Brian Kelly Talks 2015 Notre Dame Blue Gold Game

Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today Sports
Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today Sports

Brian Kelly met with the media on Saturday following the conclusion of the 2015 Notre Dame Blue and Gold Game – the 15th and final practice for the Fighting Irish in Spring 2015.  Here are some of the highlights of Kelly’s last media session until fall camp kicks off this summer.

  • During his opening remarks singled out a few players – Max Redfield, CJ Prosise, Jaylon Smith, and Jarrett Grace.  Kelly noted that Prosise is the kind of player that will scare a coach when he puts on the tape and that Redfield continued the progression he has shown all spring.
  • Kelly also remarked that the offensive line was very strong before fielding any questions.
  • In terms of the quarterbacks, Kelly said that both played well throughout the game.  Kelly was pleased with the way both ran the zone read plays noting they made great decisions.  He said that Zaire needs to improve his consistency later when asked.  For Golson, Kelly noted that he’s got to improve on taking what the defense gives him referencing a play where Golson could have picked up 10-12 yards to improve field position for punting purposes but he passed it up because it wouldn’t have gotten a first down.
  • Regarding Prosise, Kelly was non-committal on a long term position for him but said that right now it’s hard to imagine him not being one of the best 11 players and earning a starting spot whether that be at running back or wide receiver.  I still think Prosise starts as the slot wide receiver but his rapid ascent is certainly giving Kelly plenty of ammunition to use to motivate his running backs.
  • In terms of players who surprised him, Kelly singled out Corey Holmes, Justin Brent, and Nick Watkins.  Both Holmes and Brent had some nice catches with Brent reaching the endzone.  Watkins got beat deep by Will Fuller, but most corners in the NCAA can get beat deep by Fuller.
  • In terms of the offensive line, Kelly noted that the left guard position is still unsettled with Alex Bars and Quenton Nelson continuing their battle for the spot into the summer.
  • Notre Dame goals fort OTA’s this off-season will be to establish the identity of the team heading into fall camp.  Kelly noted the tough September schedule of Texas, Virginia, and Georgia Tech forcing Notre Dame to know exactly who they are heading into the season.
  • Kelly was non-committal on who will play calls this season.  He said that right now he is the most capable of calling them because Mike Sanford’s focus has been to work with the quarterbacks and learn the offense.  It will be interesting to see how this storyline plays out between now and September 5.
  • Kelly said that he didn’t notice much of a drop off at all between the first and second offensive line units.  He said there was a drop off with the 3rd unit, but that it is expected.  This is the deepest offensive line that Kelly and Notre Dame have had since he’s been here.
  • Notre Dame won’t be doing any satellite recruiting camps this off-season – everything will take place on campus at Notre Dame in terms of camps.  It was previously reported over the summer that Notre Dame would be setting up camps outside of campus in 2015.
  • Kelly said that Jaylon Smith will be moved around a lot depending on the sub package the Irish are using.  He noted that in the base package Smith will play inside but he can play on the outside as well depending on the package.  In terms of overall linebacker depth, Kelly spoke glowingly about Jarrett Grace, Nyles Morgan, and Tevon Coney giving the Irish great depth.
  • Jhonny Williams had a nice 4th quarter and Kelly noted that the rising sophomore has had a tough time adjusting so far in his young career because of all of the weight he has needed to add, but that he has worked very hard and bulking up.

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