Prosise runs his way into Notre Dame record books
Alex Carson | Tuesday, September 22, 2015
When he ran away from a pack of chasing Georgia Tech defenders for a 91-yard touchdown Saturday, C.J. Prosise wrote his name into the Notre Dame Stadium record books — but it wasn’t in the way Irish head coach Brian Kelly and his staff originally thought Prosise would when he arrived on campus as a freshman.
The senior running back began life at Notre Dame as a defensive back before switching to the offensive side of the ball as a receiver in 2012 — this year, he transitioned into the backfield after a strong spring practice at the position.
“I’m glad our defensive coaches didn’t think he could backpedal very well, which kind of looks silly right now, doesn’t it?,” Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference. “So much for our evaluation process.”
Prosise amassed 198 yards and three scores on the ground Saturday, and while his 91-yard score garnered the majority of the headlines, Kelly said the senior’s ability to fight for a couple extra yards is also impressive.
“He’s tough to bring down,” Kelly said. “His lower-body strength is really so much more than people think. He runs through tacklers and he’s difficult to bring down.
“Sometimes we’d like to finish his runs off with his pads a little bit lower. I thought he was better at it on Saturday, but he’s very difficult to bring down. He’s a big kid.”
Kizer’s starting debut
In his first game as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback, sophomore DeShone Kizer went 21-of-30 for 242 yards and a score, but also tossed an interception in the end zone to cut short a potential Irish scoring drive in the second quarter.
Kelly said he was pleased with the sophomore’s first start, but also noted there were areas for improvement.
“He did some pretty good things,” Kelly said. “You know, I like the way he manages the offense from a protection standpoint, gets us into the right protections. Run game, reads were pretty good.
“Could be a little more accurate throwing the football. And just made the one mistake in the red zone on the interception, which was obviously a big one.”
The Irish had a high number of illegal procedure penalties Saturday, which Kelly attributed mostly to unfamiliarity with the new signal-caller.
“It still is a little louder at home with the new construction,” Kelly said. “But it is mostly getting used to DeShone. He kind of elongated his cadence sometimes with some pressures and movement in front of him, and the guys just weren’t used to it, quite frankly.”
At the end of the day, Kelly said, each of Kizer’s mistakes was correctable.
“All of them are things he can learn from and grow from,” Kelly said. “And so I thought from a first-time start, beating a nationally-ranked team, I thought it was a good way for him to get his first start.”
Folston injury update
The man Prosise started the season behind on the depth chart, junior running back Tarean Folston, underwent surgery Thursday in Florida and returned to campus Saturday night to begin rehab. Folston tore his right ACL during Notre Dame’s 38-3 win over Texas on Sept. 5.
Redfield’s absence Saturday
Junior safety Max Redfield, a usual starter in Irish defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s defensive scheme, did not see the field during Notre Dame’s 30-22 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Kelly said the absence was the result of two factors: Redfield’s broken thumb and tailoring a defensive plan to counter Tech’s triple-option attack.
“You know, we had made a decision that [senior safety] Elijah [Shumate] would be playing, chiefly be middle of the field for us,” Kelly said. “And then obviously, when we went to the two-safety look, it was [sophomore] Drue [Tranquill] and [graduate student Matthias Farley’s] position.
“ … [Redfield] was in a backup position because of the option, and then his hand — he obviously didn’t play very well the week before with it, so that’s what put him in a backup position.”
Kelly said Redfield, who wore a cast on his hand against Virginia after breaking his thumb during the game against Texas the previous weekend, would be evaluated this week, and could return to the starting lineup against Massachusetts.
“I think we’ll probably have a conversation with him, see how he feels,” the Irish head coach said. “And then go to work Tuesday and see how he is out on the field.”