Mike's Mailbag

Once again we have another segment of Mike's Mailbag. Keep those questions coming and I'll do my best to answer them. We'll also be taking your questions for Power Hour tonight so make sure you get your questions in early. Any left over I'll answer in another series of Mike's Mailbag.

Matt, Bay City, Mich.

My question is I guess that I have noticed that on the web site forums that there is a concern of us only having so many recruits verbally committed at this point. I was listening to Sirius satellite radio and they do a show daily on channel 123 and they had mentioned on there that Louisville doesn't even have one verbally committed recruit yet and they're a pre-season top 10-13. So I guess my point here is that you have some teams like Texas who will sign everyone and their brother and get close to 25 at this point and then there are the Louisville's out there who have none. I wanted to hear your thoughts on this?

Mike: Matt, I think it's been awhile since the Irish had a verbal commitment and people start to panic a bit. It gets even worse when top players like James Wilson choose the enemy over ND. But I think people need to relax a bit. Right now all coaches and top recruiting prospects are in the midst of their fall camps. Coaches won't have much time to speak with recruiting targets and the recruits won't be thinking too hard about recruiting at this point.

The important thing, I believe, is for Notre Dame to make it to this point with some key guys like Chris Donald, Harrison Smith, Lee Ziemba, Ryan Miller and the like. They were all players who looked like they might be deciding early and if they had, it didn't look promising for ND at one time or another. Now it appears they'll take their recruiting into their seasons and that could be good news for ND. Early wins for the Irish will open some eyes in recruiting.

To emphasize my point, last night in chat I mentioned that at this time last year, the Irish weren't leading for players like Sam Young, Konrad Reuland, Dan Wenger, Toryan Smith, Dan Wenger and Richard Jackson. You might see some people change their mind about the Irish with a few big wins early in the season.

David, Raleigh, NC

On Lou Holtz, was ND investigated by the NCAA after he left?

Do you have any good summaries of his tenure there? How he left the program, academics and quality of student/athletes while there, same or altered standards, etc.?

Just curious, as his new book has come out (which I'm yet to read) and there are some discussions regarding the states of the various programs of which he was a part.

Mike: There was an investigation with the whole Kim Dunbar situation. It certainly wasn't a situation where Holtz was intentionally cheating or knew about the situation until it was uncovered.

I think the hardest part for any university when it comes to compliance with NCAA rules is controlling the alumni, as Oklahoma fans are finding out now. It's impossible for ND to keep tabs on all their players 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Alumni will come in contact with them and that can be a problem.

I don't have the facts on the percentage of players Holtz graduated but it was a high percent. There weren't many academic issues under Holtz. I'm not certain of the facts of the situation, but it appeared to me, as a person following recruiting very closely, that the admissions department tightened up on Holtz at the tail end of his career at Notre Dame, and he had a hard time getting a lot of top players admitted into the school. I think that led to a lack of the same type of talent he had at the beginning of his season.

As for his book, I've read it and it's a fantastic read. I highly recommend it. We'll have Lou on Power Hour next Monday to talk about the book, so don't miss that show. I've already recorded the interview and it's 30 minutes of classic Lou.

Greg, Knox, Ind.
What are the chances of the Irish landing Ian Williams and Emeka Nwankwo, a couple of talented Florida kids.

Mike: It seems Ian Williams is warming up to the idea of Notre Dame, and he might be a guy who falls into the category as I mentioned above. If the Irish roll off some impressive early wins, Notre Dame might actually open his eyes some more. Florida remains the team to beat.

Nwankwoo has had the Irish in his sights for quite some time and definitely plans to visit Notre Dame early in the season. Florida appears to be the team to beat for his services as well. Nwankwoo seems very excited about Notre Dame, and I believe the Irish should have a good shot once he gets on campus. The key will be getting him to South Bend. If they do, they should have a good shot.

Ed, Rochester, NY
What's your overall impression of how the team looks in terms of strength and conditioning - as compared to last year. What kind of shape are they in as they start camp? Anyone surprisingly ripped, and is anyone a bit out of shape?

I'd say my overall impression is a very favorable one. I've been very impressed by the offensive linemen. Guys like Ryan Harris, Dan Santucci, Bob Morton and John Sullivan look to be in great shape. For players like Mike Turkovich and Paul Duncan, you want to see considerable gains and they achieved that. I've also been impressed with the gains made by a lot of skill players like Darius Walker, Rhema McKnight, John Carlson and a many more.

I've also been excited about the defensive side of the ball. Maurice Crum (looks great), Victor Abiamiri, Ronald Talley, Justin Brown, Derrell Hand are just some of the few who look outstanding heading into the season.

Players don't look bloated like they used to. They look lean and athletic instead of just big. Nice job done by Mendoza and his staff. We'll find the real results in the fourth quarter, however.


Charlie Weis was excited over Prince's blazing speed..do you see him as a kick returner ,a backup for Darius, or both?

It's hard to project Prince as a returner at this point because we don't know much about him in that role. There are plenty of fast guys who aren't good return men. I know Munir did plenty as a return man in high school, and I'm certain they'll give him a look there, but I really can't say for sure if he'll likely be one of the kick off returners at the start of the Georgia Tech game.

I do think he'll get some carries this year backing up Darius Walker. It will be interesting to see how this all shapes up with James Aldridge. At some point, the Irish staff will have to look and see if it makes sense to play James. If James sits out the first three weeks, will it make sense to still play him or will he red shirt? Regardless, Prince, at least now, is healthy and should get some carries if he remains healthy.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about the team or recruiting. I know many can't attend chat or listen to Power Hour and this is the perfect way for me to answer your questions. Feel free to send any comments or questions to:


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