Notre Dame Football: Don Bishop

Notre Dame mailblog

September, 7, 2012
Game day is almost here. Until then, let's field a few more questions.

Don Bishop from South Bend, Ind., writes: In my comments to Pat Forde, my point on the quote about fans was only talking about the fans only interested in the game and the final score. It was not my intention for the huge Notre Dame subway alumni base that believes in what Notre Dame stands for as a larger University to be put into that same group. Each year we receive applications from a large number of bright, caring students whose first association with ND was from a parent who admires the University and roots for the football team. We embrace all of these families. I came from one of these families. These fans care about the entire University and we treasure them. Like our alumni, their investment in Notre Dame runs deeper than football Saturdays. In my interactions with the vast majority of the subway alumni they take as much pride in our standards as the alumni. My Irish Catholic grandfather was one of these fans. When I got admitted to Notre Dame he paid for my entire tuition. I know the value of the subway alumni and my comments were only focused on those who do not buy into the entire Notre Dame value system.

Matt Fortuna: Don, thank you for clarifying that and sharing some of your background. Readers, Don is referring to the question and answer from my Aug. 30 chat, which you can go back and read here.

Conor from San Clemente, Calif., writes: After ND's performance against the Midshipmen, is there a chance to see Notre Dame go to a BCS game this season?

Matt Fortuna: Conor, it was just one game against an overmatched opponent, so I wouldn't ride too high just yet. But Everett Golson's poise, along with the complete 180 in the turnover margin from a year ago, is definitely something worth getting excited about as the season moves forward. I think we'll learn a lot about this team Saturday against Purdue.

John Lu from New York writes: I think ND scoring against Navy in last minute was not a class move and frankly B.S. I know teams run up scores in the first week, but this is Navy, in Ireland. They were passing in the last minute. Unnecessary. I will not support ND football the rest of this year!! I hope they get spanked. Your opinion please?

Matt Fortuna: John, I understand where people are coming from, but I really don't see what the Irish could have done differently. I'm OK with throwing four fourth-quarter passes in a blowout, since it was the No. 2 quarterback throwing mostly to second-teamers and newcomers. If you can't work young guys into the mix then, when can you? Now if it were the first team still out there, I'd feel differently.

Mick from Eugene, Ore., writes: Any way we can keep the Irish from wearing those awful uniforms on Oct. 6?

Matt Fortuna: Am I reading this right? A Eugene native calling another uniform ugly? I actually think Oregon's style is pretty neat, but my opinion on matters like these are pretty simple: If you win, the uniform looks good. If not, it's an ugly gimmick. Just look at the Ducks, who get a bunch of praise for their uniqueness, and Maryland, which gets hammered.

Jimmy Phillips from Charlotte, N.C., writes: Matt, any thoughts/rumors regarding position changes for Amir Carlisle and/or Cam McDaniel? I had heard that both were being considered for CB? The CBs (Jackson and Russell) both looked pretty bad on Saturday, from a technique perspective and I am interested to see anyone might be close to overtaking them. Thanks. Jimmy

Matt Fortuna: Jimmy, it wouldn't surprise me if McDaniel moved back. He was cross-training entering the season, and when Cierre Wood comes back — and if Amir Carlisle doesn't redshirt — he would probably be of much better value on the defensive side of the ball.

Notre Dame chat wrap: Aug. 30

August, 30, 2012
Thanks again for stopping by for the final preseason Notre Dame chat. Just think, next week we'll have a game to go over and much more to second-guess. As always, this week's transcript is available here.

Some highlights:
  • Giancarlo Toffoli (St. Jean, Canada): Mr. Fortuna,it is getting to be difficult to await another upcoming college football season knowing that my beloved Irish are not going to be relevant for a BCS bowl. If the starting quarterback against Navy plays well, do you think the head coach will go back to the person whose off the field behaviour led to his suspension or will there be a two headed beast under center for the 2012 season?
  • Matt Fortuna (2:22 P.M.): Wow, very candid stuff from an Irish fan. (Not that I'm opposed or completely disagree, it's just different to see such harsh words come out of a fan's mouth in regards to his team.) To get to your question, though, Rees will remain a valuable option down the road, but I don't expect as quick of a hook with a redshirt freshman as I would with an experienced senior. It is in the entire program's best interest to get this QB decision right, and showing a lack of faith early on would be troubling.
  • Mo (Providence, R.I.): Matt, do you think this is finally the year we beat Michigan, not to mention Michigan AND MSU in the same year?
  • Matt Fortuna (2:32 P.M.): Mo, ND will need to win at least one of those if it wants to have a good season. I think predicting both, given what those two teams bring back, and given how soon after the Dublin trip they are, may be asking a lot. I like the Irish to top Michigan but fall at MSU. Which means the exact opposite will probably happen.
  • Aaron (Philadelphia): I found it interesting while listening to Mike and Mike discuss the Pinkett situation and saying they would not want their schools to compromise their academics for wins in football. And I believe more than the majority of Notre Dame alumni agree with that. But as most Notre Dame fans probably aren't graduates of the school, such as myself, do those fans care at all that the school keeps academics a high priority? I know as a non graduate from ND I can see how you can be torn between that, because the only time you really are connected with Notre Dame is on Saturdays watching them play football, and they want wins. Personally, I admire the stand on academics that ND has taken over the years, regardless of the toll on football wins. It'd be interesting to see what position alum and non alum fans would take on the topic.
  • Matt Fortuna (2:40 P.M.): Aaron, that's become an interesting side topic these last few days, especially after Pat Forde's Yahoo! column, which quotes associate VP for undergraduate enrollment Don Bishop saying: "There's the fan base, and then there's the alumni base. We think the alumni are very supportive of maintaining the standards. They're more likely to question the football coach than the admissions office. For the fans who are only interested in the sport, they're not in support of all that is Notre Dame. You can't be all things to all people. You better be who you are." Now, that's obviously a broad brush, and I can't speak for every side. Is someone who went to class there and received a degree more likely to feel attachment to the place because of reasons more than football? It would make sense. I think "Subway alums" certainly have a lot less invested in the place, naturally, but I don't think that means all or some don't believe in what ND stands for.
  • Matt (ATL): As a writer reflecting on college football generally, would you view ND making a national championship run as the greatest accomplishment in modern college football given its high standards and commitment to ethical conduct as a program? [I would have said the same about Stanford recently, but they never made it to the 'Chip.]
  • Matt Fortuna (2:59 P.M.): Assuming you're talking about the 2012 team, I think it would be very, very impressive, given the schedule, question marks and, yes, the challenges an ND football player faces. Greatest of the modern era? I don't know. We're always racing to call the newest accomplishment the best. I think what Boise State's done lately is unrivaled, albeit on a slightly smaller scale than the scenario you presented.


Drawing Conclusions: Week 8


Friday, 10/24
Saturday, 10/25