"I'm experienced in quarterback dysfunction," Kelly said. "But this brings a new stage for me."
How about, well, stage fright?
Tommy Rees enrolled at Notre Dame earlier this week, fresh off an impressive high school career and strolling into South Bend, Ind., as a critical recruit for Kelly, the new coach in town.
Now imagine this: In a matter of months, Rees could very well be the starting quarterback in the Irish spring game in front of 40,000 or so fans, who, let's just say, want results.
How in the world does Kelly get Rees, who skipped his senior prom for this gig, ready for the fishbowl that is Notre Dame?
"I've got to think about that one, to be quite honest," Kelly said at the American Football Coaches Association convention. "I usually have an answer for anything. That one, you got me on."
If Kelly handles it like every other quarterback quandary he has dealt with, Rees will be throwing touchdowns if snow is falling in the spring. Kelly is the same coach who, in the past three seasons, took a hodgepodge group of quarterbacks no one wanted (or had given up on) and developed one of the nation's most feared passing games.
Kelly is staring at another unique situation this spring: two walk-ons and Rees on the depth chart. Rising redshirt sophomore Dayne Crist is recovering from ACL surgery and won't participate in spring practice — he hopes to take part in 7-on-7 drills — but likely is the team's starting quarterback in the fall.
Unless, of course, Kelly find another gem.
"The one thing he makes perfectly clear is everyone starts even," Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike said. "You never know what's going to happen."
In three years at Cincinnati, Kelly saw just about everything at the position: the resurrection of Ben Mauk, the emergence and injuries of Pike and the efficient play of backup Zach Collaros, who performed so well this fall the Bearcats had a mini-quarterback controversy in the middle of an unbeaten regular season.
Through all that, check out these numbers: In three seasons, Bearcats quarterbacks combined to throw for 101 touchdowns against 35 interceptions and completed 63 percent of their passes.
Rees, the son of a former college and NFL coach, likely will begin spring drills No. 1 on the depth chart. Or at least No. 1A with Nate Montana, who recently returned to Notre Dame after spending a season at a California junior college.
Things are so dicey at the quarterback spot, wideout John Goodman could take snaps in spring practice. Don't think that won't happen.
Kelly's strength at Grand Valley State (where he won two national titles), Central Michigan and Cincinnati was his ability to develop players no one wanted.
Kelly found Dan LeFevour, who nearly went to I-AA Eastern Illinois, and turned him into an elite MAC quarterback at Central Michigan.
Kelly took Mauk, with a history of injuries and disappointment at Wake Forest, and turned him into a guy who passed for 31 touchdowns after he had thrown for only four in three seasons.
Pike was a skinny high school star few wanted to take a chance on. Now he's a legitimate first day pick in the NFL draft.
"I like the two- and three-star guys that everyone else passes up," Kelly said. "Those are the guys that play with a chip on their shoulders. Those are the guys with something to prove every time they step on the field."
Almost on cue, it is here where we remind you that, yes, Rees is a three-star player, a gym rat of sorts whose only other serious offers were from MAC schools until Tennessee and Stanford entered the process too late.
He's not a physical specimen like Crist, and he's not a once-in-a-decade recruit like Jimmy Clausen. He's simply Notre Dame's best option at quarterback going into spring drills.
"We're going to have to get a true freshman ready for spring drills — that's crazy," Kelly said. "I might even break out into a rash, but we might have to break out a fullback to keep things simple."
Yep, welcome to the toughest job in college sports.
Lingering questions were answered emphatically by the 2012 team, but 2013 is an all-new season that brings all-new question marks. Brian Kelly feels fairly confident his offense is in a great position to take a step forward, but to do that, they’ll need the services of some under-the-radar players.
Notre Dame's 2012 season
Check out some of the best images from Notre Dame's 2012 season.
Meet the 2012 Irish
Take a look at some of the key contributors for Notre Dame this season
2012 Notre Dame opponents
Take a look at some of the key players the Irish will face this season
Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.