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Kelly breaks down Day One

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.

  1. ndfootballfan4life - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    With Floyd suspended indefinitely, this should give Walker a shot to finally prove himself…As for Cierre Wood, hes got alot of talent, I just hope he has improved on being able to hang on to the football

  2. mattnef - Mar 24, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    I LOVE the thought of three tight ends, with (hopefully Floyd) Riddick split out and Wood (or Riddick) in the backfield. Play to your strengths, and with talented tight ends and finishing last year with a strong run game, why not shake up the spread a little.

  3. ndreece - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    When speaking about the 3 TE formation he only mentions Golic, Welch and Ragone. What about the #1 TE, Eifert?

    • don74 - Mar 24, 2011 at 6:53 PM

      In the full interview Kelly was asked if anyone jumped out on the first day…..he mentionedeifert and his ability to get downfield. He also cited his smoothness in running routes. I think the second mention of TE’s highlighted the other 3 guys. He has 4 strong players for 3. Getting 3 on the field is a must.

  4. oldestguard - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    BK seems to always be “tweaking” players he likes to motivate to another level…..he sometimes does it by “omission” when he gives interviews.

    Will these be daily tidbits, Keith ? Hope so !

  5. smurphdoggy29 - Mar 25, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Ah the excitement of Spring Practice, if only College kids wouldn’t act like College kids, Floyd would be on top of the world. Why also is everyone holding back on saying truly 2011 could be THE year ?

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