NCF Nation: Matt Romine
August, 17, 2010
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
Tuesday was media day in South Bend, and here's a quick recap of what head coach Brian Kelly had to say in his 40-minute news conference:
- Tommy Rees and Nate Montana are in really "a very close, competitive situation" for the backup quarterback situation. There's a gap between them and the two true freshmen who came in this summer, Luke Massa and Andrew Hendrix.
- Kelly said his spread offense has a place for the Wildcat formation. The three guys he's looking at to run the Wildcat are tailback Armando Allen, receiver Theo Riddick and somewhat surprisingly, tight end Kyle Rudolph.[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Joe Raymond"All the players have done exactly what we've asked them to do," said Brian Kelly in a 40-minute press conference on Tuesday.
- Kelly said there has been little resistance from the players since he came in to replace Charlie Weis. "All the players have done exactly what we've asked them to do," he said. "They knew there had to be a sense of urgency. They were sick and tired of being sick and tired too. It's just different leadership styles."
- Riddick and Cierre Wood will be the kick returners, and Kelly called them "dynamic." Allen leads John Goodman for punt return duties.
- Plenty of young players could see the field right now. Kelly identified nine true freshmen which his staff is preparing to play this year. They are, on offense, Rees, receiver T.J. Jones, linemen Tate Nichols, Christian Lombard tight end Alex Welch and receiver Austin Collinsworth, who will play a lot on special teams. On defense, freshmen Lo Wood (cornerback) and Prince Shembo (linebacker) and Danny Spond (safety/special teams) have impressed. Kelly said this is the most true freshmen he's readied to play in his career.
- Injured linemen Dan Wenger and Matt Romine (concussion symptoms) have returned to practice, but Kelly said Nichols and Lombard asserted themselves in their absence. Mike Ragone (heat illness) and Rudolph (hamstring) are back to doing individual work.
- The battle for the inside linebacker job continues to rage on between Anthony McDonald and Carlo Calabrese. Both bring separate strengths."Mac needs to be more physical, and Calabrese needs to be more finesse," Kelly said.
- In maybe the most interesting exchange, Kelly said he thought star receiver Michael Floyd was "overhyped" when he first watched film upon taking the Irish job. His opinion has changed 180 degrees."In 20 years, I have not had a player who has worked as hard as Michael Floyd has worked," Kelly said. "He has outworked everybody on the offensive side of the ball to the point where he has singlehandedly set the bar for where everybody else needs to bring their play. He's been dominant."
- Finally, Kelly said his goal is for his team to "be better in November than they are in September." That certainly hasn't been the case in recent years.
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Cancel all the upset watches here. Notre Dame is complete control of this game against Nevada and might be able to just put it on cruise control in the second half.
The Irish have scored on four of their five possessions and are showing that maybe they are a legitimate Top 20 -- or better -- outfit this year. The defense has been strong since the first series, and Toryan Smith made a big stop on fourth-and-inches on Nevada's last possession.
Charlie Weis has been able to show off his depth, rotating guys like Matt Romine, Andrew Nuss and Dan Wenger in on the offensive line and getting backup tailback Jonas Gray some work, among others. No. 2 quarterback Dayne Crist even came in to complete a pass, though that was the first play of the Irish's only three-and-out.
There might be a lot of backups playing in the second half at this rate.
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