Aug. 30, 2014
An Interview with: Coach Kelly
COACH KELLY: Pleased with our performance today. Our kids in particular, the way they went out and played fast. We didn’t play with a lot of hesitancy and that was really what we were looking for today is play to their athletic abilities and not let thinking get involved, too involved in what they were doing today.
And I know that sounds counterintuitive of what the game is with, but I wanted our guys to play fast today, don’t get out there and try to think too much. Rely on their instincts and rely on their techniques and to play fast and I thought they did that. I was really proud of their performance in that respect.
It was pretty clean, too. Only two penalties on the offensive side of the ball and defensively, very clean as a team, only two penalties and an opener. Didn’t turn the football over. Pretty good balance. There’s things that we’ve got to get better at obviously. Our communication in the back end of our defense was at times a problem which resulted in some big plays.
But, you know, we had great communication. Joe Schmidt does a great job of communicating. He’s an extension of Coach VanGorder on the field and it was great to see Joe. He did a great job there.
Obviously the story of Golson was electric. He kept his eyes downfield. Knew when to run, knew when to throw it, and those are things we really talked about. We didn’t want to over coach him in that we were going to allow him today to get outside the pocket and be a football player, and just naturally go play the game. And I thought he did that today extraordinarily well. He came back today and I think really showed the kind of player that he can be.
So, with that, open up to questions.
Q. Did your defense surprise you at all, or is this the kind of thing that you expected from them?
COACH KELLY: No, I thought as we progressed into camp and had settled into the past week or so, I like the physical play of our front four, Romeo, Trumbetti, Isaac Rochell has been extremely physical and difficult to move with our offensive line and of course we know Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones.
I just really thought that we were going to be able to hold up very well, and Joe Schmidt with Jaylon were outstanding. You’ve got those six guys; if they can hold up against the run, we’re going to be from pretty good shape, and I thought that was going to be the case and it ended up being it today.
Q. What ended up happening with Collinsworth and how long is he out, do you expect?
COACH KELLY: We were in a two minute drill on Thursday, and we threw a ball in the end zone and two guys went up for it and he came down awkwardly. He played the next play and it just tightened up on him. He’s got a grade two ligament
COACH KELLY: MCL. So those are usually two to four weeks depending on how guys respond. So we don’t expect to have him this week. There’s a chance we could have him for week three, but again, he had a PRP treatment on the weekend, so we’ll see what happens.
But you know, we’re hopeful three weeks, but it could be it could be Purdue; it could be bye week and then we get the bye week and so we’ll definitely get him back for the Syracuse game.
Q. May not be something you’re thinking about in the heat of battle but how did you feel about the way the field turf played today, especially when you got a little burst of moisture?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, you could see us make some defensive cuts out there today. Especially on punt return and our special teams game. Cody Riggs was able to stick his foot in the ground and get north and south. Greg Bryant was able to do that.
I thought that made some significant moves for our guys; the ability to cut. I thought it was, for us, you know, a really good surface to play on.
Q. Freshman Drue Tranquill got a good number of reps both on special teams and regular. Talk about what you’d seen from him in camp and why you felt so confident in using him today?
COACH KELLY: Well, he’s a physically strong, conditioned athlete. So he’s physically beyond his years condition wise and he carries himself not like a freshman. He’s just a highly conditioned athlete and physically strong that he can compete. His is just a learning curve of the game and the speed of the game. But we’ll get him ready and he’ll continue to play more and more football. Solid tackler.
I thought we did a really good job tackling today, too, because that’s one of the things that with all the concerns with head injuries, you don’t tackle quite as much. And I thought our guys did a great job tackling today and he’s a very good tackler.
Q. You mentioned “electric” with Everett. How impressed were you to see him perform the way he did today after missing all of last season?
COACH KELLY: Oh, I was just happy to see him have success. You know, he had a great confidence about him. For the last four or five days, he carried himself with a great deal of confidence; confidence with his teammates, and directing, really, the offense in a number of ways.
There’s a lot of things that he will tell you that he’s got to continue to improve on, but there’s a confidence that he carries with him that is starting to emanate, and that’s going to only get better and better as he gains more confidence.
Q. And on the hand off for what was supposed to have been a handoff to Bryant, what kind of happened there; do you know? COACH KELLY: Yeah, I’m sure (laughter) I’d rather not tell you who went the wrong way. We’re going to say that’s a trick play. (Laughter).
Q. Obviously the atmosphere was great today, home opener, fans were even wild during the pouring down rain. But next week, Michigan. What do you expect it to be like, or how much are your guys maybe already gearing up for that one?
COACH KELLY: Well, it counts the same as the Rice game. So we’ve already talked about, avoid the noise.
We’ve got a good locker room. The guys are focused on getting better. They know who they are playing. But it’s not going to get them any more ready by being distracted. They have got to focus on getting better and we’ll stick to our routine and our preparation and we’ll let y’all get excited about that game. But our guys, they want to play and it doesn’t matter who they are playing. It’s a pretty big group.
Q. You mentioned wanting to not over coach Everett; is that easy to do? And did he show you something to earn that in the last month that you could just let him go?
COACH KELLY: Yes, he knows how to protect himself relative to in the pocket. I think once I knew that he was not going to just take off and run, and that had to be earned.
He didn’t do a very good job in the spring game. I thought he showed a lack of discipline, and he’s earned it through camp that just said, let you go play. I think he earned that right for us to give him that opportunity to get out there and make plays on the perimeter.
Q. You touched on it a little bit, but how much was on Joe Schmidt today without Austin at the back? How much did that amplify what he had to do?
COACH KELLY: You know, he can’t make the checks back on the back end. So it just put more on Elijah Shumate and Max. But Joe can’t do anything really back there. He’s really taking care of the front and the calls.
Q. You were adamant your team was not going to be distracted by having the four guys here today
COACH KELLY: Five.
Q. Five guys. What did they show you today in that regard? What is sort of their resolve that that wouldn’t be a distraction to not
COACH KELLY: It wasn’t just today. They have shown this; they care about their teammates. That’s clear.
But they also know that they are here at Notre Dame to get a degree and to play for Notre Dame and represent Notre Dame on the football field.
So they have been really focused on their job and going out there. They have been really purposeful every single day. They have not been a distracted group and that says a lot about them. I’ve got good leaders, and I’ve got young guys that have really followed the lead here.
And like I told them, I was really proud of them today. I said before we get into talking about the win, I just want to tell you that I’m proud of the way you’ve handled yourself. And that means a lot moving forward. When your locker room has got that kind of resolve, good things are going to happen to you.
Q. You and the coaching staff have worked so hard during the off season on punt return and kickoff return. It certainly paid off today. Can you talk about that?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, you know, it was driven by personnel and it was driven by you know, again, wanting to improve in that area. I think we had 70 something yards in punt returns, and I think we only had 100 some the entire year last year. I think we’ve improved there. We need to do it consistently.
Cody Riggs was gassed and we had to take him out. He had not played that much football at Florida I think in a couple years. But Greg Bryant is fearless and does not know what a fair catch is (laughter). So all those people wondering why he was catching the ball, he came up with the, “I can’t hear you, my earplug is in.”
So we have got guys back there that are fearless, that will catch the football and stick their foot in the ground and get north and south, and that is absolutely crucial. And we have guys that are committed to covering people up. So we have got the want to and the resolve to do and we have to continue to do it.
Q. In that same vein, how much does that help your offense
COACH KELLY: You saw the starting position vis a vis special teams and starting position over the last couple years was absolutely miserable. I mean, we were dealing with average starting field position somewhere in the 20s.
Now when you’re at the 40 , 45 yard line, it makes it a whole lot easier to control the flow of the football game. Special teams is going to be key in that and that will help us in yardage wise, help us win football games. We’ll continue to work on that. We think we have some good young players on those teams and we think we have a balance with veterans, as well.
Q. How well did Jarron Jones hold up and Daniel Cage in terms of spelling him?
COACH KELLY: We played Cage quite a bit. I’ll have to look at the film but we were pretty solid inside, so my guess is we I didn’t hear a lot when I was in talking with the defensive coaches, in particular, Coach Elston. Felt like the rotation inside was pretty good.
Q. You talked about wanting to let the guys play a little bit and not overthink things. Is that the message throughout the year or is that the game plan for a team that you match up pretty well with?
COACH KELLY: No, I think we are going to have to bring our brain. I mean, we can’t just run around. We are going to have to be better mentally. We’ll have to bring both.
Today was more of a message of, first game, let’s not be out here and feeling our way through it. Let’s go play. But no, we’ll have to bring a complete game and that is attention to detail. We have to know our game plan. We can’t make some of the mistakes that we made today. And I think we will.
But we needed to get some confidence today and I think we got some confidence from our younger players that need to do a better job relative to communication.
Q. You mentioned the two penalties and no interceptions, pretty clean game for you guys, is that maybe even cleaner than you might have expected for a season opener?
COACH KELLY: You always go in wanting to be clean and not be sloppy. I can’t remember a game that I only had two penalties for ten yards.
So I don’t think I went in here with the expectations that we only have two false start penalties and both of them were contributed by the quarterback not snapping the ball when he was supposed to.
So really, I just didn’t want it to be sloppy. I expected a few penalties. It was pretty clean.
Q. A quick personnel question. I think you had Hanratty at guard instead of Hegarty. Was Hegarty injured?
COACH KELLY: No. Just that was a game time decision Harry made and I felt like he earned the start.
Q. You alternated your running backs every series there, but kept them in throughout the series. Is that kind of the best of both worlds, where you allow them to get in a rhythm and also get their rest?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we are trying to figure that out, as well. We don’t have an exact science. I wish I could be that smart. But we are really trying to figure out how to get them the carries that they all deserve, and also keep them in the flow of the game.
So we’re really trying to sort that and figure that out, as well, because they are all deserving of carries. We all believe that they bring something to the game and that’s what we kind of felt like that was the best way to start this game and that process that you’ve just outlined.
Q. And the evolution of Everett Golson, a couple years ago, it seemed there wasn’t a confidence throwing over the middle, in addition to the touchdown to Fuller, there was three pass plays that gained 30 yards or so. How has that developed in his game, too?
COACH KELLY: Just understanding his moving keys; understanding what he’s looking at. And when you start to understand defenses and your movement keys, you can start to rip the ball into areas where you’re not normally throwing the football with that great deal of comfort. And you can see when the ball hits he threw to Corey, he was the third receiver on that play, and that was a progression check that he normally, a few years ago, he would never have thrown.
Q. You talked already about the balance that you showed on offense and you also spread the ball all around. Is that something you were want to go establish or is that a by product of how they played?
COACH KELLY: No, I think that, and I kind of alluded to it: I don’t think we are going to have one particular guy that’s going to eat up all the catches.
I think that that’s what you’re going to see, is that the identity, if you will, of this team, is there’s not one guy. It’s going to spread all the way across the board. Everybody is going to get touches. You’re going to have three running backs; you’re going to a couple of tight ends; you’re going to have four or five wide receivers all catching footballs for us.
We have got guys that have speed. We have got guys that can catch the football. Will Fuller is going to take the top off of any defensive secondary. He’s got elite speed. You know, you’ve got Chris Brown who will catch the ball. Corey Robinson is a great match up. They all have different skills but they all can help us in so many ways. So I think you’ll see that as a consistent pattern across the board each and every week.
An Interview with: Everett Golson
Everett Golson: Happy to be back out there. We showed our character, what we want to be on offense and how offense is going to be electric and I think we were electric today. But there’s still some stuff we have to clean up.
Q. How confident were you feeling?
Everett Golson: Pretty confident. I was thinking to myself earlier, it felt completely different than 2012.
Q. Coach Kelly said something about not want to go over coach you. Do you understand what he was talking about and do you like that?
Everett Golson: Yeah, I think so. I think Coach Kelly trusts me a lot due to the fact that I’ve shown a lot of progress and he kind of gives me a little bit more hands on and allows me to come to him have a conversation telling me what to do.
Q. And he said he wants to call it a trick play, the one where Bryant went a different way from the hand off.
Everett Golson: I’ll agree. I’ll agree. Yeah, I just think tried to make something happen (Laughter).
Q. That kind of worked out, seemed like all of a sudden Rice was back on their heels.
Everett Golson: Yeah, I think it was a good play to be honest. I was a little fortunate. I think Rodney put me in a little bit the line did a great job, as well.
Q. When you first heard the crowd roar and your name on the speaker, what was that like?
Everett Golson: That was big. That goes back to the community we’ve got here and supporting it was good and it was kind of just kind of a sense of accomplishment at the beginning, just knowing that everything is transpiring and I’m back here now. So it was a good feeling.
Q. How much fun are you having out there with touchdowns
Everett Golson: It was good. It was fun now.
Q. When you think about next week’s opponent and the fans are going to be buzzing, what’s going through your head now with Michigan?
