Brian Kelly met with the media on Sunday afternoon to fill the world in on the accepted bid to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl as well as to elaborate on Louis Nix signing with an agent and other roster updates.
Here are the highlights from Kelly's presser:
*The team practiced for an hour and a half on Sunday and will be off all this week until practice starts up again on Friday. Kelly is looking forward to a great weekend of practice in conjunction with the football awards banquet and numerous recruits coming to town.
Let's be honest there isn't going to be much anticipation for this bowl game but looking forward to the always classy awards banquet this weekend and possibly another commit or two is exciting enough as we wait another 3 weeks until the Irish finish the 2013 season.
*New York is a great place to play for Notre Dame, and they have fond memories of the game at Yankee Stadium back in 2010. The Pinstripe Bowl has done a great job making this a great event for the players to participate in.
That first game in the new Yankee Stadium was pretty cool, wasn't it? I bet you didn't remember that Notre Dame was actually trailing 3-0 into the second quarter in that game against Army. The Irish opened up with a great drive on offense but Rees threw a pick in the end zone and the Black Knights ate up nearly the rest of the quarter on their first drive.
*Kelly wants to win and use momentum heading into the off-season, and especially get a win in the seniors last game.
I'm glad to see we're all on the same page.
*The young guys got a lot of work in practice on Sunday. Malik Zaire, Torii Hunter, and Max Redfield all were singled out for getting a lot of reps.
From the sounds of things it looks like Zaire is going to be a trusted backup next year (see below for more info) and I'm excited to see his progress in the spring, particularly with his passing. Hunter is going to be one of the redshirts to really watch out for next year. If he keeps getting healthier and stronger a lot of playing time could be in his cards.
*There were 3 or 4 bowls vying for Notre Dame throughout the process. The Poinsettia Bowl and Hawaii Bowl were strongly considered but the Northern Illinois loss ended the chances for the former and exams made the latter too difficult to pull off.
Too bad, I really wanted the Poinsettia Bowl. I thought that had the best of all worlds: warm location, decent opponent, night time game. I'm a big fan of New York City though and I realize the program's hands were tied throughout this whole process.
*The team plans on leaving for NYC on Monday, December 23rd. The students will finish exams on the 20th, stay on campus for a few days, and travel together to the Big Apple. The team will get 10 total practices in for the bowl game.
Who among us will be making the trip to Bronx for the game?
*Louis Nix signed with an agent and will not be allowed to be with the team for the Pinstripe Bowl. They have put in Stephon Tuitt's paperwork for the NFL grade process. Kelly mentioned that you "come to Notre Dame to get a degree and it's very important" citing Michael Floyd, Tyler Eifert, and Manti Te'o as those who stayed all 4 years.
That's kind of a bummer that we won't see Louis Nix on the sidelines one more time before the season officially comes to a close. Tuitt came on stronger in the second half of this season but you have to like where this thing is trending in terms of him coming back for a senior season. I'm personally at the point where I believe he'll be back.
*Chris Watt is out (badly sprained MCL) and won't play in the bowl game. Schwenke and Ishaq were able to practice on Sunday.
I'm thinking the medical staff and coaches had to do some serious convincing with Watt that it was in his best interest to sit this game out and end his career at Notre Dame. A week ago it sounded like Watt might try to give it a go, but he's better off healing up (he won't need surgery) and getting right for the NFL Draft.
*Shumate and Hardy have been reinstated.
I thought Kelly would show some anger when he was asked about these players. He looked...sad. I think he knows how much work is needed at safety.
*Kelly will coach the quarterbacks while Mike Denbrock coordinates the offense for the bowl game. BK will be 'very involved in the process.' He also mentioned that he doesn't know which direction he's going to go in with a new OC but they will begin the process after the bowl game.
There is a 74.6% chance that Denbrock is named the full-time OC, I think. I'd be curious to see if this game against Rutgers is a real showcase for Denbrock's ability or if Kelly will be so involved from start to finish that it's not much of a real in-game interview.
*Chuck Martin has a great opportunity at Miami of Ohio and Kelly thinks he'll get them quickly elevated to their tradition rich success.
Will Martin be Doing Good Things™ next season? Let's hope he does significantly better than Charlie Molnar over at UMass.
*Kelly knows his coaches won't leave for lateral moves---they'll have to leave for leadership positions. The coaches aren't sending resumes out there but if the right opportunity comes up for the assistants they will look at it.
In reading Kelly's posture and tone it sounds like he's not worried about any other coaches leaving this off-season. Diaco might be the only real threat to bolt but I think we'll definitely see year five of his defense in South Bend next year.
*They won't have a chance to get Golson back into bowl practices assuming he is readmitted into school as there will only be a couple practices before they leave for the City. Kelly will be going down to Myrtle Beach on Monday to visit with Everett.
If I read things correctly Golson will be in New York City (visiting his girlfriend) and I think he should be able to be on the sidelines for the bowl game. I look forward to seeing him back with the gang.
*Kelly likes the way Golson handled the SI interview and has been committed to being a better person and student which should translate into being a better quarterback following the help with George Whitfield.
Let us pray.
*Lo Wood and Alex Welch have been given their releases to seek a fifth year elsewhere but they will both practice and be travelling with the team for the bowl game.
That's an interesting dynamic. Do either of these guys get in the game if it's not a blowout?
*Four scholarships at quarterback is a bit 'heavy.' Kelly would be suited just fine with 3 scholarship quarterbacks and a preferred walk-on next year. Kinlaw (who ran scout team QB this year) will stay on defense next year.
Welp, that's definitely not what Kelly was saying last year in terms of "perfect QB depth." Perhaps that was his attempt at keeping Kiel around but that didn't work. This sounds like Andrew Hendrix will not be asked back for a fifth year in 2014. At this point, I agree with that decision should it occur.
Also, check out some player reactions upon accepting a bid to play in the Pinstripe Bowl: