Brian KellyAll right, let's talk Florida State-Notre Dame. Good week of preparation. We certainly had our kids' attention this week. We got an opportunity to try to simulate as much as we could with crowd noise. We certainly don't want to hear that warchant anymore, we played it enough this week. We don't want to hear it as much as we did this week. We try to simulate it as much as we could. We had a good week of preparation. Now we have to go obviously and play well and execute against a very good football team.
I like our guys' focus and preparation. They're excited about the challenge and the opportunity. This is why they come to Notre Dame, to play these kinds of games that have relevance and are on the national stage. They've been locked in and focused and excited all week.
Question: Were you able to get out on grass this week?
Kelly: Quite a bit. We didn't get out on Tuesday. We were there quite a bit on Wednesday and were there virtually the whole practice today. We ran our two-minute, red zone, quite a bit of our offense, special teams. I think everybody is very acclimated to the grass conditions.
Question: You know what good practices and bad practices look like. What's the difference?
Kelly: What it looks like to me is speed. Speed always picks up when there is a sense of, 'I have to be on my game.' The speed always picks up. That was clear to me this week that there was a step quicker in everything they had to do today. When we went against our defense, which we did quite a few times to simulate some of the speed that we're gonna see, we played pretty fast. Again, we do go one's versus one's every week, but you gotta keep in mind that we've got a bye week too, so there's that excitement as well. Guys are really like, 'Hey, let's go. We go a week off.' We've been playing that card as well.
Question: When you face Jameis Winston, what do you do at scout team quarterback?
Kelly: We had DeShone Kizer down there this week. He got all the reps.
I think everybody was very plased with what he was able to to. We also took some of our freshman receivers down there that had been up with us to give them even more that kind of speed. Justin Brent was down there. Corey Holmes was down there. I thought our defense was very pleased, our staff was, in terms of the talent that they saw. It is what it is, everything is scripted for success, but we got the look that we want. When the balls in the air you gotta play the ball.
Question: Tyler Luatua's status?
Kelly: He's day to day right now. He had a concussion so he went through the concussion protocol and was not cleared last week, did not play and is still showing lingering signs. Our medical staff has not cleared him for contact. He has been involved in our practice and they have not cleared him yet. Right now he has not been cleared.
Question: That happened in the Stanford game?
Kelly: No. It was a practice.
Question: What are you expecting from the atmosphere?
Kelly: I think it's going to be what we expected at other venues that we played at. Some of our veterans, I know they're expecting that. Some of our freshmen, I don't think they know what to expect, which is fine. But again, I think it's what college football and the pageantry of it is all about. It's like what other teams experience when they come into a night game here at Notre Dame Stadium. We played Michigan. I think it's gonna be a similar electric atmosphere.
Question: Do coaches enjoy this stage as well?
Kelly: Oh yeah, absolutely. These games obviously get everyone's attention. We like to be challenged as well. We have opportunities to measure ourselves as well. We want to play the very best as well. I think everybody is challenged.
Question: The crowd noise, how significant is that for Everett and is it significant for you in any way trying to communicate things?
Kelly: I don't think so. We went all non-verbal all week. We might muddle huddle a little bit. We've had similar situations at Michigan. I think Michigan is probably the loudest venue that we played in a couple years ago. I mean, we may have a couple snap infractions, a little nervousness, but we'll settle into the game and we'll be fine.
Question: Any other injuries?
Kelly: I don't think so other than (Austin) Collinsworth.
Question: Is there a chance he might come back for a fifth year?
Kelly: You know, he's gonna travel with us. He's in his graduate program right now. With all those discussions right now are all about what he wants to do. We're gonna accommodate whatever he wants to do. He means a lot to us. He's a great captain. He has been interrupted twice so he does fit that criteria (for a sixth year). But I don't think he's ready to make any of those decisions right now.
It's kind of feeling like he's that guy that keeps getting injured. I think we'll just wait another week or so, take the bye week, talk to his family, spend some time thinking about it and then be ready to make a decision.
