Aug. 26, 2014
An interview with:
COACH Brian Kelly
THE MODERATOR: Thanks everybody for joining us. Coach Kelly will get started here in a minute. Kick-off for Saturday is at 3:42. You guys should have gotten a list of players that will be available after practice tomorrow. I believe that to be somewhere in the range of about 6:15, 6:20. Coach, if you want to get us started, we will get today’s press conference under way.
BRIAN KELLY: Thank you. Game week, obviously excited about opening up the 2014 season, and we get an opportunity to play at home, which is equally exciting for our football team. It is certainly a football team in Rice that we have a great deal of respect for, I do for David Baliff. He has done a great job, worked his way up through the ranks, like I have as well. Now over the last couple of years has done some things at Rice that nobody has done in years.
Last year, as you know, Conference USA Champs, took ’em to a bowl game. This team knows how to win. Well-coached football team, all phases, offense, defense, special teams.
They have some very good football players, too. I think everybody has heard of Jordan Taylor, the wide receiver, outstanding wide receiver, I think one of the better ones that we will see during the year. Has the ability to do a little bit of everything, a very good route runner. We have evaluated him. We think he is a fine player.
Driphus Jackson, played a little bit for them before but now you have a multi dimensional quarterback that can throw it, run it, he will be difficult to defend in what is an offense that features a run game with the quarterback central to it.
Those two guys in particular are going to cause us some problems, obviously. Defensively, Christian Covington, I think he is one of the better guys, very active, physical, just watching him against some — not All-Pros but some All-Americans at Texas A&M and what he did when he played against Texas A&M. Covington can play against the best in the country, very disruptive, can pass run, very good against the run.
Again, a guy that we have a great deal of respect for and will be considered one of the better players that we play against all year. Baker and Callahan in the secondary, veteran guys, Callahan has a lot of picks. They like to play some “man” coverage on the outside. He’s got a lot of experience, a lot of snaps. An aggressive defense, one that finished in the top 30, 40 in the country last year, so, again, a well-coached football team. You know, played Texas A&M, real tough, great win against Marshall late in the year. Shows you the kind of football team that they have. They got a lot of confidence coming in here and, again, “can win” football team. It’s going to be a good test for us as an opener. With that I will open it up for questions.
Q. Can you address your team’s excitement when game week rolls around?
BRIAN KELLY: There is a change in their focus, I will tell you that. The last three practices you’re really trying to keep their attention to detail, because they’re starting to wander a little bit in the sense that they know school is starting, and it’s getting closer to game week.
Then when you get into game week preparation, yesterday’s practice was a lot different than the last two or three practices because now it is focusing on an opponent in Rice, so a different sense in practice.
Q. Have you named captains yet?
BRIAN KELLY: We have not. We’re in that process. We probably would have that wrapped up here in the next 24 hours.
Q. I see you guys have decided to go back to singing the alma mater after every game, I think something the players brought to you. Can you talk about that?
BRIAN KELLY: The players didn’t bring it to me. I brought it to the players, just like I brought it to the players last year. We have a Unity Council. I addressed it last year with the Unity Council. We decided as a team that’s not what we wanted to do. This year we brought it back up to the Unity Council, and they voted that’s something that they wanted to do, so I’m all for what my team wants to do, and we will make that work.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the kind of training camp Isaac Rochell had and what you expect from him moving forward?
BRIAN KELLY: I think evolving, learning, you know, his position. He’s somebody that’s put on a lot of weight, stronger, more physical. I think he’s really adapting to what his skill set and his strength is. So evolving in the sense that, here is who you are, here is who you are turning into as a football player. Now use these strengths to your advantage. So I think capturing that knowledge in the defensive structure that we’re running is really what’s happened over the last, probably, three weeks.
Q. And just looking at the release, I’m not sure that you sign off on the depth chart, but it has Romeo starting over Andrew Trumbetti. Did he overtake Andrew again or —
BRIAN KELLY: No, I think that’s — I think you will see Trumbetti, you know, playing there. Again, I didn’t sign off on that. Mike is our two-deep expert. He decides who starts for us at Notre Dame. He decided on the quarterback position as well. Future questions, you can bring up to Mike.
Q. From the time that you named Everett starter and so forth, what have you seen from him in his play in practice, what have you seen from him in terms of trying to take ownership of the team?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think he’s been consistent. I think he’s been as a quarterback, much more decisive, and when I refer to “decisive” in terms of — you know, quarterback has to believe what he sees and react accordingly.
I think there is still room for growth there in that position, but consistency, decisiveness, those are good words to use with the quarterback’s growth. I think I’ve seen that. As a leader I think I could probably use the same thing relative to consistency. He’s consistently been that vocal leader on the offensive side of the ball. He’s consistently been very active in our Unity Council in terms of suggestions and asking questions and really integral to what we are doing offensively, both on and off the field.
He’s been engaging and taking what you would consider that “next step” of leadership by his engagement. So that’s what I’ve seen over the last, you know, three, four weeks.
Q. Any change in status on the timetable with Grace and Hunter and anybody new to the list that wouldn’t be available for Rice?
BRIAN KELLY: No. I think we’re making the — with Jarrett Grace, I think it’s better every day. He won’t be ready for Rice. Maybe I’m a little bit too optimistic, but I think Torii Hunter is ahead of progress in terms of where we thought he would be. I think we’re moving him on Monday. He was on our zero gravity machine, and he’s able to run at 20 to 30% of his body weight on our treadmill, which is a really good sign, so I think he’s ahead of schedule from what we thought.
Maybe he runs next week, and we will see where we are in Purdue week, but I would say he’s probably ahead of schedule.
Q. If there is not a clear captain, would you consider going game-by-game?
BRIAN KELLY: I would. You gotta look at, for me, it’s a very positive situation. I’ve got a great Unity Council that is representative of our freshmen, red-shirt freshmen, sophomores, junior and seniors, and it’s a very active group, the most active I have had since I’ve been here at Notre Dame. They are calling meetings, soliciting input from the players, very, very active group that is right now very important to our group.
I have a small senior class. I have 17 redshirt juniors, the largest class that we have ever had here in terms of numbers. So we have a lot of underclassmen that can be leaders that are sophomores. So we have a lot of leaders out there. I’m just — we’re taking our time and making sure that we’re going to get the right guys out there and game day captains could be part of that process. Not to say that we may not have one or two captains and game day captains. That’s an option, too.
Q. Is part of that the dynamics of — not all of them but a lot of your best players, they’re just younger? Somebody like a Jaylon Smith might not be ready to be a captain for 13 games.
BRIAN KELLY: That’s one. That’s one of those dynamics. Maybe some captains that are juniors may not be captains as seniors; that’s another dynamic. So there is a lot of different variables here. I know this: I’ve got a really good leadership group within this football team. We’re not devoid of leaders because we haven’t named captains on Tuesday of game week.
I want to be very careful that we select the right people and make sure that our voice is being herd across the group. Again, this is a limited democracy and our players know that, but I want to make sure that we’re representing everybody across the board with our football players.
Q. Russell, Daniels, Williams, Moore, out for this weekend?
BRIAN KELLY: Yes.
Q. Have you got an update?
BRIAN KELLY: I have not.
Q. At what point do you seek an update out now that the season is rolling and this is a sizable impact on your roster?
BRIAN KELLY: Probably after this week. I figure with school starting on Tuesday, we will probably — I’m sure Jack will inform me once he gets information. He’s pretty good at getting right back with me, so not something where I feel like I gotta pick up the phone if there is a disconnect with information. Jack works great with immediately getting me information that is needed relative to making decisions for our football team.
