April 21, 2012
COACH KELLY: It's nice to finish up a
spring game with a nice atmosphere. There was a
nice feel around campus today. I think it really, for
all of our players, you could sense an excitement
That's what makes Notre Dame unique in
that the spring game you get that kind of energy.
You guys may poo poo that and not understand
it, but when you play this game and you have that
kind of loyalty and support from your fans, it's a
really nice feeling. So our guys got the opportunity
to play before a nice crowd today, and I think it
really excited them getting out there and seeing
the support that we had out there. So as it relates
to the format of the game, I thought it allowed us to
do a lot of things today.
I think there is no question in my mind that
we've got enough players out there to compete.
I'm not worried about not having enough players.
We need to continue to build the players that we
have, and we have a long way to go. I was
pleased with that. I think if there is one thing that
stands out from the game itself, it's the attention to
detail. The little things that we need to do better.
What I like positively is our team plays
together. They like playing with each other this is
a group that's come a long way in a very short
period of time, relative to understanding that it's a
team sport. I like that. We've got a team, and you
need a team to play the kind of schedule we play
at Notre Dame. So that's a real positive.
I saw that energy. The guys liked to play.
There are enough pieces out there for us. It's
really the attention to detail. The little things that
matter the most. Our guys are going to have to
work at that over the summer. If they do that,
when we get into preseason camp, we should be
in a pretty good position. So that's what I saw
today. Open it up to questions.
Q. Did you see anything in the
quarterbacks today that you hadn't seen all
spring, either plus or minuses?
COACH KELLY: I think we saw some
things that we haven't seen before in terms of ball
Then we saw some errors that,
unfortunately, are all too familiar. So, I think there
were some strides made, but clearly we're not
there yet. We've got a lot of work to do with all the
quarterbacks to get them to the level that we want.
And we have a high bar set for them.
So, yeah, I saw some things out there that
they hadn't done in the past.
But yet two
interceptions in particular where we've seen that
movie before. So we've got to move past that.
Q. What was your thinking in bringing
Gunner in just for the second half?
COACH KELLY: Well, we knew he was
going to get all the reps in the second half. We
wanted to make sure that we got a good rotation.
Then, obviously, we can't run everything with
Gunner at this point. He just doesn't have the
knowledge base. So from that standpoint, we
gave him all the reps in the second half, and got
him an opportunity to really feel like he was part of
Q. Could you comment specifically on
Golson's game? He had two touchdowns, and
I think the most yardage. Was that something
you expected or was it kind of a surprise for
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we come at it from
different perspectives. The stats really don't mean
anything to me. What I didn't like was that he's got
to get the plays in quicker. He's got to recognize
If I'm not out there getting guys set and
making sure he knows what to play, we're going to
have flags thrown all over the place. So those
things don't mean as much to me as they do
managing the offense.
We're making progress there, but we're
nowhere where we need to be.
Q. Coach, Tyler had a good game here
today. Could you talk about moving him
around, not just in the tight end position, but it
looks like he was out wide a couple times?
COACH KELLY: He's a guy that has to
replace the production loss of Michael Floyd. To
do that, we have to be able to get him into some
favorable positions. Obviously, he's not going to
lock down just at the tight end position. He's a guy
that can play at both a wide receiver. Heck, he
could play running back if we need him to. He's
an incredible athlete and a versatile player, so
we'll take advantage of that skill.
Q. Getting back to Golson. You've
mentioned throughout the spring that
up and down you're trying to string good
days together. Was today indicative of his
spring performance? Was it a little bit of a
departure from what you've seen?
position, as I mentioned to you before, is the art
and science. In Putting both the art and the
science together, he's very creative. The art part
he's got down.
It's the science and the
consistency, all of those things to be a
You can put him in the same category as
George Atkinson. Both of those guys are exciting,
electric players, but they are a heart attack for me.
We've got to get them there, because I
think we all see that they've got great skill. But
they are guys that are a work in progress. You're
seeing a work in progress.
something very exciting, but I think we all could sit
here and agree, we've got to get them to manage
the game, take care of the football. If they do that,
they can really help our football team.
