Mid-March Musings

A baker's dozen thoughts and questions regarding the outset of spring practice and the conclusion of Notre Dame's best basketball season in more than 40 years.

1. I'm not sure who's sitting because of it, who's moving positions as a result, or who's ceding playing time, but sophomore Nyles Morgan will end up starting at one linebacker position for most of 2015.

2. Those concerned about "getting down" to 85 scholarships will have their worries assuaged by the beginning of fall camp due to this formula: One addition, three transfers, one scholarship athlete-to-walk-on status, and (at least) one medical casualty.

3. As much as I hope it's not the case, I'm starting to come around to the reality that redshirt-freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer will be the default No. 2 quarterback entering August camp. No. 2 is fine, default is not.

4. Mike Brey's 8th-man, Austin Torres, will be called upon at least one more time if the Irish are to advance beyond the Sweet 16. Can he handle the added pressure after playing sparingly since mid-January?

5. Prediction: though he's cross-training at running back this spring, slot receiver C.J. Prosise will have more punt return opportunities than he will hand-offs next fall.

6. I think my injury concerns regarding former Irish defensive starters rank as follows:
-- 1.) Jarron Jones
-- 2.) Joe Schmidt
-- 3.) Drue Tranquill
-- 4.) Jarrett Grace

The fact that Grace isn't at the top of the list after watching him limp around the Loftus Center last spring is remarkable.

7. Pick your favorite Notre Dame basketball story among Brey's collection of personnel this season, but none is more important than the mid-March ascent of junior big man Zach Auguste.

8. Paralysis by analysis? Kelly's collection of accomplished offensive assistants, analysts, and the head man himself…

9. Speaking of which, it's difficult to argue with the prevailing sentiment of the Four Horsemen Lounge: it's clear where Kelly's priorities lie regarding the hiring of Jeff Quinn as an offensive analyst vs. an intern for the same role with the consistently inconsistent special teams.

10. Can the staff find a true cover man to compliment the efforts of Matthias Farley at nickel back? Attacking and covering short zones is Farley's niche, but Brian VanGorder's unit could use some flypaper in the slot on 3rd-and-10 or more.

11. Notre Dame's top six potential playmakers (not necessarily best offensive players), in order: Will Fuller, Malik Zaire, Everett Golson, Tarean Folston, Greg Bryant, C.J. Prosise…discuss.

12. Brey's Irish needed two overtimes to beat eventual 14th-place Georgia Tech in January…in South Bend. Snap judgements rarely prove accurate in college sports.

13. When's the last time a Notre Dame team returned nine of its 10 best players from the previous season? (Cody Riggs was lost from last fall's edition.)



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