Aug 27, 2013
COACH KELLY: Well, we’re all excited about game week here at Notre Dame, and certainly getting back on the field for our football team after a loss is the best recipe for any football team. It’s been a long time since we played that last game, and a lot of work, a lot of preparation leading into this first game against Temple.
We’re playing an opponent that certainly, with Coach Rhule taking over, we don’t know a lot about. We do know this: That Matt tutored under Al Golden. We know the success that Al has had, and I have a great deal of respect for Al and his program and the discipline and organization that the Temple football team is going to have in this game, as well as working for Coach Coughlin, you know that this football team is going to be ready.
They return a lot of players from last year. We don’t know exactly what we’re going to see. We think we do, but I think this is one of those openers where we’re going to have to kind of make some adjustments along the way, and they’ve got some good football players. You know, I think the things that we look at, first of all, in the opener is playing the game the right way.
Last year we understood how important it was to get off to a great start, play the game the right way, attention to detail, play with great effort and enthusiasm, and the watch word for us will be to play the game clean. Don’t turn the football over. Make sure that we’re efficient in the special teams game, and hopefully more than that this year. Hopefully we can turn some special teams plays into some big plays.
I think we all know openers tend to have some mistakes in them. We need to play a clean opener against a team that obviously is coming into Notre Dame Stadium and has nothing to lose, and our players understand that going into it. So a well coached football team, very good offensive line, big, physical group.
They return three out of five starters up front; a big tight end, a physical running back. They’ve got three wide receivers that have proven themselves in their program. They wear low digit numbers, so we know that that means something to their team and to their program.
From a defensive standpoint they return one of the best linebackers in the Big East last year, the old Big East Conference, and of course Levi Brown is a guy that can get after the quarterback.
Again, personnel for Temple, they showed that they can compete with anybody in the Big East last year, and you know that last year we had to take Pittsburgh into overtime, so we’re going to have to play well against a team that’s coming into Notre Dame Stadium wanting to show very well for their first year head coach. Again, from our standpoint it’s an opener, it’s where we start the 2013 season, and it’s important that we get off to a good start.
Q. When you were thinking about implementing the pistol, did you go to Chris Ault at all and ask him about it and get any feedback from him?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we had Coach Ault come here, and he spent a couple of days here. He was also a clinic speaker for us. How much we use the pistol will be determined really for us in terms of game plan week to week. We just think it’s another piece that we can use to get some downhill runs. I don’t think we’ve turned into a pistol offense. We’re still a shotgun offense that will operate similar to what we have in the past.
Q. You mentioned the downhill runs. Is it something you would have implemented, though, if you had Everett as your quarterback this year?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think the principles of the shotgun offense still allow you to do some things from the home position. When you are in the shotgun, you limit some of the runs that you have. When the back is offset, I think you open up a lot more versatility. The backers have to obviously play a lot more downhill. They can’t offset one way or the other based upon the back. It also helps a little bit with your back working coast to coast in protections, as well.
Q. Any update on Ronnie Stanley?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, Ronnie practiced full yesterday and had a good practice, and we expect him to continue to progress.
Q. You’ve had two spotlight openers and one that was turnover ridden. I’m sure going into all the games you felt well prepared. What is it about game week that can, I think you’ve used the analogy before, turning the keys over to your teenager. What can you do to make sure they take care of the football?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think you have a lot of veterans that have been in those openers and have experienced what the level of play is. Look, everything is built on expectations. Expectations start and end with how we do things on a day to day basis, not leading up to Saturday but how you do things on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and so we have a number of players that understand what those expectations are through practice and through how we handle ourselves in meetings and classroom and on this campus. They’ve been immersed in that on a day to day basis. So into year four, there’s not as much of a concern that all of a sudden we’re going to forget how to handle ourselves.
