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Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly Discusses Improvement of Younger Defensive Players, Offers Encouraging News on Kevin Austin

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With the season finale looming, Kelly continues to notice growth in the 2019 Irish

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly met with reporters this afternoon to discuss yesterday’s victory over the Boston College Eagles, the status of several injured players, and the continued development of several key players on defense.

Injuries

-Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa will be receiving a MRI this afternoon. His status will be updated tomorrow, but he is expected to play on Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal.

-Javon McKinley continues to be day to day with a mid-foot sprain. McKinley has not been able to display the explosiveness needed to play in games. He will practice again on Tuesday and if he is able, will play on Saturday.

-Jayson Ademilola was not moving around well in pregame warm-ups with the athletic training staff and was not cleared to play. Kelly expects him to be able to play on Saturday as well.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Offense

-Brian Kelly discussed the recurring problem of false starts on the offensive line. Though Boston College did a bunch of shifting on the line, Kelly noted that many college teams employ that technique these days. The take home message was that the offensive line needs to do a better job of getting themselves in the proper emotional state on the field.

-Jafar Armstrong’s absence in yesterday’s game plan was not a reflection of any disciplinary issues. Kelly spoke about how the running back position will continue to be a committee and that Lance Taylor felt the other backs fit more of yesterday’s focus on offense.

-Kelly offered a glowing review of Kevin Austin, going so far as to say Austin has been “outstanding”. The defensive coaches have told Kelly that Austin is the best player over there when the scout team is working against the 1st team defense in practice. Per Kelly, “Kevin Austin has had numerous challenges placed in front of him.” Irish fans may be in for a treat next season if/when he returns to game action.

Defense

-Kelly continued to heap praise on freshman, Jacob Lacey. Lacey has gained the trust of his coaches by playing assignment correct football and rarely being out of position. Kelly stated that Lacey is advanced compared to his peers in being able to handle checks the defense makes on the field.

-Adetokunbo Ogundeji is demonstrating his value to the team after finally getting an opportunity to play extended minutes this season. He possesses the length and athleticism that Clark Lea requires from his defensive linemen. Kelly spoke about the joy he gets from watching Ade play due to the passion he displays on the field. He is very popular with his teammates and whenever he makes a big play, the whole bench gets fired up.

-Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s steady development has not gone unnoticed by the coaching staff. Kelly discussed how Owusu-Koramoah’s instincts how grown tremendously since Week 1 against Louisville. The continued evolution was on display again yesterday as he was forced to play more in the box as a linebacker and use his physicality to help the defense perform. Kelly point blank said that OWUSU would not have been able to do this earlier in the season.

*A final topic from the teleconference today revolved around goal setting for this year’s team. Kelly acknowledged the need to reset the team’s goals following the loss to Michigan. The staff asked players to focus on “Winning November”. With the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 80% of the way there, Kelly has been pleased with the ability of this year’s team to shift their focus and play inspired football down the stretch.

Go Irish!