Brian Kelly Notebook: Kelly Talks ‘Bama

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly addressed the media on Saturday after the Fighting Irish’s latest practice for next week’s BCS National Championship game on Saturday. (Photo – Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

Brian Kelly talked to the media on Saturday after Notre Dame’s latest practice for next week’s BCS National Championship.  Here’s some quick notes on what Kelly had to say along with the full video of Kelly’s media session.

Notes below the video

  • Saturday and Sunday will be the two most physical days of practice since the USC game.  Notre Dame has been working on building up to getting as close to as game ready for January 7 so that they are peaking when the Irish hit the field in Miami next Monday night.
  • Notre Dame used the first three weeks of preparation to get some of the younger guys some work.  Kelly specifically mentioned Gunner Kiel, Will Mahone, and Connor Hanrattay.
  • Saturday was like a normal, intense Tuesday practice from the regular season.  Notre Dame rans 1’s vs. 1’s to maintain the speed of the practices to be as prepared for Alabama as normal.
  • Davaris Daniels was back in full contact practice on Saturday after spending the last three weeks in a red jersey.  Daniels spent that time in three weeks so that he could get back up to speed quicker so that he could hit the ground running once cleared for contact.
  • Notre Dame will pick its spots to run the tempo, no-huddle offense during the championship game.  They won’t run it exclusively, but they will use it when they feel it will be effective.  Personally, I have to think that Kelly would love to be using the tempo offense more and it would surprise me if he didn’t utilize a good bit of practice time over the last three weeks to work on that aspect of the offense.
  • Kelly said that the Irish will need “big chunk” plays and that they will need to attack the field in order to be successful against the Tide defense.    “If you think you are going to win the game just pounding it in there, you’re not going to win,” said Kelly.
  • Notre Dame will need to hold serve on special teams.  Kelly admitted that his squad has not been great on special teams this season but also said they haven’t stunk either.  He also mentioned that all hands will be on deck leaving the door open for some key players to see times on special teams.  Given some of the problems at times in coverage, could that mean Bennett Jackson will see some double duty because of his prowess on special teams.
  • Curfew for the players will be 11:00 instead of a normal 2:00 AM bowl game curfew because this is “not a bowl game.”  Kelly said that this is a business trip and that the players all understand exactly what this trip is about.
  • Notre Dame will use the five days in South Beach to “climatize” – something that will be critical for the Irish after practicing in far from balmy South Bend leading up to the championship game.
  • Kelly praised Kyle Brindza for being clutch for Notre Dame throughout the season mentioning that there hasn’t been any sort of pattern when he has missed a kick and that he has a short memory when he does.
  • Matthias Farley has shown the ability to do whatever has been asked of him.  Kelly said that if you asked Farley to learn Portuguese  he would learn Portuguese.  Kelly also praised Kelly for responding well to being challenged at halftime the week he played after breaking his hand the same week.
  • Austin Collinsworth had a second surgery that went well and will be ready for Spring Practice.
  • Jarrett Grace received a lot of extra reps during preparation because Manti Te’o was on his awards circuit at the beginning of December.  While some other younger players got some extra work, Kelly did not treat the month of preparation as another spring practice.

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