Everett Golson: Just to prepare. We’ve got to prepare for Michigan just like we did Rice. I don’t think I get into all of the hype of the game and things like that. But at the same time, you have to take care of business and you have to prepare. Michigan got a great football team. It’s going to be a tough one but I’m ready for it.
Everett Golson: You have to. Coming here, Michigan inaudible.
Q. What did you feel like you accomplished working
Everett Golson: I think I needed to polish a lot of things. There was a couple throws where I stayed in there and made a throw. That’s what is in my mind now, but I think just being more on timing I think a lot of stuff today, I was kind of getting out of the pocket and making plays and having the guy scramble and things like that. Definitely going to get the timing down and be more precise.
Q. The big plays in the pocket
Everett Golson: I think the emphasis for us was just to go vertical. The first couple drives, we didn’t do that necessarily. But yeah, we worked on vertical this week and we got the tools to do it. Once you got a the chance to be successful.
Everett Golson: I think I felt pretty comfortable from the beginning. I don’t know if you necessarily told me like I said before, that’s one of those things where you’ve just got to stay at it. I think he did a great job of doing that and came out pretty good.
Q. When you went away for that long
Everett Golson: I had to. I think that’s what inspired me to do all the training and all those days of me just working out by myself. I’m looking forward now. I think that’s what helped me.
Q. What felt different versus two years ago?
Everett Golson: I have to say confidence. I think there’s areas where I could clean up, like I was just talking about with footwork and things like that. But I think overall confidence.
Q. The last four or five days, picking things up a notch why did that happen in the last week?
Everett Golson: I guess maturing and understanding what they were doing. It goes back to me the coaches getting me ready for the game. So I think that’s what allowed me to be so confident.
Q. Did you feel differently this week?
Everett Golson: Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, man, it was definitely good. We kind of called it payday. You know, you go through all the spring, through all the cold and everything for a moment like this. It’s definitely payday for us.
Everett Golson: It was definitely good. I was just thankful for my teammates. They came out with a lot of enthusiasm. They played loose and because of that, I think that’s why we were successful.
Q. You talked about getting more comfortable running the ball, but your rushing touchdowns today, was that a different feeling for you today running the football?
Everett Golson: I don’t think I can’t really describe it. It’s kind of one of those things for me, cool, everything breaks down, you’ve got to go. You’ve got to make something happen today with the coverages they were playing.
Q. The third touchdown, what happened on that play?
Everett Golson: I guess I just didn’t want to hit it off inaudible.
Q. While you were away
Everett Golson: I appreciate that it. I think, yeah, like I said, it’s preparation so I gained confidence, really taking the time to study film and really taking time to study my mechanics. It gave me confidence.
Q. Sometimes we want you to play more freely and not think as much and just run around and be an athlete; do you feel more free to do your own thing and make plays than maybe in past years?
Everett Golson: I think so. It goes back to the knowledge couple times where we would take a run from the inside to the other. Just comes from me being more knowledgeable and guys wanting me to be more knowledgeable about it and everybody being on the same page.
Q. First play, 75 yards, the touchdown pass to Will Fuller, can you talk about what you saw in that one?
Everett Golson: Definitely he ran a post. Will is a guy with tremendous speed. I definitely didn’t want to over throw. So I kind of throw him over to the middle instead and he made a good play.
Q. You mentioned confidence getting outside the pocket, is it better now with the offense
Everett Golson: Yeah, I think so. I think we have better knowledge that allowed me to stay in a there a bit longer. I saw a couple things where they were three down just goes back to preparation. They are going three down I knew if they were doing a certain coverage, I wasn’t going to have nothing, so you have to make a play.
Like I said the coaches did a great job of preparing us well for this game. You kind of go, I like call it get the ball move quicker because you know exactly what you’re getting.
Q. A couple players talk about the first hit in their first game back was it just like, all right, shrug it off and let’s go, now I’m back?
Everett Golson: Yeah, I can’t even remember I don’t know, I like to think of myself as kind of a tough guy. I mean, a lot of that stuff is kind of dirty, me getting hit and things like that. Like we came in at half time and it’s like, oh, yeah, saw you got hit, that type of thing. But yeah, it was definitely good to get back out there.
