Brian Kelly Press Conference: North Carolina Week


Big win for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish last week against Stanford with a last second touchdown throw to Ben Koyack. This week the Irish are up against a young and athletic team in North Carolina. Their quarterback Marquise Williams leads the team in rushing which says a lot about how their offense operates. They have tall wide receivers on the outside and Ryan Switzer lining up in the slot as a Wes Welker type of player. Defensively North Carolina is good at getting turnovers with a total of twelve takeaways thus far through five games. North Carolina is coming off a three game losing streak and looking to turn things around against the 5-0 Irish.

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Offensive notes:

Everett Golson is a very dedicated quarterback when it comes to studying the game and trying to see things from a coaches point of view. When asked about what Brian Kelly’s quarterback needs to do to take the next step he said they nailing down the fundamentals is crucial. “He is such a creative person – we dont want to take that creativity from him as a quarterback but there has to be those fundamentals that we need to nail down.”

One player that has not played to what most expected of him this season so far is running back Greg Bryant. He had a breakout game against the Rice Owls with 77 yards and a touchdown but since that game he has not had the same production. “Greg’s a freshman. He’s truly getting his first sense of competition and its going to come for him there is no doubt about that” Kelly continued, “Greg just needs more time to develop – I think everyone wants it to happen right away and he just needs a little more time and finishing off runs is the biggest thing right now.”

Matt Hegarty made his fifth start on Saturday and there were a few times that he got beat on one-on-one situations against a four man front. With the whole offensive line still getting used to playing together as a single unit Brian Kelly saw things he liked from his senior lineman. “What we were most pleased with is that in the third and fourth quarter, he played his best football. And so I think once we settled into the game and started to get into the flow of the game, he graded out much better.”

Defensive Notes:

Coming into this season there were many questions around Joe Schmidt and his ability to hold down the middle linebacker position being an undersized player. It was clear on Saturday that Joe had no problems holding up against a power team such as Stanford. “He played well – Him and Jaylon (Smith) as a tandem played very well. Joe handled himself very well”

Ben Council was a player that most people saw having a big role on the defense since he is a larger linebacker that is more tailored to a physical ground and pound game that Stanford brings each week. With the way that Stanford played on offense they stayed out of their typical power run scheme and switched to a more spread offense look. “We got them out of 22 and 32 personnel – they went to 11 personnel which was just fine with us, but if they stayed in 22 and 32 personnel Ben would have been on the field more”

The Notre Dame defense held possibly one of the most explosive players in college football, Ty Montgomery, to just nine touches and twenty six yards. When asked if this spoke to the overall skill of his defense Coach Kelly said it had everything to do with their game plan for Stanford. “ One, it was a must. We had some musts, so that was part of our must. And then it becomes enacted within our game plan. It’s important to know your opponent, and your strengths of your opponent. So I think we enacted the appropriate game plan and our guys knew where he was.”

Cole Luke is coming into his own this season holding down the number two corner position with the savvy of a upperclassman. “ First of all, you can’t have any kind of memory at that position. You have to let it go quickly. But technique has been probably the No. 1 thing that he’s improved on over the past six weeks that’s allowed him to grow as a corner.”