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Depth starting to show itself in easy Irish victory

Oct 28, 2013, 11:52 AM EDT

Utupo AP

There was one revealing moment in Brian Kelly‘s postgame press conference that told you everything you want to know about the relationship between the Irish head coach and his boss, athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

Kelly looked directly at Swarbrick when asked a question about comfortable games that allow the coach to plug in some of his young prospects.

“I’d like to have these guys in week one or week two, to be honest,” Kelly said, before peeking at Swarbrick and sharing a chuckle with the room.  “You’d like to get these kinds of opportunities for these young guys early, because it obviously builds their confidence.

“They’re a really confident group. So to get them involved, especially these young guys, it’s so important to their development.”

We saw that development first hand on Saturday, when a host of young talent saw the field and thrived against Air Force. Receivers Corey Robinson and Will Fuller stated very obviously the potential they have, as did cornerback Cole Luke, who showed a physicality that should step right into the starting lineup after Bennett Jackson departs.

It was easy to see the contributions on offense, with Robinson and Fuller joined by Tarean Folston as top performers. But on the defensive side of the ball, Kelly was particularly complimentary about the play of Luke and Isaac Rochell, who played a key role on Saturday after Ishaq Williams was lost in the first few series and Sheldon Day tweaked his ankle.

“I thought, in particular, you’re looking for me Cole Luke played the edge of our defense very well.  I thought Isaac Rochell had a key play on third down.  I thought he played well,” Kelly said. “I think when you look at the true freshmen that are playing a lot of football for us on both sides of the ball, I think defensively those are the two guys that have made some plays for us that stood out.”

If you are looking for a datapoint that shows the progress of this roster, a glance back at the box score from the Irish’s 59-33 dismantling of Air Force in ’11 gives you a clear picture of the progress on the defensive side of the ball.

The Irish gave up a whopping 565 yards of offense that afternoon, many coming in the second half as Kelly tried to develop the bottom half of his roster. On Saturday, with unproven backups like Kendall Moore, Romeo Okwara, Joe Schmidt and Justin Utupo playing a lot of football, the defense gave up nothing.

“Those are the kind of games that gives you an opportunity to see some of your younger players, gives them confidence, gives you an opportunity to get some reps off of your veterans that have played so much football,” Kelly said.

It’s all part of a plan that’s very much on schedule, even after two disappointing September losses. The Irish didn’t take a step back when Louis Nix didn’t make the trip, or Ishaq Williams went down, or the offensive line played a significant portion of the game without three starters from last week.

“We’re not there yet, but we’ve made some significant progress in terms of the depth,” Kelly said. “I think we’ll get close to being where we want to be after this next cycle.  I think we’ll be at 85 scholarships.  We’ll continue to develop the depth within our program.  It’s going to be that part of consistency and winning.  These guys can now step on the field and continue to help you win.”

  1. nudeman - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    OFF TOPIC: Thinking of going to Navy game. What do you knowledgeable ones recommend as far as scoring a ticket? Better to do something in advance like StubHub? Or scalp one at ND? Something else?

    ON TOPIC: Keith, you leave us hanging on the BK/Swarbrick thing. Are you implying that, beyond the disagreement in early season scheduling, there is festering tension between the two? Since you rarely answer questions here, perhaps someone else with knowledge could weigh in. Thanks

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      I was at the SC game and saw ones going for as little as $100, and this was at 12 noon for a 7:30 kickoff. My guess is right now on stubhub, they’re all going for substantially more than that so I’d say take your chances with the scalpers.

      Of course, there’s always the risk of scalping a phony ticket, so during negotiations, I recommend mentioning “This is Notre Dame. You realize if you’re selling me a fake ticket, you are sooo going to hell, and not just regular hell but ticket scalper hell, which is way worse…”

      This is almost certain to smoke out a fake one.

    • ndrocks2 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM


      ND ticket office, they have all remaining unsold tickets, they usually open them up at 830AM Tuesday week of game, first come first serve.

      Face value, obviously not the best seats but it gets you in game and once at stadium if you desire you start cutting deals with the usual sources.

      Went to USC game this way couple weeks ago not bad seats and no hassles.

