Notre Dame’s Kelly: ‘Everybody must be ready to contribute’

New Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly spoke at the university’s season-opening baseball banquet on Tuesday and made clear that every member of the football team will play a role in rebuilding the Fighting Irish into a consistent winner.

“This isn't about winning some of the games,” Kelly told to the Associated Press. “This is about winning consistently. And to do that, you have to have a 'next man in' philosophy.”

“In other words, everybody has a value on this team. Everybody must be ready to contribute.”

So if Irish fans have been fixated on who Kelly will choose as the quarterback to replace Jimmy Clausen or what receiver will need to step up to fill in for Golden Tate, they can take a deep breath and relax — because the responsibilities will fall on every member of the squad collectively, not individually.

“Somebody goes down and that next guy has to step in and keep up that same level of play,” Kelly said.

The new boss in South Bend certainly has proven in the past that he has a knack for acquiring quality depth — and he’s not shy about showing it off either.

At Cincinnati in 2008, Kelly used five quarterbacks during the season, yet the Bearcats somehow were able to maintain enough consistency to earn the school’s first BCS berth with an 11-2 campaign.

This past season, Cincy starting quarterback Tony Pike injured his arm and missed four games. In stepped backup Zach Collaros, who kept the Bearcats’ offense rolling en route to an undefeated season and a spot in the Sugar Bowl.

Kelly has utilized virtually his entire roster throughout every stop of his coaching career, going back to his days at Division II Grand Valley State.

Of course, he knows what type of kid is necessary to recruit in order to build a winner — hard-working and dedicated.

“You've got to have those guys or gals doing those little things on a day-to-day basis the right way,” he admitted.

So no matter who is under center, returning kicks or playing bump-and-run defense next September, he will have certainly earned the playing time.

And if it doesn’t work out, Kelly will simply bring the ‘next man in.’

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