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Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction | Brian Kelly Press Conference and Updated Weights

August 2, 2019
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Brian Kelly didn’t drop too many bombshells during his opening press conference this afternoon, but he did include some interesting notes before the Irish head to Culver Academies for fall camp tomorrow.

Here’s some things that jumped out at me after listening to all of the updates from Kelly:

- Last year one of the big themes in fall camp was developing the passing game, which was partly a way to evaluate Brandon Wimbush’s progress as a passer and also a way to prepare for their opening matchup against Michigan.

Kelly intimated that the running game will be something that will be a greater theme in camp this year when he mentioned that they’ll work to develop key reads for the linebackers to help them evaluate the position. That’s going to be beneficial for all of the young linebackers and should be just as big for the offensive line and the running backs.

I thought the focus on passing last year in camp was a big reason why the line struggled run blocking early in the year. With a veteran quarterback and pass rushers making the passing game and defending the pass less of a concern, it’s the right thing to do in order to develop the running the ball on offense and stopping the run on defense.

- No ISD subscriber should be surprised that Kelly announced that Aaron Banks is fully cleared given what Mike reported last week, but the good news about Trevor Ruhland’s recovery from his knee injury was a pleasant surprise.

Kelly mentioned that Ruhland is in the best shape of his life and in my opinion his health is a huge development for offensive line depth. He now becomes the “next man in” at guard or center. So if Banks was unavailable, Jeff Quinn will at least have an experienced option to go to.

- It sounds like there will be a lot of experimenting at the corner position with Notre Dame taking a look at multiple players at different spots. So for example, Troy Pride will get a look at boundary and play the field like he did last year.

I really like this approach by the staff and I think it should help them in situations where they will be forced to use their depth to get through a series or even a game. Last year they only had two corners they could rely on. When they had to use a third or fourth corner, the defense had issues.

That hopefully shouldn’t be the case this year and the hope should be that they have a group of four or five corners that they feel confident can play for them this fall.

- Kelly said it all by not saying much when asked about Derrik Allen. This is a huge camp for him to prove he can be a player for Notre Dame. I believe Notre Dame wanted him to be lighter than the 217 pounds he is currently listed at and if he doesn’t have a good camp at safety, the perceived inevitable move to Rover could happen before we hit September.

- Everyone knew Dexter Williams was not going to be available early in the season in 2018. There was hope he would be ready to contribute after the first four games, though, and it had to do with the feedback Kelly gave in regards to Williams’ doing all the things he was asked to do during the offseason.

What Kelly said today about Kevin Austin, he called his status day to day and said “he’s still a part of our team”, should make everyone question whether or not Austin will play at all for Notre Dame this year.

That isn’t encouraging news to get before camp even starts, but at least expectations can be set as low as possible now rather than fans holding onto expectations of Austin being a big factor in 2019.

- Some quick observations after seeing the updated heights and weights:

I saw someone mention that Hunter Spears could also play defensive end at Notre Dame. Him weighing 303 pounds should quiet that for good. I expected him to be an interior defensive lineman at Notre Dame and that’s exactly what he is going to be. I’d imagine he’ll start out at nose.

JD Bertrand weighing 226 piqued my interest with Kelly saying that he is physically ready to compete right now. I’m very interested to see how he’ll handle the linebacker competition if given an opportunity to work against the first or second team offense.

Shayne Simon at 232 and Jack Lamb at 233 are the heaviest linebackers on the roster. That’s by design and I wouldn’t expect that the Irish will have a linebacker on the roster who weighs over 240 at any point in the near future.

It’s a speed game. It’s a spread game. 240+ linebackers are dinosaurs in college football.

A couple of players who are 100 pounds apart caught my eye when looking at the roster.

TaRiq Bracy still coming in at 170 is interesting. I thought he would have gained a little bit over the last year and he’s at the same point where he was a year ago. This might be who he always is.

Zeke Correll at 270 was an unpleasant surprise for me. I thought he’d be a bit bigger at this point. Not that he doesn’t have plenty of time to add weight, but I would have liked to see him trending towards 280 and above, especially considering he was an early enrollee.

On the other side of things, Howard Cross at 269 is exactly what I wanted to see. Unless he hits a growth spurt, he’s probably never going to be a monster. But if he’s 269 his first summer on campus, getting to 285 seems much more achievable for him than if he came in around 250.

Cole Kmet being 250 after weighing 258 coming into last season is the kind of thing which shouldn’t go unnoticed. I can’t wait to see him move around this camp at that weight.

 
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