Kelly Q&A: Thursday

Kelly Q&A: Thursday

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly spoke with the media following his team's final padded practice in preparation for Saturday's game vs. Michigan State.

Brian Kelly

Thursday practice, try to work on crowd control, noise, communication and the two-minute drill so we got a lot of that work done today. Our guys really focused in on the specifics of a big game and that is, taking care of the football, making sure our special teams are sound, we've gone over every trick play that Michigan State could possibly run against us.

All the things you want to tackle in terms of situations and we went through that today. A good week of preparation, our guys are confident. They've prepared well and they should be. They're looking forward to the challenge of playing at Michigan State in what should be a good atmosphere.

Q: How has DaVaris Daniels responded this week? (ankle sprain):
Kelly: "He was able to do some good things today. I was surprised, actually. We were not sure what we were going to get from him. First-time injured guys, you kind of want to see how that plays out, but he did a good job. He actually practice (Wednesday) which was a surprise, we thought we'd wait on him until (Thursday.)"

Q: How has the kicking competition shaped up?
Kelly: "(Kyle) Brindza will start. (Nick) Tausch was not really 100 percent so there wasn't much of a kicking competition this week. Kyle had a great week of practice, we'll go with Brindza."

Q: What does Danny Spond's return do?
"It gives us the two-deep that we want with him and Ben (Councell). We have Fox and Calabrese at the Will; you have Manti (Te'o) and (Jarrett (Grace) at the Mike, so it'd balance out pretty well."

Q: Will Councell start?
"Don't know yet, its a pretty competitive situation (at Dog linebacker). 1A, 1B, and they're interchangeable."

Q: What did you see out of Cierre Wood this week?
"Early, a little rusty. Not in a sense of running with the football but all the other things: getting the checks right, alignment, assignments. But he'll be fine. He's anxious to get out there and contribute to our offense and we have to make sure we do that."

Q: Any lingering issue with Everett Golson's hand?
"We had to be careful. Tuesday we didn't do any direct snaps with him but yesterday he was full-go and probably had as good a day yesterday and followed it up with a very strong day today. I'm pleased with his last couple of days."

Q: Regarding Jamoris Slaughter, is his shoulder injury just something you have to monitor?
"Yeah. That's Jamoris. That's the way he plays. He was out there Tuesday.

Q: It appears Manti (Te'o) has had a real rough week away from football. What can you share with us about his situation?
"He lost some people very close to him. It's obviously taken a toll on him. Our players have been there for him and they've been a great support. He practiced and he'll be playing Saturday against Michigan State. Unfortunately he's gone through a very rough 24-48 hours. His family and home has been great and all of his players and coaches have been there for him.

He wants to be with his teammates and all the players that care about him. He's a strong man and he's going through a tough tie but he'll rise to the occasion."

Q: Will he at some point go home to Hawaii?
"We've had some preliminary conversations about it. We have a bye week coming up (in two weeks). We'll see how things go. We know he's going to be with us for Saturday."

Q: You used the young wide receivers less last week. How will they be integrated?
"They have to keep playing. Chris (Brown) has got to play and obviously DaVaris has to continue to play for us. I'd say if you look at the young receivers you have to include the young tight ends in there too. That's part of the package so you include Ben Koyack and Troy Niklas as well. They (the receivers) took a lot of reps this week. Its like Everett (Golson), we've unwrapped it. They're out there and they have to continue to grow and continue to learn. It's a long season. They're all going to have to play significant roles for us."

Q: Can you talk about the move to the ACC:
"I thought they said we joined the SEC in football? We're going to the ACC? I used that joke in the staff meeting today. They didn't laugh.

"I think its a great relationship as it relates to football. The tradition of independence is important. A lot of those things started to take place when we had access, in other words when football was going to get access to the (future) playoff, it then became, 'How do we solidify our post-season opportunities?'

"We've solidified them as it relates directly to football. I think we all understand how it enhances the other sports. For football specifically, that post-season piece, and then also Notre Dame's ability to attract even a better bowl lineup as we move to negotiations down the road for new bowl opportunities.

"And there's so many things relative to recruiting. We love that eastern seaboard, it's been great to us. We'll maintain our West Coast ties playing games out there. We're in the midwest. For us in recruiting we couldn't have been more pleased. It continues to build in some of the geographical areas that have demographics for Division 1 players.

Q: What about the rivalry games with the Big 10?
"There's going to have to be some give and take as to who we play. I think Jack (Swarbrick) made it pretty clear that we'll maintain some traditional rivalries and certainly there'll be a Big 10 component there. But we'll see how it goes. We're going to try to make it work with the entire Big 10.

There's some great schools that I'd personally like to see us play as well. Michigan/Michigan State has been a great rivalry (for ND). Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, I could name a number of schools that would be attractive. They'll ask my opinion but someone else will make that call."

Q: Is there a downside for joining the ACC?
"I can't see it in any shape of fashion. Obviously if every year you have to play Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami, whatever the case may be, you have to balance your schedule out. But I think its going to rotate out well. I can't find a downside."

Q: Jack said that was the first question you asked him (Scheduling):
"I'm living in 2012 right now (laughing). Have you seen that schedule (on the wall)?"

Q: There was a moment when Golson came to the sidelines last weekend and Louis Nix went over to him to offer advice. Talk about that leadership from a guy who said his head is screwed on more straight than any time he's been here, his maturation?
"Its why you're in this business to see guys grow and develop. He (Nix) was a handful, and now he's enjoyable to be around. He was upset at the end of the game in the way Tommy (Rees) was received. I had to talk to him after the game (about the boos). He didn't understand why. You have a guy there who cares about Notre Dame, his teammates.

"That's the fun part of this business. When you see the maturation of those guys turning into the young men they're going to be. As you know (Nix) is a multi-faceted guy. Football he's really good at. He's going to be on my radio show tonight. That should be a hoot."

Q: Could you talk about the rivalry with Michigan State?
"Yeah, it starts with a respect for both programs and they know what to expect in this game and that is very competitive on both sides of the ball. Nobody's really run away with it in a sense that they've dominated the other opponent, I think there was a streak for maybe four or five years where Notre Dame didn't win, but its been that type of rivalry where it's gone back and forth. I just think its a good,healthy Midwestern rivalry between two teams that know what to expect on Saturday. It should make for a fun game."

Q: Any memories of the last trip up there? (a 34-31 overtime loss):
"I remember last year. Last year we sang the fight song (in a win). My memory is short-lived. There's many ups and downs in games when you're very competitive. We've focused on this week. We don't play videos of the fake field goal nor do we play video of the end of the game where we took a victory kneel. It's get focused on this week."

Q: Can you talk about the stress and rigor of the job. (MSU coach) Mark Dantonio had a heart attack following this game in 2010, can you remember you're reaction when you heard that?:
"He just seemed to be a guy that's really fit and never appeared to me as a guy who was overly stressed in his job. There's some guys you kind of sense that, sometimes, like, you know South Florida last year when I was a little stressed. He just never seemed like that kind of coach and I knew him pretty good because I followed him at Cincinnati. I just think in this business we have to have good balance in everything we do. That's what I try to do."

Q: Is Spond full-go?
"He's full go. He had what I call 'double session soreness' because it was his first action. He was in the training room yesterday and felt great. He's cleared and is pretty excited to play and will play on Saturday. Getting back out there for the first time in awhile (this week) he had a little soreness. But today, coach (Bob) Diaco said he looked great and we're excited about watching him play."

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