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February 13, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Fortuna

Matt Fortuna
  (2:00 PM)

Howdy!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:02 PM)

Glad you all can join the re-scheduled Notre Dame chat. Picking up from the question last week on favorite sports movies, I've been busy watching this over and over again today: http://www.ihsaa.org/dnn/Media/Galleries/Videos/IHSAASportsVideos/TabId/61/VideoId/9/Final-Minutes-Milan-Vs-Muncie-Central-1954.aspx Alas, I'll put it aside to take some questions on Notre Dame now ...

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Even though you Cover Notre Dame Football, How did you Feel when the New York Giants became Super Bowl XLVI Champions?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:03 PM)

Wearing my new hat right now, which will go alongside the one from four years ago on my dresser. Good times.

Brian Kelly (south bend)

Will my team improve while i sit at home eating chips being lazy??

Matt Fortuna
  (2:04 PM)

If there's one thing you're not, BK, it's lazy. I honestly don't know how any head college football coach has the energy for it day-in and day-out, and I'd argue none have more responsibilities, on and off the field, than you do.

matt. plainfid Il. [via mobile]

Can Nd ever return to Champion form with current academic standards ??

Matt Fortuna
  (2:05 PM)

Look at Stanford the last two years.

Stephen Donnelly (FRANKLINVILLE,NJ)

With michael floyd leaving for the NFL, do the fighting irish have any big body receivers to help out in the red zone this year?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:10 PM)

Stephen, this should be a big concern, right behind that of the quarterbacks. We think there is talent at the signal caller position, though -- it's just a matter of nurturing it and making the right choice. At the WR position? There is talent, sure, but nothing like Michael Floyd, and no true downfield threat that we know of yet. That's what makes the loss of Deontay Greenberry hurt so much. Perhaps Justin Ferguson can step in and contribute right away, though that remains to be seen.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:10 PM)

Stephen, this should be a big concern, right behind that of the quarterbacks. We think there is talent at the signal caller position, though -- it's just a matter of nurturing it and making the right choice. At the WR position? There is talent, sure, but nothing like Michael Floyd, and no true downfield threat that we know of yet. That's what makes the loss of Deontay Greenberry hurt so much. Perhaps Justin Ferguson can step in and contribute right away, though that remains to be seen.

Rob Rod (San Francisco)

What are your thoughts on the Booker for special teams coach?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:14 PM)

Rob, he has drawn rave reviews from everyone for his work as an intern the past two years. The special teams will be shaken up, sure, but BK said it falls on the staff as a whole, not just one guy. They need a playmaker on punt returns, a threat to make something happen at any given time. Michael Floyd, when given the chance in the bowl game, showed he could do that. Now it's about finding another guy on the roster who can handle that.

James (Dallas)

The subtext to Kelly's press conference today is that replacing OC Charlie Molnar with Chuck Martin will yield big results. Do you have any insight on this one way or the other?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:20 PM)

James, there certainly has been plenty of talk that Martin is a guy who won't be afraid to challenge BK and is a strong voice with the players. That's not to say Molnar wasn't any of that, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a coach on the staff more universally liked and versatile with his skill set than Martin. From defense to OC/HC at GVSU, to safeties at ND and now the OC? The guy can do it all.

Griffin (Chesterton, IN)

Do you know what seniors might be granted a 5th year?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:26 PM)

Griffin, John Goodman reportedly will be back. Sean Cwynar was reportedly given the option and decided against it. No official word yet, but it seems like a given that Braxston Cave, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Jamoris Slaughter would be back, and I'd be shocked it Mike Golic Jr. wasn't back, too.

Joe (Windsor, CA)

There is zero talk about Everett Golson for the most part lately, given Kiel commited...if you watch his tape and spring game last year he is the epitome of a BK quarterback. I think he takes over next year for Hendrix after 3-4 games....your thoughts?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:29 PM)

Joe, too early to say at this point, though I'd have concerns about the long-term durability of a full-time starting quarterback who's just a bit bigger than I am.

paul (pgh pa)

do you think ND will recruit the midwest better targeting the catholic schools?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:31 PM)

Paul, Rivals' Pete Sampson suggested this in a column after signing day. You obviously don't want to lose the national network that ND has, but I agree that you do need to make a point of locking in all of the nearby talent that can understand the place better than someone visiting just once from far away.

Jim H. (Sandpoint, Idaho)

Hey, Matt! Happy Valentine's Day to you! Why was the number so low for 2012 recruiting? Is it because of the number of fifth-year seniors returning? Is it because of the slots left open due to recruits signing elsewhere?Keep up the good work . . . and GO IRISH! And love those women and men basketball teams as well!Jim

Matt Fortuna
  (2:36 PM)

Jim, you're the first person to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day. Don't know if that warrant some kind of prize or not. Anyway, the answer to your question is because of the slots left open due to recruits signing elsewhere. Taylor Decker, Ronald Darby and Deontay Greenberry all de-committed, and the Irish missed out on several other big-time prospects, Arik Armstead among them.

