Quick-Hitters: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Head Coach Brian Kelly First 2021 Spring Practice Press Conference
{{ timeAgo('2021-03-27 14:14:57 -0500') }} football Edit

Quick-Hitters: Brian Kelly First Spring Practice Zoom Session

Notre Dame held its first spring practice Saturday of the 15 it is allotted.

The Irish preceded it with about five weeks of winter conditioning, a shorter window than initially planned because of a week-long pause due to some positive COVID-19 tests within the program.

“We had to be careful with what we did today, because it was a bit of a shortened preparation when he had to stop for a week,” head coach Brian Kelly said.

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Kelly held his first Zoom media availability after practice. Here’s a recap of some of the topics he addressed.

Related: Notre Dame spring injury updates.

On Graduate Transfer QB Jack Coan

“The first thing Jack and I talked about is our group at Notre Dame is one where you’ll get immediate support from these guys because it’s Notre Dame. When you come here, it’s all about supporting each other. We just have that built into our culture.

“You don’t have to worry about pretending to be someone else. Just be who you are. They know who you are. You have a lot of recognition for things you accomplished already in the Big Ten at Wisconsin. The guys know who you are. Be who you are. Be authentic. When you’re authentic, guys trust you.

“When you’re a starting quarterback, you already have great traits. His work ethic is outstanding. We knew a lot of that about him already. He came in here and has fit in extremely well because he has been authentic been who he is and hasn’t tried to pretend. Naturally, leadership will follow that position. That’s kind of what’s happening.”

On Freshman QB Tyler Buchner

“Tyler just got here and he hasn’t played football for a year. There’s some development that has to take place there. He had a nice practice today, but he doesn’t know our offense. The basics are what he’s trying to feel good about today. He has some work to do from that perspective, but he’s a quick study and a really good athlete.”

On Replacing LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

“We’re going to do things that allow us to get another linebacker on the field. I don’t know that we’re replacing the kind of player that we had with Owusu. You’re going to see a combination of players out there. If it were strictly a rover situation, you’ll see [Isaiah] Pryor, you’ll see [Paul] Moala. You’re going to see [Jack] Kiser out there. at times, you might see three linebackers. It’s a combination of all those things.”

On Filling Holes At WR, CB

“We’re pleased with the work. We have a standard and they’ve lived up to that standard. When you talk about [Javon] McKinley, Ben [Skowronek] and Nick [McCloud], we didn’t have any expectations they’d even be on the field for us.

"Here we are another year later and [cornerback] Clarence Lewis has gotten great work last year. We know what a guy like [receiver] Avery [Davis] can do, what tight end [Michael] Mayer can do. I would argue we have more known commodities coming back this year than we did going into last year. That sorted itself out.”

On Replacing Four Offensive Line Starters

"Being in the College Football Playoff two of the last three years doesn’t give you a pass in saying we lost all these players. It just means that’s the expectation. We have to get these guys ready.”

Zeke [Correll] is slotted in at that center position. Josh Lugg is going to play at tackle, but most likely will slide into the guard position when the season starts. You’re going to see a big battle for one of the tackle positions and one of the guard positions.”

“You’re going to see a little bit of everybody. Tosh Baker was starting in one of our units today. Dillan Gibbons was starting. John Dirksen was starting. We really like the progress of [Michael] Carmody; he’s coming along. I mentioned [Andrew] Kristofic. Both freshmen linemen [Blake Fisher and Rocco Spindler] who are mid-years got a chance to step in with the second group.

“Everybody is going to get into the mix. We have a plan of how this should look. Quinn Carroll is another guy who had a really good offseason. There are a lot of names we have to sort out.”

On The Transfer Portal And Impending Immediate Eligibility

“It doesn’t affect us from a negative way. Our guys want to get a degree from Notre Dame. They’re going to get their degree, and if they didn’t play enough football, they’re going to play somewhere else. It’s not something we spend a lot of time thinking about.

We’ll have somebody who monitors and looks at the transfer portal to see if there’s the right kind of fit. We did a good job with it last year with Ben and Nick. We’ll keep an eye on it every year. We’re not going to lose any sleep over it. Guys who come to Notre Dame want to get a degree from Notre Dame. If they have more eligibility remaining like we’ve had this year, they’ll move on and find another place to play football.”

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