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Tuesdays with BK: Tulsa edition

Oct 26, 2010, 8:27 PM EDT

With the honeymoon officially over after last week’s loss to Navy, Brian Kelly met with the assembled media.

Here’s a slice of what he said:

Some thoughs:

I’m feeling pretty good about my injury diagnosis of Ian Williams, with the “no surgery” call part in my one paragraph of medical analysis. Again, I’m no doctor, but from what I’ve heard an MCL tear and MCL sprain are practically the same thing, depending on the severity.

Here are Kelly’s official comments on the injury:

“Well, it seems to be the worst-kept secret in America. Ian Williams will be out four to six weeks, and we will be able to modify any of those comments based upon when we can get him moving around again. It’s an injury that some come back quicker than others. We’ll be able to get a better feel for it probably next week after we get it to calm down and go from there.”

When asked if it was a sprain or tear, Kelly was crystal clear.

“Sprain,” he said. “No surgery.”

I guess that would qualify as the lone ray of sunshine from the Navy game.


The Kona Schwenke era begins at Notre Dame, one season ahead of schedule.

I don’t think anybody expected to have Kona Schwenke make his way into the two-deep this season, and the best thing for him would’ve been saving a year of eligibility. But the injury to Williams, and a general lack of depth reshuffled the entire defensive front’s depth chart, with Sean Cwynar moving into the starting nose guard slot.

“Sean’s been a consistent performer in there when Ian came out of the game so, we feel good about Shaun stepping in for that position,” Kelly said. “The next player, really, for us, is Hafis, and Sean can’t play the whole game. He doesn’t have the work volume to do that yet. So Hafis and Sean, together, can get that done. So that then meant who becomes the next guy in at the defensive end, and we want to take a good look at Kona. So Kona would be that next defensive end, and whether it’s for Ethan or whether it’s for Kap, who knows. We’ll kind of see how that plays out this week and then Emeka, we believe Emeka can give us some reps, as well.”

Kelly was clear why he was willing to burn a year of eligibility in the ninth week of the season.

“Got to help us win games. This is still about winning, and we are in that mode where we have got to win some more games obviously,” Kelly said. “You know, getting to a Bowl game is very important, so this isn’t one of those, let’s ride out the streak here. We need help.”


One of the better points made during the press conference was that of the “growing pains” experienced not just on the offensive side of the ball, but on the defensive side as well.

“There’s a lot of ways to look at it. It’s not like we were in the top 20 in defense last year,” Kelly said. “So I think if we had a national caliber-defense last year, we probably would be a little bit concerned right now. I think we have made great strides defensively, even putting in a new scheme with the 3-4 defense. So I think it’s perspective. My perspective is, and I see it every day, is that we have made very good progress defensively and I think we’ll continue to make that as we go forward.”

While many don’t like to hear this and feel like it’s Kelly making excuses, there’s a widely known old axiom that mentions chicken salad and… well — other chicken stuff, and I think that’s probably befitting of the situation here.


Besides the achievement of just reaching the postseason, one of the biggest reasons why the Irish want to get to a bowl game is the extended practice time.

“It’s an important goal. We need those 15 practices,” Kelly said. “They are very important to the development of our program and moving forward. Those 15 practices are important. So, you know, getting to a Bowl game allows you more time with your players. I need more time with our guys. Our coaches need more time with our players. So, yeah, it’s very important to us, and it’s important to the development of our program.”

One of the reasons I thought the Irish should’ve gone to a bowl game last year was to get the extra practices needed to develop the youth on this roster, though the logistics of that would’ve been an absolute nightmare, with most of Kelly’s staff coaching at Cincinnati, and quarterback Dayne Crist less than three months into rehabbing his ACL.



  1. jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 26, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    Bk, you’re right it IS still about winning and taking one away from Utah or SC would silence a ton of critics. I hope you can keep these guys from emotionally throwing in the towel. You can still be an 8-4 team this year, stranger things have happened.

    • jennifer419 - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:04 PM

      Onward and upward!

  2. ndgoldandblue - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    From what I’ve been reading, Tulsa has one of the best offenses in the country. Now, I don’t really know about their competition, but fast is fast, and I hear that they are fast. I’m not, what you would say, really scared about this week’s game, but I am a little scared, nonetheless. Many people had the Irish beating Navy, and that certainly did not happen. In actuality, I had a bad feeling before the game last week, and I have a similar feeling this week. Am I just paranoid? Can anyone tell me one good reason not to be worried for this week’s game? Should/Will the Irish win against Tulsa? Someone tell me something to ease my worries because, if the Irish lose this weekend, I fear the snowball effect from last year will rear its ugly head again. And I’m tired of the heartbreak.

    • bairish07 - Oct 27, 2010 at 9:47 AM

      I’m an ND grad, but Tulsa is my hometown team, so I’ve followed them a little bit… not as much this year, sadly. TU’s a good school w/ relatively tough academic requirements, but they’ve managed to put together solid teams w/ good skill position players the last 5-10 years. They’re generally underrated, but we should beat them.
      Like Navy, TU is undersized but very quick. They have a very good, productive offense, and a bona-fide playmaker at WR. Unlike Navy, the Golden Hurricane does NOT have a decent defense – they are literally last in FBS in pass defense (Floyd, even if he’s gimpy, should have another WMU-type day); couple decent linebackers, but I don’t believe their rush D is much better. And their offense, while a spread-type, isn’t a complete departure from standard schemes like the option is. Also, I don’t know where they rank in penalties or turnovers, but from previous TU games I’ve seen they aren’t as disciplined as the Mids, and from family members’ complaints, it sounds like they might be almost as good at shooting themselves in the foot as ND is. My prediction: I think they close the gap on us a little in the 4th quarter, but I think the Irish win by 10 or 13, and run the clock out late.

      By the way, how the heck was my (number-less) baIrish moniker already taken?

  3. brendanunderscoreg - Oct 27, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    ND should be ok against Tulsa’s offense. They practice against the spread every day so they shouldn’t have nearly as much of a problem as they did vs Navy. I also think Dayne will play one of his best games of the season. ND by 24.

  4. bigirishfan - Oct 27, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    The Tulsa game is a toss-up.

    We have seccond rate athletes and coaches.

    Our game plans suck, and our athletes have limited talent.

    Our players lack heart and courage.

    They will probably pack it in after the Navy Game.

    Who wants to split a hotel room with me in Shreveport for the Poulan Weedeater Bowl?

    • mjb621 - Oct 28, 2010 at 9:56 AM

      Since you have obviously given up on the team maybe you should change your moniker to: littleIrishfan

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