Q. You’ve been able to manufacture depth on the defensive line by bringing in Ishaq. Can you get to that third rotational player in the backup, and who might that be?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think right now Kona (Schwenke) has some flexibility where he could play some four and five technique for us. So I think you’ve got some flexibility. We think Tyler Stockton can come in and get some plays for us. You could obviously put that math together and figure that third rotation could be Tyler Stockton with Kona playing a little bit, as well.
Q. You said you were prepared to play a lot of people on Saturday. Given the weather forecast, it’s going to be very, very hot, are you prepared to play even more people than you anticipated?
COACH KELLY: No, I think we’re going to play the guys that we believe at this point going into practice today that have shown that they’re ready to play. I don’t know that anybody is going to get themselves off that status today. I think we have a really good idea.
I will tell you this: It’s a lot deeper than we’ve had at any time. I think that there’s five running backs that can help us play. We feel like there’s a number of players at the receiving position that can play for us.
So I think we’ve got a lot more depth than we’ve had at any time coming into the season at this point.
Q. What do you think TJ Jones can bring to the punt return game that’s been missing the past couple years?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think I first said at the press conference that he really wants to do this job. I think you have to have that want and desire and belief that you can be really good at it. I think second, we’ve really looked at a number of areas within our special teams where we can help him in returns. We did an extensive off season study.
I’ll just give you one example. We had seven safe punts against Purdue, seven safe punts where our defense was on the field, and it was just the circumstances of the game. They punted four times inside our 50 yard line. Very rarely are you going to bring your punt return team on there.
We hope that we’re able to get into situations where we can get our punt return team on the field. I think we’ve put some guys in there that we think that we can force punt returns more often where we don’t have to have safe punt on the field. We’ve looked at a lot of different situations where we believe that we can get our punt return team on the field and a guy back there that really wants to get that job done. Now, take both of those together, that punt return team now knows they’ve got a guy back there who’s a senior captain that wants to do their job. There’s a big motivation factor for those guys to want to get that job done for him, as well.
Q. Is Will Mahone playing this weekend?
COACH KELLY: No, he is out this weekend.
Q. Temple is one of several teams you’re going to play this year that had to devote a lot of time during camp on figuring out who the quarterback is going to be. Being someone that’s gone through that several times, how much more time are you able to give overall production wise during camp when you don’t have to go through that?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think it’s a very good question. The things that you can work on that you don’t get a chance to really focus on, for example, communication with your wide receivers and getting in the right play; movement within the pocket, really focusing on, for example, with Tommy, his ability to extend plays. Where you’re focused on reps and calling plays and evaluating who the starter is from one to two, there’s so many other things that we were able to work on this year knowing who our starter was.
I know what Coach Rhule was having to go through. I’ve been through that many times. It’s nice that we’re able to work on many more things that help our quarterback position out leading into game one.
Q. Are there any challenges that come from playing against a team with a new coach?
COACH KELLY: Oh, absolutely. I think I know more about Eastern Michigan’s defense than I do anybody else. Coach Snow, who’s their defensive coordinator, was at Eastern Michigan last year, and I found myself talking in terms of what Eastern Michigan was doing, and clearly obviously that’s not their talent pool. They’ve got Temple players.
So there’s that unknown. Clearly what they did at Eastern Michigan, they might be doing something totally different this year at Temple, so there’s that unknown. Obviously with a new quarterback, a new offensive coordinator who comes from Tennessee-Chattanooga, there’s so many different variables that go into the opener first of all. Now add a new staff, a new head coach. So we have to be on guard, and from our standpoint we’ve got to take care of what we do. What’s very fortunate for us is that we go against a defense that runs both three down and four down, and that helps us a lot in our preparation. But again, we’re going to have to be ready to make adjustments on the fly.
Q. You mentioned the advantages in the pistol for the running back. What about the quarterback getting the snap a little bit sooner than he would? What are the benefits of that?
