7 Takeaways from Brian Kelly’s Fall Presser

Thursday at Noon the Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly assembled with the media for the official opening of fall camp 2018. By the time you read this the team will already have arrived at Culver Academies just 43 miles south of campus for the beginning of practices. For reference, the media will have full access to practice tomorrow, August 3rd in addition to workouts on August 8th, 11th, and 15th. Yes, there will be no viewings over the final 2 weeks of camp, a sure sign that Michigan is coming to town for the opener.

Here are my 7 takeaways from Kelly’s first press conference of the new season.

Green Out

A couple of months ago The Shirt committee began a campaign to ‘green out’ Notre Dame Stadium for the opener against the Wolverines. Yesterday, the official Notre Dame football account got in on the action, as well. This led to some confusion as the green out via t-shirts was mistaken for green uniforms for the football team. Kelly clarified on Thursday that it’s a crowd thing, the coaches may wear some green, and they are working with the marketing department to unify the stadium.

Asked if this meant green jerseys, Kelly said that unless something drastic happens the team will wear the traditional blue jerseys.

On my Twitter feed recently I discussed why I think this ‘green out’ is a bad idea.

Freshmen More Involved

With the new 4-game redshirt rule coming into effect Kelly was naturally asked how it changes things for this camp setting. While noting the ones who are physically and mentally ready will play he did say they will carve out more time in camp for freshmen to make a better determination of who can help the team during the season. Certainly, nothing groundbreaking there but worth noting.

Okwara Beefed Up Enough

During spring practices the media was alarmed at the weight loss from defensive end Julian Okwara. All is well now as he’s back up to 242 pounds with Kelly mentioning he’s dealing with a high metabolism rate but is showing really good strength in the weight room.

Okwara has the ability to be a Top 5 player on the team this year, in my opinion.

QB Reps

Despite still being listed as a quarterback on the official roster, Kelly said Avery Davis will be in the backfield and won’t be taking reps as a signal-caller. He was very clear that the pecking order right now is 1) Wimbush 2) Book and 3) Jurkovec.

Kelly also mentioned they are not playing two quarterbacks. Thank you, Jesus let this never happen ever again.

All the usual platitudes about leadership, work ethic, and determination were spread around to all of the quarterbacks. Who knows if it means much, with no media viewings over the second half of camp I would think this competition will be abnormally neutered compared to the past–even if we know Wimbush has this on lock until Michigan kick off. Any chance of Jurkovec moving into the backup role will be left to message board posts based off rumors and unnamed sources.

Dexter Mystery Continues

An unusual amount of praise was heaped upon senior running back Dexter Williams during the presser. Kelly mentioned he’s had his best summer at Notre Dame, he’s added weight, improved his conditioning, and is in great shape. When asked about his availability for the Michigan game he quipped:

He’s going to be on our roster. We’ll see who who ends up playing against Michigan, but he’s on our football team and I’m really proud of what he’s accomplished in the summer.

Maybe we don’t need green for the stadium to get the crown amped up, maybe Dexter just needs to get the ball on the first 3 snaps of the game?

Entrenched Eichenberg

I was reading somewhere recently that it was said offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg was really going to come on this season and was finally getting his chance after being stuck behind Mike McGlinchey for a couple years. That was interesting to hear in contrast to Kelly’s comments on Thursday where he mentioned the staff wasn’t sure Eichenberg could play left tackle back in the spring.

Obviously, they now believe he can do it but I’ve never seen someone’s stock yo-yo back and forth before playing serious minutes quite like Eichenberg. Are we going to see him lock down left tackle and that’s it or will there be more issues and shuffling on the line?

Claypool and the Switch

One receiver received the bulk of comments from Kelly and that was Chase Claypool. Lots and lots of talk about traits and having the proverbial switch flipped with his consistency.

It’s quite the understatement to say putting these issues to bed and having Claypool reaching his potential straight away in camp could be so, so important for the offense.

Freshmen Specs

QB Phil Jurkovec 6’4″ 1/2 220 lbs.
RB Jahmir Smith 5’11” 205 lbs.
RB C’Bo Flemister 5’11” 3/4 196 lbs.
WR Kevin Austin 6’2″ 210 lbs.
WR Micah Jones 6’4″ 1/2 212 lbs.
WR Braden Lenzy 5’11” 3/8 170 lbs.
WR Lawrence Keys 5’10” 3/8 170 lbs.
WR/DB Joe Wilkins 6’1″ 1/2 185 lbs.
TE Tommy Tremble 6’3″ 1/4 228 lbs.
TE George Takacs 6’6″ 250 lbs.
OL Jarrett Patterson 6’4″ 1/2 290 lbs.
OL Luke Jones 6’4″ 7/8 303 lbs.
OL John Dirksen 6’5″ 1/8 307 lbs.
OL Cole Mabry 6’5″ 270 lbs.
DL Jayson Ademilola 6’3″ 284 lbs.
DL Justin Ademilola 6’1″ 3/4 246 lbs.
DL Jamion Franklin 6’1″ 3/8 306 lbs.
LB Ovie Oghoufo 6’3″ 223 lbs.
LB Shayne Simon 6’2″ 3/4 222 lbs.
LB Bo Bauer 6’2″ 3/4 225 lbs.
LB Jack Lamb 6’3″ 3/4 226 lbs.
CB Noah Boykin 6’0″ 5/8 178 lbs.
CB Tariq Bracy 5’10” 1/8 170 lbs.
CB D.J. Brown 6’0″ 3/8 191 lbs.
S Houston Griffith 5’11” 3/4 205 lbs.
S Paul Moala 5’11” 1/2 212 lbs.
S Derrik Allen 6’1″ 1/2 213 lbs.

By |2018-08-03T20:06:37+00:00August 2nd, 2018|Football|27 Comments

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Brendan Rdannan14IrishTexanMDIRISHjuicebox Recent comment authors
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nd09hls12
nd09hls12

The Okwara story makes me just miss my college metabolism rate.

KG
KG

I don’t know why I never saw it before, but it just hit me yesterday that the Okwara’s named their kids “Romeo” and “Julian”–wonder if they thought Julian was going to be a girl.

kevrey
kevrey

Hopefully the rest of the country realizes that ND has a frosh bad a$$ linebacker who can wreak havoc for 24 straight hours.

juicebox
juicebox

But his listed height is wrong. Jack Bauer is 5’9.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I don’t get everyone’s infatuation with Dexter. I agree he’s the best pure runner left on the team. But he sucked so bad as a blocker last year. If the other team knows the only thing you can do is run the ball, then they’ll just load up the box right?

I thought Simon was a lot smaller for some reason. He’s just about as big as the other frosh linebackers.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Given that no one is scared of Wimbush’s arm, the box is going to be loaded and the opposing defenses are going to dare ND to pass and beat them through the air no matter what. Pretty much what happened for Miami and Stanford and LSU anyways later in the year.

Might as well roll with the best RB on the team and work around it.

KG
KG

*twists ankle on 3rd carry*

MikeyB
MikeyB

He’s the only guy who is likely to see the field that has breakaway speed other than Wimbush (unless Lenzy is physically ready to see the field). When you have a QB as inefficient passing as Wimbush, you absolutely have to hit some home runs every game, because putting together sustained drives is difficult if you can’t consistently complete short passes.

If it’s so easy to just stack the box and shut down Dex, he wouldn’t have averaged 9 yards per carry last year.

At least, that’s why I’m infatuated with him. But I’ll admit I’m a sucker for the big plays. (i.e. I’ll forever believe that GAIII was 10 times better than Cam McDaniel and Kelly was an idiot for not feeding him)

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

I’m not even sure Dex has breakaway speed, he seems more quick than fast. I have memories of him (maybe the Temple run?) getting caught from behind unexpectedly. But when healthy he looks deadly in the 0-20 yard range, very shifty, quick and strong.