    • don74 - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      LinkedIn has a subgroup for ND Athletics and tickets. Most are sold at face value and you may be able to score the all important parking passes.

    • mediocrebob - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:27 PM

      When I scalp I always take a picture of the scalpers license. If he has an issue with that, I’d move on to the next.

    • Keith Arnold - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      You can watch the video yourself. It was in a kidding style — definitely nothing adversarial. Check out the video at

      And sorry that my correspondence in the comments has been limited. Been a little busy!

      • ndirish32 - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:29 AM

        ND opened up with Temple, for God’s sake. It’s not going to get easier than that. What does Kelly, want, Indiana State?

    • irishayes - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Don’t use StubHub — check ND ticket office or take your chances and buy one day of game — wait until an hour or two before kick-off and prices will be below face value!

    • hbmichael9 - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      You will have absolutely no problem finding a ticket on game day. At the SC game there were tickets galore. I ended up having four extras. Somewhat sad state, but for you it sounds promising.

  2. jonnybrooklyn - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    @nudeman, my understanding is that he’s saying BK and Swarbrick have a congenial relationship where they can bust each other’s chops a little bit. But who knows maybe I misunderstood. I haven’t gotten the sense that they’ve been at odds.

    • nudeman - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Probably right.

      I just think there has been something of a fissure in their relationship since the Eagles interview

      Truthfully it prob doesn’t matter if they love each other, as long as they’re both committed to ND

    • bearcatirishfan - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      I seem to remember him poking at swarback last year about traveling to Ireland.

      • nudeman - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:57 AM

        Yeah … it was at the same time some nonsense about ND playing a game in China came up
        He said something like “this is a great big pain in the ass; my job is to win football games”.

        I can’t blame him.
        And China would be just absolutely absurd.

      • bearcatirishfan - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        I dunno I like dim sum.

        Disclaimer: yes I know this is an American invention.

        Point is I think he was jesting more than being serious as with this situation.

  3. jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Best seats I ever had at ND occurred a few yrs ago, went out there without tix hoping to scalp and asked somebody at the bookstore who gave me somebody’s business card and said call this guy, he may have extra tix. Called him and got 2 really good seats for face value. Then there was the time ND played at Rutgers, I had 4 tix but could only use 2 of them…..I was walking around the tailgate area offering them for free to anyone who needed them and some guy comes up to me and couldn’t believe they were free but he had already bought tickets. As soon as he walked away, I get jumped by 2 NJ State cops who want to arrest me for scalping. I ask if there’s anything wrong with giving tickets away and they go and interview the guy who had inquired about them and he backed up what I was saying so they took the cuffs off. Friggin police stat I live in. Therein lies the difference between the east coast and the Midwest. Everyone expects nice people in the Midwest but not around here.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Er, police state. Damn auto erect.

    • ndgoldandblue - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      I don’t know if I’d necessarily agree with you about the Midwest having nicer people than the East. I spent the first 25 years of my life in Minnesota and North Dakota, and when I moved to upstate New York seven years ago, I was blown away by how nice people are here.

      Case in point, my wife and I flew back home with our 22-month-old son the weekend of the USC game for my niece’s wedding. On our last connection into Fargo, my wife and I were split up on the plane, so I had my son in my lap. Next to me was a young man, all decked out in University of North Dakota gear, who refused to switch seats with my wife so we could sit next to each other, and then he leaned across the aisle to complain to another passenger about getting stuck next to an infant who won’t sit still. I spent one year at North Dakota before transferring to NDSU. Now, I remember why.

      • nudeman - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        Yo dude … did you want the “young man” (punk) to have to sit in a middle seat??

        Very un-Christian on your part. Your son has an entire lifetime to be with his momma

        Punk only gets so many window seat opportunities

      • ndgoldandblue - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        Smaller plane, only two seats on each side of the aisle. I was in row 2. Wife was in row 7. Since my son is younger than two, we did the “infant in arms” thing. The other guy would have still had an aisle seat if he had switched. Refusing to switch wasn’t the big deal to me. Complaining to a fellow passenger about sitting next to an infant after refusing to switch seats is douchebaggery in its finest, and it seams to run a amok where I’m from.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:32 PM

        Ndgoldandblue……maybe you’re right about people from the Midwest. You mentioned Fargo and that just makes me think of people stuffing other people into woodchippers.

