Brian Kelly Praises Virginia, Jaylon Smith During Tuesday Press Conference


Kelly calls Junior Linebacker Jaylon Smith ‘the best defensive player’ he has ever coached

During his weekly press conference, Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly praised Notre Dame’s next opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers. Kelly said, “Virginia plays with a lot of energy and intensity — they are a well-coached team.”

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The Cavaliers dropped their first game to the UCLA Bruins, 34-16. True Freshman Quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 351 yards with 3 touchdowns again the Virginia defense.

On Saturday, the Fighting Irish defense held the Longhorns to the 163 yards. The discussion following the contest was whether the defense was great or the Texas offense was that poor.

“Our defense is much improved, but it’s a small sample,” said the Irish Head Coach. “If we can stay injury free, we can continue to grow on defense — it’s predicated on keeping key guys on the field.”

The defense’s best player, Jaylon Smith, tallied 7 tackles and 1 sack on Saturday. On Tuesday, Kelly did not hesitate to praise the future NFL player.

“I haven’t coached a player like him before. Period,” said the 6th year Irish Head Coach.

Tenuta vs. VanGorder

One of the most interesting storylines for this weekend’s game is the matchup of Notre Dame versus former Irish Defensive Coordinator Jon Tenuta.

Kelly said of the similarities between the two aggressive Defensive Coordinators, “They both drink from the same well.”

Tenuta was the Defensive Coordinator for the Fighting Irish in 2009. As the leader of the defense, the Fighting Irish allowed 25.9 points per contest. This total ranks 63rd in the nation.

Running Backs 

Notre Dame’s weakest position is currently at the Running Back position. But, the Irish will play with C.J. Prosise, Josh Adams and Dexter Williams.

“We like to rotate three Running Backs — so in the trickle down Dexter Williams gets more reps,” Kelly said about the current workload of the Running Backs.

Notre Dame faces Virginia on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.