SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian Kelly did not call plays Saturday for the first time in 23 years. But the head coach did not simply sit idle with offensive coordinator Chuck Martin running the show.
Still, there was little temptation to jump back in the thick of things, given the constant line of communication between the longtime colleagues.
"We're working off of a play sheet and a call sheet that we construct during the week, and our columns are down and distance and openers and field position," Kelly said. "So it's not like there's 36 calls in there. There's four or five calls, and I'm generally saying, 'Let's keep it on the ground, let's burn some clock here,' you know what I mean? 'Let's push the ball vertically.' More general terms: Let's get a screen in here, let's not forget about getting the ball to TJ [Jones] -- those kind of big‑picture things more so than let's run guard pull here. I'm not getting into that, more bigger picture things."
Martin, in his fourth year on the Irish staff and second as the offensive coordinator, had not called plays since 2009, when he was the head coach at Grand Valley State.
Notre Dame totaled 543 yards of offense against Temple, though, moving forward, it hopes to convert a number like that into more than the 28 points it scored.
"Procedurally I thought [it went] very well," Kelly said. "It was very clean. Didn't expect to have any issues there and was very pleased. I thought Chuck called a very good game. There were a couple of things I thought were outstanding. The one sack that we did have, I thought he managed that situation very well. If you remember we were second-and-15. We got half of it back. We then got them to jump offside, subsequently got it down to a third and 1.
"Things like that, I take full notice of how to play-call those situations out where an inexperienced play caller, at second-and-15, 'Now let's chuck it' and it's third-and-15. But that's just a small indication of his experience and being on the same page with him is that he managed the second-and-15 down to a third-and-1. So yeah, it's seamless, and I expect it to be that way all year.”