Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush missed the Fighting Irish’s last game, Oct. 7 against North Carolina, and there’s been concern about both his injured foot and the fact that he won’t have played in three weeks as the Irish prepare to face rival USC.
This week, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has squelched those concerns — and then some.
Monday, Kelly said Wimbush is “100 percent,” that there are no health concerns about his foot. Speaking to the media Thursday, Kelly addressed his quarterback’s recent play.
According to Laken Littman of the Indianapolis Star, Kelly said that in recent practices, Wimbush has looked better than he has ever looked throughout his three-year college career.
“This was his best day since he’s been here,” Kelly said Thursday.
The reason for the improvement? Kelly said neither he nor Wimbush has made any schematic changes. Wimbush is simply growing more comfortable in the offense.
“He’s starting to see things quicker,” Kelly said. “We haven’t changed things offensively, it’s the same things. And it’s getting near that point of conscious competence where he sees it, he knows what it is, and now if we can build that a little bit more with the receivers, we’re gonna be in pretty good shape.”
One way in which Kelly anticipates Wimbush’s increased comfort will benefit the Irish offense is in the two-minute drill. Notre Dame has been dominant running the ball this season, but in the one game when the Irish tried to put together a game-winning drive in the final minutes, Wimbush was sacked and lost a fumble and Notre Dame lost to Georgia.
“We couldn’t even get a first down throughout the entire (fall) camp and into the first five weeks during 2-minute. We were three-and-out,” Kelly said. “We moved the ball down the field now in 2-minute and that’s a huge accomplishment.”
Kelly said he has emphasized speed in practice to simulate the two-minute drill.
“He now knows that we’ve really pushed him hard to play fast and anything that was not done at a fast pace was not graded out in a positive manner,” Kelly said.
Kelly prefaced his comments about Wimbus by saying he’s not trying to be overconfident heading into the matchup with USC. He’s just pleased with what he’s seen from his quarterback, and he expects the progress to continue.
“He’s gonna get better and better,” Kelly said. “I know I’ve kept saying that, but his level of play will get better as the weeks go on.”