Put the bottle down, my friend.
It’s going to get better.
Maybe. I think. It should, right?
Saturday night was certainly one of the most embarrassing performances in the Brian Kelly era, as the Irish got curbstomped by heated rival Michigan in primetime, 45-14. The Irish racked up just 180 total yards of offense in the defeat and any hopes of making a return to College Football Playoff died in Ann Arbor, which just makes it feel even worse for Irish fans.
But, despite the playoff chances being gone, the season’s not over for the Irish. There’s still a long way to go and that path begins this coming Saturday against an improving Virginia Tech side.
Irish head coach Brian Kelly kicked off the week with his typical 30-minutes press conference on Monday with some opening thoughts on the Michigan loss, Virginia Tech’s improvement over the last few weeks and then spent much of the presser answering questions about the quarterback position and his team bouncing back from such a humiliating defeat.
Before Kelly took the podium ...
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Young is in the transfer portal, per sources.— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) October 28, 2019
Young left the team last week and did not travel to Michigan, even thought playing against the Wolverines would not have affected his red shirt this season.
About 45 minutes before Kelly took the podium, The Athletic’s Pete Sampson tweeted out what many throughout the fan base had already knew and that’s Michael Young would be leaving Notre Dame’s program and entering the transfer portal.
Kelly would go on to confirm that Young is in fact entering the portal, along with some key bullet points on injuries following the Michigan loss.
BK: "(Troy) Pride is not on the injury report. Michael Young is in the transfer portal."— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
Says Tony Jones Jr. has an upper body injury, but is expected to practice. Tommy Kraemer has an MCL sprain, which Kelly mentions could be a 4-6-week process without surgery.
Diving into the actual presser itself, starting with the Hokies
Brian Kelly's in the house.— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
"Certainly, the best thing for our team is to get back on the practice field and get ready for Virginia Tech," Kelly opened with for his Monday presser.
"A great challenge in front of us, which we're excited for," Kelly said on his team matching up with Virginia Tech this weekend.— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
Says they're a threat to finish atop the league (in the non-Clemson category of course).
Death, taxes, Bud Foster as the DC of Virginia Tech
BK on Bud Foster: "A legendary defensive coach that's really settled this defense down since the Duke game."— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
Duke beat the Hokies, 45-10.
The Hokie defense has given up over 30 points in four of their seven games this season, but one of those games was a six-overtime thriller against North Carolina (which the Hokies won, 43-41).
Still, Bud Foster remains one of the sport’s best defensive minds and his defense has picked off six passes and forced three fumbles so far this season, which is below their high standards on that side of the ball.
What about Jafar Armstrong?
This season has been a struggle for the dynamic Jafar Armstrong since the early moments of the season opener and Saturday was no different for him in his “extended return, seeing as he only played three total snaps against USC.
BK on Armstrong's lack of touches Saturday: "We had nine three-and-outs, so you can probably try to find some carries in that situation."— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
"He's a young man trying to find himself," Kelly said. "He's been out a while."
The Ian Book portion of the press conference
A bulk of Kelly’s presser surrounded the quarterback situation and the regression of Ian Book’s play from last season to this season.
BK on QB progression under BK and the staff: "I think any time the quarterback doesn't play up to a standard that he has and that others have for him, he's gonna be under pressure."— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
And to answer this question ...
Kelly said there is no quarterback controversy.— BlueandGold.com (@BGInews) October 28, 2019
"There isn't any conversation about making a change."
Kelly on Ian Book and Phil Jurkovec competing against one another in practice:— BlueandGold.com (@BGInews) October 28, 2019
"I think what we're interested in is both those guys continuing to develop."
"They don't stop growing because one is No. 1 and one is No. 2."
Says Jurkovec is pushing Book every day.
What was worse: Miami in ‘17 or Saturday in Ann Arbor?
In case you forgot either on purpose or not, Notre Dame was in a prime position to make the 2017 College Football Playoff before a nightmareish 43-8 shellacking from Miami in primetime dashed all hopes of the Irish’s first playoff berth two seasons ago.
Saturday seemingly did the same thing and Kelly was asked about the Michigan loss compared to the loss in Miami Gardens.
BK on Miami in '17 vs. Saturday: "Miami was a different game. We turned the ball over seven times and the game got away from us. This was a different scenario."— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
What was the major detail in the Irish losing on Saturday?
BK: "Michigan controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides. We gotta get back to doing that."— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
How do the Irish find their groove again?
Kelly’s word of the week for the program has become “accountable”; something he said the Irish were not on Saturday.
BK: "Our guys know what they need to do and that's get back to our identity."— Michael Whitlow (@couldbelikemike) October 28, 2019
When asked about why ND haven't played to their identity: "That's the big question. You hope you come back and lessons are learned, and those consistencies come back."
10-2 may not be the Playoff, but it’s better than continue to falter into an 8-4, 7-6 season
Kelly to close the press conference:— BlueandGold.com (@BGInews) October 28, 2019
"If they win the month of November, the noise will change. All will be happy."
You can watch Brian Kelly’s press conference from Monday in full down below, which starts around the :34 mark: