football Edit

Brian Kelly Transcript: Sept. 13

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BGI/Bill Panzica

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly met with the media on Thursday following his team's practice.

Check out all he had to say below.

Q: Eichenberg’s reaction when he defended Wimbush on the field against Ball State…how do you view that?
KELLY: “It doesn’t surprise me … They have each other’s backs. It’s the nature of Notre Dame. These kids all leave in-state scholarships offers to come here, so there is a strong bond. It doesn’t surprise me. All of our guys are strongly committed to each other.”

Q: Could you describe the relationship Brandon Wimbush has with quarterbacks coach Tom Rees and how that’s evolved?
KELLY: “That’s probably a sit-down conversation. The quick run would be it’s a mentoring relationship. I think it’s much deeper than just player-coach. It’s very trusting. Brandon respects Tom for having played the position and having gone through the things Brandon has as a quarterback. I think there’s a deeper relationship there. Much more than player-coach.

“Tom’s evolution has been less about the X’s and O’s. He came in here firing on every pass concept, play action and rub route that was known to man. I think he’s realized how important it is when it comes to repetition, consistency, footwork and mechanics. I think you’re seeing that come to fruition this year with Brandon. The evolution of a quarterback is certainly not about what he knows on the board, but what he can get his player to do consistency.”

Q: Tom played with such an even keel. Does he try to teach his guys in a similar fashion?
KELLY: “As a player, I think he had a little bit of a spark when he made a mistake or a play. He had a little fire in him … He wanted to make a play to prove people wrong. Had a chip on his shoulder and I think he coaches that way. Very even keel, but he’s going to make sure he makes his point when he feels things aren’t done the right way.

Q: How do you think Brandon views their relationship?
KELLY: “It’s a very strong relationship. It’s one that has a lot of trust.”

Q: How has the experiment with Shayne Simon been going at linebacker?
KELLY: “The question would be much more about getting him in a position where he can help us. He’s going to have to play sooner or later. Each week is getting him closer and closer if something happens he has to go play at a high level. He can go into a game and play. We need to continue to build on where he is now and get him playing at a high level. He can line up at linebacker and play the position. We need to continue to work on the details of the position.”

Q: How about the other folks? Like Jordan Genmark Heath and Bo Bauer. Is Jordan healthy?
KELLY: “Jordan is much better. He suffered a knee contusion in the opener. He was better last week, but not 100 percent. He is 100 percent this week. I think Bo is making really good progress. Getting him some special teams work and gaining confidence there has helped him at the linebacker position. Look, it’s no secret. Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquill have paid a lot of snaps. It’s crucial those guys continue to grow. As we evaluate them in practice, it can’t be that they can line up in one defense and we can get them on the field. That’s not good enough. We could do that right. We have to get them to run our defense. We’re building that to the point where they have to play, and they can run our defense in all facets.”

Q: If it’s just a one week thing, is playing players a bunch of snaps a concern?
KELLY: “No. I think our recovery abilities has been a piece that we’ve concentrated on with our recovery room … and all of those things have been really important … We’re doing a better job of diving into some of things that can test central nervous system to make sure we are not overloading them.”

Q: You’ve talked about preparing and your guys practicing the right way. Did you see that this week?
KELLY: “Yes. We got what we needed this week. As I said, a lot of that I didn’t do a very good job. We got the kind of practice preparation that I feel comfortable with going into this game.”

Q: Were you happier with the way the players responded?
KELLY: “Like I said, they do what I ask them to do. I didn’t get them great direction last week. They’ve done what I’ve asked them to do. They’re prepared to play Vanderbilt, and they will play hard.”

Q: Injury situation.
KELLY: “Cole Kmet has the ankle sprain. [Linebacker] Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah broke his foot this week. He will be out for the rest of the year. Cole is out. Owusu did that in practice.”

Q: You’re going really deep on the defensive line getting Jamir Jones in there early and Micah Dew-Treadway. Just your assessment of what they bring and brought on Saturday.
KELLY: “Jamir did some good things. He had an injury in the summer and had a procedure done to get his knee back and cleaned up some things. So, he was a little behind when we started camp. He has some traits and athletic ability. I think you’ll continue to see him play a role on the defensive line. Micah and Jayson Ademilola will certainly be in the rotation as well.”

Q: Dew-Treadway more between the tackles?
KELLY: “Yeah. Bigger guy. He needs to continue using his hands and getting off blocks. He’s a big guy and takes up some space for us. If he’s getting off blocks earlier, he would be ascending a little more. He’s working at it and knows what he needs to do. He works really hard and has a great attitude.”

Q: How have you seen Tillery develop since he get here?
KELLY: “Outstanding. It’s been a complete package in terms of him doing the right things to elevate his status.”

Q: Between Kevin Austin and Michael Young, who is closer to being the fourth receiver?
KELLY: “That’s a good question. I think both of them are going to contribute to be one. You take both of them together to get that one guy. Right now, Michael just knows the offense a little better than Kevin. But, Kevin has a little more length and can more in 1-on-1 matchups. What we’ve done is move Kevin back into the short field where Miles is. We feel he can give us a little more 1-on-1 matchups and moved Michael back to where Chase is to give us more screen game, quick game action.

“We’ve kind of moved Kevin around. I think we’re kind of settling in with where they would fit. We’ve moved Joe Wilkins up. Joe stayed with us all week. We liked what we saw there.”

Q: The players sort of owned last week and when we talked to them on Wednesday. Is that a sign of maturity?
KELLY: “I think it just shared ownership. I think we all believe there were things we could have done better. I could have given better direction in the way we should have practice and handled things. I think they believe there were some things they could have done better. We’re all in this together, and that we could have done things better last week. We didn’t. Give credit to Ball State. But, we know what we need to do. We went back to work this week and feel we had a good week of practice.”

Q: With Justin Yoon, what do you remember about the evaluation coming out of high school?
KELLY: “Accuracy. Really liked the fact in the camps and when he came to see us, he was extremely accurate as a kicker. Didn’t have the biggest leg. We knew that. As he’s evolved here, he’s grown in his distances. He’s always made those big kicks and accuracy. Those have separated him from other kickers. I think we’ve seen that in his career.”

Q: With Owusu-Koramoah out, do you still cross-train Shayne Simon?
KELLY: “Yes, we do. We’re cross-training him still because we still have Jordan Genmark Heath. We’re giving him that opportunity there. He’s got a good understanding of the rover position. We want to make sure that Jordan was healthy.”

Q: You made some changes on special teams including coverage like Temitope Agoro plus both Shayne and Bo…is that more of getting their feet wet?
KELLY: “It was a little bit of both. It was a little bit seeing some guys in roles that had not gotten much playing time that we wanted to evaluate. We felt they could contribute. We’ve made some evaluations on who will be on that team. You’re going to see some changes on that team, but you’ll see some guys who made that team because of their performance against Ball State.”

Q: C’Bo Flemister still top kick returner?
KELLY: “Yes.”


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