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Kelly talks about importance of new summer schedule

May 12, 2014, 1:25 PM EDT

Brian Kelly, Everett Golson AP

With changes to the NCAA rules, the transition from spring football to summer is about to change. And while Brian Kelly has talked briefly about the opportunities that gives him and his coaching staff, he went a bit more in depth on the subject in his latest visit with Jack Arute and Gino Torretta on SiriusXM College Sports Nation.

The duo caught up with Kelly for his weekly radio stop, where the Irish head coach gave a few new snippets that haven’t necessarily been heard in our regular media viewing/listening opportunities.

On the subject of the new NCAA rule changes, Kelly talked about what the coaching period in June does to help the staff and how Notre Dame plans on utilizing it. On offense, it means another opportunity to get the latest iteration of Kelly’s offense installed.

“I kind of like June. What we’ll do is reinstall the offense again,” Kelly told Arute and Torretta. “We got this spring, was install one. This we’ll kind of treat as an OTA in the NFL form in that we’ll kind of reinstall the offense again. Go over similar things that we did in spring ball and maybe even go over some of the things that we struggled with. And then in preseason camp we’ll go and reinstall again a third time.”

One of the things that’s evident with this plan is that the quarterback position doesn’t have a player like Tommy Rees in the depth chart. Sure, that means the playbook gets to open up and the athleticism of the position gets unleashed. But it also means that the position group loses a critical mental piece, with Rees essentially another coach in the huddle and in the meeting room.

If you’re looking for a reason Kelly brought in a quarterback specific position coach, that’s likely one big one. So credit Kelly, new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock and LaFleur for structuring their offseason to make sure the basics are mastered.

“I really think that’s going to make a big different from what we haven’t been able to do or never have done before,” Kelly said. “So all of the coaches now look at June a lot differently.

“Yeah, it’s always been about camps and recruiting. But now you get a chance to be on the field and do some skill work with the guys. Certainly you can’t have formations and you can’t have footballs and blocking dummies out there, but you can get your guys in some skill work and then get some film work with them and I think that’s going to be a real positive.”

Sticking with the quarterbacks, if we are to believe what we’re hearing, while it’s clear that Everett Golson is the team’s No.1 quarterback, Kelly isn’t ready to call him the starter yet.

Over the weekend, Kelly was a keynote speaker at a charity fundraiser for former Grand Valley player Jason Kinzler in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While the event’s main focus was a foundation to give financial assistance to families that lose their primary care-givers, Kelly fielded questions about his football team, where the topic of his quarterbacks came up. 

Eric Hansen took notes as Kelly spoke about the current situation:

“I’d rather clearly have somebody be the guy. We’re not at that point, where there’s a clear separation between the two yet. I think that could happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.

“I think Everett has more games under his belt, but you still have to respond when the lights go on. Malik has shown the ability to play better than he practices. Everett has practiced better than he plays. And so we’ve got to continue to work through that and Everett’s got to — when it’s time to shine, he’s got to go take it over.

“We’ve got to get Everett to really grow and develop and then go from there. But nobody has really said yet, ‘Hey, this is my job.’ They’re still competing.”

Those comments jive with what Kelly told Arute and Torretta, with Golson needing more time and practice to become the quarterback that many expect to see in the fall.

“He recognizes that in his first year here at Notre Dame he had training wheels on and we played to the strength of our defense,” Kelly said. “Then he took a year off, and then when he came here, he didn’t know as much as he thought he did. So that’s a real positive thing for a young man to come in and know that he’s got a lot more to learn as it relates to the quarterback position.

“He certainly has so much more developing to do. And I think that’s what he recognized. This isn’t just getting back to where I was, this is, boy, I need to get so much better.”


You can read more here on the Jason Kinzler Family First Foundation.


  1. mediocrebob - May 12, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    I thought EG played well with the bright lights against MSU, Oklahoma, Pitt and u$C but obviously not consistently. I hope this gets figured out early enough. Obviously the best man will win and hopefully he takes it and runs with it. (No pun intended). Patiently waiting for August to roll around. Gonna be a long summer.

    Go Irish. Beat everyone.

    • danirish - May 12, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      But EG did get better. Most of his “deer in headlights” games were very early. Pittsburgh is where he grew and became our qb by coming back from some bad plays.

