Kelly Q&A: Thursday

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly discusses his communicative efforts with offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, a group effort to aid Everett Golson, and a few personnel notes including the progress of transfer Amir Carlisle.

Brian Kelly

"We were in the Stadium today. We kind of created a new weekly schedule of being in the stadium on Thursdays, working our team out. I want to go into the stadium. It's important that our guys feel comfortable in there. I felt our guys at times, we ran in the Stadium like we were running into the Basilica or we were running into the Grotto.

"We're running into the Stadium! We're running into a football stadium! I want our guys to feel comfortable in there. We were in there like six or seven times last year. By going in there on Thursday, I want our guys to feel comfortable in the stadium, in the locker room, on the field, on the sidelines. We practiced there today, had a good practice and now we're ready for 'Focus Friday' and getting ready to play Purdue."

Q: Do you have concerns about the kicking game? "Yeah, there are always concerns when you start like that. But I think they were more about nerves than they were about anything else. I think they settled in after we had a PAT and a poor kickoff, and not a great punt. I think it was settling in first time and they had a good week."

Q: How did the turf hold up "It did actually (well). We were a bit surprised. We actually talked about, I don't know what the case was in years past, but they always talk about the field. It was good today. We'll continue to do that based upon what I saw today."

Q: What was the best and worst and Tommy Rees this week? "The best and the worst… I just think he continues to get better in ball position and ball placement and putting it away from the defender. Obviously we had too many turnovers last year. Those kinds of things would be the best. I don't know if there was worst, but he's still got room to work on things mechanically. He's got a low arm slot. Sometimes the ball comes out in an area where I don't want it. We're working mechanics because he's got the mental end of it down. But some of the mechanics we're still trying to clean up."

Q: Do you have a No. 2 quarterback? "No we don't. Both those guys are ready to play."

Q: Second week in a row playing a team that you beat handily last year. Not within the staff or veterans, but did you have to hammer that home at all? "No. It's a new team. There's new guys. There's guys that we're playing on offense that didn't even travel to that game. All this week is less about Purdue and we respect the heck out of them and they're going to play their very best, we know that. But we've got so much to work on relative to our own selves, that that's been the focus."

Q: You actually practiced running into the Stadium? "No, I meant that as a figure of speech in that when we run out there, I want some energy. It almost seems there's too much of a reverence there. It's Notre Dame Stadium, it's a football game. Let's have some energy. We talked about that today. We'll continue to beat that drum."

Q: Can you talk about the "StaND" campaign to get more people cheering? "I think we're getting there. If we do a better job in third down and getting people off the field and score touchdowns, I think the place will go crazy. We've just got to get it to go crazy."

Q: What did you look for this week in terms of fatigue after playing in Ireland? "We went 24 periods on Tuesday, it was 90 degrees on the field, our guys did a very good job. We really tested them. We went full go, two hours of practice, that's not normally what we do. And then we backed it off a little bit on Wednesday and Thursday; no ill effects. Our training staff has been on it, monitoring, making sure that our guys didn't have dead legs, lethargic. Coach (Paul) Longo has weight training at 8 a.m. and he felt his group was really good. All signs for us, we feel really good."

Q: One strength with Tommy was run checks, getting into the right play. How much do you ask from Everett in that area? "He's got to do some of that. No question. The next step here is he's got to be able to function in a sense that teams are not just going to give him clean boxes to look at, say 'All right. You got six, we got six and go play.' We're going to get beat fronts.

"We're going to get stacked fronts and he's got to be able to manage it. Look, we don't have much film on this defensive coordinator. We've got one game against a I-AA opponent where they didn't show much. We're looking at film of Kansas State in 2008. We've had to prepare for everything and we have this week."

Q: You also get Carlo Calabrese back, is his role similar to last year? "He'll be involved. He'll be on the field on Saturday.

Q: With Amir (Carlisle), how was his week? "He had a good week. He's not ready to play in the system of offense. He's ready to play where physically we feel he's going to get some reps. But it's going to take him a little bit more time. This was really his first week of true practice. We tried to make it akin to the first week of really preseason camp for him. That's kind of where he's at.

Q: Any chance he red-shirts? "Yeah, the rules are you've got to do it within the first six games, we'll make that decision. We'll see where we are. We're counting on playing him, but we leave all those options open for a number of guys."

Q: Everett Golson talked about how everybody is helping calling out plays. How much are you relying on that? "Zack Martin is helping him with fronts. Braxston Cave is doing a great job. He was kidding him today because I guess that was an article that was written by somebody in here. Cave started telling him what level ball not to throw. It got carried away a little bit today. There's great communication with those veterans up front in helping him on every play."

Q: Can you clarify the in-game role of Chuck Martin. Is it more of a dialogue? "We're talking every play. It's so hard. I've been doing it for 20 years. I should probably be better at just letting it go. The thing is, we've done a lot of scripting of plays. A lot of our stuff is scripted up. We're in situational down and distance, No. 6 under 3rd-and-4, you know what I mean? And there's six plays. We've got a really good system of communication down. Chuck knows what I want and he knows what I'm looking for."

Q: Just to clarify, you're calling the plays and he's just making suggestions? "Everything comes through me and I make the decision what goes out. That was the same thing with Charley (Molnar) and Jeff Quinn (Cincinnati) and all my coordinators. You can't have them up there eating hotdogs. They've got to be communicating through me. Sometimes I may take over and may not want to be a good listener at times and other times a really good listener."

Q: Tuesday was a special day for your family… "Yeah, my wife made her second run through cancer and made it five years. It's significant because (the last time) after we had gotten to four years and eight months, she came up with cancer a second time. We had a pretty big party on Tuesday. No spirits for me, I was up in the morning at 6 a.m. But it was pretty loud at my house on Tuesday. Thank you for asking."

Q: Keivarae Russell stays in the starting lineup? "Absolutely. Do you want to take him out?
Q: No sir. "I do not." Top Stories