ND Football: Camp Is Over, Now To Focus On Louisville

It has been a very fast month of August. It seems like yesterday when all the media outlets converged on Culver Academy to cover the opening of Fall camp. The Fightin’ Irish are now a week and a half from their Labor Day match-up against Louisville. With the last open media day, practices will be closed and the team will begin to focus on Louisville.

The media had plenty of questions to ask Coach Kelly. The topic of questions were as follows. Michael Young, the Line Backers, Kyle Hamilton, Stopping the run, Safeties, Tight Ends, Jay Bramblett, and Jonathan Doerer.

Coach Kelly’s Opening Statement

“Today a shorter practice. We wanted to begin preparation for Louisville. We wanted to begin kind of transitions out of camp, if you will, work towards really peaking for Monday, our game against Louisville. For me, it’s taking the load off the guys a little bit. We went in helmets and shoulder pads today. We wanted to open up practice for you today, see that transition, that shift.”

“As I mentioned, they have a chance to earn their way up. Again, with the four games those young guys can play, they have an opportunity to impress me and the coaches with an opportunity to play this year, as well. That was kind of the tenor of practice today.”

“Then, again, setting our depth chart. I think what’s most important is we’ve got a number of really talented players. What we’re really I think excited about is that this team has handled everything that I’ve asked them to do in terms of practice, the leadership has been great. Certainly all of the things that go to winning, the traits that we ask them to work on every day, I’ve been really pleased with that.”

“I think this team, it’s going to be about the basic tenets of football. We’re going to have to run the ball well and stop the run. We’re going to have to play with a physicality. You really can’t see that right now. We’re going to have to play that way against Louisville. Our first glimpse of it will be when we play Louisville. For the success of this football team, it’s going to be up front, it’s going to be our offensive line, our defensive line, our ability to run the football and stop the run. If we do that, this is going to be a pretty good football team.”

Press Session With Coach Kelly

Michael Young

Media Question: “With Michael Young’s injury, was surgery required? What is your timetable with him?”
Coach Kelly Response: “Yeah, very similar. Screws, plate, collarbone. How long does it take for a bone to heal?”

Media Response: “I don’t know.”
Coach Kelly Response : “I don’t know either. I mean, everybody’s different, right? Four weeks, we’ve had guys back in four. I don’t know. Everybody is different. So we’ve had guys back in four. I think we this DaVaris Daniels, his situation was a little bit different, six or seven weeks. It was the BC game, then the bowl game. It was a little bit later. I think he was closer to eight weeks.”

“Each one is different. Cole is, like, two and a half weeks, he’s catching the football already. Who knows. The doctors say at four weeks you can take a CAT scan to see what it looks like inside-out. If it heals inside-out, then you’re cleared to play, and we go from there. We say four to whatever, relative to his injury.”

Line Backers

Media Question:  “Speaking of stopping the run, what kind of clarity do you have with your linebackers, and how does Drew White fit into that mix?”
Coach Kelly Response: “Drew’s in there. He’ll play the Mike linebacker position. You guys will try to nail Clark down on that, but he’s going to play Mike, he’ll play Mike against Louisville. Does he play every rep? Probably not. There will be some rotation in there.”

“I think we like certainly him, Asmar, Shayne Simon, all those guys, Jack Lamb, Keith. All those guys together have been all doing good things. They’ve all gotten better at their craft and what they do.”

“Now, different packages, down and distance, you’ll see different faces. But I guess what I’m saying is, we’ve got a better feel on who they are and what their strengths and weaknesses are. It’s not just like, Let’s pick a guy.”

Kyle Hamilton

Media Question: “Kyle Hamilton flashes for us when we’re out there. I assume he also flashes when we’re not there. What have you seen from him over the last two or three weeks? How unique is he in the way he’s been put together and be around the football?”
Coach Kelly Response : “There’s a lot of questions there. That one question in itself. The first question is, How does a young player fight through that inevitable wall that you’re going to hit? I think that’s probably the first thing that impressed me, was that he fought through that freshman wall.”

“Did a really good job. Probably happened last weekend where he kind of hit that wall a little bit, but he fought through it. Didn’t miss a practice. That was impressive for a freshman. He’s in a contact position, and he fought through it. That’s unusual. He’s got some toughness that you don’t teach at that young of an age.”

“The second thing I think within your question would be his size. 6’3″, 6’4″, very unique to have the suddenness and change of direction which offers him incredible range, obviously, and length as a pass defender.”

“Can’t tell that I’ve seen a player that can change direction and carry himself with that kind of range on the back end. That’s unusual.”

“Then instincts. He hasn’t even watched film yet. When he sees a play, he’s able to diagnose it (snapping fingers). I was telling Terry Joseph, you know, that’s great coaching. But it’s clearly the young man has great instincts and he’s gifted.”

“As much as I’ve been trying to tamp down Kyle Hamilton for Heisman, he’s a really good player. He’s a really good player that has showed up every day in some fashion. He has a unique skill set.”

Stopping The Run

Media Question: “You talk about stop the run, run the ball. I think you know who you’re going to run the ball with maybe more than you know who you’re going to stop the run with. You know who your backs are, have your lines set. What have you seen that gives you confidence that this is going to be a good run team?”

Coach Kelly Response: “Well, you’ve got some veteran presence on the offensive line with the two tackles, really both guards. Four out of five starters. We’ve really liked what Patterson has brought to the table.”

“Any time you’re returning four out of five starters on the offensive line, your first sense is there’s got to be some continuity that is going to give you some effectiveness in the run game.”