COACH KELLY: I don’t know that that’s much. We’re talking about four versus five yards, we’re about a yard different, four versus five. I think he still feels very comfortable catching the ball at that depth. Again, I think most of the benefits there are protection wise and the ability to get the back in a downhill pattern; instead of being east and west he’s more north and south.
Q. How did the pistol all come about? Did you have an interest so you invited Chris Ault in the spring, or was it something that you had seen that you were curious about, or how did that all come about?
COACH KELLY: Well, in year one we ran a little bit of pistol, and I felt like it was something that I wanted to get into a little bit more of, and I think it fits some of the personnel that we have. You know, George is a guy that I wanted to get downhill. As you know, he’s got great speed and acceleration. He ran downhill very well in high school, and we felt like the pistol could fit him very well. Not just him, but we felt like it was something that could benefit us moving forward.
Again, just another piece to our offense that gives us the versatility that we’re looking for. I think week-to-week you may see it a little bit more than others, and some you may not see it at all. I just think it’s another piece that helps us complement the players we have.
Q. As you move forward through the season, what are some of the guidelines you use in terms of determining which freshmen play, which freshmen you use a year of eligibility on?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think we like to get our freshmen in on special teams early on and get them acclimated, especially those guys that we plan on or have a vision towards playing. So I think you could probably get an eye towards what our intentions are based upon those guys you see on special teams on Saturday.
You know, if you see a lot of guys that are freshmen on special teams, you could probably take a pretty good insight into that we have an eye towards playing them.
The running back situation, though, might be a little bit different. We think that that’s a position that you can impact the game in week six at that position. That might be a little bit different. Whereas the defensive players, if we’re going to play those guys, I like to get them on special teams right away.
Q. I think it breaks down you play six games and then you have your first bye week. I think in the past you’ve used the mid season as kind of a cutoff.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I would generally speaking say that that’s a pretty good assessment as to where we would be.
Q. If I were to ask you what player has jumped out or made the greatest improvement since the start of camp, who would come to mind right away?
COACH KELLY: Freshmen or any player?
Q. Any player.
COACH KELLY: Well, I think there’s a few guys that stand out. I think in terms of just overall improvement as a football player, I probably would have to put it on two. The first guy I would probably say Nick Martin. Where he went from the spring as such an important position at center, right, where you’re taking over one of the most important positions on the offensive line, where we were hopeful to where he went against Louis Nix every day, one of the best if not the best nose guard in the country and has done very well, I would say that the progress that he’s made in such a very short period of time has been really impressive for me.
And I think defensively Kona Schwenke has been a different player in the spring than he is right now. He’s going to play a lot of football. He could play for a lot of teams and make an impact.
Now, I think both of those guys impact the game differently, but one is a starter and one right now is not. But in terms of improvement, if you asked us off the chart improvement, both of those guys are different players than they were in the spring.
Q. If I could jump back to playing the freshmen, do you consult with them if you reach a certain point in the season, or even if you see a kid that isn’t making great progress and you want to sit on maybe he wants to go ahead and play and graduate in four years, how do you communicate that with the freshmen?
COACH KELLY: I communicate before the fact. We have conversations before, and we let them know what our intentions are. I will tell you this: That the group of freshmen that I’ve had conversations with, they all want to play. It’s a group that they really they want to get on the field right now.
But I do like to have that conversation so we’re not on a different page. All the freshmen that we’ve had conversations with, they generally don’t come to my office unless there’s a disconnect with their position coach and coordinator relative to do you want to play. We’ve already had those conversations, so we’re in pretty good shape.
Q. First glance at the depth chart has Stanley starting at right tackle, Christian Lombard inside. Is that how you’re going to go, and why is it like that if that’s the way you’re going to go?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think right now if you were to ask us today, Ronnie would start there, but that’s a very fluid situation. We have great confidence that Steve Elmer could go in there and start for us if we needed him to, as well, and it’s not out of the question that he could be playing there at some time on Saturday, as well.
I think you should keep an eye on both of those guys playing some right tackle for us.
