Before we dive into a certain team from Ann Arbor that happens to be traveling to South Bend next weekend, let’s kick the tires on the 23-12 victory over Purdue one more time.
Head coach Brian Kelly got on the phone this morning with the media and answered a few questions on yesterday’s game. Here are a few highlights:
* BK discussed the missed tackles by Manti Te’o, which were surprisingly plentiful in the first half.
“He’s all over the place. He swung and missed a lot out of the strike zone, which was
uncharacteristic for him,” Kelly said. “He was in great position so many times. I just
think in the first game, maybe a little bit too excited. He’s got to
slow down a step. He was in great position, got our checks down very
well. He just missed uncharacteristically some tackles that I’m very
confident he’s going to make in the future.”
Listening to Kelly, you can tell he wasn’t too worried about Te’o, who seemed to find his rhythm in the second half and made quite a few nice plays as well. I get the feeling that he’s about as worried about Te’o’s tackling as he is about Michael Floyd’s fumbling.
* Good news on the injury front, as Kelly seemed rather optimistic about everyone that missed time on Saturday, including safety Jamoris Slaughter, who sprained his ankle yesterday.
“Slaughter had an ankle sprain and it looked good today. We’ll probably
keep him out until Tuesday or Wednesday and see how it goes from there,” Kelly said.
“We’re much more encouraged. You always fear high ankle sprain when it
first occurred. It doesn’t appear to be that way.”
Zeke Motta filled in admirably for Slaughter, but with only four safeties on the depth chart, the Irish can’t afford to lose a guy like slaughter, who was playing solid football in the first half before getting hurt.
* Having not seen a lot of Brian Kelly on the field during games, I was actually surprised to see how fiery he is. Kelly certainly comes across as a guy that seems to take a business-like approach to his job when he deals with the media, but it was great to see just how excited he was after winning a football game. He’ll never be mistaken for a guy like Pete Carroll, but there certainly was a festive atmosphere among the coaches and the players after the game, and Kelly addressed that point this afternoon.
“It’s hard to win. I don’t care who you’re playing, the other team is going to prepare as well,” Kelly said. “Our guys need to separate two things. The satisfaction of winning has to take precedent over all the things we have to get better at.”
That’s a wonderful statement, and I think something that got lost in the chaos of last season. Even in Irish victories, there was always a feeling that there was work that needed to be done.
If you’re looking for a clue into the celebration after the game, UND.com has your fix.
I’m pretty impressed those guys knew all the words to the opening verses. I’ve got a feeling that the guy in charge has some catching up to do.