Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Kelly not shooting down rumors
By Brian Bennett
CINCINNATI -- I asked the first question at Brian Kelly's news conference today, an actual football-related query.
The next six questions or so were all about Notre Dame. The Cincinnati coach answered each one with some version of, we're staying focused on Pitt. He seemed a little exasperated at times, his voice rising.
But it's impossible not to ask Kelly about the Irish job opening. He remains perhaps the best choice for that gig, as Pat Forde wrote today. And at no point has Kelly ever said he's not interested in Notre Dame, nor should anybody expect him to do so.
Is all the talk a distraction to the players? Only two players were made available to the media this week, and both came to today's news conference -- tight end Ben Guidugli and linebacker Andre Revels. Both insisted that the Pitt game was the main thing on their minds this week.
"Anything that's being talked about besides winning this game is really not what we're interested in," Guidugli said. " We don't want anything to take away from what we've accomplished. Talking about issues like this, I feel, is a real damper on how far we've come and what we've got to do now in the next few days."
The bottom line is that this team has been through these rumors before. With so much on the line this week against Pitt, including a perfect regular-season record and second straight Big East title, there shouldn't be too much concern about losing focus.
A few health notes from today's news conference: Kelly said running back Jacob Ramsey (foot) looked good in practice on Monday and should be a big part of Saturday's game. Safety Drew Frey suffered a concussion against Illinois but is doing better. He'll go through exertion tests this week to see if he can play.