Tidbits from last Kelly PC before opener
It was a short post-practice press conference with coach Brian Kelly on Thursday, but he made a couple comments that related directly to Saturday's home opener against South Florida at Notre Dame Stadium.
Kelly has a theme for every practice of the week. Thursday is Perfect Practice Thursday. He was asked how perfect the Irish actually were.
"We haven't moved too far forward," he said. "We've stayed pretty focused on what they needed to accomplish today. Everybody is anxious to play. As I said to you yesterday, this is about really tying up some loose ends, spending more time with situations that you don't get to rehearse a lot. So, that's Thursday for us. I think it was a good tune up for weather as well. It's going to be hot on Saturday, so we'll be prepared for that as well."
Like Charlie Weis before him, Kelly was adamant about taking the ball when he won the coin toss early last season. Like Weis again, he changed his tune later.
On Thursday he said he's leaning toward taking the ball if he wins the toss against the Bulls.
"If you look at it from an offensive standpoint, we've got nine returning starters," he said. "If you look at the quarterback being one of those starters, you're replacing the left guard. Virtually everybody else is back. So you have an experienced offense. Generally when I've had an experienced offense we like to touch the ball first. That's how I feel right now. We'll see how that goes. I've always felt trying to get as many touches as possible."
Thursday may have been the hottest day in South Bend since fall practices began. The temperature is supposed to drop, with a high of 81 degrees expected for kickoff. Still, Kelly was asked if heat and humidity would slow down his high-tempo offense.
"I don't think it will affect the offense," he said. "We've got to be really good at substitution. Some of those young guys have got to play early. ... When the weather's like that, those young guys that have to gain experience, you're not going to wait too long to see them in the game."
Finally, Kelly reported no injuries. Even sophomore tackle Tate Nichols, who dislocated his knee earlier in training camp, has been cleared to play, although that would only happen in an emergency situation.
"All hands on deck," Kelly said. "No excuses."
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