Q. Big picture, I’m sure you’ve had some young — where does this fit in with sophomores and freshmen, in terms of your two-deep?
BRIAN KELLY: Defensively it’s one of the more inexperienced groups, but it’s probably one of the more athletic groups, too. So there is a give-and-take there from that perspective. I don’t think, if I look at our offensive group, I wouldn’t consider them an inexperienced group, but I would say defensively there is going to be — you know, there are going to be times where we’re going to be gnashing our teeth a little bit, but they’re very athletic and that’s okay when you know you’ve got some very good athletes over there.
Q. The zone read or read option is something everybody does. You guys haven’t had the personnel to do it until maybe now. What does it take to be good in that element of the game and big picture that?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think it’s like anything else, I think it’s a commitment. You have to commit to putting your quarterback out there. Then I think there are some schematic things that you have to do with your offensive line. If you’re a team that likes to gap block, you know, if you want to block down and pull and you’re committed to those types of things then when you get into zone read option you’re doing some different things with your offensive line that you have to spend time on.
It’s a give-take relationship when it comes to zone read option, so first of all you have to be willing to put your quarterback out there, so the potential that he’s going to get hit. And, number two, there is a give-take as it relates to the time that you spend with schemes within the offensive line. We’re committed to it. We’re going to run it, and it will be part of what we do offensively.
Q. Have you ever really been committed to it?
BRIAN KELLY: Oh yeah.
Q. In the past?
BRIAN KELLY: Oh, sure, yeah, absolutely.
Q. Coach, in terms of Jarron Jones, just the size, it’s not the prototypical thing for an inside guy on the defensive line. How does he navigate or how does he make up for being such a big target inside? You know, he’s 6-6; most guys are around 6-2. How does that fit into his game?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, you know, I don’t know that I think — I think he’s becoming more of the typical inside guy. They’re just so much bigger now. They’re ranging in that 6-4 to 6-6 range. Richard Seymour, back in his day was atypical of the 6-5 inside guy. They’re becoming a much more common player. But specifically, he’s got to do a great job with his pad level, obviously, and with his leverage. That means he’s got to be compact, and he’s got to stay low, which he certainly can bend. But if you can’t bend at that post ion, then 6-6 is 6-6, whether he plays at that position, or he’s a defensive end and he stands up every play.
Jarron Jones has the flexibility, so when we are recruiting a player that may be 6-4 or 6-5 and may seem big for that position, if he can bend and he’s flexible, the 2, 3 inches really doesn’t make a difference. So his ability to bend, his athletic ability really doesn’t put him in a disadvantage at that position. Where he’s at is work volume and his ability to stay on the field for multiple plays. That’s really where the biggest jump will be for him this year.
Q. Brian, I may be reading too much into the depth chart —
BRIAN KELLY: They’re both going to play quite a bit; it’s 1A and 1B. I was just giving Mike a hard time.
Q. That wasn’t my question. I see Sheldon Day and Okwara on the outside of Jones and Rochell. Have you moved Rochell inside and Day outside?
BRIAN KELLY: No. I didn’t see that.
Q. They’re all listed as DLs, so I didn’t know.
Q. We heard Corey Robinson had a thumb issue. Did he actually have surgery? He is listed on the depth chart as a starter.
BRIAN KELLY: He did. He had a fracture. He had a pin placed in there on Friday, and he was back at practice yesterday catching the football. So he is a “go” for Saturday.
Q. Going to have an opportunity to talk to Cody Riggs this week. I was wondering if you could relate the experience of when you found out that he was interested in coming to Notre Dame, how you found out, what your reaction was?
BRIAN KELLY: There was a preexisting relationship there through his recruitment, coming out of high school, and a relative that went here to Notre Dame, then an association with Coach Alford, so that was the preexisting relationship that was already there. So there was a foundation of knowledge with Notre Dame and then of course our academic program that he had a keen interest in. All those things aligned themselves first and foremost.
