Regardless of the unknown, Hart, a 35-year coaching veteran of the defensive line will have his group ready to give maximum effort for every snap and every game.
Friday afternoon's one-on-one Q&A with Irish defensive line coach Randy Hart.
On the possibility of a heavy rotation of (young) defensive linemen:
"We don't want to put too many youngsters side-by-side, of course, but a good rotation (is necessary) to maintain conditioning, to maintain maximum effort.
"The most important thing we do is give great effort. So as a result, we want to make sure our rotation is such that we're not just playing ‘play-to-play' but that (the kids) can can give the best effort possible (for each snap)."
"What's happening in the game would dictate an (awful lot)… if you're playing a lot of nickel and (involved in) a lot of pass rush, obviously your rotation would be much (deeper) than if we're facing a standard football team (offense) where (the typical series) would be just ‘run-run-pass.'"
(After sharing a quizzical look, Hart considered his reference to old school football and continued, "I haven't seen one of those teams lately, I'd like to see one of those teams…where are those teams?!")
"As a result you (have to) keep them fresh – you can't ask them to go (play at 100 percent effort) if they can't do it. We're asking them for maximum effort so we can't expect them to go that hard forever because they're gong to need a break now and then.
On the progress of a group of redshirt freshmen (four) and one true freshman (Tyler Stockton):
"I like where they all are, but its going to be (determined) by what we do in our scrimmages leading up to the season and also what comes out of the box (the first look at live action) vs. Nevada.
"They'll (the young guys) will show us the way, which is great. The best thing about this game is ‘It's not talking, it's what you do,' and as a result they'll show us who the guys are who want to be out there and we'll get a pretty good idea as the season progresses."
On the goal line defense personnel:
"That varies by team also, and really, ‘Where does goal line defense kick-in? Against some teams it's the six-yard line…some teams (half-joking) the six-inch line…(alluding to teams that continue to spread the field). Where is it? because everyone still tries to spread you out and throw the football (in today's game).
"For a defense that we've (presumably in his coaching career) played as few as six snaps in a season to where occasionally you play some teams (now speaking of Notre Dame 2008)– I believe two or three series against Michigan State last year – that was more than some situations you'll see all season.
"How often you use and what you get out of it changes…the name of the game is keep them out of he end zone at that point. So as far as where we are or how many we'd go with (I asked about the alignment of NT and DTs) it's week-to-week and who the opposition is.
On Ethan Johnson playing both inside (DT in the "three technique") and outside (DE):
"Probably. Right now, not knowing where everybody is going to (develop) The key is going to be starting right now from where we left off in the spring – that will give us a pretty good idea but there's going to be some natural growth and natural progression for some of these guys because they are young. They've not reach their maximum ability certainly, so who has worked the most this summer and who has prepared himself the best (will determine alignment)…it's going to be fun to watch."