Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct.10, 2016

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

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12 OCT. 10, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Brian Kelly Spends More Time With Defense Mike linebacker Nyles Morgan might be a junior in college now, but during preparation for Syracuse he felt like he was back in a high school classroom when head coach Brian Kelly entered the room of the defen‑ sive practice field. "It's like the Dean walking in — somebody got into trouble," said Mor‑ gan, the team's leading tackler with 37 while also recording the lone sack during Notre Dame's 1‑3 start. Somebody did get into trouble. Third‑year defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was expelled from the team a few days earlier because of the defense's sub‑standard performance. "It's different," Morgan said of Kelly's involvement. "He came over to the dark side. … It's a new feel, but his input is already helpful. He knows what he's talking about, and he's helped me out personally with certain things [positioning and leverage]." After the Wednesday practice prior to playing Syracuse, the defense became better accustomed to Kelly's presence, which on Tuesday was maybe a little more unnerving. "It was like that at first because he's always with the offense most of the time," Morgan said. "It was a different feel, but once he started talk‑ ing and coaching us up, it was like Coach [Mike] Elston was talking to me or Coach [Keith] Gilmore." The main message being imparted by the staff, including new coordi‑ nator Greg Hudson, is not so much about just tweaking or refining the X's and O's, but not playing as a fractured unit. "The main point is to love your brother, love yourself, play with pas‑ sion, play with the fire that you've played with since you've been eight years old," Morgan said. "Sometimes with the college life, you've got school, you've got this, you've got that, you kind of lose sight of everything, especially when you're on a bad streak. But if we can get back to the point where it's just love of the game, like playing high school ball, we'll be fine. "… It's the ultimate team sport. It's not about you. You can have a great game but if this person didn't, what's it for? It really makes you deep down want to push for others." — Lou Somogyi NOTRE DAME TO HOST BOWLING GREEN IN 2019 Notre Dame has added another Mid-American Con- ference opponent to its future schedule. Bowling Green will play at Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 5, 2019, the first trip for the Falcons to South Bend. "We are excited to add a team as tradition-rich as Notre Dame to our non-conference schedule for the 2019 season," Bowling Green athletics director Bob Moosbrugger said in a statement. Notre Dame's 2019 schedule figures to be among the toughest in the country. The Irish travel to Louis- ville for a Labor Day matchup, and also play at Georgia Sept. 21, at Michigan Oct. 26 and at Stanford Nov. 30. The Irish currently have home games scheduled against other MAC teams Miami (Ohio) in 2017, Ball State in 2018 and Toledo in 2021. DESHONE KIZER WANTS TO PLAY FREE AND LOOSE Everyone remembers DeShone Kizer against Virginia last season, the 19-year-old kid running down the field with his arms above his head celebrating the game- winning touchdown pass to Will Fuller. It's a moment that stands out to Kizer. It's one of the main highlights of his 15 games as a Notre Dame starting quarterback. Those moments of joy, though, have been increas- ingly rare from the native of Toledo, Ohio, a 6-4½, 230-pound NFL prospect who tends to blame himself for all the Irish shortfalls. "I need to have fun," Kizer said. "I need to play loose. I need to play free." It's easier said than done for Kizer, who was asked if he has to guard against pressing too much while trying to help get Notre Dame back in the win column. "At this university under Coach [Brian] Kelly, within this offense there's a lot that's put on the quarterback, and we all know it," Kizer said. "And that's enough. And that's what I have to under- stand, and I do understand that I don't need to take on any more than what they give me, and they already given me a lot. And that's kind of my mentality head- ing into the week is just to play free, have fun. "I get the opportunity to be the quarterback of Uni- versity of Notre Dame. That is a privilege that people dream about, that I dreamed about, and I took the fun out of that. And that's my biggest regret in the first four games is I had so much love for this position, love for this team that I took on a lot more than I ever should, which put a lot of pressure on my back. That's something that I'm going to have to remove and go back to just doing what I love and having a good time." Through four games, Kelly said Kizer still needed to raise his standard of play. Kizer handles the criticism well. But he also said no standard will be as high as his own. "I'm substandard to my own standards, and that's all that matters," Kizer said. "And if I can go out and attempt to stay above that standard of my own, then we'll be fine." — Matt Jones Junior linebacker Nyles Morgan said that Kelly's increased involvement with the defense was helpful from the get-go. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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