Q. Seeing yourself as a passing quarterback, when did it become almost instinctive for you?
Everett Golson: Yeah, I think like I said, just knowing the coverage, knowing what you’ve got. If you don’t have anything, a lot of things they are doing they drop eight a lot, so when they do that, open things up for the quarterback so I just try to take advantage of that.
Q. Take me through the long touchdown to Will and what you saw.
Everett Golson: Basically quarter was up and Will did a great job just kind of subbing and I was cutting and like I said, Will is one of those guys with tremendous speed and once you get an open field, you’ve definitely got to give him the ball.
Q. How great can the offense be when it finds this type of balance?
Everett Golson: I think it can be really good. Like you said, Greg had a great day a couple big runs.
Q. I know you guys don’t look ahead and take it one day at a time, but a big one next week, talk about how the expectations and attitudes change?
Everett Golson: I think we are going to prepare just as we did this week. I’ve always tried to prepare the same way and we understand that it’s Michigan obviously and it’s going to be a great team but you have to prepare the same way as you would any other team.
Q. The field was a little wet; did it work well?
Everett Golson: It was good for me. I grew up with turf back home, so it was kind of one of those things that I was happy for. So it was good for me.
I think it helps us be more diverse in what we do the backs that we have, allow us to be very diverse and play we can play any type of weather, can control the tempo of the game, whether it’s going fast or whether it’s slowing it down. I think that is what helps us a lot and to be really diverse.
Q. What about what a play breaks down and it’s not open you have a wide open field, how are you communicating?
Everett Golson: It’s not really it’s something that you can’t I like to think it’s a thing you can’t teach. It’s one of those things that in the off season, that’s what builds that. It’s kind of one of those things that’s just, get open it’s just find a way to get open. I’ve seen a couple of times where they are running, I’ll cut and run and take it all the way back and they just come into my business. So I think we do a great job of that, just getting open and being more disbursed with doing that.
Q. Do you try to make eye contact? How does that work?
Everett Golson: Just really get open and throw your hand up or whatever it is see them getting open and stuff like that.
Q. When did you think you earned that
Everett Golson: I do not know. I don’t know at all.
Q. He said it was in camp, you learned how to protect
Everett Golson: That’s a privilege. That’s a privilege to finally not for sure. I think it just comes with him trusting me a little bit more and me having more knowledge about the game, that type of thing and me being a little bit older. I think he trusts me a little bit more and so I think that allows him to kind of take the reins off a little bit.
Q. Coach Kelly mentioned you had a lack of discipline in the spring game. What’s changed?
I think me trying to be more polished. I think in the spring, a lot of things more moving for me, just getting back, that type of thing and timing wasn’t necessarily the best. But that’s why you have the off season and that’s why you have that time to really and learn things like that.
An Interview with: Will Fuller On taking a larger role on offense this year…
“It felt good. Playing a lot more is a lot different for me, especially after last year, but it definitely felt a lot better.”
On his touchdown…
“It was actually a post that I ran. I realized that I had the guy beat probably at the break point. I made him slip his hips, and I thought I had him beat after that.”
On his comfort with the offense…
“I definitely feel more comfortable with the offense, I’m not just running only go routes anymore.”
An Interview with: Nick Martin
On Everett Golson’s performance…
“He’s a playmaker, and if we protect him up front, he’s going to make plays. That’s our job. We just follow him, and I know I have to get in front of my man to give him as much time as possible.”
On the snap infraction penalty…
“I have the ball, I’m going to put that on me. It starts with me, I have the ball in my hands, and I have to get it to Everett. We’ve been working on it, and Everett’s been doing a great job.”
On the overall performance of the team…
“Obviously, you don’t want to go three and out on the first couple of drives, but when it came down to it, we played well in the end. We made plays when plays needed to be made, and things happen, but I really think we came together as a team today.”
An Interview with: C.J. Prosise
On what was going through his mind on his second touchdown…
“I was just thinking about catching the ball. I was just keeping my eyes on the ball.”
On what his tactics to make catches…
“Just get out of the pocket. I saw his [Everett’s] arm go up, and I didn’t think I was going to catch this one.”
An Interview with: Sheldon Day
On whether the team is distracted by the missing five teammates…
“It’s about focusing on game one. It shows that we can overcome adversity.”
On getting used to the new players and positions on defense…
“I kind of play under the same expectations too, but it’s definitely different trying to get after the quarterback for them. You can’t really attack because we were worried about the running backs. But they made a good effort. To see kids like that is definitely good.”
An Interview with: Joe Schmidt
On the absence of Austin Collinsworth…
“Obviously, I love Austin. I love playing with him. But at the same time, I think Elijah Shumate came in and he had a lot of awesome calls, a lot of awesome plays, so I think he did really well. I’m not going to take anything away from Elijah Shumate today. “
On the absence of five teammates…
“It says a lot about our leadership team. I think as a team, we did a really good job of making sure we were all on point. There are always going to be distractions. People are going to be saying you should look at this, look at that, this guy’s not here, this guy got hurt. We’re always going to be faced with that kind of adversity, so I think that we did an awesome job. I think we did a great job kind of focusing everyone and not letting that distract us.”
On stepping up in the absence of Collinsworth…
“I feel that way in every game. I don’t want to say that because Austin wasn’t out there, it felt any different. Elijah and Austin are two different players, so I just wanted to make sure we were clear and concise. We spent a lot of extra time the past couple of days, me and Elijah, making sure we were on the same page. I think it paid off today.”
An Interview with: Cody Riggs
On the absence of Collinsworth…
“Austin’s our leader. He was on the sideline coaching guys up and making sure everyone knew what they were supposed to do. Having him on the sideline was really helpful. He’s a leader, and although we miss him, he does a great job of making sure everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing even though he’s hurt right now.”
On Elijah Shumate and Max Redfield stepping up…
“I think they did a really good job. Elijah and Max played really well, which is what I expected. They had really great camps. They played exactly to their abilities.”
On playing aggressively…
“Any corner wants to lockdown their side. Cole [Luke] did a great job. I was able to contain my side. We take pride in that.”
An Interview with Rice Head Coach Bailiff
COACH BAILIFF: Let me tell you first, I think Coach Kelly and his staff and his football team did a great job today. They are an amazing organization, a lot of class. They are very well coached and my hat is off to them.
I think one of the things, we came here dreaming big. We came here wanting to win this football game. And I think there was times today where we showed we were a pretty good football team but you can’t go into a venue and drop an interception and have two turnovers and have some foolish penalties. You can’t do that when you play a team like Notre Dame.
We had to be at our best today but we weren’t. I tell you, I think Golson is just an amazing, amazing quarterback, the choices he makes, the way he can extend the play. You know, some of that, that score off our turnover right before the half, that was a direct result of we blitzed that, and that was a direct result of him being able to extend that play where the blitz couldn’t get to him; and we left our corner on the island for too long where he got separation. What’s what great quarterbacks do and that’s what he did.
We’ll be okay. We’ll take this video — like I said, we were very close today on a lot of opportunities. Baker dropped that one interception and had an opportunity I think to score points. But you can’t miss those type of opportunities and we did.
Proud of the effort that we played, that Rice played with today. We’ll watch this football tape, and we’re going to get better, and I’m glad we opened with a team like Notre Dame. If we want to be the best, you’ve got to open with the best and I think that’s what the University of Notre Dame is, and like I said, we’re still dreaming big and we’re going to be all right. It’s going to be a great ’14 for the Rice Owls.
Q. Could you characterize Driphus’s performance today at still a very early stage in his career as a starter.
COACH BAILIFF: Yeah, I was really, obviously didn’t like the turnover right there before the half. Wish we had that back. But I was pleased. I think Driphus made a lot of drops today. I thought Driphus did some really good things today, and we’ll build on the video with him. I thought early we had a hard time establishing the running game. We’re getting second and ten, second and long. Once we started being more productive on first downs where we were getting second and mediums, I thought Driphus was very efficient. I thought he made — when he runs the football, I thought he made some good choices with the football. We just can’t turn it over right before the half and let them just air it out.
Like I said, I think Driphus faced a top defense in the country today and we’ll be better because we did that.
Q. Billy Lynch is an Indiana guy. What does he bring to your coaching staff? What are his strengths?
COACH BAILIFF: First I’ve got to tell you this: We changed his immigration status to Texican on his one year anniversary there. He used to claim it, but he’s got a certificate now that says he’s a hundred percent Texan.
I’ll tell you what he is: He’s a young man that has old man wisdom from his dad and his brothers being in this game. Incredible the energy he brings to practice, to a game, but it’s also incredible at his age the knowledge that he has. He’s very creative. I think he’s got the skill set to be a great head coach some day and we’re really fortunate to have him.
Q. Can you talk about their defensive scheme and personnel?
COACH BAILIFF: They did a good job of changing their fronts from a four down to three down, what we were calling a big 50. I think it led to some problems just for us identifying what they were doing. I was very pleased. I thought they were very sound on that side of the football today. We had the one big play late but that was really late in the game. Thought they were very sound and played with a great effort, and when you look at a defense, that’s what you rate them on really is first their effort and their execution. I thought they did a good job and didn’t make a lot of mistakes today. Tackled well in space. They tackled a lot better than we hoped they would.
Q. Did you watch tape of Golson in 2012?
COACH BAILIFF: Sure.
Q. How much improved was he?
COACH BAILIFF: Yeah, I think he was — just the decisions, the way he can extend plays. He was a dynamic player a year ago. That’s why played him in that big game. He’s taken that year off. You can tell he’s matured. You can tell he’s studied the game and he’s a much more complete quarterback than he was. I think the decisions come to him a lot faster on what’s presented to him. I was very impressed with him today.
Q. Next week you face a quarterback
COACH BAILIFF: Next week we have a get better week, and then we go A&M. So that’s two weeks away. We’ll have our hands full. I didn’t see any of that game the other night but I did see the scoring and stats.
Q. Anything specific that stood out to you as something you can be better at?
COACH BAILIFF: Well the deep ball. Obviously we didn’t have very good deep ball security, and that’s something any play coach — someone you’d better have. That first deep ball they hit us on was off a play action pass, and our safety’s eyes went through the backfield and they got behind us. You have got to make sure they have very disciplined eyes. Those are the little things I’m talking about that we have got to improve on when you play Texas A&M. But that’s just one second; the guy looks the wrong way, you have to have discipline with your eyes, and you have to stay on top of that route. That’s what playaction does to it and we have to keep working at it. And that’s me, we have to keep repping it and repping it and repping it until we have enough discipline that our eyes don’t stray.
Like I said, just know we came here to try to win a football game. We’re going to build on this and we’re actually going to be okay. Looking forward to this season. Thank y’all very much.
An Interview with Rice Quarterback Driphus Jackson
On the offense’s performance…
“It wasn’t a good day. I’m pretty disappointed in the way we played. We just didn’t respond. We didn’t catch the ball. You have to put your receivers in a position to make plays, and some of those plays I gave them and some I didn’t. If there was anything we took away from this, we can’t compete like this with these guys on this level, we just have to make plays.”
On Notre Dame missing starters…
“[It would] not really [be any easier]. I mean this is Notre Dame. You know they have depth. I wasn’t really concerned at the beginning–I knew I was up for the task of trying to get my receivers the ball. I think that No. 2 [Cody Riggs], the kid who transferred from Florida, he’s a baller. He is really good and kudos to him. As far as No. 9 [Jaylon Smith], the linebacker, he is great too. I feel that he played really well, and he managed the defense well. He was really quick, and I was surprised by how big he was. But I feel like we could compete with these guys. That was the biggest thing. I feel like we didn’t show up as the offense. All we can do is get better from here.”
On the performance of Cody Riggs… “He was impressive. You could see that we really had a hard time getting a press on him. And when he did get beaten a little bit, he would likely catch up. At one point in particular, I was going to the side and he jammed up my receiver. That’s really a tribute to him. I felt like I was really holding onto the ball a bit too long because I was waiting on a receiver and that caused me to get sacked. I think that is more him than my offensive line giving me up.”
An Interview with Rice Safety Gabe Baker
On what he saw from Notre Dame’s offense…
“We knew they were going to be bigger than us. We knew it was all about what we can do for ourselves and handle us. We could not worry much about what they were going to do but worry about what we were going to do.”
On having to cover receivers so long…
“We had a few situations where we were on them for the intital rush and the play extends for a couple seconds then it isa game of pick up ball and [Everett Golson] just launches it up there. It is a lot of pressure on the secondary but we just have to make the plays either way.”
On tough opponents to start the season…
“There are many positives that come from this. I feel like we were a few big plays from making it an even more competitive game. They had two turnovers, we did not have any. On our part, we missed many tackles. Putting all those together would change the game tremendously. These games are all about momentum and I would say right before halftime we turned the ball over and they got a touchdown; that changed the dynamic of the game. Moving forward we have a lot of confidence in what we can do. Limit the mistakes, make tackles, and get turnovers.”