Q. A position is more consistent at the
offensive line could you just talk about that
group overall this spring, and in particular, the
influence of Coach Hiestand on that group?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think it's the
cohesion. It's the group that really, if you look at
all the details, they probably have that down as
well as any unit. They do the little things right. It's
a very solid unit. It's a cohesive unit.
Coach Hiestand demands that kind of unit
cohesiveness. It's starting to show iself in the
running game and pass protection. When you go
into a game and you know you've got all the
answers up front on the offensive and defensive
line, it gives you a pretty good feeling as a coach.
Q. You've said a couple of times you're
nowhere close to where you need to be with
the quarterback situation. If you continue with
a three or four man rotation when we get to
the fall, is there enough time for them to be
ready by September 1st?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, we're
hoping that this summer is an opportunity for them
to move past some of the areas of concern and
now come into camp where we really can start to
narrow down who those guys are going to be
competing for the starting position.
No, I don't think he can share reps right up
until the first game. There will be a time and a
place for that. But it's still a ways away.
Q. You mentioned a movie you've seen
before.Tommy's interception on his first
possession. What are things you want to see
from him now that he's more of an experienced
guy on the roster? What do you want to see
more from him?
COACH KELLY: Zero is okay on first
down. We'll punt the ball. It's a drop eight
situation, and he's trying to fit his seam route in.
We've got a drive coming in underneath. Drop the
ball down, move, punt the ball. Stay out of 3rd and
15. You can't make those mistakes.
You saw Hendrix can't make that mistake
trying to throw an overroute with a level one ball.
That's just the thing that I'm talking about. They
can't make those mistakes and be the starter.
They just can't.
Eifert can't not manage the game in the
manner that he needs to. Gunner's got to be up
on the game more. So you can see, all of them
need work, and we're excited to keep bringing
Now this summer, they've got to help
themselves. The guy that really commits to the
details this summer is probably one of the guys
that's going to start it. So if you can go to any of
those voluntary workouts, then let me know. I'd be
happy to field that when I'm on the golf course.
Just text me if you have that opportunity.
The point is all of them have a lot of work
to do. We'll see who does a great job this summer.
Q. Wood had a lot of tackles today. Tell me about his development, Brian?
COACH KELLY: Did you say Lo Wood?
COACH KELLY: We want the ball. If the
ball gets funneled out to him, we feel like we've got
a really good tackler out there. He tackles very
well. He's an aggressive kid, and he's not afraid to
put his helmet on.
You know, he's not a
four three. He's not blazing speed. We don't
need him to do that.
We need him to defend the post, stay
above the cut and be a good tackler. He showed
a lot of that today.
Q. I'm sure you weren't thrilled with the
six turnovers, but was that something that you
I mean, how do you handle six
COACH KELLY: Well, again, it's all part
of what we're talking about. I think Gunner had a
couple of turnovers, inexperience in throwing the
football. That's the learning curve for him.
But if you're turning the football over, it's
going to be hard for to you get on the field. The
fumbles, obviously, George is sloppy with the ball.
Those are the things that we got through. You
saw what I saw. There is nothing different. Those
are the kids we've got, can't trade them, but we've
got to get them better. So they know that, we
know that, and it's a matter of attention to detail for
all of those kids.
There are enough players. There are
enough good things out there as a team. I love
the way our team has come together. That's
probably, more than anything, we've moved the
team forward, now attention to detail.
Q. Not a lot of Kap or Tuitt or Manti out
there, but what were you able to glean from
what you saw in your defense today?
COACH KELLY: Couple guys that stood
out, Anthony Rabasa, he plays really strong at the
point of attack and did a really nice job. Jarrett
Grace is all over the field. So I think we saw Ishaq
Williams and his ability to drop in coverage. He's
athletic. He's really come on for us.
So even with those guys that you
mentioned not in the game, we saw a lot of nice
things out there. I'd add Kona Schwenke to the
mix as well. Kona took the coin toss, our game
day cap where Kona Schwenke and John
Goodman because our staff voted both of those
players the most improved players in the spring.
