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Notebook: Kelly talks DBs, RBs, Michigan and Sheldon Day

| Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Irish head coach Brian Kelly held his weekly Tuesday teleconference with the media in advance of Saturday’s matchup with Michigan.

Here is an assortment of quick-hitting thoughts:


Communication in the secondary

In the aftermath of Notre Dame’s 48-17 win over Rice on Saturday, Kelly said the Irish need to improve their communication at the back end of the defense.

“We have to be more demonstrative and take more control back there,” Kelly said Tuesday. “We aren’t standing back there like we are during practice, and I think Coach VanGorder, if you were here at our meetings yesterday, made it clear during the meetings how he wants those guys to communicate.

“I was in the quarterback meeting room, and I could hear our safeties communicating very well during film study.”

Kelly said the Irish are looking for improvement from junior safeties Elijah Shumate and Nicky Baratti and sophomore safety Max Redfield, with graduate student safety and captain Austin Collinsworth currently sidelined with an MCL injury.

“These guys are going to have to take control as if they have that same kind of ability and they’re going to have to do it right now,” Kelly said. “Michigan is on them and it’s going to have to happen immediately.”


Running back rotation

Asked if he noticed Rice’s defense defending Notre Dame’s three running backs — senior Cam McDaniel and sophomores Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston — in different ways, Kelly said most of those varied tendencies were a result of changing the positioning of the running back, not a result of which running back was in the backfield.


Michigan meaning

Long before Kelly arrived at Notre Dame, he spent 13 seasons at Grand Valley State in Allendale Township, Mich., and three years at Central Michigan. Kelly said given that history, the Michigan game is definitely a game that is “exciting to play, for me.”

“Michigan, Michigan State, those games obviously were the big games when I was at Grand Valley State and Central Michigan,” Kelly said. “We played in the cloud, or we were in the shadow, if you will, of those games. They always got the attention.”

As for Michigan-Notre Dame, Kelly said it’s certainly a matchup that “gets everybody’s attention.” However, Kelly aimed to keep this week in perspective.

“We have such a daunting schedule that it forces you to keep a balance when you look at it from week to week,” Kelly said.


Growing Day’s snap count

According to Kelly, Irish junior defensive lineman Sheldon Day logged roughly 50 snaps Saturday, a figure the coaching staff hopes to increase over time.

“He plays so hard,” Kelly said of Day. “His energy level is so high, his motor is high, so it’s just a matter of building that up each and every week.”

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About Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer Mike Monaco is a senior majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with a minor in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy as well as Business Economics. The O’Neill Hall native hails from the Boston area and is an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

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