Monday, December 12, 2005

Questions, Questions

First of all, some miscellany:

Now, down to business. A few weeks ago, I posted a list of 25 questions to the readers of this site. Six people responded:

F-Bomb, the newest Cleveland-area KankaManiac
Emily, in her message board debut
Andy, KankaNation Assistant Legal Analyst
Hatton, father-to-be of the next generation of KankaManiacs
Dave, regular KankaNation contributor
and, of course, me.

Here's what we had to say:

1. Coming into this season, what did you expect Notre Dame's record to be?
F-Bomb: 7-4
Emily: 8-3
Andy: 8-3
Hatton: 8-3
Dave: 8-3 (losses to Michigan, USC, and one unexpected). However, this would've been disappointing, as I wanted 9-2 and a bowl win as a sign we're truly back, right away. I'd say we've done it.
Kanka: I was hoping for 8-3 with losses to Michigan, USC, and Tennessee (the big 3). But, I also would have accepted 7-4, meaning an off day against one of the likes of Pitt, MSU, or Purdue.

2. On offense, who has been Notre Dame's
a) best
F-Bomb: Brady Quinn
Emily: Mo Sto
Andy: Quinn
Hatton: Quinn
Dave: Quinn (Heisman finalist is the obvious choice)
Kanka: The O-Line. If I knew anything about football, I'd be able to give them the credit they deserve.
b) most valuable
F-Bomb: Mo Sto - Played Up and was big player in things that stats don't show
Emily: Mo Sto
Andy: Quinn, Samardzija
Hatton: O-Line, always gave Quinn time and a pocket to step up into.
Dave: Quinn (Weis wouldn't be able to do a lot of great stuff offensively without a smart QB would could absorb it all and then execute.)
Kanka: Brady Quinn and the line. Thanks to the emergence of Thomas, everyone other position can be compensated for.
c) most improved
F-Bomb: Offensive Line!
Emily: Mo Sto
Andy: Stovall
Hatton: Stovall, like night and day.
Dave: Stovall (Went from looking like he didn't belong on the field to looking like he belongs in the 1st round of the draft.)
Kanka: Mo Stovall. I remember back to the MSU game, when we were all wondering what Mo's numbers would have been like if he had reliable hands, and the USC game, where Quinn threw deep to Stovall but no one expected him to catch it. To that point, he never caught a deep pass, and no one ever expected him to. Then, as everyone started to double Jeff Samardzija, Stovall stepped up big time. Starting with his breakout in the BYU game, Stovall has been just as money as Samardzija. Very honorable mention to Travis Thomas.
d) most surprising
F-Bomb: Jeff Samardzija
Emily: NOT Mo Sto - he didn't surprise me! Gonna go with Samardijza for this one.
Andy: Samardzija
Hatton: Schwapp, didn't know what to expect from him at the start, and he played very well. Not Samardzija because I saw flashes of what he could do during last years Insight Bowl.
Dave: Samardzija (Honestly, who saw this coming?)
Kanka: most surprising - Stovall, for the reasons above.
e) most disappointing
Andy: Shelton (not his fault though; his injury held him back)
Hatton: RPN and Matt Shelton, neither do to the effort they put forth. I'm proud of RPN for owning up to his mistake and taking the consequences like a man. However, it would have been great to have him the entire year. Shelton because you could tell he isn't back to full speed and that had to be frustrating for him. I missed having him streak past DB's this year.
Dave: Powers-Neal (Just the fact that he missed a lot of the season for his own stupidity and couldn't fulfill the promise of the Pitt game.)
player or players?

