Sept. 1, 2015

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Brian Kelly Transcript

COACH KELLY: All right. We’re in game week. Certainly longly anticipating this match-up against a great and historic program in the University of Texas. You know, Coach Strong is going into his second year here, is certainly a coach that I have a lot of respect for, know what he’s done, a long career as an assistant coach, obviously coaching here at Notre Dame.

But more importantly in what he’s done in program building, I think we saw that last year with what he did at Louisville. Brought a very good Louisville team in here last year under Coach Petrino but we know a lot of that was his work. His fingerprint was on that team. Great program builder. He’ll do the same thing at Texas. You can already see that taking shape. In particular in the recruitment of very good, young football team, again.

They play hard, defensively, I think last year they really kept their team in a number of games and certainly as they were trying to find themselves on offense. I think they are a lot further along now this year in year two. I think you start with the quarterback, Tyrone now is much more comfortable at the position. He can throw the ball.

In particular, I think he does a great job pushing the ball down the field. He’s got a strong arm and you know, again, I think the offense suits him very well. I think they are in the kind of offense that takes advantage of his skill set.

So I think Swoopes has some great weapons, both the Johnson receivers have great speed, are weapons in the Big 12 that you become accustomed to see whether they are at Oklahoma or Texas, TCU. These are very talented wide receivers. A young kid that looks really good, the Burt kid, he was impressive on film. But I think they have got great balance with Johnathan Gray. He was out with the Achilles, but you could see him coming into his own later in the year as you watched film, and I think he’s going to be at the top of his game.

So great speed at the wide receiver position. I think a quarterback who feels really comfortable in the offense that they are running and an outstanding running back in Gray. So I think you are going to see an offense that really is going to be a challenge for us.

Defensively, as I mentioned, they lost some talented players but they bring back some very good ones. I think Ridgeway is a guy that’s difficult to deal with on the inside. You know, I think Davis on the outside — and then I really like Hughes, number 40. Very athletic, can run. I think he’s going to be a nice edge player for them.

So they have some really nice athletes on defense. Jefferson, the freshman, can run. It’s what you would expect from a Texas defense: Big and physical, nose, some edge players that can run. On the back end, Duke Thomas has 20-something starts, a veteran corner. Really like the Bonney kid who is playing nickel for them, very versatile.

And the safeties and returners, played a lot of football. So veteran, back-end presence, physical guys that can run on defense, got a very good system, well coached on the defensive front side. Coach Bedford does a great job of putting them in the right position. They keep the points down. They did that last year. You have to earn everything you get against Texas. They are not going to give you anything defensively. You’ve got to earn everything that you get offensively.

Should be a great test for us in an opener. These are the kind of openers that really test you in everything that you do. You have to be fundamentally sound. You’ve got to take care of the football. And you’re playing against quality, quality athletes that are well-coached. So this will be one heck of an opener for us that we’ll be challenged. Looking forward to it and should be exciting between two great programs in Texas and Notre Dame.

So with that, open it up to questioning.

Q. With Malik, how does maybe he compare mentally, emotionally, going into this opener than he was the LSU game, which was his first collegiate start?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, it’s a totally different Malik Zaire. A lot of it was first start, not sure what to expect from him. We knew that he was a young man that had the ability to do some things in the run game. Weren’t sure what he could do in the passing game. We saw that certainly he was capable.

But his development has been so much more since that game through the spring, through the summer and now in pregame, he’s much more developed in all phases of the game, a lot more confident and certainly a lot more in tune with all of the receivers and the offensive line and just much more comfortable.

Q. I know with a lot of quarterbacks, as they go through the season, especially as a first-year starter, defensive front coordinators like to test them, can they handle eight in a box, can they handle rush three, drop eight, things like that. Can you simulate that as a coach? Do you feel like he’s seen all that as he goes into the season, or does that evolution have to play out in the season during games?

COACH KELLY: Well, I think that’s a good question. I think as coaches, we certainly present all of those challenges to him in practice: Drop eight, overload pressures, and we present all that to him. But those are just quizzes. The test is when it happens in realtime. I don’t know that you really know for sure until you get the test. We think we have given him many opportunities to react and he’s reacted very well to all of those kinds of scenarios that you mentioned. But I don’t think you really feel confident until you get those opportunities.

