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Brian Kelly's first Notre Dame spring practice press conference, says QB Ian Book "needs to complete a shitload of passes"

Notre Dame held it's first spring football practice this morning and afterwards head coach Brian Kelly was candid with the media in his press conference.

5th year senior and returning captain QB Ian Book and his 20-3 career record "need to complete a shitload of passes" and be himself this spring.  Sounds good to me.  Book will have to find new targets to throw the ball to as his top 3 of Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet and Chris Finke from last season are all off to the NFL.  One of the new targets expected to replace Claypool is redshirt sophomore Kevin Austin. 

Here are some highlights of Austin from today's practice...

 Austin if he can stay healthy and keep his nose clean should have a huge breakout season in 2020.  Team Austin up with WR Braden Lenzy, WR Lawrence Keys and TE Tommy Tremble and you are looking at 4 rising juniors with blazing elite speed all ready to make impacts this season in the receiving game for Book.

According to's Lou Somogyi the ND offense aligned like this today.

QB: Ian Book, Brendon Clark, DrewPyne
RB: Jafar Armstrong, C'Bo Flemsiter, Jahmir Smith, Kyren Williams, Mick Assaf
Note: Avery Davis moved to slot.

W Receiver (Boundary): Kevin Austin, Javon McKinley, Micah Jones
X Receiver (Field): Braden Lenzy, Ben Skowronek, Xaver Watts
Z (Slot): Lawrence Keys, Avery Davis, Kendall Abdur-Rahman
Notes: Joe Wilkins out with strep throat. Jay Brunelle out with clean-up work on shoulder. Also, Isaiah Robertson was not at practice while taking care of some academic work, per Brian Kelly.
Austin and McKinley both were standouts with their playmaking on some jump balls or back-shoulder plays.

TE: Brock Wright & Tommy Tremble, George Takacs
LT: Liam Eichenberg, Andrew Kristofic, Cole Mabrey
LG: Josh Lugg, Hunter Spears, Max Siegel
C: Jarrett Patterson, Zeke Correll, Colin Grunhard
RG: Tommy Kraemer, John Dirksen, John Olmstead
RT: Robert Hainsey, Quinn Carroll, Quinn Murphy
Notes: LG Aaron Banks is out this spring while recovering from foot fracture.
Later in more live work with no contact, Hainsey and Kraemer were both kept out while recovering from their fall injuries. Same with Quinn Carroll, who had ACL surgery last August.
In that situation, the No. 1 line had from right to left Lugg, Dirksen, Patterson, Grunhard and Eichenberg.

It appears those rumors of a running back being injured and another one possibly transferring are false at the moment.  All 4 RB practiced today while we wait for incoming freshman Chris Tyree to enroll this summer and add some much needed speed to the RB position.  

If you look at the overall depth of the offense it would be hard to find one better in Brian Kelly's tenure.  Even with starting guard Aaron Banks out with a fractured foot the offensive line has all 5 guys who have at least started multiple games ready to plug and play.  Hunter Spears has made the position switch from DT to left guard which as far as I can see is the only position change this spring.  The 2nd and 3rd stringers on the offensive line are all highly recruited sophomores now who have had a full season of strength coach Matt Balis program.  I can't remember a more deep and talented offensive line at Notre Dame.  In fact according to PFF they return 4 of the top 30 offensive linemen in the country.  That's insane and they should dominate every team up front not named Clemson in 2020.

Here are some more highlights from today's opening spring practice.


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Joel Klatt and Colin Cowherd talk Brian Kelly and place him in their top 5 coaches in College Football now

Fox Sports Joel Klatt came on Colin Cowherds "The Herd" show to talk college football and most of the discussion involved Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly and his place in the hierarchy of college football coaches.

For the record Klatt's top 5 are:

1. Nick Saban

2. Dabo Swinney

3. Lincoln Riley

4. Ryan Day

5. Brian Kelly

Right now it's hard to argue 4 of those top 5.  I'm not sure how you can put Ohio State's Ryan Day up there yet and not include a guy like Georgia's Kirby Smart.  Day has only coached 6 games so far at Ohio State with none of them cracking the top 25.  But yeah Saban, Dabo, Lincoln and even Kelly deserve to be mentioned in the top 5.  All have their programs humming along at either peak level or a step below.

What I don't agree with is the argument that Kelly has reached the peak at Notre Dame.  Cowherd seems to insist the best Notre Dame can do is lose by 6 points to Georgia and I simply don't agree with it.  ND has the talent and the depth to hang with all the big boys in college football.  Right now they don't have the elite playmakers on offense that the other teams do.  Once they get more of those in they can compete for Nattys.  

If you watched the Notre Dame Georgia game you will have noticed the Irish were more physical than the SEC darling Dawgs.  They went toe-to-toe from start to finish and controlled the line of scrimmage from both sides.  They simply don't have the playmakers at RB or WR to move the ball effectively vs a Georgia team that has more 5-stars on their roster than any other team in the country.  But once you get those kind of playmakers in (currently they got a 5-star WR, 5-star RB, and 5-star TE committed for the 2020 class) then you can let your playmakers take over like Clemson did vs Notre Dame and Alabama last year.

Personally I think Kelly stays at Notre Dame for at least another 3 years.  He's got his machine running smoothly up there and with 10 years under his belt under the Golden Dome it's his baby.  Can Notre Dame win a Natty with Kelly at coach?  Yes.  It might not be this season but I think they are set up to win double digit wins every year and be in the contention for the playoffs too.

Now they just got to develop those playmakers once they hit campus in the spring.

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Brian Kelly talks 2019 Fall Practice number 10

Oh man that catch by #24 Tommy Tremble has me excited about his potential at tight end. With starter Cole Kmet out with the broken collarbone I look forward to seeing more of Tremble on the field at least early on in the season.  There's not a lot of big tight ends that can run legit 4.5 which Tremble did before fall camp.  And those hands?  Oh my.  Just need him to get open for Ian Book this season and we could be talking breakout player for the Fighting Irish.

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Brian Kelly recaps day 2 of fall camp practice

Pretty much standard stuff here from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. Coming out of Day 2 in fall camp at Culver Academies as long as there are no significant injury reports and everyone seems to be moving along as needed I'm happy.

One of the more pressing questions going into year 2 of Ian Book at QB is whether or not he could hit the more intermediate to deep routes to his wide receivers in stride. As good as Book was last year the Notre Dame offense left a lot of points on the field because of misses with the deep throws. This slow motion clip of Book hitting sophomore WR Lawrence Keys in stride shows progress as Keys blows past freshman safety Kyle Hamilton.

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Video: Notre Dame Rewards Walk On WR Chris Finke A Scholarship

Video: Notre Dame Rewards Walk On WR Chris Finke A Scholarship

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Notre Dame Will Play Both Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer vs Texas

Notre Dame Will Play Both Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer vs Texas

Brian Kelly announced today that both Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer will play in the season opener vs Texas.  But he hasn't named a starter.


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Notre Dame HC Brian Kelly Talks Quarterback and Other Positional Competitions

Notre Dame HC Brian Kelly Talks Quarterback and Other Positional Competitions

As Notre Dame football preps for the 2016 season with their 3rd camp at Culver Academy we get an interview with head football coach Brian Kelly.



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