Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/9/12
That was fun, wasn't it?

As usual, South Bend was flooded for the annual Blue-Gold showdown. In the weeks since there has been endless chatter among the Irish faithful regarding position battles, coaching decisions and player potentional. I posted my thoughts following the spring game, which can be found here, the week after the game. Since then, some of the "heated" discussions have calmed down a bit, making it a good time to crack open the mailbag and answer a few questions.

Let's get started.

If the experts are right about Notre Dame going 7-5 or 8-4 this year, does Kelly's seat begin to warm? Can't afford to start over again. - @PMac62511
This is a question I've been getting asked quite often, and with good reason. Notre Dame has made a habit out of giving coaches a short leash in recent years and another disappointing season could put Brian Kelly on the hot seat. As far the 2012 season is concerned, I think 7-5 or worse would turn up the heat a little bit. The powers that be will probably be able to tolerate losses to USC, Oklahoma, Michigan State and possibly Stanford and Miami. Any other loss would be considered a failure and will result in some heat on Kelly. If the Irish are able to go 8-4 next season, they will probably find themselves in a decent bowl with a chance to end the season on a high note. 9-3 or better? We may be looking at a BCS bowl. Kelly needs to focus on getting that eighth win as soon as possible next season and go from there. 

Who was better, Floyd or Samardzija? - @awalick
Well, this is a fun question. The easy answer is Floyd considering that he holds nearly all of the Notre Dame receiving records. Samardzija really came on late, having amazing junior and senior seasons. However, I'll stick with Floyd. Remember, Samardzija got to play with Brady Quinn. Say what you will about Quinn in the NFL, but he was fantastic during his time in South Bend. Samardzija was also the focal point of the high flying Weis-led offense, usually seeing nearly 20 targets a game. As for Floyd, he was able to play with Jimmy Clausen but he also shared the field with Golden Tate for a few years. Tate was a huge talent in his own right. Floyd was able to become the sole focal point in his senior season but that also came with inconsistent QB play. As we all know, Crist started the year, didn't last long and Rees finished it out. If Floyd was able to enjoy Quinn or Clausen like QB play in his final season, his numbers would be even more eye-opening. 

Will the losses of Shepard, Greenberry and Lynch cause doubt and impact recruiting results this year? - @ReeseND
Not really. The Irish coaching staff doesn't try to sell Notre Dame to be anything it's not. For every con there is to playing your college ball at Notre Dame, there are probably two pros to outweigh it. The most telling fact is that Notre Dame landed a commitment from TE Mike Heuerman, even after the transfer of Aaron Lynch, a good friend of his. As for Shepard and Greenberry, that situation started as a soap opera and never stopped. I view them as outliers, just never got the sense that they were fully on board. Is the weather down south better than it is in South Bend? Most of the year, yes. Are the academic requirements a little tougher at Notre Dame than most other places? Sure. However, there are few atmopsheres that match South Bend on a Saturday in the fall. There are also very few programs that can give you the exposure Notre Dame can provide. Finally, the education you receive at Notre Dame is top of the line and that stays with you the rest of your life. This years class is shaping up to be fantastic. As long as the coaching staff brings in talented kids that want to be in South Bend, which they have under the Kelly, they will be just fine. 

Where does Davonte Neal fit when he arrives on campus? Will he start as a freshman? - @_FunMike
Whenever Notre Dame football is brought up, I don't hear Neal's name near as much as I should. Remember, this kid was ranked eighth overall on the ESPN 150, ahead of recruits such as Stefon Diggs, Cyrus Jones and Eddie Williams. There are plenty of people that think he has huge game-changing potential. I've said it before but I'm very excited about all the top-tier athletes Notre Dame is going to be able to run out next season. Neal will be a dynamic force in the return game, his speed is out of this world and he's a capable runner. I don't expect him to "start" in the traditional sense but he will see plenty of snaps while playing all over the field. He can line up on the outside and stretch the field, bust zones from the slot and even get a few carries to see if he can find the corner. Expect Neal to be a home run threat every time he touches the ball.

