For Notre Dame football, the 2016 season begins tomorrow, as the Irish kickoff spring practice on Wednesday morning. But for Brian Kelly, the formation of his seventh team begun weeks ago.
“For many that have been waiting for spring ball to begin, tomorrow is the official day relative to our spring count,” Kelly said Tuesday. “But really, since the middle of January our process has begun in terms of building the 2016 football team. It’s just been without footballs.”
After bringing back a veteran football team in 2015, the Irish begin 2016 with a team long on talent but shy on experience. And while the feedback at the next level has been solid on the former players ready to embark on a professional career, Kelly’s comments sounded like something from a financial advisor on Tuesday, understanding all too clearly that past performance doesn’t necessarily predict future results.
“When you turn over the number of players we did this past year, there’s work to be done.”
That work begins—on the field, at least—Wednesday. It’ll include position battles at just about every position, from the high-profile quarterback depth chart to the mix and match of talent at places like offensive line, running back and wide receiver.
“When we talk about spring practice now, we’ll talk about competing in a football manner. There’ll be a lot of competition,” Kelly said. “Virtually at all positions across the board there’ll be some competitive battles, and that’s what we’ve waited for a long time, to go into each spring to know there’ll be spirited competition at all positions.”