Brian Kelly Talks Position Battles, Depth

Brian Kelly - August 12, 2013
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly yells to his players during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly met with the meeting on Monday after day eight of fall camp and Notre Dame’s head coach talked about a number of key positions including safety, wide receiver, right guard, and tight end.

Here are some notes from Kelly’s media session along with the full video below.

  • Nicky Baratti dislocated his shoulder in practice on Saturday and will miss the 2013 season after having season ending surgery.  Kelly mentioned that they will look to get the year of eligibility back.  
  • With Baratti out, Kelly talked about the depth at safety stating that Max Redfield, Eliar Hardy, and John Turner all have played well in camp so far.  He also mentioned that Austin Collinsworth was in the mix as well before Baratti’s injury.
  • On Shumate, Kelly said he was a very sound tackler and that he has been doing a good job understanding the defense but that he has room for improvement in that department.  On Collinsworth, Kelly said that his health has allowed him to do all of the things needed to do – something he couldn’t do int he spring coming back from injury.
  • On Max Redfield, Kelly praised his natural skills but said that he has work to do in understanding the defense and that the depth the Irish have at safety won’t force the staff to play him before he is fully ready.
  • Kelly spoke glowingly of TJ Jones calling the senior wide receiver a dynamic, go-to receiver for the Irish offense and stated that they have much more balance in the receiving corps around him than they did for Michael Floyd two years ago or Tyler Eifert last year.
  • In talking about the right side of the line and Christian Lombard specifically, Kelly said that his size allows him to play both inside and on the edge.  He also stated that where Lombard plays ins’t as important as finding the best group of five guys along the offensive line.  The depth chart is far from set at the line right now based on Kelly’s comments.
  • Kelly said that Nick Martin has held his own against Louis Nix and that has allowed him to show the staff what he is capable of doing.  He praised Martin’s maturity as well saying he doesn’t look or act like a first time starter.
  • Notre Dame has been focusing on the red-zone offense so far and it has been better than they expected it to be at this point in fall camp.  Kelly praised Rees’s experience and ball protection in the red-zone so far in camp.
  • At tight end, Kelly said he doesn’t think they can afford to lose a tight end because the two freshman – Mike Heuerman and Durham Smythe – are not physically ready to play.
  • There isn’t competition for the #2 cornerback spot – it is Keivarae Russell’s job right now.
  • There is a clear pecking order at quarterback – 1) Tommy Rees 2) Andrew Hendrix 3) Malik Zaire.  He also said that if Hendrix is capable of helping Notre Dame win games, he will not be hesitant to put him in the game.  That isn’t the case right now because Tommy Rees has been better, but if there is a time and place where Hendrix can help them win games, he’ll play.
  • Troy Niklas is getting more comfortable in the passing game and his accomplishments and performance is starting to live up to his impressive stature.  Kelly praised Niklas’s play in the red-zone so far this camp.
  • Kelly spoke very glowingly of Sheldon Day and said that he is as impressive of a player as Notre Dame has on defense.  He praised his work volume and motor stating that if there would be an eight play drive in a game, he is the one defensive lineman that wouldn’t come out of the game.

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  1. The guy I want to see is Prosise. He looked really good in Spring. I think he could be a weapon. I hope he gets the ball. Go CJ!


  2. im ok with reese starting,but in college football now-a-days u got to think about everything u can do to win games and if it means doin 2 qb’s a game or 3 so be it,i know malik may not be ready yet but neither was reese when he went in for chryst that year.dont care if u have to play true freshman or not its all about tryin to win the game no matter what.

  3. The guy has been at the school for 4 yrs and never been a place where Kelly thought he could help win games 2 yrs ago up 40+ vs Navy and still would not pull Rees to give the kid a go. He is a pre med student who Kelly still says does not have a grasp of the WHOLE playbook that TR does. Guy is a “genius” academically but cannot grasp the X’s and O’s of Kelly’s playbook after 4 yrs. Hard to figure that one out. Kid has thrown 2 interceptions in his career and still is “labelled” with a tag of cannot throw into coverage. I would love to see him play 5 full games as a starter to see whether he can play or not. Instead after 4 yrs all we get is he has not “mastered” the playbook Go figure.

  4. ” . . . if Hendrix is capable of helping Notre Dame win games, he (BK) will not be hesitant to put him in the game. That isn’t the case right now because Tommy Rees has been better, but if there is a time and place where Hendrix can help them win games, he’ll play. . . ” BK

    As if a voice from above has been answered . . .

    Now that’s what I’m talking about- with a package of plays for Malik as well-
    a virtual triple-headed monster for foe to prepare to defend against each week,
    with only a week to prepare to defend!

    Especially against early season opponents who haven’t even seen the triple-headed O-monster . . .
    Could we even see both #1’s (not at the same time, of course) as added armor
    to the triple-headed O-monster ?

    Answers forthcoming!

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