Brian Kelly met with the media on Sunday night following his team’s narrow victory over Florida State and talked like a coach who knew his team was lucky to escape with the victory. He opened his presser up by immediately stating that the Irish know that they have a lot of work to do and have to improve this week. It was a different tone than the supremely confident head coach we had all summer long, indicating that Kelly might not have been expecting the struggle his squad encountered.
Here’s a rundown of everything else Kelly mentioned after the win.
On the different offense we saw relative to 2020
Kelly liked that Notre Dame pushed the ball downfield well but admitted that Notre Dame has to run the ball better moving forward. He said that it would be emphasized in practice this week.
On Florida State’s success running the ball in the 2nd half.
Kelly said that with McKinzie Milton in the game, Notre Dame wanted to be in more nickel, double-zone because of his accuracy. The Seminoles had success because Notre Dame wasn’t disciplined with their gaps.
On 3rd downs
Kelly mentioned that Notre Dame needs to be a lot better on third downs because they missed numerous opportunities on 3rd down in the first half.
On the benefit of winning a close game on the road
Kelly said that Florida State challenging Notre Dame last night would help them get better. He credited Florida State for playing well and stressing the Irish all night. He also said that there are many teaching moments from this game that will be easy to teach this week because they won versus losing.
On the terrible calls from the ACC officiating crew
Kelly was incredulous about the non-roughing the punter call. Kelly was also visibly upset about the overturned fumble on the kickoff, where there was not a single replay shown on TV that proved inconclusively that the ball wasn’t out. “Jack (Swarbrick) pays all my fines,” he joked.
On not being able to close out the game offensively
Kelly wasn’t happy with the execution from the offense late in the gamer. He said that they were committed to running the ball. They just didn’t do a very good job of it. He also was clear that 65 rushing yards is not going to cut it moving forward.
On what he needs Marcus Freeman to take out of this game
He said that Freeman learned more about his personnel and what he can and can’t call with certain players in a game.
- Paul Moala has to get an MRI on his ankle. He was spotted walking around on the sideline in a walking boot. Kelly said that he doesn’t know for sure, but it didn’t look good for him.
- He also said that they are confident there was no ligament damage and that it was just a strain.
- Kevin Bauman has a leg injury that will have to be x-rayed.
- Shayne Simon had a shoulder injury, but he didn’t have any further detail.
On the three Notre Dame players who were unavailable at the last minute Sunday night (C’Bo Flemister, Logan Diggs, Jordan Botelho)
Kelly did not elaborate on why they were unavailable but said that all three had the same status and were currently unavailable. Therefore, it is still unclear if the three were unavailable due to COVID protocols or any sort of disciplinary action.