Sunday, October 30, 2011
Physicality pleases Kelly, turnovers don't
By Matt Fortuna
Two-thirds of the season has passed, with Notre Dame escaping with a 5-3 record, 20 turnovers and one drama-filled week that preceded its win Saturday over Navy.
Thus far, Brian Kelly is pleased with the physical nature of his football team -- one that is tied for sixth in the nation in sacks allowed -- while hoping to shore up whatever loose ends have led to the protection miscues.
"I like the fact that we're physically so far ahead of where we were last year, that we haven't given up a sack in the month of October," Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference. "We've controlled the line of scrimmage for the most part the way you want to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. When you're looking at it, those are the things this year that we know where our weaknesses are in terms of turning the ball over, but our strengths are that we've really developed ourselves on both offensively and defensively the lines. And that's a real good foundation moving forward."
What Kelly would like to see improve, naturally, is limiting turnovers.
"I think it's pretty clear that the consistency, week in and week out, and taking care of the football and eliminating some of those sloppy mistakes," Kelly said. "And I think that, if you look at some of the mistakes that we've made, they're all correctable through better coaching, better playing and I think that's where we know we can clean those areas up moving forward."
Kelly and his players beat Navy by 42 points Saturday in wake of a wild 48 hours that featured controversial comments about the difference between his players and predecessor Charlie Weis' players.
The ensuing public reaction from players led to a bread-breaking session Friday.
"I think each job that I've had has its own unique set of circumstances," Kelly said. "I don't know that any job is the same when you're coming in. You're trying to build a winning environment, so that's common in all the jobs. But each university has its own characteristics, so Notre Dame is different than all the other jobs I've had. But no challenge that is insurmountable. All of them, all jobs have those different characteristics, and Notre Dame is like all those others. Just different things that we have to work on."
Notes: Kelly said freshman Chase Hounshell suffered a very slight shoulder injury Saturday but should be able to practice this week and play Saturday at Wake Forest.