Quick hits from Brian Kelly's opening spring press conference

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Welcome back.

After a long, cold, unforgiving winter, Notre Dame returns to the practice field on Wednesday for Team 128's first practice of the spring. But before the Irish take the field, head coach Brian Kelly met the media for an introductory press conference on Tuesday.

Here are the highlights from Kelly's turn at the podium.

  • Kelly kicked off the press conference by acknowledging the amount of experience Notre Dame lost this offseason, but asserted his excitement regarding the young players who will step into those roles. "Certainly when you turn over the number of players that we did last year, there's work to be done," Kelly said.
  • Notre Dame's quarterback competition in 2016 may be more complex than most previously thought. Kelly said that sophomore Brandon Wimbush, who the head coach had previously said will redshirt the 2016 season, will be given an opportunity to compete alongside Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer this spring. "All eyes will be on the quarterback position," Kelly said. "I think that's an understatement."
  • Defensive end Doug Randolph has been medically disqualified, Kelly said, so his Notre Dame football career is over. Randolph will remain at the university as a student assistant helping with the defensive line.
  • Zaire, who missed the final 11 games of the 2015 season after shattering his ankle, has no physical limitations entering the spring, Kelly said.
  • Realistically, Kelly doesn't foresee Notre Dame's quarterback competition being resolved until late into fall camp, if then. He did not dismiss the possibility that the Irish may enter the regular season without a clear-cut No. 1 starter.
  • There has not been a decision on whether senior offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey will move from right tackle to left tackle, Kelly said. Notre Dame returns just two starters on the offensive line, McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson.
  • Sophomore linebacker Josh Barajas has had more of a physical transformation than any player on the roster, Kelly said. Barajas, who did not play in 2015, is listed at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds.
  • Kelly and his staff need to find a position that fits junior wide receiver Corey Holmes. The seventh-year Irish head coach called Holmes' testing numbers "freakish." The 6-1, 190-pound wideout ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds and posted a 41-inch vertical leap. He has yet to catch a pass in his first two seasons at Notre Dame.
  • Notre Dame's already deep offensive backfield seems to be getting deeper and deeper. Kelly praised the offseason work of sophomore running back Dexter Williams, who he said will be "a force to be dealt with." Williams is listed at 5-11, 210 pounds and recently ran a 4.51 40-yard dash. He had 21 carries for 81 yards in his freshman season in 2015.

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly addresses the media on Tuesday March 15, 2016. Tribune Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES