This evening, the No. 1 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to the Coliseum to face the Trojans. To get a South Bend perspective on the matchup, I sat down with Andrew Hall of Slap The Sign to chat up the Irish and Trojans. Here’s what we had to say:
Michael: I’ve said for a while that I think Brian Kelly is one the best coaches in the country and this season really puts him in a class with Nick Saban and no one else. What’s the sentiment in South Bend? Have the Irish finally replaced Lou Holtz?
Andrew: The sentiment is that Notre Dame has replaced Lou Holtz. However, Irish fans are cautiously optimistic because they were burned badly by Willingham and Weis. I wouldn’t put him in the same category as Nick Saban who has proven himself over and over again by winning National Titles. Holtz will not officially be replaced until a coach at Notre Dame wins a National Title. Brian Kelly is obviously getting close.
Michael: What’s impressed you the most about Everett Golson?
Andrew: The thing that has impressed me the most is his ability to keep his eyes down the field. When a team has an athletic quarterback, the expectation is that he will run for a lot of yards. However, he always keeps his eyes down field and makes plays with his arm. He reminds me of a young Charlie Ward or Russell Wilson.
Michael: The Trojans have shown that they can’t defend tight ends, which is a big problem going up against Tyler Eifert. What makes him so good and how does he compare to guys like Anthony Fasano and John Carlson?
Andrew: Tyler Eifert is by far the better passing catching tight end of those three and he owns the schools record for receptions by a tight end. This year he has really developed as a blocker, which probably improved his draft stock. He is not as well rounded as Kyle Rudolph but is better suited for today’s game.
Michael: Manti Te’o is probably the most respected player in college football and rightfully so. That said, he’s become ‘the one that got away’ for a lot of USC fans. Do you think Saturday’s game will be his championship game, with a title on the line against the team he grew up adoring?
Andrew: Considering he has played USC three times already, probably not. Te’o is a mature player. He knows what’s a stake for his team. He’ll treat it like any other game.
Michael: Prediction time. How do you see it going done?
Andrew: Lee and Woods are a unique challenge for the Fighting Irish. They will probably make plays before the night is done. Wittek is obviously talented but it will be difficult for him to be successful in his first start against a strong defense. The Trojans defense is allowing 40 points per game to ranked opponents. Notre Dame is not a juggernaut offensively but they should move the ball with success against the Trojans. Notre Dame 27-USC 17.