      He actually had a decent game against Alabama. I could be wrong but I think he had the 2nd or 3rd best stats against the Bama defense after Aaron Murray of UGA

      • mediocrebob - May 13, 2014 at 6:29 AM

        I agree. Although much of the bama numbers came against bama 2nd/3rd team defense. He played though though.

      • ndgoldandblue - May 13, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        He played “though though”? Who are you, Bobby Two Times? I’m gonna’ go get the papers, get the papers. All joking aside, I’d like to see Golson win the starting job as well. There’s something about the kid’s loyalty that I’d like to see rewarded. After getting dismissed, he could have taken the easy route and just transferred. Instead, he took the road less traveled. Something tells me a degree from Notre Dame had something to do with it.

      • mediocrebob - May 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        “Tough though. “. I apologize for the error. Please forgive me.

      • ndgoldandblue - May 13, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        No, I figured. Just a Goodfellas reference.

  2. goirishgo - May 12, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Smart management by Kelly. He’s keeping the pressure on Golson to work hard and improve or lose the job. He’s also giving hope to Zaire that the job can be his if he works hard and outplays his competitor. Classic motivation approach to get the best out of both players.

  3. fnc111 - May 12, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Another missing piece without Rees is the dead duck pass in the middle of the field because he was scared to get hit. I laugh at the extension of the coaching staff bit. How many turnovers did he have again in his career? Too bad Kelly couldn’t ever bring in a stud QB while Rees was here. Keith was stuck watching him so much he actually thinks he is one of the all-time greats.

    • danirish - May 12, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      You’ve been doing really well lately but I see old habits die hard.

      “Too bad Kelly couldn’t ever bring in a stud QB while Rees was here.”

      Do you really believe that?

      GO IRISH!

    • irishdog80 - May 12, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      For Rees there was a disconnect between what he envisioned and what he was actually capable of doing…he sometimes checked into the right play for a more talented QB. I laud Rees for the games where he came in and managed ND to a win under difficult circumstances…Michigan, Stanford, etc. That said, I will also remember him for his plodding effort to make it into the end zone against Stanford in 2011. It was painful to watch and the “high hopes” interceptions that he threw.

      I also sometimes wondered if Kelly saw Rees as an extension of himself…a marginally gifted athlete that had a better head for the game than body and ultimately destined for coaching.

      • knuterocknesghost - May 13, 2014 at 12:38 AM

        “I also sometimes wondered if Kelly saw Rees as an extension of himself…” Uh huh. Well. Are you a board certified psychologist or is this just a hobby of yours? More speculation on BK’s affinity for (or love affair with) TR? I mean how else can you explain TR’s starting last season when it’s so obvious he was so worthless as a QB? What was Kelly thinking?

      • ndgoldandblue - May 13, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        knute…you saw what Hendrix did in the USC game, didn’t you? There was no other option. I was never a Tommy Rees fan, but even I could see that. Now…if by some miracle Hendrix goes into Miami and lights it up this year, then perhaps I’ll think that there was an opportunity wasted with him. I’m not expecting it, though.

      • knuterocknesghost - May 13, 2014 at 2:34 PM


        I was being sarcastic about TR in my May 13 Post at 9:02 a.m.

        The pitchfork carrying crowd wanting to tar and feather TR all the time in the past has sometimes referred to BK’s wanting to play TR (despite all the defects they see in TR) being the result of BK’s having a “man-boy” infatuation (their terminology not mine). IRISHDOG struck me as carrying on with that theme…. .TR wasn’t starting because he was the best quarterback, but because BK likes, loves, adores, etc. TR. Now its because BK sees himself in TR. Give me a break already.

      • ndgoldandblue - May 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        Myself, I wouldn’t be foolish enough to say that we had a better option last year. I’ve been accused of being a hater, but even I’ll concede that it was Tommy or bust. Malik had mono and Hendrix was…well, we all saw what he could do. I just wish BK hadn’t put so much faith in Rees. I think of the Pitt game. In the first half, the running game looked pretty good. Then, it all but disappeared in the second half because the team had only six attempts. Why? Who’s at fault for it? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter now anyway. I just wish the team didn’t abandon the run game for such long stretches last year. I hope that doesn’t happen this year.

    • 1historian - May 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      What is there about Rees that gives you such a permanent woody?