So that's why they're out there. Cone as well.
Q. Golson got 31 snaps today, Rees
got 26, Hendrix gets only 15. Did that affect his
COACH KELLY: No, I don't think so. I
think it's just the way the game went. It wasn't
nothing was prescribed. We stayed in rotation, as
you know. If you followed it, we just stayed in the
seniority rotation through. Just the luck of the
It won't affect him, because, again, it's not
about the number of reps, it's about the quality
reps. He'll be evaluated as such.
An interview with: Tommy Rees
Tommy, what did you do today
that you hadn't done last season? What is
different about your game?
I think just having
another year in the offense, and knowing a couple
of times we got out of some wrong plays and we
could run some looks. There is obviously one ball,
one back, but other than that, I feel like things
went all right.
Obviously that interception put a damper
on things. But I'm happy with how spring ended.
If I got that one throw back, I still feel good coming
out of the game.
Q. It seemed like you had some plays
in the end zone that wasn't completed, but the
ball was there each time, the touch was there?
Tommy Rees: Yeah, that's something
we worked on a lot in the spring. And we're trying
to give our receivers a chance to go out and make
some plays. We some opportunities today, but the
defense did a pretty good job getting the ball out of
their hands at the last minute.
It was a 50 50 ball, but as long as we put
it there, we have enough skill receivers.
Q. How do you feel about this spring
Tommy Rees: Good. We have a long
way to go as an offense, but we took a definite
positive step this spring. I think the way the
offense has kind of come together under Coach
Martin's leadership, things are definitely positive.
How do you look at yourself
through the summer?
Tommy Rees: I think you've got to
approach it as a starter. You have to have that
mentality, and you have to be a leader out there.
Just take it one day at a time and do everything
you can to get better. Summer's a big time for
It's been a big time for me in the past, so
I'm going to continue to try to grow throughout that
Q. Coach talked about the importance
of the summer. What can you do in the
summer to be better?
Tommy Rees: A lot of it falls on your
shoulders because the coaches aren't with you.
We do a lot of stuff all week, and I think you have
opportunities to grow and become a leader on the
team. It's a lot of weight training and a lot of time
to get better and physically get better. I think
that's something that everyone's got to focus on.
Q. (No microphone)?
Tommy Rees: It happened. Obviously, I
wanted that one back today. But 3rd and long, I've
got to learn to take the ball down and get out of
the series. So, yeah, it's something I've got focus
on getting rid of it.
Q. Is it hard to focus on that as a
Tommy Rees: No, it's something we've
done all spring all four of us. Lot of times we get a
ball in a play makers hands and a check down can
turn into a first down completion. We've got to be
patient and take what the defense gives us.
Q. Can you talk a little about the
versatility that Kiel brings?
Tommy Rees: A lot. We take him out of
the back field and split out the receiver. Once the
ball's in his hands, he can do a lot with it. Today
he did a great job of making plays and getting up
field, especially yardage after the catch.
Q. (No microphone)?
Yeah, he can be a
special player. He's a guy with a lot of speed, a lot
of shiftiness. He's still got to focus in on paying
attention to some of the details and the ball
security stuff. When he puts it all together he can
be a good player.
Q. (Indiscernible) obviously, we don't
see you very much. It's a big deal for us.
Tommy Rees: Yeah, I think it's a bigger
deal to the outside than it is internally. It's an
opportunity to go out there with a love atmosphere.
But the spring game is still part of the spring ball
learning process. It's a way to get better. It's
another step of the process.
Q. Is that interception more a here we
go again or what was your perspective?
Tommy Rees: It's not a here we go
again. It's a 3rd and long, a drop 8, I've got to
check it down. I thought I could hit it Goodie up
the seam and not I let the ball go a little high. It
was down a couple of inches and it's a big first
down completion, and we're not even having that
conversation. It's definitely something to learn
Q. (No microphone). Talk about this
revolution. Some guys grow into their bodies.
Talk about that?
