Coach Kelly held his weekly press conference today. Coach Kelly spoke exclusively in coachspeak, as do most intelligent coaches not wanting to give the opposing team bulletin-board fodder. Luckily for One Foot Down's loyal readers, the Mouth of the South understands and will translate Coach Kelly's cryptic comments in a new segment called Decoding Coach (though "Breaking Down Brian" and a few other potential titles are still being kicked about).
Coach Kelly talked personnel. Ethan Johnson will be a go, but may not play every snap. Te’o rested up his ankle during the bye week and is back to 100%. Dan Smith is back and did his best Marquise Lee impersonation on the scout team.
Translation: Ethan Johnson is a bad man and will play however many snaps he pleases. Te’o has healed up his ankle just in time to help Marc Tyler test his. Seriously, kid, The Hit Squad has some new contracts out and they're looking to make good.
Coach likes to maintain offensive balance between running and passing. If he can’t run the ball, he’ll just line up with four wide and throw it all over the yard. But we need to have that run-pass balance if we want to be a championship team.
Translation: For some reason every idiot with a keyboard thought that I favor a pass-heavy offense. Well don’t you feel stupid now. I will win a championship at Notre Dame.
Kelly talked about the offensive line at length. Braxton Cave is a different player. He had never played shotgun-snapping center in a spread offense before last year. Z-ma was a first time starter last year, but he's really coming into his own this year. T-Rob is much improved, physically.
Translation: None needed. Our offensive line is a bunch of big, mean, SOB's that can move and they will hit you so hard that your unborn grandchildren will hurt so you damn well better stay out of their way. If you can. Water covers 75% of the earth's surface, but our pulling guards cover the rest, so staying out of their way is much easier said than done.
According to Kelly, the USC defense can be tough if USC gets the lead.
Translation: Any defense is better with the lead. I can't say anything good about these guys. I am not intimidated in the least, but since you asked the question I must formulate some banal answer to make people believe that I have respect for a defense for which I clearly harbor only contempt due to their bumbling ineptitude, which I will help them demonstrate this Saturday.
Kelly lauded Matt Barkley for being more efficient while also making more big plays downfield this year.
Translation: I didn’t realize we were playing the cast of The Hills this week. I will not let that Spencer Pratt look-alike complete passes downfield for long gains. Did you see his deep throws against Cal? Kid couldn't hit the broad side of the mansion that those wannabe sports agents bought Reggie Bush.
Who let Spencer play quarterback? Heidi could throw the deep ball better.
Tyler Eifert was weak from back surgery when Kelly first showed up. Eifert's strength and stamina have increased.
Translation: Eifert is a thoroughbred. You are an ass. It's simple biology. Victory.
Kelly would not want to "tangle" with Harbaugh. If Harbaugh pulled a stunt with Kelly like the one he pulled last Sunday, Kelly would simply encourage his team to beat Harbaugh next time.
Translation: Holmes ever tries that business with me, I will just end him. See these jowls? You know what else has jowls like this? A bulldog. The bulldog will be unleashed if Harbaugh doesn’t show the proper respect. [Barks like DMX]. I swear if Harbaugh disrespects me in a dream he better wake up and apologize. I will straight up ruin his mix. Also I find the lack of professionalism appalling and saddening.
Coach feels that maybe everyone misunderstood what Jack Swarbrick said to the student body about getting the stadium loud.
Translation: We all know that Jack isn't going to ask the millionaire donors who sit in the yellow seats to get it crunk. Just ain't happenin'. So he did the only other thing he can do between now and Saturday to get the stadium louder. Really he should have just asked the students to make sure they wake up from whatever booze-induced comas they drink themselves into during fall break to make their return flights to ND for the game, seeing as some idiot scheduled the USC game on the second weekend of fall break.
Kelly praised Tommy Rees's good mental makeup, his development as a player, and his mastery of his emotions in difficult game situations.
Translation: This kid is unflappable and you underestimate him at your own peril. I tried to make him flinch once. Couldn’t.
The Good Coach thinks that we should walk the middle path, the golden mean if you will, between changing our uniforms every week and never changing a thing. He believes that it is important to the players to occasionally get hot, fashion-forward, new couture.
Translation: I'm being diplomatic. This is rank coachspeak. You will never know how I truly feel on the subject. Actually I'm surprised by Kelly's answer to this one. Coaches usually act like they're too cool for these questions. Like everyone will think they're a sissy if they start discussing fashion. So I appreciate that Kelly actually showed the question its due respect. Second, I really didn't expect him to say that uniform changes are important to the players. I personally didn't think it mattered to them at all. But if you got to put on a sweet costume and perform with millions of people watching, wouldn’t you like a few new and interesting variations of your costume? I would.
What do you think about Coaches’ comments this week?