Sept. 22, 2015

COACH KELLY: Good afternoon, we’ll begin with UMass. I think that one of the things that stands out about UMass is what Mark Whipple has done with the program.

Got a lot of respect for Mark. We go back to when I was at Grand Valley, he was at New Haven, and so the Division II background, a lot of respect for what he’s done, to win a National Championship at UMass when they were I-AA, and he’s built this program in a very short period of time into one of the best teams in the MAC.

They had some games last year where in their last possession had a chance to win games. This year, you can already see, had a chance to beat Temple and we all know that Temple has got two very good wins already against Penn State and Cincinnati.

Offensively, very difficult to defend. They do so many things. Mark takes a lot of his background in college but also his NFL background and does a lot of things with motions and movements and formations.

So it will be a great challenge and a real change from what we were working on last week compared to this week. It will be a big transition for us defensively. You know, Frohnapfel, Tajae Sharpe, two very dangerous players. Blake is a very good quarterback, throws it well, has got escapability. Stands in the pocket. Knows what he’s doing. And I think Tajae Sharpe, one of the better receivers we’ll see all year.

You know, good complement of running backs. Tight end position last week was the difference in the game. I mean, they had a chance to win the game last week. Rodney Mills, who is really listed as a fullback, had two big touchdowns for him. We’ve got our hands full defensively against him.

Offensively, we’re going to have to deal with a very stout front. And they play both three down and four down. They were all three down against Colorado and they come back the next week against Temple and they are practically all four down which gave Temple some fits.

But they are a veteran defense with nine starters returning, just like on the offense, a veteran offensive line, as well, a very talented offensive line. So this is a veteran football team that we have to prepare for.

Again, it’s a big transition from Georgia Tech to UMass, specifically what they do on offense with shifting and trading and formations; it’s a nightmare in terms of what we’re going to have to get ready for, and then defensively preparing for both three-down and four-down and a veteran secondary, as well. Well-coached football team and one that we’ll have to play well if we expect to win.

So with that, I’ll open up to questions.

Q. You talked about how they have done so far, but your team talked after the game about being disrespected by the underdogs last week. They are going to know that they are the heavy favorite this week. How do you avoid being complacent, especially with a big game the following week?

COACH KELLY: Well, you rely on your leaders to make certain that they hold everybody accountable to the way they prepare. And ultimately, the way they play. And so if we really have the kind of locker room and chemistry that I think we have, then we should play very well, and if we play very well, we’re capable of beating anybody in the country. If we don’t, then we can lose to anybody.

You put it heavily on your players to prepare the right way. And especially your seniors and your leaders to make certain that everybody across the board is doing the little things the right way.

Q. Since you both have Division II backgrounds, have you and Coach Whipple, aside from when he was at Miami, crossed paths before?

COACH KELLY: No, we didn’t play when we were at Grand Valley and New Haven. I think it was a year where I did not make the playoffs and they did at New Haven. But we have known each other for quite some time prior to that.

Q. Matthias obviously had a good second half last week. I think it’s a little bit rare for Notre Dame for a non-starter to be a captain. What does he bring that allows him — what does he — why do you think he got that honor?

COACH KELLY: I think he does so many little things well in all areas. He’s really a force in special teams. Just for an example, C.J. Prosise was a point winner last year in special teams. And he had 11 solo tackles for the whole year. Matthias already has six.

So he makes a huge impact in special teams, as well as he does so many jobs and is counted on on defense as somebody that makes plays. He’s a veteran. He’s somebody that mentors all the young guys. He carries such a huge amount of respect from not only his class, but the younger players, as well.

I’ll give you an example. And you guys have been out there before. We have our stretch lines, right. Their stretch lines after they are done with their stretch, he has a handshake for each one of the guys in that line. He just has a relationship with everybody that makes him beloved by all of his players.

Q. The mentality, started on a 2-12 team — a lot of guys would let that get them down. Why has he been able to overcome that and stay a leader?

COACH KELLY: It bothers him. He’s competitive. I’ve had to have talks with him about being prepared and being ready. He doesn’t like it. He wants to be out there starting. He believes that he can help this football team as a starter. But he’s one of those guys that makes this 2015 football team special in that he’ll do whatever is necessary for the good of the team.

Q. On Sunday, you weren’t quite sure how the safety thing was going to shape — do you have a better feel?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, Max, we believe Max will be able to start for us again. Again, a lot of that was predicated on his ability to tackle with his hand. He feels really good and confident that he can do that. We believe that that’s going to be the case.

