Mar 23, 2011, 8:51 PM EDT
After a long wait and quite a bit of recent drama, the Notre Dame football team finally got a chance to hit the field for the first time in 2011, going through their first practice of the spring yesterday in the Loftus Sports Complex.
As the assembled media got their first brief look at guys like Aaron Lynch, Everett Golson, and the brand new technology the Irish are using to help judge their quarterback competition, Brian Kelly spoke with reporters after practice to discuss everything.
Here’s what he said:
On the new installation of Helmet Cam:
“We have to do a great job of evaluating all the quarterbacks. We’ve got depth,” Kelly said. “We’ve got guys that we believe have the ability to run this offense. To make this a real competition we have to look at every part of their decision making.
“What helmet cam alows us to do is track the eyes of the quarterback thru his progression. If he’s staring down a particular receiver, we’re going to be able to see that. If he’s going thru his progression, you’re going to be able to see that. It’s just another teaching tool for us going through this period.”
On the potential use of three-tight end sets:
I think we’ll have to,” Kelly said. On Saturday, you’ll see the utiliation of three tight ends. With Ragone and Welch and Golic, you’re going to see three tight ends on the field. Essentially what we’re going to do is, if you’re going to defend those three tight ends in some sort of configuration, we’ll get one on one with Theo Riddick.”
On quarterbacks Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson:
“They went in there and competed pretty good. Andrew has such a strong arm, it stands out in everything he does. It’s just we want him to throw it to our team, not the other team. With Golson, he feels comfortable in the shotgun, you can see he can operate right away, but obviously it’s going to be a tailored package. He’s not going to be able to run everything we do. But some of the things he does, he’s pretty good. A little sloppy mechanically at times, we’ll have to clean that up.”
On the changes he sees in starting running back Cierre Wood:
“Confidence,” Kelly said. “He did it on the playing field, and he carried that over. The biggest carryover is what he’s doing in class. He was not a strong student in his first year here, and he’s really changed. I guess that’s probably maturity and confidence coming together at the same time. But we all knew he has a lot of talent. Now it’s all coming together.”
A few thoughts:
A tough break for new safety Austin Collinsworth, who had some complications from a tonsilectomy, and now is 7-10 days away from being ready to practice.
The idea that the Irish can bring multiple tight ends into the game has to have strategists pretty excited about seeing some new and interesting twists in the offense, especially if you incorporate one of the dual-threat quarterbacks into the mix. Obviously, Kelly’s quotes would’ve sounded better if it was Michael Floyd one-on-one, but there’s still some hope that #3 can get back out there when he gets right.
If you’re looking at Brian Kelly as a motivator, consider his two pupils this fall running back Jonas Gray and wide receiver Deion Walker. Both seem to be under the spotlight, and the seniors have little time to make something of their Irish playing careers.
That was Prince Shembo running with the No. 1 defense during the limited practice video you could see. He’s an impressive kid physically, and he immediately makes the Irish a bigger defense on the edge.
You’ve got to think that Brian Kelly thinks Robert Blanton is a much better fit for a Cover 2 corner than Darrin Walls was. Expect a lot more pressure out of this defense, especially with both Blanton and Gray so proficient at playing close to the line of scrimmage.