(Editor's note... This post contains the answers from a previous post. Also, any responses from other bloggers will be linked just below the post.)
Welcome back to the Irish Blogger gathering. Last time we saw our heroes, we were speaking in tongues and trying to understand the intricacies of Hawaiian life. After some much deserved celebration for ending the eternal bowl drought, the Fighting Irish get back to work officially for Spring ball on Friday the 20th. I'm banging my head against a rhinoceros in anticipation of watching cone drills and stretches soon.
With that said, I have been a procrastinating fool for the past few weeks and I am rushing, even now, to get these questions out to the rest of the coven. I'll add my answers before the end of the week. Look for responses from the other members in the IBG to be links in the comment section. Feel free, as readers, to answer these yourselves in the comment section as well. (Please keep in mind that some players may be kept out of spring ball due to injury or illness. Those details have not been released by the University).
Here we go...
1. Take your temperature. A) What sort of things are you looking for the team to work upon to help the 2009 season? Group improvements, players improvements, new fertilizer... whatever. As general a question as you will find. B) Same question, but instead of just the 2009 season- the future of the program as a whole.
A. 2009 could be a really great year for the Fighting Irish. The schedule sets up nicely and the bowl drought is over, so now it is time to get a few other things off of our back- such as beating U$C, and finally beating Michigan State at home. Those are two things that would have happened in 2005, if the Irish defense were as good as they should be in 2009. So instead of going with the obvious answer and saying "offensive line improvement" (which is still the best answer)... defensive line improvements. The line is relatively young, but it should be the deepest and most athletic defensive line in over a decade that Notre Dame has fielded. Stopping an opposing teams run game is just as vital as having one of our own as well as creating pressure on the quarterback without having to send one or two blitzers every down. The defense is primed for a great season- if they get quality production from the front four.
B. Without a doubt- Dayne Crist. Jimmy is the man until he leaves. All of the "Clausen Haters" had better recognize that fact. I suspect most of you will disappear within the first couple of games, as I think Jimmy is ready for a Heisman caliber year. (I'm not saying Jimmy is going to win the thing- just, at least, have good enough numbers and wins to be in the conversation). But I digress. It has been a long time since the Irish were able to groom a successor at the QB position. This is the time for Dayne to make huge strides to help ease his entry into stardom in 2010 or 2011. The future of the program has a lot at stake with this position, and if Weis does it right... we should be in good hands.
2. It remains to be seen if I will be traveling to the spring game. My wife may have objections to yet another birthday of hers being used for a game that essentially doesn't count. (I know, I know- she just doesn't get it.) Don't you think it's about time that the spring game was televised? You know ESPN is dying to get inside that stadium for a live broadcast. I don't think it would interfere with the NBC contract, and if it does- why aren't they televising this?
You already know what my answer is... OF COURSE! Is there some type of figure skating championship that requires NBC's attention? Or is it the University's fault for not allowing the cameras inside for the game? I'm not sure- but someone is probably willing to fork over some cash for the rights, and I say- motherfucking let them!
3. What position battle will be decided this spring? Which one will have to wait for summer/fall?
This spring will be very important to the depth chart. There is not a huge need for any of the incoming freshman to contribute right away, so what we see in the spring may be an actual prelude to the season. The biggest battle could be for the 3rd WR spot. You can say this guy is an X, or this guy is a Y- but really We have a 1 and a 2 (Tate & Floyd) and are searching for the 3. West, Goodman, Walker, and Kamara are all reaching for that place at the table. One of these four will win that spot and walk into the summer as the clear cut guy. I could be very wrong... just a hunch.
The safety battle between Kyle McCarthy, Sergio Brown, and Harrison Smith will have to wait until Fall. I do think that Smith will be one of the safeties full time, and Kyle and Sergio will be vying for the other spot. This may take a long time to figure out, but all 3 will still play. You know who I'm banking on.4. If you could change anything about the way spring practice/ Blue-Gold Game is done- what would it be?
Yes televise it. But... I would also like to see the opportunity for a scrimmage against another team. Not a big school as that would do more harm than any type of good- but i bet if it was on national TV, Eastern Michigan would show up to South Bend to collect a check and an ass-whooping. Poor Swoop.
5. Name your 5 favorite players and change their jersey number. Tell us why...
I should have said current players, but no matter.
1. #31 Sergio Brown----- #9. Since the days of Jeff Burris, I have idolized any safety wearing this number, as I idolize Sergio now. (Dread the Dreads... Great pic Pops)
2. #23 Golden Tate----- #1. I just don't like the look of a 20 series number being used as a WR. #1 is a little more fitting of Tate than his current jersey. But, maybe it would make him look that much smaller.
3. #9 Ethan Johnson----- #99. I don't really have a problem with Johnson wearing a single digit number on the defensive line, but I just think that #99 would wear very well on him.
4. #59 Chris Stewart----- #69. It's not that i don't care for the number 59, but where is the love for the 60 series? I don't think anyone with a scholarship owns a 60 series number. The Human Planet could defer.
5. #12 Robert Blanton----- #21. R.J. reminds me so much of Bobby Taylor that he has to move his number around. Besides, I'm still waiting on the next Rickey Watters (do not talk shit about Rick) and I feel that #12 should be in semi-retirement until then.
6. Last year two sophomore's won the MVP awards for the Blue-Gold Game (Harrison Smith and Robert Hughes). Predict who this years MVP's will be using the same criteria. (Same class- 1 OFF. & 1 DEF.).
This will be different. James Aldridge and Scott Smith (although technically a 5th year). James runs for 82 yards and 2 scores and Smith has 11 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble with a hit that would make Steve Atwater cry.
Look for more IBG throughout the Spring.
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