Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 99 PRESEASON 2016 31 that. Doesn't mean they are going to play." Kelly has previously talked about what he looks for in a young player that's ready to contribute. The No. 1 quality, he said, is a confidence that is obvious just by looking a player in the eye. When freshmen step on campus, Kelly doesn't want them to be in over their heads. "I don't know if I'm surprised as much, because that's what we want when we recruit them. I guess I'm pleased to see so many of our young players come in, and not be blinded by the bigness or be overwhelmed with being at Notre Dame. "They have come in and competed and really, that's probably struck me more so than any freshman class that I've had here at Notre Dame; that they are not afraid to come in here and compete. They are not ready. They think they are, but that's been fun to watch." Perhaps the biggest question mark for Notre Dame this season will be the progress the defense makes in the third season under coordinator Brian VanGorder. To sustain success, and not just show glimpses, Kelly said he'll look for certain factors. "Well, it's consistency. The tech- niques necessary to play corner and safety require an attention to detail that is really like no other position," Kelly said. "If you're off just a little at corner and you don't use your right technique, you're going to get beat at the sideline for a touchdown. "So I think it's that mental and physical consistency on a day-to-day basis that sometimes eludes some of the young kids when they get tired. Cole Luke has been outstanding at it this year. He's a senior. He's a vet- eran. Where at times, his technique escaped him last year; it doesn't es- cape him very much at all. "So it's that consistency of tech- nique and then the attention to the detail, is what we need to see week in and week out. We're getting more of it, but we're going to need much more from that group." MEDIA DAY: NEWS & NOTES • Kelly said the team captains have not been decided on and that a list of names has been submitted to the faculty board for approval. Once he gets those names back, he said he'll decide how he'll pick the captains. "We get the names first approved, and then I decide whether we are going to put it before your unity council, our team or we do a limited democracy vote," Kelly said. • Kelly was asked about injuries in football and why there seems to be more and more that are violent and season ending. After a season in which the Irish navigated a barrage of them, Kelly felt qualified to give his thoughts on the subject. "We've really extensively got into this," the head coach said. "You have to bring in the science, the health. Science has to be part of this, because the players are so big, they are so fast, they are so strong; we're play- ing on surfaces that help them play even faster. We're putting these young men in positions to move so fast and so quickly that we're put- ting such stress on their joints and at times they can't hold up. It's up to us to do full functional moving screens to find out if there are any deficiencies, which we're doing to help them build up their bodies, so they can withstand running at the high rates of speed that they are. We have to protect their head and do that in practice and make sure that we don't lose man hours because of head injuries. "Yeah, they are bigger, they are faster, they are stronger, and as coaches and as trainers and doctors, we all have to look at ways that we can cut down on those injuries. Is there prevention? No, I don't think you can prevent them, but you can cut back on them. "We feel really lucky right now on the things that we've done this year have really helped us a lot in a num- ber of those areas." ✦ SOPHOMORE CHRIS FINKE AWARDED A SCHOLARSHIP When asked during the first week of pre- season practice which of Notre Dame's inexpe- rienced receivers is emerging the most, starting senior linebacker James Onwualu provided an unexpected answer. "I think Chris Finke is going to be a good player for us," Onwualu said of the 5-9½, 180-pound sophomore walk-on slot receiver. "He doesn't have much experience on the field, but in prac- tice he's given us trouble." A few days later, head coach Brian Kelly added his own thoughts about Finke, although the origi- nal ar cula on didn't quite come out right. "He's probably the most disrespected player on the team," Kelly said, meaning Finke wasn't ge ng enough looks from the coaching staff. "I looked at his numbers yesterday, and he didn't get enough reps. I told the staff he needs to get more reps. Then he gets more reps today — and he made more plays. "He's Robby Toma [2009-12 slot receiver ] with speed." Finke's work and shi iness earned him a schol- arship by the end of camp. Finke hails from Archbi- ship Alter High in Dayton, Ohio, the same school that produced Irish senior quarterback Malik Zaire and sophomore cornerback Nick Coleman. Sophomore C.J. Sanders is the No. 1 slot re- ceiver, but Finke is expected to challenge for some playing me there. — Lou Somogyi "I DON'T KNOW IF I'M SURPRISED AS MUCH, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE WANT WHEN WE RECRUIT THEM. I GUESS I'M PLEASED TO SEE SO MANY OF OUR YOUNG PLAYERS COME IN, AND NOT BE BLINDED BY THE BIGNESS OR BE OVERWHELMED WITH BEING AT NOTRE DAME." KELLY ON THE FRESHMAN CLASS Finke's skills will be used at slot receiver and he also could contribute as a return man on special teams. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Preseason 2016