How long before we hear of Tommy's suspension and punishment? - @EyesonND
There are so many factors that play into this, I'm not going to even guess on a timeframe because it would be just that, a guess. First, the legal system has to take it's course. Rees is scheduled to make his court appearance May 17th, after which the decision process will accelerate a little bit. Remember, Kelly took his time with the Floyd situation, opting to let him earn his way back onto the team. There are differences in the two alcohol related incidents; on one hand, Floyd put lives in danger when he got behind the wheel while intoxicated. In the case of Tommy Rees, he got physical with a police officer. The coaching staff has stayed pretty quiet on their plans, only stating that they will let the legal process run its course. Rees will be subject to Notre Dame's disciplinary procedures, which as we all know, runs parallel with the legal process. I expect Kelly to make an annoucement shortly after the court date, but I doubt it will include a definitive answer. 

I know Brian Kelly is spread all the way.. But with ND's players could we see much more of a heavy run & play action attack? - @RayPax89
I don't expect Kelly to switch up anything too drastically but don't be surprised to see a wrinkle or two this season. The main reason being that the staff wants to move Tyler Eifert around as much as possible to create mismatches and the traditional Kelly offense will have to be altered from time to time to allow that to happen. The departure of Michael Floyd coupled with the loaded backfield heading into next season will probably result in a more run heavy offense. Even so, don't expect to see much of a change in formation. Kelly will still want to run out of the spread and if Golson, Kiel or Hendrix are runnings things, we will see plenty more spread option sets. With that, the use of play action will obviously play a bigger role than last season. To give you a concrete answer, yes, we should see much more of a heavy run and play action attack but do not expect to see much change in formation. 

Who is the bigger bust.. Clausen or Quinn? - @RealJohnSears
It's still too early to call Clausen a bust, but he didn't look particularly good in the limited time he received his rookie season. With that being said, you have to remember the situations both of these players were thrown into. It's simliar to what Blaine Gabbert faced last season, only neither of these guys had Maurice Jones-Drew lining up behind them. Let's start with Clausen. He didn't get to enjoy the luxury of having DeAngelo Williams behind him, as he was hurt most of the season and Jonathan Stewart also dealt with injuries. Other than that, Steve Smith started 14 games and David Gettis started 13. So yes, Cam had a few more weapons with a healthy backfield and the TE's that were added in the offseason but let's be real, Clausen wouldn't of come close to the numbers Newton put up last season. As for Quinn? He was thrown into a terrible situation. In 2009, the first year he saw significant playing time, his leading rusher was Jerome Harrison, racking up only 862 yards. His leading receiver? Mohamed Massaquoi, who only totaled 624 yards on the season. Quinn's second leading receiver? Jerome Harrison, with 220 yards! As you can see, Quinn didn't have much to work with and hasn't had much of a chance since. I would grade both of them as "Incomplete", although I believe Quinn has a better chance to succeed given the opportunity. To answer your question, I guess Quinn, as he was taken in the first round and Clausen has only had a couple of seasons to prove himself. 

What looks to be the toughest game on the schedule this fall? - @CBumbaca
This is kind of like asking which client is Don Draper having the toughest time with, there are so many you could just pick one out of a hat. However, I have to stick with USC. Many analysts are predicting USC to win the National Title, so one would have to assume traveling to LA to play them would be the toughest test. With that being said, don't rule out the Oklahoma game. I used to live in the heart of Big 12 country and I can assure you that they don't have much love for Notre Dame. Oklahoma will be ready to play and will want to prove a point as the Irish roll into Norman. 

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @oconnorkyle

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Best Names in College Football for 2016
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kaepernick facing ‘uphill battle’ to make roster

Colin Kaepernick on national anthem: 'I'll continue to sit'

Stephen Jones: Cowboys 'look forward' to starting Prescott

Stanton has 'slim chance' of returning for final week?

Kubiak hinting that Siemian is favorite for Broncos' QB job?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Harbaugh: NFL needs to make changes to preseason

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker