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Kelly kicks off 2012 season

Aug 3, 2012, 5:22 PM EDT

Brian Kelly Purdue

He already made a few waves during his radio comments last night, but Brian Kelly addressed the assembled media at Notre Dame today to discuss the start of the 2012 season. With so much still needing to play out during camp, Kelly was understandably hesitant to give too much coach-speak, but did have a few interesting comments on starting anew.

“There’s a new dynamic on our football team,” Kelly said. “There are new players that have emerged as leaders. We are certainly, from a coaching standpoint, really excited about our players. Not only as players and winning football games, but from a leadership and getting things done on a day-to-day basis.”

Let’s run through a few quick bullets before we spend the rest of the week going through these comments with a fine toothed comb.


Kelly mentioned that he wanted to have six scholarship cornerbacks heading into the season. On the roster he had five: Bennett Jackson, Lo Wood, Josh Atkinson, Cam McDaniel, and Jalen Brown.

Now he’s got six, with the announcement that KeiVarae Russell, recruited as a dual-threat running back, will start the season as a cornerback.

Interestingly, Kelly felt like Jackson, Wood, Atkinson, and McDaniel, another converted running back who switched to corner after Tee Shepard left Notre Dame, are out in front.

“We feel really comfortable with those four,” Kelly said. “Jalen Brown has to continue to improve and emerge for us and we’ve moved KaiVarae Russell over to the defensive side of the ball to be our sixth scholarship corner.”


There’s plenty to get to when we discuss quarterbacks, but someone asked Kelly how much patience he’ll have for the new starter, whoever that might be. His answer wasn’t exactly surprising.

“I don’t have any patience for that. I want it done the right way,” Kelly said, after pausing to choose his words. “We have to have a quarterback we can trust that’s going to take great care of the football and get us into the right plays. As we move forward here, it’s developing that trust with our quarterbacks. Not accepting anything less than that level of trust and taking care of the football. The starting quarterback against Navy is the guy that carries those traits with them and that we can trust he’s going to make good decisions.”


Lastly, freshman number assignments have been a great source of speculation. With the roster being under lock and key throughout the summer and veterans shifting jerseys as players depart, here are some number assignments that caught my eye:

No. 1 – Gunner Kiel, QB
No. 2 – Chris Brown, WR
No. 3 – Amir Carlisle, RB
No. 6 – KeiVarae Russell, CB
No. 10 – Davaris Daniels, WR
No. 15 – Justin Ferguson, WR
No. 16 – Chris Badger, S
No. 19 – Davonte Neal, WR
No. 22 – Elijah Shumate, S
No. 29 – Nicky Baratti, S
No. 31 – John Turner, S
No. 32 – Will Mahone, RB
No. 34 – C.J. Prosise, S
No. 45 – Romeo Okwara, LB
No. 61 – Scott Daly, LS
No. 75 – Mark Harrell, OL
No. 78 – Ronnie Stanley, OL

The long standing debate about how the Irish would have two offensive players wearing No. 3 was solved with the most logical solution. Neal wears No. 19, while Carlisle keeps No. 3.


On the subject of Amir Carlisle, Kelly delved a little deeper into the talented USC transfer who plans on inserting himself right into a crowded race at running back.

“I think if you take what he did at USC as a true freshman, and now his summer workouts, he’s an explosive players,” Kelly said. “He’s someone that can get big chunk plays at the position. A kid that wants to be the best. He’s got a great make-up and a desire to want to be ‘the guy.’ You love that when you’ve got a number of really good players at the position and he’s not discouraged one bit that he’s going to come in and be the guy. You like that kind of confidence. He has that kind of confidence in his ability and he’s got a great burst.”

I think I’ve been pretty open about my excitement for Carlisle. Even though he missed spring practice with a broken ankle and still isn’t 100 percent, I fully expect him to be a difference maker in this offense, as evident by the No. 12 ranking I gave him individually in my Top 25.

  1. fnc111 - Aug 4, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I’ve been trying to warn people all off season that this will be a non stop turnover fest of a season again. When you have four QBs you have zero QBs. I just don’t see anyone but Giel being the answer and he isn’t the answer until 2013. The loss in the second game of the year last season set this program back a couple of years in my opinion. Too many issues with the offense and an unreal schedule. All I’m praying for is 7-5 and beat scUM!

    • runners00 - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      I agree with your comment that if you have four quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. That is absolutely the case. But, I disagree with everything else. Kelly will find the right quarterback. Period. It won’t be just before the Navy game. He knows he needs to have a starter and he needs to stay with the starter. And the best scenario is to find the starter by mid-August and to stay with that starter throughout 2012. That may be AH. He is very talented, has a great arm and can lead an offense. It may be EG, who has a very strong arm and could double as a back in an option format. Kiel, obviously, has a tremendous arm and would offer a more traditional qb look than either AH or EG. . . . And let’s not rule out last year’s starter, no matter how much he struggled with his performance (on and off the field).

  2. ohioirishfan - Aug 4, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    FNC111 Amir didn’t play in the spring because of an ankle injury that required surgery. We are not going to go 7-5 unless we have a complete meltdown.For the first time in awhile we will start out with an easier schedule. We don’t start with the Michigan’s until week 3. That gives either EG or AH 2 weeks to build confidence and get game experience. There will be mistakes with a young QB but I have faith in our defense (front 7). I think 9-3/8-4 worst case. Give the team a chance! Relax and try to enjoy fall camp. Save the heart attack or stroke until the shi*hits the fan.

  3. ohioirishfan - Aug 4, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    @bernhtp, yea I missed ya on that one! Hell I don’t get it either! He played corner in HS. I know Russell is obviously a RB but has he ever played corner? Who knows, things could still change, it was only the first day of camp.

  4. fnc111 - Aug 4, 2012 at 10:34 PM


    Did you read my entire first response on Amir? I was stating that’s why he hasn’t played much, is because he is always injured. Look a little closer.

    Heart attack? I think I’m the only ND fan that won’t have one because I just sit back and watch now. I already know the season will be bad. I’m trying to get the rest of you prepped so you don’t jump off a building. This team doesnt have one good option at QB. This isn’t 07 bad or even 03 bad but there is a reason why Kelly is shooting for 8 wins this season. Mark it down it will be another 8-5 season after the bowl game IFFFF CBK doesn’t make more bone head Tulsa, scUM, usf decisions.

  5. fnc111 - Aug 4, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    A team with no QB, toughest schedule in the country, and playing five teams in the top 18 in the polls is not going to win 9 games in the regular season. People are kidding themselves if they think that will happen at ND this season.

    Some say it’s an easy start to the season? Playing a team week one that has beaten ND 3 of the last 5 games and in another country no less, after jet lag, then coming home to play Purdue is not easy especially after we thought ND would blow out usf last year. Amazing people are buying into the delusion of grandeur. Let’s all realize it’s not all peaches and cream at ND, yet.

    Remember what Lou Holtz said three years ago about Ohio State playing Navy week one? He thought it was bad scheduling and it’s really difficult to prepare all fall camp for those cut blocks and truly be ready out if the gate. Ohio State almost lost that game.

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