Brian Kelly: No lifts taping Irish practice
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly reiterated Thursday what he said after the Irish's loss to Tulsa on Saturday: The school has no plans to use scissor lifts to film practice until the investigation into the death of a student videographer is complete.
Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior, died last week when the tower he was filming practice from fell over during a windy day at the Notre Dame practice fields.
The school and state authorities have launched investigations into the tragedy.
"Relative to the lifts I believe that it was quoted that we would not use them until the investigation was complete. Nobody has come to me to say the investigation is complete, so I am still operating under the same premise that the lifts would not be used until the investigation is complete," Kelly said Thursday.
Kelly attended a campus Mass for Sullivan last week and Monday was at the funeral in suburban Chicago.
"It's been a tough 10 days. I've needed the strength of our team, my family and everybody," Kelly said. "But we'll get through it. Adversity strikes and you got to be able to lead during adversity, as well."
Kelly said Saturday that it was his decision to practice outdoors last Wednesday. Wind gusts at the time of the accident reached 51 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The Irish, off this week, practiced inside Thursday on a wet day and earlier this week had a scrimmage at Notre Dame stadium, mostly for reserves. Kelly said the team would return this season to its practice field where the accident occurred. Many questions linger about safety precautions: why Sullivan was in the tower with such high wind and who was in charge of him staying put or coming down. Those issues are still being sorted out.
"I think everybody uses common sense, I remember many many times in my career telling a guy to get the heck down because there was lightning in the area," Kelly said Thursday.
"It's still about common sense, in everything we do. I think I moved a water cooler, one of those ice cold water things, I moved two of those today that were too close to the playing field. So everybody is cognizant of safety."
Kelly said running back Armando Allen had hip surgery Thursday, ending his career at Notre Dame. Kelly said Allen, the Irish's leading rusher the last three seasons, still needs surgery on his other hip.
"A lot of things in there showed that maybe this was an injury that he's had for many many years," Kelly said.
Quarterback Dayne Crist, who underwent surgery to reattach a torn patellar tendon in his left knee Sunday and is lost for the season, will be back. Rehab could take six months. A year ago, Crist underwent surgery on the other knee to repair a torn ligament.
"He's going to have to get back out there and get comfortable again and go through that process," Kelly said.
With No. 6 Utah coming to South Bend a week from Saturday, the Irish (4-5) will go with freshman quarterback Tommy Rees against one of the nation's best teams.
Rees threw four TD passes in relief of Crist last week, but also pitched three interceptions, one in the closing seconds that stopped a final drive and ended the Irish's chance for a victory when all they needed was a field goal.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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