Brian Kelly spoke with the media on Saturday after Notre Dame’s 9th practice of the season. Here’s the full video courtesy of the University’s YouTube channel and then some notes for those who don’t have time to watch the entire thing.
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- Notre Dame scrimmaged with the younger players – particularly the young linemen.
- Tate Nichols dislocated his knee cap and will have his leg immobilized for two weeks making him doubtful for the season opener on 9/3. Kelly said the typical recovery time for the injury is about a month.
- Ethan Johnson wasn’t at practice due to illness, but it didn’t sound too serious based on what Kelly said.
- Prince Shembo is the clear #1 at the dog LB spot with Danny Spond #2. There is still a competition there, but Shembo has started to distance himself.
- Troy Nikklas is working with the outside linebackers and Kelly described his ability to play in space as “extraordinary”. Kelly said that Nikklas can play both the DOG and CAT positions adding that he is a “pretty special kid”. I’ll have some more thoughts on Nikklas at OLB in a post on Monday.
- Notre Dame will play between 6-10 freshman this year. Of the top of my head I’d say the following 10 all have good chances to play – Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt, Ishaq Williams, Nikklas, George Atkinson, Cam McDaniel, Kyle Brindza, Ben Councell, Jalen Brown, and DaVaris Daniels. Everett Golson is another freshman who could see the field depending on the results of the quarterback derby.
- The staff is handling Manti Te’o a little differently this year. They’ve spent more time with him fundamentally. The coaches want to see what he does with individual work than team work because they know what he brings in terms of leadership.
- Kelly brushed aside questions about Te’o leaving early for the NFL if he has a big junior season saying, “Manti didn’t come here to go to the NFL. He could have went on a Mormom mission. He came here to be at Notre Dame.”
- Theo Riddick is much more comfortable in the offense in his second season as a wide receiver after learning the position last year. Kelly said they will have the ability to put Riddick in the backfield if necessary.
- Cierre Wood has been working on his attention to detail this summer.
- Of all the kickers, Ben Turk has made the most progress in camp and it sounds like he has a pretty good grasp of the starting punting job. Kelly did mention that Brindza has started to stand out on kickoffs.
- Andrew Nuss and Chris Watt are still battling at guard. Nuss is also getting work at tackle so that the next man in right now (Nick Martin) doesn’t have to be a freshman.
- Ethan Johnson is one of the senior leaders on the team even though he is not a vocal leader like a Manti Te’o – Johnson is more of a lead by example player.