With the time difference in Ireland forcing this post at an absurdly late hour, we’ll present Brian Kelly’s Tuesday press conference mostly without comment. But a few bullet points that really caught my ear:
* Congratulations to the four seniors named captains of the 2012 football team: Tyler Eifert, Zack Martin, Kapron Lewis-Moore, and Manti Te’o. They’ll represent their team as official leaders and it’s a great selection by head coach Brian Kelly and his coaching staff.
Only Lewis-Moore really comes across as a vocal type, with Martin and Eifert mostly quiet leaders and Te’o far from the stereotypical talker. But four players being named almost quantifies the fact that this team is buying into the changes Kelly made in the offseason, and Kelly’s kind words for KLM — who was one of the veterans that bristled the most after last year’s “my guys” flap — is a great sign for team chemistry.
* Plenty of questions aimed at the status of running back Amir Carlisle. Listed as No. 3 on the WR depth chart, Kelly announced Carlisle will be unavailable for the Navy game, taking another playmaker (or at least potential, we’ve yet to see the USC transfer actually practice) off the field.
It’ll be interest to monitor Carlisle’s ability to get on the field. Kelly hinted that he might be available to talk to the media next week — which would make sense because Carlisle is probably incredibly motivated to see the field against Purdue, where his father is now the head of strength and conditioning.
If any ankle issues linger into the season, it might be time for a redshirt season to be considered. It’d be a shame to hold out a transfer player that actually qualified for immediate eligibility, but from a depth chart perspective, the move could make sense.
* A few more clues came out regarding the suspension of Cierre Wood and Justin Utupo. From Kelly’s comments the issue wasn’t one that had to do with ResLife, making any reports of a positive drug test less likely.
Discussing the decision to hold out both player for two games, he referenced the teaching moment as opposed to sticking on the discipline, and hopefully both Wood and Utupo come back after two games ready to contribute immediately.
Wood will be a key piece of the offensive puzzle, and keeping him fresh for two critical early games isn’t the worst thing in the world.