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Tuesdays with BK: Stanford edition

Sep 21, 2010, 6:15 PM EST

After two straight last-minute losses, Brian Kelly addressed the media as his team prepared to play Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal.

Here’s some video from the fine folks back at home base:

 

A couple brief observations:

Kelly may be mispronouncing his name, but Cierre Wood (Kelly adds an ‘s’ at the end) should take his coach’s comments seriously. Since the opener against Purdue, Wood seems to have lost his mojo, tip-toeing his way through the line and becoming a far less aggressive runner than senior Armando Allen.

Sitting in the pressbox against Purdue, I chatted with a longtime writer that’s covered the Irish and as we watched Cierre take his first carries, we were pretty certain that there was a dogfight for the No. 1 tailback job. That hasn’t been the case, and Wood has even been tentative on kick returns as well.

Kelly does a good job of getting his player’s attention through his comments in the media (see Gary Gray), and for the Irish’s sake, Cierre Wood better get the message come 3:30 Saturday.

*****

On the weekly depth chart, Jamoris Slaughter was listed one of the starting safeties, being backed up by Zeke Motta. That’s a welcome sight with the Cardinal offense coming to town, and Kelly seems to think that Slaughter’s recovered enough from his ankle sprain to be at full-speed this weekend.

“It looks like that’s goig to happen,” Kelly said. “We’ll have a great feeling after practice today. But we really liked the fact that when we needed somebody to go in at safety, Zeke had an equipment problem, Jamoris ran in the game without anybody putting him in the game. He’s anxious to get back out there, he’s moving much better yesterday, and when we get out there and move around a little bit, we don’t do a lot, but the observation is that he’s going to be able to start for us.”

As we discussed earlier today, pass-first safeties are at a premium on the Irish roster, and Slaughter might represent the only one on the team.

*****

Kelly did his best to steer clear any talk of penalties, especially two controversial calls — the late clipping call on Lo Wood where there wasn’t much (if any) contact, and the force out called on Darrin Walls on the touchdown pass.

We fumbled the ball twice and were lucky to get it
back, so those breaks even out as far as I see,” Kelly said. “When you look at it in
its totality, over 20 years of coaching, some of those go against you.
It’s not bad luck, it’s not the curse, just one of those things that if
Lowe is in a little bit better position, it doesn’t even become a
question. I’d rather coach putting Lo Wood in a better position than
anything else.”

Kelly walked away from the question after he was asked for a “rules interpretation.”

For me to get into the specifics about that, I get myself into enough trouble, so I’m going to pass on that one,” Kelly said.

*****
Dayne Crist played solid football Saturday night, showing poise and handling his first road start well. But if there’s one thing missing from Crist’s repertoire, it’s his ability to make the high-percentage passes needed in Kelly’s spread attack.

“The areas of his improvement, which will be publicly stated, and he
knows it, and we’re not hiding anything, his ball control throws,” Kelly said. “He had
13 incomplete passes that were all ball control throws. That’s the area
of — when we clean that up, he will possess the things necessary to
lead our football team as far as we can go, and that’s the area in his
maturation. He is making the big throws. He is making the big field
throws, the vertical throws, the dig routes. He’s doing a great job on
his progression reads now. It’s the ball control throws that we have to
make, and those are the ones that consequently can end up winning the
game for you.”

Crist struggled rolling to his left, skipping two short throws to open receivers. “Ball-control throws” are similar to the passing plays that Charlie Weis categorized as part of the running game. Part of why this offense runs so hot and cold is Dayne’s inability to make these shorter throws, passes that move the chains and keep the offense rolling.

Crist has hardly been a disappointment, but you can tell this offense is based on short throws completed with great accuracy. And that’s where Dayne can make real strides in his improvement.

  1. TLNDMA - Sep 21, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    The little swing passes to the TE or RB Dayne has a problem with. He’ll(They’ll) fix it, Kelly and Crist. I bet by Saturday.

  2. FightinMad35 - Sep 21, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    Is a less than 100 percent Slaughter better than Motta or Harrison??????? YESSSSSSSSSS! Very good to see him in the lineup..