Tommy Rees: I think it's come a long
way. Coming in really helped me gain some
confidence in this offense and being around Notre
Dame. I think all the plays we have and all the
experience I had kind of shaped me to where I am
now. I think physically I've come a long way and
I've got to get better.
Q. (No microphone) with all the studies
you have to do plus the team?
Tommy Rees: Yeah, it's a place like
none other. Knowing we have a tough curriculum,
but that's the way it is here and that's the way we
want it. Everyone chose this school for a reason.
Everyone knew the academic aspect of it.
Q. What do you think the offensive line
(no microphone) how they go about their
Tommy Rees: He still has tenacity to it.
He's very high tempo, a lot of energy, kind of get in
your face kind of coach. He's got a toughness and
tenacity at the offensive line. I think his energy
resonates through the whole line.
Q. It seems he's really pushing it.
Tommy Rees: Yeah, he definitely loves
competition. He wants our guys to compete every
day in the trenches. There is a lot of tough guy up there, and he's trying to get those guys going. I
think he's done a great job.
Q. You talked the other day about how
you the O line sets the tempo for everybody.
People don't really think about the O line in
terms of practices, but have you found that to
be the case?
Tommy Rees: I think when you see a
physicality up front, it kind of resonates through
the offense. If we can win the line of scrimmage
battle, that is a big part of our offense and what we
try to do. I think if we establish that, it kind of gives
the offense a lot of confidence.
Q. Is it frustrating at all when you don't
quite go out and make the most of it?
Tommy Rees: Not really. Obviously, it's
frustrating to throw an interception. You never
want that to happen. But we're battling, so I
understand the split time. It would be nice to get a
couple series in a row, but playing with these guys
and competing with them, we all support one
Q. Back in March before spring ball
you had a chance to throw at (No microphone)
Forest College. What were you doing in that
workout? I think Connor was there as well.
What kind of stuff were you trying to
accomplish in those workouts?
Tommy Rees: Just trying to fine tune
some of the fundamentals of playing the position.
Trying to get some of the foot work and techniques
down. Coming into spring ball, you don't want to
be going in there cold. Just trying to get some
work done before the practice starts and getting
down some fundamentals.
Q. Does it help going back and being
around guys like Connor and guys from
Tommy Rees: It's fun to be around guys
you play with. We joke around and have a good
time. But it's good to go home and work on things.
Q. What type of tweet is appropriate?
Tommy Rees: To be honest, I don't
have a Twitter and I don't pay attention to all of
that. Obviously guys know where the line is and
they make sure not to cross it.
Q. Coach mentioned attention to detail.
You had a couple of interceptions. What do
you take away from it?
Tommy Rees: I think it's just something
that I'm going to get better at. It's something we've
been up and down with all spring. We'll remain
focused and get to the front where we've got a
steady stream there. But it's something we'll
continue to work on and continue to get better at.
Q. Brian mentioned over the summer
and your position. What is your chief goal
going into voluntary workouts?
Tommy Rees: To establish a leadership
role and continue to get better. I think every day is
an opportunity to step up, be the guy, and
continue to get better as an individual. That is the
attitude everyone's going to have going into
Theo Riddick Sr. Running Back
On his play today...
"It felt really good. I had a good amount of carries and did pretty well today."
On switching back to running back...
"We can use the term Coach Kelly uses, a hybrid. I'll be playing both (positions), and I'm
trying to do well at both."
On improving his game over the summer...
"You have more time to focus on just football instead of football and school. It's very
hard. With that free time, we can sit down and focus on specific positions instead of
learning on the fly."
On George Atkinson III's play today...
"He's a very good, dynamic player. He's also very explosive. He just needs to hold on to
the ball and he'll be a great player."
On the offensive line...
"They did pretty well. There were a lot of open holes that we were able to gash through,
and we were able to break a lot of tackles."
On changing his body composition during the offseason...
"It's a long season, and I have to be able to take a lot of hits. I need to be as healthy as I
can. I was not able to do that at 185 - 190 pounds. Being over the 200-pound mark has
been extremely helpful. I'm stiff-arming now. I can utilize my arms and I feel so much
stronger upper body wise. It has helped me take hits and be more durable on the field."
