Mandel’s Mailbag: Notre Dame’s Biggest Problem, Penn State’s Roof

When Notre Dame lost by just 11 to Ohio State, I was asked if Irish fans should be encouraged to keep the score low.

Two weeks, a loss to Marshall and a slow win over Cal later, I’m asked if it’s time to fire everyone.

(Note: Submitted questions have been slightly edited for length and clarity.)

What is the biggest problem you see with Notre Dame? Tommy Rees screaming in the first bedroom wasn’t a good idea. Is a change in OC the answer? — Moner H.

I see two big problems. First, this was the first time since 2017 that Notre Dame went into a season without any quarterbacks with previous experience. Now he’s lost the next guy, Tyler Buchner, and Drew Pyne has a way to go.

But even when Irish QBs of the past were struggling, they could still count on a strong running game. That slipped in the wrong direction last season, dropping from 29th to 72nd in rushing yards, and it got even worse this year, with Notre Dame currently 110th (3.3 YPC). An offensive line that was so dominant for so many years with guys like Quenton Nelson, Mike McGlinchey and Liam Eichenberg isn’t there yet.

As for Rees – I understand he’s a former Irish QB and that he gave an abandoned fanbase something to feel good about when he chose not to follow Brian Kelly to LSU last year.

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