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Notre Dame Notebook: Kyren Williams, Injury Updates, NFL Draft Decisions

News and notes from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly ahead of the team's matchup against Stanford

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly met with the media on Monday to preview the Stanford game and take questions. Here are the highlights from his press conference.

The injury report

"From (Jack) Kiser’s perspective, it wasn't a high ankle sprain. Deltoid, which I thought was somewhere else, but I guess it's in the ankle too. It was explained to me that it's not high ankle, muscular in a sense, and he should be good to go. It'll be a matter of just working through the next couple of days. That was probably the biggest one. (JD) Bertrand had a clean X-ray on his back. We look to be in pretty good shape there. Those were really the key injuries coming out of Sunday."

On the improvement of Kyren Williams

"Well, I think he's taken his preparation and flipped it into an incredible performance mindset. He was always a really good practice player and he'd always bring it every day, but now he brings that same kind of demeanor and focus and energy to the game and it rubs off on others. We hear about the great players all the time, in terms of how they influence others, he has an impact on the whole offense now. 

"He didn't have that last year. He was an individual, one of 11, now he influences others because of the way he attacks the game. I would say the addition to the passing game, obviously. He's a guy that can catch the ball coming across the middle, coming out of the backfield, he can line up at the wide receiver position. We knew about his ability to block last year. He's added on to that with the passing game. This is a complete player, that has added also patience to the running game."

On Cain Madden’s play the last few weeks

"I would say it's probably more comfortable just being here, not having to live up to any expectations in his own mind, just going out and playing football. He's been incredibly effective in the past six or seven weeks, just really solid. Maybe a little of that, kind of coming in as an All-American played a little bit of trying to do a little too much, but he has been really solid for us over the past month and a half."

On Bo Bauer playing so well

"The defense, and we kind of alluded to this earlier in the season, and I might have been maybe underselling it a little bit, but the defense really suits him. There's a little bit more freedom for him in this defensive structure that allows him to move around. As you can see, he's part of a lot of our pass rush and forces a lot of things to happen. Then he has to be on it. You saw some of the really good plays that he makes down the field in coverage. I just think that the system itself and the way Marcus uses him is really smart and we take advantage fully of a veteran player that really plays up to his strengths.”

On Jordan Botelho helping at the linebacker position

"He's been playing the Rover position for us. He's learning the position. So, we're not asking you to do a lot. You can see we activate him quite a bit. I don't know that we're asking him to cover the slot receiver at this point in his career, but he's somebody that matches up well. As you know, we began this process with him against Wisconsin when we can match up against big players. This could be another role for him this week when Stanford decides to go into a bigger package. He could see a lot more of the field from that perspective, too. He fits a really good role because there's great flexibility in what he can do for us."

On if he’s started conversations with players who are eligible for another year who are seniors about returning

"I think we've done our due diligence on I think everybody in the program. We feel pretty good where we are. I think we're going to have a pretty solid number of guys coming back and some guys are still making decisions, but I think we have a really good grasp of what our roster is going to look like. But transparency is number one. I think our guys clearly know what kind of football team we've got coming back next year and many of them want to be part of that and there's some that, maybe, it's a tough road for them too. But you have to be upfront and honest and have that one-on-one conversation."

On talking to Isaiah Foskey about staying another year

"We've already started that process. That started about a month ago and I've already met with the family. We weren't waiting as long as we waited with Ronnie on that one.”

On the play of Audric Estime

"Logan (Diggs) had kind of moved ahead of him in the rotation, maybe not by any fault, as much as Logan looked really good and when he got his opportunities he went in that direction. But Audric obviously has immense talent as well. You can see it, even the ball that he bounced outside, he showed speed on the perimeter. It's one of those things where I think he's grown a lot in terms of picking up the nuances of the position. He's not just a guy that can bang it up inside, but when he needs to, that's what he has to do. I think there was at times the want to show and do a little bit too much and I think he's got that now that he'll hit it up inside when he needs to. I think that that's growth."

On the play of Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa this year

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"It's been really fascinating to watch his growth just from the summer when he became a SWAT leader to when he was named captain. Just his leadership. Myron is very quiet, had always been very quiet, and knew that he needed to begin to be more vocal and when you take Myron and he starts to vocalize his thoughts and what he wants, it's an incredible impact. He's had a couple of times where he's got up and spoken to the group and it has a huge impact on our football team. So yeah, it's been immense in terms of just his growth, his leadership. He's been inspirational because of what he's had to deal with personally, in the loss. Invaluable, I would say in our locker room and what he's meant to do that entire defense in its growth."

On which assistant coach he’s most grateful for this year

"I'm not going to answer that question. Listen, once I do it, he's coming in for a raise. Oh, my God. You're kidding me. Ok. I'm most thankful for, let's see, in terms of assistant coaches, I have a number of assistant coaches. You know that. You guys just know the 10 coaches. Gosh, I would say, of all the coaches on a day-to-day basis, the one that probably makes my life the easiest is, I'm gonna go with Brian Polian. He makes my life the easiest because of special teams. It's so hard. It's a hard job. That's a lot of work. A lot of the little things on a day-to-day basis that go along with that. You got to take that whole group, O-linemen, D-lineman DBs, linebackers, that's a lot of work."

On players doing so much talking on the field to their opponent

"We've had conversations about what we think is sportsmanlike and what crosses the line. If it is the right banter, within a competitive spirit of the game, like, 'hey, great hit, great play, bring it on.' When it crosses the line and becomes personal, we're pulling them off that. That's not what we want to be. But we don't mind genuine, enthusiastic banter and play amongst our guys, as long as it's done in the right fashion. You have to be in the right zone to do that. If you're out of control, we're gonna pull you out of that. But our guys have been mature and have handled themselves the right way... The personalities, and as I mentioned, Kyren is part of that. There's no doubt. We have some other guys that you'd be surprised that don't fit that mold and if you watch carefully, you know who they are. I don't need to be pointing them all out at this point. But we have some guys that, because they're mature enough and they handle themselves the right way, we don't need to be throwing hand warmers into the front row after an extra point and getting 15-yard penalties, but other than that, we've done a good job."

On Jay Bramblett’s status for next year

"We've had that conversation. I don't know that we're ready to publicly talk about it. But he has made a decision. I think we're going to make most of these decisions based upon where guys are going to find themselves here in the next week or so once the season wraps up.”

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