Kelly said he wants all the things ND worked on this season to come together in last two games: finishing, toughness, playing complete games— BlueandGold.com (@BGInews) November 15, 2016
Despite Notre Dame’s 44-6 romp of Army last week, it can be argued that they have yet to play a complete game this season. The Irish have shown flashes of what they are capable of, but have yet to put it all together for four quarters. That is what Brian Kelly is hoping for over the last two games. This will be quite the challenge for the Irish, as Virginia Tech and USC will be without a doubt the two best teams Notre Dame will face this season.
Brian Kelly said he hasn't given it "much thought” about going to a bowl at 5-7. Will entertain that if he needs to after the season— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) November 15, 2016
Kelly told the media on Tuesday that he hasn’t thought about accepting a bowl bid if the team is 5-7, but honestly there might not be much to think about. Notre Dame has such a young team that Kelly would gladly take the extra bowl practices.
Kelly said captains and departing seniors Isaac Rochell & James Onwualu were the team's hardest workers at the toughest times.— Angelo Di Carlo (@angdicarlowndu) November 15, 2016
Hard to disagree with Kelly on this one. Rochell and Onwualu could have packed it in weeks ago, but they haven’t. They have brought it week in and week out. They have been great leaders for the young guys on the defense and will definitely be missed next season.
Kelly on how trying season has been on his seniors: "They have been resilient. They haven't cracked." Says they've kept the team together.— Angelo Di Carlo (@angdicarlowndu) November 15, 2016
After the Fulton County Five incident in August a good number of Irish fans were asking, “Where is the leadership on this team?!” Well look no further than the seniors on this team.
The seniors have kept this team together throughout this year. Yes, they are 4-6, but those six losses have come at a combined 29 points. They have been in every game and they have all come down to the wire. Heck, when you think of the amount of close losses they have had, that could have given them even more reason to crack. You gotta hand it to these seniors, and this team in general.
Kelly said LB Greer Martini is “bending back” ball carriers in recent weeks, a change from the Texas game. Better physicality.— BlueandGold.com (@BGInews) November 15, 2016
It’s going to be interesting to see if Kelly sticks with Martini or goes back to Te’Von Coney this week against Virginia Tech. Everyone knows that Martini has been great against the option throughout his career. He reaffirmed that over the past two games as he racked up a combined 20 tackles against Army and Navy.
Martini is playing so well right now that it might be hard to take him off the field. Kelly noted that he’s been much more physical, which has helped his game out. It shouldn’t matter if he’s playing against an option team or not, if he’s playing well he should play. That doesn’t mean that Coney won’t rotate in, but for now it should be Martini’s job until he proves otherwise.
Other News and Notes
- Daniel Cage is still being monitored day-to-day for a concussion.
- Kelly admitted that Saturday could possibly be DeShone Kizer’s last game in Notre Dame Stadium.
- Kelly said that is the importance of making a bowl game is that the players want to keep playing.
- Kelly said that they should be getting Torii Hunter Jr. back this week, but he is considered day-to-day right now.
- Kelly compared Virginia Tech’s QB, Jerod Evans, to Kizer in that he’s a big, physical runner.
- Kelly said that Notre Dame’s young players have became confident and decisive, and that their demeanors have changed for the better.
- Kelly said post-option practice will be more about good on good vs. practicing longer.
- Virginia Tech has three quality receivers (Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips and Bucky Hodges) that will test the Notre Dame secondary.