Mike's Mailbag

We had some questions left over from Power Hour. I answered most of them here.

Scott in New Jersey

Mike with a stable of talented running backs and less eye-catching talent at wide receiver, do you think Weis may demonstrate a greater commitment to running the ball this year?

Mike: I believe you'll see the Irish committed to running the football next year. I think the playmakers most ready to contribute right now are the running backs, and I think the position is stocked right now with talent. I've heard a lot of good things about all four of Notre Dame's running backs so far this year, and I'd expect you'll see them used quite a bit this coming year. Not just in the running game, but in the passing game as well.

Mike in Indiana

Is Armando Allen the real deal? Is his speed legit? Will he start as kick returner next year?

Mike: I've heard very, very good things about Armando Allen. I've heard he has looked outstanding so far running the football and catching the ball. I've heard he's pushing everyone right now for the starting spot, and I've heard this from more than one person. His speed is definitely legitimate, and I believe he'll be a return for the Irish next year as long as he stays healthy.

Rob in Pa

What's up with Mike Floyd? Do we lead for him? When will he commit?

Mike: I think the Irish are in good shape with Mike Floyd. I do think the Irish are the team to beat, but I also think he has genuine interest in other schools at this point. ND will have to continue to recruit him hard to land him because many other schools are just as excited about him as the Irish. My guess is he'll make a decision sometime late in the summer before his senior season. He's mentioned that he plans to attend Notre Dame's summer camp again.

Steve in Dallas

Have you noticed any changes with the assistant coaches on defense now that Corwin Brown is running the show?

Mike: Good question. I really haven't noticed any changes. They seem to be coaching the same. If you read the Brockington article last week, I think Joe explained the situation last year quite well. He mentioned how confusing the previous defense could be at times as they'd have multiple reads on every play, thus causing confusion at times. I think this new scheme will also make it easier for Notre Dame's assistant coaches to coach. They can focus more on fundamentals and techniques, and not worry so much about which reads each player has to make on every play. I think you'll see the defense playing more instead of thinking so much.

IrishRob in Indy

Your thoughts on Martavious Odoms as an elite WR prospect. Does ND have a legit shot at him?

Mike: I suppose it depends on what you consider elite. Odoms doesn't have the prototype body of what many would consider an elite receiver, but that doesn't mean he can't be just as effective. Odoms has quickness, lateral movement, speed, and appears to be a real natural at the position. He kind of reminds me of a Peter Warrick type of player, and in the right system, could have a similar type of impact on offense as Warrick did with FSU. I think ND has a shot at him, but they'll need to continue to keep his interest through the summer. Summer is usually the time where the Irish start to fade with some of the top southern players. If they can continue to keep his interest, and even possibly get him on campus over the summer, they just might have a shot. I like his potential.

Andy in South Bend

What are your thoughts on Walls and McNeil and their chances of starting at some point this season? And Derrell Hand, have not heard anything from him.

Mike: Right now it appears Ambrose Wooden and Terrail Lambert have the two starting positions right now. That doesn't mean Walls and McNeil can't challenge or won't in the fall, but both Wooden and Lambert have a lot of experience. I'd guess at least one of Walls and McNeil will see a lot of action next year as a nickel and possibly a dime back. I don't think either position is locked up at this time.

As for Hand, I hear he's progressing fine. I expect you'll see him in the game a good bit come fall. He looks to be in excellent shape, and he told me last week he was fully healthy. He said he's the most healthy he's been since arriving at Notre Dame.

Joe in Indiana

Who will end up being ND's starting quarterback? Does Jimmy Clausen have a shot at it?

Mike: I think we'll have a better idea after this week. The way Weis has broken down spring is each quarterback will be given a week to run the first-team offense. Sharpley had the first week, followed by Frazer and then Jones. Clausen's week is this week. He'll get the chance to show what he can do. If I had to guess, I'd say Clausen will probably be in the final two, but it's just a guess at this point.

Jim in Atlanta

Who is the next commit do you think?

Mike: Most would say Anthony McDonald, and I believe that he'll likely commit to Notre Dame after he visits this week, but the next commit could be Brandon Newman, and it could happen today. Newman is visiting today with his entire family. Many think if things go well, he could pull the trigger today. He also might take a bit of time to check out a few other schools before deciding, but most feel the Irish are the team to beat.

Matt in Findlay

Will you be having a tailgaiter before the Blue Gold Game? If so, any idea where?

Mike: Yes, providing the weather cooperates. I expect our largest tailgate ever. You don't want to miss out on this. Our tailgate will be in the same place it is every game. We'll be in the Joyce North lot, under the No. 9 light pole. Look for the Irish Eyes banner and a silver Nissan Pathfinder.

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