Mark (Lexington)

Matt- Do schools ever "consult" other programs in the off-season to shore up deficiencies? I am referring to our punt return situation. I would personally pay Frank Beamer big bucks to give us an overhaul. Turning the coaching of this blatant area of need to our least experienced coach does not instill confidence.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:43 PM)

Mark, sharing of ideas is common, both among college coaches and between colleges and the pros. Nevada's Chris Ault, the godfather of the pistol offense, has had visitors to check out his formation. Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer are close. I wouldn't pin everything good and bad on special teams on Scott Booker, the same way I wouldn't pin all of last year's struggles on Mike Elston. It's more of a staffwide approach, and some programs don't even give special teams titles to their assistants, instead splitting up duties.As for your Beamer comment, how much you got, Mark?

Krystal (Raleigh, NC)

With the coaching staff pretty much settle, how much of a difference will players see with the new coaching staff than the previous coaching staff of 2011.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:45 PM)

I honestly don't think that much, at least from the players' side of things. They all know Scott Booker, who has been around for two years as an intern. And Bob Elliott has either coached or worked with Bob Diaco, Kerry Cooks, Tony Alford and Paul Longo, so the messages won't be much different.

Lucas (Indiana)

Hey Matt. Thanks for answering my question last time. New questions...What is the schedule of Spring Practice and have they set a date for the Blue and Gold game? Is our RB coach here to stay or NFL bound? And given the history of our new Off. Cord. coach Martin...he seemed to run more than pass when he controlled the offense at other schools. Are we going to see more ground game this year than previous?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:49 PM)

Lucas, spring practice is tentatively set to start March 21. The spring game is April 21. From the way Tony Alford spoke Friday, I'd say he's here to stay. He was very candid, which you don't always see from guys who interviewed at other places, and, most importantly, he hasn't been offered anything yet. As for Martin, I think that may be a wait-and-see approach with how quick the starting QB can develop.

Rich (NYC)

Coach Kelly had a track record of player development in his previous stops (if you the equation is <2 star recruits who become NFL draftees). I admit that hearing Jonas Gray sing his praises, and seeing his turn around has peaked my interest. Do you see players who could have a "Jonas Gray" turn around for 2012?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:52 PM)

Rich, just taking a guess here, but let's go with John Goodman, who is reportedly back, to the surprise of some. That speaks to Kelly's faith in him, and with a depleted and relatively young receiving corp, I could see Goodman playing a bigger role and rewarding the staff for its belief in him, much the way Gray did last season.

Corey (NYC)

Matt: It's amazing to me that people like Beano Cook totally dismiss Notre Dame's high academic standards as a reason for Notre Dame's decline over the last 15 years. I guarrantee you there are numerous players on teams like, LSU, Florida, Alabama that couldn't even get into ND if they tried. Can ND still reel in good recruiting classes? Sure. But it's hard to consistently do that under ND circumstances. Beano Cook says it's a non-issue. Thats a bunch of crap.. Just ask Bob Davie or even Lou Holtz. ND lowered them in the late 80's and early 90's and look what happened? ND won alot! What are your thoughts on this issue?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:55 PM)

Corey, I won't argue against the fact many schools have an easier time admitting kids, but in the big picture, it sounds to me like a big excuse from fans for the last 24 years. ND still pulls in great recruiting classes year after year. And look at Stanford, which is incredibly difficult to get into but is 23-3 the last two seasons. And no, it's not just because of Andrew Luck either, though that helps.

Tim (Nebraska...it's rough in huskerland.)

Hey Matt! Happy early Hallmark day! Couple questions for ya. 1: by the looks of it, our defense looks like it's really headed in the right direction. How do you think the front seven stacks up against powerhouses like Alabama? And do you think they can stop an offense like OU or USC next year? And 2: and yes I know this is the 3rd question...what kind of impact do you think the new staff will have? Thanks Matt! Go Irish!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:57 PM)

My second Valentine's Day wish of this chat ... you guys must think the life of a sportswriter is that lonely, huh? Anyway, the front-seven is very good and has the promise of being great, especially on the defensive line. I wouldn't put up with an Alabama yet, though. And stopping the passing attacks of OU and USC will require much improvement from what is a re-tooling secondary. As for the new staff, I'm anxious to see what Martin can do on the offensive side of the ball after his success running the show at GVSU.

Corey (NYC)

Look at stanford? What does that mean? Because they had a good QB? Don't dodge the question.

Matt Fortuna
  (3:01 PM)

Not dodging anything, Corey. It's a top-rate academic institution in a much nicer climate, and the team has had a ton of recent success. Look beyond the QB. You or me could play behind that offensive line the next couple of years. Does it have the history of a Notre Dame or another powerhouse? Of course not. But the excuse that ND can't succeed because of it's academic standards just doesn't work for me, tough as they may be.

Michael Mars "former player" (milwaukee, wisconsin)

im surprised to hear you say that you don't believe we have a reciever to replace michael floyd? what about Davarious? he seems like the real deal with speed, hands, and size.

Matt Fortuna
  (3:04 PM)

Michael, DaVaris is certainly a great talent, but I think it's premature (and completely unfair) to expect someone who hasn't seen the field yet to live up to who is, statistically, the greatest wide receiver in school history.

Matt Fortuna
  (3:04 PM)

That's all from me today, folks. Thanks for adjusting your schedules and making it today. We'll speak again soon.