Notre Dame kicked off its media day by announcing a trio of captains for the 2013 season.
— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) August 22, 2013
That’s offensive lineman Zack Martin, who becomes the 18th player in Notre Dame history to repeat as captain, cornerback Bennett Jackson and receiver TJ Jones.
Head coach Brian Kelly addressed the media before players – including the three captains – and assistant coaches came in for interviews.
Here are some quick bites from Kelly:
- This year’s team personality will be different from last year’s. Kelly said that while last year’s group revolved around and adapted to big personalities like Manti Te’o, this year’s squad has more of a “group personality.”
- Kelly is high on linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith took all observable first-team reps on defense during practice Thursday, Aug. 22. “Jaylon has done remarkably well in such a short amount of time in picking up the defense,” Kelly said. “Jaylon has incredible athleticism to be able to play in space.”
- Depth at tailback. Kelly said the six players at running back - George Atkinson, Cam McDaniel, Amir Carlisle, Will Mahone (currently injured), Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston – make up what might be the deepest halfback unit he’s ever coached. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had as much depth in the running back position in all my years coaching,” he said.
- Stephon Tuitt went down with an injury at practice, but Kelly said the All-American defensive lineman is fine. “We didn’t see anything major there. He just twisted his knee. Nothing major.”
- Special teams shuffle. Kelly said that Atkinson will remain the kick return man, while Jones will slide into punt return duties. Kelly said Jones developed a “passion” for punt returns over the off-season.
- Back-up defensive lineman Tony Springmann will be lost for the season. Kelly said the junior suffered severe ligament damage and will undergo surgery.
- In Rees’s corner. Brian Kelly said he’s been in Tommy Rees’s corner ever since the quarterback stepped out onto the field against Purdue, got booed by his own crowd and led Notre Dame to a win anyway. The story of Rees is still a work in progress. “I don’t think that story is written. I think you write that story after he completes his journey here.