The rhythm of the college football season marches on as Notre Dame closes September out with a home game vs. the Sooners of Oklahoma on Saturday. Coach Brian Kelly took to the podium Tuesday, and we here at OFD love to pick and parse through the coach speak and find nuggets of info that relate to the myriad of
flaming arguments rational discussions here on the site. We've got the link to the transcript here, and we have the video embedded at the end.
If you're a little old-school and have some nostalgia for the Holtz era, you'll love how Kelly channels his inner Dr. Lou several times throughout the press conference. Talking up your opponent is always wise, and Kelly was extremely flattering towards the OU program, saying frequently that his team would have to play an excellent game to beat Bob Stoops' troops. In particular, Kelly was quick to frequently praise Blake Bell, ensuring everyone knew that he wasn't just a Bell-dozer, but the Bell-icopter reference may be apt for his deft passing touch as well.
However, those of you who prefer a little wink-and-a-smile Kelly doing a little trolling, all was not lost in this conference. When asked how Bell racked up almost 400 passing yards in his first start, Kelly's response: "He threw it to really fast receivers." Kelly also went in to the patented comedy routine while explaining the 15 yd penalty against the bench in last Saturday's game. The official believed that ND was escalating the conflict by rushing the field, and Kelly had this to say:
And I was standing right there, so it wasn't like there was a situation where it was out of control. The guy that was running out was Tommy Rees for crying out loud. I mean, really. He's hobbling out with a knee brace. Worried about Tommy. But anyway...
Kelly also hit on a few topics that have been
driving people insane causing some discussion on OFD:
Running Back Rotation
Those of you hoping to see ND settle in to a lead back plus one other guy can keep waiting. I don't think you're going to see anyone fed the ball regularly anytime soon. Several of the questions asked about the 4 backs used against MSU and why Bryant didn't see any touches. Kelly was quick to repeat that he wants to see all 5 guys in the game. Bryant's absence was not for a lack of capability or preparation, it was that the script didn't work out. This staff wants to get all 5 guys in the game and is working to script all 5 in. Kelly was clear it is very "situational" for each back. Speaking of scripting and situational...
One of the more fascinating segments was when Kelly was asked if he felt Notre Dame was too predictable and tipping plays to opponents. His answer sheds a lot of light on an OFD
No. I think everybody knows what we're trying to do on 3rd and 1. If you know what we're doing on 1st and 10 or 2nd and 4, then you know a lot more than we do. But I think if it's the fourth quarter and you don't know that we're running the ball out of two tight ends, then you're not paying attention. We're pretty predictable in those kinds of situations. We have to find a way like I said, I think Tim asked a question, there was a 4th down situation where we threw the ball and we didn't pick up a blitzer off the edge for an easy 1st down where we threw the ball. Yeah, there's always going to be predictable situations within the game where it's a run versus a pass, and I also think there are going to be times in the game where you're going to be predictable if you're going to manage the football game. But I don't believe that we're at a point where people say, well, we know what we're going to get on this play.
What say you, OFD Community? Do you agree with the coach here? Can you call plays by down, distance, and formation right now?
For those looking for more intermediate routes in the passing game, Kelly pointed out 2 times in the MSU game where shorter routes were called, but missed pick-ups and execution got in the way.
Kelly was asked about Rees misreading plays, and was quick to point out that most of the errors from the QB position have been "misses, not mis-reads." Kelly needs his QB to get a lot more accurate for this offense to be successful.
Offensive Line Blocking
tWWL's Matt Fortuna asked a good question about how a line that seems to be so good in protection has struggled in the running game. Kelly responded that his line is doing a good job blocking 5-on-5, but the struggles in the running game were more about when we need to block seven or eight to be successful.
The "bend-don't-break" mentality is in full effect this week. Kelly peppered in a number of statements about "keeping the ball in front of us" and limiting big plays in the OU offense.
As usual, there's plenty of good stuff in there, including evaluation of the Safety and Linebacker corps, discussion of the frosh WR's and Ronnie Stanley's development. Give it a look-see...