Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2017 Issue

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

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22 MAY 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED new defensive coordinator Mike Elko's defensive concepts are taking root. "That was a more confident group," Kelly said of the defense. "They played with an expectation to make plays. They were not a group where they were expecting bad things to happen to them, and that's a big confidence step for our guys." Notre Dame now has a long off- season ahead until the Sept. 2 season opener. After a spring in which the team's revamped coaching staff ac- climated to the roster, Kelly hopes the process of developing continues, leading up to preseason practice. "Just building good habits on a day-to-day basis is probably the most important thing in everything that we do," Kelly said. "We'll continue to work on that process. A lot of this is hard for our guys. It's delayed grati- fication. They want it right now, and you can't get it right now. It takes time to build all those. "They are becoming quite aware that this is something they have to work on every day. Today was just another step towards that. "Now they get back in the weight room, and we keep building those good habits. It's going to lead to good things on the field." ✦ From The Locker Room NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On how his team tackled during the Blue-Gold Game: "It's hard for me to really assess it. I have to watch the film. There was some missed tackles out there, but it's a spring game. "I thought if you turned on our film of our first scrimmage you would have said we lack physicality. I didn't sense that we lacked physicality out there today. "Could we tackle better? Sure. We will continue to work on it and get bet- ter at it. But what would concern me more is if there was a sense of a lack of physicality, and I didn't see that. We ran through some tackles, and there was some arm tackling going on out there." On not wearing a headset and letting his coordinators run the show: "I have a role. I'm the head coach, and I'm responsible for the offense, defense and special teams. I wanted Chip [Long] to get in the flow of calling plays. He doesn't need me in his ear right now. "I'll be there. I was making decisions on whether to go for it on fourth down. Those will be decisional situations I make during the year, as well. But special teams, defense, I'll be involved in all three phases, and let my coaches coach." On playing inside Notre Dame Stadium: "There has to be a great sense of pride when you walk into that stadium, and that pride has to carry over in your preparation and being focused and locked in every time we come into the stadium. "It's a stadium that is rich in tradition. Our guys need to know that they play football at the University of Notre Dame. It's just a great, great thing that they have and need to appreciate it." JUNIOR QUARTERBACK BRANDON WIMBUSH … On throwing to his big group of receivers: "You tend to want to miss high more. In certain situations, you have the ability to put the ball up there and not have it be a perfect throw all the time, and those guys — you saw today — they'll go up and make plays, all across the board. "Even going down to [Chris] Finke and C.J. [Sanders], two of the smaller guys who definitely will tough it out and go make a play for me." JUNIOR RUNNING BACK DEXTER WILLIAMS … On his August 2016 arrest and how he's had to gain the trust of his team- mates and coaches: "I think about it every day. That could've been my last chance being at Notre Dame or just playing football period. It's on my mind daily. I just continue to place myself around positive people and continue to stay positive. "I've gained a lot of trust back from coaches and teammates. I just con- stantly tell them to stay on me about everything. Don't let me just take anything for granted. I just love how they're taking me back in and continue to motivate me and push me. "I'm looking at it in a positive way. If something like that didn't happen, who knows where I could've been. It was a great eye-opener and helped me to maintain focus and continue on with this process." SOPHOMORE DEFENSIVE END DAELIN HAYES … On living up to his five-star rating coming out of high school: "That's high school. It doesn't matter now. That's for the media. Every day is just a learn- ing experience, and just continuing to grow and let my game progress. I'm definitely not putting that pressure on myself. I understand my role. "Today is not where we want to be. We have a long way to go and a lot of things to improve upon. … I just buy into the system and understand my role. I want to continue to grow upon that. "I see my role as just being a guy who does my job and does it well for my teammates. I know the coaches will put me in a position to make plays, and that's my job." SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK IAN BOOK … On new QB coach Tom Rees: "He's been awesome. He's taught me so much. Meeting with him once a day and going through coverages and reads, learning from someone who's done it before — it's helped me. "I really like the way he teaches. He's helped me to visualize it, and then go out on the field and see exactly what he's talking about." — Matt Jones Sophomore defensive end Daelin Hayes finished with three sacks among four tackles for loss and seven total stops in the Blue-Gold Game. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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