Reading Between the Lines

Irisheyes.com wrapped up its first week of training camp coverage yesterday, but a few unpublished quotes from head coach Brian Kelly remained open for interpretation.

Sometimes the most seasoned, astute public speakers frame answers in a manner that leaves each open to interpretation.

For example...

#1 What was asked?

Do you miss having several two-a-day practice sessions available in your preparation?

What he said: "Well, I think there are plusses and minuses. You can go at a slower pace; you have more time to install and you know you're going to have the opportunity to get everything in.

"For us, I've already kind of mentioned that we want to get this done in 2 ½ weeks. That's the negative. The positive is, the season is so long now and you have to be relying on your players to be at their peak in November and December, and if you're going two-a-days everyday, you're probably not going to have all of your players available to you in November and December."

Reading between the lines (What he meant): Football is simply different today. Water is mandatory, not a practice privilege. "Getting dinged" means a player has a head injury that involved his brain moving in his skull. We have 85 scholarships, not 105, and though injuries are part of the game, it's now my job to help us avoid them…but yes, I used to like two-a-days because it forged mental toughness.

#2 What was asked?

How has Aaron Lynch progressed since the spring?

What he said: "There's never going to be a debate about his physical ability, but he has to be disciplined in the defense. If he can continue to come to practice professionally, locked in, every single day, then he's going to help us this year. If he doesn't, then he's going to become a guy that has to understand what it takes to be a great player. But he's making good progress."

Reading between the lines (What he meant): Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to impart to Lynch, publicly, that April 2011 no longer matters and never will again…and please stop asking me about my freshmen.

#3 What was asked?

Are your going to feature or rely upon a high-tempo offense last year despite evidence of late-season success in the power game?

What he said: "The ability to control the tempo is what we want. And that means we can decide when we want to play fast and when we want to pull back and take a look at the defense. Or even take time off the clock. You can't start slow if you want to play fast, so we have to do everything now at that fast tempo, but it's to get to the end of controlling the game from an offensive perspective in terms of how we want to play it."

Reading between the lines (What he meant): I prefer to push the tempo and stretch the field both vertically and horizontally with my read-option offense…but we were 4-5 with that attack last fall and finished 4-0 using the power game and relying on the defense. I haven't won at every level because I'm stubborn...plus why would I tell you? that only helps the opponent.

#4 What was asked?

Can Dayne run your offense after two knee surgeries?

What he said: "I think it starts with Dayne needing escape-ability. He still has to extend plays. He doesn't have to reverse field. He does not have to run the ball for us to be successful. I had Tony Pike at Cincinnati and he could not run the football, either. Escape-ability, however, is absolutely crucial. He has to be able to extend some plays. I'm not worried about his injuries. We're going to throw him in there and he's going to compete."

Reading between the lines (What he meant): Dayne ran for long yardage twice last season: he was knocked out for a quarter-plus the first time and for several months the second time…he needs to avoid the rush and look downfield.

#5 What was asked?

Will there be a package for quarterbacks Everett Golson or Andrew Hendrix?

What he said: "We have to be able to maximize the 85 guys on our roster, and if we find there's (an additional) quarterback that can add something to the game, we have to look at that. I think we go into camp looking that all four of those guys can compete and help our football team win, we just have to find out how that plays out."

Reading between the lines (What he meant): There are 21 other starting positions; stop asking me about the quarterback situation, it's not even mid-August yet.

#6 What was asked?

Have you seen indicators that this is a championship caliber team in camp?

What he said: "I know when we have the ingredients. I know that the portion is right. But you still gain that last piece of knowing, when you play a couple of games. You have to know those personalities of how they react when the games unfold.

"So I like the ingredients, I think they're portioned correctly and positioned the right way. Obviously there are so many factors: injuries; change of status; but then you have to play a couple games."

Reading between the lines (What he meant): I can't tell you how good I think we actually are, because talk is cheap and every sound byte can be used against me at a later date.

But we are much better than we were last season and I'm ready to contend for a national championship…but 10-11 teams on our schedule are more than capable of beating us on any given Saturday, and not many coaches face that obstacle.

#7 What was asked?

Will there be a quicker hook this season should your starting QB falter?

What he said: "I don't know if it's a quicker hook, but last year we were very hesitant to go to the bench. When your bullpen stinks you leave your starter in longer, I guess…as a baseball analogy. We have a guy now, whoever it is, has playing experience so if the offense is not moving, we can go to that guy. We didn't have that luxury last year."

Reading between the lines (What he meant): Yes


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories