The Notre Dame Fighting Irish return to action this week with a mostly healthy team. They welcome the Florida State Seminoles to South Bend for a Saturday night ACC game. Brian Kelly was available to the media this week to talk about the Irish and Noles.
Brian Kelly, obviously, was asked a lot about how Notre Dame is dealing with COVID-19 in all of its aspects:
“What have we learned from the situation, you know, you put in place procedures and protocols for the day-to-day operations, and some of the things that you can’t, you know, kind of see happening are victories. And what I mean by that is, when guys are excited and good things happen, guys want to celebrate. Celebration in the game probably cost us four or five guys. Because there was that opportunity, guys, you know, when they want to sing the fight song. You know, it’s hard to keep their mask up. And I’m just giving you just a glimpse of the little things that are between the lines, when you’re writing up procedures and protocols. You don’t think about the...it’s so hard to win. And then when you do win, you know, the first thing out of my mouth is ‘Hey, stop, celebrating, put your mask on.’ You have to do that. And so that’s probably what we’re all learning is that it’s so hard, given the circumstances that we’re in, that we have to be on top of every little thing, regardless of the circumstances. And that’s just kind of a tidbit as to what’s been challenging and what what I’ve learned and what we’re learning during this Covid that is very difficult to manage while you’re playing. Can you do it? Yes. But you you’re learning every single day.”
“So just going back to what I was saying, we were at a team meal and we feel like while the guys were eating with their masks down, certainly, there could have been some spread there. Again, we’re not scientists, and it’s almost impossible for us to directly link it. We’re trying to do the best we can in terms of trying to figure out some safeguards where we can improve our own procedures and protocols. So exact time and place, I couldn’t give you an exact place that it was at a team meal. But we think it’s an educated guess. Where is it coming from? You know, we have young men that better active on campus that are not just, you know, sitting in their dorms. And when I mean active on campus that are on different committees, that interact on campus. And so whether it’s there, or whether it was two or three guys playing a video game together, and we’re not exhibiting good judgment, didn’t have their masks up at the time, certainly could have come from that, or we’re in a car together and didn’t have their masks on and somebody was asymptomatic. So there’s just so many levels to this, that it becomes maddening in a sense to try to track every little movement, knowing this, that if you don’t have a mask on, you can’t be in our building. If you don’t have a mask on, on the sideline, you can’t be on the sideline or in the locker room. And that’s really what this is coming to. And because the virus is going to be the virus and it’s not going away. And we have to understand if we’re going to continue to play in this environment, we have to be even more vigilant than we were in the past.”
Kelly was very complimentary of FSU (per usual) and still sees the Noles as a very dangerous team despite their rough start to the season:
“Okay. Certainly for me and our team, and certainly, our entire staff, we’re excited about getting back into a game week situation. We’ve been off now, obviously for those that are following us, the last few weeks. And preparing our football team to play, it’s been a challenge. Certainly, many of you know that we had battled a spike in positivity rates. And we believe that we sit in a very good position right now and we’re preparing our football team for a very challenging opponent in Florida State. As many of you know, Mike Norvell is the new head coach and have a lot of respect for Mike and what he’s accomplished. And you know, again, I’ve known Mike and followed him and loved what he’s been able to do at Memphis and Arizona State as a coordinator. And in very short order, he’ll have Florida State back in a very good position nationally. But they did some really good things this past weekend. Again, Florida State is very talented. It’s getting to the point where it seems as though they’ve found their quarterback and Jordan Travis. We’ll prepare for a couple of other quarterbacks. We know well, very well, about James Blackman. We’ve faced him as well, but look like they’ve gotten some energy from Travis. Outstanding running backs, talented wide receivers. And so, we know the challenges that we’re going to face with this offense. You know, again, I think (Tamorrion) Terry and (Ontaria) Wilson, two outstanding wide receivers, all of them are big play kind of players. I think from a defensive standpoint, I think if you look at this team, overall, there’s probably six, seven, first-day draft picks. You know, (Joshua) Kaindoh, (Tamorrion) Wilson, (Amari) Gainer, (Asante) Samuel (Jr.), you know, the safety, who’s been out for a couple of weeks, certainly, is a big time player. So, very talented on defense as well. And, you know, they played some different defenses over the last couple years so they’re starting to get more accustomed to the system that they’re playing. So, a lot of respect for the talent that we’re going to see. And again, we’re coming off a long layoff and we’re going to have to be at our very best and get off to a really good start, we didn’t get off to a good start in our opener against Duke, and it factored into the game. We got off to a great start against South Florida and it did factor into the game. And we’ll need to get off to a good start against Florida State. So, with that, we’ll open it up to questions.”
“I think there’s six maybe seven first-day draft picks. Very talented football team. You know, they needed to find their identity offensively. I think they have found somebody that they feel comfortable with from an offensive standpoint at the quarterback position. Now that kind of allows them to get into a rhythm offensively. Defensively, they were in three down and four down. Maybe they have found where they want to be there as well. So yeah, this is a team that will continue to get better from week-to-week. It’s an established head coach, one that’s been successful, knows what he’s doing, knows what he wants. And Mike will get this football team playing better football. I just hope it’s not this weekend.”
THE WHOLE PRESSER
You can watch the whole press conference in the player below. Some of the things discussed are:
- The development of Ian Book.
- The return of Kevin Austin at wide receiver.
- A ridiculous ACC question.
- The return of Kyle Hamilton.
- Sunday’s scrimmage.