Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly addressed the media following the opening practice of the 2021 spring. Despite just having one practice under their belts Kelly’s press conference was full of information and news.
Kelly announced that center Jarrett Patterson (foot) and defensive tackle Jacob Lacey (shoulder) would be out for the spring. The Irish head coach also stated that wide receiver Kevin Austin (foot) was “unlikely” to participate in the spring.
Senior rover Paul Moala (Achilles) would be limited early in spring practice, but according to Kelly he should be available in the second half of the spring. Quarterback Brendon Clark (knee) is also out and unlikely to take any live reps during the spring. Kelly hinted that Clark should be able to start throwing by the end of the spring, but it sounds incredibly limited.
KELLY SEEMS CONFIDENT IN THE NEW-LOOK OFFENSIVE LINE
When asked about having to replace four offensive linemen the Irish head coach seemed surprisingly confident. Kelly confirmed much of what we talked about in a midweek intel drop.
“We've always lost really good players, and it's my job and our coaches job to replace them and maintain the standard of excellence that we've had around here,” Kelly said during the spring opening press conference. “Being in the College Football Playoff two out of the last three years doesn't give you a pass in saying, ‘Well, we lost all those players.’ All it means is that's the expectation, so we got to get these guys ready.
“A couple of guys we know, Zeke Correll is slotted in at that center position, Josh Lugg is going to play at (right) tackle, but most likely will slide back into the guard position when the season starts.”
Patterson obviously will man one of the starting spots in the fall, which means all the battles this spring will determine who steps into the other two spots.
“You're going to see a big battle for one of the tackle positions and one of the guard positions,” continued Kelly. “You're gonna see a little bit of everybody. Tosh Baker, we saw him starting in one of our units today [at left tackle]. Dillan Gibbons was starting [left guard], John Dirksen was starting [right guard]. We really liked the progress of Michael Carmody, who is coming along. I mentioned Andrew Kristofic. The young freshmen, both the young freshmen linemen [Blake Fisher, Rocco Spindler] that are mid-years, they got a chance to step in with the second group. Everybody is going to get into the mix. We kind of have a plan of how this should look. Quinn Carroll is another guy that had a really good offseason. So, a lot of names. We got to kind of sort it out as it goes.”
MYRON TAGOVAILOA-AMOSA TO DEFENSIVE END
“He's going to play some defensive end for us, the big end position,” Kelly explained. “We think he's certainly capable of giving us the kind of solid technique necessary to play that big end position. He's got the size, he's got the strength, he's put on some weight, so he's up for it, he's excited about it. He was out there with the first group today and did a nice job for us.”
OFFENSIVE IDENTITY STILL TO BE DETERMINED
Notre Dame was a conservative, ball control offense in 2020. Whether that will continue in 2021, or whether or not the staff will make the necessary changes on offense seem to still be up in the air. Notre Dame’s identity on offense has yet to be determined.
“I think we're capable of doing a number of different things on offense and I think our personnel will dictate that,” said Kelly. “We know we're capable of running four or five wides and playing in a no-back set. I kind of know how to throw the ball 55 or 60 times a game if we need to, but we also know how to … play physical football, downhill football.
“It's really going to be about the way this offense sets up and the personnel that we feel gives us the best chance of being successful on offense and playing complete football,” continued the Irish head coach. “I think it's yet to be determined. We know that we are going to use this spring to kind of get an identity offensively and then we'll build on that going into preseason camp and then into the fall."
KELLY TALKS QUARTERBACKS
Kelly was asked a number of questions about his quarterbacks, and you can hear his comments below:
To comment below be sure to sign up for a FREE Disqus account, which you can get HERE.
Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content, our premium message board and gets you a FREE subscription to Sports Illustrated! Click on the link below for more
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!
Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown YouTube channel
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachD178
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook