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May 4, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Fortuna

Matt Fortuna
  (2:01 PM)

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to the Notre Dame chat. Plenty to talk about today. What's on your mind?

Kev (Carolina)

All right, much of this mess has to do with Kelly and whether or not he has communicated his expectations clearly? Seems to me after the Floyd issue, we wouldn't have this type of incident.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:04 PM)

Kev, that's a point several have brought up. But the players have to take the blame with something like this. You'd think Floyd would serve as a cautionary tale, especially for the quarterback at Notre Dame, such a high-profile position.

Corey (NYC)

Matt: Please tell me and the rest of Irish Nation that with the latest developments sourounding Reese, he will not be the starting QB this fall?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:05 PM)

Corey, I think that's a safe guess at the moment.

Kris (Dearborn)

Well, it looks like the QB race just got a little simpler. Do you think Rees has any chance of rejoining the team, and if so, competing for the starting position?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:07 PM)

Kris, I think he has a chance of re-joining the team and even competing, but this certainly hurts his starting chances dramatically. Leadership issue is an obvious question, and if he's suspended for any part of the offseason the other three will be able to gain plenty of ground on him. It's not working in his favor right now.

Chris Murphy (El Paso)

Since Rees just got arrested does that make Brian Kelly's decision easier in deciding the starting QB? Sure hope so!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:08 PM)


Matt Fortuna
  (2:09 PM)

To follow up to that (and many others), however, I really have a hard time rationalizing the giddiness behind so many fans to see their QB get in trouble like this. No matter how you spin it, this is a bad situation on many levels. And if none of this happened and Rees had emerged as a starter, don't you think that would be more of an indictment on the other three for not playing well enough?

Shay (Indianapolis)

Who is most likely the leading candidate now that Rees has to deal with these legal issues?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:11 PM)

Hendrix or Golson, though I'd think Hendrix's little experience from last season gives him a minor edge today, May 4.

Jameson (Dublin)

Hey Matt, I am quite frankly sick of everyone talking about how Brian Kelly is in the hot seat. Sure, he may have underachieved last year, but can you really put all the blame on him? Gray holds onto the ball, there's no breakdown in coverage against Michigan (which falls on Diaco) and Crist doesn't eat that butterfinger before going in against USC, and we're in the BCS. I think Swarbrick is a smart guy, and he understands, it's now or never, Kelly HAS to be the guy. Even if we go 8-4 again this year, which is extremely possible, I don't think Kelly has anything to worry about unless we don't see any ten win seasons by 2015. Am I too lenient, or am I right?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:15 PM)

Jameson, a little bit of both. Last season's miscues can't be overlooked, though. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Avoid those turnovers, you win 10 or 11 games. You win 10 or 11 games, your recruiting class is likely better. Your recruiting class is better, and there are less concerns this offseason. Does Aaron Lynch still leave? Maybe, though I'd imagine having played a major role on a BCS team as a freshman would change his mood somewhat for the better. Instead it's been a rough offseason heading into a rough schedule with plenty of question marks on both sides of the ball.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:15 PM)

Sorry, I sounded like a DirecTV commercial there.

Ted (South Bend)

Hey Matt, I know Brian Kelly said Everett needed to be a better manager of the game in order to get his confidence, but don't you think the way he moved the ball in the blue-gold game this year gives him a fairly big leg up on the quarterback competition? I can't remember any drives last year with Tommy in which we moved the ball with the same ease Everett did, other than in cupcake games like navy and air force. I think Golson to Daniels has the potential to be the next Quinn to Samardzija in the next few years, I just hope he can give Kelly the confidence he needs to name him starter. Your thoughts?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:17 PM)

Ted, I was impressed with his spring game too. BK said he had trouble getting the plays in on time, and stuff like that is harder to improve on in the offseason than throwing, timing, etc. I do give him a much better shot in light of everything that has happened this week, though.

Bill (Conn)

People have to remember Rees is 19 years old. He has put ND first coming to school early. By all accounts a good kid. For a 19 year old great stats. Most kids have not hit the field at all. The pressure he is under is immense. Yes, he used bad judgement and he is paying a heavy price. People want to kick him to the curb as he is no longer useful. Why not give him some time to earn back the trust. How Kelly treats him is how he has to treat others. Floyd was different as DUI is more serious as a car is involved.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:23 PM)

Bill, not to downplay the charges, but I agree with you. There are still many developments yet to unfold here

Matt (Pittsburgh)

Why is the press making such a big deal about things happening in South Bend lately? Kids are getting arrested and transferring at other schools too. They are holding Notre Dame to a higher standard!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:25 PM)

Doesn't Notre Dame hold itself to a higher standard? When the starting quarterback of the third-winningest program in the country has to be pepper-sprayed, it is a very big deal and will be covered like one.

Skip (Chandler, AZ)

Can you comment on the RB situation and do you think this will be a strength of ND's this year? Who will stand out the most?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:30 PM)

Skip, absolutely. We all know what they return in Cierre Wood, and Theo Riddick has been fabulous this spring. He should see plenty of action out of the backfield, and if George Atkinson III can hang on to the ball better, he should be primed for a big year on offense as well.

