NCAA FB

Notre Dame heads into 2013 seeking new identity

Share This Story

   
 

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)

Notre Dame begins the 2013 season looking for a new identity, eager to shed the bad taste of a BCS title game blowout loss.

The Fighting Irish, coming off a 12-1 season that was the program's best in at least two decades, begin spring practice Wednesday without linebacker Manti Te'o to anchor the defense or tight end Tyler Eifert or running back Theo Riddick to bail out the offense.

''I don't know that we have the kind of singular great players that we had last year,'' Kelly said Tuesday. ''We've got a lot of really good players. I've had great teams that have had great players across the board, then I've had great teams that have had individual players. I think that's work in progress for us to figure out.''

Each season a team has a new identity, a new group of leaders, Kelly said. He's looking to see which players are ready to step forward to fill the void.

''I want to leave spring ball knowing what we have, knowing the identity of our football team, I want to know where the leadership group is coming from, and I want to know what the depth looks like,'' he said.

The Irish have some positives to build off from last season, including their best defense in more than 30 years, but also have to put the embarrassing 42-14 loss to Alabama in the championship game behind them. The program also was the focus of added attention when news broke that Te'o was the victim of a hoax of an online romance with a man posing as a woman and Kelly interviewing for the head coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kelly brushed off a question about him having to repair his relationship with the players after interviewing for the job.

''They don't like me very much anyway, so it was really very little,'' he joked.

He said the matter was handled behind closed doors and the players ''appreciated my candor with them about it. We moved on.''

But he also said he expects his name to come up for more coaching jobs ''because we're going to continue to win here. That doesn't mean I have an interest.''

Kelly is entering his fourth year at Notre Dame, a milestone he didn't reach at his previous two jobs at Cincinnati and Central Michigan, when he moved on to higher-profile jobs each time. The advantage of returning for a fourth season, Kelly said, is players know what to expect and he has a good idea of what his players can do.

''It allows you to really work on the development of your football team,'' he said.

Kelly spent much of the news conference talking about individual players getting heavier and stronger, and how various players are recuperating from offseason injuries, including running back Amir Carlisle, a transfer from Southern Cal who missed last season with a leg injury.

''We're starting to see him as almost 100 percent,'' Kelly said. ''We saw some real exciting flashes from Amir.''

Kelly released a roster revealing linebackers Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox, offensive linemen Zack Martin and Chris Watt, defensive tackle Tyler Stockton and kicker Nick Tausch would be back for fifth years. Irish basketball player Joey Brooks, who redshirted this season as a senior, also has been added to the roster.

Gone from the roster is Gunner Kiel, one of the top-rated quarterbacks coming out of Columbus (Ind.) East High School a year ago and the scout team quarterback for the Irish last season. Kelly said Kiel, whose late uncle Blair Kiel was a Notre Dame quarterback and punter, was considering a long list of schools to transfer to.

Kelly said he was disappointed Kiel, who is still enrolled in school, is leaving. He said Kiel was told he would be given a chance to compete for the starting job with the likes of Everett Golson and Andrew Hendrix.

''There's always a sense from my end that we wish he would have given it an opportunity,'' he said. ''But kids make decisions based upon what are important factors to them. Gunner and his family felt like it was best for them to pursue other opportunities.''

Tagged: Notre Dame

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash