Chat with Matt Fortuna
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Matt (3:09 PM)
Greetings, all. Let's get started.
Matt your thought on the terrible atmosphere at most ND home games. Aside from the USC game the place is dead. I was at the game this past weekend and in the first quarter on third down me and my cousin stood up to cheer and were the only ones in the section to do so. I have been yelled at to sit down because ive stood up to cheer.
Matt (3:11 PM)
Nate, I've never seen been to a game at ND Stadium as a fan. Does it seem quieter than most? Yes. Is it smaller than most? Yes. I never looked at it as a rah-rah electric atmosphere from afar and I doubt it ever will be that. The music, in certain spots, is a nice start, but I do think there's something to be said for being different and not just trying to be bigger and better like everyone else.
Matt, a nice 17 point victory for ND this weekend?
Matt (3:12 PM)
LeAnne, I picked 38-17, but I've been wrong before.
Matt,What's your read on the likelihood of this meeting Manti Te'o's last season with the Irish? Any other underclassmen in danger of leaving early for the NFL?
Matt (3:13 PM)
Wally, I assume you mean "being." As I've said many times, Manti seems to think differently than most, and I mean that in a good way. That being said, the better he gets, the worse the chances are of him coming back.
Joey (Ellsworth, ME)
Why hasn't Brian Kelly utilized Andrew Hendrix more this season?He did great against AF and only got a couple of plays in against SC before not even seeing the field in the Navy romp. IMO he is the future QB
Matt (3:15 PM)
Joey, Kelly said Hendrix is used to throw defenses off and give them another look, something that wasn't needed in the rout over Navy. I'm still surprised he didn't see the field, however, and would expect that to change this week.
hey matt, what are your thoughts on notre dame running the table down the stretch? i realze they still have to take care of business against the acc teams but considering they do they are 8-3 going into palo alto and are riding another win streak do you see a possibility of them upsetting andrew luck in what should be his last game at stanford stadium?
Matt (3:17 PM)
Brandon, I know many were surprised USC hung with the Cardinal the way they did last week, but I came away more impressed than ever with Luck and Stanford. They took a punch in the mouth, showed their resiliency and came otu better for it. I doubt Notre Dame loses before Nov. 26, but I have a harder time than ever thinking they can win that one.
Matt: I realize that Notre Dame doesn't carry as much weight as they used to. I realize their mystique has faded a little -- i get it. But, you follow ND, when they go on the road, is there still a buzz around that campus when they pay a visit? In your mind, is Notre Dame still the most popular and polarizing team in College Football?
Matt (3:19 PM)
Corey, I still think they're the most popular and polarizing team in college football. Everything they do -- and every word Brian Kelly said -- is dissected left and right. You just don't see it to the same extent with other programs, especially other ones with three losses.
Greg P (Staten Island,NY)
Matt, any chance that a revamped Big East has a chance to get ND for football? Does Big Ten or ACC seem a better fit for ND if they had to go ALL sports to 1 conf?
Matt (3:22 PM)
Greg, I don't see them joining the Big East for football. Too much instability there. The Big Ten chance came and went, plus that would pigeonhole ND as a Midwest school against other powers -- OSU, Michigan, PSU, Nebraska. The ACC would probably be the best fit if Notre Dame's hand was forced. Larger recruiting base and much better for basketball, too.
tim (north tonawanda,ny)
matt, If the Irish win the next three and lose against Stanford, is the season considered a success? Expectations are always high, but are they realistic? You can see significant improvement in play, but maybe not the results everyone wants. Great work.
Matt (3:24 PM)
Tim, appreciate it. There is a large group of ND fans who already see this as a failure and won't change their minds. I think how well they play against Stanford -- as of right now a legitimate national title contender -- and then how they come out in the bowl game will determine how much progress has been made.
Brian (Toledo, OH)
Who do you think will get the majority of the carries the rest of the year? Jonas or Cierre?
Matt (3:26 PM)
Brian, I think Gray will get more, but it won't be a huge difference. Gray started Saturday but only had one more carry.
matt do you see a 8-3 Irish team heading into Stanford?
Matt (3:27 PM)
Yes. Wake has the best shot at knocking ND off, but they are overmatched. And Maryland and BC are, for lack of a better term, horrible.
Matt- Will Jonas Gray beat Gippers Record of yards per carry? Say it isn't so!
Matt (3:28 PM)
Steve, he's close, but he'll need a few holding penalties or something when they get in the red zone. Those short TD runs are killing his average, funny as that may sound.
Are the effects of twittergate 100% over with? Or will the soreness of ego's carry on for a while longer?
Matt (3:30 PM)
Tom, I wouldn't say that. Whether it has long-term implications remains to be seen, but I don't think that's something everyone forgets with one win over Navy, though that certainly helps putting it aside.
Joshua Tiger (Clemson, Sc)
Unrelated to ACC, but who do you have picked for the LSU Bama game?
Matt (3:31 PM)
Matt (3:31 PM)
I'll go with Bama.
matt, this team has got to win out and defeat stanford on the road for it to be considered a successful season. 8-4 w/ a bowl win to finish 9-4 is good but falls short of success. try and tell me i'm wrong.
Matt (3:32 PM)
Matt (3:33 PM)
Kidding, kind of. A win over Stanford and a 10-win season would be huge, certainly. I think a close, competitive loss and a strong bowl win can signify progress, BCS-bid or not.
How do you see Notre Dame finished up their season and what Bowl Game do you see them going to?
Matt (3:34 PM)
Sean, win out until Stanford. Finish 8-4 and head to Disney for the Champs Sports Bowl.
So, in a blowout against Navy, Kelly plays Rees into the 4th quarter. The replacement, is Crist, rather than Hendrix. I'm not seeing the logic behind why Rees played so long, and why Hendrix didn't get any action unless Hendrix was being punished. 2012 shouldn't be a battle between Rees and Crist unless 8-4 is Kelly's yearly goal.
Matt (3:35 PM)
Bob, Kelly took blame for a miscommunication that had Rees still taking snaps in the fourth. I agree, though, with a BCS bid seemingly out of the equation right now, I think Hendrix should have seen more time.
do our next 3 games have ANY bearing on a possible move to the ACC? not necessarily the outcome, but do you think swarbrick will be looking at indicators like how well our fans travel???
Matt (3:37 PM)
Joe, good question, but doubtful. Irish fans travel well, that's why bowls love them and why ND schedules home-away-from-home games every year (Maryland next week). Also, I'm not sure how much you can gauge about travel inside a 31,000-seat stadium, like the one they'll be playing in Saturday.
Hey Matt. Watching some videos online I noticed Manti Te'o's demeanor has changed over the course of the year. I have read recently that some people think there's even more of a chance he stays for another year. I'm not sold on that because if your a top 10 pick at linebacker where you can get rolled up on or caught and injured easily I think you go pro, but what are your impressions on him becoming a leader and proving he is the best LB in college football?
Matt (3:40 PM)
Mike, I think he's the best inside linebacker in the country, and likely a top-15 pick if he leaves. As for his demeanor, he said yesterday he had gotten away from who he was during the course of the season, becoming more of a 'rah-rah' guy instead of leading by example. He said he had a conversation with Bob Diaco about it before Saturday's game. The results speak for themselves.
If Tommy grew a beard, do you think they would start letting him into R rated movies?
Matt (3:41 PM)
Funny. I don't see him participating in no-shave November.
i agree on the stadium. we're not very loud...but its not like we were at one time and have since become quiet. i like the stadium crowd.
Matt (3:41 PM)
Touche, Joe. Want a better atmosphere? Win football games.
I ASK YOU THIS EVERY WEEK AND YOU NEVER ANSWER: do you PERSONALLY believe ND will be in a conference in the next couple years? if so, which?
Matt (3:44 PM)
I HAVE ANSWERED THIS BEFORE. I'M JUST NOT SURE IF IT WAS YOUR QUESTION. The longer this expansion circus goes on, the more I think not in the immediate future. Five years from now, who knows? But with so many schools looking over their shoulders at the moment, I just don't see ND's hand being forced any time soon.
Matt whats your take on Teo? I'm sorry but I just don't see this great LB people keep trying to sell me on as a fan.
Matt (3:45 PM)
Todd, watch Saturday's game.
alpha (raliegh, nc)
Why does it seem like bryan kelly has blamed Dayne for the crazy season and has given tommy a very long rope.
Matt (3:48 PM)
I don't think he's blamed Dayne for the crazy season, though he certainly had a quick hook in Week 1 and had choice comments the day after the USC game. I feel bad for Dayne, who is by all accounts a great locker room guy and has gone through a lot injury-wise, which likely made Kelly side with him over Rees when choosing an opening day starter.
BIG says "you blew your chance." Now that Missouri is all but gone, Big Ten is staying pat for awhile.
Matt (3:49 PM)
I don't see what Missouri has to do with any of it, but I don't think an ND plea to join the Big Ten -- however out there that may be -- would fall on deaf ears.
Mark (San Diego)
Matt, did Brian Kelly destroy all chances of keeping Manti T'eo in South Bend for another year with the comments he made?
Matt (3:50 PM)
Mark, I think his decision would be based on a lot more than that, though the comments certainly couldn't have helped.
Lots of extrapoliation here, but lets say ND ends up in he Champs Sports Bowl versus Georgia Tech, does the experience from playing Navy and Air Force give them an edge against the GT option attack?
Matt (3:51 PM)
Jason, way ahead of the game there, but yes, ND's experience this season would certainly help.
Matt (3:52 PM)
Not to mention the extra prep time before a bowl game, which is why you see all of these special offenses nullified in January (see: Oregon, 2009 and 2010).
Matt, do you see field turf or a Jumbotron coming to ND next season?
Matt (3:53 PM)
Jason, not next season. This place doesn't respond to change with the snap of a finger, as I'm sure you've noticed. I'm sure they will be heavily discussed, and they're things Kelly has made clear he really wants, but it will take some time.
Matt.. I have noticed a big difference between this year and last year. Last year they hung on by their fingernails. This year they could be undefeated by hanging unto the ball. Kelly has ND trending up. What do you think?
Matt (3:55 PM)
Yes and no. They're closer, but that counts little, and makes it all the more frustrating for ND and its fans as they look at "what could have been" in 2011.
According to the WSJ ND & WK are #1 vs #2 in the NCAA GSR? This is the game to watch Saturday night. True student athletes competing.
Matt (3:55 PM)
Tony, I saw that article. Definitely something to be proud of.
Matt (3:55 PM)
Have time for a few more guys ...
Matt: Notre Dame traveling on the road playing in a 31,000 seat stadium doesn't make sense to me. Is this a sign that ND is not what they used to be? Would they have done this 10 years ago?
Matt (3:58 PM)
Corey, I don't look at it as a sign of anything, but I think we were all surprised to hear of this game when it was first announced. For what it's worth, Jack Swarbrick had a son that went to Wake Forest, though I don't see how that would play into it. Also, they have done well recruiting in the Carolinas, so playing there can't hurt, either.
Your best guess, an open QB competetion in the spring between Golson, Rees, and Hendrix (assuming Crist doesn't take the 5th)?
Matt (4:00 PM)
Mike, that sounds right. I'd put my money on Rees by default since he's the only one with serious playing time, but I'm sure they'd find a way to work at least one more guy in there throughout the season.
Matt (4:01 PM)
That's all from me. Thanks for adjusting your schedules accordingly this week. Same time next week. Chat with everyone then.
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