3. On defense, who has been the
a) best
F-Bomb: Zibby
Emily: Tommy Z.
Andy: Landri
Hatton: Mays
Dave: Landri (dominated a few games this year)
Kanka: Brandon Hoyte is leading the team in tackles, and yet he isn't getting the press he's gotten in past years. Mays is a close second.
b) most valuable
F-Bomb: Brandon Hoyte
Emily: Mays
Andy: Ndukwe
Hatton: Zbikowski, always provided a spark
Dave: Hoyte (the voice of reason in a defense wounded from last year)
Kanka: Hoyte, Mays, and Landri.
c) most improved
F-Bomb: Mike Richardson/Ambrose Wooden
Emily: Wooden or Ndukwe
Andy: Wooden
Hatton: Corners, they couldn't have gotten much worse, but I saw more pass break-ups this year than I think I saw in all of the Davieham years combined.
Dave: Mays (too bad he's out of eligibility)
Kanka: I'm going to assume that Mays has always been this good, so I'll say Mike Richardson. Last year, Richardson's name was only called when he was being posterized. This year, he's not perfect, but he's made more than his share of big plays. Honorable mention to Wooden - he does play soft coverage, but he never misses the tackle.
d) most surprising
F-Bomb: Corey Mays
Andy: Ndukwe
Hatton: Nduwke, not bad for a converted WR.
Dave: Richardson (suddenly he doesn't suck)
Kanka: Corey Mays - he may have always been this good, but I didn't know that. Leo Ferrine. He's got room to improve, but he's played well in his first season. Ronald Talley. Stepped in for Chris Frome and passed Frome's season total for tackles in one game.
e) most disappointing
F-Bomb: Terrail Lambert (fastest on team)
Andy: None. They all played better than I expected.
Hatton: Abiamiri, not bad, just didn't hear as much from him as I had hoped, probably the result of him being doubled all year.
Dave: Zbikowski (play-action defense only)
player or players?

4. On special teams, who has been the
a) best
F-Bomb: Zibby
Emily: Tommy Z.
Andy: Zbikowski
Hatton: Fitzpatrick
Dave: Zbikowski (punt return vs USC was epic)
Kanka: Tom Zbikowski. Wow. A lot of guys on the coverage teams deserve credit here, too, notably John Carlson (led the team in special teams tackles), Casey Cullen, and David Bruton. Chase Anastasio's 3 punt blocks are the underrated stat of the year.
b) most valuable
Emily: Tommy Z.
Andy: Zbikowski, DJ
Hatton: Fitzpatrick
Dave: Anastasio (Weis always credits him in his pressers)
Kanka: DJ Fitzpatrick. With no offense to Carl Gioia, this was proven in the Stanford game. John Carlson comes in a close second.
c) most improved
Andy: I dunno, does Zbikowski count...was he on special teams before? (DJ kicked some nice punts) (editor's note: this was Zbikowski's first year as a returner)
Hatton: Carlson, filling the role of fired up white guy on punt and kick-off coverage.
Dave: Zbikowski
d) most surprising
Andy: Zbikowski
Hatton: Zbikowski, who knew he would run that well in the open field?
Dave: Anastasio
Kanka: Zbikowski. Wow-y wow wow wow.
e) most disappointing
Hatton: Kick-off return team, not bad, not spectacular.
Dave: Geoff Price (punter recruited a few years ago; can't win the job to take heat off DJ)
Kanka: Price. I would have completely forgotten he was on the team, if he didn't keep showing up in random TV shots of the bench.
player or players?

5. Who is your favorite current Irish player and why? Any reason is a good one here.
F-Bomb: Maurice Stovall - He played hard and when things looked like the NFL was so far away he showed up and helped lead the team this year finally showing off what was there all along. He is one of the best blocking receivers and without him Smaradijza isn't in the matchups he is in.
Emily: Leo Ferrine. Hands down. This kid just rocks.
Others I really like, though, include: Mo Sto, D-Walk, Marcus Freeman, Corey Mays, Anthony Vernaglia, Chinedum Ndukwe, Tommy Z., Nick Borseti, David Wolke.
Andy: Casey Cullen. He's a hardworking walk-on who earned himself a scholarship and was even Special Teams captain one game. He's kind of like an uber-Rudy. I point him out every time he's on the field. I also lived down the hall from him.
Hatton: Fasano, I've always liked the tight end position, he blocks well and catches almost anything close to him.
Dave: Anthony (Ant'ny) Fasano. He's a bad-ass, and he wears the state of NJ on his face. Second-coming of Mark Bavaro. The Giants MUST draft him.
Kanka: I really enjoy living vicariously through my friends who know people on the team. For that reason, I've pulled big time for DJ Fitzpatrick, Casey Cullen, Mo Stovall, and Leo Ferrine this year.
I also have to show love for the Eastern European brethren. Jeff Samardzija, when he was on, looked flat-out nonchalant making catch after catch. I thoroughly enjoy watching Tom Zbikowski when he has the ball - he simply won't go down. There were several times on his interception in the Tennessee game when a normal defender would have just dove for an extra yard or two and let the offense do the rest. But, he kept going until he was in the end zone. And did you see his last few punt returns against Stanford? A swarm of Stanford players would converge on him, the ref would call Zibby's forward progress dead, and Zbikowski would just jog out of the mob, still on his feet.
I also like telling people that Trevor Laws is very good. Fortunately, he normally proves me right.

