Notre Dame to get more, shorter breaks

Updated: August 26, 2010, 9:39 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly doesn't want anybody or anything slowing down the Fighting Irish or his spread formation -- one that worked so well in his previous stop at Cincinnati -- and that includes NBC, the network that's had a contract with Notre Dame since 1991.

Kelly said he and athletic director Jack Swarbrick have had conversations with NBC officials about how coverage plans will work with the Irish's up-tempo style, which is basically hurry-up, no-huddle.

"We've talked to NBC about the way we like to play the game versus maybe how it was played in the past," Kelly said Tuesday. "There is certainly a need for us to address it and I think we're working with NBC to make certain that they get what they need from an advertising standpoint. But, also as the network that carries Notre Dame, that we're able to do things we need to do as well."

In response, NBC plans to have five shorter breaks per quarter this season, rather than four longer ones, during Notre Dame games, a format that is used for NFL games.

"Over the years, we have reassessed the structure of our commercial breaks numerous times to improve the experience for our viewers and the fans in the stadium," NBC vice president of communications Chris McCloskey said. "The commercial load this year will be identical to last year. The slight change to the commercial structure is the result of a number of factors done to improve the broadcast, not one single reason."

Kelly would not go into specifics about the conversations Notre Dame had with NBC. The contract between the two parties is reportedly worth $15 million annually for football.

"All we've tried to do is address the model that we think would work well with us," Kelly said. "And there's got to be a meeting somewhere halfway. And I'm very confident that we are going to be able to do the things that we want to do in terms of pushing the tempo and doing the things without having to go to a commercial break."

According to USA Today, the Bearcats, whom Kelly coached from 2006 to 2009, used an average of just 2 minutes, 19 seconds per scoring drive. Overall, they averaged 25:46 in time of possession per game, the lowest among Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.