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Tuesdays with Brian Kelly - Syracuse Week

Brian Kelly answered questions on Tuesday about the recent changes around his program and the upcoming game against Syracuse.

Michigan State v Notre Dame Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

We’ll see the Notre Dame players have more fun once they start playing well. Kelly also said that he wants his guys to be loose and play with a passion. We haven’t seen that in any of Notre Dame’s first four games, even in the win over Nevada. The Irish really have hit rock bottom and there is no other direction to go, but up. Expect the Irish to come out with a fiery attitude on Saturday.

Now to other point Kelly made. In his first two seasons in South Bend it was commonplace to see Kelly irate on the sidelines, but since then he really has cooled down a bit. Of course there are times when you see him visibly upset, but he has been a little more tame. Maybe this is what this Irish team needs, which is someone to light a fire under their behind.

There was a some speculation Swarbrick was the one who told Kelly that BVG needed to be fired. Kelly put that to rest on Tuesday as he said he was actually the one who initiated the conversation with Swarbrick.

At multiple times Kelly made the point that the defense is overused, but that partly is due to the offense. The offense is designed to work quick and score fast. They haven’t had a scoring drive longer than 5:21 this season. So when they do have empty possessions they gets the defense back on the fielder faster than most. The other part is that the defense has trouble getting off the field on third down. They also allow more than their fair share of lengthy scoring drives.

Syracuse runs a high tempo, Texas-like offense, which probably scares most Notre Dame fans. Along with needing to get lined up, Kelly also said he doesn’t want to be stuck in nickel like they were against Texas. He said it was very important to get some of their bigger guys on the field. (i.e. Jarron Jones and Jay Hayes)

I agree with Kelly. This team is talented. They have an offense that is averaging 35+ points. If they can start playing with more fire and start playing anything that resembles a decent defense, they can get it turned around quickly.

The way Kelly described interim defensive coordinator Greg Hudson’s role was more of someone to get the defensive players mentally prepared, a guy to get the players to play with that fire. Kelly said that the defense would have a “Coach Kelly stamp” on it, which I think will be a more simplified gameplan.

Other News and Notes

  • Kelly also said that Syracuse’s offense is one that loves to go vertical. Notre Dame struggled with that against Texas in week one.
  • BK said he has talked with UConn’s Head Coach Bob Diaco about defending Syracuse’s No.1 receiver, Amba Etta-Tawo.
  • BK stated that Dexter Williams, Jay Hayes and Greer Martini all need to get more snaps.
  • Linebackers coach Mike Elston will be working closely with Greg Hudson during the week.
  • Kelly told the media that he and his staff have made a few positional changes, but did not say which players would be moving.
  • When asked about how Malik Zaire has been handling being the No.2, Kelly responded with, “Ask me on Thursday.”