Then the easy part was finding somebody with the kind of experience he did playing in the SEC. I think the final piece is what a great kid he is. Hard worker, great with the players, professional, goes to class, works hard, comes to practice and say ready to go every day. He’s just been, you know, one of those great kids that you find once in a while that’s worked out so well for us.
Q. You mentioned that you’ve had zero feedback on the four players this week. We heard a couple of weeks ago that you found out the day before the University announced the investigation. When you signed your contract extension you indicated at the time that it was important for you to have a seat at the table. In light of the timing of these things that we’re hearing, do you feel like you have a seat at that table now?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I did not feel in this instance that I was at any time left out of the loop, felt as though I was blindsided by a long investigation. I think the information that was ascertained in this matter was pretty straightforward. It was quick, and once they were able to kind of confirm the information, Jack let me know. So at no time did I feel that. And I think you guys know me pretty good.
Q. Have you felt all along that you weren’t going to have these four for the first game, or have you been waiting to get the indication whether you would or wouldn’t?
BRIAN KELLY: I have no — I know that when we go through an academic process like this, that involves our Honor Code, that this is a process that’s out of my hands. I’ve been through one already with Everett, so I know the workings of it. It does me no good to put a timetable on it. It does me no good to think about what day. I moved on and the process will take care of itself. Just by my experience in dealing with it before.
Q. Have you addressed this with the team? Do you feel the need to discuss their situation with them?
BRIAN KELLY: No, we addressed it when it happened. Our players know fully about the Honor Code. They know the expectations surrounding it, and it really has not been an issue for a moment with our football team other than they care about their teammates, you know? They care about what happens to them. Other than that they know the expectations that are placed on them here. They know the Honor Code; they know the responsibilities that fall on them. So it has not been something that they have brought to my attention nor to our Unity Council, to anybody that’s in our program. They have moved on as well.
Q. Who are the freshmen that you think you are going to have to have major contributions from this season?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, when you say “freshmen,” I include guys that redshirted, too, that weren’t included last year, so there are a number of those guys as well that are going to have to play roles for us and significant roles for us. True freshmen, Andrew Trumbetti. There is a guy that’s going to be on the edge of our defense that’s going to play a lot of football for us, and we’re going to have to count on him to play very well for us.
If you’re talking about from a defensive standpoint, there are guys on third down that are going to play and have roles for us. Jhonny Williams is going to play on third down for us. I think if you look, Kevin Butler is going to have to play — he didn’t play for us last year. He’s going to get his first playing experience for us as a freshman corner back. Those guys in particular stand out as guys that are going to have to perform for us, you know, in high-profile positions on the defensive side of the ball.
Greer Martini, Nyles Morgan, those guys are going to have to play roles for us. Blankenship is another freshman that’s probably going to have to get in there and take some reps for us. So there are five freshmen right there that are going to have to play some form of winning football for us to have the kind of success that we want defensively.
Q. Is there anything you can do to ease that or you have to —
BRIAN KELLY: Score a lot of points! Score a lot of points. That will he’s everybody’s concern.
Q. Is one of the biggest concerns on defense just staying healthy? If you look at the list you have here, almost — a good number of the number two’s are freshmen tags.
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, certainly there are key positions, right, inside, Sheldon Day is a key player for us, Jarron Jones is a key player for us, Jaylon Smith is an absolutely key player. I could go down the list. There are key players.
We know we’re going to have injuries along the way. That’s why this is going to be, you know, an evolving situation with some young guys that are going to have to play prominent roles and grow up during the season. But we know who we got and we’re ready and excited about watching them play.
Q. A lot is made about Joe Schmidt coming from walk-on to starter. Is that something that you can use in recruiting, point to somebody that maybe you’re hoping to get some walk-ons come in, not just Rudy but there are people that can come on and be contributors here at Notre Dame?
BRIAN KELLY: I think our walk-on program has proved you will be rewarded with a scholarship. We just awarded three more scholarships this past weekend. I awarded scholarships last year to the walk-ons. So every year since I’ve been here, we have awarded a scholarship to a walk-on. I did that at other stops along the way. I think that builds a credibility to your program that they are, in fact, respected for the work they do and have a chance to earn a scholarship. So it’s very important to us. After the 85 scholarships, those next 20 players are very important to your depth and how things pan out during the season, so I think it gives it a shot of credibility when you’re able to award scholarships in the walk-on program to deserving players.
Q. Matthias Farley, now that he has gone through switching positions, how has that transition gone for him? Given that you don’t know Keivare’s status, how important is he going to be to the team?
BRIAN KELLY: He can do a number of things for us, he’s playing nickel, corner, safety, he’s a guy that can do a little bit of everything. He’s very smart. But we also don’t want to put him in a position where we put him out there on an island every snap as well. He’s a good football player, a great teammate, a great leader on our team, and he’s a guy right now that is invaluable in the sense that he can do a little bit at three different positions for us right now.
Q. If Jack comes to you tomorrow or next Wednesday and says hey, two of the four have been cleared, they’re good to go. Is that enough time for them to get back in, practice, meetings, be ready for that week’s game or is that going to be an issue potentially moving forward as well?
BRIAN KELLY: It’s hard to say. I mean, we would have to see what they’ve been doing. I’m sure that the young men have not just been sitting on the couch, I’m sure they’re out conditioning and staying in shape, but, you know, hypothetically, I would say that that’s a doable situation, but we’ll have to see.
Q. We haven’t asked you about Rice. What is it about them this year that makes them a tough opponent? Obviously we know what they did last year, but what could give you guys trouble?
BRIAN KELLY: They were innovative offensively last year. I thought what they did — of course they lost their offensive coordinator, but I thought that they were very difficult to defend offensively last year, very creative. If you put too much emphasis in stopping their run game, Taylor, the receiver was outstanding so they had good balance offensively. I thought they were just well coached from an offensive standpoint. I liked their scheme and what they were trying to accomplish and very stingy defensively, extremely stingy. They were really good at stopping the run. They were aggressive in dropping guys down on the line of scrimmage and forcing you to throw the ball down the field. They played a lot of “man” coverage, they had two very good corners last year, one that was a third-round draft pick, and of course they have Callahan back so they were blessed to have two good lock-on corners, so they were very stingy on defense as well.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Ben Koyack. Seems like after losing DaVaris, he is probably the most experienced guy in the pass-catching game. How has his role changed and how do you expect him to be part of the offense?
BRIAN KELLY: For me the tight end has always been key to the offensive structure in that he controls a pretty important part of the middle of the field for us, somewhere where the tight end can do a lot of work. Ben can get down to the middle of the field. Teams that love to be in, you know, a two-structure and put a tight end with a linebacker and play a wide cover two, your tight end can do business for you down the field. Ben has the ability to get down to the middle of the field.
Anytime you have a tight end that can get down the middle of the field, he becomes a weapon for you. Ben has always had that, he just had to wait for his chance to do that and he will get that chance this year.
Q. You talked this spring about the comfort level improving toward the end of last season and getting out there and getting more involved. Have you seen that, him making plays and being that guy?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, and I think he’s — for him getting more time in the passing game — you know, he was always, all right put Ben in, he’s the run guy. Torii can rundown the field and Eifert can run down the field, Koyack is the backside of the tight end, he’s going to be the run-blocking guy, and now he’s getting that work in 7-on-7 and it’s polished his game as a pass receiver. I look for him to really benefit from a lot of the work that he’s gotten as that pass catcher.