We’ll test them a little bit this week. We’ll make sure that he tackles. But all indications are that he’s going to be able to play at the level that he played with at Texas. And he did at the end of last year. So if he does, we’re a pretty good football team with him back there.

Q. And then who kind of steps into Drue Tranquill’s role?

COACH KELLY: Well, that’s a good question. I think we are still kind of evolving there. But we’ll activate, Nick Baratti is going to have to play more of a role. And Mykelti Williams, we’ll bring up to our defensive team and get him some reps and some work, as well. And then there’s still some other thoughts as to some other players that we’ll work into some different roles.

Q. With Nicky, it’s been a long road back for him. How has he held up? What’s that journey been like for him?

COACH KELLY: Well, it’s been a slow, long process with two shoulder injuries, but he’s done well on special teams for us and had some key tackles for us on Saturday. We’re feeling like he’s gaining some more confidence each day and his ability to go out there and compete.

But we still know that — you know, we have had major surgery on both shoulders at a time when there was some doubt as to whether he could comeback. So we still have to be prepared that at that position, we have to have some depth there. So that’s why Mykelti is going to get some work, too.

Q. Speaking of shoulders, how did Joe Schmidt come out of the game? Looked like he got dinged on the on-side kick or around that time.

COACH KELLY: Yeah, our training staff is responsible for that. We have a spotter up in the press box that has live video feeds, and they determined that there was nothing to be concerned about. And when he came over, there was no concussion protocol that was entered. So there was nothing on my medical list relative to a head injury.

Q. Or shoulder?

COACH KELLY: No, nothing. Nothing.

Q. I just want to be thorough.


Q. Jerry Tillery really seemed to step up to the challenge. Do you see that, going back to conventional defense, something that you maybe would get some carryover with him?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think any time you get in there and gain a great level of confidence in playing, it’s only going to help you. But I think Daniel Cage will be able to play for us and up to his reps. Certainly this was a better game for somebody that’s a little bit more agile and athletic. Daniel is more powerful at times.

Jerry could get cut and get right back up, and that’s really where he was outstanding is his ability to get right back up and into the play. But I still see Daniel being with Jerry as equal in those inside tackle positions.

Q. Corey Robinson fans are worried about his opportunities in production, but Chris Brown and Corey, they are —

COACH KELLY: Yeah, we were looking at it, as well, in terms of production. It’s just the luck of the draw in terms of when he’s in and he just — he got the calls when he was in the game at that time. It will all even out statistically. It generally does and we think it probably will.

Q. What’s the next step with DeShone Kizer? What do you want to see different, better, in week two?

COACH KELLY: There are some fundamentals that need to be cleaned up. Ball security, I was a little bit concerned with the ball being a little bit loose at times. Ball came out one time, a screen situation, where it was intentional grounding, but we’ve got to eat that. I think there was another time on a run where the ball came out at the end of a run.

Tighten up those things a little bit. Tighten up his footwork a little bit. He was off in some accuracy in some lower throws that we’ll work on hard this week.

But in terms of maybe cadence, as well, we’ve got to be a little bit better with our cadence. He pauses a little bit too much in his verbal cadence.

So cleaning up more of the fundamentals than the big picture stuff. I was really pleased with the big picture stuff. I think it’s more that lack of playing time and some of the mechanics.

Q. Joe Schmidt last week probably played about as well as we’ve seen him play in a Notre Dame uniform with eight solos, two assists, a lot of big plays. How do you explain how well that he played in last week’s game?

COACH KELLY: Well, first of all, he’s one of the stronger players we have on the football team. He’s physically strong. He has a great acumen for the game. He understands how he fits in our defensive structure and he’s very disciplined. He does his job.

When you’re facing an option team, if you have the physical strength to get in there and compress a guard or a center, if you have the smarts and discipline, well, then you can put yourself in a position to make plays. We knew that about Joe. And he’s that kind of football player. He possesses all of those skills necessary to play at the highest level that he did.

Q. Does that see an explanation fall behind Greer Martini, too, because here is another guy that really stepped up last week.

COACH KELLY: Yeah, probably not as strong yet physically but getting stronger each and every week that he’s in the program. Very smart. Understands his role and responsibility. Got caught a couple times with the fullback coming out of the backfield and not working through No. 3, exchanging that off. Had a really good game and really helped us quite a bit because he just really understands the game very well.

