Brian Kelly Talks Competitiveness, Pace

Brian Kelly - Notre Dame Football Fall Camp 2013
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly talks to his players during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly was pretty upbeat on Friday after the first day of practice in full pads for the 2013 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  Kelly talked about key position battles and praised some younger players.

Here are some notes with the full video below.  Highlights from Friday’s practice and an interview with Amir Carlisle was posted earlier tonight as well.

  • Kelly thinks freshman wide receiver Corey Robinson will have a role and that it won’t be hard to keep him off the field this fall.  Kelly praised Robinson’s “catching radius”.  Hadn’t heard that term before, but now plan on using it a lot. 
  • In terms of injuries, Kelly said if any player has an injury that might affect their status for Temple, he will let the media know, but none of the injuries that kept players from practicing today have significant injuries.
  • Regarding Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese running with the first team at inside linebacker, Kelly said that the rotation is going to be fluid with the three right now and there could be a fourth to get into the mix.
  • Whoever ends up at the #1 running back, Kelly said the back that best fits the scheme will be the #1 and referenced that Theo Riddick was the top running back last year because he ran the ball exactly how they wanted him to – perhaps a hint, a not so subtle one, that Cierre Wood wasn’t as coachable as Riddick.
  • Kelly called Zack Martin the best offensive tackle in the country in his mind.  He also praised the chemistry that Martin and left guard Chris Watt had as a reason for their success.
  • On the right side of the line, Christian Lombard got a look at right guard for the first time after a long off-season full of internet speculation that Lombard could slide inside with Ronnie Stanley at RT.
  • Kelly said that Amir Carlisle knows the playbook very well and praised his versatility.  His knowledge of the playbook is what allows him to play multiple positions in this offense.
  • Kelly is really pleased with the freshman and sophomore backs – Greg Bryant, Will Mahone, and Tarean Folston.  Will Mahone has been playing in the slot the last few days and has surprised the coaching staff with his ball skills.
  • Davaris Daniels is going to “be a guy you are going to have to pay attention to”.
  • Ben Koyack and Alex Welch have impressed the staff so far this camp.  The battle between those two for the #2 tight end spot is going to be really fun to follow in camp.
  • Tommy Rees has been keeping plays alive that he has not been able to keep alive in the past.  He has improved on throwing the fade in the corner as well after it being a weakness for him in the past.
  • There is a battle for the 4th defensive linemen that won’t be settled for a while.  Kona Schwenke has been taking reps with the 2nd team so far, but the situation is far from settled.
  • The first week of camp has been some of the most competitive practices that Kelly has coached in a long time.   The pace is as fast as he has seen since he has been at Notre Dame.
  • Elijah Shumate is getting better every day, but there is still competition at the position.  Kelly said that Max Redfield has really shown up already while also saying that Nicky Baratti and Eliar Hardy are competing as well.

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  1. There just seems to be a lot of unanswered questions on this team and after last year’s success I doubt if the Irish faithfull will be tolerant
    of a mediocre ND team. Should Temple give them a tough time or make it close, the Irish might very well end up having a less than acceptable season. Heck, if they can’t tatoo powerhouse Temple how are they suppose to beat Michigan, USC, and the other real football schools on the schedule?
    Running back seems to be one of the big question marks! GO IRISH!

  2. Never heard BK talk so comfortably about depth.

    All signs point to “Next Man In” more as a reality than a slogan!

    As these younger players develop and the veterans grow as leaders,
    we’re looking at potentially a much better team by the time we play Stanford
    than when we meet Michigan, despite inevitable injuries that will take place along the way.

    Be patient, fans. This can become a true masterpiece in progress.

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