Q. Did Austin Collinsworth win that job? He’s ahead of Shumate right now. Is that another fluid situation?
COACH KELLY: Both will play. I think it’s a 1A, 1B situation. Depending on where we are in the game, down and distance, a lot of those factors will be involved. I think you’ve got to look at both of those guys playing an equal amount of football.
Q. Is there anybody else who’s not available for Saturday that we haven’t talked about ad nauseam already?
COACH KELLY: No, just Will Mahone, other than Tony Springmann, who had surgery, successful surgery.
Q. Just in the secondary, if Collinsworth is the one, does that mean Shumate is the dime or how does that
COACH KELLY: No, they’ll share we’ve got three for two back there right now, and Hardy would be four. And they’ll play in a pretty balanced rotation right now as it goes.
Q. And then at the beginning of camp you talked about the freshman class, what impressed you most is their ability to compete physically. Now that you’ve had them for four weeks, what have you learned about that group at large? We know about Jaylon Smith and Corey Robinson, but just the group as a big picture?
COACH KELLY: Well, I’ve asked these questions: One, have they and I’ve asked them on a couple of occasions; have they lost their passion or their desire to want to continue to get better. And every day I see these guys wanting to get better, staying out, they’re here to watch film. It’s not new to them anymore. You know, they’re here, they’re doing football every day. They still want to get better. They haven’t leveled off. They haven’t hit the wall in a sense.
So I think what’s impressed me the most about this group is that they’re in it for the long haul. They’ve had a long summer. Our freshmen are they go through a very rigorous bridge program. They’re here all summer, weight training, conditioning, and they can still they can take on more. They’re a pretty remarkable group of kids both on and off the field, and from a football standpoint, we can heap even more on them.
Q. When it comes to guys who are going to see their first time extensively, whether it’s Ronnie Stanley or Jaylon Smith, do you do much with them this week? Do you leave that up to your position coaches, veterans, just to kind of keep them not too anxious about what’s coming on Saturday?
COACH KELLY: Oh, there’s constant observations, communication. We’re very keen and aware of going in this will be my 22nd year of being a head coach where yeah, every time I go into the staff room I’m asking about the young guys, how they doing, how they handling things, are you seeing any anxiety, are you looking through the back of their head at this point. So those questions are asked quite often. But we haven’t seen anything. We actually it was interesting, we were kind of talking about it last night, that switch where game week starts, kicked in at about halfway through practice questioned, and it didn’t half until about we got about 10 periods into practice, and then you saw the switch. And you saw it with the freshmen. They did it after the veterans kicked it in. So it was an interesting observation.
They’re going to do a lot of this after the veterans do it, so we’re going to have to keep an eye on them all week because they’re going to follow a lot of the leads that our veterans have. We talked to our seniors, we talked to our veterans about making sure that they keep a good eye on them.
Q. This is something that I think Zack Martin and Chris Watt talked about at media day, that what impressed them about their group was their willingness to get in line, despite whether they were five star, four star, whatever. Has that impressed you or something that you take for granted or something that’s a little bit different about this group, the way they’re wired?
COACH KELLY: We saw it in the recruiting process. This is a group that has shown us from day one that they will play hard. They have a great respect for the game and a great respect for their teammates. No trash talking. It’s not about themselves, it’s about their team. There’s no sense in feeling of a class system in the room. It’s a very unique group, that they have never once said, hey, we’re the group, we’re this freshman group that has made this a better football team. They have blended in so well to an established identity within this football team, and it takes a humble group of guys, and that’s why it’s a pretty good dynamic.
Q. You’ve been able to find like a happy balance and medium of getting starters on special teams but also being able to get freshmen on there at the same time. How do you balance that?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think I have. I work at it hard. It’s not easy. We try to make certain, as I said earlier, that if we’re going to play freshmen, I want to get them on the running teams.
