NOTRE DAME — It's not finalized, but a future matchup with Georgia might present Notre Dame with a recruitment gold mine.
Head coach Brian Kelly addressed rumors that leaked Tuesday, April 8, surrounding a potential Notre Dame-Georgia home-and-home in 2018-19.
"We're looking for matchups down the road that geographically make sense to us," Kelly said. "That Atlanta area, that SEC area — and Atlanta is a big area. We've hit Dallas, obviously, we know that's a great area for us. We're going to keep looking for geographical areas that make sense for us. We gotta look at geographical areas that we're recruiting, Atlanta's one of the areas that we gotta keep getting in."
Notre Dame has tapped into Georiga's talents in the past, pulling wide receiver T.J. Jones and defensive ends Stephon Tuitt and Isaac Rochelle from the Peach State.
Kelly said the process is still in its early stages, with nothing yet set in stone. The Irish will already play Georgia Tech as part of its five-game Atlantic Coast Conference schedule agreement.
"We're gonna play Georgia Tech, so by process of elimination, if we're talking SEC and we're talking Atlanta, the next team that would pop up would seem to be Georgia," Kelly said. "But we haven't talked any specifics about contract or years or anything like that."
Spring game format similar to 2013
With Saturday's annual Blue-Gold spring game around the corner, Kelly addressed how the scrimmage will play out. Similar to the past few years, the scrimmage will feature of an all-offense team versus an all-defense team.
The game will consist of two 12-minute quarters with normal stoppage time and two 15-minute quarters on a running clock. Quarterbacks will not be live and the offense will start on the 35-yard line each series. All punts will be fair caught.
The scoring system is also unique, awarding points not only to the offense but also to the defense based on stops and turnovers.
Any takers for punt returns?
It's no secret that Notre Dame's punt return game has been the weakest link in the chain in recent years.
The Irish scraped the bottom of the college football barrel in 2011 and 2012 and improved to a measly 7.07 yards per return in 2013.
Kelly doesn't have a return man locked down yet, noting that Greg Bryant, Amir Carlisle and Torii Hunter Jr. were rotating the position. Kelly added that he would try "anyone with a pulse" at return duties this year.
Because of the lack of outdoor practices through March and April, punts will not be live on Saturday. Of 14 spring practices, only five were outdoors.
"(Punts will) be all fair catches," Kelly said of the Blue-Gold game. "I’m sure we’ll drop three of them and the Internet will blow up on the punt returning and who that could be."
Irish women's basketball setting a standard
The Notre Dame women's basketball team wrapped up an otherwise successful season with a disappointing national championship loss to Connecticut Tuesday night.
Despite the loss, Kelly nodded to the team's 37-1 record and four straight Final Four appearances as a standard for all other programs at the university.
"That consistency was what all of our programs here at Notre Dame, in particular football, want to aspire to," he said. "That consistency year-in and year-out, playing for championships."
Kelly said the atmosphere on campus leading up to Tuesday's game was similar to the buzz around his own team during their undefeated run in 2012.
"Our players were talking about it," he said. "When our players are talking about it, it gets their attention, you know it's pretty exciting on campus."