6. Who has been Notre Dame's "Assistant Coach of the Year?"
F-Bomb: Rick Minter - He got the defense to play up at times. Other times our personnel showed through but he is definitely bringing our D to fruition.
Andy: Charlie, Jr.
Hatton: Ianello, for teaching the receivers to run routes that get them open, and to block downfield.
Dave: co: Bill Lewis (for actually coaching up the secondary - remarkable improvement) and John Latina (for taking the underachieving OL and turning them into a pass-blocking machine. Run blocking still needs work, but baby steps....)
Kanka: Well, Michael Haywood won the award on the national level. He's got a bright future ahead of him. But I've got to give it to Rob Ianello, receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. I think his titles speak well enough for his work this year.

7. Should Charlie Weis be the national Coach of the Year? Why or why not?
F-Bomb: No, because they played well but he didn't pull the best turn around. When you bring a team from underachieving to where they should be it is different. I think coach of the year goes to former ND head coach George O'Leary who is working with sub par kids and he got them bowl eligible I believe or close.
Andy: Tough call. He's definitely done a lot to improve ND and has tapped his players' potential. Other coaches have put forth good cases like Joe Paterno and Steve Spurrier. Still, I think Weis is more impressive because he had no college head coaching experience before ND. Think of how awesome he will be with more knowledge and experience. He gets my vote.
Hatton: Yes, he has done a fantastic job changing the culture and attitude of the team to one of a consistent winner, and he has done it much faster than anyone expected. I would not be upset if he is passed over for JoePa or Paul Johnson.
Dave: Very close, but I have to go with (don't laugh) JoePa. He's one second away from an undefeated season, after having several pathetic years in a row. I realize that his assistants do all the actual coaching, but someone had to get his guys to believe, and he's the one.
Kanka: Coach of the Year will go to Joe Paterno, and I really don't have a problem with that. But Charlie's definitely top 3.

a) Was Coach Weis' contract extension warranted? Why or why not?
F-Bomb: Warranted because without it then recruits would get uneasy.
Andy: Tough question. I might have waited to see what next year brings or the post-Quinn era. Still, he loves ND and ND loves him. Why not keep him locked up for as long as possible?
Hatton: Yes, although it was strictly a PR move, as Weis has said he has no intention of going anywhere else, the extension told recruits the the same thing, counter-acting negative recruiting tactics.
Dave: Sure, it was warranted - he's done a phenomenal job, on all fronts, and has the program positioned well for years to come. It probably was unnecessary and we probably gave more money than we needed to (he wasn't going anywere, no matter what the media said), but it's nice to have the luxury to be able to lock him up. I'm glad we did it.
Kanka: I could go on and on here, but I won't. Charlie understands Notre Dame and has the right attitude on and off the field. Plus, the move was largely made to quell the NFL rumors.
b) Now play your own devil's advocate. Are there any arguments from the other side of the debate that you believe are reasonable? (For example, if you are in favor of the extension, are there any arguments against the extension that you agree with?)
F-Bomb: I am not sure the amount of time was needed. I think a restructuring of the deal with a higher buyout or perhaps just a clause for a particular NFL team or two. 10 years and 40 mil are too much.
Andy: Yeah, not enough time to see how he'll really do. Still, recruiting looks to be going well. Dunno, time will tell.
Hatton: Not really as none of them consider the entire situation.
Dave: The Willingham comparison is idiotic. I can see some people being upset that the money throws college athletics out of whack - that's reasonable. But it was already out of whack to being with!
Kanka: There's a huge difference between Bob Davie and Charlie Weis, but this did seem somewhat like another knee-jerk reaction by Kevin White. I think the big thing here is that everyone has been calling it a 10-year extension, which makes it seems huge. It's really only 4 years. Of course, today that doesn't sound so bad, compared to the recent baseball free agent signings.

