Its Michigan week and Brian Kelly met with the media today at the Gug to give his final thoughts on the victory over Rice before diving into this weekends big time showdown with the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium. Of course we all know that press conferences are notorious for being full of coach speak so we will do our best to sift through it and provide all the pertinent updates as the Irish prepare to take on the Wolverines.
- Brian Kelly kicked off the press conference with a bang by channeling his inner Rodney Dangerfield, wearing a sport jacket that was SNAZZY
- Kelly mentioned the great starting field position for ND against Rice as a huge factor in the success of the offense
- Kelly really gave a lot of praise to the special teams unit. Stated they put in great effort and that if the special teams unit can continuously provide that type of production the team is going to be in a very good position to win football games
- Gardner and Funchess are a one-two combo that provide a touch matchup for anyone. Kelly also brought up that Gardner has had great success against Notre Dame in the past.
- Kelly stated that he had no updates on the “Irish Five” and their status as of today but did say that the situation could change rapidly should he receive updates. Should he get information mid-week that some/all the players were able to return to the team he wouldn’t rule them out for the weekend.
- In regards to the communication with the safeties (or lack thereof) Kelly said that VanGorder was very vocal with the safeties. He than proceeded to say “I was in the quarterback meeting room and I could hear them ‘communicating’ VERY well during film study.”
- Having the all-time winning percentage is important to Brian Kelly as it shows the elite nature of the program and helps on the recruiting trail, however it does nothing to help this years team
- Torii Hunter has made great progress in his recovery and will be participating in some individual drills this week. Depending on how it goes he could be available next week for Purdue
- Jared Grace has made significant progress but is still not 100 percent and is still a few weeks away. Kelly is confident he will be able to help the team this season.
- Corey Robinson’s hand held up well following a minor surgery. The hand was a little sore after catching a laser of a pass from Golson but overall it held up really well.
- Kelly points to the new playing surface as a contributing factor in the success of the special teams
- The plan now is to continue using both Greg Bryant and Cody Riggs on punt returns. Kelly pointed out that Riggs is too valuable to lose and wants to make sure he doesn’t get hurt.
- James Onwualu was the special teams player of the week for the Rice game
- Kelly pointed out that while its not good that the series with Michigan is ending, that the silver lining is having the ability to play top notch programs like Georgia and Texas
Stay tuned to Down the Tunnel for all your Michigan week coverage.