Brian Kelly Talks Notre Dame – Michigan Week

Brian Kelly met with the media yesterday to talk about this weekend’s showdown against Michigan.  Here are some highlights of what Kelly had to say along with the video of the presser.

  • Kelly called the Michigan and Notre Dame a “great and historic” rivalry and clearly didn’t want to be asked anything about his statements on Sunday about Notre Dame-Michigan not being a historic rivalry.
  • Kelly compared Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner to former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham for his ability to make plays with his arm and legs.
  • When asked about whether they would hold back any freshmen as they did Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch two years ago in Ann Arbor, Kelly mentioned that they already played 10 freshmen and he expects them all to play again this week.  He also said that they didn’t hold anyone back two years ago because of the venue, but rather they played who they felt was ready.
  • In terms of the running back rotation, Kelly said they are still trying to find out “who that guy is” like they did last year with Theo Riddick.  Notre Dame is still searching for that.
  • Kelly said Ronne Stanley played like a first time starter – he did some good things but “certainly he is going to have to play better for us.”
  • Malik Zaire still has not been cleared medically yet and the staff is unsure if he will be cleared for Saturday.  He will be allowed to do some cardio, but is not cleared for competition.
  • When asked about how the Notre Dame defense stacks up against a more physical offense as opposed to a spread, Kelly said that the Irish are built for a game like that mentioning that the inside backers for the Irish are 250 lbs, not 225 lbs.
  • Speaking of the inside backers, Kelly said that Jarrett Grace played well at the inside linebacker position.
  • On the double teams that Louis Nix faced, Kelly said that on the whole they want the entire defensive line to play more discipline (likely in reference to Nix’s three penalties).  Kelly also said that Nix was on the field more last week than he ever was last year – especially on 3rd downs.  Kelly also mentioned that there were great meetings throughout the week where they have learned a lot that they will put into practice this weekend.
  • In terms of comparing Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner, Kelly said that he can’t remember any opposing quarterback he’s ever faced that was as electric a runner as Robinson in his career.  On the other hand he praised Gardner’s accuracy and passing ability.
  • Kelly did a good job of not taking the bait when asked about Brady Hoke’s comments.  He said that he understands that Hoke was talking to his alums and that he didn’t take anything from it.
  • Kelly joked that he called all of the touchdown drives while Martin called the stalled drive.  He then praised Martin for calling a great game and specifically mentioned how Martin responded to a 2nd and 15 situation after the lone sack from Temple.  Saturday was the first time Kelly didn’t call plays on gameday for the first time in 23 years.
  • Kelly was very careful to not answer anything specific about the running back rotation no matter how he was asked about it.  Anytime a question came up about the backs, Kelly reiterated that they are not ready to name a go to back yet and they won’t know for some time.
  • On Rees, “his strengths continue to be his strengths.”  Kelly noted his accuracy, efficiency, and his ability to get Notre Dame in the right plays and right protections.  Notre Dame had too many throwaway downs last year but only had one such play Saturday.
  • On the kicking situation, Kelly blamed Nick Tausch’s miss on bad mechanics while noting that Kyle Brindza’s miss was a result a bad hold.  He didn’t commit to who the place kicker will be this weekend though.  Kelly also reiterated that they love what Brindza has done, but they are concerned with him holding all of the jobs.
  • In terms of playing well on first down, Kelly noted that they threw the ball much more on first down and second down and that they will continue to do so this year.

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