9. Ty Willingham runs a passing offense but inherited an option running offense at ND. Charlie Weis runs a passing offense and inherited a passing offense at ND. Is it fair to say that this was an advantage for Weis over Willingham in their first seasons? Or do you disagree completely with the statements above? (Take into account the fact that, at a press conference, Weis said that his scheme is entirely different from his predecessor's.)
F-Bomb: Well Willingham had the time to develop the team. However the head coaches didn't get it done under Ty. Weis came in and turned some things around a little the difference is how the assistants got their positions ready.
Andy: Um, pass.
Hatton: It was not a significant advantage. When you first come in, you always have to adapt to the talent you have on hand. Had Weis came in after Davie, Holiday would have been immediatly moved to WR and Lovecchio or Clark would have been his QB.
Dave: No advantage - if Weis inherited Holiday, Grant, Battle, 5 senior O-Linemen, etc., he would've had similar success to this year. Not in yardage and points, but in W-L results. He's a freakin offensive genius who knows how exploit pro, let alone college, defenses as well as anyone.
Kanka: I was going to originally say that Charlie had a bit of an advantage, but Mike raised an interesting point. Notre Dame has had quite a few good passing QBs (LoVecchio, Clark) and receivers (Givens, McKnight), so Charlie should have been able to figure something out.

10. Charlie Weis is said to be a person who uses the talents of the personnel he has. However, when asked what he would do if he inherited an option quarterback, he said, "If I'm thinking about an option quarterback, I'm thinking about him playing another position." Does this statement surprise you in any way?
F-Bomb: No, Weis pulls no punches and he obviously has an issue with people that try to run and throw as a package.
Andy: No.
Hatton: No, "Option Quarterback" is code for a quarterback who can't throw the ball effectively but runs fairly well. A coach like Weis would not consider playing a player with those ablities at QB an efficient use of the talent.
Dave: Nope.
Kanka: At first, it did. I had assumed Charlie's "use what you have" philosophy meant that he could do anything, including switching to an option offense. But he's going to run a pro-style offense no matter what, and that's not really a bad thing.

11. Argue why Notre Dame does or does not deserve a BCS bid. Or, argue why other schools do or do not deserve a BCS bid over Notre Dame.
F-Bomb: ND does deserve to go. Half the reason why our opponents suck this year is because we punched them in the mouth. Oregon played some crappy teams, we played the big ten. Ohio St. is good and deserves to go. They are as close to be undefeated as we are in terms of games played. Anybody else is out of the question with the national prowess that ND and Ohio St. brings.
Andy: Notre Dame deserved the BCS bid they received. They were the Independents Champion.
Hatton: Because We Are N.D. and you're not
Dave: ND absolutely deserves a BCS bid. Aside from meeting the requirements that locked us into it, and being a certain top-8 team, I think we'd beat the hell out of Oregon. They whine too much. They need to stop - Charlie's liable to challenge them to a game in the parking lot of the Fiesta Bowl, and they'd get served. Oregon's schedule is a joke - even looking at common opponenets, they led at the half vs USC, we led at the :08 mark in the game. Come on now, be serious.
Kanka: Here was the big argument over the past few weeks: "Notre Dame hasn't beaten anyone. Oregon has only lost to USC, and OSU has only lost to Texas and Penn State." Don't change the argument, stupid. Oregon's biggest win was Fresno State, so they had no argument. I'd accept to some point the argument of ranking Ohio State over ND. Like ND, their biggest win was Michigan, but they also beat Michigan State.

12. Which underclassman (or underclassmen) are you most looking forward to watching in the coming seasons?
F-Bomb: Terrail Lambert, DJ Hord, David Wolke, David Grimes
Emily: Leo Ferrine, Darius Walker
Andy: Quinn, Walker, Hord, Schwapp
Hatton: Schwapp (with Schmidt) in the "heavy" package.
Dave: Ray Herring, to see if his football exploits can live up to his amazing recruiting journal. Michael Turkovich - he's a major key to next season. If he can step in and play right tackle, we're set.
Kanka: The defense as a whole. Abiamiri and Laws still have eligibility left. Ronald Talley and Justin Brown filled in better than anyone could imagine. David Bruton's supposed to be a good safety. Leo Ferrine already played well this year, and they have Terrail Lambert.
Nine times out of ten, David Grimes looks like he's only a move or two away from a huge return. I can't wait to see what he can do.

13. Which position/unit/side of the ball are you most worried about in the near future? (Example: Quarteback after Quinn leaves, Offensive Line, Defense....)
F-Bomb: Offensive Line. We are so upper classmen heavy that it scares me next year.
Andy: I was worried about O-Line till I read about Weis' recruits. Safety worries me because Zibby and Ndukwe still cheat up too much. DB's looked better this year.
Hatton: Linebacker, we're very green after the starting 3.
Dave: 06: LB. Hoyte and Mays cleaned up a lot of messes this year. 07: WR (Samardzija and Rhema gone, young guys will have to step up on their own with limited game experience), OL (depth is atrocious - thanks Ty). After that: none. Weis will fill in the blanks through brilliant recruiting plans. I'm not even worried about QB. Even if they're not as good as Quinn, I'm sure they'll be effective enough with an improved defense to get us to the promised land.
Kanka: Experience on the offensive line is cyclical. Hopefully Charlie has a gameplan that can compensate for a young line. Brady Quinn's shoes will be big to fill, no doubt.

14. If you follow recruiting, which committments are you most looking forward to seeing play for Notre Dame?
F-Bomb: James Aldrige (RB), Demetrius Jones (move to WR?), Bartley Webb (OL), Darrin Walls (DB), Chris Stewart (OL) - side note 6'5" 340 lbs.
Emily: Robby Parris, Johnny Ryan (both from St. Ignatius in Cleveland)
Hatton: Aldridge
Dave: Aldrige - he's supposed to be a bad man. Stewart - just to see if someone that large can really play OL effectively. QBs - to see if Frazier of Jones can set themselves apart right away.

15. Other than Kanka's Sports Page, what is your favorite Notre Dame football blog?
F-Bomb: Blue-Gray Sky
Emily: I find Kelly Green pretty amusing at times. Don't really know about anything else out there, which is for the best since I end up doing most of my web surfing during class!
Andy: I don't read others one all that often. This one is the most fun.
Hatton: Blue-Gray Sky
Dave: Blue-Gray Sky
Kanka: See the right sidebar. Not trying to leave anyone out, I'll name a few: Blue Gray Sky is the best. Bare Down is "Brian Giles in his prime" underrated. House Rock Built is about to hit the big time - if it hasn't already. ND CHOO CHOO is Marco's perfect forum. And "Nice driveway!" to CPF for submitting a KankaNation Hall of Fame Ballot.

16. What is your favorite non-Notre Dame blog?
F-Bomb: I don't read any other kind.
Emily: <-- Does that count?
Andy: NONE
Hatton: You mean there are non-Notre Dame blogs?
Dave: Every Day Should be Saturday
Kanka: Again, check out the sidebar. I check EDSBS several times a day. I also like to show love since they always show me love.

17. Who would win in a fight, Tom Zbikowski or Bill Brasky?
F-Bomb: That's tough one and I hope everyone gets the reference. Brasky would try to break Zibby's back but Zibby would play dead and then get up and kick the crap out of Bill Brasky. It would be made into a major motion picture called "The Day Bill Brasky Died" or "Zibby, hero for the common man".
Andy: Zbikowski
Hatton: Trick question, Tom Zbikowski is Bill Brasky.
Dave: Zbikowski: he doesn't need to brag, he'll just go out there and knock him the f@&# out.
Kanka: Brasky would get frustrated at Zbikowski's refusal to go down after several hours of punches. So, Brasky would next eat Zbikowski whole. No fear, because Zibby would punch his way out of Brasky's stomach. Then, Tommy would use his 4.4 speed to run circles around Brasky until Brasky got dizzy and fell down. Then, Zbikowski would buy Brasky a scotch and they'd take turns making out with Cronk's Sister.