Q. After the game you made a comment, you almost referred to Martini as an option specialist. We’ve seen specialists in the NFL for quite a while now, third down backs and pass rushers. Are we at the point now college football where players are now specialists in certain roles?

COACH KELLY: Well, I think that every player has a strength. I think it’s not fair to pigeonhole him as just an option specialist. He’s very smart. He really fits well in our scheme. He knows his run fits very well. He’s a bigger kid.

Spread offenses have taken him off the field a little bit. If you get into two tight ends and you want to bang it around a little bit, he’s on the field much more.

So I think if you use specialists in that sense, the offensive formations tend to now force you into using different type of players at different positions.

Q. And are you at all concerned about your place kicking situation? You banked one off the upright, missed a short field goal, I believe —

COACH KELLY: No, I don’t think we missed a field goal —

Q. Didn’t miss the field goal, but he banked the one off the upright.

COACH KELLY: No, I’m not concerned. He’s four of six for field goals. He’s banged them from 45. He’s still working through some fundamentals. Justin is such a conscientious kid. He’ll clean up a couple of the mistakes he made and make the adjustments necessary. Not concerned in the least bit.

Q. KeiVarae has been back for three games. Can you evaluate his performance and what you’ve seen?

COACH KELLY: Well, I think it’s still evolving. He plays with such great energy and passion. He is fully engaged. But you know, there’s still a lot that — he doesn’t have a reservoir of games in the sense that he doesn’t have a big bank of knowledge at his position. So he’s still learning quite a bit out there.

Coach Lyght is doing a great job of trying to give him as much information daily about the position he plays. I think he’s only going to get better each and every week, but still in that process of learning technique, learning splits, learning alignments, learning things of that nature.

Q. Is there rust or is that kind of gone at this point? –

COACH KELLY: No, I don’t think we are at the point where we would talk about rust anymore. I think we are really simply talking about him continuing to learn the position and gain more knowledge each and every day.

Q. I know last week we talked about blocking on kick returns and you said there were some improvements that were going to be made in the coaching. I was wondering if you saw those improvements made on Saturday?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, we had one missed block that didn’t allow us to get into the tunnel and we made a change there. We were able to make the adjustment that I wanted on kickoff return. We only had one return.

So yeah, I’ll be anxious to see where we go this week with it.

Q. As Joe Schmidt exits the program after this year, the guy that has been the brains in your operation, Martini, is he the kind of kid that could pick up where Schmidt left off in that department?

COACH KELLY: Well, I would definitely say that he is a student of the game. We recruited him because of his smarts and his intelligence. At Woodward Academy, I think one of the things that stood out in our recruiting process and when we brought him up here on campus, he’s very vocal, very smart, helped the other ten players really be better players around him and that was one of the draws in the recruiting process for him. He didn’t really jump out at you as gifted physically. He doesn’t possess maybe some of the raw skills that a Nyles Morgan has, but I think both of those guys are certainly vying to be the next guy in there.

Q. As he continues to get bigger, is his future at Mike linebacker, he’s moved around for you inside and out —

COACH KELLY: I think that there’s going to be some interesting competition at a few of those positions.

Q. You tried to get Brandon Wimbush in the game, you really tried?

COACH KELLY: I did. He asked about four times: “I’m going in, right? I’m going in?”

And just the way it was going there at the end, I didn’t want to put him in a position where something crazy could happen. I’m still committed to that end; that we’ve got to get him in sooner than later.

Q. I want to follow up on the bracketing that occurred on the interception with Kizer and exactly what you’re looking for from him. The cornerback jumps the route, right, and takes the fade away, and imagine the bracketing is the answer to the fade on the other side of the ball.


Q. Do you want him to — and there’s a little window there to get the ball to Corey Robinson once he recognized the corner has jumped the route; do you want him to try to squeeze in there or would you rather have him look to the other side of the field?

COACH KELLY: Well, a couple of things. It’s something that we see that’s not uncommon. We see it against our defense, as well. First of all, Corey has to stay outside. When Corey saw the corner jump outside, he immediately worked back inside.

We don’t have time to read Corey. We are throwing it to a spot, and therefore, that’s why we had the interception. So Corey has to continue to hold his line on the play.

However, prior to that, he should have seen the safety that was aligned on the back side of the formation. Once he saw that safety lined up weak, which is his movement key on the play, that would have got his eyes to the front side and saw man-to-man coverage and that’s where the ball should have went. It should have went to Torii Hunter on the corner route to the front side.