Nix and Ishaq (South Bend)

Matt, we are already on the fence about staying, do you think this incident is enough to make us lose faith in this team and transfer and play ball in warmer climates?Sincerely,OneFootOutTheDoor (Nix and Ishaq)

Matt Fortuna
  (2:35 PM)

Not necessarily, though I will say my first reaction to yesterday's news, one I maintain today, stands, regardless of outcome: This can only hurt ND recruiting-wise, as it puts another element of social strain on the university's perception among recruits. If you're a big-time recruit from a warm-weather city, it can't be too appeasing to see what has gone down at ND this offseason.

Craig (Indianapolis)

"September 2014...Notre Dame is coming off their first National Championship since 1988 and hasn't had a off-field incident since Tommy Rees' drinking arrest."Just wishful thinking?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:38 PM)

Yes. Arrests will happen everywhere, at any time, with 18-22 year old kids. That doesn't make it OK and doesn't mean all are equal, but the next time you run into a group of 85 or so perfect college kids will be the first.

George (Philly)

The secondary will be the the biggest question for the defense next season. What do you see happening at CB and Safety in 2012?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:40 PM)

Safety should be fine. Slaughter and Motta are experienced players who can be relied upon, and Collinsworth is a more than capable player as well. Bennett Jackson has the inside track as one starter at corner. I'd keep a close eye on Lo Wood and Josh Atkinson at the other spot. Still, mistakes are going to come against some of the offenses they will face.

Nathan (Boston)

I can't help but disagree with you that if Tommy had emerged as the starter, it would have been an indictment on the other 3 for not playing well enough. I think Brian Kelly feels comfortable with Tommy, for whatever reason, but not necessarily because he's the most talented or best quarterback. Maybe it's that he does everything at least adequately and/or that he can take criticism/screaming from Kelly, and not go into a shell. I think that's the reason that Dayne had such a quick hook last year, and that prior to this incident, Tommy was in the driver's seat for the starting job this year, and that it would've taken one of the other 3 to establish themselves as head and shoulders above Tommy to overcome this comfort level, not just beating him out for the job.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:43 PM)

Nathan, I don't disagree with you, but that still doesn't absolve the other three from not making up enough ground. Regardless, this may all be a moot point given recent events.

Brian (Raleigh)

Thanks for using "moot" correctly. I crack up when people say "mute point".

Matt Fortuna
  (2:48 PM)

Never seen that, though that just made me laugh.

Stephanie (Tallahassee)

Have you enjoyed blogging for the ACC? Would it be a safe guess to say that your favorite ACC team is FSU? :)

Matt Fortuna
  (2:50 PM)

I have, Stephanie. Handling a dozen teams is a much different challenge from handling one, though Notre Dame has been in the news an awful lot lately. And sorry, Tallahassee native, but I don't play favorites.

clemson fan (clemson)

Did you hear that Sammy watkins got arrested?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:51 PM)

I have, Clemson fan:

Scott O. (Bluffton, Indiana)

I thought this chat was to talk football. The X's and O's. Looking like a gossip column. All I care about is how the team will perform. Most interested in the O-line. Any thoughts Matt?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:54 PM)

One of the team's most important players may have jeopardized his ND career; that affects X's and O's, too. As for the O-line, I think it will be really good. The left side is experienced, Zack Martin could be a pro prospect, and the talent is certainly there on the right side, so I think it will do just fine once the dust is settled on starters there.

Dan (Peoria)

Are the Irish planning to do some sort of special uniform for the michigan game this year like they did last year?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:56 PM)

Dan, I have not heard anything yet but would not be surprised if something were different for that game -- be it a helmet, jersey, towels in the stands or music. Let's just hope Ozzy decides to stay at home that night.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:56 PM)

Dan, I have not heard anything yet but would not be surprised if something were different for that game -- be it a helmet, jersey, towels in the stands or music. Let's just hope Ozzy decides to stay at home that night.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:56 PM)

Have time for a few more guys ...

Waffles (Southern California)

ACC goes ?-? against Notre Dame this season?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:57 PM)

Right now I'm thinking 0-3, but with those games later in the season and with ND facing a tough early (well, entire season) stretch, who knows what everyone could look like come those gametimes.

Troy (Seattle)

Matt, what's the status of Amir Carlisle. His name wasn't even mentioned in the Blue-Gold game despite all the chatter about the depth in backfield. Is he a possible red-shirt next year?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:59 PM)

Troy, an ankle injury sidelined him all spring. He should be back this fall, but just how much we see of him, given the backfield depth, remains to be seen. He did return kicks for USC last season, so that could be an option.

Matt Fortuna
  (3:01 PM)

That's all from me today guys. Lots of good questions today, apologies for not being able to get them all in. Shoot me some in the mailbag and I'll try to get back. Enjoy your weekends.