Brian Kelly met with the media on Tuesday to discuss Notre Dame’s upcoming trip to Palo Alto to take on the #8 Stanford Cardinal – Notre Dame’s fourth top 25 opponent of the season.
Here are some notes on what Kelly discussed with the media as well as the full video below.
- Any player who won’t be traveling for the game this weekend because of injuries was released by the team yesterday to go home and spend Thanksgiving with their families. The rest of the team will have an earlier than normal practice on Thursday and then have a team Thanksgiving meal where the players families will be able to attend.
- Kelly said that in order to win Notre Dame can’t have more than one turnover and can’t give up any big play touchdowns – things they have were unable to avoid in all three of its losses this year.
- Kelly credited Matt Hegarty’s confidence in himself, Harry Hiestand’s confidence in Hegarty, and the offensive lines help as the reason why Hegarty has been able to overcome the medical hardship he went through last year and be able to compete at a high level this year. Hegarty will get the start this weekend with Nick Martin out for the rest of the year. Kelly also confirmed that Martin’s injury was a MCL tear. It’s a 6 month injury which means that Martin will miss spring ball as well.
- Playing against Louis Nix in practice the last two years also helped Hegarty develop according to Kelly.
- Kelly referred to the Stanford rivalry as a “great rivalry” and said that both programs want to be the “smartest, toughest teams in the country” each year.
- Kelly praised Tarean Folston for being coachable and patient and credited Folston’s dad for his patience in terms of not playing right away as he picked up the offense.
- Zack Martin’s approach is one of the reasons for the offensive lines ability to plug players in and out. Martin has set the tone for the other offensive linemen in terms of work ethic both during the season and during the summer when they aren’t able to interact with the coaches.
- Max Redfield has had a steeper learning curve than some other freshmen because of all of the responsibility the safeties have in Notre Dame’s defense. Unlike a running back or a receiver who can learn a package and be used for those plays, the safeties have more responsibility and have to be ready for anything and everything the offense throws at them. Redfield, however, has progressed very well throughout the season and Kelly said he will be a dynamite player for Notre Dame.
- The defense will position Jaylon Smith in a way to limit the number of times he finds himself matched up against a guard because he is more of a speed player at this point in his career.
- None of Notre Dame’s current centers played the position in high school, but Kelly said there are a few things they look for in potential centers – intellect and demeanor. Kelly said that the staff usually makes the determination of who fits the bill at center once they get the players on campus and see them in action.
- Kelly said that he is more concerned with limiting the big plays from Stanford than he is with forcing turnovers on defense.
- In terms of wearing down against a big, physical team like Stanford given the injuries, Kelly said that Notre Dame has enough depth to be able to hold up and won’t hesitant to rotate players in and out of the lineup throughout the game to stay fresh.