      • nudeman - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        uh, jersey
        You do kneecap jobs back there. Fargo does woodchippers.
        Your point …?

  4. ladyj51 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    If I were you I would try StubHub to be safe. I have heard and read that a lot of schools are trying to crack down on scalping. Haven’t been to South Bend in quite a while but why take a chance.

  5. ladyj51 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Thats a good point about fake tickets. Some schools require student ID along with ticket so kids can’t scalp them.

  6. ndrocks2 - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Keith what’s the deal with Isaiah McKenzie? Rivals still doesn’t have him listed as ND and I heard he had some testing issues?

    • keanedj - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      He is not an official commit yet. Per the news that is out there, he has some type of academic work to do (I dont think we will get specifics since it’s not any of the public’s business where his academics are) to qualify at ND. But the sentiment seems to be that given the amount of interaction the ND staff has had with him, it appears that ND is confident he can get where he needs to be in order to be Irish.

      • nudeman - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        He is waiting for his test scores; can’t recall if that’s SAT or ACT.
        Supposedly took the test on 10/5 or thereabouts and is just waiting for the score.

        He has “committed” but of course ND can’t consider him a commit until he clears that hurdle

      • keanedj - Oct 29, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        His test scores are in because his official visit for the Navy game this weekend is locked in. He wouldn’t be able to take his official without the test scores being posted. But since the test scores are in and ND hasnt “accepted” his commitment yet, that means that he still has some work to do academically.

  7. irishwilliamsport - Oct 28, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    That depth will be tested in the coming weeks. I have Nix, Day, Watt, Shumate as questionable and Houndshell, Springman, Grace, Spond, Lombard, Barratti out for the year. Not sure on Welch or Williams. That’s 12 guys plus Bryant.

  8. keanedj - Oct 28, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    What’s going on here? All this talk about tickets??? No “OMFG, THE SKY IS FALLING!!!! TR BLOWWWWWWSSSS” posts? What has happened to you people?

    Just kidding, obviously, but it’s amazing, how far a couple of wins has turned the chatter on here.

    • ndirish10 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM


      We only try to point out the obvious, and do give credit where credit is due. For instance, this weekend. Rees played exceptionally well. Hope he continues it next week v. Navy, and the rest of the season for that matter.

  9. schuey73 - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    “I thought, in particular, you’re looking for me Cole Luke played the edge of our defense very well. I thought Isaac Rochell had a key play on third down. I thought he played well,” Kelly said. “I think when you look at the true freshmen that are playing a lot of football for us on both sides of the ball, I think defensively those are the two guys that have made some plays for us that stood out.”

    This is an interesting quote that I am going to take completely out of context. I guess BK forgot about Jaylon Smith, or else he doesn’t think of JS as a freshman anymore.

  10. ndirish10 - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Jaylon Smith is a freshman?!!! (rhetorical)

  11. deaconjack - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Nudeman I have one ticket left for face value. If interested e mail at or call 906-361-6160

    • nudeman - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:54 PM


      At work; no privacy.

      If I called you and said “Hi, this is nudeman”, the lady in the cubicle next to me would immediately call HR, followed by a security guard at my cube, turning in badge, PC, key to exec washroom, and probably no time to grab my favorite coffee cup.

      So I just left you an email.

      Thanks for reaching out.

      • rayguy14 - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        If that doesn’t work out, I would definitely scalp. It’s part of the ND culture…no one is going to give you a hard time. I typically go to a couple games a year (been to MSU, OU, and USC this year) and consistently hear (and have seen personally in the past) about tix going for under face value at game time. Typically when Navy’s in town (especially after the last 3 home opponents) supply will be up and demand will be down…basic economics here.

        I’ll be there for the Navy game as well…breaking my personal record and attending game #4 on the season. We’ll see if I make it in before halftime this week. Hate to say it, but going in for the 2nd half of that game put kind of a damper on what had otherwise been one epic day of tailgating. Gave me a good chance to sober up though for the 2 and half hour drive home. Heading south on IN-30 at 1:00 was a little tougher than anticipated. Especially with a crashed co-pilot unconscious on my right. Oh well…the things we do for our Irish!!

