Kelly has an “idea” who’ll be Notre Dame’s QB, but nothing’s set in stone
By Mark Lazerus 648-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org August 3, 2012 3:06PM
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish waits to enter the field with his team before a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brian Kelly R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\16-Sep-10_102306225JD056_Michigan_v_N.jpg
Updated: September 5, 2012 6:06AM
SOUTH BEND — Near the end of his Friday press conference kicking off the start of Notre Dame training camp, a bemused Brian Kelly practically begged the assembled media to ask him a question about his two biggest stars — tight end Tyler Eifert and linebacker Manti Te’o.
“Did anybody get a media guide?” he asked. “I think they’re on the cover. Gosh, I was hoping to talk about those guys a little bit.”
But Eifert and Te’o are known commodities, elite talents among the nation’s best. So, inevitably, the conversation kept coming back to the question of who will be the Irish’s starting quarterback for the season opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland — and beyond.
“I’ve got an idea, but an idea is all I have,” Kelly said. “I’ve got an idea, but we have to see how this plays out.”
One thing he made clear is, regardless of whether it’s junior Andrew Hendrix, sophomore Everett Golson or freshman Gunner Kiel — none of whom has ever started a college game — Kelly won’t sit idly by during any growing pains. Especially if those growing pains involve turning the ball over.
“I don’t have any patience for that,” he said. “You know me. I want it done the right way. … If we get the guy and he starts against Navy and he doesn’t play very well, I don’t want him to start next week.”
Kelly also said “everything is on the table,” including a two-quarterback system, though his preference is to have one player seize the spot during the first week of camp.
In between all the quarterback questions, Kelly also addressed a wide range of issues leading into Saturday morning’s first practice.
He was optimistic that USC transfer Amir Carlisle could compete for playing time at tailback immediately, despite the Irish’s depth at the position, with Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick and George Atkinson.
“When you have a number of good payers at the position, and he’s not discouraged one bit that he’s going to come in and be the guy, you like that confidence in his ability,” Kelly said.
Kelly feels “comfortable” with his cornerbacks, even though none has started a game. Bennett Jackson and Lo Wood are listed as the starters, with Josh Atkinson, Jalen Brown and Cam McDaniel behind them.
“People graduate and it’s the next guy’s chance,” Kelly said.
The training camp schedule features several early morning sessions, starting as early as 6:15 a.m. once classes start. Kelly said this was done to “acclimatize” his players to what will be a 9 a.m. (South Bend time) start in Dublin.
The Irish didn’t get involved with any Penn State players, who were all free to transfer after the NCAA handed down heavy sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
“We kind of used a recruiting scenario, if you will,” Kelly said. “They were committed, and the only way that we’d be involved with them is if they decommitted and publicly said they’re looking to transfer. … We never got to that point.”
From an injury standpoint, only safety Austin Collinsworth (shoulder surgery) is unable to practice. Kelly said Collinsworth could be out until October or November.
Kelly said on a radio appearance Thursday that “Field Turf was coming” to Notre Dame Stadium, which set off something of an online firestorm among fans. He backtracked a bit on Friday, saying he hopes an artificial surface is coming, but that the decision lies with athletic director Jack Swarbrick, not Kelly.