Head coach Brian Kelly spoke with the media after Monday’s practice. Here are some highlights from what he had to say.
- Duval Kamara was back at practice on Monday after a holdup with some paperwork. Kelly didn’t get into any details about it other than saying that Kamara was back.
- Tight end Kyle Rudolph didn’t take part in drills Monday because of a slight hamstring injury. Kelly said that the staff was being cautious with the star tight end and that he wouldn’t be back to fully participating until he was “110%”.
- Gray Gray and Jamoris Slaughter both need to be more consistent according to Kelly. With the lack of experience behind Gray, Darrin Walls, and Robert Blanton, expect Kelly to be pretty tough on the group because he’ll need a lot out of them this fall. A lot is expected of Slaughter as well.
- It may come as a surprise to most, but Kelly singled out Harrison Smith as being the most consistent player in the secondary so far. Just remember who said all off-season that Smith was not a lost cause and was still one of the best athletes on the roster.
- Zeke Motta had a great day of practice after a slow start the first two days.
- Manti Te’o, Brian Smith, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Ian Smith, and Darius Fleming were all mentioned as leaders on defense by Kelly. He went into detail about how the MIKE position is a leader by default because of the responsibilities the position holds.
- The staff has set high expectations on both the #2 and 3 quarterbacks because they are a play or two away from seeing the field. Kelly’s track record has shown that this isn’t just talk either. Kelly and his staff have been able to sustain more injuries at the quarterback position than most staffs could over the last two seasons.
- Prince Shembo was singled out as someone that could see playing time at the inside linebacker spot opposite Manti Te’o. Kelly said that Shembo could play both inside and outside and that it might be hard to keep him off the field this year.
- Kona Schwenke has put himself in a position where he could play if needed. The staff didn’t think that would be possible when he made his recruiting visit, but the Hawaii native put on a lot of weight in the off-season and could be pressed into action at some point this season.
- The battle for the starting center spot between Braxston Cave and Dan Wenger will be “hotly contested” and might not be settled by the end of camp. Kelly mentioned that we could see both of them play.
- Kelly is pleased with where they are at in the kicking department. He singled out David Ruffer’s kickoff skills specifically.
- When asked about the tackles, Kelly said that they have four tackles capable of playing winning football, but he’s not sure if all four are capable of playing championship football at this point.
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