We know that he’s going to go in there and be poised and has seen all the looks that he could get. But there’s going to be a time or two where, you know, he’s going to see something that he’s not sure of, and we hope that Eddie faults back to the foundation that we’ve given him. And if he does that and defaults back to the foundation, he’ll get through those moments.

Q. I know we’ve kind of bugged you about the offensive play-calling, and you mentioned Mike Sanford is going to be upstairs, but who exactly is calling the plays and how is that going to work?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, you know, we are going to collaborate. There will be collaboration. Mike Sanford, myself, Coach Denbrock, there will be collaboration on Saturday.

Q. But you have the final veto?

COACH KELLY: I do. I do.

Q. Max Redfield, I know the one day you were upset because there was a couple orange cones playing safety that day. But overall, what have you seen from him?

COACH KELLY: Very, very solid play in all facets: Leadership, communication, tackling, playing the ball in the air. He’s had a really good camp. He’s a different player than last year, a much more mature player. He’s much more mature in everything that he does on a day-to-day basis. That just has carried on to what he does on the football field. Feel really good about Max Redfield as one of our safeties, no question.

Q. Folston seems like his first couple years here, he’s been slow out of the gate and you’ve wanted him to show more of being a No. 1 back or whatever. Are you seeing any more of that this year, that he might get off to a stronger start?

COACH KELLY: I’m cautiously optimistic that we are going to see a little bit more than maybe we saw at times last year, and don’t get me wrong, we were pleased with a lot of the things that he did last year for us.

I’m a big fan of Tarean Folston. I have higher — maybe I have a higher expectation of him at times than he does of himself and that’s where we continue to communicate on a day-to-day basis that I think there’s so much more out there for him. I’ve seen that kind of manifest itself in practice.

He’s had a really good couple of weeks in practice, and I hope to see that come out on Saturday, because I think he’s a terrific back, and I think there’s much more for him to achieve.

Q. Equanimeous, such a fascinating family. I wonder what that home visit was like with the former Mr. Universe and the whole family. And has he given you less peeks and valleys — you had mentioned there were days where he would rise up. Are you seeing a more steady, consistent performance?

COACH KELLY: It was an interesting home visit. I was greeted at the door by his dad with a GoPro on his head. It was the first time that I was taped going into a home visit, so I was kind of a little nervous at first.

It’s a wonderful family. As you know, they speak German in the home itself. They are also fluent in French. It was good, because I was totally confused most of the night, which I think that’s why we got him, because I couldn’t talk. It was perfect.

But he’s a wonderful kid, a wonderful family. But I think that that’s probably right, the way you put it, is that he has not been one that has had the high peaks and the low valleys. I think what I was most impressed with him was that when he had a pretty good ankle sprain, he came back in less than two days. And that said a lot about his maturity. That said a lot about probably how he was brought up in that home.

As you know, the dad is a former Mr. Universe, and I’m sure there’s not a lot of slacking in the home. And you could see that in Equanimeous. He was right back out there competing, and I think a lot of that is to his upbringing.

Q. When you have nine months to prepare for an opponent, and you’ve talked before about guys on the offensive line, some of the younger guys playing, how do you keep that emotion from spilling over into the game? How do you keep the younger guys especially level?

COACH KELLY: Well, truth be told, it was probably eight and a half months preparing ourselves as a football team, really. Texas was always on the schedule. Texas was always in their mind. They know about Texas and the history and the tradition of their program and what a great opponent they are.

But we were preparing ourselves, our football team, mentally and physically, for the season, and not just this opponent. We really didn’t dial in on Texas in particular, where the emotions start to pick up, until probably the last ten days. And that’s when I start to really focus in on, you know, staying within yourself and staying focused on the task at hand and not getting outside of the things that are most important, and that is the next play.

So as a head coach, you’re really working, you know, on the whole team over eight and a half, eight and — three and a half weeks, and then the last ten days, you’re really, really focusing on Texas.

Q. Can you explain the decision process behind C.J. at punt returner and is it you were afraid of maybe putting Will back there, considering his status as the wide receiver?

COACH KELLY: No, not afraid at all. I think we have two real good ones, two really good options. We are splitting hairs probably with both of them. And I could see us going back and forth with both of them playing. But not hesitant and not afraid to play him for fear of injury at any time.

I just think C.J. just has kind of a unique knack of breaking some tackles and hard to find sometimes and kind of comes out of there and pops out of there. That’s why we went with him.

Q. You talked in the spring about this team needing to establish a DNA. What are you expecting the DNA of this team to be?

