Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly talked about a number of topics during his Sunday teleconference.
Here are some of the things he addressed as the No. 5 Irish (7-0) get ready for their big showdown with No. 8 Oklahoma (5-1) this weekend:
On quarterback Everett Golson being able to handle playing in the hostile enviroment at Oklahoma: “I think it’s bits and pieces throughout the entire year, atMichiganStatein a very hostile environment, and then in biggame situations where we’re playing on the road inChicago. It’s just a cumulative effect. In other words, all the pieces that come together for him to make him a better quarterback than he was earlier in the year is his experience, and we think he’ll build on that and should not have any problem playing in a big environment at Oklahoma because he’s already done it.”
On what he saw in the win over BYU that needs to be correct before playing Oklahoma: “I don’t know if I would characterize it as what went wrong. Let’s just take an offensive standpoint, two missed field goals, those conversions, those have to be touchdowns on those drives. We can’t settle for field goals. I look at it and make assessments as to what we did on those drives. We had a snap infraction that put us in a third-and-9 situation, and then we come back and miss the field goal. Then we come back again with a great drive and a big run, and we can’t convert a couple of runs.
“I can tell you this, as we go through it, what we’re looking for is how we can put more points on the board. Settling for field goals has really been my focus here the last hour because, again, we just finished up with all of our breakdowns, and we’ll take a closer look at it, but again, I’ll go back and say we left too many points out there. We’ve got to put more points on the board.”
On the three run plays after Theo Riddick’s 55-yard gain put the Irish on BYU’s 8: “We wanted to be more patient up inside. We were bouncing the ball out, and the way we’re running the ball, it’s inside first. I thought on consecutive runs, if we were a little bit more patient, they would have been more successful plays. And it showed itself on film, as well.
“They were much more patient after that series, and it proved to be effective because we got north and south on them. We got a little bit too much east and west on those, and we want to hit those up inside. That’s what I was a little frustrated about.”
On Oklahoma’s Belldozer or jumbo package: “They’re physical up front, big offensive line, and you know, it’s very similar to the package that Stanford uses, and so there’s some similarity there. They bring in a jumbo package with some big fellows that can get off the ball. It’s just a big, strong, physical unit that’s very talented, and it fits in the kind of demeanor that coach (Bob) Stoops wants to display on offense.”
On kicker Kyle Brindza, who missed two field goals in the win over BYU: “Yeah, he was just off on his line a little bit. You know, it’s such a skill that you have to be right on. He’s got a great makeup. Mentally he’s a tough kid. He’s not afraid of the big moment. And those are all the things that I’m concerned with the most. And I never saw a crack there at all.
“He was a little off on his technique, and he knew it, and he’ll work hard on it in terms of correcting it this week. He’s got the makeup to be a guy that you can keep rolling out there.”
On if he expectd defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who has a team-high eight sacks, to be able to get to the quarterback this much when Tuitt was recruited to Notre Dame: “We thought he was a complete player in terms of having the ability to be on the field on first, second and third down. We didn’t think he was a guy that was going to come off the field. He’s developing as a football player, and (defensive line coach Mike) Elston has done a good job with him, and Stephon has done a great job. He’s committed to being a better football player. But no, I think we expected in the recruiting process to get a complete player, and it’s starting to show itself that way.”