      • getsome99 - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        I have $100 that says “Office Space” is still your favorite movie.

        Don’t lie. It is, isn’t it?

      • mtflsmitty - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:57 AM

        I’m sorry, I can’t help myself, Ray. Can you really head South on a even-numbered road?

        DeaconJack, was very cool of you to reach out to Nude the way you did.

        Nude, So, how did you give yourself the name “Nudeman” anyhow?

      • dillonbigred - Oct 29, 2013 at 8:47 AM

        Now that you mention your name… Our family was in a hotel for 8 days recently because of water damage at our home. This site was blocked on the hotel computers for the word “nudeman”. I would have liked to see a full list of the words on this site that also would have blocked viewing. Dick would have his own page.

      • nudeman - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        First, I have never seen Office Space. Can’t even recall what it’s about. Saw two flicks this weekend: Bad Grandpa which was hilarious; and Gravity. BIG disappointment

        Second, DeaconJack is a good man for reaching out, esp to a guy with the name of “nudeman”. I politely took a pass on his tick though because I’m really trying to get something between the 20s or even 30s. He’s in the end zone. Good man though. A Deacon at St. Peters in Michigan.

        “nudeman” came from a Monty Python skit that friends and I used to howl at. It might even be on YouTube. Everything else is. Someday I firmly expect to see footage of the Resurrection there.

      • bb90grad - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Yup, it’s there. AKA Nude Organist.

      • nudeman - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        I saw that nude organist thing, but that’s not the skit that we used to laugh about

        I vaguely remember it was a guy interviewing for a job, nude of course
        John Clees (I think) was the interviewer, expressed no shock at his nudity, just went through the interview q&a in a completely normal manner and addressed him as “Nude Man”

        It was dry, British humor at its finest

        Can’t remember if he got the job. I’d have hired him though.

  12. sullivan1009 - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    BK got his so called warm up games. Temple and Purdue have a combined 2 wins, yet he got 2 series in the Temple game for the younger players and needed all 4 quarters against Purdue.

  13. fnc111 - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:48 PM


    Just wait until about the second drive of the Stanford game. The ND boards will be going bonkers after the turnover machine returns to form against big time competition.

  14. mtndguy - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    It seems that there is better depth at ND now, but I’m not sure their performance against a struggling Air Force team is a good illustration. I’d also argue that Folston’s 11 carries for 47 yards and “top performer” status isn’t anything to get to excited about. I’m an optimist, but we have to be realistic too.

    • ibleedirish - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      If you couldn’t see the glaring differences between Folston’s carries and Atkinson’s, I’m not sure that there is much to discuss…

      • mtndguy - Oct 30, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        I saw the difference, still not impressed with either. Let’s face it Air Force sucks, Utah State beat them for heaven’s sake.

  15. getsome99 - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Can McDaniel is THE best RB we have right now. Folston is not far behind, just lacks experience and maybe still learning to block and catch. It’s not the stats that stick out in Folston’s performance against AF. It’s his cutting and ability to find running lanes between the tackles that stood out to me. He’ll only get better with more carries and he should get plenty against Navy. He would have had more carries Saturday except AF was trying to run out the clock in the 4th quarter as much as we were.

    • nudeman - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      Will you be replying to your own post as getsome or knute’sghost?

      • getsome99 - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:17 PM

        That’s pretty weak. Now I’m down to just (2) people. I thought I was Keith Arnold too.

    • mtndguy - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      If Folston cut so well, and found running lanes between the tackles, then why didn’t he get more yards? I’m sorry but it just doesn’t work that way, ff he finds running lanes, then he should get yards.

  16. newmexicoirish - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Where is Max Redfield? I know he has played a few snaps, and I know the safety position is a difficult one, but this kid was a highly touted 5 star recruit and it seems like he has kind of gotten lost in the shuffle. Does anyone have any more information on his status?

