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Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly said Phil Jurkovec wasn’t going to play ahead of Ian Book

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COVID won’t shake Kelly’s confidence.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Following Notre Dame’s knockout showing against the Clemson Tigers and ahead of the team’s faceoff against the Boston College Eagles, Brian Kelly met with reporters Thursday to provide an update. The coach confirmed Javon McKinley will be available for the Boston College game following a head injury in the Clemson game and Braden Lenzy will be out as he recovers from a hamstring injury. Kelly also confirmed there are no Notre Dame Fighting Irish players unavailable because of COVID-19 concerns.

About Last Week…

On the team’s cohesion against the Tigers, the coach said,

“I don’t know that I’d categorize it as crisp. We were in a physical football game that took a lot out of us. It is about managing week to week. We didn’t expend a lot of energy the two weeks prior, in a sense. Some of our numbers in terms of plays on defense were really low. They were much higher this week. It was a different week. But it was focused, it was intentional.”

Kelly went on to underscore the team’s focus on speed as the Irish prepare for the Boston College game.


Game cancellations are just part of the NCAA’s current reality. On the circumstances, the coach said,

“I don’t come in every day wary or afraid or not thinking we’re going to play. I’m just not at that point. Since our outbreak, we have never had a scenario where we have let our guard down in any fashion. What you’re seeing is this spike was Halloween-related in a large degree. We’ve had one here, our guys – knock on wood – have done well in testing this week.”

Taking on the Eagles

Coach Kelly addressed the impact of Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers and said,

“He’s explosive with the ball in his hands. They feature him in a number of different ways. If you look at Clemson, they have two or three explosive players. He is their player. He’s separate. BC has other good players, and he’s a great player. He separates himself from the pack in that way.”

On the whole Phil Jurkovec thing, Kelly explained,

“I’m sure he thought about all the options available to him or what he perceived to be available to him. But we never had the conversation about, ‘Hey, we’re moving you to tight end.’ At the end of the day, whatever the narratives are, he’s a competitive kid who wanted to play. He wasn’t going to play this year in front of Ian Book. That’s the bottom line as it relates to where he was in our program. He was competitive, he was doing the things we asked him to do, but he wasn’t going to start in front of Ian Book.”

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