Brian Kelly Talks Notre Dame’s “New” Offense

Brian Kelly - Notre Dame Head Coach
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly on the field against the Stanford Cardinal during the fourth quarter at Stanford Stadium. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly officially introduced his new offensive coordinator and QB coach on Friday and in the process revealed that the Irish offense would be taking on a new shape in 2014 based on the talent the Irish have at the quarterback position.

Here are the highlights with the full video below.

  • Kelly officially introduced Mike Denbrock as offensive coordinator and Matt LeFleur as quarterbacks coach.  Kelly cited LeFleur’s experience working with dual threat quarterbacks in both college and the pros as one of the reasons he is excited to add him to the staff.
  • With Kelly taking over play calling duties this year, he said that LeFleur will run the quarterback meetings and he will be sitting in on those meetings.  LeFleur will also be in charge of developing them day to day.  Denbrock will oversee the entire offense as the coordinator.
  • LeFleur’s experience in Washington with the Redskins is one of the reasons Kelly was interested in him for the position given the relative young and inexperience Notre Dame has at quarterback.
  • Kelly talked about the Notre Dame offense having a” new look” next year this year as being the reason behind him taking over play calling duties.  The new look is the result of Notre Dame having a mobile quarterback again and Kelly wanting Notre Dame to be more dynamic outside the pocket.
  • Everett Golson has looked good since returning to campus but Kelly cautioned that he is not ready to just hand over the starting gig to Golson.  He will have to earn it over sophomore to be Malik Zaire.
  • Kelly said that Zaire is the kind of player who might not practice well all the time, but plays his best when the lights come on.  There were reports that Golson was similar early in his career as well.
  • The staff “lost” Zaire for about 4 or 5 games last year when Zaire was 3rd on the depth chart and not getting any playing time or many reps in practice.  Kelly said that they were able to get him back though and refocused.
  • Notre Dame’s defense will remain a base 3-4 that uses multiple fronts fairly often.  The base defense, however, will remain a 3-4 even though there has been some chatter of Notre Dame switching to a 4-3 defense.
  • Jarron Jones and Tony Springmann will be the first two players Notre Dame looks at to replace Louis Nix.  Kelly mentioned that they have recruited guys with size as well but Jones and Springmann will be the first two they look at.
  • Kelly said that all of the 5th year candidates know where they stand right now and official announcements should come after Signing Day.  There were reports a couple weeks ago that four seniors were set to come back for a 5th year.
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  1. I would love to see some talent to help with our poor run support on defense and bk finally use the talent on the offensive side and open the playbook in the redzone. Tired of 20 yard field goals which they find hard to do

  2. First off as to the renovations: They have been sorely needed for years. ND is falling behind the pack in terms of facilities. Having seen with my own eyes the facilities at several schools including ND, Bama, USC, and UGA, it is obvious that they needed a plan of action to build and build quickly. The problem with the reno is that the plan presented didn’t go nearly far enough.

    On Kelly’s offense: Anyone saying Cinci was “luck” is totally clueless. BK didn’t just start having success all of the sudden at Cinci. Secondly, last year was a disaster with Golson getting suspended just before the season. I think Kelly adjusted as best he could under the circumstances. The team did not have developed talent at RB to really be running between the tackles. They actually pretty good with it despite lacking a truly talented between the tackles runner. And no, Cam was not it. Folston? Maybe, but he needs time to develop. He still doesn’t look like an Eddie Lacy. Next year might look better if Greg Bryant runs as good as he looks (physically).

  3. who among these new recruits will be the next great dt


    “Perhaps one of the most driven individuals to ever strap up at Notre Dame, Chris Zorich will forever be remembered as a legend on the defensive side of the ball.

    His “never say die” attitude seemed to resonate with the rest of the team on the way to the 1988 National Championship.

    Zorich’s hard work earned him All-American status in 1989 and 1990. He went on to play seven seasons in the NFL before returning to Notre Dame to obtain his law degree.”