      He’s graduated, he’s gone, next stop UDA for the Washington Redskins.

      May I suggest a cold shower and GET OVER IT?

  4. nudeman - May 12, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    So … the “I wish we still had Tommy” din continues.
    Why would anyone wish that?
    Does someone miss the 56 audibles/game? The myth of his field general-ship?
    Betting the under?
    LET. IT. GO.

    • danirish - May 12, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      He is the Redskins’ issue now

    • knuterocknesghost - May 12, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      Ya. Right.

      Only Nude for sure would know how many times an audible was called by TR when its was totally unnecessary and overused. Only Nude would know that TR was just adlibbing out there on the field on most occasions to show off and BK just let him get away with it. TR wasn’t following BK’s script at all. I mean why in God’s little green acres would BK be dumb enough to trust TR with calling audibles to either take advantage of the defense or minimize a disadvantage when the original play is overmatched at the point of attack? Besides, TR was an absolute dim bulb when it came to understanding offensive football and BK’s offense, right Nude? So BK had nothing to do with any of that and, again, like it always was, and forever will be with you, it’s all TR’s fault.


  5. wisner74 - May 12, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Hey, Nude, I thought we were going to retire the Rees conversation!

    On a different topic, based upon how things looked in the Blue and Gold game and all of these comments by Kelly, I would not be at all surprised if we end up seeing quite a bit of Malik Zaire this season, either in relief — as Kelly seems to not hesitate doing — or even eventually as the starter.

  6. jem5b - May 12, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    For a kid who supposedly couldn’t play quality Div. 1 football, the Redskins saw something in him.
    We should all have the ability in our chosen professions that Tommy the R has in his.

    • irishdog80 - May 12, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      Do not underestimate connections in college and pro football. Is it a coincidence that the new QB Coach at ND, Matt LeFleur, came from the Redskins? I can almost guarantee that connection played a role in Rees’s FA decision.

      I do agree that Rees is more talented than any of us are willing to give him credit for, but that does not change the fact that ND would have won a few more games over the past 4 years if we had a Top 10 talent at QB. The QB always takes the credit and blame for success on the field or the lack.

      • knuterocknesghost - May 13, 2014 at 12:48 AM

        Your last sentence makes the most sense. The offense last year practically equaled the 2012 season on point production. The points given up were higher, and, if I recall correctly, the turnover ratio was worse. This was less so because of turnovers lost by the offense than because of fewer turnovers gained by the defense. How many INTs did we have in 2012 versus 2013? Tuit, Nix, Day, Grace, all injured. 2013 had more to do with the defense not playing up to expectations and key injuries. Remember all the hype about the defense? Of course, the lapse on the defensive side of the ball, including the injuries — well, ….. that’s all TR’s fault too.

        TR wasn’t any “Tommy Football,” but then too much blame has been put on his shoulders by some for the 2013 season’s outcome.

      • knuterocknesghost - May 13, 2014 at 1:01 AM

        So Matt LeFleur just decided to throw caution to the wind and not give a horses patute about his own reputation in the league for evaluating talent. He swallowed hard, and told the Washington GM a complete fairy tale about TR. Is that your point? If not, then what is your point?

      • irishdog80 - May 13, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        Calm down, Knute. Yes, Rees earned most of the way to a FA opportunity with the Redskins by his performance on the field and being the QB at ND, but don’t kid yourself to think that connections did not play a role as well. Do you think Rees looked at the Redskins depth chart and chose them from among dozens of offers? Or is it possible, he sees himself as a budding Matt LaFleur? What would be wrong with that?

      • irishdog80 - May 13, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        As an addendum to my comments, my brother-in-law got a Free Agent Tryout with the New York Jets back in the ’80s and a friend was the QB at William and Mary and got a Tryout with the Redskins around the same time. Both got their shot due to connections they had or their coaching staff had with the respective teams. Collegiate and NFL Coaching is one big fraternity with only a few degrees, at most, of separation between coaches and other staffs. It’s who you know and the relationships that you have that make the difference especially for Free Agents. The exception would be the much in demand FA Rookies that were borderline draftable. Then it’s your agent and the respective situations at each team that determines where you are headed. Oh, and yeah, an offense developed around the skill set of RGIII is perfect for Rees. The Redskins had to have him.