Everett Golson Fr. Quarterback
On what he needs to work on...
"Coach Kelly has made it apparent to me that I have developed the art of (the
quarterback position) but the science is still something I have to work on."
On how he plans to improve his scientific understanding of the game...
"Just working hard in the film room, mainly. Watching everything from cornerback
tendencies to O-Line to D-Line. Just being in film study and working hard."
On the quarterback race....
"I feel that I kind of put myself into the race. If I had to assess the day I would say it was
average. I made some good plays, but there are still some things that I have to clean
Tyler Eifert Sr. Tight End
On what today showed...
"I think we saw where we stand (as a team and individually). I know it wasn't another
team, but saw where we stand and what we need to work on."
On playing multiple positions on the field...
"I've been doing it all spring, so I'm somewhat familiar with it now. But it was fun to
move around a little bit."
On the potential explosiveness of the offense...
"We have a lot of playmakers and a lot of talent in different positions. We just have
to put it all together. We had some big plays. When we're all on the same page and
communicating and know what we're doing and executing what we know how to do, we
can be a good offense."
Jamoris Slaughter Sr. Safety
On the game as a whole...
"We got a lot of work done both defensively and offensively, but we still have more to
do. We'll carry what we did today over to the summer."
On his versatility...
"When I came in as a freshman, I played both safety and corner. My junior year, I
played both the nickel and linebacker. After a while I just got used to playing all over the
field. Now, you can put me anywhere and I'll be ready to play."
On playing safety...
"You need a safety that knows exactly what he's doing and what the coaches want
done. I think that's why the coaches like me back there. But if we get in a situation if a
cornerback goes down, and the team needs me to play nickel, the coaches have the
flexibility to move me there."
Andrew Hendrix Jr. Quarterback
On the game today...
"There were some good things and some bad. I started off strong, obviously threw an
interception, which is not what you want. The thing about this spring versus any other time is that I know better (than to make mistakes). I knew what I should be doing and its
just attention to detail at this point."
On the team having multiple quarterbacks in the mix...
"It's just going to make us better at the end of the day. Whether there's three or four,
everyone's working against each other and at the same time everyone is working with
each other, as long as there's competition the winners going to be better off in the end."
On the potential of the offense...
"Our offense has the potential to be extremely potent. The players that we have - the
schemes (we use), if we just get this detail down - I think it showed today that when
we're clicking the possibilities are endless for us. I think it's just the attention to detail
that we need to get down and then our offense will be explosive."
Kona Schwenke Jr. Defensive End
On how his game has improved this spring...
"After last season we had a little meeting with our coaches and they told us what we
need to work on, and what we need to focus on, coming into this spring. I kind of took
that in and focused on all of the little things that they told me I need to work on so I
could get a lot better. A lot of those things were with my hands - hand placement and
getting stronger in the weight room - so a big focus was on my hand work."
On being named a gameday captain for today's Blue & Gold game...
"It's always a good thing and a good feeling when you get selected by the coaches
to represent your team. I thought that was a great blessing to be able to go out and
represent my team at the coin toss. They told me I was a captain right before the game
George Atkinson III So. Running Back
On what he thought of his performance today...
"Basically all spring what I have been doing has involved high and low points. I have
to eliminate mistakes. I plan on getting better over the summer and pay attention to
details. It was fun just playing ball and reacting to the defense. I think last year I was
thinking too much and now I am actually starting to learn the plays and where to go.
Now I am just reacting and playing ball."
On his vision of the field and the defense in today's game...
"I have been taking in coaching and really paying attention to what the play is set up to
do and reacting instead of thinking too much. I am still not at where I want to be in terms
of plays, personnel and other specifics, but I plan on getting better over the summer."
On his fumbles today...
"I think I was trying to do things before I actually got there. I just have to slow my
game down a little bit more and pay attention to detail like Coach Kelly was saying. I
plan on eliminating those types of mistakes over the summer and playing more like a
sophomore instead of a freshman."