Q. Special teams question for you. I know you love those! I think we saw the kick-off team on Saturday when we had a chance to look at practice and it looked like two or three running backs and more starters were out there with that first group, and I don’t know if that’s what indicative of what will be there Saturday, and I know you talked about changing the personnel there, but have you balanced getting those guys in on kick-off coverage with getting starters in there and how have you worked there?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, we feel we have the right players. I think I have answered this on questions that have been asked, getting the right players on that team — we didn’t believe it was a scheme issue as much as it was getting the right players on that team and the right speed element. We think we have the right speed element on that team and the right players, and we believe that there is going to be some guys that are starters at other positions that are going to need to be on that team as well.
Q. What’s allowed Justin Brent to earn a spot on the two-deep?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, I think he’s got some physical traits, probably more than that he’s ready. I think Torii Hunter will probably take that spot for him when he’s back. He’s keepin’ that seat warm for him right now, but he’s got physical traits.
You can put him in the game, and even though he doesn’t have a full — he doesn’t have full knowledge of all the intricacies of being a receiver yet, he’s learning. Because of his skill set and his size, he’s not going to hurt you out there. But he’s got a ways to go. He’s a freshman, you know? He’s bigger, he’s a physical presence, but I would say him and Corey Holmes are both kids that are going to be dynamite players for us, it’s just too early to have ’em out there, both of them.
Q. We saw after the first practice he was the last guy catching balls on the field. Is that indicative of his work ethic?
BRIAN KELLY: Oh, yeah are he has a great work ethic and maybe that’s a better reason to answer the question. You can’t get into the two-deep if you’re lazy, you can’t get into the two-deep if you don’t have a work ethic. You can’t get into the two-deep if you don’t care, right? He’s got all that. He’s just not ready to be the guy that, for example, in the two-deep it’s Amir Carlisle and C.J. Prosise, that’s a different two-deep than where he is at this point.
Q. — Chris Brown had a great camp. Has he carried that through and what are you hoping to see?
BRIAN KELLY: He’s got to make big plays for us. That’s what he has to do for us. When he gets the opportunity to catch the football, he’s got to make big plays for us. He’s going to get open, he’s got great speed. He plays physical. He’s going to get off press coverage, he’s got to finish plays. That’s the next step for Chris Brown, finish plays.
Q. In terms of the speed of the offense in general, are there ways that you will evaluate in terms of number of plays run or amount of time between plays? How will you judge how you’re doing?
BRIAN KELLY: Everything is based upon the game itself, how the game looks to me. That has a lot of factors, right? Their defense, you know, what it looks like during the game, you know? Are we in a situation where we need to maximize our possessions? Then what we are capable of doing. From week-to-week that’s going to be the factors. Having said that, we’ve gone into this year knowing that we’re going to run more plays than we did in the past. So there is a different bar than what we have had in the past.
Q. Brian, Everett mentioned it’s been 600 days since his last game. Given that long layoff does that change any expectations for what you want to see out of him against Rice?
BRIAN KELLY: Expectations? No, I don’t think so. But we need to be cognizant of that fact that this will be his first game since playing against Alabama. We need to get him into the game, probably you hear this from everybody, but have some success early on with him and get him into the flow of the game. I think once he starts to get comfortable playing the game at fast pace, then we just call the game like we normally would. But I think we need to get him off to a good start.
Q. With so many young guys on the depth chart does that change how you have to prepare for a game or is that part of the learning curve for these guys?
BRIAN KELLY: There is a little bit of both. I think you’re always teaching to the level that, you know, allows you to be successful. You can’t say, well, we just have a bunch of young guys, you know, we have to be basic. You know? They’ve got to catch up to us. But we have to be cognizant of what we have out there, too, so I think it’s probably a little bit of both.
Q. Wanted to follow up. Have you taken the red jersey off of Everett at all? He hasn’t been tackled in 600 days.
BRIAN KELLY: No, he will keep that red jersey on and, you know, we feel like, when it comes to the quarterback and how we’re teaching him on option plays and such, he’s got a pretty good idea of what we expect from him in terms of taking on contact.
