FORT WAYNE – Brian Kelly is ready to run the offense he envisioned when he came to Notre Dame in 2010.
The Irish coach said during Fridays news conference to introduce offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur that the team has the players and coaching staff in place to be more dynamic.
Kelly laid out the blueprint of how the offensive coaching will work with him calling plays on Saturday, Denbrock mapping out and overseeing the offense and LaFleur having autonomy with the quarterbacks in the meeting room.
Were transitioning back to an offense that I feel is best suited for the personnel that we have, and I think its important to really get that philosophy and influence back into the offense, and I know it the best, Kelly said of resuming play calling after it was handled last season by Chuck Martin, who left as offensive coordinator to become head coach at Miami (Ohio).
And then once were able to lay that in there I think it will give everyone a great visual look of what that offense will look like, and I think it starts with me. I think its important that if I want that offense to have the look, its important that I have the influence in some fashion, and this is the best way to do it.
Kelly said becoming a more dynamic offense will start with the quarterback, and he made it clear that even though Everett Golson is returning from a semester suspension because of an academic issue, the job will not automatically go to him.
Malik Zaire, who didnt play as a freshman after enrolling early last season, will also push for the starting job.
Its a philosophy that coach Kelly has carried with him since he started coaching 25 years ago, and thats that the best player plays, said Denbrock, who coached tight ends then outside receivers in his first four years with Notre Dame and was the interim offensive coordinator for the Pinstripe Bowl after Martin left.
He will make that clear to the football team as we move forward, as he has every year that weve been here, that demands that they stand up and perform and put themselves in a place where we can be counted on as a teammate and as one of the Notre Dame football players.
LaFleur, who was the quarterbacks coach with the Washington Redskins the last four years, has experience coaching mobile quarterbacks working with Robert Griffin III the last two seasons and others during his 11-year coaching career.
There is a fine line that you cant be too strict in your teachings to take that playmaker ability out of that quarterback, said LaFleur, an offensive assistant on Kellys staff at Central Michigan in 2004 and 05.
Kelly said the coaching staff is nearly complete with the promotion of Denbrock and addition of LaFleur along with former Irish safety Kyle McCarthy and Mike Hiestand as defensive graduate assistants. The Irish will add one more graduate assistant and some off-field personnel, Kelly said.
Kelly also provided some injury updates, saying defensive lineman and former Bishop Dwenger standout Tony Springmann is making progress recovering from a dislocated left knee and a post-surgery infection that kept him out last season. Kelly said he isnt positive Springmann will be available for spring practice, which begins March 3.
Linebacker Jarrett Grace is slowly recovering from a broken leg, and linebacker Doug Randolph (shoulder), defensive lineman Chase Hounshell (shoulder) offensive lineman John Montelus (shoulder), safety Nicky Baratti (shoulder), linebacker Ben Councell (ACL) and center Nick Martin (MCL) have been cleared for contact, Kelly said.