1) I think one of the problems that has plagued ND the last 30 years has been a lack of continuity with the Assistant Coaches. I tend to think Devine was fortunate to have some of Ara's assistants stay on. I think Faust could have been successful at ND if he had allowed his assistant (holdovers from Devine) more respect and latitude w/r/t their knowledge and experience. He ran the program like a HS program and the results prove it.
Lou had excellent assistants but he also wanted them to become head coaches (see Barry Alvarez and even Bob Davie).
Davie was special, and not in a good way. He got rid of one of the best OL coaches in the history of the game because he was too old for the game. He kept folks around who were "his guys".
I bring this up because I saw your reference to Braxton Cave. Cave played for 4 OL coaches in his 5 years here; 4 different guys with different styles of play. It is hard to have any consistency when you have a new coach to impress.
This gets overlooked when discussing teams. Teams with good depth can overcome some injuries. Teams with no to little depth can be lucky to win 10 games or unlucky to win 7.
BTW, the SRs and 5th years on Weis' first team were not Ty's guys. Never underestimate leadership; especially from SRs and 5th years.