I want to get them out there, get them acclimated to the game situations because if they’re going to play I think it’s a great entry into playing on the field, as well as guys that we believe can impact those special teams without taking a position player and wearing him out.
So I think it’s a balance that myself and Scott Booker, we spend a lot of time talking about personnel and getting the right personnel on that team.
Q. Are you able to share some of the freshmen that will be on special teams on Saturday?
COACH KELLY: I think we’ll leave that for Saturday. I think you’ll see here’s what I’ll tell you: You’ll see a number of true freshmen playing on ST.
Q. You changed the format game day last year with the walk around and won’t have the team mass this year
COACH KELLY: We’ll have the team mass.
Q. But not on Saturday. With these little tweaks, when you came in did you take a whole analysis of the program and say here are maybe some things that are not getting us at our maximum or optimum level on game day?
COACH KELLY: Certainly, yeah. I mean, we have distinctions that we’ll never change, that we never want to change. We’re always going to have mass. It’s important. It’s part of the fabric of Notre Dame football. It’s part of our mission. There’s certain things that will never go away as it relates to Notre Dame and its traditions.
What I was looking for were simply better ways to manage leading up to the game itself. We’ve been able to work together to give our student athletes the best schedule leading up to kickoff. That’s simply been in. Not to exclude anything or take away anything that is important to our traditions or our history but simply give our student athletes the best opportunity to be successful when we kick that football off.
Q. In your fourth year here, this is pretty broad, but what do you think might be the most important gains during your time that have helped the program?
COACH KELLY: I just think the ability to manage the 24 hours leading up to kickoff. You know, the pep rally and the luncheon and the demands on the players’ time and getting all of those things accomplished. They’re great things and we want to do them all. We want to be part of them. We want to be actively involved in them. We just wanted to make sure that they fit in a schedule that allowed our players the opportunity to really focus in on game time without being overloaded.
I think we’ve come to a nice schedule in working with our administration that our players have a very similar schedule now that mirrors what we do on the road and what we do at home.
Q. The five running backs, is Saturday an audition day for them at all, being able to see what they can do in a game situation?
COACH KELLY: I think it’s an audition every week for all of our players, right? I think some guys are put in that position. Whether all five of them get that opportunity this weekend for that audition, I don’t know. But certainly I think you could characterize it as such.
They’re not all going to get 20 carries, right, so they’re going to get their chance and they’re going to have to make the best of their opportunity. But I can tell you this: That at some point at some time in the season, you’re going to get a chance to see all those guys play.
Q. You talked this month about the number of leaders on your defense. Have you at all had to manage having too many voices in that room or talking or the hierarchy at all with that group?
COACH KELLY: No, no, I have not. I don’t know that that has ever been, with this group, an issue. They all work hard. There’s not a lot of chatter over each other. Most of them are guys that just go and do their job and get their work done. They know what’s expected of them, and obviously Coach Diaco and his staff, the defensive guys do a great job of obviously articulating what’s expected of them. Our program has set those parameters for them, as well, and they go and do their work.
No, we haven’t had that issue of too many chiefs on the defensive side of the ball.
Q. I believe you said at one point that you didn’t think Manti as a freshman was going to start his first game. What have you seen from Jalen that makes you think he’s ready to start in game one?
COACH KELLY: Consistent performance. He’s in a different position. Manti was in a four down defense. We’re going into a three down defense. Jalen is playing on the edge of a defense asked to do a lot of different things. Probably not a fair comparison, other than they’re both great freshman players, right. Jalen is asked to do a different job. He plays so well in space. Very smart player, plays instinctively.
I think the one thing that Jalen has done as well as a lot of freshmen that I’ve been around, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. He’s a guy that comes back the next day, and he can eradicate the same mistake twice, and that’s a hallmark of a guy that’s going to play a lot of football for us.
Q. George came in and was at No. 1 in training camp again. What did he do that you’ve seen that kept him there? How did he hold off everybody?
COACH KELLY: Well, first of all, he has experience at the position. He has done it on the field. He’s going to have to continue to do it. He’s like everybody else; he’s going to have to do it against Temple, and he’s going to have to continue to show that.
But he hasn’t lost anything in preseason camp. He’s continued to get better. He’s stronger, had a great off season, he’s been a great teammate. So he hasn’t done anything to take that away from him. But he’s going to have to perform. If George fumbles the football, if George misses assignments, if George doesn’t run the right hole, George will be standing next to me on the sideline.
So it’s a very competitive situation, but George has done everything we’ve asked him to do in the off season and had a good camp, and we expect him to play well on Saturday.
Q. You mentioned several times that one of the priorities this season is scoring more.
COACH KELLY: Everybody wants to score more.
Q. But the challenge for you is you have a quarterback that doesn’t have quite the same running ability. You lost a first round draft pick at receiver. What gives you confidence that this group can score more, that you will be able to do it?
COACH KELLY: Just what I’ve seen. You know, I mean, I’ve been doing it a long time. I mean, I don’t throw bouquets out unless I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I know. Tommy Rees is going to help us score more points than we did last year, and our offensive line and our running backs and our balance at the wide receiver position is going to allow us. He’s making good decisions. He’s showing some escapability.
But it’s not just going to be him. We can threaten you over the top. We can push the ball over your head. If you want to drop down on us, we’ve got some weapons that can beat you one on one, and we’ve got a quarterback that can see that and throw the ball to you. We struggled with doing that at times last year. We won’t struggle doing that this year.
Q. I think on Thursday you mentioned that you want to be better at 1st and 2nd down passing. What numbers are you aiming for?
COACH KELLY: Well, what we’re aiming for is on 1st and 2nd down we’d have to run into some bad looks. We want to be able to control those 1st and 2nd down looks a lot better. I’ll give you an example: Early in the year, we were plussed out a lot in the run game, meaning the defense had more players in the box, and we should have been throwing the ball more effectively in 1st and 2nd down situations. We need to throw the ball better in those kinds of situations when we get plussed out.
Q. Normally there are two full weeks of (Inaudible.)
COACH KELLY: No, they have got their full fill of college life, trust me. Our summer bridge program does a great job. Kevin Rooney does a great job of putting our program together. They went for six weeks of school, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so they are acclimated to the academic rigors of Notre Dame. I’m not worried about that. They’re going to be a little bit taxed, right, because their schedule now is a combination of both the next couple of days, but certainly they handled themselves very well this summer with a very demanding schedule.
In a strange way, it’s a great advantage at Notre Dame because of our summer program that they’re not going to be overwhelmed on the first day of classes. As a matter of fact, they’re going to be acclimated quite well compared to other universities, where they’re going to lay it on and it’s going to be a bit overwhelming based upon what these kids are asked to do in the summer. I’ll bet you’ve never heard that before. I mean, it’s true.
Q. I think I counted three early enrollees on the two deep. Was spring more beneficial this year than normal?
COACH KELLY: No, I think it’s beneficial every year. That’s an extraordinary thing that you’re asked to do, to come in early. Obviously Steve Elmer and James Onwualu in particular, those two guys are great beneficiaries of the early enrollment process for us, and they’re going to take full advantage of it. Both of them will play for us on Saturday. And of course Corey Robinson. Yeah, so you’ll see all three of those early enrollees play for us on Saturday.
Q. Can you talk about the kind of fall camp that Chris Brown had?
COACH KELLY: I thought it was just okay. We expect a little bit more consistency from Chris. He’s got great talent. He really worked hard this summer. I was really pleased with his summer work. He put on weight. He got to the level that we wanted him physically. Now we want to see a consistency out of him.
I don’t want to compare him to anybody, but we went through this a little bit with other players in our program, where we demanded that consistency, and that’s where we are with Chris. We want more consistency. We think he’s got such a high ceiling. I mean, we think he can be a terrific football player.
