Quick Hits: Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's press conference before preseason training camp

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame football is just around the corner.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly answered questions from reporters on Friday before trekking to Culver, Ind., for preseason training camp. The Irish will practice daily from Sunday through Thursday at the Culver Academies before returning to campus for the remainder of training camp.

These were the most significant topics that Kelly addressed:

• Kelly said that Drew White and June-arriving freshman JD Bertrand will be added to the competition at linebacker. “We think that JD Bertrand can be thrown into that mix… But we need to see him with pads on.”

• Kelly said that he feels good about where the 12 June-arriving freshman are heading into preseason camp. “We can tell you that some guys are looking good physically, but they haven’t played football yet.”

• The Irish are testing Troy Pride Jr. at boundary cornerback. The senior spent last season and most of the spring as the starting field cornerback. “We feel like his best asset for us is experience.”

Sophomore Houston Griffith started the spring at boundary cornerback after playing nickelback last season.

• Kelly didn’t get too specific, but he had positive reviews for his previously injured players. Left guard Aaron Banks (foot), wide receiver Chase Claypool (ankle), defensive tackles Ja'mion Franklin (quad) and Hunter Spears (knee) and defensive back Shaun Crawford (knee) are back or are on the way back, Kelly said. He added that offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland has been a “pleasant surprise.” The senior missed the spring following offseason arthroscopic surgery on his elbow.  

• Kelly said sophomore wide receiver Kevin Austin remains on the team but will be handled “day-to-day.”

• Junior place-kicker Jonathan Doerer continues to gain confidence, Kelly said. The media has not seen much of starting punter Jay Bramblett, who was an early-enrolled freshman in the spring. Kelly said on Bramblett, “We like his makeup. Did he punt well in the spring game? No. But we like his makeup.”

• Team captains will be named within the first week of preseason camp, Kelly said. Junior quarterback Ian Book has recently showed more confidence and leadership, Kelly said.

• Kelly said sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec took a step forward this summer. Kelly on Jurkovec’s throwing motion: “We don’t touch it. I’ve always stayed away from motions. Let them be who they are. I just haven’t had a lot of success with it. We haven’t been tweaking his motion. We just want him to get back to being confident in who he is.”

• Sophomore safety Derrik Allen will “have an opportunity to make a statement,” Kelly said. He spent the spring as the backup to senior Jalen Elliott.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly addressed reporters before preseason training camp begins Aug. 2, 2019.