Brian Kelly charmed the heck out of a Notre Dame sports team last weekend but it was not the football side.
Kelly was guest speaker at the baseball team dinner and spoke for 14 minutes not mentioning football once to the 1,000 or so paying customers.
However he did speak with the South Bend Tribune before the dinner and dropped some important hints at what is happening behind the scenes
The Tribune reported that Kelly said two of the most impressive players in the winter workouts have been fifth-year senior-to-be offensive guard Chris Stewart (above) and, on defense, senior-to-be Harrison Smith.
“Chris has lost a lot of weight,” Kelly said of the 6-foot-5 Stewart who came to ND pushing 400 pounds and played last season at 340. “He’s a guy, I believe, we’re going to be able to count on in a leadership position on the offensive side of the ball.
“Harrison has impressed us with his physical condition and also from a leadership standpoint.”
“The focus right now, more than anything else, is developing a relationship with our current players in terms of coaching style, expectations, how to go to work every day, their demeanor, their style — all of those things.
“I want to get into spring ball with our expectations clearly defined for what we want from our players.
Spring practice of course kicks off March 26.
An interested spectator at the baseball dinner was quarterback Evan Sharpley who is a dual player and who leaves for Arizona minor league ball this year.
"Brian Kelly is the kind of coach you’d like to play for,” Sharpley said. “I know the players are very excited about having him here, as they should be."