Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly USC Review Teleconference Transcript

Oct. 22, 2013

An interview with:

COACH Brian Kelly

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please, for Coach Kelly.

Q. Update on Tommy
COACH KELLY: Yeah, he’s feeling better today. Still a little sore. But it will be a day to day situation.

Q. Can you talk about how you thought he played before he was injured.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we liked the way he played. Felt we had the kind of mix that we wanted. We were running some tempo, some play action. He ran the ball, made some throws under duress. The things that we were looking for him to improve on after the Arizona State game, I thought he had done the things exactly the way we scripted them early in the game.

Q. I know at quarterback you’re always under scrutiny, from fans especially. Do you think after seeing what happened when he left yesterday, the fans might have more appreciation for what he does?
COACH KELLY: Again, I don’t really measure the way we look at him. We’ve kind of gone through this before. We just really talk about what Tommy does for us. We let our fans and those that evaluate, we let them come up with their own conclusions. We just don’t spend much time worrying about that stuff.

Q. When Hendrix comes in before Tommy is hurt in the first half, there was an off sides. That’s been frequent. What does he do? What causes that?
COACH KELLY: Well, there shouldn’t be. Really, I could give you a couple of reasons. But it’s inexcusable and it shouldn’t happen. We’re going to have to give him more reps with the first group because clearly when he goes in there with the first group, there is something in his voice inflection that’s a little bit different. We’re going to have to do a better job coaching that.

Q. 5 2, not ranked. One of the handful of times in Notre Dame that’s happened. Any thoughts on that?
COACH KELLY: Must be a conspiracy.

Q. With Tommy being day to day, how will you split the reps between the other quarterbacks?
COACH KELLY: Well, I haven’t really met with the offensive staff yet. Malik will have to get some reps obviously if Tommy can’t practice on Tuesday. We’re expecting that he can. If he couldn’t, hypothetically Malik would have to get as many reps as necessary to get him ready to compete. That’s something of a decision that we’re not ready to make at this time. But if hypothetically, again, Tommy was not able to practice on Tuesday, Malik would have to get enough reps that, again, he would be ready to compete on Saturday.

Q. How much did the mono set Malik back in terms of having him game or practice ready?
COACH KELLY: Well, it didn’t set him back as much as it gave Andrew more of an opportunity to solidify himself as the second quarterback. So Andrew was able to get all those reps and solidify himself in that position.

Q. I know when we’ve asked about Andrew, how he looks in practice, you’ve been fairly pleased. Obviously you’re probably seeing a different Andrew in practice versus Andrew in the game. Do you think that’s inexperience, nerves? What do you attribute that to?
COACH KELLY: I don’t think Andrew nor myself or Coach Martin could expect him not to perform at a higher level. I think he’s probably as disappointed as anybody. Those are basic things he’s got to do better. I think you could probably look at mechanics, the game, nerves, all those things. But he’s been in it too long for those things to affect him. He’s got to play better, period. He’s going to have to be challenged to play better, and he knows that.

Q. What happened with Shumate that he couldn’t play? How do you feel the safeties performed without him in there?
COACH KELLY: Hamstring on Thursday.

Q. How do you think the safeties performed without him?
COACH KELLY: Look, we’ve gone through a lot of guys back there. They’ve held their own back there, there’s no question.

Q. Jaylon Smith again looks like he continues to take a step forward with his play. What do you still want to see from him?
COACH KELLY: Well, he’s continuing to play with a lot more consistency. Zone coverage he continues to learn. He’s had a mistake here or there in terms of zone fits. That’s why we put a little bit more man with him. He’s still learning there. But, no, we love the curve that he’s on. I think every day’s a learning experience for him, every game that he plays, he picks up the nuances. The big picture stuff he’s grasping very well.

Q. From one voter to another, do you feel that Notre Dame is a top 25 team?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I’ve had us in the top 25.

Q. How much physical work, on fieldwork, does Tommy need for you to feel comfortable with him playing Saturday? A lot? A little?
COACH KELLY: I would say he’s got to have at least a couple of practice days where he’s leading the offense. We had this situation with Everett a couple of times. I’ve had it in times past where the quarterback really needs to get into a rhythm out there. We’re not at a point where we can afford to just roll out there on Saturday. He’s going to need a couple days of practice.

Q. Understanding that much, is he sort of at the point mentally where mentally it’s not a concern; he can absorb the game plan without the physical work, too?
COACH KELLY: Yes, this is more physical. He needs the physical work, the repetition. More than anything, he needs it with our receivers. Other than T.J. where he has a pretty good feel where T.J.’s going to be, he needs to work with all of our receivers. That would be the missing piece more than anything else, including the tightends.

Q. Joe Schmidt, how do you evaluate how he played yesterday?
COACH KELLY: Played hard. Next man in. Had a great tackle on a third down play. Then the fourth down play, jarred the ball loose. A great example of coming in, losing our middle linebacker in Jarrett Grace, a guy stepping up. Here is a guy that was a walk on that earned a scholarship. We had eight guys out of our two deep on defense. Here is a guy who steps in and makes two big plays for us. THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Have a nice Sunday, everyone.