Brian Kelly Q&A from Day 1 camp press conference
Are the QBs excited to finally get plays specific to them and do different things other than the base plays?
"They’re all anxious to prove what they can do. They want that opportunity. They’ve all prepared really hard. They’re all in great shape. Their mental preparation is so much further a long now that they know the playbook. They’re all anxious to get out there and have the opportunities to showcase what they can do. Today was much more of the basic tenants of footwork, across the field progressions, those kind of things and you can see they’re past that and ready to move to the next level.”
What was the purple of a mental trainer work with the team in the summer?
“Our total preparation is based on physical preparation and we all know what that means with the weight room and our nutritionists work together with Beau Lowery and his staff, but total preparation is what we’re here for. I already mentioned the technical and tactical and how important that is when building a team, but the mental preparation is absolutely crucial as well. Having a mental performance coach and building, the brain is similar to a muscle in that you have to train it as well. Mental performance is the weight room for the brain for us and it's an important piece in our preparation and we laid down the principles for this football team in helping them understand how important that is in their preparation. They have the tools and toll belt to help them through things like confidence, things like emotional control. How they think on a day to day basis really matters and the mental performance coach that we have can be a great asset for us.”
Where is Kayshon Boutte's health and his potential this season?
"This was my first glimpse at him quite frankly and he is an explosive player. He’s learning how to practice. There were times where I had to remind him how to practice the right way, but he’s so committed. He’s worked so hard. I’m excited for him really because you can see his potential is 'Can he be one of the best receivers in the country?' I think he can be, but you have to go out and do it. I just like the fact he’s totally committed to what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and now he got the chance to see how we practice for the first time and he picked that up today as well. His player load was pretty high today, probably more than we thought, but he handled it well and he’ll continue to build on that. Excited he’s with us.”
How did you want this first week to go for the team?
"I want to get through these last two days as academic days. We have a number of guys who are still in our C session for academics, so that and as I mentioned, we have this planned out as a seven day climatization. Two days in spider pads and helmets, three days in shoulder pads, our sixth day will be full contact and the seventh day is a day off. So really the focus here is get through this first week and make sure we make good choices and decisions with our health and the climatization of our football team. Then we’ll ramp it up with the quarterback situation."
How do you want to distribute QB reps?
“You’re not going to see much separation in the first seven days. That will take form as we get into down and distance situations. For example, these first two days are P and 10, meaning you're just dialing up every play that is not even a down and distance play. Practice three we start to get into some second down stuff, practice four and five you’ll see a bit more third down situations and when you get into that sixth day you’ll start to see some third down and long, which is where we can start to see some play calling that is going to be situated for the quarterbacks. It’s not going to be until the second week where we start to pin some plays on the quarterbacks.”
Other than Kayshon Boutte, anyone you're expecting to have a breakout camp?
“I'm not just saying this to be positive, but Thomas, Nabers, Hilton, I’d like to see them all continue to develop because they are young receivers. Those would be the guys in particular. Jenkins has shown some things in spring that we'd like to see him progress more than he has. All of those guys are talented, but more than anything else it’s the consistency we want to see from those guys – that they do it play in and play out. Consistency and performance is really what we’re looking we that group and if we get that, it will be a dynamic group.”
Any players that can't go full speed or practice? And Tre Bradford's status?
“Tre has been separated from the university and there are laws to where I can’t get into specifics there, but he is no longer on the roster.
“As it related to practice, Bech is limited. He’s making progress necessary from shin splints and he’ll be available in the next couple of days. He’s really the only one that has the limitations. Demario Tolan had the disectomy, but he’s making great progress. Those would be the two guys who are on a pitch count if you will. They’re coming along and have made pretty good progress."
What is the status of Jarrick Bernard-Converse?
“If I had my notes in front of me, it’s one of the things I talked about in our offensive and defensive staff meetings probably two or three times about trying to gain some continuity at the cornerback position so getting him back, he’s been a great leader for us. We’re anxious to see what he can do. Obviously he had a great career at Oklahoma State and we expect that to continue here. He had a good summer, he’s healthy and he’s played a lot of football so the expectation is that he's going to impact what we do. Now the big thing here is to gain some continuity at that position and that’s why we went into the transfer portal and feel very fortune to have him."
Describe the depth in the running back room...
“They’re all gonna have a great chance to contribute. I really like the depth of the group, you add Noah Cain to that mix as well and I think all of them have a chance to contribute much like we saw in the spring game. I think that’s going to be what happens here this year and I’m okay with that, I think that’s great. All of them are very competitive and bring something different to the table. But all will contribute in some fashion.”
Where are Marlon Martinez and Garrett Dellinger focusing right now on the line?
“Brad Davis and I were having a conversation about it even during practice because there’s a lot of moving parts. Dellinger’s at guard, we want to see him at center a little bit. You saw Frazier at guard with Bradford but Frazier could play tackle as well. We’ve paired them on the right side because we think they’re interchangeable. We like the fact Bradford has really good feet but Frazier’s got some length. Those guys are going to be center/guard combinations right now but I think it’s important there’s some flexibility here for the first two, two and a half weeks and we’ll build the starting five. Finding the rotation where you have your tackle is solidified, the center position and then we’ve got some good depth building in this unit but I think it’s gonna take a little while for it to pan out.”
How have the transfers acclimated but also given reps to the veterans?
“We kind of went through that in the spring because most of those guys were here. They assimilated very well and they got a lot of work in the spring and had a really good summer. I would say that’s already played itself out and they’ve immersed themselves into the program and are seen as one. Cain is new to the program but other than that, everybody has assimilated quite well.”
Which players who weren't here in spring caught your eye today?
“We hadn’t seen Sevyn Banks before and he was out here today in a limited fashion. But obviously having Perkins out here today you get a flash to see him. I was overlooking him in tackling drills and he’s got a suddenness to him that’s quite different from some of the other players. I think there are a couple of players that flash at you.I like the way Bo Bordelon moves around. He’s athletic, a big, strapping kid that moves well. Emery Jones. the local kid from Catholic, is a big, physical kid too. Those guys jump out at you that look bigger than the typical freshmen coming in. These guys are physically mature and handle themselves very well.”
How do you feel about the amount of decisions regarding the roster that have to be made?
“That's a good question and I think that has been answered by the way these questions have been posed whether it’s the offensive line, which I said, be patient. The quarterback, the cornerback position, those three critical areas, a lot of good and bad things happen in those units. There’s questions that have to be answered. I stand here in front of you feeling pretty good about the players we’ve put together in very short order and play at a high level in the SEC but the fact of the matter remains is we gotta figure out who those guys are. We’re gonna go through camp and have to make some tough decisions and quick frankly rely on evaluations in camp to do that. That’s a little bit different in my years. Generally we’ve had guys kind of penciled in somewhere. There’s not a lot penciling in yet. There’s some work to be done.”
Will you continue the No. 18 tradition?
“I think the tradition is real and needs to continue. I’ve talked to the team about it and they believe in it as well. We believe that number represents somebody who brings all the traits everyday. If No. 7 is the most talented player from the state of Louisiana, we think No. 18 is the one that brings all of those traits from the player that leads in an extraordinary manner. The attention to detail, a great focus, representing the program in a positive manner, represents the community and on the field. That’s kind of what No. 18 means and it’s important and we’re going to reward it to a deserving player but we're just not going to do that today, but it’s coming. Stay tuned."