Oct. 4, 2015
Q. Brian, just wondering if you had any further clarity on Quenton. Do you think he will be able to practice this week, chances of being available on Saturday?
Brian Kelly: He’s got an ankle sprain and he’s in a boot today and we’ll see how that progresses. We’ve got to get the pain out of there and see how it responds. We’re not going to — we’re not going to put a tag on him until tomorrow relative to questionable, doubtful, probable. It’s just too early, right? It’s only like 12 hours after the game. We’ll probably be able to get a better sense, but he’s in a walking boot until we get that stabilized and then have a better sense of whether he’s going to be able to make it for this weekend.
Q. With Will, I know you mentioned yesterday the safety helped over the top. Was there anything when you went back and looked at the film that maybe you could have done differently against that Clemson defense?
Brian Kelly: Yeah, caught the ball more consistently. We had over 125 yards that we left out there. So I thought we utilized the receivers that were getting the single coverage very well. Torii Hunter was big, Chris Brown, you know. We got the ball to C.J. over a hundred yards coming out of the backfield. So it’s like anything else in this game; if they’re going to try to double somebody, you’ve got to be able to take advantage of what the defense gives you. We still got Will involved late in the game with a big screen catch for us. You know, he had a chance for a big third-down conversion that went through his hands. But really what we’re always about is finding those guys that are going to be left in single coverage. I thought we did — I thought DeShone did a very good job of not forcing the ball into double coverage and finding those guys that had the favorable matchups.
Q. I saw last night one of the reporters over on the Clemson side said that your guys’ offensive line had a tell on run plays involving hand down and foot placement. Were you aware of anything along those lines that you’re giving away on run plays?
Brian Kelly: You know, we study all of that stuff very diligently and there is really nothing that we can discern from what we do. We change up our stance, we’re in a two-point, we put our hand down when it’s pass, we’re in two-point when it’s run, so we do a pretty good job of moving the back. Maybe they had a lot of time. I know when they needed to get to our quarterback and they knew it was pass, they couldn’t get to him.
Q. Curious how much you learned about DeShone last night or did it more sort of confirm what you expected about him already?
Brian Kelly: No, I think it added a layer of, you know, I just think when you get opportunities to play on the road, leading your team back in the fourth quarter, you gain more of an understanding of a quarterback who’s got to make plays. I think we knew he was the guy that could handle the moment, he certainly was able to do that. I thought he showed great poise in the pocket and I think it just added on to the fact that we’ve got a quarterback that can help us win a championship.
Q. I think when he came in it was more manage the game, let other people win it. Is he to the point now where he’s a guy that can win games for us?
Brian Kelly: Yeah. I mean, I think what we wanted to make sure is that he got more experience, that we would let him take it as far as he was capable of. These kind of games you get a chance to see more of what he’s capable of. We saw the different throws, a sidearm throw on a big conversion to Chris Brown. He just made a lot of different throws, so poised in the pocket, some toughness, and handled the environment. So I think you can safely say that he can win games for you. He’s still going to need a better running game, a more consistent running game, and a receiving corps that’s going to have to support him better. But I think with all of those in play, he definitely can help us win football games each and every week.
Q. I know you have a 24-hour rule, but are you going keep your guys this week mad? Is forgetting about this weekend a positive or can it be a motivational thing moving forward?
Brian Kelly: Well, we’ve got to get right to work on Navy, but you don’t want to forget about losing an opportunity that we lost here and that should be with them because you can’t give away the opportunity. As I said, I’m not disappointed in our guys, I’m disappointed that they didn’t take advantage of the opportunity that they had this weekend, and that was to beat a team on the road in a tough place to play and overcome the elements. You know, you don’t want to repeat that and I hope that they never forget that.
Q. Max Redfield had 14 tackles last night, looked pretty feisty at times. I wondered if you could talk about maybe the trials he’s been through and how you feel like he’s evolving this season?
