SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- While Brian Kelly declined to share the message he gave to his team after DaVaris Daniels, Kendall Moore, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams were implicated in Notre Dame's investigation into academic improprieties, the fifth-year Irish coach did say he expected his players to move on rather quickly from the news.
Notre Dame's practice Saturday was open to the media -- and faculty, too, though that was planned long before the academic investigation hit -- and things appeared to be business as usual. Music blared during stretching, players broke into position groups and ran through drills and the team concentrated on some red zone work for both its offense and defense.
Notre Dame did not provide media access to players after practice as was planned prior to news of the investigation breaking, but Kelly said he didn't think the absence of Daniels, Moore, Russell and Williams would change the mentality of his team too much.
"Those are teammates. They certainly care about their teammates just like I do," Kelly said. "But they're competitors, they're wired to play football and play a team sport. And when it's time to play, they're going to play for their university, they're going to play for themselves, they're going to play for their families and that's how they've done it their whole life.
"So I'm not that concerned, really. There will be the questions for a day or two certainly about okay, what are the implications here, but when those things are answered they'll be ready to play football."
Those four players aren't gone yet, as they're still allowed to be in the Guglielmino Athletics Complex and eat meals with their teammates. Given students don't return to campus for the fall semester until next week, the investigation could very well drag on past Notre Dame's season-opening contest against Rice and into September.
And Kelly said he expects the resiliency he's seen out of his group to help the team come together leading up to Aug. 30's 2014 curtain-lifter.
"They want to play football for Notre Dame. They want to be successful," Kelly said. "They know they’re going through some adversity. They have a tendency to want to pull together. I expect our group to be affected by it but they’ll be stronger too."