Spring ball is over for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and now we are all looking forward to fall camp. The Irish had to change quite a bit this spring with so many good pieces moving on to the NFL, but Brian Kelly remains as focused as ever with the same message he’s been saying for years now:
“It starts with recruiting good players. You have to recruit good players. You have to develop them. I think our preparation has been really good. We have to continue to prepare the right way. There’s a clear mission for what we want to accomplish and a standard for what we all follow. We just talked about it again. There’s only one thing we’re after here and that’s winning a championship. I just think there’s a clarity in what the mission is and how we go about it on a day-to-day basis.”
During Kelly’s best years, great leadership from the players was needed to get Notre Dame through the season. With the offseason ahead, however, Brian Kelly is still unwilling to name any captains.
“We need more time. Guys are doing a nice job. We need some more situational scenarios for our guys to lead through. I want to see some more times where our guys are put into different situations through the summer. We’ll do some more leadership work with that now that we have some more time with them—we’ll have some time in June. They just need a little bit more seasoning. I think we have a good group but this is a different team with a different group of guys. We probably won’t announced captains until we get into camp.”
Two position groups that will have a lot of attention as we head into August will be at linebacker (all of them) and the running back rotation (Kyren Willians, C’bo Flemister, Jahmir Smith). Tony Jones Jr. sat out today, but that gave us a better look at what the Irish have in the backfield. Jack Lamb also sat today out — which gives us far less insight into what the linebacker rotation will look like.
“There is a lot of progress being made there. I could see it from out there. I wanted to be out there to see tackle to tackle. We’re progressing to the point where we are starting to see some of the things being taught, repeated. That’s when you feel a little bit better about where you’re going to end up. There is enough athleticism out there. It will be our job and Clark’s job to put them in position to succeed. They aren’t as experienced at that position as we’ve had in the past. It’ll be our job to utilize their athletic ability and put them in positions to succeed. If that means us doing some things, that’s our job. We’re seeing progress and we have to be smart in taking advantage of their skill set.”
“Well Jahmir’s a truck. He’d just assume run over you than miss you. Which is fine. We know what his style is. And he’ll also trip over lines when you swing him out of the backfield so we have to clean that end up. But he’s a physical kid. He had a hamstring and he fought through it and I’m proud of him. But he runs physical.
“C’Bo is slippery, he’s low to the ground. He has great balance. He has pretty good vision, he hits the hole well. You look up, think he hasn’t done anything and he has five yards. Good natural instincts at that position.”
“Kyren is a physical back for his size. He’s a powerful kid, he’s over 200 pounds. Runs low to the ground, caches the football well. Pretty talented ‘back himself. I think all three guys afforded themselves very, very well today and they give us confidence if we get into a pinch we have those three guys to count on as well.”
There are still plenty of questions about this Irish team, but it certainly seems that they are well on their way to figuring out the answers for 2019.
You can watch the whole press conference in the player below.