  4. I will say there had better be an upgrade in offensive production. No more excuses and now there is a the proper QB type in place. I too want to see the production that was achieved by Kelly prior to ND. We have been only waiting now 5 years ( though admittedly 2012 we had some glimpses). In regards to AH, I get by some standards he wasn’t top notchin QB skill set, but I don’t believe he was fairly prepped for his role either. There were way too many occasions he had opportunity to get reps to better prepare him and didn’t. Oh well, maybe he might find something for his benefit at his new program. As for the comment about Lou’ s teams being stopped this era. A heavily based run first offense not doing well which Lou employed? I think Auburn showed if you get the right personnel on O, you can still make it work. I never would imagine how they ran so easy against a Saban Bama defense or make it to a NC game with their style. Heck, ND almost got beat by a team this last season employing the archaic run option (AKA Navy).

  5. First of all Lou’s offense would be stopped in today’s college football. I will say this that Kelly didn’t adjust well with an immobile QB, be should have put Tommy under center and made Joe Schmidt a full back. Now he has a mobile QB and I want to see the Oregon offense and not some Jack ass hybrid. As I have said many times Lou and Ara’s era is done. ND needs to become innovators not copiers when it comes to their program. Under Armor and Stadium renovations are a start but they need to stop being locked into NBC. Now about an open contract every year game by game. Let the networks bid for the best rated football programming in the country. It will sell to recruits and bring cash into the University.

    I would also like to see more innovatio on the offense. All we heard was this offensive Genius, now let’s see it.

  6. Still a mystery why Zaire didn’t play. Mono that cost him valuable prep time? Maybe.
    But he had been there the previous Spring.
    Believing AH could be an effective enough back-up ? Then why not give AH more game reps,
    a series or three, to see if he could be, like a red-zone series every so often, (like BK hinted at last August)
    rather than waiting, then having to throw him into the fire vs. $C with minimal career game time ’til then?
    MZ showed Inconsistency in practice? TR was inconsistent for four years when it most matters, game time !
    But to preserve a fifth year for MZ never made sense to me. If he’s that good,
    he won’t be here his fifth year; if he isn’t, incoming recruits will have his job before he’s a 5th year senior.

    “(MZ’s) better when the lights come on and it’s time to compete.” (BK)
    How would he know that; from the blue-gold scrimmage last Spring?

    Regardless, excuse my doubt and negativity; time to look ahead instead of back.
    Time to score way more, the BK rep we all anticipated,
    especially with the DL and ILBs as a work in progress.
    Time for a new and improved ‘red-zone O’ with TDs instead of FGs?

    Hope springs eternal- especially before Spring – each new season.
    One thing for sure; 2012 w/EG was way more fun than 2013 without him.

  7. Your right, Swarbrick alone decided to spend 440 million while letting Kelly focus on football matters. Why ND decided to renovate at all is a mystery.

  8. notre dame football used to be a game where the linemen (kuchenberg, kunz, martin) controlled the game, they wore the others down and ran the ball down their throat (bettis, conjar, brooks) or until they put 8 men foward, kelly has never developed the running game, so he had tommy throw forty passes a game with two/three interceptions the result per game, this is why i keep begging for a talented world class oc, instead swarbrick focuses on stadium renovations, the totally incorrect focus, not football, i have given up on kelly hiring a real oc, can we at least get the special teams back to world class, why no runbacks a la schoen, the rocket or tim brown? hopless in va.

  9. He felt they were too driven between the tackles? That’s an odd one. He had an immobile QB who couldn’t get outside the tackles even if given a free down by the D yet he used his Run game (or lack of run game) as if it only existed when all else failed and even then with reluctance. His offense never left being one from being between the Tackles out of no choice. Now he wants to be outside the tackles. Genius!

    I’m sorry Frank but this is just a diluted rhetoric.

    Watching ND Offenses, you have to ask, what was he doing in Cincinnati and was it all just luck?

    Is his play book so stuffed with technical issues and nuance that his players cannot learn it and be students at this level? What is it that doesn’t translate to ND from Cinci?

    Why is it his players on O can’t just hit the guys in front of them and use their athletic ability do the rest? They have the talent, and the talent’s been there for several years now.

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