    • nudeman - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      His status it that he’s in the 2 deep, and I know for certain I saw him playing against AF
      Supposedly his position if like the QB of the D; has to make lots of calls and reads
      That’s the party line, anyway

      I’m fine with them taking their time on Max. He’s playing enough that he’s learning and not being put in a position to make any mistakes that will cost them a game; and being in the 2 deep as a frosh at a school like ND is nothing to be embarrassed about. He’s fine and will be a beast next year.

    • irishaggie - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      Max played the last two series against Air Force. I don’t think he got a tackle but it was nice to see him in there. I never try to look ahead too much because I like to enjoy the moment but in two years ND will have an outstanding defensive backfield, maybe its best ever if these guys develop; Max, Cole, KeiVarae, Nicky, Devin, Elijah, and adding Jaylon into coverage at times, i mean WOW.

  17. newmexicoirish - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Nude, Irishaggie thanks for the update on Max. Agree with your assessments. It’s a tough position to grasp – I just hadn’t much about him recently. Thanks again!

    Go Irish – beat Navy!

  18. yaketyyacc - Oct 29, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    listen, you can play untested players even in a so called “tough” game. we played our so called “experienced”” players and still have lost two games. by the knowledge that an inexperienced player will play, the experienced player will push harder, and knowing that he, the inexperienced player, will play makes him push harder, a win win Win.
    some players are secure that they won’t have to push until next year, and can lay back until then. make everybody earn the right to wear the uniform. and the best way is to put them oo the field, in front of 80 thousand present and millions on tv.

  19. vanpearcysvaportrail - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    By the intro, I’m guessing BK is tweaking JS because he wants a softer start to the schedule to give the younger players more PT.

    Two of our first three games were against really bad teams, Temple and Purdue. The third was against a not-that-good Michigan team that BK’s squads (with the exception of last year) consistently make look like world-beaters.

    What on earth does BK want ND to schedule — FCS teams to be like all the wussed-out programs we disdain?

    Jumbotron, field turf, weaker schedule, empty backfields — I guess we’re just supposed to “get used to it.” I wish the coach would just focus on coaching. Not the stadium, the NFL or tweaking his AD.

  20. 4horsemenrideagain - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    van i completely agree with everything above and i will also predict the litany of disagreers (i know not really a word, but it sounds pretty good) to follow. i’m tired of renaissance men as football coaches who want to have their hands in every aspect of the university and stadium and music and cheerleaders and so on and so on. you’re hired to coach a kids’s game, so do your job and leave the rest to others.

    for expressing such antiquated notions we will be called “cavemen” and accused of being out of touch with college football, since everyone knows you just can’t recruit/win/succeed without fake grass, a garish jumbotron and all the accoutrements.

    since i’m on a bit of a rant, i’m going to lay into golden tate while i’m at it. i didn’t care for his antics and efforts at showmanship when he was representing ND and even though he was a great ND player i always wished weis would have exerted some control over his nonsense. while i’m not even a seahawks fan, his stunt last night should have earned him a smack from someone, maybe even one of his own teammates who should have told him to act like he’s been there before instead of like some punk getting into the endzone for his first time.

  21. getsome99 - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    What is an American invention? Dim sum? 100% ancient Cantonese.

  22. getsome99 - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    He averaged 4+ yards per carry behind a depleted, inexperienced o-line. Mostly in garbage time with Hendrix in the game and the box stacked against the run. And all the yards were earned. Jukes, change of direction, yards after contact, etc.

    What more do you want from a freshman who has had less than 20 touches all season?

    • mtndguy - Oct 29, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      getsome, you need to learn how to hit the “reply” button when you’re replying to a post. It’s hard to follow you because you’re posting new comments that are meant to be replies.

      • getsome99 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        Yeah, I know. It’s a pain in the ass to use the web browser from the phone, which I’m on 90% of the time and 10% on my computer.

        Just watch the replays on the Folston carries and you’ll see a huge difference in how he gets his yards vs AC and GAIII.

      • mtndguy - Oct 30, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        Getsome, don’t get me wrong, I want to get excited about Folston, but I just can’t when it’s against a team like Air Force.

  23. tsombanj - Oct 29, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Agreed. Don’t pay a premium online. It’s Navy. And the Irish are 6-2. Just show up on game day. And check with the tix office every day this week.

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