Coach Kelly names 2013 team captains at Notre Dame Media Day - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Coach Kelly names 2013 team captains at Notre Dame Media Day

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Just nine days away from the start of the 2013 Notre Dame football season, head coach Brian Kelly says his team is already wanting to get on the field and play some real games.

"We're mentally at the point where we want to go play someone," said Kelly. "But [the players] still know the importance that we're getting day in and out."

Coach Kelly spoke to the media Thursday about the importance of putting the 2012 season behind him. He told his team they are not the same team that grinded their way to a spot in the National Title game.

"You don't just start this climb at the top of the mountain," said Kelly. "We are starting over."

The captains for the 2013 team were also named at the press conference. Offensive lineman Zack Martin, cornerback Bennett Jackson, and wide receiver T. J. Jones have all earned the honors this season.

Kelly was repeatedly asked questions about quarterback Tommy Rees, who has been named the week one starter. Kelly said his relationship with Rees has improved and he has also seen a lot of growth from his senior QB.

"I think when [Rees] stepped on that field at Purdue and got booed [by Notre Dame fans] and responded to that I knew I was in his corner," said Kelly.

While Kelly spoke highly of his quarterback, he also reaffirmed that Rees is only slated to be the starter for week one. Kelly said he is confident in back-up quarterback Andrew Hendrix if he needs to play.

"Andrew Hendrix isn't just a niche QB anymore," said Kelly. "We're very comfortable that he can run our offense."

Kelly spoke highly of his special teams, saying that punter Kyle Brindza is a potential All-American. He also plans on having running back George Atkinson III return kicks and wide receiver T. J. Jones handle punt return duties.

The offense is where Kelly would like to see the most improvement this coming season. He wants to see the team score more on red-zone opportunities instead of settling for field goals.

"If defense can stay in the same area code and the offense can up its output, we can have the season we want," said Kelly.

FOX28 will have reaction from players and the assistant coaches as well as the Irish get ready for the 2013 season.

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