Brian Kelly wrapped up the second week of Notre Dame football fall camp 2017 on Saturday by meeting with the media following Notre Dame’s 11th practice of the summer. Kelly talked for a little over 20 minutes on a number of topics. Just like last week, we have the full run down of everything Kelly said.
Cameron Smith Ascending Fast
- Kelly said that the Arizona State graduate transfer has exceeded his expectations already. Kelly thought he was more of speed, blow the top off a defense type of receiver, but Smith has shown strong hands, a good physic, maturity, and the ability to hand a high volume of work.
- Smith has the highest GPS numbers of any of the wide receivers. Kelly mentioned that they look at two numbers – the load they player handles and the max velocity and Smith hasn’t lost his velocity with the workload.
- Smith had injury concerns coming in after an ACL injury during his junior year but Kelly mentioned that he is not showing any signs of it two years removed from the injury.
- Smith was listed as the 2nd most consistent wide receiver outside of Equanimeous St. Brown.
Defense is still progressing nicely.
- Kelly surprised some people during the week when he said that the defense was ahead of the offense. That should be the case in camp, but it hasn’t been the case at Notre Dame the last few years.
- Kelly said on Saturday that the defense continues to progress nicely. There have been breakdowns though. On Saturday Kelly mentioned that the defense let a wide receiver run loose because of a breakdown.
- Overall though, the defense is very tuned into the specifics of they are are supposed to play this defense and he really likes the way they are playing fundamentally.
Notre Dame’s new locker room & facilities
- Notre Dame practiced in full pads on Saturday to help the team get used to playing in Notre Dame Stadium with the videoboard turned on to get them used to it.
- Kelly said that all of the new facilities could be a distraction so the staff is doing it all it can to get them used to them quickly.
- The team will treat next Sunday’s practice that is open to the public like a game and will use the new locker room.
Jay Hayes and Jonathan Bonner improving
- Kelly gave Hayes credit for being able to ride out what has been a bumpy road to a starting role. Hayes came in as a heralded recruit but hasn’t had an easy path to the starting role he has lined up in 2017.
- Hayes worked hard in the weight room to fix some of the things that held him back in the past.
- Jonathan Bonner is much more agile this year and was too mechanical last year. Kelly credited correcting his weight training and conditioning as the reason behind his improvements.
Alex Bars Surging
- Kelly said that he has put himself in a position to be an elite football player.
- Bars went through a transformation in the weight room this off-season by losing 10-12 lbs but gaining explosiveness in the process.
- He wasn’t ready to put him in the same category as Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey, but it sounds like Bars is surging, We listed Bars as one of the 8 players that will help define this season so this is a very positive development.
Pair of freshmen could play on special team.
- Frosh wide receiver Michael Young is in the mix in the return game right now. The returners are not settled to this point but Young has firmly put himself in the mix.
- K/P Jon Doerer is slated to handle the kickoff duties for Notre Dame right now. Kelly mentioned that the staff does not want to have any kicker handle more than one job right now so they will use three: Justin Yoon (field goals), Doerer (kickoffs), and Tyler Newsome (punting).
- New special teams coach Brian Polian has been working on breaking things down in the special teams and improving the fundamentals.
Cole Kmet is repping like he will play vs. Temple
- As of today, the staff is repping frosh tight end Cole Kmet like he will be playing. Kelly said things could change over the next three weeks but as of today he is practicing like he will play.
- Kmet is competing like the stage isn’t too big for him as a freshman.