Quick Hits: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's Pittsburgh week press conference

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The No. 5 Irish (6-0) will return to Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday to host Pittsburgh with at 2:41 p.m. EDT kickoff. 

Before taking on the Panthers, Irish head coach Brian Kelly spoke with reporters on Tuesday.

Here are some of the highlights from his press conference.

• On avoiding a trap game against Pittsburgh: "We have to play with more energy. We have to play with more passion."

• On recruiting big wide receivers: "They still have to be able to run, but they give you other options." Kelly said the catch radius and ability to block are the biggest advantages of having size at the position.

• On the play of the nickelback position: "We've got to get better there. There's no question." Kelly said Houston Griffith and Nick Coleman are the two best players in his program to play the position.

• On Notre Dame's pass rush: "There's been a consistent rush on the quarterback in the sense that he's been under duress."

• Kelly said center Sam Mustipher has been a more vocal leader since Alex Bars went down with his season-ending knee injury.

• Kelly said cornerback Troy Pride Jr. was dealing with a minor ankle sprain against Virginia Tech. Donte Vaughn and TaRiq Bracy saw some action as a result.

• Kelly said defensive end Daelin Hayes is "day-to-day" while dealing with a stinger issue in his shoulder. Hayes did not travel for the Virginia Tech game. The staff will be aggressive with his conditioning to keep him prepared to play against Pittsburgh. Kelly said the issue is not related to his shoulder issues in high school.

• Kelly said running back Jafar Armstrong has moved into the rehab phase as the infection in his knee has cleared up. He spent six days in the hospital draining his knee. Armstrong's still on track to return after the bye week.

• PS: Ian Book will be the starting quarterback Saturday, Kelly said.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly talks with his staff prior to the start of the Virginia Tech game in Blacksburg, Va.