Coach Brian Kelly cracks the whip at Notre Dame
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It is no more mister nice guy from Brian Kelly.
Meeting the press after the College Football Hall of Fame luncheon on campus he was quick to show he's not all Irish charm and wit.
Talking about his squad which is set to start spring practice this Friday Kelly said:
"Their attention to detail is not where it needs to be. Their discipline is not where it needs to be," Kelly said. "They need to care about themselves and their football players a lot more. I'm tired of hearing about the next NFL player coming out of Notre Dame, quite frankly. They need to understand who we are. We're the Fighting Irish. We're creating, really, an atmosphere that's a little bit different than what they're used to. So we've got those things to work on."
"They want to win, and they are on board 100 percent," Kelly said. "But we're working through those (negatives) every single day."
He makes t clear he makes no excuses.
"Would you really care if I got up here and said, 'We don't have this, we don't have that'?" Kelly asked during the luncheon. "Like any new program or new coach coming in, we have some challenges. But we've got some things that obviously we think that we can improve on as well. We're not going into the season looking at our schedule, going, 'That's a win, that's a loss.' We're going to go in expecting to win every game we play."
To do that he needs starting quarterback Dayne Crist to be healthy. The good news from Kelly is that he is ready to take snaps less than five months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Washington State.
"We'd be really close to playing with him," Kelly said. "Obviously, we're going to be smart. He'll play all of our 7-on-7 routines, he'll be in all our one-on-ones. We'll put a big funnel around him, make sure nobody gets near him, but he's gotta get out there and take snaps."
Kelly also said sophomore running back Theo Riddick's move to receiver and said that senior fullback Steve Paskorz is headed back to linebacker, the position he occupied as a freshman.
Kelly told the sold-out crowd at Century Center for the lunch he sees himself as the "caretaker of a storied, rich-in-tradition program," and at times sounded more like a guy who would pay for a seat at an event like Tuesday's, not speak at one.
"I don't want to be seen as the head coach at Notre Dame that's not accessible," Kelly said. "Last night, just like a lot of you, I waited in line for the checkout at Martin's -- way too long. I have to get out in the community because it's just in my nature."
As for a possible move to the Big Ten -- "At the University of Notre Dame, we've got a pretty good spot in this game and we need to protect our interests," he said --
Another fan asked Kelly not to play Bon Jovi songs during practice because former coach Charlie Weis' loved them.
"Hey, I'm from the East Coast," Kelly said. "I like Bon Jovi. I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I do think there's things above my pay grade, and I think playing the music could be that."