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Thoughts from Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly

Notre Dame's Brian Kelly held his weekly teleconference on Sunday afternoon.

Here are some of the coach's thoughts on specific players after the No. 22 Irish's 17-13 win over Michigan State on Saturday:

On freshman defensive back Max Redfield: "We really see a young man that is making the progress that we thought he would. I mean, it's a situation where from the safety position, with Shumate, Collinsworth, Farley in particular, he becomes our fourth guy right now. But he has definitely taken the steps forward that he's getting closer and closer where he could be battling for some playing time. We're really pleased with his progress."

On freshman quarterback Malik Zaire: "We're going to prepare him to play in games. This past week was one where we wanted to get him some reps with the demo squad. But he'll be with us preparing in the game plan. He'll be actively more involved in it this week than he was last week. Again, I think you always want to prepare your third quarterback that if he needs to go in the game, he's ready to go. We'll have more of a focus on his preparation as we move forward."

On inside linebacker Jarrett Grace: "He's just got natural linebacker instincts. It's a position that he's familiar with. He just fits it very well in terms of run, ricocheted into his fits. It's just a natural position for him. You can watch three or four plays and you can see that's a natural position for him."

On inside linebacker Carlo Calabrese's eight-tackle performance against Michigan State: "One of his better games that he's had in quite some time. He's been playing solid football for us. He's contributing on special teams. He's having a good senior season for us. Really liked his attitude, his commitment. All the things you want from your senior. He played real physical football for us Saturday. Feel really good about the season he's having up to this point. "

On giving the game ball to Kyle Brindza, who handles all kicking and punting duties and had a punt blocked and missed a field goal against Michigan State: "I'd have to think whether I've ever given it to a punter. Cincinnati had a pretty gifted kid, Kevin Huber, who punted for Cincinnati, the Bengals, who was a guy that changed the games. The way the game was and the big plays that were made for us were certainly his two kicks in the fourth quarter. We thought, as we talked about it as a staff, he singularly had to come through big. It was easy for us to give him that game ball."

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