Brian Kelly: Had a great camp, outstanding camp. Really thought that at Texas he played well. Then obviously the broken hand set him back against Virginia. When we tried to play him, it was a major setback certainly, and then we get into Georgia Tech where we didn’t feel like we could play him. And then we’re trying to round him back into play, and then this past weekend probably played his best game since he’s been here at Notre Dame. So, you know, there’s a standard for him now on film for how he can play this game and hopefully we can continue on this track. Now we’ve got the film to show it against a very good competition against very good athletes, we can show him the kind of play that he’s capable of.
Q. I know that coaches like to take it one game at a time and Navy deserves all your focus, but after a game like this where there’s still a lot for this team out there, maybe even big, big things if they can finish strong and keep growing, do you talk big picture with them at this point or do you kind of let that gurgle in the background?
Brian Kelly: No, I met with the captains after the game and told them, you know, what they need to do to continue to work towards their goals and what their vision is for this football team. They can’t let an opportunity like this ever slip through their hands again. They’re going to have other opportunities like this and they’re going to happen every Saturday now because you can’t lose another game. You know, you’re on the clock now. Every single weekend you’re playing elimination football. So they know that and that’s the reality of where they are right now and they clearly understand what they need to do each and every week.
Q. Just a quick follow-up on the Kizer question. You learned a lot about him last night. What’s the next layer then of development for him, and do you feel like you can kind of coax him towards that without feeling like you’re overwhelming him?
Brian Kelly: Yeah, he’s got to be able to take some of the gifts, the easy throws that are out there for him. He has a tendency to want to hit a home run every play and there’s some easy throws out there that he can take, and that’s just the maturation and the development of a quarterback that takes what a defense gives him. I think that’s the next step in his development and that’s nice to be able to get to that level right now.
Q. Tough game last night. With the final minute when you guys scored that touchdown when you went for the two-point conversion, I was watching it on TV, explain to me. You went with the run. Was there an advantage thing with going for the run with Kizer or because you guys dropped that one and the first two-point conversion, the incomplete pass? Explain why would you guys go with the run instead of passing it? Was it because of the weather or what?
Brian Kelly: No, they were in their bracket defense, so they were three-on-two on our X and Z, and they were two-on-one on our W and they gave us a six-man box. So it was six for six and we led the back up inside and we didn’t do a very good job capping off the three technique. So we kind of stretched the play and we did a poor job of blocking their nickel. We really had a favorable look, it was the look that we were hoping to get. After throwing the ball successfully down there, they went into their pass-coverage defense. So it was the right thing to do was to run the football down there, and they executed better than we did on that particular play.
Q. Talk about Hunter and Robinson, looked like they got involved with the offense last night. Is that good to have them back in the offense?
Brian Kelly: Well, again, their plan was to really spend a lot of time on Fuller, and so that’s going to open up — you know, Carlisle had a big catch for us third down late in the game. It’s going to open up Hunter a lot, and obviously Corey’s got to play better for us. He knows that. He’s got to make some plays for us, but he’s going to be involved in the offense as well.
Q. Just wondering after the game you said (inaudible) was the story of this game. I just wanted to see how much of a role the decisions early in the fourth quarter contributed to the loss since you guys (inaudible)?
Brian Kelly: Well, I mean, you’re obviously looking at the situation after the fact. If you look at it after the fact, you can draw any conclusion that you would like. But I wasn’t — I didn’t have any of the information that you have right now after the fact. All I had was we were down and we got the chance to put that game into a two-score with a field goal. I don’t chase the points until the fourth quarter, and our mathematical chart, which I have on the sideline with me and we have a senior adviser who concurred with me, and we said go for two. It says on our chart to go for two. We usually don’t use the chart until the fourth quarter because, again, we don’t chase the points. We went for two to make it a 10-point game. So we felt we had the wind with us so we would have to score a touchdown and a field goal because we felt like we probably only had three more possessions. The way they were running the clock and probably get three possessions maximum and we’re going to have to score in two out of the three. So it was the smart decision to make, it was the right one to make. Obviously, you know, if we catch the two-point conversion, which was wide open, then we just kick the extra point and we’ve got a different outcome.