As classes kick off for students at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly addressed the media, eleven days before the Irish are set to clash with Purdue at Notre Dame Stadium.
(Did I mention that it’ll be broadcast on NBC?)
Here’s what he said:
Upon approaching the podium:
“Let me start off by saying that we still plan on beating Purdue. So... next question? First question?” (In complete deadpan.)
On the game day coaching logistics:
“My direct communication from an offensive perspective will be with Charley Molnar. He’ll be in the box. And Bob Diaco will be in the box as the defensive coordinator so I’ll be able to communicate with my coordinators on the headset. On the sideline, we’ve got a lot of great, veteran coaches. Chuck Martin who is obviously very experienced will be down on the side line. Ed Warinner, offensive line, down on the sideline. I’m going to be around guys on the sideline that can take the whole unit as well, as well as Mike Elston, who runs our special teams operation, he’ll be on the field, just from a management standpoint, those are the key players.”
On current injuries:
“I think we continue to make progress with the guys that have been limited. McCarthy and Rudolph have been limited, they’re making great progress. We’ve been conservative in our treatment in terms of making sure that we get them back. I don’t want to lose them two weeks into the season, so we’ve been probably a little conservative in both instances, but I think it’s worked out. The expectations are, they’re going to be pretty close to full-go when we get into game week.
“Any injuries that may require a loss of time - I think probably it would only be McDonald. McDonald had a knee injury that’s probably putting him doubtful for the Purdue game. Outside of his situation, I don’t see anybody that wouldn’t play against Purdue.”
“We’ve talked to NBC about the way we like to play the game versus how it was played in the past. Those conversations have taken place. There is certainly a need for us to address it and we’re working with NBC to make sure they get what they need on it from an advertising standpoint, but also as the network that carries Notre Dame, that we’re able to do things that we need to do as well.”
On the battle at center:
“It depends on how you look at each position. Braxston Cave is a very physical player, I have great confidence that he can move any nose. He can do the things physically in the run game. He needs to continue to polish in the pass game. On the other hand, Wenger is a pretty good pass protection guy and needs to get the same kind of push Braxston Cave can get. We continue to try to develop one of them relative to their weaknesses. I got two good players there. They both have to continue to get better at what their weaknesses are.”
On the battle at drop linebacker:
I think Brian, his game has elevated the last two, three days. But Kerry Neal is a pretty good football player, too. He plays physical, very smart football player, understands both the Drop and the Cat position. It’s a very, very competitive situation and Kerry’s ahead of him right now. Brian has shown a fight in him that being second is not where he wants to be.”
On discussions with NBC about pace of play:
“We’ve talked to NBC about the way we like to play the game versus how it was played in the past. Those conversations have taken place. There is certainly a need for us to address it and we’re working with NBC to make sure they get what they need on it from an advertising standpoint, but also as the network that carries Notre Dame, that we’re able to do things that we need to do as well.
“The model out there has been ABC/ESPN for college football, because of the sheer volume of games they carry. There’s a model out there. All we’ve tried to do is address the model that we think would work well with us, and there’s gotta be a meeting somewhere halfway. I’m very confident we’re going to be able to do the things we do in terms of pushing the tempo and doing the things we need to do without having to go to a commercial break. That conversation has taken place. Getting into the specifics, I’m not willing to do that, but I can tell you that that conversation between Jack and myself at Notre Dame along with the production people at NBC has taken place. And I think we’re going to be able to meet somewhere in the middle.”
On the newly svelte BK:
“As you know I’ve taken off a few pounds since the last time I had a press conference in this room. I didn’t want to work 20 years to get to Notre Dame and have a heart attack and die. So I lost some weight, working out virtually every day, and really just trying to lower the chance of all those things -- stress, and all that comes with beig a college football coach, especially at Notre Dame -- from preventing me from doing this job. I want to do it for the rest of my life.
“Got a personal trainer. Lot of stretching, changed my diet in terms of what I’m eating, which is very difficult for football coaches because of non-traditional hours, so really trying to be disciplined in that end of things, but we’ll see how it goes when we get into the thick of the season.”