As Brian Kelly prepares to rally his troops and return to his hometown of Boston, he took questions from the assembled media. Here’s a quick look as some highlights:
A few observations:
I’m glad Kelly took a moment to address Cierre Wood. While everybody was hyped up to see Cierre perform after a dazzling Blue-Gold game and a nice opener against Purdue, Kelly is right when he reminds us that he’s only a kid playing his fifth college football game.
I’m finding a rhyme and reason to Kelly’s choices in press conferences, and after taking a week to call out Cierre and noticing that it didn’t necessarily help him, Kelly’s trying a different route to get the most out of a talented, but raw running back. It’s a smart move and shows that BK has some feel and is flexible in how he deals with different personalities on the team.
Kelly addressed the play of the special teams and how they haven’t been up to his expectations yet.
“I think we had higher expectations. We have not punted the ball very
well, and we have not been using the word that I use, we have not been
dynamic other than our punt return earlier in the year,” Kelly said. “So, yeah, we haven’t gotten the kind of production that we’re looking
for. Now, Stanford kicked the ball in a position where we couldn’t be
dynamic on kickoff return. But I think you’re absolutely right. I had
higher expectations at this point. We’re still working at it. We expect
to be there. We’re just not there yet.”
In reference to Stanford, that position was directionally correct and in the end zone by Nate Whitaker, something Irish fans would’ve loved to see out of former Irish kicker.
Kelly addressed the maturation of Dayne Crist, a seemingly weekly topic after football games. Kelly pointed out the importance of confidence and retention — two key attributes that great quarterbacks must have.
“How do you get consistent? You gain confidence. When he’s confident now,
he’s really, really good,” Kelly said of Crist. “He loses a little bit of confidence at times,
that’s where we’re working on the development of Dayne Crist, and
that’s what he has to bring to each and every game. If there’s a bad play, forget about it. Let’s move on to the next. So that just takes a little bit more time.
“It certainly was a game that provided so many opportunities for him to
grow. Not just from completions to incompletions, but in leadership and
body language and all of the things that quarterbacks need to develop.
He saw a lot of things. I think he learned quite a bit. Now, as I told him yesterday in our meetings, it’s about retention.
It’s about making sure that we don’t have to go down this road again.”
Crist has a great opportunity to get his confidence back, as well as implement some of the things he saw over the past few weeks this weekend, in a most-likely hostile environment.
For those of you that have been watching, it’s pretty clear that Carlo Calabrese is a total gamer. Kelly confirmed as much today:
“You know, he plays really well on game day. Carlo’s one of those guys
that just has it. He has a great sense for the football, and sometimes
we didn’t see that during practice,” Kelly said. “So leading up to the start of the season, not seeing him a lot in game
situations, we weren’t sure what to expect. Game time he plays really,
really well. He’s on things. Mac is still a really good player for us. And when he gets his
opportunities, he’s got to be productive when he gets in there, because
Carlo right now has been so productive.”
Rewatching last week’s game, you could tell the physicality that Carlo brought to the front seven when he was in there. Against a team like BC that’s going to rely on their run game, expect to see a whole lot more of Carlo.
The Irish have found two front-line middle linebackers that’ll certainly do their part in stuffing the run. They already knew they had Manti Te’o. I don’t think they knew they had Calabrese.