Sept. 27, 2015

Q. Did you get a result on Corey’s MRI today?

COACH KELLY: Yes, no damage to the knee, so we finally came up with good news. And we gave him a cortisone shot today, and we expect him to be full go for Tuesday’s practice.

Q. KeiVarae and Cole yesterday, they said that maybe the biggest problem with the secondary getting beat is on those gadget plays. In terms of evaluating not only the trick plays that Virginia and UMass bring, in your overall performance, what have you seen from them so far through four games?

COACH KELLY: Well, I think there’s times where we’re competing and challenging throws, and then there’s some times that we’re not. And you know, I think that if you’re asking Coach VanGorder and Coach Lyght, I think what we’re looking for is consistency and competing for the ball. Some of it is technique where we’re losing at the line of scrimmage in some instances, and then some of it is just not being as aggressive as we’d like to be to the ball.

So at times, we are getting those two things. We just need to get it more consistently.

Q. Along the same lines of the secondary, did you see the things out of Max yesterday that you would like to see both in terms of being able to play with a cast and his technique? And also Nick Coleman seemed to get in there before it got all the reserves in there. Wondered your impressions of him?

COACH KELLY: I think Max certainly got an opportunity in the second half when we played a lot more zone. We like the fact that he’s certainly got great speed and the ability to play the ball.

We’re a little concerned with his tackling but we see that that is coming along and he’s feeling a lot more confident. He’s three weeks now with that cast. I think we’re going to see more and more confidence each and every week with him. So I think you’ll continue to see both Max and Matthias at that position.

As it is for Nick, we really like Nick. He’s got speed. He’s got great competitiveness. Plays the ball well in the air but his technique is not where we need it to be. And the case in point, the touchdown that he got beat on, he just got beat at the line using poor technique.

But we want him to get more and more playing time because we really have a good feeling about the way he plays the ball. He had two pass breakups prior to that, and we see that he’s got a chance to be a real good player for us.

Q. Greer Martini seemed to find a little bit of a role for you yesterday. Can you talk about his play and what you see from him maybe moving forward?

COACH KELLY: He’s in one of our sub packages. Really smart player. You know, especially in passing situations, we see that he can definitely help us inside. I think you’ll just continue to see him as a player for us in certain situations, key player on special teams.

He made a great block to set up C.J. Sanders’s touchdown. I think he’s a really valuable player for us in a number of different areas and in particular he’s finding a role for himself now in third down situations on defense.

Q. I found it interesting both after and during the game that DeShone Kizer seemed to be more excited about Brandon Wimbush’s success than I guess anybody else and probably you don’t always have that with quarterbacks. I’m curious if you feel like that’s something that’s going to help both of them; are you encouraged to see that? Just talk about their relationship.

COACH KELLY: Well, DeShone and Brandon and Malik and Montgomery, very close. Those guys spent a lot of time together. Really it’s a room that I sit in every day and I can tell you that they have a very close relationship. You know, when Malik went down, the first guy that was in the room to see him was Brandon and DeShone.

So it doesn’t surprise me that it’s reciprocal now with DeShone and Brandon. It’s just a group that it’s a bit unique. Last year it wasn’t like that but this is a different group of kids, and they are pretty close.

Q. Avery Sebastian, are you close with getting him back this week?

COACH KELLY: No. He’s going to be — we had an X-ray today and when we are not in the — sometimes the bone growth, just different with different players. You know, we are probably another — it’s definitely another three weeks.

Q. Just wondering, as a coach, you manage your personnel when you’ve got a number of injuries. But I’m curious to find out, how do you manage morale when you have so many key players go down and you’re dealing with 18- to 22-year-olds?

COACH KELLY: Well, I think morale for us is such that each player is valued, and I think as long as the entire team knows that each player is valued for who they are, there’s initial disappointment, but you don’t lose morale. I think if they are cast to the side or forgotten about or not welcomed and not thought of after the injury, then possibly you could lose morale because then you just see them as chips or assets.

But our players are with us in the locker room. Malik will travel with us — Zaire, to Clemson. We had all of those kids up in a box watching the game. So I think it’s really how you treat them more than anything else after injury. That allows you to maintain morale.

