Chris Watt's emergence as the starting left guard over Andrew Nuss was not a decision that was made lightly by the Notre Dame coaching staff.
Watt, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound junior, was named the starter the same day Dayne Crist was named the starting quarterback last week. Watt's physical nature led to him beating out the 6-5, 303-pound Nuss.
"You know, I would just say that Chris is a bit stronger at the point of attack, as a technician, (Nuss) utilizes his strengths, and that is his smarts, and he gets in good positions. Chris is more powerful at the point of attack," Kelly said Tuesday a week after naming Watt the starter.
"Sometimes that works to a great advantage, but other times (Watt will) swing and miss a couple times and Andrew would not. So you can see that their styles are a little bit different from that standpoint but if you're asking me straight up, Chris is a guy that's going to bang it in there pretty good."
Watt said he expects to have some butterflies in his stomach when he starts against South Florida on Saturday, but he expects his nerves to calm down quickly after the first play.
He said before the game he will listen to an instrumental piece of music from the Friday Night Lights soundtrack to keep his nerves in check.
"It gets a little intense, the music, but it's not like Rage Against the Machine or anything," Watt said.
Offensive line coach Ed Warinner said while Watt is the starter, Nuss is just as valuable to Notre Dame.
The senior can be used at both guard spots and has trained to play center behind starter Braxston Cave and Mike Golic Jr.
"Nuss has a value to our team that is tremendous," Warinner said. "He'll be the first guy in at right guard, the first guy in at left guard or the third guy in at center."
As for Watt's tendency to swing and miss because he is trying to be too physical, it appears Warinner is willing to accept a few mistakes from the starting left guard.
"He's very explosive and very powerful and just brings a lot of pop, a lot of physicality up front. We really like that," Warinner said. "He's a younger guy and doesn't have as much experience. Occasionally, he can make a mistake in there, but he's shown over the course of camp a consistency."