Just one of those learning curves. The safety kind of hid himself and he showed late to the back side; that would have told him that they were bracketing the back side receiver.

Q. You mentioned the locker room a few times up here today. How do you go from — first of all, was that an issue last year at the end of the year, was there an issue with that and how do you go from the on-field struggles last year to having the locker room you’re seeing now?

COACH KELLY: No, it wasn’t an issue at all. Our locker room has been really good. I think we experienced some confidence issues relative to some new players and young players being forced to play probably before they were really ready. And therefore, we lacked some on-field leadership and direction at times.

Then offensively, we were really built last year to prop up a defense that was experiencing a number of injuries and lost some leadership, and we didn’t get the job done on offense. And quite frankly, it had less to do with what was going on in the locker room and more to do with what was happening on the field.

Q. And then also, considering changes you made in coaching and on offense this year and the injuries you’ve had, I wonder if you’re happy with how it’s all working together?

COACH KELLY: I’m not happy with the injuries, certainly, but I’m happy with the overall collaboration of the offensive staff, the working environment and just the ability to come to a consensus and work well together. I’m very pleased with all of those things.

Q. If I remember right and maybe I don’t, but after the Championship Game a few years ago with Alabama, I feel that in the post game press conference, you might have said something about, you learned a lot from that game about where Notre Dame has to go. Are there things that you can point to now that show the evidence of that, that you’ve learned from?

COACH KELLY: I don’t know we we’d have been able to do some of the things that we are doing with the number of injuries that we have currently had back in 2012. Matter of fact, I’m certain we wouldn’t have.

And we still have a long way to go. We have a lot of games, a lot of big games. We’re going to have some more injuries. And I point — probably those comments reflect probably more about the depth of our team and the ability to continue to move forward and continue to win. So I think that that’s probably the crux of it was depth and quality depth that allows you to continue to win.

Q. Just going back to that one again, did it have anything to do with the quality and size of your offensive line right now?

COACH KELLY: It certainly has everything to do with our front seven and our offensive line, and you know, being across the board more dominant on both sides of the ball.

Q. Last week you were asked if there were carryovers from Virginia to Georgia Tech defensively just in terms of fundamentals to clean up. Curious, going from Georgia Tech to UMass, are there fundamentals that would still carry over despite the scheme change?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, they certainly will. There’s some great similarities in terms of what we’ll need to do relative to their assignments and their eyes and they give you so many different formation looks that we’re going to have to do a great job communicating.

Last week was more your movement keys offensively in terms of getting your eyes on a specific player and he’s going to take you to this particular play; whereas this week, it’s going to be making some front checks and coverage checks based upon the offensive formations. So we are going to have to do a great job communicating this week.

Q. When you watched the tape, what did you think you got out of your tight end position without Durham, Luatua excluded, Alizé and Nick getting more action than they have?

COACH KELLY: We got at times good play and we got at times poor play. And the poor play was assignment poor. It wasn’t technique or effort poor. Obviously we turned the ball over. And that was a key play in the game. We were able to stop them, and then we had a number of missed assignments.

Effort’s great. We think that they are all going to be really good players. We are living right now with some mistakes and looking at it and going, as long as we coach it and teach it and get better week-to-week, we should be really good at the position, but it hurt us at certain times in the game that we had some young guys out there making some mistakes.

Q. With Drue out, where do you go in the dime package, does it go back to Matthias?

COACH KELLY: We are still kind of discussing that. I think I really believe that some of that is going to be what we show on Saturday will be the first time you see it.

Q. And lastly, I think some teams would be motivated by the underdog stuff that you guys played with last week. Some teams probably wouldn’t care. What is it about the makeup of this team that you felt like, okay, that’s a button that if I push with this team, I’m going to get what I want, as opposed to I just push it and it’s going to misfire.

COACH KELLY: Just knowing your guys and what really motivates them more than anything else. I think what really motivates them is that they got a lot of pride, and they really care about each other and they care about wanting to put their best out there.

They really — it’s important to them that they go out and play very, very well. Which means they have a lot of pride in how they are looked at and how they are perceived both on and off the field and I think that’s what’s different.

Q. C.J.’s performances the last three weeks have been maybe one of the top surprises in college football. I don’t think you would have envisioned him averaging 150 yards. Offensive line kind of gets a little bit overlooked in that, even the 91-yard run, he was barely touched, if as all. What has been your evaluation of the line, and especially with the younger guys like Quenton and Mike McGlinchey, who seem to bring like a nasty attitude?

COACH KELLY: Well, I would agree with you. They bring a nasty attitude and a toughness to that group where you’re now met with Elmer, Martin and Ronnie, that have a lot of game experience. You have two tough guys now that kind of mold that group into an experienced and tough group.

So I think they bring a lot to the group. The brains of the operation is still in those veterans. It’s still in those three guys that have played a lot, and they kind of set the tone for the group: The attention to detail, holding them to high standards. But there is now a toughness to that group that I think — those guys are hard workers and play hard and play tough. But I think that there’s a personality that those two bring to the five that has definitely shown itself this year.

Q. Nothing to take away from him, but manage Hegarty was a veteran but you didn’t seem to flinch losing him because there was almost an eagerness to get Nelson on the field. What did you see that could bring that element to maybe the line?

COACH KELLY: Well, you know, first of all, Nick Martin was going to go back to center. And so what we saw in Nick was that his natural position, even though we did move him, he was fighting through a knee injury, that we felt like we were exposing him at center to one-on-one blocks; that he wasn’t quite a hundred percent.

When he got back to a hundred percent, we felt like putting him back at center was obviously the best position for him. That opened up the guard position, and we just felt like it was going to be a competition between — if Hegarty was going to stay, between him, Alex Bars and Quenton Nelson.

And we just said, it’s wide open, you guys go compete for it. Let the best guy win. We didn’t have any preconceived notions. We knew they were all good players and Nelson took hold of it and grabbed it and won the job.

Q. What have you seen in Quenton that has helped him elevate so much?

COACH KELLY: Well, I mean, he’s 340 pounds. He can bench press a truck. He’s physically strong and he moves his feet. I think that’s probably — and as you’re asking the question, the thing that stands out with him is he’s big, he’s strong, he’s physical, he’s got toughness but he moves his feet really well.

That’s really probably the one thing that I don’t say surprises you, but when you see a kid that big, it’s hard to envision a kid running out the way he runs. He runs exceedingly well for his size.

Q. With Alizé Jones, you seemed to really want to get him involved early on, player of the game and targeted several times early on. Is that just the way the scheme was where it was open for him or did you really want to get him —

COACH KELLY: A little bit of both. We needed to get him involved and we are trying to accelerate his growth. There’s a lot going on there, a lot of mistakes. But he’s a great kid and he’s swimming a little bit right now but we just think his athletic ability supersedes some of the mistakes he’s making right now.

We are just going to keep force feeding him, going to keep playing him, because he cares. And he’ll come back this week and he’ll clean up some of the mistakes he made, and we are going to keep getting the football because he can make plays for us.

Q. On the topic of force feeding, C.J., 22 carries, nobody else in the backfield had more than eight yards rushing there, and you had Josh in in pass protection, and he did a pretty good job —

COACH KELLY: Yeah, he did a nice job.

Q. — when does the comfort level start maybe with Josh and Dexter that you can get them some more touches?

COACH KELLY: It will happen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. It’s got to be during the week where we feel like, all right, we’re there with him. We had a couple of key mistakes with the young guy in there, that he’s still learning.

It’s going to happen. We’re going to get there and we need to accelerate it because C.J. is getting a ton of carries and certainly can’t afford to lose him. He’s a horse right now.

But those guys need to continue to learn during the week so we can get them in. We want to get them in the game but we can’t afford to have key mistakes during the game, as well, and we had some key mistakes, especially in the red zone that we’ve got to clean up, and we clean them up during the week.

Q. Hear you say the term next man in a lot, unfortunately probably too much because of what it means but the backups are not always good enough, even though you’re forced to use them but in this year’s case, you lose your starting running back. Prosise is one of the best backs in the country at this point. You lose your quarterback; Kizer looks like he’s played a lot before. Can you comment on how important the play of your “next man in” has been in your success so far this year?

COACH KELLY: I make phone calls every Monday night. We write a lot of letters. We spend a lot of time recruiting, 365 days a year, so that going into this year, that the next man in is, C.J. Prosise; so that the next man in is Alizé Jones.

So we are not — it’s not by not working at it. We’ve been working hard at recruiting to get to this point where those guys are called upon are good players. That’s why there’s confidence in the group that we believe we’ve got enough guys that can go in and step up and play championship football.

You just hate to lose quality guys which you have invested so much time in, because there is a bit of a learning curve for those guys when they come in the game but they have just done a great job so far.

Q. Obviously Drue’s injury was a freak injury, but given the nature of the injury, how much did it bother you that it happened the way it happened, and have you talked to the team about maybe trying not to get too carried away with celebrations or things like that?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, I haven’t said a word to them about it. They all knew what happened. They all, you know, heard about it, saw it.

We talk so much about taking care of each other in practice, and we do such a great job of staying up and staying off our off the ground and taking care of each other. We go against each other so much; that our guys are so locked in about how important it is for safety. They are yelling at each other if somebody is on the ground.

So I don’t need to remind them about safety and how important it is. With we have guys crying in the locker room because they lost one of their players. They are so locked in; they don’t need me to remind them about something like that.

Q. Going to throw a hypothetical at you, sorry. Last year guys like Fuller, Rochell and Luke and now Prosise, those guys all became stars for you because they got an unforeseen chance, maybe C.J. a little less. Is there someone you see on this roster now, and we’ll throw injuries out of it because we don’t that to be part of it, that if he got in the game, one of those guys that could really elevate for you?

COACH KELLY: I think there’s a number of guys. Torii Hunter has got three catches. I think he’s as good as any receiver we’ve got. It’s hard to get him in the game.

I think Alex Bars is an outstanding offensive lineman. Just got to get him in the game. Doug Randolph; Andrew Trumbetti didn’t play one snap. I know he’s played in the first couple games. I could go and give you ten guys that are still waiting for that opportunity to break out and there’s still a number of those guys that I think will get that opportunity.

Q. Do you ever try to force feed it, considering Fuller wasn’t a starter going into last year and he obviously would not have had 15 touchdowns had he not started last year.

COACH KELLY: There are times, like I think Equanimeous is a guy that can go in there — Will Fuller is one of the best, if not the best receiver, at his position in the country. How do you take him off the field to put EQ in there? I mean, I’d need my head examined. But EQ is an outstanding football player and I could match him up with so many players in the country. So if I had to play with him, people would say, wow, that’s a really, really good football player.

So in some instances, you can’t force need it. In others, you have to. At the tight end position, we have to. We have to get in there and go. So I think it just depends on the position.

Q. You mentioned sharp; what’s the big emphasis with slowing him down? You faced a similar receiver at Virginia that gave you some trouble.

COACH KELLY: Sure did. He’s going to be targeted and I think what he’s done a really good job of is his yards-after-catch has been outstanding. He’s been a featured player in their offense for the last three years, so we just have to minimize the big play opportunities. He’s going to get the football. He’s going to make catches. We have to limit the game-wrecking opportunity. He wrecked the game.

So one of our words, the vernacular for us is, make sure he’s not a game wrecker. And he’ll get his catches but we’ve got to minimize the big plays that he gets.

Q. This game, is it something of a relief with the way the year starts, three power fives, all the injuries, and going into a game like this, where at least on paper, you can get Brandon and try out some different things like you were talking about?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, these are the games that concern me the most where everybody else thinks that they are going to be easy games. This is going to be a difficult game. UMass will play very well. They have already proven that they can play with top-notch teams in Temple, I already told you; they have got a power five win over Penn State and Cincinnati.

So I know what we need to do. We’ve got to play well against them. So it’s not a breather for me. And I don’t count anything. It would be nice that all those things happen, but I don’t go into the game thinking that way. I go into the game; that we have got to be prepared for everything.

Q. Last week there was a couple plays, first quarter, he’s almost completely swallowed —


Q. Is that just rookie mistakes or is that him being fearless and that’s who he is, or are those plays where you want to have some conversations about maybe being a little bit more —

COACH KELLY: Which play specifically are you talking about?

Q. There’s a first quarter one, he was almost completely swallowed up and is about to go down and dumps it out to C.J. and a similar one in the third quarter where he barely get the ball off. Is that who he is, that fearlessness or is that just about his first start —

COACH KELLY: It’s interesting, he did some things off-schedule that I thought were really good. You know, we missed a protection where he escaped an inside lineman and threw a great ball to Chris Brown that he dropped, which was an off-schedule play where he showed very good movement in the pocket.

The play you’re referring to was a sprint-out where he didn’t get the ball out of his hands on time and kind of held it, and then shoveled it forward, which was really kind of a heady play. He held the ball a little bit long.

But I guess my point is, he had some off-schedule plays that were athletic, and were really pretty good plays. That was kind of nice to add to the evaluation that he’s capable of making some of those off-schedule plays.