Thanks again for the strong turnout during our weekly Notre Dame chat. As always, a full transcript is available here.
Chad (Columbus, Ohio): Do you think the Irish have enough talent to compete with USC, Oklahoma, Mich, and Standford this year? I'm not sure I'll survive another season of Notre Dame losing the big games. Thanks Matt. Look forward in reading about your thoughts on this.
Matt Fortuna (2:06 PM): Chad, talent-wise, they are not up there with USC and Oklahoma, no. But that's why we play these games, no? USF and Tulsa don't stack up to ND talent-wise, and that did not seem to matter on those respective Saturdays. I think the Michigan and Stanford games are certainly winnable, but recent history is not on the Irish's side with those opponents.
Jeff (South Bend, Ind.): Hi Matt! I have been really excited to see Devonte Neal get out on the field this season, but haven't heard much about him out of camp. How is he looking to factor in this season? Does ND finally have a punt returner in him?
Matt Fortuna (2:14 PM): Jeff, it wouldn't surprise me if he were starting by mid-season. I think this offense has the chance to really exploit his potential, and if he can prove he's ready to handle returns, all the better for the Irish.
Scooter (Southeast of South Bend, Ind.): I know our O-Line should be good. I would like to know if they are better at the run or the pass? Shouldn't they be a solid anchor for all the skilled players to shine behind and thus goes the offense?
Matt Fortuna (2:42 PM): Scooter, the first-team line may be the best thing Notre Dame has going for it, aside from running backs. There are depth concerns given the Jordan Prestwood departure and Tate Nichols injury, but if healthy the line should be great, and I'd say a little bit better for the run. Yes, that makes life much easier for the skill guys, but it won't matter if the QB play isn't better.