Kelly wants Fighting Irish to be more aggressive vs. BC
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Just because it looks like the easy part of the schedule doesn’t mean No. 5 Notre Dame is about to let up.
Coach Brian Kelly wants his Fighting Irish to be more aggressive when they take on stingy Boston College, which has a top-ranked defense but only three wins in 10 games to show for it.
“We just have to be probably a little more aggressive. I thought we were a little conservative at times,” Kelly said after a less than stellar 28-7 win over Wake Forest last week. “Probably a little more aggressive in the areas where we’ve been pushing the ball vertically.”
The Irish (9-1) completed two passes of 15 yards or more against Wake Forest, and failed to top 400 yards of offense for the first time this season. The Irish came up with one play longer than 25 yards — a 98-yard touchdown run by Josh Adams.
Boston College is second in the country in preventing big plays, allowing 15 plays of 40 or more yards this season. Kelly says they like to “get up in your face.”
“It’s really a defensive unit philosophy that you’re working at more than anything else,” he added. “So it’s not one particular guy. So you’re really looking at how they’re coached and how they’re defending down and distance and formationally.”
Notre Dame will counter with C.J. Prosise, who missed last week’s game after sustaining a concussion two weeks ago. Prosise leads the team with 975 yards rushing and has five 100-yard games. With Prosise out, Adams has piled up 288 yards.
“We’re a better football team with both of them, without question. C.J.’s an elite player,” Kelly said.
Prosise has broken off 18 runs of 15 yards or more, including a 91-yard touchdown against Georgia Tech. Big plays, not 3-yard gains, are what Kelly is looking for.
“They would hope that that’s the way you kind of play the game,” Kelly said. “We’ve got to try to find explosive plays, so that’s why C.J. Prosise needs to be in this game.”
It’s also why they need to get the ball to Will Fuller, who was held to three catches for 37 yards. The receiver is averaging 93.7 yards a game and has 12 touchdowns.
NOTES: Tight end Nic Weishar has been cleared to return to practice after sustaining a concussion. Nose guard Daniel Cage, who also sustained a concussion against Pittsburgh, has not been cleared. … Linebacker James Onwualu is out several weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. … Kelly said tight end Durham Smythe, who sustained a torn MCL in his right knee in the opener against Texas, could return for the playoff or bowl game. The injury originally was announced as season-ending.