Kelly Q&A: Offense

Irish head coach Brian Kelly offers pertinent updates on his offensive personnel at the midpoint of 2013 training camp.

Q: We saw Will Mahone on crutches today.

"High ankle sprain. You know how those go, two weeks, maybe 10 days. He's in jeopardy. I didn't have him on the significant category. The high ankle sprain is one where it's usually three to four days before you know the length of it. Early indications, and he moved around pretty good this morning in the pool, we'll find out a little bit more. I think he's gonna be close, but it's a high ankle sprain.

"Others are gonna be back. We've got (Chris) Watt out. We've got (Conor) Hanratty (still out). All those guys are gonna be back.

Q: (Freshmen Offensive Linemen) John Montelus and Colin McGovern, where do they stand? "McGovern went full today for the first time (November, 2012 knee surgery). I didn't get a chance to talk with Harry Hiestand, our offensive line coach, but we cleared him last night to go. John's making great progress (off-season shoulder surgery). The reports out of the training room, outstanding in terms of his progress."

Q: Does that include Daniel Smith? "Danny Smith, yeah. He's running. We expect him next week to be cleared full go."

Q: Corey Robinson had a couple nice catches on Bennett Jackson. Are you seeing the consistency out of him now to start matching his athletic ability?

"Where he catches the football, obviously you know he's numbers-outside, he's been extremely consistent in that area of the field. Where we've gotta continue to work with him is as he breaks inside he's gotta get stronger, more physical. But there's no question he can help us on the perimeter. He catches the football. He consistently catches the football. It doesn't matter who he goes up against. If the ball is put in the right position he's gonna come down with it."

Q: Kind of the same question with Greg Bryant. Are you seeing the consistency match the athletic ability there too? "Greg is a lot different (situation) than Corey. Corey is, throw the ball (then catch it). Greg has to learn the entire offense. So there's a lot more there for Greg. Greg is doing extremely well and of course I've gotten a chance to spend a lot more time with him. He's a great kid. Hard worker. He's gonna be a really good player. And he picks things up quickly. He's got some more work to do. There's so much more for the running back, you know? But he's done a nice job. He's just got so much more to worry about than Corey does."

Q: What has Ronnie Stanley done to put himself in the position he is right now? "I think, first of all, the game comes to him pretty easy. He doesn't fight it and he's massive. His size. He's strong, physical, moves his feet well. He's got the skill and long arms. He has all those intangible traits and real traits of an offensive tackle that you're looking for. He's got toughness. He's a tough kid."

Q: With Steve Elmer at guard there, is that a flexibility aspect? "Steve Elmer can play anywhere other than center right now. He can play any of the guard or tackle positions. We've got great flexibility with him. He's more comfortable at left tackle but if we had to play him at any of the guard positions or tackle positions we could put him in and he could play."

Q: Since the Stanford game his sophomore year until now, what's been the development of Andrew Hendrix in terms of his presence in the pocket and his execution on the field? "I would say just knowledge of the game. He's just more aware of circumstances of the game and the game itself. Down and distance and pressures and what teams are trying to do and what defenses are trying to do. I think just an overall understanding of the game. He's not that prototypical gym rat if you will. And I don't want to say that's a negative but he didn't grow up kind with the game itself. He's become so much more understanding of the game itself. He can recognize things so much easier when you're talking about different looks and understanding the concepts.

"It's just, I think, understanding the game more than anything else. It's just film study and watching film and being in the film room and all those things that go with. It's just come a little bit later for him but it's coming."

Q: How did he stay positive through the last year or so being a No. 3 for the most part? "Really, he probably wasn't happy about it. But he's such a great character kid that he focused on what he could do to help the team in whatever capacity. And he did. Sometimes he went over and helped the scout team. Whatever role he was asked he was really a team guy. I don't know that he really enjoyed it but he's such a great kid and a great teammate that he did whatever was necessary. I'm sure he went home at night and was like, 'This stinks.' Nobody really likes that but he accepted his role and that's why he's such a great kid."

Q: How is the kicking game shaping up?

"I think it's shaking out pretty good. Pretty good competition in preseason camp between (Nick) Tausch and (Kyle) Brindza. I really wanted an open competition between Tausch and Brindza for kicking, although as we all know Brindza did a heck of a job last year. But to bring Tausch back, I wasn't gonna bring him back unless I gave him a chance to unseat Brindza. Secondly, I wanted Brindza to focus on punting. So, I kept it wide open and today will be our final evaluation before we go into next week on the kicking job.

"I'll have all the numbers, we'll start crunching the numbers. We had a lot of kicks, a lot of live kicks. We'll start to factor that in. Both those guys had a lot of kicks relative to field goals and we'll get a better feel for that. The punting job, Brindza and (Alex) Wulfeck, those are the guys that have been battling it out for that. I think both of those guys have shown that we can get the job done on the punting end as well."

Q: We forgot to ask about (freshman RB) Tarean Folston. "He had a death in the family so he was excused from practice."


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