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Tuesday's with BK: Michigan State

Sep 14, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

Brian Kelly was back with the media today, discussing the Irish, Michigan State, and what needs to happen for Notre Dame to walk out of Spartan Stadium Saturday night with a victory.

Here’s a few minutes of what he said:


There’s plenty to discuss in the nearly four-minutes of video, but here are a few more thoughts after watching the entire press conference:

it’s clear that the Irish need to find a way to get Michael Floyd more involved in the offense, and one of those ways is to get wide receiver Theo Riddick on track.

“I still think we’re a work in progress there. It’s something that he’s
learning more every day about how to be a championship wide receiver,
not just a guy,” Kelly said about Riddick.”He’s worked hard at it. We have to be a little bit patient in that
process of getting him to where we need him to be. I see a comfort level
with him each and every week where he’s starting to feel a lot more
comfortable. Obviously had a nice catch up the sideline. I think we’re in the early stages of development of a very good player.”

It seems like defenses have been content to take Floyd away with double coverage and force Crist to use other targets, most notably Kyle Rudolph. But if this offense is going to get into gear the way that it needs to, they’ll need to make Theo Riddick a weapon in the middle of the field. While Kelly was clear to state that Riddick’s job wasn’t in danger, the Irish either need to get some production from Riddick or start sliding Floyd around the field to get him more involved in the game plan.


I realize I never mentioned it this weekend, but defensive line coach and special teams coordinator Mike Elston missed the Michigan game with a viral infection, something that had to bother him since he was playing against his alma mater.

Kelly updated Elston’s condition this afternoon:

“All I can tell you is he is still not with us. In his absence, our
coaches have done a great job. We team coached the special teams. I
thought we did a pretty good job. You know, the best analogy that I
heard was that for our coaches to really step in there, they really
picked up for one of the best special teams coaches in the country and
did a very good job. I think there’s a lot of confidence there that we
can continue on with that.

“The defensive line obviously is his position as well. So for the
immediate time, until Coach Elston does get back, Mike Denbrock will go
over and coach the defensive line. Lorenzo Guess, who was in the weight
room for us as one of our strength and conditioning coaches, will go and
coach the tight ends position. He coached the tight ends for me last
year at the University of Cincinnati. We should have a pretty seamless
transition. Again, this is just for a short time. We’re expecting that Coach Elston will be back with us pretty soon.”

Having Lorenzo Guess on the strength and conditioning staff is a huge asset to the football program. Not only do you have a coach that clearly understands football working in the weight room — always a plus, you also have someone that’s familiar with Kelly’s teaching style and offensive philosophy, and he’ll be able to sub in right away.  Even more exciting for Guess, he’ll be coaching back in his old stomping grounds, where he played both football and basketball for the Spartans.

Here’s hoping Elston is back on his feet in no time. He’s a good guy and a good coach.


Kelly shared some of his early grades on the offensive line after two weeks, and surprisingly Zack Martin and Taylor Dever, two tackles that hadn’t started a game, have outplayed his expectations.

“I think Dever and Martin have exceeded my
expectations. We’re still a work in progress inside. Braxston has been
inconsistent. Trevor, who has the most experience, didn’t have his best
game. Stewey has been pretty good, pretty consistent. I would take that back. I would say Stewey and the two tackles have been
pretty consistent. We need more consistency from Cave and Robinson at
this point. They have been good, but not at the level the other three
guys have been.”

For this offensive line to play up to their potential, they’ll need Robinson to set up and become a dominating guard. He’s got the skills to do it, it’s just a matter of playing better football. All in all, I don’t think anyone can be upset about the way this offensive line as played, particularly after replacing three starters and learning an entirely new system.


That TJ Jones touchdown where he might have started to celebrate a little bit early? Let’s just say TJ Jones isn’t going to do that again.

“That’s discipline. That’s a young kid that’s got to have understanding,
act like you’ve been there before. You’re not flipping the ball off
before you get in there. It’s unacceptable, and he heard it. It will be
the last time he does it because he won’t be back on the field if he
does it again.”

Before Kelly laid down the law, he joked that he pulled down Jones’ pants and gave him a spanking. Jones is the youngest looking guy on the team, but I’m not sure he’s that young.

  1. Danno27 - Sep 14, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Those darn reporters just don’t laugh at your jokes as much after a loss, do they. I thought that was a pretty funny crack about the spanking.
    One thing – It’s hard for fans to see player development game to game sometimes, especially when the player doesn’t do all that much stat-wise, so it’s reassuring to me to hear from BK that Riddick is improving.
    One question I have from this short clip – was BK talking about Crist when he said he didn’t remember the play? I hate to bring the C-word up, because my immediate reflex is just to be happy that he came back at all and pray that nothing comes of it, but I really hope this isn’t some sort of mild concussion or something for Crist. I know, I know, I’m sure the team doctors are eminently competent – it just is really scary that he definitely had Some sort of head injury. For Crist’s sake personally, and (since I’m being honest) given the gaping, howling void of game-ready QBs backing him up, I am hoping that’s the last we hear of any vision problems or other cranial-related stuff.
    Thanks for the clip Keith – Go Irish!

  2. Mike - Sep 15, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Danno27 –
    “I’m sure the team doctors are eminently competent…”
    The same docs who misdiagnosed Jimmy Clausen last year?
    For Our Lady –

  3. Danno27 - Sep 15, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Mike –
    You have me there. It sounds though like Crist isn’t having any brain-injury type symptoms, so hopefully it stays that way. Great link, btw.

  4. dacktujp - Sep 15, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    Hey Sir.. look at this thing that the stock guy told me about . its like some allinone thing. till tom sir.

  5. Chucket - Sep 15, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Here’s all the energy and intention that Dayne will not be concussed in many many years, much after he has fulfilled his entire participation in football. But,please, may Montana and Rees be completely well prepared to substitute at a moment’s notice.

  6. Erik '04 - Sep 15, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    I’m pretty sure Brian Kelly has already addressed the doctor’s situation. That was part of his top-down overhaul of the program, from the training table to the lockers to the NBC commercials to the training staff. I thought I read somewhere that he had a hand in changing something about the medical staff as well.

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