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Notre Dame Notebook: Run Game, Quarterbacks, Recruiting Success

News and notes from head coach Brian Kelly's Monday press conference ahead of his team's matchup against USC

News and notes from head coach Brian Kelly's Monday press conference ahead of his team's matchup against USC.

On improving the running game with Jack Coan in at quarterback

“I think it's a process for us that we feel better about right now. I think, obviously, we've made some changes on the offensive line. We think personnel makes a difference. We think that certainly, Tyler adds a little bit more balance there because when you have to defend the quarterback, obviously, you can get more diversity. I think you're going to continue to see an uptick in terms of the running game and its consistency and that's what we're looking for.”

On freshman running back Logan Diggs and if Notre Dame can use three backs

“We really liked what we saw. I thought that his poise, his ability to block and pick up some blitzes in a late-game situation was probably one thing that kind of gave us some confidence in him. That really stood out to us. His patience. Look, they're all coachable traits, but some of them are not teachable. You either have it or you don't. I think those kinds of came to the forefront in a very action-packed environment. That was pretty impressive.”

On Avery Davis being a go-to receiver

“He's just a veteran player. He's in a position at the slot that gets matched up quite a bit with linebackers. It’s the nature of the position. We were playing without our best offensive player in Michael Mayer against Virginia Tech, so he got targeted quite a bit in that game. The optics were such that it was that way. I think our guys are pretty confident in getting the ball to him or Braden Lenzy or Michael Mayer or Kevin Austin. I just think Davis was targeted quite a bit in the Virginia Tech game maybe because of the situation.

On Michael Carmody as a backup tight end

“I think that with Joe Alt being the left tackle now, Carmody kind of slips into doing a little bit of doing everything for us. I think that that kind of serves in that role for us. He's a big guy that can add some size into that 13 package for us. When Kevin Bauman comes back, we'll see where we are. But for the immediate purpose of needing that next tight end, he definitely serves a great role by for us.”

On when Kevin Bauman will return

“We think he's within two weeks, give or take. He’ll have another bone scan this week and then I think we'll have a really good sense of where that leaves us in terms of an exact timeline.”

On recruiting success

“Well, I'll say what I said before. I think blending tradition with current success has a lot to do with it. Two out of the past three years in the college football players, there's not a lot of resumes that have that, with the tradition that we have and the ability to talk about our brand and academic success. A lot of that also equals that you got to work at that. I just think it's a blend of all those things together. It has allowed us to certainly get the kind of recruits necessary for us to be in the mix with the very best in the country.”

On playing against some good defenses

“Well, we know we’ve played some really good defenses, Wisconsin, Purdue, Florida State had some really good athletes that fly around the field. Certainly, Cincinnati is a really good defense. We know we've gone up against some really fine defensive structures and some players that we have to pay attention to, and we’ll have some against us against USC, Having said that, it has seasoned some of our players, and particularly the offensive lineman, Tyler Buchner, Lorenzo Styles, and some of the younger players. So, we think that after six games, it has given them the opportunity to really feel confident that they go out there and compete at a high level.”

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On players dealing with the fall break

I think what happens is that the mindset is one where you have to be careful that you don't jump off the treadmill, in terms of this season is such that you're on this treadmill and you're focused on the season and the routine, and if you totally jump off it, it's hard to get right back on it and start this. So, we've been very careful to talk about, 'let's turn it down a little bit, but we can't get away from it. You just can't stop training, You can't stop thinking about what you need to do to stay ready. We've been very, very focused on that and our off week, and leading up to today about turning it down a little bit and really amping it back up as we get into the game.”

On where this team is at going into the second half of the season

”We're a pretty resilient, tough team mentally. Our guys will battle, but we're still learning in many ways. We have a lot of young players. I think we had five or six freshmen on the field on the offensive side of the ball in the last game we played, late in the game. That's a never-ending process for those guys to continue to grow, but they know how to win. I think as we stand here today, they have a great way about themselves. They believe they're going to win, they're confident, they keep playing, but they have to understand they don't have much margin because they don't have a lot of experience. If they keep that in mind and stay focused on the details, they can win every game they play.”

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