Q. Do you feel like even though they are not on the field, they are still able to contribute to your program in ways that — helping younger players or kind of giving them a different perspective of seeing things from a box versus seeing it on the go on the sidelines?

COACH KELLY: Well, Malik Zaire didn’t miss a meeting this past week. I mean, he did not miss the quarterback meetings. That just tells you about him as a person.

But he was in every meeting and then yesterday he was in the locker room pregame and he was there post game and so you know, that kind of influence, when you have an injured player just goes so far. He has the ability to talk to the quarterbacks and that goes such a long way.

Jarron Jones, our defensive tackle, is on the sidelines. He’s engaged and we welcome that and it’s an important piece.

Q. The last three games, your offense has scored total yards over 450 yards. Is that the greatest thing that you’ve seen with your offense in a couple years?

COACH KELLY: I mean, I don’t think we really think about what we’re doing offensively other than winning football games. I think what we’re doing more this year is controlling the line of scrimmage. I think that that’s probably one thing that is separating this team from our other offense is that we are able to run the football and control the line of scrimmage.

Q. Talk about having Josh Adams as your backup running back to C.J. What’s it like having two good backs in the backfield?

COACH KELLY: Well, obviously losing Tarean Folston has put Josh as a true freshman in a position that he has to contribute. He’s done a great job. I thought yesterday, not only did he run for over a hundred yards; he picked up two blitzes for us that were very difficult reads for him.

So it was great to see that and I just think he’s going to continue to improve. We’ve got Dexter now, Williams, running for us. It’s a good situation right now.

Q. You play Clemson next week and I know today you’re getting ready to get started for Clemson. What have you seen so far, because they had a bye week this week.

COACH KELLY: Yeah, I haven’t gotten a chance to evaluate Clemson yet. I know they are a fine football team, but we are just finishing up with all of our work from this weekend.

Q. The phrase that the coaches and the players use regarding eye discipline, can that always lead to the right decision defensively, or can the proper execution of a play by the offense still lead to a mistake, especially with a gadget play?

COACH KELLY: That’s a good question. You know, if you’re not keyed into the right person, the right execution can get you, as well. So sometimes it’s about if it doesn’t look right, it’s not right and you have to be able to sense it and feel it. There’s a little bit of both of that going on.

Virginia, a little bit different, where we lost sight of a particular key that would have gotten us into the middle of the field to defend their reverse pass.

The UMass trick play was a difficult play to defend, and we didn’t have it on film. It’s no excuse, we’ve got to do a better job, but it’s a valid point.

Q. With regard to the tight ends — after you saw the film, Weishar and Hounshell handle their responsibilities? And I believe this is Luatua’s second concussion since last year. How concerned are you about that?

COACH KELLY: First of all, really pleased with all three tight ends. Alizé made a big jump in his assignments. He had a number of errors last week. Cut down on those.

Secondly, really pleased with Chase Hounshell’s blocking. We were able to get to the edge several times yesterday, and a lot of it was his work, and Nic Weishar was very, very good in assignments and catching and blocking.

We’re going to be very cautious with Tyler, you’re absolutely right. I think Dr. Leiszler and I think our entire team here is going to be very, very cautious. But we’re going to take the right steps and go through the right protocol, and we’re never going to put a player back in in the position to play unless they are 100 percent able to do so.

I’m not concerned but we are definitely going to take the proper steps and not rush him until he’s 100 percent ready to go.

Q. Off the beaten path, but when did you realize C.J. Sanders had the acting background that he had? Did that come up at all in the recruiting process?

COACH KELLY: When we were recruiting him, we knew his profile. And got a chance to meet his mom; in that conversation, we were asking questions as to why was he moving from Knoxville to — leaving Tennessee to go to L.A. and then finding out that his sister was going to get into acting. So we knew in the recruiting process that he was in acting and that — certainly was well aware of his background.

Q. Had you ever seen Ray?

COACH KELLY: I didn’t — I have seen it after recruiting. I didn’t prior to recruiting C.J. but after we recruited him, this past summer I was on vacation and I rented the movie because I wanted to see it. He’s a pretty good actor.