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Aug 6, 2010

Coordinating the Irish

During Friday’s media session, ND offensive and defensive coordinators dug into personnel specifics and were generally more critical than Kelly’s even-keeled opener that didn’t give away many secrets, promises, or even sound bites for that matter.

Sure, our Kelly green-clad leader highlighted a couple freshman WRs, but about the boldest declaration he made was that ND is “going to be dynamic” returning kicks. It probably made for the second-best sound bite, right next to his sarcastic nod to the media asking if they knew the goal is always to win ‘em all. Kelly, who seemed pumped up, didn’t make any promises he can’t keep or hype any player up too much, and that’s a good thing. He even admitted that “the jury’s still out” on if he was the right hire. Kelly played his cards right today.

Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco largely kept to this script but went deeper with his trademark emphasis on a player’s size profile. After laughing when reporters asked what 6-3, 350 freshman Louis Nix has been eating, Diaco lost the smile on his face when he said a college nose tackle should be in the 290-300 range with possibly more weight as the exception. “Nix is getting his body in position to compete,” according to Diaco, adding that “it’s going to be awhile.”

Offensive coordinator Charley Molnar was jovial and charismatic throughout the portion of the interview that UND.com aired live. Reading his body language, Molnar seemed ecstatic to have so many offensive weapons at his disposal. He actually reminded me a lot of Kelly’s spring mantra: super excited to be at ND and to work with our great players, but still staring down a ton of work.

Molnar offered more sound bites about our skill position guys: He confidently asked, “If you double team Kyle Rudolph, what kind of coverage are you playing on Michael Floyd?” Negatively, he said Floyd “was not there at the end of spring ball” in terms of work rate and that “he can get better in so many ways,” including adding moves and “a shake.” Molnar said Floyd’s biggest weakness is blocking consistency, similar to Duval Kamara, whom Molnar said “needs to be a great blocker every single play.”

BK said ten linemen are in the serious mix, but Molnar singled out center as “a position of great competition.” Similarly, Molnar talked about the tackle battles but wasn’t afraid to show his concern that none of the four options for two spots have any career starts.

Kelly admitted strengths, “vulnerabilities,” (I guess he truly doesn’t like weakness) and question marks but didn’t put any too high or too low. The more detailed and critical assessments by Molnar and Diaco complimented Kelly’s part as the calculated, confident leader. Overall, the three segments showed that the staff has a solid grip on what to do this August and how to manage the players physically and mentally.

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2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(