Thursday, September 15, 2011
Brian Kelly radio show recap
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame's winless record heading into Saturday's game with Michigan State didn't prevent the fans from coming out for Brian Kelly's weekly radio show Thursday night at Legends of Notre Dame.
Still, Kelly is hoping they will have something more to cheer about next week after the Fighting Irish go for win No. 1 against the Spartans.
"It takes you to that next level," Kelly said of a win. "It puts behind all of the disappointments, and I think it just gives you the energy that you need to continue in a long season. I think it's just our guys need a win, but not because they're lacking confidence."
Kelly said this week he pointed to Virginia Tech as a template for the Irish to bounce back from an 0-2 start. The Hokies lost their first two games last season before winning the ACC title and making a BCS game, the Orange Bowl.
To do that, of course, the Irish can't repeat their five-turnover performances from Weeks 1 and 2. Kelly stole a line from former USC and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay in describing his displeasure with turnovers.
"If we don't execute very well, I'm all in favor of executing all of our players who turn the ball over," Kelly joked.
(McKay had once famously responded to a question about his team's execution by saying: "I'm in favor of it.")
Kelly also wouldn't rule out Notre Dame wearing green jerseys again at some point this season, though they would probably be different from the throwbacks sported at Michigan.
"We have some opportunities we can do that," Kelly said. "We haven't made a decision yet, but that's definitely a possibility that we can see the green again."
The guess here is the Irish's Oct. 22 game against USC -- their first home night game in 21 years -- would make the most sense.
On the subject of jerseys (that seems to be the dominant conversation in college football now, doesn't it?), Kelly said Michigan's small numbers on the front of their throwback jerseys Saturday did not affect Notre Dame's defense.
"At the end of the day there might have been a play here and there, but nothing that impacted the game," he said.
Some other notes from Kelly:
Kelly said he still hopes to get quarterbacks Everett Golson and Andrew Hendrix some playing time this season but hasn't had the opportunity through two close games.
Kelly had high words for boxer Mike Lee, the Notre Dame grad whose "Fight Like a Champion" charity card Friday will be the first on-campus pro boxing event in school history: "What's struck me about him is he's been at virtually all of the different fundraising efforts for different charities. ... It's more than just boxing with Mike Lee."
Earlier in his meeting with reporters Thursday, Kelly said linebacker Danny Spond (hamstring) needs another week to get ready for game action. Tight end Alex Welch (foot infection) will likely be used in an emergency situation only. Nose guard Sean Cwynar (broken hand) and tight end Jake Golic (broken hand) should be good to play.
Kelly also said cornerback Gary Gray knows he can't dwell on a rough Week 2 at Michigan, where the Wolverines threw the game-winning touchdown pass on him: "If he lets one game change the way he plays, then shame on him. That's what I told him: You don't have time to feel bad for yourself. You need to get back up and get going. Those are the things I'm trying to teach our guys every day, how to handle adversity."