Kelly addresses trip to Clemson, Luatua injury
Brian Plamondon | Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Though Irish head coach Brian Kelly has never coached at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium, he and his staff are preparing their team for what should be a raucous environment, Kelly said during his Tuesday press conference.
Kelly harkened back to Notre Dame’s experience playing Florida State on the road last year, citing his team’s strong communication on the field and hoping they can draw on that game.
“Most of these kids played in that game,” Kelly said. “So I think we’ll have a lot of carry-over, and we’ll talk in terms of the same kind of environment, very similar, I believe, that we’ll talk about this week in terms of how we’ll need to prepare.”
Notre Dame practiced on grass for part of their preparation Tuesday, while loud noise will be pumped into the practice complex to simulate the atmosphere, Kelly said.
“It will be a loud environment on the practice field, and we’ll be working nonverbal cadence as if it were the loudest environment that we’ve every played in,” Kelly said.
Kelly added that he thought his team was more excited than normal, recognizing the added importance of the game.
“You know when your team is detailed on the very first meeting,” Kelly said. “They know who they’re playing, and they know what they need to do and how they need to play if they want to win.”
Kelly talks injuries
Sophomore tight end Tyler Luatua’s status is up in the air for the Clemson game, as it depends on whether or not he completes concussion protocol, Kelly said.
Luatua was set to be on the field in a non-contact manner Tuesday, with hopes that he would be fully cleared for Wednesday.
“I would say if he’s not cleared tomorrow, it’s unrealistic that he would have a role on Saturday,” Kelly said.
As far as players already lost for the season, junior quarterback Malik Zaire will travel to Clemson, but junior running back Tarean Folston will stay behind, just ten days after his surgery to repair a torn ACL.
“Probably another week away before we can get him traveling with us, but he’s fully engaged, and he’ll be very helpful with our young backs,” Kelly said.
Six Notre Dame players have been lost for the season to date. All of those players have continued to play an active role around the team, Kelly said.
“The bottom line was that they were going to come back the next day, and they were going to welcome that next person in to the role that they needed to excel in it,” Kelly said. “ … That has been the focus of [their teammates] that they really want this mission to be accomplished. So they’re moving on quickly but never forgetting.”
Wimbush to see more than mop up duty
Freshman quarterback Brandon Wimbush burned his redshirt this past weekend when he entered in the third quarter against Massachusetts.
Wimbush was only 3-for-5 passing for 17 yards but made his mark on the ground, carrying the ball four times for 92 yards and a touchdown. Kelly said Wimbush could see action in selected packages moving forward, giving the dual threat signal-caller his first meaningful snaps.
“I think there’s more conversations with possibly utilizing him in a smaller role in certain situations that we can utilize his skill set because he certainly is — well, we know he’s got arm talent,” Kelly said. “He certainly has the physical ability.”