Brian Kelly met with reporters today during his weekly teleconference. Although last night’s performance may not have been what fans of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish expected, Kelly seemed to be pretty upbeat about the things that he saw last night. Brian Kelly touched on injuries, the linebacker rotation, and an assortment of other tidbits with the media.
-Jafar Armstrong will be receiving an MRI today on his groin. Kelly noted that Armstrong has a history of a sports hernia in high school and was complaining of pain in his groin/abdominal region last night. A timeline will be known following the results of the scan.
-It appears Chase Claypool avoided a serious injury. Kelly said that Claypool landed on both his shoulders and that the team doctors wanted to do a thorough examination. There was no talk of a concussion, however Kelly did not say that Claypool was 100% either.
-Cole Kmet is scheduled for a CAT scan today. These results will dictate when Kmet can resume full practices. Kelly noted that either way, Kmet is close to a return.
-Michael Young will be receiving an X-ray today or tomorrow on the collarbone. These results will determine when Young can resume running and catching footballs. Brian Kelly stated that Young’s fracture is different than Kmet’s, but both will follow a similar return to play protocol.
-Brian Kelly admitted that the picture is still muddied at this position. Traits his is looking for at the Mike position include; being able to be physical within the box, take the physicality to the opposing offensive lineman, and being able to line up the entire defense correctly. He is looking for the Buck position to be able to have the ability to play in space and be able to play man defense against whomever comes out of the backfield on a route.
-Kelly acknowledged that Drew White had an extremely rocky start. However, the biggest takeaways were the great confidence that White displayed throughout the game and the athleticism that he displayed.
-Much to the frustration of Irish fans, this rotation is still unclear. Kelly noted that he wants to continue to take advantage each player’s skill set. He specifically mentioned how Jack Lamb was only used on 3rd downs, whereas Drew White was only on the field for 1st and 2nd downs. Jordan Genmark Heath and Shayne Simon were both lauded for their contributions last night.
-Kelly stated that the upcoming bye week is not ideal because it does not come at a time where they can get a bunch of guys healthy. However, he is happy to have it this week to avoid having to play a Monday night game followed by an early afternoon game on Saturday.
-Donte Vaughn is still in the picture at cornerback. The goal last night was to get Shaun Crawford reps in the wide-field position. TaRiq Bracy has impressed the coaching staff and appears to be in line for second-team reps behind Crawford. However, Irish fans should plan to see Vaughn in the coming weeks.
-Kelly did not seem happy with the inefficiency on 3rd and short plays. He said the coaching staff will need to review all the plays and determine if they have the right people in the game, if the right plays are being called, and if the Irish are playing to their strengths on 3rd down.
Although the game was closer than expected, let’s all take a moment to be grateful for a win. The Irish have played in plenty of games like this in the past and been unable to right the ship. Brian Kelly continues to demonstrate progress towards becoming one of the nation’s elite teams.