Kelly talks about importance of new summer schedule

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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.”

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