18. Predict the final score of the following games:
a) Irish vs. OSU
F-Bomb: ND 35, Oregon 21
Andy: ND 24, OSU 14
Hatton: 35-24 Irish
Dave: ND 24, OSU 20 (I'll revise this as we get closer)
Kanka: Irish 30-something, OSU 20-something (haven't given it much thought yet)
b) mini-Irish vs. OSU (Coach Weis is still full size)
F-Bomb: ND 28 - Oregon 22
Andy: mini-Irish 14, OSU 2
Hatton: 14-7 Irish Weis would use a ball control offense and intentionally take penalties to create 29+ minute drives in each half, negating tOSU's size advantage on offense.
Dave: ND 23, OSU 21 (a little closer)
Kanka: Irish 17, OSU 10
c) Plane is delayed; only Coach Weis shows up. Coach Weis vs. OSU
F-Bomb: Weis 35 - Oregon 6
Andy: Addition: Open call goes out for ND fans with remaining eligibility. Kanka is QB, Sigmund at FB, F-Bomb at LB, Dave at WR, Klondike in a lawn chair at S, Ellen at TE, Hatton at...the nacho stand (Meg wouldn't let him play), Pete as Athletic Trainer (to treat any deadly viruses), Yonto at K, Byrer at DE.) ND Fans 23, OSU 21
Hatton: 2-0 Irish, tOSU forfeits in fear.
Dave: Coach Weis vs. OSU Weis 77, OSU 0 (Weis doesn't have to worry about players messing up his plans; he can just do it all himself.)
Kanka: Coach Weis 49, OSU 0
d) Coach Weis decides to let Charlie, Jr. do the playcalling. Irish vs. OSU
F-Bomb: ND 46 - Oregon 18
Andy: ND 24, OSU 14 (no difference)
Hatton: 49-17 Irish. Charlie Jr. likes to go deep a little more.
Dave: ND 30, OSU 13 (Charlie Jr. very well could be the brains behind the whole operation.)
Kanka: Irish 42, OSU 14. OSU only scores when Charlie, Jr. twice tries to convert 4th and 8's from his own 20.
e) Irish vs. the Assembled Choir of Heavenly Angels
F-Bomb: ND 6 - Angels 21
Andy: ND 7, the Assembled Choir of Heavenly Angels 7 x 7
Hatton: Again, trick question, the Irish are composed of members of the Assembled Choir of Heavenly Angels.
Dave: push
Kanka: Now, if the question was "Notre Dame vs. the Assembled Choir of Heavenly Angels," then obviously Our Lady wins.
*Note: This question was originally posed before the bowl selections were made. Some people answered the questions for the Irish vs. Oregon.

19. Who would win a race: South Bend's own Ryan Newman, or Coach Weis driving the team bus?
F-Bomb: Weis in the team bus because Newman would stop to sign autographs for townies and Pur-don't fans. Then he would leave a cheer of boiler up and Weis would run him over with the bus, mainly because Weis isn't pulling the bus with gimmicks.
Emily: Neither. I'd take Dwight Ellick, on foot.
Andy: Weis. Newman will try to crash Weis like he crashed everyone else this year. Dale Jarrett shows up in a UPS truck and puts Newman into the wall while he hums the Christmas songs from his album with John Madden. Weis stops to thank Jarrett. They each drink a cup of egg nog and then Weis rolls onto victory.
Hatton: Ryan who?
Dave: I had to Google this: Ryan Newman is a Nascar driver. Weis would destroy him.
Kanka: Weis, even with Larry Dwyer on Crudwell duty and Paul Epstein as snack nazi.

20. What is your favorite Notre Dame sport? If it's football, what is your second favorite?
F-Bomb: Football #1. Baseball because we are a northern school that is competitive.
Emily: Football is my #1, so I guess men's basketball for #2, or maybe interhall football, can I say that?
Andy: FOOTBALL!!!! (Then, hockey. But only if I'm in band. And we can still say "suck." Blackburn Sucks.)
Hatton: Hockey and yes Blackburn still sucks.
Dave: Football. Second favorite, men's basketball.
Kanka: 1. Football. 2. Women's Basketball. 3. Baseball - best team in the north. 4. Men's Basketball.

21. Who is your favorite Notre Dame athlete family member? (Examples: Darius Walker's dad, Brady Quinn's mom, Jerome Bettis' parents)
F-Bomb: D. Walk's uncle, who did the funky white guy dance at Tennessee last year.
Emily: Ndukwe's brother.
Andy: Mr. Ndukwe for mentioning to Tyrone that his son happened to play with a pretty good quarterback named Quinn who was not on Tyrone's recruiting list for some reason.
Hatton: Nicky Schu
Dave: Quinn's mom, after that amazing interview where she predicted a Heisman for Brady in '06, quelling all rumors of him leaving early, and a national title. Broke every rule in the book.
Kanka: I've heard good things about Darrell Campbell's mom, Jerome Bettis' parents, and Jeff Faine's mom.

