Sunday, July 16, 2006

Notre Dame Q&A with Eric Hansen

We’re stepping out of the Big 12 for a college football Q&A. Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune stopped by for a short Notre Dame football Q&A.

My Opinion on Sports: Brady Quinn is getting a lot of Heisman publicity, and rightfully so, who are your top three candidates? If they all stay healthy who wins it?

Eric Hansen: I go into every season with an open mind. If I was pressed to pick, I would say Quinn, Adrian Peterson, Teddy Ginn Jr.

My Opinion on Sports: Athlon is picking Oklahoma and Notre Dame to play for the BCS National Championship. What are your thoughts on that?

Eric Hansen: I think that's a reasonable guess. I think every team is flawed this season. That being said, two of the best coaches in the country -- Weis and Stoops -- figure to be able to camouflage their flaws the best.

My Opinion on Sports: The Irish had a great offense last season. Other than Quinn who is going to lead the offensive charge this season?

Eric Hansen: The easier question is who isn't? Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight, Darius Walker and a freshman named Konrad Reuland are players to watch. Ryan Harris is the best of a strong group of offensive linemen.

My Opinion on Sports: What have the Irish done to improve their defense from last season?

Eric Hansen: Weis spent some time with Carolina Panthers coach John Fox and his staff, they've tweaked the scheme, they're more experienced and they've recruited some good speed.

My Opinion on Sports: Do you ever see Notre Dame joining a conference or will they forever remain an independent?

Eric Hansen: Never say never, but unless the Big East -- where most of their sports play -- implodes, they aren't going anywhere.

My Opinion on Sports: Give us your pre-season Top 10.

Eric Hansen: 1. Ohio State, 2. Notre Dame, 3. Oklahoma, 4. West Virginia, 6. Auburn, 7. Texas, 8. USC, 9. LSU, 10. Georgia

Thanks a lot for your time Eric. I really appreciate it. You can read more of Eric Hansen in the sports section of the South Bend Tribune.

Discuss Eric’s interview and thoughts on the college football season on the Eric Hansen thread at the My Opinion on Sports Forum.