Brian Kelly used wristbands because he was worried about signal-stealing
Posted by: Chris Vannini on September 16, 2012
Brian Kelly decided to institute wristbands with play calls on them leading up to Saturday's 20-3 win at Michigan State, but not for the reason one would expect.
It wasn't because it was Notre Dame's first true road game or because the Irish had a freshman at quarterback. It was because of the possibility of signal-stealing.
According to ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, who spoke to Kelly prior to the game, the Notre Dame coaches were worried about a former strength coach who had joined Michigan State's staff recently.
"Every offensive skill player will have it," Herbstreit said during the game's broadcast. "He said he hasn't done it in 10 years, but he had an assistant strength coach last year at Notre Dame, and now he's at Michigan State, so just to make sure, they're going to be calling plays off the wristband tonight."
Herbstreit didn't give a name, but MSU assistant strength and conditioning coach Lorenzo Guess spent the past two seasons with Kelly at Notre Dame. Before the conspiracy theorists come out, Guess is a former Michigan State player and worked with Dantonio at Cincinnati in 2006.
The wristband move got off to a rocky start, as Notre Dame was a player short on the first play from scrimmage, resulting in a penalty, and followed that up with a timeout as the play clock was winding down.
"First play we couldn't even read the wristbands," Kelly said. "But we settled in, and I think the maturity on the offensive side of the ball is where I think we'll be able to continue to grow."
The Notre Dame offense was able to put up 300 yards of offense on the highly-touted Spartan defense, as well as scoring the first offense touchdowns on the season against MSU.
You can listen to Herbstreit describe the wristband situation at the 8:26 mark of the video below.
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Chris Vannini is a lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org