Notre Dame Football Head Coach Brian Kelly kicked off the 2014 season with a press conference on Friday afternoon. Kelly said, “such great expectations” await the program in his 5th year at Notre Dame.
Kelly noted that this was the “best off-season” in his five years at Notre Dame. The Irish conducted several “OTAs” in June due to new NCAA rules. However, the team did not sacrifice anything in the weight room. These two factors combined to give Notre Dame an extremely productive summer.
The biggest question heading into the press conference was, ‘Would Kelly name a starter at Quarterback?’ The 5th year Notre Dame Head Coach could not have been further away from appointing a signal-call for the 2014 season. Kelly downplayed what many thought might have been occurring with the Quarterback position. He said that he was “not playing a game” in order to create “artificial competition throughout the ranks.” Furthermore, Kelly said Golson “rode the bus to the National Title” in response to his experience in 2012. So, the competition is definitely real.
Martin, Councell and Grace In, Springmann Out
Kelly, like always, updated the media on the various injured Notre Dame players. Nick Martin and Ben Councell have recovered from their knee injuries they suffered at the end of the season. They will be prepared to open fall practice with no restrictions.
Senior Linebacker Jarrett Grace has begun running and should be prepared for the August 30th opener against Rice. It is not clear whether or not Grace can truly compete at the Middle Linebacker position. He is unlikely to be in football shape.
The most disappointing news of the day was the end of the career of Defensive Tackle Tony Springmann. Of course, it hurts when anyone must end their career. But, it will also hurt the depth along Defensive Line. Kelly said that Notre Dame would lean on Freshman Daniel Cage and Pete Mokwuah for depth.
Defensive Freshman Set To Make Impact
Notre Dame noted several Freshman who could make an impact, especially on the Defensive side. Cage and Mokwuah will figure into the 2-deep at the 1-technique. Kelly also mentioned Cornerback Nick Watkins, Linebacker Nyles Morgan, Defensive End Johnny Williams and Defensive End Johnathan Bonner. Kelly reasoned that each demonstrated they were prepared to play because their superb physical traits. Bonner jumped his way to a 35-inch vertical at 270 lbs, which is extremely impressive.
Daniels Re-commits To Greatness
Kelly said that Daniels is bigger, much mature and a better leader than ever before. Daniels needs consistency to be a truly great player. The weight of Notre Dame’s receiving corp rests completely on his shoulder.