COACH KELLY: Well, I think first of all, a confidence that they have been there before, and in particular, we have a number of players, as you know, that have played a lot of football, and that they go out there and display that kind of experience that they do, in fact, have. We are not playing with a bunch of inexperienced guys. We have got some guys with a lot of experience. Now, the quarterback is not seasoned in any shape or fashion, but he’s surrounded with a lot of guys.

So the DNA is in I think that they all know what is expected of them every single day to be successful on the playing field. But I would probably go back to, you know, they know they are only as good as the last play. And I think that that’s how this team will play. They work very hard and they work with a purpose, and I think that that’s how they will play.

Q. And you’ve talked about this team probably has the opportunity to run more than previous teams have. Is any of that hoping that maybe that will take a little pressure off the defense by being a better running team?

COACH KELLY: Well, I think just naturally, controlling the line of scrimmage takes pressure off of all facets of the game: Field position, kicking game, snaps per for your defense. You know, how do you play the game? If you’re run-and-shoot and you’re playing fast, you’re looking to score more points and you really don’t care about all those other stats.

If you’re running the football, you care about some of those other things as they relate to kicking game, field position and things of that nature. So running the football definitely gives you some of those things in your favor. They don’t always equal to winning, but they certainly can help in a lot of areas.

So that’s what we feel like, you know, if we can run the ball effectively, and again, sometimes we are not the controller of all those factors. A defense may say, look, we are going to put more guys in here and make it virtually impossible for you to run. If we can control it and be efficient, I think it opens up all those things.

Q. The Texas offense, how tough is it to prepare for a team when you don’t have a lot of film on them?

COACH KELLY: We have the spring game but that’s about it. Unless we miss our mark, we are going to certainly see some things that we haven’t seen before. But we are preparing for the Swoopes kid that is certainly a kid that throws it. We are preparing for a spread offense that has skill.

So it becomes something that we are very familiar with in playing a number of spread teams. So we are going into the game preparing against the spread and tempo, for that matter. So both of those things, I think first and foremost.

And then another quarterback, the Heard kid who can run the football so you have to prepare for both of them. Certainly it’s a challenge. We are preparing for a spread offense where tempo is part of it and having two quarterbacks and one that can run the ball effectively.

Q. And you and some of the coaches talked about how Torii has looked really good. What exactly does he bring that maybe the other — what skills does he have that other receivers don’t have?

COACH KELLY: Well, working inside out, from that position that he plays, he’s got size and great hands. I mean, he just, being he can use his hands and size against generally players that he matches up quite well with. He’s not matched up very much at all with a corner, right. He’s always working off of backers and safeties, and that’s a formidable match-up. That’s a positive one for us. Very rarely has he got to beat a corner, so he becomes a very, very good match up for us.

Q. I want to talk about your tight end rotation a little bit. You’re fairly young right there and you’ve got some guys with nice pedigree but is that a job that’s going to be won on the field on Saturdays, do you think?

COACH KELLY: It is. I think that’s a very good way to put it. I think you’re going to see them all play. I think they will all get an opportunity to contribute in some fashion and some may play a little bit more than others but they are all going to get a chance to be in the rotation and play, and I think Saturdays will largely determine how that is dolled out relative to the reps.

Q. There’s always a litany of things you want to accomplish in camp before you get to your first game and I don’t know if there’s ever enough time to get ready for an opener, but where do you feel the team is in terms of overall preparedness in being ready to play this Saturday?

COACH KELLY: I’m very confident that we’ve prepared our football team to play on Saturday. I think we need to, you know, like anybody else, we would like some Texas time, a little bit more focus on some of the exotic things that they do with some short yardage and special circumstances.

But I feel really good. This is 25 years, I think we’ve looked at virtually every situation and scenario. Yesterday was a wet ball drill day, and who knows, we may get weather. Just trying to prepare for everything. It’s almost like, all right, we’re making stuff up here.

Keep your guys fresh; I think that’s the most important thing. Keep them sharp. Make sure the practices are focused and purposeful. And you know, I think that we’ve handled all of the situations leading into the game.

Q. We’ll get a chance to talk to the guys but do you sense a change in them with when game week rolls around, and do you get a sense that there’s — not anxiety, but they are maybe anxious to play?

COACH KELLY: Absolutely. Today was a Monday and normally on a Monday, it’s pretty lethargic coming off the weekend. It was a very good practice. It was focused. There was an intent to really work on getting better in all phases. Great communication. High energy. Very good Monday. So you know that they are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Q. With KeiVarae playing some nickel, would you have been able to do that if Cole Luck had not had the kind of development he had over the last year or so?

COACH KELLY: I think Devin Butler made that possible. We are happy that co Luke certainly has developed, as well and is playing at a higher level, but I think Devin Butler made that much more of a reality for us. We didn’t have the same evaluation of did he have incoming out of the spring that we would be able to do it. He has really developed himself to the point where we feel like we can put him out there and feel like we’ve got a strong unit. I would place most of that on did he have in.

Q. With Cole, though, in terms of the season he had last year, he was able to guard a guy like Parker, in terms of his development, where has he taken his game from last year to now heading into this season?

COACH KELLY: I think Coach Lyght has done a great job with demanding more of a sense of urgency and more of a sense of purpose in everything that he does. Demanding just that I think a higher level of competitiveness in everything that he does; that where he sees he was competitive, and he was giving us everything that he had, there was more to give. And so you’ve got to get that out of somebody. And I think Coach Lyght has done a great job of really tapping into that next level for Cole.

Q. Is that something that happens between a sophomore and junior year somewhat frequently with a player?

COACH KELLY: Yes, I think it does in terms of their own identifying — they identify their own weaknesses, but I think it also happens with good communication, and I think there’s a real good connection between him and Coach Lyght, and I think there’s a lot of different things that make that happen.

Q. With Jerry and Daniel at nose guard, what’s sort of the peak volume for each player?

COACH KELLY: Well, we have some numbers that we think are what they are. I don’t want to publically give them ought. But we certainly have numbers that we believe they should be able to hit based upon what we’ve done.

But Daniel has really come on and we think he can give us solid play there. But Jerry is certainly there and it’s a three-man rotation with Sheldon. So those are the guys that we’ll be relying on.

Q. With the multiple tight ends that you have at your disposal and Coach Sanford’s background at Stanford where they utilize the tight ends well, are there any applicable concepts that could be infused that he might have brought over from Stanford?

COACH KELLY: Well, you know, there’s certainly always a sharing of ideas as it relates to how we can utilize those tight ends.

You know, clearly, we think we have more than one of them in terms of a tight end. And I think without giving away any trade secrets here, you know, Stanford was a power team. That was — that’s what they did. We would like to run power but we like to do some other things.

So I think we were able to share some common philosophy with some formations. But I think more than anything else, what you’ll see from Coach Sanford and what we’re doing with the tight ends is being able to utilize them whether we go fast, we go slow, whether we tempo or not.

I think that’s a little bit different than what Stanford has done. They were huddling. So I think that that’s where it will be a little bit different.

Q. You mentioned a couple weeks ago, one of the things that you and Coach Sanford had in common, the term you used were movement keys and progressive reads. Could you explain that a little bit further?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, so if you’re simply throwing the ball to the flat, your movement key is the flat defender, whoever is the flat defender. So it starts with identifying who that flat defender is.

And then your routes generally put that flat defender in a bind. Maybe a short route and a deep route. That starts your progression off the movement key. If the movement key doesn’t sink out of the flat, then you flow the ball over the top of the corner, and that then begins your progression read after you find who the flat defender is.

So movement key to progression, and you can’t start your progression until you find out who your movement key is.

Q. With regard to beyond play calling, game day information coming from Coach Sanford in the press box and Coach Denbrock from the field, what specifically will those two individuals, what information will they be providing you during the game?

COACH KELLY: Well, as I’ve said, and I know you guys want more, I’m just not going to give you much more than, you know, all three of us are collaborating. How it comes out to the signaller, you know, we’re all in unison as to how we want the game to unfold.

So we are all going to be working off the same play sheet. We are going to all be working off the same openers. We are going to all be working off the same down and distance sheet.

So whether it’s coming out of Mike or Mike or Brian’s lips, is really immaterial as far as I’m concerned. All I know is that we’ve got great collaboration between the three of us.

Q. I guess I’m not looking for that as much as like Coach Sanford up in the booth, he’s telling you the defense is doing this, we’re doing that —

COACH KELLY: Absolutely. His focus is really looking at the overall structure of the defense. When you’re on the field, you’re much more — you’re zeroed much more in on specifics. So that’s more of a bigger picture look when you’re up in the box.

