Brian Kelly met with the media on Sunday afternoon following the announcement that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish would meet the Iowa State Cyclones in the Camping World Bowl. He covered a variety of topics related to the upcoming bowl game.
-Brian Kelly discussed the challenge the Irish face as they prepare for the Cyclones. Kelly felt Iowa State could have been 11-1 during the year but lost a few close games. Brock Purdy, the Cyclones star quarterback, will present a challenge. Kelly stated, “Explosive on offense. I think they set a school record for points and touchdowns, and total offense this year, so we know what we’re getting. Explosive offenses in the Big 12, really solid defensive, physical football team.”
-While Big 12 teams may not be known for their defense, Kelly has a ton of respect for Iowa State’s Defensive Coordinator, Jon Heacock. Kelly remarked, “I’m very much aware of the system and structure that he wants to run defensively. He does a great job. He’s been very consistent with the kind of defensive philosophy.”
-Kelly is taking the bowl game as a chance to continue to establish a “standard of play” for the program. The focus of the game for his players will be to continue to play for one another and continue to play at a high level. Kelly thinks the Irish seniors will relish the chance to play together one last time, as many will conclude their football careers.
-While 11 wins is certainly better than 10, Kelly admitted that 11 wins is not a magical number for anyone in the program. Kelly delivered a thoughtful response saying, “We want to finish on a good note, but we won’t be defined by any one game in particular.”
-Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Aaron Banks will not be restricted from playing in the bowl game based on injuries suffered at the end of the season. Both players have been conditioning with the team and should be available next Saturday as bowl practice gets underway.
-Not overly surprising but Kevin Austin is not available to play in the bowl game.
-So far, no Irish player has spoken to Brian Kelly about sitting out of the bowl game. The team had their first meeting today, and no one expressed any concerns about playing. Per Kelly, “The nine bowl games that I’ve been part of, everybody plays, and if something changes, I’m certain we’ll deal with it and they’ll let us know.”
-While a win over Iowa State certainly won’t move the needle for many Irish fans, Kelly sees this game as a chance to carry momentum into the off-season. Kelly commented, “It (a win) builds a great deal of confidence as you get ready for the next season. No doubt there is some momentum there that you can build off of it.”