Question: A couple personnel questions. The sophomore linemen other than Steve Elmer? Could you talk about them?
Kelly: They're all good players. (Mike) McGlinchey is right there. You gotta make a decision to sit down a senior. That's a big decision. We like Christian (Lombard) a lot. He's been very valuable to our program. McGlinchey is pushing him. That's a battle. That's one.
John (Montelus) is not in the two deep right now. We've had discussions with him about that. He's working hard on his game and we have a lot of confidence that he's gonna be a guy that contributes here for us.
We like (Colin) McGovern. He's a very good technician. If there were injuries, we would not have any reservations about putting him in the game. We feel like there are guys in front of them at this point.
Question: Talk about their offense and what they do.
Kelly: Absolutely. That's a well-coached team. Jimbo Fisher knows what he's doing. He's the offensive coordinator, the head coach. They know how to protect their offense. They're not gonna let you line up and 'Let's blitz 'em.' They know how to protect their offense. They've got two guys on the corner who can flat out fly. You want to get locked up one on one and you think that's just OK? Go blitz them.
You have to be smart, you have to be able to pick your spots. I think what you really have to do like every other good football team that plays good defense, you gotta do a good job against the run. If we do a good job against the run, especially on first down, then we can dictate some things. If they're dictating to you, gonna be a long day. We're gonna have to score a ton of points.
Question: Fisher seemed to know Brian VanGorder, but is he a different coach than when they crossed paths before?
Kelly: He's been out of the SEC for a while. I think Brian's experience in the NFL has built his philosophy to the point where we all, I don't want to say change, but we all change with the times. I think we all adapt to things. Brian's adapting here at Notre Dame as well to his personnel. We know what we're facing and Brian knows you can't walk in there and say, 'We're gonna blitz 'em. We've got 87 different blitzes.' We'll get crushed. We've gotta mix it up. We've gotta be smart. We've gotta be really good against the run. And especially on first down. If we do a good job there, if we keep them off balance, we gotta score on offense, play really good special teams.
Question: Schedule for Saturday?
Kelly: We have a schedule that we've stayed with for as long as I've been here. We'll get up in the morning. We'll have some meetings. We'll go to Florida A&M, have a workout over at Florida A&M. They've got a couple hours in the afternoon to do their things.
Question: Lou Holtz said Everett might have been overexcited playing against North Carolina. What was your approach with him this week?
Kelly: I think Everett is at that point, he's tired of being the center of the question. He's tired of answering the question about turnovers. I've seen him single-handedly take on that approach of 'I'm going to eradicate this.' I think that that is probably the biggest thing. He's gonna be who he is and we want Everett to be who he is.
But he knows he has to do a better job of taking care of the football. That's probably the overriding thing here more so than North Carolina versus Florida State. Everett's gonna be who he is. We're gonna be aggressive with Everett. He's gotta do a better job of taking care of the football and I think he's taken the initiative this week to make sure that that happens.
Question: Any chance Everett says something to the team before the game on Saturday like Manti Te'o did before Oklahoma tow years ago?
Kelly: We're not at that point. He's the leader on offense. He's the guy. We're sinking and swimming with what Everett does on offense. If he throws three or four interceptions and turns the ball over, we're gonna be hearing that warchant song. I don't expect that to happen. I expect him to play very, very well. I watched him this week. I watched how attentive he was, his progressions, what he's working on, his footwork. I expect him to play very, very well.
Question: Any update on Eilar Hardy
Kelly: Yes. I met with Eilar. We have some work to do in terms of some of his academic work that he's working on right now in terms of trying to get that organized. If we're able to get some of those things organized, we're going to bring back Eilar to practice after we get back from our bye. We have some things to work on that he's working on right now, some of his classes, things of that nature. But I've invited him back to the roster to practice and then we'll take it from there.
Question: Have you talked to DaVaris Daniels?
Kelly: I have not.
Question: Any of the other players able to come back to practice?
Kelly: Eilar is the only one that I have talked to that would be back on the roster.