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Notre Dame VS Florida State: Brian Kelly talks about versatile running attack

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Brian Kelly returned to talk growth, the Irish running game and COVID-19, of course.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly returned to update journalists Thursday as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish prepare to take on the Florida State Seminoles.

Dropping Names

Kelly confirmed both linebacker Jack Kiser and defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa will sit out for the upcoming matchup against the Seminoles.

The coach also addressed Braden Lenzy’s work to become a complete receiver for the Irish. Kelly explained:

“You have to be aware of that before you can be that. Where I’m proud of Braden is that he has embraced the fact he wants to be more than just a guy who gets handoff sweeps. He wants the complete passing tree and wants to run every route we have. He’s working towards that.”

Kelly went on to highlight Lenzy’s coachability and to acknowledge Lenzy has significant room to grow and the wide receiver is aware of this.

The COVID-19 Chaos

On implementing players who have recovered from COVID-19, he explained:

“They’re still going to be following the same protocols as everybody else relative to masks and social distancing. They won’t be tested for at least 90 days. But we do use them in a manner – for example – within a locker room setting, they’d be sitting next to somebody who’s non-COVID.”

Kelly also explained how the team is easing recovered players into play. He said:

“If somebody can make up the ground and still be competitive in practice, we’re going to allow him to still compete for playing time. If they’re that good a player, we’re not going to hold them back if the time away has not held them back. If you’re that good a player and you can go through having mild symptoms, go through that protocol of 50 (percent), 75 (percent) and still at the end of the day be as good if not better, you’re going to see yourself playing on Saturday.”

#RTDB

On dividing carries among five Irish running backs, the coach said:

“I don’t know that you ever try to break it down and say these guys are going to get these carries when we’re dealing with five. They do have a sense of complementing each other well at different times in the game. We’re committed to running the ball with a physicality but also we need guys who can catch the ball out of the backfield — I think having that versatile running attack has allowed us to go deep on the running back side.”

Kelly underscored coaching staff has made an investment in the five and expect all of the running backs to make contact. To Kelly, only time will tell how the setup will pay off, but the South Florida blowout served as an effective indicator.

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