Mike's Mailbag

We had some questions left over from Power Hour. I tried to answer most of them for you in another round of Mike's Mailbag.

Brian from Illinois:

Do you guys think Weis's new approach to recruiting will hurt us initially? I've heard he wants to mirror how Mack Brown does it at Texas. We obviously don't have a pool of players like Texas (we're more national) advantages? disadvantages?

Mike: Good question. I don't think Weis' new plan for offering players will hurt Notre Dame. I think it's vital he take this approach. As long as coach Weis is very upfront from the beginning, and let's the prospect know how he handles recruiting at Notre Dame, and what's expected of the prospect if he decides to commit to Notre Dame, there shouldn't be any confusion. I just think you have to let both the player and the parents know from the very beginning how you'll handle verbal commitments, and I doubt he'll have many problems in the future with players looking around after a verbal commitment.

It's possible he might have to make a hard decision at some point and cut a player loose who committed earlier and wants to look at other schools, but I think it quickly becomes the price of doing business.

Max from Elkhart:

How confident are you guys on Michael Floyd?

Mike: I wouldn't say I'm confident the Irish will end up landing Michael Floyd. I think there is a long way to go and many cards left to play in the game before Floyd makes his decision. I do believe Notre Dame currently has as good a shot to land him then any other school he's considering. I think he likes Notre Dame quite a bit. He'll be at Notre Dame's junior day this weekend.

Josh from California:

What position do you see Kallen Wade and John Ryan playing in the 3-4 next year?

Mike: Good question. I've heard that John Ryan is actually being looked at as an outside linebacker. I'm not certain of that, but that's the word I've heard. I definitely think Wade would be in the same position. This move might actually be a great thing for Wade. I think his physical skills and frame really fit the new defense. I think Ryan has the frame to possibly move to a defensive end position in the 3-4 look at some point, but I've heard he's being considered for a linebacker spot initially.

Cameron from Fort Wayne:

I'm a 10-year-old Irish fan. Do we have any chance of beating Michigan or USC this year?

Mike: Cameron, the greatest thing about college football is anyone has a chance to beat anyone on any given day. Notre Dame will be replacing a lot of starters in 2007. It's going to be very difficult to be as efficient as they were on offense. I actually think the defense could end up surprising some people next season. I think USC is going to be loaded with talent and now experience, so the chances of the Irish beating them are probably less than their chances of beating Michigan. Michigan should be very good on offense, but they do have to replace a lot of great players on defense. The Irish always have a shot, but both games will be difficult to win.

Chris from Indianapolis:

Now that ND is going with a "3-4 personnel", how many linebackers does ND take this year?

Mike: I think the Irish will take at least four linebackers and possibly five depending on how the rest of the class shakes out. I'd expect the Irish to try to find one at each of the four linebacker spots. I do think inside backer will be important. Notre Dame has a lot of great outside linebacker candidates, so inside will be important this year.

Colin from Omaha:

What's your best guess on what we will see from the quarterbacks in the Spring Game? Obviously, I am sure Charlie doesn't want to "show too much," but do you think we will have to air out quite a bit to see how each guy is progressing?

Mike: I doubt you see too much in the spring game. Weis will probably have a good idea of how each player performs before the game even begins, but I also think the spring game will give the quarterback a better test in an actual game environment, at least somewhat. I remember last year that the quarterbacks never threw the ball further than 15 yards. I also expect to see ND work on their running game. Their best chance of success next year will be working on a solid running game to take some pressure off the new starting quarterback, whoever that may be.

Lowell in New York:

Is there any reason to believe that the pass rush will improve this year compared to that past several years?

Mike: Great question. I'm not sure I have an actual answer or an answer I can state as fact. I do believe the idea here of the 3-4 look is to get more athletes on the field. I think they know they have some very athletic linebacker types that can get after the quarterback, but they'd be overwhelmed playing against a tackle with a hand down in a 4-3 look. In theory, they should have more success chasing the quarterback in this look. Whether that actually translates to the field is too early to tell.

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