“You’re returning a similar offensive scheme so everybody is familiar with what we’re doing. I think everybody talks about the loss of Dexter Williams. Yeah, maybe we lose a little bit of that big-play ability, but we think the three backs, obviously Kyren and C’Bo bring something a little bit different.”

“But the three big backs, they’re punishing backs. We think we can be a physical presence because of four returning offensive linemen and three punishing backs. That would be the answer to that question.”

Media Question: “What are some indicators that you will stop the run or as the season progresses you’ll continue to get better stopping the run?”
Coach Kelly Response: “Well, I think obviously we understand how important it is to match our personnel to the keys to winning. Julian Okwara, everyone talks about his pass-rush ability. Really doesn’t matter much if you can’t stop the run because you’re going to be on the wrong side of it.”

“We’re going to put our guys in a position where we’re going to stop the run first. Julian is going to be part of that. He’s a really good football player. But he’s not one-dimensional. Here is a guy that has a chance to be one of the top players in the NFL Draft. He’s going to be part of that. So is Kareem. These guys are being talked about as pass-rushers, but they’re really elite defenders.”

“Yes, we have linebackers that don’t have a lot of snaps, but they are going to fit in what we’re doing. We haven’t talked a whole lot about Myron and Kurt Hinish. They’ve got a lot of snaps underneath them. Why am I confident? Got a great defensive line coach, got a great defensive coordinator, they understand the importance of how that front works together. We’ve always understood the key elements of successful defense is about stopping the run.”

Safeties

Media Question: “The safeties bring a lot of experience, are very highly touted this summer. Could you see them being one of the biggest strengths of this team?”
Coach Kelly Response: “Alohi and Jaylon are so solid. You add Crawford. We’ve talked about Hamilton. Brown has done a really nice job for us. I mean, yeah, I stand here before you with a sense that the depth issues that have at times put us in compromising situations relative to situational defensively will not shorthand us, if you will.”

“I think our depth is outstanding. We can play players and feel really confident, keep guys fresh on the back end of the defense. I don’t know that we’ve had that kind of situation in a few years, so it feels pretty good.”

Tight Ends

Media Question: “When Kmet went down, what have you seen from Brock and Tremble and the rest of the tight end situation that makes you feel like you’re going to be okay until Cole comes back?”
Coach Kelly Response: “Well, I mean, they’re good players. They’re not Cole Kmet’s size. We just have to change a little bit. You guys were out there today, you saw. We moved the tight end around a little bit more. They’re not in line quite as much. But we can play in line.”

“Tommy Tremble is an outstanding, outstanding athlete. You just play a little bit different with him. But go ahead, try to cover him. He’s a wide receiver, but he’s also 230 pounds, is as physical as anybody we’ve got.”

“You’re just playing to a different strength. You lose a really good player with Cole Kmet, you put a good different player in there with Tommy Tremble.”

“We know what Brock can do. Brock has been reliable. He’s much more loose and agile. He’s worked on those in the off-season. He’s going to be a reliable blocker for us. He’s going to be able to catch the football. Now you add Tommy to that.”

“We need a third. George Takacs has to come on, continue to progress. But that’s kind of where we are right now with those two guys anchoring it until we get Cole back.”

Jay Bramblett

Media Question: “I saw you talking with Bramblett today after one of his kicks.”
Coach Kelly Response: “Yes.”

Media Question: “Do you see that same progress?”
Coach Kelly Response: “Yeah, Jay is really a hard worker, extremely conscientious, easy to coach, quite aware of what we’re trying to do. I won’t get into the specifics, because they are tactically a little bit in terms of what we’re doing with him.”

“He allows us to do a lot more than we’ve been able to do in some time. But he has made the consistent progress and the consistency in which you want from that position. Great hang time. We’re going to be able to cover kicks and feel really good about that group consistency even turning over a really good player in Tyler Newsome.”

Jonathan Doerer

Media Question: “Doerer seems to be getting more confident with each day.”
Coach Kelly Response: “Yeah. We were in an overtime script yesterday, it was actually fourth overtime, he hit one from 46 effortlessly. If he continues on that track, and believe me we have put him in a number of situations, and he has done a really good job. Harrison has done a really good job, too, as the backup. He is a college kicker as well.”

“We’ve just been really pleased with the work of our specialists. John Shannon has done a really good job. Vincent has done a really good job. That group has really been good. We moved Jay to holding. He’s been solid.”

“Coach Polian has done a remarkable job with a young group. They are not acting like a young group. It’s been fun to watch.”

Last Question

Media Question: “When do you anticipate your last real scrimmage workout before you get into the game?”
Coach Kelly Response: “We’ve had it with our ones and twos. The threes will scrimmage on Friday. It’s an audition for the guys that we’re probably going to keep with us. We have some questions on some guys. You saw some guys today that maybe were not up with us that were on demo. We’re going to flip those time because we weren’t sure on a couple guys, so we’re going to flip them around.”

“Friday will be kind of going a long way in who are those guys that are going to be traveling with us with Louisville. Friday will be much more about that next group of guys as to who is going to travel with us.”

Post Conference Wrap Up

The Fall training camp has shown the media a small glimpse in to the 2019 season. Kyle Hamilton stands out as our Freshman to watch on Defense this fall. Jay Bramblett is our Freshman to watch on Special Teams. Jafar Armstrong and Tony Jones Jr seem to be strong tandem at Running Back that will bring some “Shock and Awe” to the offense. The defense is just loaded. With Alohi Gilman being the overall voice on the defense, he will not allow that side of the ball to under perform. Now it will be a wait and see game for the loyal Irish fans to see how game one goes against Louisville.

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