22. On a scale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (definitely), how likely is it that you would name a child after a Notre Dame player or coach?
F-Bomb: 9
Emily: 2
Andy: 8.5
Hatton: 7.5 (Meg 1)
Dave: 9. Might not do it if child is a girl.
Kanka: 5

23. Regardless of your answer to #22, which player(s) or coach(es), past or present, are worthy of naming a child after?
F-Bomb: Jabari Holloway (First name is a good one), Jerome Bettis (Bettis is a good middle name)
Emily: I suppose Ara, but I think I'd be much more inclined to go with Teddy, after Hesburgh, or with names of my favorite ND professors (Guillermo, Alvin, Gerry, Michael, Viv, etc. ...)
Andy: Quinn, Charlie, Knute, Lou, Ara, Dan, Frank, Montana, Jerome, Gipp, Joe, Angelo, Darrell, Layden, Stuhldreher, Joyce and Ted (they count...spiritual coaches)
Hatton: Lou, Charlie, Knute, Ted and Ned (good call Andy, Theodore Edmund Hatton has a nice ring to it), and Raghib.
Dave: Knute, Ara, Lou, Charlie. Gary (Godsey), Anthony (Fasano), Brady, Luke (Pettitgout, for Ellen), Rocket.
Kanka: Darrell, Frank, John (hey, there were 2 Heisman winners), Joe (Yonto), Bob (Golic), Zigmund (Czarobski). For a girl, Charlotte (for Weis) or Jessica (for very underrated coach Jesse Harper).

24. Any good football weekend stories from this year that we may not have heard yet?
F-Bomb: Me yelling "oh, F#&%" in front of old alums and young kids when the Irish came out in green uniforms for the USC game.
Hatton: None that I can think of.
Dave: This year has been very good for my mental health. No expectations, great play, fun games led to a very worry-free fall for the first time in years. I even went out to dinner with Ellen, her parents, and family friends immediately after the USC game. I only broke one thing in anger all year. I fear this will all end next season, however, as the drive for the title begins.
Kanka: Highlights: Dave and Ellen's engagement, Friday night Tennessee weekend, and of course Friday night Syracuse weekend. (If you haven't heard about that last one yet, allow me to forward you that email.)

25. Ramble on about any particular moment or play from this season, good or bad.
F-Bomb: We could have beat USC, but that douche bag Leinart threw the perfect pass. You can't complain about the defense on that play.
Emily: My favorite moment is definitely when Leo got an interception and then ran for a touchdown...but I *still* haven't seen a clip of it!
Hatton: I've got to say that the two point conversion play call at the end of the Stanford game was a thing of beauty. What was great was its simplicity. When teams get near the goal line, or are going for two, they often try to get too cute. I hate the fade to the back corner of the endzone, it takes a perfect throw and its not that hard to defend. Instead, I offer two sure fire options for goal line or even short yardage situations.
1) Do what Charlie did, spread the field, go shotgun, spread out the defense, and direct snap to the running back who takes it up the gut with the wide outs running fades and the slots running outs to the zone vacated by the corners defending the wide outs. Variations on this include the quarterback taking it himself, a quick hand-off, or a check-off to the out by one of the slot receivers if the D is still clogging the middle.
2) Load up the middle, an extra tackle as one of 3 tight ends, a linebacker at fullback, a fullback at tailback. Quarterback under center, takes the snap, fakes the dive weak side to the tailback, bootlegs strong side, either runs to the pylon, or throws to the tight end who has released on an out.
Properly executed, these two set-ups should be all you'll ever need in a goal line scenario. The reason Weis is a robot genius is that he knows when to make things complicated, and when to simplify.
Dave: I loved watching the Pitt game, just to see the completely innovative and effective plays Charlie would run. My favorite plays were probably the ones where he lined up RPN and Schwapp in the backfield together. Double FBs get me fired up. Watching effective screen passes is also really fun.
I'm not going to remember this season for "what might have been," because we're not quite NC-caliber (yet), and we truly played as well as could possibly be expected. I'll remember this year more for that one great epic game, as dusk fell over ND Stadium on October 15, the perfect matchup at the perfect time in the perfect place. Dynasties like USC make the plays to prolong their runs; the number of times we came so close to ending that run (4th & 9, fumble out of bounds, Bush Push) is a testament to how far we've come. Long live Charlie.
Kanka: Um, if you want my insight on ND football, scroll down.