Press conference notes


While the headlines coming out of yesterday’s press conference were the good and bad news on injuries regarding Michael Floyd and Dayne Crist, there were still more than a few interesting tidbits gathered yesterday. Here are a few notes from the press conference.

* John Goodman is now working as the third-string quarterback. Weis was clear that this was simply an emergency precaution, but he wanted to be prepared just in case.

The thing is if we don’t start training him to be ready to go what we
don’t want to do is be down another quarterback, regardless whether it
was one of the first two guys and now be scrambling to get them ready
to go. Even when we tried our gadget plays in practice, and reverse
passes with Goodman, which, believe it or not, we do have them. He’s
not been efficient throwing it because of being rusty.

In training camp when we threw it a lot, he would look pretty good. But
because it’s been a while. So we have to knock off some of the rust.
It’s not a question of whether Goody can throw the ball or run the
offense. It’s the question of you don’t want to take away from his
competing at the wide receiver position but at the same time get him
ready to go. He’ll be a marginal rep guy at quarterback, and his reps
will come at wide receiver.

This kind of emergency situation is around because Nate Montana decided to spent this fall at Pasadena City College, hoping to get some playing time and develop his skill set. The transition hasn’t been easy for Nate, he’s completed only 31 of his 88 passes, throwing 2 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, although I’m guessing Weis would feel more comfortable with Montana under center than Goodman, who hasn’t played there since his senior season in high school.

* It’s pretty obvious that CW is happy to have Michael Floyd back. It’s also obvious that he did everything by the book to protect Michael, even consulting with Dr. James Andrews, the most prominent doctor in sports medicine.

Our trainers did a good job. And talked to the doctor guru down in
Alabama. And he agreed, let’s go. And Michael called his mom up to make
sure that we were all on the same page. Because I let him, you know —
I let Michael make the call. Once he got cleared to go, you know, still
let Michael make the call whether or not this was the week or not.

He talked to his mom. Talked to me. Came back to me and said, I’m ready
to go. Wasn’t too long before I was getting a text from No. 7. He might
have been as happy as No. 3 was. I think No. 7 might have been just as

Weis was clear that the Irish have a game plan with Floyd and that he won’t be on the field for the entire game. Still I think the decision to let him play against Navy was smart, and it’ll let him get accustomed to contact and game speed before the showdown with Pitt next weekend.

* Weis addressed the Golden Tate / fair catch issue, specifically whether or not Golden has been conservative back there in calling fair catches. I’ve long thought Golden has been pretty risk averse as a return man, which doesn’t really seem to fit his on-field personality, but CW attributed the fair catches to the spread punt alignment.

I think everyone’s in this spread punt right now. It’s the big in vogue
thing in the country. You spread them out all over the place, and
instead of two gunners, you have seven of them. Just about every week
you’re dealing with the same thing. That forces you everyone’s playing
one-on-one in space.

You’re blocking one-on-one in space. So it’s not like you had double
teams on this guy or double teams on that guy. There’s always one guy
besides downside guys that’s running completely free on account of
running down there. In our case usually our lone snapper. He’s running
down there and nobody even touches him. So the ball goes down there and
it’s like having another gunner down there.

Whether it was Tommy Zbikowski back there or Joey Getherall, Irish fans have gotten used to fearless punt returners that never signaled for fair catches. Still, I think Tate has been a little more conservative than either he or Charlie would care to admit, and that’s probably a product of the tight games the Irish have been playing in. Still, with hands like Tate’s, he’d be better off taking a chance on catching the ball, maybe making someone miss, and if he gets hit early, he’d get the Irish an extra 15 yards. (Also known as the Getherall special…)

Drue Tranquill named first-team Academic All-American

Drue Tranquill

Drue Tranquill was named a first-team Academic All-American. The junior safety, who returned from his second major knee injury during his three-year career, earned the honors after posting a 3.74 GPA in mechanical engineering.

Tranquill is Notre Dame’s first academic All-American since Corey Robinson earned the honor after the 2014 season. He finished second on the team in tackles with 79 and lead the team in solo stops with 52. He also had two TFLs and an interception.

Tranquill is Notre Dame’s 60th Academic All-American, the third-most of any school behind Nebraska and Penn State. He’s active in the university community, serving as a mentor for the Core Leadership Team for Lifeworks Ministry, and is a member of Notre Dame Christian Athletes. He is a also member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and Rosenthal Leadership Academy.


Postseason Mailbag: Now Open

SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 12: Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly leads his team onto the field before the start of their game against Army in a NCAA college football game at the Alamodome on November 12, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

It’s been too long. Let’s talk about the season, the decisions ahead and where Notre Dame stands after its nightmare of a 2016 season.

Drop your questions on Twitter @KeithArnold or in the comments below.



If you’re interested in hearing my recap on the USC game and where Notre Dame’s goes now that the season is over, give a listen to the latest episode of Blown Coverage, with Newsweek’s John Walters. 


Report: Zaire set to depart with graduate transfer

Malik Zaire

The wheels are in motion for Malik Zaire‘s exit from Notre Dame. What felt like an inevitability after Zaire lost out to DeShone Kizer after the Texas game is now a reality, as the Ohio native is expected to receive his release tomorrow, according to a report from Pete Sampson at Irish Illustrated.

Sampson identified four programs as potential landing spots for Zaire: Florida, Pitt, Michigan State and Wisconsin, Power Five programs that all had better seasons (minus the Spartans) than Notre Dame. All have uncertainty atop their quarterback depth chart, though none look like guaranteed jobs.

With Notre Dame out of a bowl, Zaire can get a jump start on looking around, capable of taking visits and finding a home after the semester. That would let him join a program in time for spring drills, where he’d compete and be able to play out his final year of eligibility.

When Zaire leaves he’ll join a line of recent quarterbacks to finish their eligibility elsewhere. Dayne Crist, Andrew Hendrix, Gunner Kiel and Everett Golson all either played or were recruited by Brian Kelly and finished their careers elsewhere. That could leave a scenario—one many predict—where the top-two on Notre Dame’s depth chart depart, Kizer to the NFL and Zaire elsewhere, turning the keys over to Brandon Wimbush who redshirted this season.

Tillery apologizes for actions during USC game

Jerry Tillery 247

Sophomore Jerry Tillery issued an apology for two controversial incidents against USC. Notre Dame’s defensive tackle was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a referee caught him stepping on Zach Banner‘s ankle. Cameras also spotted him intentionally hitting Aca’Cedric Ware‘s head after the Trojan running back was injured after a collision with Nicco Fertitta.

Tillery wrote on Twitter:

“I want to take full responsibility for my actions on Saturday. I am truly sorry. I acted in a way that was out of character for me. What I displayed in those two instances were completely unbecoming and not indicative of the kind of player or person I am. My actions in those two instances do not represent what my family or Notre Dame has molded me to be. I want to especially apologize to Aca’Cedric, Zach, their families and anyone else affected by what I did. I assure you I will learn and grow from this moment and become a better man because of it.”

While the backlash on social media has been harsh, USC head coach Clay Helton downplayed it.

“It was a poor decision by a young person. I know it’s not Notre Dame football and I know that’s not Brian Kelly,” Helton said. “He’s been a class act the whole way and I know he’ll address it with his player and handle it in a way that he sees fit. I have always found Brian to be a man of class and integrity.”

Ware himself responded via Twitter, doing his best to put the incident to rest.

Kelly stated after the game that he’d review the incidents, both plays Kelly didn’t see happen live. With the season over, Tillery’s discipline will be handled internally.