Q. You’ve talked this preseason about the different pace on offense but there has also been so much about the defensive substitution pattern, that you will have a lot of specialists. If an opposing offense is running tempo what are the dynamics involved in being able to get your defensive players out there?
BRIAN KELLY: Can’t get ’em on the field. They don’t get on the field. They don’t get on the field.
Q. Go with what you have?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, you’ll have to play with the players that are on the field and obviously you’re getting them in and out on incompletions, you’re getting them in and out when the ball is out-of-bounds, you’re getting them in and out when you obviously can get that opportunity. But if the ball is in play and they’re spotting it, you know, 8 to 10 seconds is generally the speed that most crews can get that ball spotted back if it stays in the field of play. Pretty hard to get your guys in and out. Hopefully you’re by your bench and maybe you can — that’s why we — you know, we need to stay right and left and keep it in that fashion so we can get guys in and out in a faster substitution pattern.
But, yeah, if you’re clicking and you’re moving the ball effectively, it’s hard to get your sub packages in there.
Q. With you on offense, do you see, like, an individual who starts the game, if you’re driving at a fast pace, again, they will probably take the majority of snaps as opposed to recent years where you had quite a bit of substitution?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, we don’t have the multiple substitutions if we’re moving the ball in a faster tempo. We won’t have the kind of substitutions that we have had over the last couple of years.
Q. Matt Hegarty wanted the left guard job. Do you see rotation with him and Hanratty?
BRIAN KELLY: I think Matt wants it but I think you will see Hanratty playing as well, absolutely.
Q. And most of the preseason noticed Quenton Nelson as the number two right tackle —
BRIAN KELLY: I think you’re going to see Mike McGlinchey will be the first tackle in.
Q. And Hunter has moved to tackle —
BRIAN KELLY: He’s playing both guard and tackle. We have cross-trained him to play the inside position and we’ve given him both guard and tackle work, so we feel comfortable with him both at guard and tackle.
Q. As far as the receiving core you have always had somebody each year, it was Tyler succeeding Michael and T.J. succeeding Tyler, but without DaVaris right now there isn’t that one guy who has had 70, 80 career catches. Chris Brown has the most with 17. Is that a huge role for him to suddenly be thrust into that one receiver role?
BRIAN KELLY: I wouldn’t look toward Chris Brown as being the only guy. I think you’re going to see C.J. Prosise catch a lot of balls, and Amir Carlisle is going to catch a lot of balls. I think you’ll see a different dynamic with this offense. You’re going to see four or five, six guys. The running backs will be much more involved in catching the ball as well.
That’s going to really show itself across the board, more so than one featured guy. You’re going to see a lot more catches across the board with a number of receivers.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Steve Elmer’s transition to right tackle and what you expect from him this season?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, Steve is obviously an incredible story here, in that playing as a true freshman is such a difficult role in itself. Just to play as a true freshman in college football but to play on the offensive line here at Notre Dame just requires so much physical ability and the mental end of things.
Now we move him over to a tackle position, which is now no small feat in itself, in that you’ve got to adjust probably as much as any position where we flipped the side, now we put him on the right side at right tackle and his techniques are so different. He’s made a really good transition. I think there is work to be done there. This will continue to evolve during the season, but we couldn’t be more proud of the work that he’s done, the extra work that he’s done to come in here after just being here two years now and nail down two starting positions at two different positions on the offensive line.
Q. Can you talk about just a little bit about the intangibles that he brings in terms of character and leadership?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think it starts with his ability to, first of all, handle all the demands that are placed on him as a student and both an offensive lineman that’s played both guard and tackle. There is a lot going on there. You’ve got to have incredible mental toughness and you’ve got to be very bright. He’s a very smart kid that can translate what he is taught in the classroom to the football field. That’s not an easy chore.
You can be really smart in the classroom but have a hard time translate it go, so he does a great job and it certainly represents us in a positive way as a great student and a great kid.