Quick Hits: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's Navy Week press conference
Can Notre Dame start a winning streak?
After holding on to defeat Miami last weekend, the 3-5 Irish head down to Jacksonville this Saturday for their annual game against Navy. But first, seventh-year Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly meet the media for his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Here are the highlights from Kelly's address.
-- Kelly applauded Navy's ability to rebuild despite losing longtime quarterback standout Keenan Reynolds. Senior Will Worth, the team's back up quarterback entering the season, has thrived in a new role. "You think they lose Keenan Reynolds, and there's going to be a drop off," Kelly said. "But the production has been unbelievable."
-- Because of Navy's physicality, Kelly said more defensive players will have to play this week for Notre Dame. He specifically pointed out safeties Nicco Fertitta and Jalen Elliott.
-- Kelly said that linebacker Greer Martini and right guard Colin McGovern, both of whom suffered concussions against Miami, passed cardiovascular tests on Monday and will participate in Tuesday's practice without contact. Nose tackle Daniel Cage, who also suffered a concussion, will take the program's cardiovascular test on Tuesday.
-- Kelly was asked why there have been long stretches in recent games where the offense loses its rhythm and stays off the scoreboard. "We're not consistent in running the football," Kelly said. The offense also needs to continue to improve its ability to complete short passes that are essentially runs, he said. The Irish started to make strides in that direction against Miami.
-- Kelly acknowledged that his team has struggled with special teams errors in recent weeks, and the team's inexperience has contributed towards that. "We're taking our lumps right now, but we have to keep coaching them," he said.
-- Sophomores C.J. Sanders and Chris Finke will compete for the starting punt returner position in practice this week, Kelly said. Sanders lost a fumble that resulted in a touchdown while trying to field a punt against Miami.
-- Kelly said that graduating last spring has allowed graduate student nose tackle Jarron Jones to mature more quickly. "I think the degree and achieving that was pretty big in his life," Kelly said. "It was a milestone." Jones was disruptive to the tune of six tackles for loss against Miami.