Well, this was predictable. Former Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer agrees with Irish coach Brian Kelly that Kizer has more growing to do on the football field. Kizer appeared on ESPN Chicago 1000 FM’s “Kap and Co,” hosted by David Kaplan and Jordan Cornette on Tuesday morning.
Cornette, a former Notre Dame basketball player and current basketball announcer, has publicly criticized Kelly, including during the recent hubbub after Kelly said Kizer “needs more football.” Naturally, Cornette asked Kizer how he felt about his former coach’s opinion.
“It’s honestly the truth,” Kizer said. “I have two more years available [of college eligibility]. I’m only 21 years of age. There is a lot of growth for me. There’s a lot of growth for everyone in this draft. There’s a lot of guys out there who had to make big adjustments as they move into the NFL, and I know it. That’s why I’m not the No. 1 quarterback guaranteed walking into this draft as we speak.”
Kizer nearly came across as appreciative of Kelly’s comments, viewing them as a chance akin to those granted by many NFL teams when they ask about Notre Dame’s disappointing 2016 season.
“For me, that’s just another opportunity for me to acknowledge that yes I do need to grow,” Kizer said. “Yes, when I am meeting with these coaches on the potential teams that I play n, I need to understand that I need to buy into their coaching to become successful, to fill in those gaps, to truly become a pro that I need to become.”
As of Tuesday morning, Kizer had not spoken with Kelly regarding the unnecessarily-controversial comments. That is in part due to Kizer’s busy pre-draft schedule, most recently reportedly meeting with the Arizona Cardinals. That is also, at least in part, because Kizer does not see it as needed. Neither does Kelly, surmises Kizer.
“If it is something that he truly believes or something that could be taken down the wrong path, he would address it with me in the first place,” Kizer said. “As soon as all this chaos created around the couple comments and he didn’t come reach out to me, I quickly understood that it really wasn’t as big of a deal as it could be pushed out to be.
“If it was something which he felt strongly about or something that he was going to address the media and make a big deal, he would’ve warned me before. That’s how our relationship has always been. There would be dialogue before that.”
Such a straightforward approach fits in line with the player-coach relationship and track record Kizer described. Kizer said he went to Notre Dame expecting to be coached a certain way, and that is exactly what happened.
“Off the field with coach Kelly, our relationship was just as it is expected to be,” Kizer said. “That was one where [if] we saw each other, we’d have a couple conversations here and there, but for the most part we were all about business.
“We were just both so competitive that at times you see on the sidelines and you see from an outsider’s perspective at times, we’re going to clash heads. That just comes with the competitive nature of both of us.
“He expects a lot out of me and I expect him to hold me to those same standards. It is what it is. Coach Kelly and I have created a great relationship and it’ll be a lifelong relationship. He was my college coach. He taught me what I know with football right now, and it’ll forever by me platform for whatever success I have moving forward into the NFL.”