Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Notre Dame Football [Print without images]

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Brian Kelly radio show recap

By Matt Fortuna

Brian Kelly welcomed a special guest for his final radio show of the 2011 season — Manti Te'o.

The junior linebacker earned applause from the crowd after announcing his intention to return to Notre Dame two days ago; Kelly said it's impossible to quantify what a player like Te'o means to the program.

"He's a six-star, maybe even a nine-star," Kelly said of the kind of recruit Te'o is.

In his first public appearance since Charley Molnar took the Massachusetts head-coaching job, Kelly said he was pleased for his former offensive coordinator.

"We're really happy for Charley and excited for him and his family; he’s got a beautiful family," Kelly said. "I'll take some more leadership on the offensive side of the ball, and we're all gonna pitch in — Ed Warinner, Tim Hinton, Mike Denbrock."

Speaking of family, Kelly's parents, Paul and Regina, were also in attendance.

Kelly was also asked about the punt-return game, which averaged a nation-worst 0.3 yards per return.

"We've actually begun to study on a lot of these things and it really has a lot to do with the punters in college football," Kelly said. "They're scholarship players; they're not walk-ons. They understand their impact in the game is immense. BC, their punter controlled the flow of the game with our starting position.

"And secondly, if there's a kick that has 4.2 seconds of hangtime and you have an average coverage scheme, you're gonna put that return guy in a position where he's gonna have to be like Tyrann Mathieu of LSU. He's gonna have to make three or four or five guys miss. So your punt-return guy has to be a gamebreaker."

When recapping the regular season, Kelly deemed it a "woulda, coulda, shoulda" campaign that will require some tightening up across the board.