Quick-Hitters: Brian Kelly on Purdue, offensive line, defensive lapses
An Indiana football rivalry returns for the first time since 2014.
Notre Dame and Purdue meet in South Bend on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC) for the first of six games this decade. Both teams are 2-0. Both are also dealing with significant injuries.
Irish sophomore left tackle Michael Carmody’s status for Saturday is still undecided, head coach Brian Kelly said. He left last week's win over Toledo with an ankle sprain, the second injury at that position in as many games. (Blake Fisher’s meniscus injury at Florida State was the first). Sophomore Tosh Baker was the fill-in.
“It’s not a, ‘He’s definitely out,’” Kelly said of Carmody. “He felt pretty good yesterday. The report was better than we first thought. We’re going to see if we can get him ready. If we can, we’re going to play him.”
Notre Dame will have sophomore defensive end Jordan Botelho available after he missed the first two games for undisclosed reasons. Freshman linebacker Prince Kollie and senior running back C'Bo Flemister will not be available, Kelly said.
Purdue, meanwhile, will not have running back Zander Horvath, who will miss at least a month after he broke his fibula in last week's win at UConn.
Here are some other topics Kelly covered in his Monday press conference.
On giving up big plays on defense
“What we’re talking about is executing for 80 snaps. We’re executing for 75 of the 80, but when we don’t execute at the level necessary, we’re giving up big plays. I could give you all the reasons, and they’re immaterial.
"But the fact of the matter is we were in a sound and fundamental defensive structure, and we had a blown assignment. What does that come down to? It’s coaching. We have to make sure it’s communicated correctly and the guys are hearing the call. And then executing.”
On Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer
“He’s so accurate. He can make it a long day because his precision is really good. If you try to get too aggressive, he can put the ball over your head. He has really good receivers. It’s not just [All-Big ten receiver David] Bell. He has two really good tight ends. It’s a really good offense.
"We’re going to have to do some things in coverage — we can’t just line up and play man all day. We have to do some other things to disrupt him, and we have to get a pass rush.”
On Purdue All-American defensive end George Karlaftis
“He has fast-twitch athletic ability. You have to have that element. He has an incredible desire to get to the quarterback. He doesn’t have a sack this year, but he has 11 hurries. He’s going to disrupt the quarterback. He doesn’t get frustrated and just keeps coming.”
“It’s three things. He has the athletic ability. The motor he has in the way he plays, and then his mindset. He will just keep going. That’s what makes great players, whether they’re defensive ends or quarterbacks.”
On making quarterback decisions with offensive coordinator Tommy Rees
“Ultimately, I’m going to put the quarterback in the game. But Tommy and I are on the same page. If he had a serious objection based on what he had in his mind, then I would go with him. But we were on the same page that when we were backed up, we were looking for Tyler [Buchner] to go in at that time. It was a consensus.”
On the offensive line
“I think it’s players. I like the best guys. We’re going to play the best players. We’re down to our third tackle.”
“We probably should rotate a little more inside because we’re playing too many plays. Those guys, the load on them is a lot. They’re young players. Maybe you’ll see a bit more of a rotation.”
On the chance to tie Knute Rockne as Notre Dame’s all-time winningest coach
“I see it a little differently. It means longevity. It means stability. It means winning. But it doesn’t mean anything else relative to comparisons or who’s better. Those things don’t mean much to me. I came here to do a job, and that was to bring Notre Dame back to its winning traditions. We’ve gotten there by being consistent and having stability. That’s what it means more than anything else to me.”
On tight end Michael Mayer and wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr.
“They’re two really good players. But Braden Lenzy was open a couple times and we missed him. We have to get him the football. Joe Wilkins Jr., Avery Davis, we have to get our running backs going, get Kyren [Williams] going and get Chris [Tyree] going.
“It’s nice to have two, but two is not enough. We have to get all these guys involved. They’re all capable of making big plays for us. That’s something we’ll continue to talk and about and practice. The ball has to get to those guys who can make plays.”
On the lower-than-capacity crowd of 62,009 for the Toledo game
“How much time do I really have to worry about getting fans in? Would I like to get 76,000, or whatever capacity is? Yeah. But we’re living in a time where there’s electronic tickets, there’s COVID. Did people see it as a marquee matchup? I don’t know. I have so many other problems I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis that I have to hope our marketing people and everybody else take care of that.”
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