Josh Adams reminded me more of a rich man’s GAIII. He was taller and more upright, obviously better at cutting but the breakaway speed was similar between them.

KG
KG

He got caught because he twinged a hammy. Or maybe his knee. Maybe he has breakaway speed, but considering how easily he seems to get injured, we may never see it.

MikeyB
MikeyB

Yeah, Adams’ ability to run through guys while getting right back up to top speed was incredible. Not necessarily the fastest RB we’ve ever had (I’d guess GAIII and Procise had higher top end speed), but his acceleration might be unmatched in the BK era.

spider-man
spider-man

I’ll take consistently good runs of 20 yards! If he does that well, who needs breakaway speed?

Underthrown Shoelace
Underthrown Shoelace

We need it for those times where we have a big play and then Wimbush throws it into the dirt 3 times (I’m guessing we would have seen that a lot more last year had Adams not finished so many runs for TDs).

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

I honestly don’t understand anyone thinking the run game is going to be good this year. We have unproven RBs across the board, and lost our OL coach and two once in a generation talents on the line. I predict offensive struggles in a big way, whether Dexter plays against Michigan or not. I hope to be wrong, but can’t see any reason to be optimistic.

dannan14
dannan14

It’s reasonable to think the run game could be as good as we thought it was going to be last year pre-season. Reality was quite a bit better than expectations. This could still be a 200+ rush yd per game team.

Brendan R

There are two things that are somewhat more subtle, or at least less discussed, than the pass blocking that I think hold him back more: he has had a tendency to not run where the play is designed to go, and he has had a tendency to tap out with any slight ding. Towards the end of last year 247’s Tim O’Malley referenced Dexter’s to get out there even when he’s not “100% fresh as a daisy.” Earlier in the season Driskell at BGI (can’t stand the guy, but he was right on this one) highlighted a play against BC where Dex missed a possible 80-yard TD. Nelson and Bars pulled into the boundary and obliterated their men – had Williams followed them, he would’ve been in the clear or maybe one-on-one with a safety who might’ve had an angle. Instead, for reasons known only to him, he took the handoff and ran directly into the hole that Nelson had just vacated and got plastered.

The long run against LSU, while productive, was more of the same – he actually cut off a pulling Kraemer to go through the hole, and got lucky that nobody was filling. Yes, he averaged 9 ypc, but that would come down substantially if he played that same way at a higher volume. More to the point, the coaches can’t rely on a guy who will give them a 30 yarder every sixth play and get stuffed on the other five. Throw in the added bonus that he occasionally puts his QB’s life at risk, and isn’t too sharp with his routes either – Watkins jawed at him in the spring that he wasn’t worried about Dex’s catch because it was the only route he knew how to run – and he just has too many holes in his game.

Hopefully Kelly’s light-going-on comments about him are more than fluff, because he’s the most physically talented back we’ve had since, ahem, Cierre Wood.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Now to the important stuff – can we get an official ruling on Kelly’s suit/tie combo from the presser? I personally give it 2 thumbs up, thought it looked very sharp and he pulled it off.

Also as a big green guy, still hoping against hope BK’s playing coy on wearing green jerseys, even though he’s probably not. But if the rallying cry ND Football is tweeting out is “Irish wear green” how is the team gonna show up in blue?

Granted, logic says if they were going to wear green vs Michigan, surely they/UA would be pimping the uniform design and trying to sell a million of them beforehand…Speaking of do they have plans to reveal a Shamrock Series jersey this year? Feel like that’s already out by now.

KG
KG

He’s the highest-class used car salesman in Greater Michiana.

MDIRISH
MDIRISH

Any blue suit is a win. So long as he doesn’t come out in white, gold, or green.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

My wife tells me what matches. I can’t help yall with that one.