{{ timeAgo('2020-03-25 23:41:57 -0500') }} football Edit

Brian Kelly On Current Reality: ‘We’re All Trying To Figure It Out’

In an alternate normal universe, Notre Dame’s sixth spring practice would be held Thursday. Brian Kelly would speak Saturday, after Notre Dame’s seventh spring session.

Instead, the schedule that was reality a few weeks ago was shredded, and Kelly’s first comments in three weeks came around Wednesday night. Not at a dais, but on TV in an interview with Scott Van Pelt on ESPN’s SportsCenter around 11:30 p.m. Who knows when he will speak publicly again or when he can hold practice.

Bizarro world, indeed.

Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly at a press conference
Brian Kelly said Notre Dame needs to be able to reconvene by July 1 to ensure a safe and normal training camp. (Joe Raymond)

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“Thirty years of being a head football coach and I thought I had the manual written and read, but no,” Kelly said. “That’s not the case. We’re all trying to figure it out. I think one thing for certain is player safety, student-athlete safety, staff, making sure that first and foremost that everyone’s healthy and safe.”

Right now, safety involves keeping players away from campus and at home. If social distancing measures are encouraged into the summer and threaten the start of training camps and football season, though, there becomes another matter of safety: proper preparation time. Kelly does not see a condensed training camp or shortened strength and conditioning window leading into camp as a viable option if the season is to begin on time.

“From a player safety standpoint, we have to say, ‘This is the date we can live with to get these young men physically conditioned and ready to go into camp,’” Kelly said. “To me, July 1. If you can’t start training your football team by July 1 ...

“Strength and conditioning coaches will want six. Sports medicine will want four to six. The realistic goal here is a minimum of four weeks of conditioning before you put them in camp. College football is going to be affected if we’re not playing in 90 days in terms of the conditioning element of getting these young men ready.”

Notre Dame opens the season a week before most teams. The Irish are scheduled to play Navy Aug. 29 in Dublin, Ireland.

The coronavirus outbreak's impact on the 2020 season is still unknown, but it has already thrown the spring recruiting period off kilter. Notre Dame was expected to host a large crowd of visitors for the weekend of March 21-22 and again in early April. Those visit weekends were canceled and the NCAA mandated a recruiting dead period through at least April 15, which is normally the first day of the six-week spring evaluation period.

In regular years, coaches can visit players at their high schools from April 15 through May 31. In this one, the idea of a full spring recruiting period is become more and more doubtful. Meantime, coaches have resorted to the unfamiliar and less-regulated world of FaceTime and Zoom calls with recruits.

“Coaches have plenty of time to be on the phone, be using FaceTime and all the social platforms where you can get out,” Kelly said. “I feel for the young men in this recruiting process right now. They’re probably sick of us and we’ve only been at this for a few weeks.

“We have to be careful as well. We have to have some semblance of normalcy when it comes to recruiting because right now it’s unlimited when you can be on the phone.”


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