ND ready for weather-related issues

Kelly said his team prepared for rainy conditions all week, including playing at a faster pace. He also said he’s not averse to throwing the football in the rain.

As of the completion of Thursday’s practice, Hurricane Joaquin and its accompanying rainstorms had yet to deter No. 6-ranked Notre Dame from its preparation to travel to Clemson, S.C., to take on the No. 12-rated Tigers Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

The Irish are slated to leave on its scheduled charter flight Friday with an 8:22 p.m. ET Saturday kickoff still on the docket.

“We booked a hotel for a couple extra days just in case,” said Irish head coach Brian Kelly. “We’ve got a place Sunday or Monday if we’re (still) down there.”

With torrential rains expected all along the east coast and uncertainty as to where exactly Hurricane Joaquin will hit, Kelly, his staff and his players controlled the only aspects of the weekend within their realm.

“We’ve worked through a number of scenarios that could affect game situations, but our guys are prepared for anything,” Kelly said. “We worked on squib kicks to wet ball situations…We’re prepared. We’re ready to deal with the elements.

“We’re not really concerned about the weather. As long as it’s not lightning, our guys are ready to play. I really can’t control that. My control has been on handling the circumstances of preparing our team.”

Notre Dame athletic department officials participated in an ACC conference call Thursday, just to get a handle on what lies ahead this weekend for all the teams involved in games that will be impacted by the storm.

When Kelly says he and his team are prepared for any conditions, he also means high winds, which generally are assumed to be a deterrent in the passing game.

“I’ve always liked to throw the ball in the rain because you know where you’re going,” Kelly said. “But we’ll take it as it comes. I still think the ideal situation is to try to maintain as much balance as you can. Our quarterbacks can handle a wet ball. I’m not really that concerned about it.”

Kelly had no trouble recalling the worst rain conditions he’s dealt with as a head coach. That came at Army in 2005. Snow? During his Grand Valley State days.

“They were going to cancel the game unless our team shoveled the field,” Kelly recalled. “So we shoveled the entire field, and then (won), 56-0. So we had a little left in us.

“This should be easy. We don’t have to shovel any snow.”

Kelly said he’d prefer that his offense play fast in rainy conditions.

“Anytime the quarterback comes to the line of scrimmage, they want to be feeling like they’re controlling communication,” Kelly said. “(The less) communication at the line, the better. We feel that could be something that’s helpful to us.”

Torrential rains likely would quiet the Clemson crowd, but if Kelly had his way, he’d dial up an advantage through his team’s own means.

“I told our team the best way to quiet the crowd is to play well, and that’s what we need to do,” Kelly said. “If we play well, we’ll be able to control all that. If we don’t play well, it should be one of the loudest places we’ve ever played, and that’s not a good thing.”


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