But if you rewind, this is pretty much my critique of most of the players in the program. We’re looking for consistency across the board, because he has flashes where you go, wow, and then you go, what was that. So he’s at that point now going into year two with us that we’re looking for that consistent performance week in and week out.
Q. With Ishaq there’s been such an expectation from fans and media that at some point he was going to be a breakout player. Do you see him evolving into that this year?
COACH KELLY: I hope so. I mean, everything that I’ve seen, he’s done cooking. I mean, he’s ready to go. He’s shown everything to me in practice. His preparation, his off season, it just took a little bit longer, but I’m excited to watch him play on Saturday. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do, hasn’t said anything about, hey, I want to play at this position. We’ve asked him to play end, he’s played end; he’s at cat, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I’m really excited about watching him play.
Q. With Jalen, he came in with such a tag on him as being one of the top five players in the country. How did he handle that as a guy here in the summer and fall camp, and then also how did he handle not having a clear path to getting on the field right away?
COACH KELLY: I think he’s done pretty well. You know, I don’t know that there were many times where we had to remind him that, hey, you have to work for it. But he had to work for it. It was Danny Spond, it was Councell and it was Jalen Smith; it didn’t start the other way around. He was No. 3 on the depth chart when they ran out there, even though there wasn’t a depth chart posted. He didn’t go with the first group. Danny Spond was with the first, Councell was second, and Jalen was third, and he went out and he did his job. He comes from a good family. He comes from a great program where they obviously did a great job of teaching him how to go about and do his thing. He’s been great, and he’s put himself in a position now to do some great things.
Q. You mentioned that you want to play a lot of people, you’re going to play a lot of people. If the situation dictates, how important is it to get your other quarterbacks on the field and get them some experience?
COACH KELLY: Well, I might say that any time that you can get your second and third quarterback in, that’s a good thing if it’s not an injury, right? So obviously we’d love to get in that mindset. Our mindset is we really want to get off to a good start with Tommy Rees. He wasn’t a starter for us last year, so I think everything that we’re thinking about is to really have a solid game, a great start for Tommy Rees and getting off to a good start in 2013.
Playing a lot of players is not just weather related. We’re going to play a lot of players, it’s just going to be the nature of this football team. So I think our game plan, everything that we do will not be necessarily weather related as well as we’re going to play a lot of players, and Tommy Rees needs to really have a good first game, and I think we’re focused more about Tommy playing start to finish than we are getting other quarterbacks in the game.
Q. There was a lot of talk in some of the other conferences, a debate about whether fast tempo offenses created some injury problems on defense or injury situations made it riskier for defenses instead of going back and forth. Do you buy into that? Do you think that it’s creating more of an injury risk having fast tempo offenses?
COACH KELLY: I really haven’t been in tune to that conversation. When I’ve had conversations about fast tempo, it’s trying to neutralize really good defensive coordinators. It’s trying to take away sub packages. It’s trying to take away the pen last from the defensive coordinator as it relates to running tempo. It hasn’t been much about injuries and things of that nature, from my conversations.
Q. You talked a little bit about Shumate, Hardy and Collinsworth at that safety spot. Will we see Max Redfield at all at safety?
COACH KELLY: You know, I think Max is in the mix there. I think he has made great progress. He is not right now in that rotation. I think he is somebody that you need to keep an eye on that will be in that rotation, but he’s not there yet. But he’s going to play on Saturday.
We obviously have high expectations for Max as we move through the season.
Q. Some of the young guys obviously have to worry about Temple and that’s kind of what they’re focused on. Do you worry about any of the veterans looking ahead to Michigan?
COACH KELLY: Every day. Every single day I talk about I’m not that far removed from South Florida. That’s what I do. This is my livelihood, so I think about all those things.
We focus on Temple, I talk about it every day. I talk about the importance of playing this game and focusing on this football game. It’ll be a topic of conversation again today, tomorrow and every day leading right up to the Temple game.