Notre Dame Football

BK Transcript: 3/8

March 8, 2017

Written by Jerry Strabley

Coach Kelly met with the media after the first practice. He opened with the following statement:

“The first practice, I like the energy and enthusiasm on day one. Every practice could be day one. It was a good day. I liked our tempo, and I liked our teaching. I’m looking for guys with good communication. I’m looking for guys that are really locked in with attention to detail and really focused. I thought by and large, a lot of those things came to fruition today. Again, to point out anything in particular after day one would be a little bit foolish on my part. I thought overall, generally speaking, really liked the management of our defense and how it is being taught in all aspects. And really loved the tempo that we were able to run at offensively today.  You know, we didn’t have the typical sloppiness of the ball on the ground and guys not executing at a high level. So, I’m pleased with that, as you know, from the first day.”

As you went around today, what did you observe from your assistant coaches?

“Well, today for me was a getting a sense and a feel. You know you’ve laid down what your expectations are you want your coaches to really focus on. We vetted all these coaches out in the process, and I wanted great communicators and great teachers, guys that are very positive. I was able to get around and see all of the position group, and I was very pleased with the way they interacted with the players and communicated effectively with them. I felt there was no lack of communication in an effective manner. Obviously, it was a good day for me as I got a sense of how our coaches were teaching and communicating with our players.”

With the Rover position being new, how do you see it playing out with Asmar Bilal in that position?

“Asmar was there today. I think it’s going to be a kind of week-to-week match-up situation. You are going to look at those teams that could stretch that position with a slot receiver versus a tight end. We play some power run teams in the first month of the season. We think Asmar is the guy that can physically run with most detached or tight ends or backs coming out. In the role that we are going to ask that Rover to match up a two, we’re going to ask him to run vertically and play corner routes. So, we think he is a physical guy at the point of attack. A guy that is agile enough to play in space, but yet not put him in a position where we have played more of a safety at that position.”

With Drue not being there today, does that rule him out?

“No, it doesn’t. I think what you will find at the Rover position, there will be some versatility based upon the opponent.”

On the first day, what are you looking for from the wide receivers?

“I think, in the first day, we were looking at tempo on our offense, and I think we achieved that. To go fast and be sloppy is certainly not the end, but to be able to run a little bit more tempo with our offense and be effective in execution with really the most important thing. There is a relationship built already with these guys. Brandon (Wimbush) has obviously been with them the last couple of years, so we are not starting from scratch. But there are nuances of the position that they are going to have to work out. I thought, in particular, there’s already a pretty good sense of relationship, if you will, between the receivers and Brandon. I think we saw that today, at least I did.”

Was there any significance that Kevin was running with the second and third units?

“Right now, we are moving positions around. We actually have some tight ends that could possibly play at different positions. You saw Chase in at the Z. It’s really too early to read into a first, second, and third because we are moving some guys around, and we don’t want to put Kevin into a position where he’s got to learn a couple of different positions. So, it is by virtue of moving some other guys to that X position and giving them reps, but Kevin already knows the X position. So, it’s not that he is the third as much as we are trying to get some other guys work over there.”

If the NCAA legislation about a tenth coach doesn’t pass, how will that affect Tommy Rees?

“Well, Tommy is designated as a graduate assistant right now. If it didn’t pass, he would stay in that role. He couldn’t recruit off campus, but he could on campus in a recruiting role. So Chip and I would obviously pick up that role, if the tenth coach is not accepted. A lot of people feel that it is going to pass. We do things with a mind and eye toward things working in this direction, it would pass. But we are prepared to continue on and move forward if it doesn’t, one way or the other.”

Do you think it will pass in April or December?

“I think when we go to predicting the NCAA membership and voting, I think we have a better chance of winning the lottery. It seems as though the appetite is there with the things that I have received. We are taking our cues off of what we are getting and we are confident that something is going to happen. It is packaged with early signing. That seems to be the one piece that has a pretty strong foothold. So, if that passes, this one is essentially a rider to that, so we feel pretty confident.”

What have you seen, and continue to see, from McGlinchey?

“A couple of things, first of all, he came back with a want and a desire to improve in the weight room. So, there was a commitment that we needed to make to him that we were going to get it to the end for him. In other words, bigger, faster, stronger. I don’t know if you have seen him but he has gone up eight to ten pounds with good weight. He has gone from 16 to 24 in terms of 225 bench reps. He has made significant gains in the weight room. We owed him something on our end as well, and that is to physically develop him and to mentally develop him as a captain and a leader. And then to develop his skill. We moved him over to left tackle and there was an adjustment period for him there. So, Harry’s work with him is crucial as well. So, this was kind of a deal. You come back and finish off at Notre Dame and help us win a championship, and we are going to help you physically; we are going to help you in your leadership skills; and we are obviously going to help you on the field with your skills. So that translates next year as you help Notre Dame football, it’s also going to help you individually.”

Outside of the physical, what is Brandon focusing on?

“Being the quarterback at Notre Dame, there are so many things that you have to be able to balance outside of just being a really good student. It’s you folks; it’s alumni; it’s the pressure of playing it, the position itself; so just coming every day and believing in yourself and having the confidence to play the position and being aware of where you are every day as the quarterback of Notre Dame and balancing all those things. That is really the biggest focus for me and Tommy and Chip on a day-to-day basis and making sure that he is handling all the other things that comes with being the quarterback at Notre Dame.”

How much will Tommy help the quarterback since he has been the quarterback at Notre Dame and understands what it takes?

“That’s the reason. I think he is a great hire at this time and at this place. He knows Notre Dame, has been in it; he played as a freshman; he can relate to the young quarterbacks that are under his tutelage. Could we have found a quarterback with a deeper resume? Yeah, but they would not have understood Notre Dame; would not have understood playing as a freshman; not have all the tangibles that Tommy has and can bring to this position; and the knowledge as to who I am as a coach and what my expectations are and the offense. So, we think he is a great fit for us.”

What is the next step for Nyles Morgan?

“I think what he is working on right now is his intent and impact on the team. In other words, he is an emotional leader and we really want to fine-tune how he impacts the other people around him. Through his leadership, I think we can continue to grow as a defense. So he impacts the other 10 players around him. He leads sometimes by his emotions and we want that to be more balanced on a day-to-day basis. I think he is doing a great job of holding players accountable and communicating with them effectively. I think that has been a great maturation process for him over the last few months.”

Inaudible question.

“There will be some similarities to it, more of an anchor end position versus obviously the drop position where you have the flexibility to put him in coverage and do things like that. He’s going to be a guy that’s got to hold the point and be more physical at the point of attack. You are going to see more of a hybrid on the other side. A guy that can do a little bit more in space and fits some of the personnel that we have. So, this is a guy that is bigger in terms of size and a stronger run-fit guy at the point of attack.”

As of today, who do you kind of see being at the three-tech position?

“Right now, I would say Jon Bonner, Micah Dew-Treadway at the three and Jerry Tillery at the one.”

Do you intend to have Jay Hayes cross-train?

“I’d like to see him on the edge.”

How did it go for you today?

“I had different priorities. Normally, my priorities are to make sure that the offense is running the installation effectively and doing the things that are necessary that makes that offense run the way that it is supposed to. That’s not my priority right now. My priority is making sure that our coaches are emphasizing the things that I want. Today was about evaluating the personnel and where they are. So, it’s a much more different priority for me than it has been in the past.”

Is your staff complete now?

“We have hired one, two new analysts. We can get you all the information for those two positions.”

Is Greg Hudson with you now?

“He isn’t right now, no.”
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