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Irish Insights

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Talking about offense

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly talks about some of his offensive players.

On running back Cierre Wood and what he said to the sophomore after a fumble against Boston College: "Here's why I like Cierre Wood. … When I went to talk to him about that play, talk to him about the play, he said, 'Coach, it's inexcusable what I did. I can't tell you why it happened. That's ridiculous.' He immediately took accountability for his actions. I didn't say another word to him. I'm a Cierre Wood fan. We're going to keep developing that young man and he's going to be a good football player. He just needs to continue to develop, gain more confidence. He needs recognition awareness. When he sees things, he's got to go, and he's still thinking too much. When we can get that out of him, when he can just react, man, he's going to be fun to play.

"I'll tell you what, he had a couple runs, real hard runs early in the game, made that mistake obviously, you can't put the ball on the ground in a competitive situation. But what I loved about the kid is immediately it wasn't, well, I didn't get the call, I didn't hear it, I was getting a little tired, we hear a lot of that around here at Notre Dame, and we hear about it too much, and I didn't hear it from Cierre Wood. And that's why I'm in his camp and we're going to keep getting him to move forward and be a really good player for us."

On receiver Michael Floyd and tight end Kyle Rudolph being held in check in recent games: "We have to utilize both of them within our offense, but we're not going to throw them the ball if they're double covered or they're not within the structure of our offense. We feel like we can score enough points if you want to put a guy over the top of Michael Floyd, we still think we can get him the football. But we're not going to be silly at it. We're going to be -- we've got really -- Armando Allen has been probably our play-maker if you look at everything that he's done in terms of running and catching, and if you continue to give us Armando Allen, we're going to continue to take him."

On Theo Riddick's production as the slot receiver as the sophomore now leads the team with 30 receptions: "We moved him for a reason, feeling as though when we evaluated our players that he had a chance to be a dynamic player in that position. So it's coming to fruition from that standpoint. He's got a long way to go, but he's giving us the ability to run our offense the way we want to run it. And if he wasn't at that level, we would still have some struggles in being consistent.

On Riddick's importance to the offense: "It's really about how you're going to play the box for us, how many guys you're going to put in the box. If you drop that Sam backer and you want to put him in the box, Theo is out in space with nobody over him, and that's probably not a match-up that teams want.

"So now you take a (Boston College linebacker Mark) Herzlich out of the game against BC because he's got to stay out over Theo Riddick the whole game. I don't know if he had a couple of tackles, but he was effectively taken out of the ballgame. If we can do that, it allows Armando to run and allows some other things to occur then he's doing his job, as well."