Gun to my head, I say Rees takes the first snap of 2012. Beyond that ...
George McDowell (Allentown PA)
Happy New Year Matt,Really shocked by Warriner move, regardless of where to. Do you think this move happened b/c he didnt get OC job?
Matt Fortuna (2:36 PM)
You too, George. That one surprised me as well. I have yet to hear that that was the case, though it's certainly an interesting dynamic.
Reg (Johnstown, PA)
Who are the candidates for ND's WR and OL coach positions?
Matt Fortuna (2:41 PM)
Reg, Tony Alford remains the WR coach, but I wouldn't rule out a return to the backfield for him. I wouldn't be surprised if Kelly took over QB coaching duties himself, either. The O-line is the biggest question, and it will be tough to replace what Warinner did there the last two seasons.
Matt Fortuna (2:42 PM)
Have time for a few more ...
Phillip Fulmer (Definitley not Tennessee)
Dude...Tennessee let me go, now they're not going to be worth a darn for along time, they just lost more coaches...now Brian Kelly is having the same trouble, but I can see those guys leaving to go to Ohio State, a much easier school to win at with a proven champion coach...but steve sarkisian? HA
Matt Fortuna (2:45 PM)
Expectations can't be too high at a school that just gave up 67 points, right? Happy New Year to you, Phil.
Everett Golson (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Don't count me out. I beat out the locked-in, incumbent starter in high school my freshman year as a 5'6" pixie. Think Tommy Rees or Andrew Hendrix scare me? I play the quarterback position like I play the piano.
Matt Fortuna (2:46 PM)
Irish fans are already sleeping better, Everett.
Matt Fortuna (2:47 PM)
That's all from me today, folks. Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of today's games (with apologies to Big Ten fans.)