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Notre Dame Notebook: Quarterback Depth Issues, Adjustments, Young Players

News and notes from the latest press conference with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly

News and notes from the latest press conference with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly

On USC possibly playing Jaxson Dart at quarterback

“Dart is a very talented quarterback as well. We watched this film. Live arm. (Kedon) Slovis, obviously we believe he is going to be the starter. If they get into any kind of a situation where they don't feel like the offense is moving, Dart certainly can go in there. Dart's just probably a little bit more dynamic on the edge, can get out and run and move around. But they're both outstanding quarterbacks. I don't know that there'd be that much of a difference in terms of our preparation other than he's a guy that certainly can pull the ball down and be much more effective in scrambling situations.”

On plans for a fourth quarterback since Brendon Clark announced he’s transferring

"Obviously losing Brendon forced us to have a scout team situation, a demonstration situation where we want it to continue to be a really competitive situation. So, we did a little bit more this week against our defense. We call it a pick it period, where we pick some plays that we have in our offense that are similar to USC and we run them as our offense. It's kind of high school-related in a sense and we wanted to give them some real good looks. We picked up a little bit of that in terms of ones versus ones going against each other, and we would mimic some of USC's plays. Then we rotated (Tyler) Buchner and (Drew) Pyne in there. They went down for a couple of periods when we weren't in team time and gave those guys a look down there because that's what we needed to do. We managed it within. Those guys were great and we helped our defense as well.”

On adjustments, teams make against Notre Dame after a bye week

"Yeah, certainly there are wrinkles that we see on these bye weeks and we're quite adapted. A lot of people talk about what our first quarter scoring situation is, well, a lot of times we're making adjustments in the first quarter and then at halftime because sometimes it requires that. Some of it is ineffectiveness as well and not making efficient plays. It's been the nature of it for the last few years that teams are coming off bye weeks and we have to adjust to some things that we're seeing for the first time. But that's the nature of it and we kind of adjust as we go.”

On young players who are starting to develop

"I think it's been a process that, as we've kind of moved during the season, that guys are continuing to learn and continue to grow. But I would say that Kahanu Kia has definitely picked up more of our defense and is feeling more comfortable. I would say Philip Riley and Xavier Watts also. Those are the kids that are getting closer to breaking through. Gabriel Rubio is showing some real signs of picking up the things that we want him to do. So, I'm pleased with the development of some of the younger players that if they're pressed into playing time — and I would add Rocco Spindler to that list. We're kind of getting at that point where, four games, you got to pick your four games now. Do you just use four games and just say alright, you play these four. Then on the offensive line, Rocco is really close. He's made great progress, but we want to look towards continuity on that group as well. But yeah, he's made really good progress, Rocco on the offensive line too.”

On what the nighttime crowd will be like for USC

“I don't run our ticketing office or marketing. My job is to win football games and put ourselves in a position where we put a good product on the field. I think we do that. I have to hope that people want to come out and see our football team play. That's my job. The expectations would be that this is an incredible atmosphere playing USC, where we haven't played them at home in a while and everybody's coming out. We're on break, so our students traditionally come back for this game, and I would expect that, but I have a job to do and that's put a good product on the field. I think we have done that. The rest is up to what our fan base wants to do and I hope they want to come out and see this football team play because it's a gritty, gutsy group of guys that just play really hard for four quarters. So I hope they come out and see them play."

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