Q. Going on with the coaching thing, as far as the defensive front coaches up in the box there, who will you have? And if you can also expand on the roles of Jeff Quinn, Bob Elliot and on special teams, too, and their roles as special assistants for the game?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, so Mike Elston will be up in the box for defense and he will be providing that perspective. Bob Elliot and Coach Quinn will be up in the box. Again, they are allowed to work as analysts, so they will be doing statistical analytical work. They will be making sure that tendencies, numbers, they will be checking personnel groupings, things of that nature.

Coach Elliot will keep track of game management types of situations, video replay, things of that nature. He’ll have more of a game management role where Coach Quinn will have more of an analytical and statistical role in the box, as well as some over sight as it relates to special teams.

Q. And they are allowed to communicate with you during the game and at half-time?


Q. But just not with the players?

COACH KELLY: That’s correct. They can’t be coaching the players.

Q. You have everybody on defense other than Daniel Cage with at least eight career starts. What’s enabled Daniel to kind of take it to where he’s now really heavily into the mix there, because stamina was kind of an issue last year.

COACH KELLY: Well, I would credit that being one of them, physical condition; the ability to be able to play at the level necessary.

Last year he would give us a couple of plays and then fatigue would lock up his brain. You know, he would be in the wrong gap. He would release a gap, and we’re trying to work five-man spacing, versus a spread offense, and you know, they are going to run the ball up through that gap because he’s in the wrong gap. And a lot of that had to do with the inability to maintain the mental awareness of what he was doing because he was fatigued. He’s in much better condition. He’s so much more mature. Understands our defense so much better. He was always off the charts in terms of his strength and foot quickness. Now he’s bringing a lot of that for much more of the game in terms of number of plays.

Q. Jerry Tillery had such a good spring that it was automatically assumed he was going to replace Jarron in a major role. Is there maybe just hesitation to start a freshman right away in the opener, or is it more of what Daniel Cage was able to do?

COACH KELLY: Oh, I think this is more Daniel Cage. We wouldn’t be hesitant — if Jerry was the best player, Jerry would play. He’s a really good player and he’s going to play a lot, and we need him to be in there for us. But Daniel has definitely shown that he should be listed ahead of Jerry right now.

But keep in mind, jersey playing two positions for us, so we have asked him to do a lot more than we are asking Daniel to do. Jersey also playing not only the shade, but he’s playing the three technique, too. So we’ve asked Jerry to do a lot more and that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do as a true freshman but he’s pretty unique. But we needed that.

Did that hurt him a little bit maybe, possibly; because we asked him to do two things and play two different positions. I think you will not know, as you watch the game, you won’t be able to count up, well, Cage played more than Tillery. It’s going to be pretty seamless.

Q. Your first game here on the opening kickoff, you had five true freshmen, the kickoff coverage teams. Seems this year there’s a lot more veteran look there, especially potentially guys like Farley, Avery Sebastian, and I think Jarrett Grace.

COACH KELLY: He’s on kickoff.

Q. You have three fifth-year seniors alone there possibly. Is there a year that you anticipate with the veterans and the depth that you have, that special teams can be taken to the level you want it to be?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, you know, I really am excited about what we’ve done in our special teams units and the work we’ve put in. I think we have a lot of veteran players on all of our running teams. Regardless of the fact that we have two rookie kickers, I think both of them are immensely talented and have the right demeanor to be very good kickers for us, as first-year players.

I think we’ve got very good personnel there and there’s no reason why we can’t dictate terms in special teams and be very solid in special teams.

Q. You said you brought in Mike Sanford and one of the things you wanted him to do was sort of turn the room upside down and challenge you guys in a way. Thus far, how has he been able to do that?

COACH KELLY: I think more than anything else, just the constant questioning of how we do things and why we do things. I think it’s just natural that sometimes you run a system of offense like I have for over 25 years, that you become accustomed to doing things a certain way.

When you get the question of why do you do it that way, then you have to answer the question honestly, that kind of turns it upside down a little bit. And so it’s been good. It’s been refreshing, and we’ve been able to look at everything that we do through what’s the best way to get this done. And so I think that’s been a good piece.

And then Mike Denbrock has taken it and has made the adjustments and strengthened the system that is still our original system through that collaboration, and that’s why it’s been pretty exciting for me to see it happen.

Q. What was it about him that helped you feel comfortable and to trust him to have that will to second guess what you’ve done for a long time?