      • mcirish27 - May 13, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        Jay Guden, head coach of the Redskins..former South Bend resident and ND fan? That’s probably enough of a connection, not to mention all of the “coaching fraternity, 1 degree of separation, etc. etc.” stuff. Not really hard to get an NFL invite if you’re the QB for a top tier college program either. Not sure that TR being a “fit” for the offense was a big draw the Redskins – maybe they just needed a body for camp?

      • knuterocknesghost - May 13, 2014 at 2:46 PM


        Your post May 13 at 9:22 a.m. My point exactly. I didn’t discount the fact that it helped to have Matt LeFleur on the staff at ND. But your post which I criticized implied that TR’s opportunity for FA tryout was nothing more than a mere favor reflexively extended by Washington to LeFleur.

      • mayo1010 - May 14, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        “Do not underestimate connections in college and pro football. Is it a coincidence that the new QB Coach at ND, Matt LeFleur, came from the Redskins? I can almost guarantee that connection played a role in Rees’s FA decision.”

        I can guarantee you his FA signing had nothing to do with Matt LeFleur! The entire Shanahan coaching staff was fired after last season. So I don’t think GM Bruce Allen would be taking any advice from someone he recenty fired? Unless of course he’s and idiot! Which I doubt he is.

  7. jerseyshorendfan1 - May 12, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Keith, it sounds to me like you’d rather have the “coach in the huddle” rather than a QB who can open up the playbook and unleash the athleticism of the position. It’s great to have a cerebral QB who is a student of the game, so long as he can execute. What good is a student of the game if he checks into the wrong play and then throws it badly? What good is it if he’s so non-mobile that your offense becomes one dimensional, where teams can drop 7or 8 into coverage because you know he’s not going anywhere? I have had enough of Rees and personally I can’t wait for some athleticism to be unleashed. Remember Golson in 2012? That dude took us to the promised land. Yeah I know, Rees helped win a couple games, but could he have won the Pitt game? Tell Tommy to give up the NFL pipe dream already and pick up a clipboard. I think he will come into his own ultimately as a coach but cement shoes just don’t cut it on the field. Ok, I’m ready for that playbook to be opened up now.

    • nudeman - May 13, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      If he was a “coach in the huddle” then his coaching days are numbered.
      Consistently wrong play calls and worse execution
      Think Rod Marinelli, Detroit Lions

      • don74 - May 13, 2014 at 8:29 PM

        not so sure he was consistently changing plays. Kelly says it wasn’t as much as fans think. Most of the gyrations were line calls. Kelly gives him high grades for getting the blocking assignments right.

        If Kelly has a long tenure at ND it can be said that TR was the reason. Basically there was no starting QB on the team when BK took over. Dayne started season 1 and was up and down with performance until injured. TR came in and held the season together. Season 2, Dayne wins starting job…TR is in game 1. Dayne gets a chance to redeem during the USC game and fumbles on the 1; never again seen. Golson wins starting job season 3 and with relief ND plays in the NCG. Season 4, EG cheats on a test, Gunner takes the rifle to Cincy and TR again plays well enough to keep the wolves at bay.

        If Kelly gets this team rolling and ends up sticking around it can be said TR allowed it to happen.

        I am not saying the guy was anything more than serviceable but he and Kelly will always be linked. He was a great college player…not a great performer or even a top 20 QB but he did as much as he could and gave the coach a chance to build depth, get their procedures in place and was a perfect lightning rod to attract the fan’s ire. TR took the brunt of the fan’s frustrations.

        I asked a question of Keith “who takes TR’s place as the guy the fan’s love to hate?” He responded with Williams. I think it will be Kelly. He now has his QB and a backup that plays the same style. He has a deep but unproven OL. He brought in a DC who has a scheme suited to the talent.

        I’ve been a Kelly fan but without us having TR to kick around the coach is now fully in the spotlight.

        (I didn’t proof read so sorry about the spelling)

  8. yaketyyacc - May 13, 2014 at 5:07 AM

    ZAIRE ZAIRE ZAIRE spring, summer fall and winter.

  9. mediocrebob - May 13, 2014 at 6:40 AM

    How do any of you know whether Rees was putting the offense in the right play or not? Just because a play doesn’t work, doesn’t mean it was the wrong call. Execution usually plays a factor as well.

    The funny thing about this is that we’re all still talking about this kid. Time to give it a rest. Who cares if the Redskins picked him up bc of connections ( which is completely false). The kid gets to live out a dream and have one last shot at football. I’m sure people told him growing up that he’d never play QB at a place like ND. Time to move on. The obsession some of you have is getting a little weird.

    • irishdog80 - May 13, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      Pending 2014 QB results on the field, Rees, as the last incumbent, will come up in comments. I agree they should be kept to a minimum…until we see the difference with a true dual threat at the helm.

      How do you know “it is completely false” that connections played a role in Rees’s going to the Redskins? It may not have been LaFleur, but Rees’s Dad has plenty of NFL connections.

      • mediocrebob - May 13, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        You’re right. I don’t know it to be completely false. Just like you can’t almost “guarantee” that connections are why he was signed

  10. irishwilliamsport - May 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    I’m continually perplexed when I hear BK say “he’s learning”, and this refers pretty much to every player at every position. I don’t think I’ve heard him say “he’s ready”. Is his system just too complex ? I mean these are kids smart enough to get into ND.

    Also, give the Tommy Rees stuff a rest already, he is not on the team anymore.

    • mcirish27 - May 13, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      This is a great observation, williamsport. What’s the holdup?

    • knuterocknesghost - May 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM


      I’m still irate against the mind set that overtook the ND crowd at the Purdue came in 2012 when TR came onto the field and was loudly booed. I sat in the stands stunned. That’s my excuse.

      For Nude, Keith’s writing about TR in the above article resulted in Nude’s having to be the first to offer a comment, and again with mockingly negative remarks. What kind of satisfaction could any normal person get from constantly beating a kid down like that even at the mention of his name?

      • 4horsemenrideagain - May 14, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        spot on knute. having a player get booed at ND Stadium is a real low point. no excuse for that.

        I grew up during the Gerry faust era, and I don’t even remember him getting booed, and those were some tough years. now don’t get me wrong, i’m not suggesting faust should have been booed, because fans booing is just stupid and classless in general, unless of course it’s booing opposing coaches, like jimmy Johnson or pete carroll.

      • irishwilliamsport - May 15, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        Rees had to play out of necessity and he did what he could, imagine what last years record would have been had Hendrix had to play. But enough is enough already and lets move on to another topic.

        The offense could be prolific this year, the line is in great shape and deep, great backs and some really good receivers and a good tight end. It’s either EG or MZ or both at QB and frankly I don’t care as long as they get the job done.

        I don’t know about the defense, a lot of guys are gone but there really wasn’t a great deal of production from them, Nix, Shembo, Tuitt, Jackson, Calabrese. This is a Pro style D with lock down corners where they force a 3rd down, blitz and cover one on one, it ought to be fun to watch.

  11. wisner74 - May 13, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Some of you may remember me as an ardent Rees defender over the last three years. I am now an exhausted Rees defender. I got nothin’ left in the tank on this topic. Please, please, please can we just shut the f*** up about it now and wish the kid a wonderful post-graduate life, whether it is as a player (highly unlikely), coach, scout, whatever?

    Nude, I thought I extracted a promise from you a few days ago about a cessation of hostilities on the TR front!?!

    I have an idea . . . how about this: Golson or Zaire – discuss.

    • ndgoldandblue - May 14, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Whoever plays like a top-ten college quarterback. Frankly, in BK’s system, I think that’s what we need. I’m pulling for Golson, but when it’s all said and done, I couldn’t care less. I just want one of them to take the job and light it up out there. I mean Brady Quinn-like efficiency. I don’t want either one of them to throw it as much as Quinn had to (especially in 2006), but Kelly’s offensive system seems to rely on the pass…a lot. So…if we’re going to throw the ball around the yard, we might as well be great at it.

  12. gtizzo - May 14, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    “Sticking with the quarterbacks, if we are to believe what we’re hearing, while it’s clear that Everett Golson is the team’s No.1 quarterback, Kelly isn’t ready to call him the starter yet.”


    This line doesn’t make any sense. How can Golson be No. 1 and not be the starter? Once Kelly names him the starter then he would be number 1 not before. Kelly is playing this right he shouldn’t be to quick to hand out the starting job to Golson. Wait until fall camp or maybe even wait until the week before the Rice game to name the starter.

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