Kelly Q&A: Defensive Personnel

Irish head coach Brian Kelly offers early thoughts on his defensive personnel during Friday's post-practice session with the media.

Q&A with Brian Kelly -- Defense

Q: Regarding some front-line guys not out there: Danny Spond, Bennett Jackson and Conor Hanratty?

"This isn't a policy so I want to be clear. I'm not setting new policy. But we're in camp and we're going to have guys in and out of the lineup every day. Here's what I would tell you, if there's a guy that has a significant injury that will impact his playing time versus Temple, I'll let you know. None of those guys are at a point where they're even close to being in that situation. We have your typical turned ankle, we've got a neck sprain, we've got a back, we've got those kinds of scenarios.

"One day they're in and one day they're out. I would prefer as we go through camp, if there's something significant I'll report it to you and I'll be up front with you and let you know. If they're in jeopardy of missing playing time against Temple I'll let you know. We've got a variety of different things. I'll leave here and (head trainer) Rob (Hunt) is going to give me three guys that won't go tomorrow morning. None of those guys of significant."

Q: Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese were together today, is that the plan moving forward? Where does that leave Jarrett Grace?

"They're all going to be … that's a fluid situation with all those guys playing in there and getting reps. Fox, Calabrese, Grace, all of them. It won't be a two-person rotation. That's three right now and who knows, it could be four."

Q: Your starting defensive line appears set, but how deep do you think you can go there?

"There's a battle there probably for the defensive end position, who is the fourth player? That is not going to be decided for a while. Kona (Schwenke) has done a very good job. I would tell you that Tyler Stockton had a better spring than Kona did.

"But Kona has come in in great shape. Now, we're four days into this. I could change what we've seen. But his first four days have been very good. Kona taking reps with the twos, but we expect him to continue to progress there. I think we're gonna be a in pretty good position at the defensive line position. Four and five, that's going to be really competitive."

Q: And Jarron Jones, Isaac Rochell?

"Those are the three guys you just mentioned. They're all competing for three, four five. It's very, very competitive. I would not give an edge to any of them right now. It's extremely competitive."

Q: Coming out of spring Elijah Shumate's charge was to line up everybody, lihimself. That was going to determine what kind of safety he was going to be for you. Where is he with that?

"He's still learning. He's still learning. He's getting better every day, but there's still competition back there. What we have to do is we have to put the best players on the field. We're still working as coaches to put the best players on the field based upon … I think Al (Lesar) asked the question, who's the best running back? The best runner of the ball? You've got to get the schemes to fit the best runner of the ball.

"Well, that's the same thing with the best players. That applies to Elijah Shumate. We've got to make sure that we're gonna put the best 22 on the field and get the schemes to fit them. Well, I'm not gonna change the schemes until I know who the best 22 are. We're still in that process. That's what this is all about.

"This camp is evaluating those guys and finding out what they can do. If a guy struggles with particular play or coverage, do you just keep the play or coverage in? Or do you throw it out because maybe they do this better and they're a better player? We're in that process right now.

"There's a lot of tweaking and moving around, but he's a gifted player and he's got some competition, (Nicky) Baratti, (Austin) Collinsworth, (Eilar) Hardy. Max Redfield has really shown up. We've had some young guys really show up and those guys are competitive as well." Top Stories