COACH KELLY: I think you know, when you sit down and interview somebody, you get a sense right away that you’re going to enjoy working with this person. You know, you put in 80 hours a week, you get a sense that this is somebody that you’re going to enjoy working with.

So I think it’s who he is, his personality, his background, knew Notre Dame, obviously his dad working here; all those things were positive, but it was still about who he was as a coach. And then when we started talking football, in particular, how to score points, we were on the same page.

Q. I was curious, what you’ve seen from Yoon, the last couple weeks, high end at the midway point of campus. Has he carried that on, or have you seen freshman ups and downs? What have the last couple weeks been like?

COACH KELLY: Haven’t seen a drop-off for him at all. It’s been extremely consistent in the 40 to 49-yard range, which is — last year, we dipped into the 60. I think we were like 62 percent. We dipped low into that range. He’s been high 70s, in that range, so in that deep range between 40, 49, he’s been really good.

I was thinking that as camp wore on with the tired leg, we would see a drop in that area, but he’s been solid. We’ve hit him with a lot of different situations. He’s responded quite well to all of them.

I think the thing that stands out with me as it relates to him is he is so focused on just doing his job. There’s not a lot of things that kind of distract him. He’s extremely focused. And as I said to — I think we talked about this before. He’s a very unique kicker in that he has very little spin on his ball, very little.

So you’re not dealing with adjustments. All right, you’ve got to adjust for this, you’ve got to make this; he doesn’t have to make a lot of adjustments. So his accuracy is pretty darned good. We’ve had to work on some of his operation times, but those are normal for a freshman.

Q. Kind of getting back to Tillery a little bit. When you had to start KeiVarae in 2012, you could play coverages a certain way to help him out or mask him a little bit. Is there anything that you can do with a freshman to help him out —

COACH KELLY: No. No, there’s nothing. Look, if you’re not physically strong enough to hold the point, we saw what happened at USC. When we weren’t physically able to hold up inside, you’re in trouble.

So if you’re not physically able to do that job, you’re asking for trouble. So those guys are physically able to do the job. If you’re not, you’re in trouble.

Q. I was just curious about the nickel, you had Crawford and then KeiVarae which are different kinds of athletes from Matthias. What did you need to change about the defense that you threw a did I know kind of athlete in that position?

COACH KELLY: Man. Man-to-man. So the ability to play man-to-man out of that position, Matthias is very smart, but we didn’t want to put him on an island and have to have him play man-to-man coverage out of that position.

Q. What do you expect the atmosphere to be like Saturday, and do you think it’s going to be that much bigger than previous openers because it’s Texas and because it’s also at night?

COACH KELLY: You know, I’ve come to — really, I think I’ve come to be accustomed to the atmosphere at night being so different than any day game. It’s just electric. Whether it’s Texas or USC or Michigan, the ones that I’ve experienced, it’s just a different atmosphere.

So I expect it to be an electric atmosphere, one that it will be memorable for everybody.

Q. And any players unavailable this weekend for any disciplinary reasons or anything like that?


Q. Even though it’s a night game, it’s going to be hot. What precautions are you taking with your team going into the game?

COACH KELLY: Well, we’re glad that we finally had the return of summer here in South Bend. We’ve had a couple of really warm days and we’ll continue to have that. But you know, for us, we’ve been conditioning all summer. We’ll rely on that conditioning base that we have had. We’ll hydrate appropriately. And our medical team and trainers will be prepared.

You know, we’ve got very good depth, and we’ve kept the tempo high in our practice, so we feel pretty good that regardless of what the conditions will be, we’ll be able to handle any heat. I don’t believe that that’s a concern that we have going into the game.

Q. You’ve had some success with first-year starting quarterbacks over your career. What’s kind of been the message or focus from like going into this week, and is there ever any frustrations as far as having a new guy each year and kind of trying to build an identity around him?

COACH KELLY: No. No, I’m not frustrated about that. I mean, I think as it relates to Malik, I think the question was asked by Eric, you know, he’s going to see some things that he has not seen before.

So default back to the foundation and the base that you have and that we have given you. And if he does the ordinary things extraordinarily well, he’s going to succeed at a high, high level. It’s when you go outside that and start to do things on your own and kind of, well, I’ll use this for that, and it’s taking kind of the round peg and putting it in the square hole, is where we have issues. So as I’ve said before, if he does exactly what I tell him to do, we should be in really good shape.