  3. Danno27 - Sep 21, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    Give me Slaughter at 80%! Though I think ol’ Zeke could be a pretty good safety down the line, he needs time. And Harrison, God love him, does weird things sometimes on the football field.

  4. mrrandolph - Sep 22, 2010 at 6:42 AM

    Why do so many not like Harrison? Recruit better and he doesn’t play.

  5. jnj - Sep 22, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Few observations on this team:
    1–Why on FG’s don’t we have someone back , just in case. Outside of linemen others just stand around and watch the kick. I’d consider Floyd.
    2–I don’t think Carlo or Harrison had a clue this would be a fake–Harrison would not have caught up anyhow.
    3–Did not watch replay but don’t remember linemen jumping with hands up
    4– What ever happened to Hughes?
    5–Ian Williams will be gone next year–why not play Nix. I don’t care if he is 350–he’s huge and we could get at least 5 plays out of him. He can’t do any worse than the 2nd’s. Also worried he may leave–like a lot of Fla kids–like maybe after this semester. So what if you burn a year–at least get him in and interested.
    6– Ethan and Kap seem like very nice kids but I just don’t see a lot of toughness there.

  6. borromini - Sep 22, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Nix may leave after this semester? I wonder where some of you come up with this…go take a break. And no…you don’t burn a year of eligibility uneccessarily…pretty weak. Good thing you don’t coach the Irish.

  7. Ted Kazmar - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    Each of the three blown calls could have resulted in a ND win. Until ND gets unbiased/neutral officials, ND will only win games in which ND is significantly better than the competition.

  8. GL88 - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    I come into the season filled with hope for a brighter future under Brian Kelly. He seems very organized, less organized than Charlie Weiss. However, I get concerned that we are heading down the same Charlie Weiss path when Coach Kelly is faced with the post game press question of what is the “protocol” defensively for communicating about a potential fake and he goes on the attack with his answer asking back “did you see the fake? we had a man on him, he just slipped”. Come on Coach, I mean you’ve got your opponent staring at a 49yd fg goal to keep the game going or lose it. Clearly you want to come out with an alignment that says “you’re only option is to kick because we have your fake covered.” Our alignment did not do this. We had all but 2 guys down on the line in 3 or 4 point stances. If you were anticpating a fake why wouldn’t you have an alignment that was more of a pass defense posture with dbacks in normal upright defensive posture?
    Just be accountable and admit you blew it, you’d get our support rather than disdain when you nastily stare a reporter down and ask him if he saw the fake. We saw the fake, it was poorly defended. Period end of story. Let’s move on I know we can with you coach Kelly.

  9. commentor - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    didn’t pronounce Woods but “Wood’s”. i.e. Wood’s been put on notice, instead of “Wood has been put on notice”

  10. jnj - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    just wait

  11. daniel - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    If you would watch the replay you would see that there were two receivers running down the field for the Spartans. The Irish had both of them covered at the start of the play, the reason they weren’t at the end of the play is because of the tripping over eachother mix up in the beginning of the play.
    If you are an Irish fan you will have to come to terms with the fact that we had our chances to win it. Regulation and OT. We didn’t convert, lets look at the future. Cheer for these kids as I am sure they are more affected by these loses then we are. Go Irish.

  12. v-man - Sep 22, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Couldn’t agree more re Nix. Using him for a couple plays would be the dumbest move possible. Not only is not going to help your team with a game now, since he’s not at all ready physically or mentally to compete, but you’d be handicapping yourself down the road. I believe Charlie essentially made that decision with Sergio Brown a few years back. He played for less than 1min his frosh year….be nice to have that year of eligibility back now wouldn’t it? Maybe Zeke Motta – who’s basically an inexperienced linebacker playing safety (and doing an admirable job in that sense) – wouldn’t have had to play 80 snaps a game the last two weeks.

  13. simsimionger - Sep 22, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    hey buddy check out this new thing http://sportscomplainer.com that my boss told me bout. cu tom man..

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