Brian Kelly talked with the media on Saturday afternoon to discuss the 85th Blue Gold game, Notre Dame’s spring progression, and yes, the installation of FieldTurf in Notre Dame Stadium this spring.
The full video is below with some bullet points on the highlights that Kelly touched on during his half hour session with the media after the 15th and final practice for Notre Dame’s 2014 spring football season.
- On Malik Zaire, Kelly said he was more consistent on Saturday than he had been throughout the spring. There was one series where Zaire got away from some of the details but overall Kelly was pleased with Zaire’s consistency.
- On Everett Golson, Kelly said that he would like to see better pocket awareness and some more catchable balls from him than he saw yesterday.
- No one has really stepped into a leadership role yet with everyone really focused on what they should be doing. ’
- On the installation of FieldTurf, Kelly talked about the need for a consistent playing surface and how the condition of the field makes it impossible to practice on. He also said that he would have loved to a have a perfect playing surface made of grass but they haven’t been able to get to that.
- When asked about what the defense accomplished this spring, Kelly mentioned three players by name – Sheldon Day, Max Redfield, and Jaylon Smith – and in the same breathe said that Notre Dame identified their key playmakers. I read that as we will see a lot of Mex Redfield this fall. Kelly also said that Brian VanGorder identified some key role players that might not play 60 plays a game, but will be key contributors in 2014.
- CJ Prosise was not having a very good spring up until the Blue – Gold game according to Kelly, but he certainly flashed his potential with a big day Saturday.
- Kelly prefers to have one quarterback and doesn’t want to play more than one even if both Zaire and Golson are as even as they appeared yesterday.
- Durham Smythe has had a really good spring according to Kelly. Mike Heuerman needs to get more consistent catching the football and needs to continue to get bigger.
- Jaylon Smith played inside linebacker on Saturday after spending his entire freshman season on the outside. Kelly said that the reason for that outside of need was putting their best defensive in a position where he can make the most impact.
- Greg Bryant’s ability to field punts and not drop any may have earned him a shield (aka a visor) for his helmet for the fall based on a deal he had with Brian Kelly. Kelly also had a good time talking about Bryant’s stutter steps on his long 51 yard run in the 2nd half.
- After earlier saying that there haven’t been any leaders that emerged, Kelly mentioned that Joe Schmidt is a leader on the defense right now and that right now he can’t come off the field because no one else has the knowledge base that he has in terms of getting everyone lined up right. Kelly also mentioned that Max Redfield has had a great back end of the spring and picked up his knowledge of the defense.
- The left guard position is going to be competed for by Matt Hagerty, Conor Hanratty, and Steve Elmer. Once that position is figured out, Notre Dame will have a better idea of who will be the right tackle. Elmer will also be getting a look at tackle as Notre Dame looks to get their best five OL on the field at the same time.
- Kelly was non-committal when discussing a timeframe for naming a starting quarterback.
- Competition at wide receiver is going to continue deep into fall camp as well with Kelly saying there are legitimately half a dozen players competing for the three starting positions.