One of the major offseason hurdles that have tripped up Irish football teams in recent years seems to be in the rearview mirror: Academics.
Brian Kelly caught up with the South Bend Tribune on Tuesday, and the major revelation coming out of the Irish head coach was that his team didn’t suffer any off-field casualties in the class room.
Speaking at a Kelly Cares charity event in South Bend, the seventh-year head coach said he expects everybody to return to South Bend when camp opens August 6, the type of “all-clear” that we haven’t always seen during the last lull of the offseason.
“Our grades came in. We’re all good,” Kelly told the Tribune. “We feel good about everybody coming back, and now it’s just a matter of getting guys in the right position and going and playing.”
That likely means reserve defensive end Grant Blankenship has worked his way out of the doghouse. It also means that the Irish staff doesn’t expect any surprises from incoming freshmen or outgoing veterans, as we’ve seen in the past with preseason losses like Bo Wallace, Kolin Hill or Jhonny Williams.
The injury front also seems to provide some optimism. Key piece of the puzzle CJ Sanders is ahead of schedule as he recovers from hip surgery, opening up the Irish offense with the sophomore ready to ascend into the slot receiver position. Kelly also gave a positive report on freshman Parker Boudreaux, who had a scary battle with viral meningitis during summer school.
The Irish players are home this week between summer school and fall camp, with Kelly quite okay with his team taking a week to relax before reporting to training camp.
“I told our trainer before they left, ‘Just reiterate: let’s not water ski and pull a hamstring or do something crazy.’ I’d be fine if they laid on the couch for a week and then we’ll get ‘em re-engaged when we get back,” Kelly said.
“They’ve been without any kind of coaching in a sense for the last five, six weeks. We’d like to get back to work. It’s getting to that point.”