Kelly on the Mic

Photo Courtesy USA TODAY SPORTS

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly took his turn at the main podium today a two-hour, two-team media session.

Irish Head Coach Brian Kelly

Kelly opened on a raised chair with more than 100 cameras and reporters aligned in a semi-circle facing him. He promptly offered, "Feels like I'm in a dunk tank."

On if NFL teams have contacted him: "Any of those things that occur relative to contact, there's a strict protocol for that. They have to contact my representation and then they've got to follow through that.

"If that did occur, then all that stuff is secondary to this football game. My focus -- this is the biggest game that I've ever been involved in my career, so my focus is 100 percent on this football game. All that other stuff, that happens when you're winning football games. I've been through this a lot in my career. It's flattering if there is interest, which I don't know that there is, but again, that is such a secondary topic for me right now, it's all about this game."

Kelly was later asked if he thought this could be his last game at ND, even for a moment," No, because it's not a possibility."

Asked to pinpoint the game's critical matchup: "I would say O-line, D-line. I think you're going to see, 'Can you get the ball off?' Do you have all day? Can you run the ball when you want to run the ball when everybody knows you've got to run the football?

"I think when you have two great football teams, I know this is -- and you guys know it and hear it more than anything else, but in these kinds of games, it's going to be decided up front."

On the perception that he's changed his sideline demeanor: "It's time and place relative to that 'measured approach' you're talking about. (His) first couple of years we needed to grow, and I was hard on our team, there's no question. I don't have to have that kind of same presence with our football team in Year 3. They understand exactly what the expectations are, and I don't have to remind them. I was doing a lot of reminding in the first couple of years. Doing much less of that, but that's pretty typical in my stays at each program is that by your third year, everybody is on the same page."

On Nick Saban's Success: "Well, we're talking about historic success. We're not talking about somebody that wasn't ranked last year, (like) Notre Dame, or at the start of the year. So those are defined -- and I've said this a number of times, your program is defined in consistency, and Alabama is that model. I concede to that. It's where we want to be. We want to be back here next year.

"I think there's been some commentators that have talked about, is Notre Dame for real? Well, for me we're for real because we're here. We won all of our games; that's clear. Where is Notre Dame going to be as it relates to the consistency thing? And that's why I'm the head coach and that's why I want to be the head coach, because I want to show we can do this consistently."

On the dichotomy of the Irish player lounge (cleanliness intermixed with video games, etc.): "Well, I think it's a combination of real-life experiences. I want my kid to clean his room. He has a hard time doing it. I like it when it's clean. But I also know he's got an Xbox in his room.

"You know, they're young guys. We try to make it so when they come over to our football building, it's not a job, it's real-life experiences. We have expectations of them to be on time, to take care of the detail things, but we also want them to hang out with each other, and we want them to sit down and feel comfortable to be over in our building, and when they have some downtime to have some fun.

"I think it's balance. It can't be all work, and it can't be all play. I think a good balance of that is a good, healthy environment."

IrishEyes.com Recommended Stories