Kelly gushed when the obligatory question about Ian Book came up about what he [Kelly] liked about his quarterback:
“I like that he wins. The more in-depth would be he has certainly created a confidence level amongst the entire unit. And whether it’s escapability, where he can sense the rush and that builds a confidence level with your offensive line that they know that even if they maybe don’t sustain a block, that they’re going to be okay. So I don’t have to grab or hold.”
“Wide receivers knowing that they’re going to get the football in a position where they can run after the catch. I could go on and on and on. But he’s won football games.”
Kelly also spoke about what Ian could improve upon:
“I think every single day it’s continue to prepare for the next opponent, because it’s a clean slate. So that preparation part for a quarterback is really big. And he hasn’t been at it very long. So the ability to come in each week and really lock in on that next opponent and then take what he’s learned and bring that with him. That’s work in progress.”
“So I don’t know that there’s one specific thing that we’ll be working on with him as much as making sure that he stays on track to continue to grow each day.”
Certainly it’s that “confidence level” that Kelly will pin a lot of hope into as the Irish get set to play a night game in Blacksburg. There had been a lot that has been said and written about Notre Dame’s performance against the Miami-Florida Hurricanes during the offseason, and the Irish made it a focus to prepare better for those situations.
When specifically asked about that Miami game, Kelly had this to offer:
“Haven’t talked about the Miami situation since we left Miami. It’s been much more about environmentally handling the situations that will come before us. We certainly use that situation to create the situations that will come before us over the next few games that we have in front of us.”
“No, we haven’t gone back to the Miami situation, other than creating opportunities for our players to handle the moment better.”
Kelly took a lot of responsibility for that game last year, and states that they won’t be caught off guard at Virginia Tech:
“Yeah, I think I was public in saying that I don’t think I even handled it the right way and giving them enough information about the situation. I can’t be caught off guard. And maybe I was the one that was caught off guard because I didn’t prepare them the right way. We won’t be caught off guard going into Lane Stadium.”
We will have more on this press conference a little later, but you can watch the entire thing below.