Brian Kelly was back with the media today, discussing the Irish, Michigan State, and what needs to happen for Notre Dame to walk out of Spartan Stadium Saturday night with a victory.
Here’s a few minutes of what he said:
There’s plenty to discuss in the nearly four-minutes of video, but here are a few more thoughts after watching the entire press conference:
it’s clear that the Irish need to find a way to get Michael Floyd more involved in the offense, and one of those ways is to get wide receiver Theo Riddick on track.
It seems like defenses have been content to take Floyd away with double coverage and force Crist to use other targets, most notably Kyle Rudolph. But if this offense is going to get into gear the way that it needs to, they’ll need to make Theo Riddick a weapon in the middle of the field. While Kelly was clear to state that Riddick’s job wasn’t in danger, the Irish either need to get some production from Riddick or start sliding Floyd around the field to get him more involved in the game plan.
I realize I never mentioned it this weekend, but defensive line coach and special teams coordinator Mike Elston missed the Michigan game with a viral infection, something that had to bother him since he was playing against his alma mater.
Kelly updated Elston’s condition this afternoon:
“All I can tell you is he is still not with us. In his absence, our coaches have done a great job. We team coached the special teams. I thought we did a pretty good job. You know, the best analogy that I heard was that for our coaches to really step in there, they really picked up for one of the best special teams coaches in the country and did a very good job. I think there’s a lot of confidence there that we can continue on with that.
“The defensive line obviously is his position as well. So for the immediate time, until Coach Elston does get back, Mike Denbrock will go over and coach the defensive line. Lorenzo Guess, who was in the weight room for us as one of our strength and conditioning coaches, will go and coach the tight ends position. He coached the tight ends for me last year at the University of Cincinnati. We should have a pretty seamless transition. Again, this is just for a short time. We’re expecting that Coach Elston will be back with us pretty soon.”
Having Lorenzo Guess on the strength and conditioning staff is a huge asset to the football program. Not only do you have a coach that clearly understands football working in the weight room -- always a plus, you also have someone that’s familiar with Kelly’s teaching style and offensive philosophy, and he’ll be able to sub in right away. Even more exciting for Guess, he’ll be coaching back in his old stomping grounds, where he played both football and basketball for the Spartans.
Here’s hoping Elston is back on his feet in no time. He’s a good guy and a good coach.
Kelly shared some of his early grades on the offensive line after two weeks, and surprisingly Zack Martin and Taylor Dever, two tackles that hadn’t started a game, have outplayed his expectations.
For this offensive line to play up to their potential, they’ll need Robinson to set up and become a dominating guard. He’s got the skills to do it, it’s just a matter of playing better football. All in all, I don’t think anyone can be upset about the way this offensive line as played, particularly after replacing three starters and learning an entirely new system.
That TJ Jones touchdown where he might have started to celebrate a little bit early? Let’s just say TJ Jones isn’t going to do that again.
Before Kelly laid down the law, he joked that he pulled down Jones’ pants and gave him a spanking. Jones is the youngest looking guy on the team, but I’m not sure he’s that young.