Brian Kelly Talks a lot of Defense and a little Purdue

Brian Kelly held his regular weekly press conference on Tuesday to kick-off Purdue week and while the Irish head coach didn’t field many questions about his team’s opponent this weekend, he did answer a lot of questions about his young defense that just pitched a shutout last weekend.    Here’s the video of his presser along with some notes as the Irish are underway in their preparations for Purdue.

Academic Investigation Update

  • Kelly didn’t offer any updates during his presser on the suspended five but did mention on the Colin Cowherd show earlier in the day that he expected the hearing to be taking place this week.

Injury Updates

  • Austin Collinsworth and Jarrett Grace are both out for this weekend again.  Torii Hunter’s status is still up in the air.
  • Hunter will start to get some work this week but Kelly didn’t give a yes/no on whether or not he would be available.  To this point he had been doing mainly drills against air versus against live competition but that will take place this week.
  • Austin Collinsworth is still out with his MCL.  Given the play of Elijah Shumate last week, it would have been a shock if Collinsworth was brought back this weekend with a bye coming next weekend to give him some additional time to heal.
  • Jarrett Grace is still a ways away but Kelly said the goal remains for him to play this year.  The longer this lingers though, the less likely it would seem that Grace plays this year. Kelly did say that they will continue to press this year though when asked if they would just try to get a 6th of eligibility for him potentially.

On Purdue

  • Last year Kelly said Purdue had a game that went down to the wire with Indiana State and then played them tight the next week.  He credited the in-state rivalry and the big game environment for their ability to give the Irish a tough contest.
  • Notre Dame has a pretty good idea of what to expect from both Purdue quarterbacks and realizes that while both can run a little bit, neither are major threat to run like Notre Dame faced two weeks ago against Rice.  The Irish will be game planning for both.

On the wide receivers

  • Kelly said that Amir Carlisle began to turn the corner when he began catching the football with his hands.
  • In reference to Will Fuller’s drops, Kelly said that his drops are specific to routes where he stops his feet and looks to get moving too quickly.  He is getting his eyes away from the ball before he makes the catch looking to get an early start.  Kelly mentioned that is a very coachable issue to fix.

On the timeouts against Michigan

  • On the first timeout, Golson didn’t know that the 25 second clock started at the ready for play, he thought it started on the snap.  The second time out Golson wasn’t full aware of the clock.  The third time out, Kelly said was his fault.  He admitted that he had a hard time finding the play he was looking for on his play sheet and was late getting the call in.
  • Kelly later said that he doesn’t want to give up 5 yards from a delay of game penalty so he will use up the timeouts if he has them.  He reiterated that he isn’t as concerned about using his first half time outs as he is with wasting second half time outs.

On Everett Golson

  • Kelly was asked about Golson and the Heisman Trophy again on Tuesday.  Instead of laughing off the question like he did after the Michigan, he answered the question by saying that both he and Golson are both aware that it’s only been two games and that the senior quarterback still has a lot of work to do.
  • On the few misfires that Golson’s had this year, Kelly said they are correctable mistakes and he feels that Golson is on the verge of being in the 70% completion percentage range consistently.
  • Kelly credited the behind the scenes work that QB coach Matt LaFleur has done with Golson as part of the reason for Golson’s success.  Kelly noted that if the two could close the doors and watch film all day they would.
  • Notre Dame won’t be hesitant to run Everett Golson in the zone-read game.  Golson didn’t run much zone-read against Michigan because Kelly said that Michigan played about 59% main coverage against the Irish last weekend.  That meant that the zone-read was more about throwing the football for Golson.  At the same time, Kelly wants Golson to give the ball to the running back if there’s any out doubt.

On the defense

  • Kelly said that Elijah Shumate played his best game since he’s been at Notre Dame following up on a disappointing performance against Rice.  Kelly credited better communication from Shumate as the reason for the bounce back performance from the athletically gifted defensive back.
  • Despite pitching a shut out, Kelly said that Notre Dame committed 34 mental errors in the game.   Notre Dame was able to make up for them because of the skill position players the Irish have to cover some of them up.  Kelly mentioned that you can’t have a better teaching moment than having a shut out because the players are even more enthusiastic.  That number was actually lower than it was against Rice suggesting the Irish are improving.
  • On Matthias Farley, who played one of his best games in an Irish uniform, Kelly joked that Farley didn’t like Michigan.  Farley played 43 different plays on defense and was in on every special teams unit setting a high bar for the rest of the special teams players.
  • On defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, Kelly downplayed his emotions on the sidelines stating that he is very calm and even keeled during the game.  He said that the cameras caught him in a very emotional moment but that he loves that he shares in his players success and emotion when they are playing well.
  • Kelly praised Jarron Jones for his play against Michigan but also cautioned that because of Jones’s height at his position that the junior will always need to be very sound with his technique and play with a lot of leverage.
  • Kelly saw progress out of Max Redfield last week after being tasked with taking on more responsibilities with Austin Collinsworth out with injury.  He wouldn’t put a percentage of how far along he was, but he said he was pleased with the progress.
  • On freshman Kolin Hill, Kelly said that while Hill was great on third down, he got caught on the field while Michigan went hurry up and it “was like his hair was on fire.”  Kelly praised his explosiveness though for his ability to get into the backfield quickly despite not having great size.

On Special Teams

  • On Kyle Brindza’s punting, Kelly said that he changed his technique over the summer and it’s allowed for the coverage units to get down in place before return lanes can get set up.
  • On kick-offs, Kelly credited Brindza’s big leg for the lack of kick returns by the opposition so far this year.
  • Not surprisingly, Brindza was the team’s special teams player of the week.

On the Shamrock Series

  • When Kelly was first hired he said he didn’t really understand why you would give up a home game, but now sees all of the reasons for playing this game each year.  He specifically mentioned the ability to play in different parts of the country as one of the main benefits.



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  1. I am very impressed with the job BK and his staff are doing. These guys really work hard and are smart. I am already looking forward to Saturday!

    Go IRISH,

  2. re: Golson, the article points out BK alluded to:
    “On the few misfires that Golson’s had this year, Kelly said they are correctable mistakes and he feels that Golson is on the verge of being in the 70% completion percentage range consistently.”

    Avoiding the 10 or so OL breakdowns and blitzes these last two weeks, some of them leading to Golson
    throwing the ball away and, more impressively, avoiding sacks, Golson’s accuracy is already beyond 70%
    of those he’s had the time to set and throw, and even those he threw while on the run.
    His accuracy is not an issue as of yet this season.
    In fact, his mobility and clutch completions are the issue!

  3. Good grasp of the specifics demonstrated here by BK. For example, “drops are specific to routes where he (Fuller) stops his feet and looks to get moving too quickly”, 34 mental errors, and 43 different plays on defense (by Farley). Can’t say he isn’t sweating the details.

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