Nov. 19, 2011

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An interview with: COACH KELLY

COACH KELLY: Pretty happy locker room, great win for us, kids persevered played hard for 40 quarters. We asked ’em to play hard for four quarters and they did that tonight. Just a satisfying win as a football coach to see your teams battle. We’ve overcome a lot of things and just a really nice victory for our football team today.

Q. Brian, can you update us on Jonas’ status?

COACH KELLY: Knee injury. We’ve got him immobilized right now. He’ll get an MRI tomorrow and we’ll know more on Monday.

Q. Can you evaluate Tommy’s play today?

COACH KELLY: We won again. I think he’s 12 2 as a starter. That’s pretty good. I don’t know if you guys know that, 12 2, pretty good as a starter.

Q. Brian, could you comment on how your field position was awful all day. Comment on how that impacted your offense.

COACH KELLY: Give credit to Boston College, now, they played well today. Coming in 3-7, this was their ballgame and they played hard, and Coach Spaziani had his kids playing hard, but the field position was difficult to manage, and the weather. The weather conditions were hard and blustery, so we had to manage.

We knew what kind of game this was going to end up being, and it certainly turned out that way.

Q. Brian, do you have any type of feel of Jonas’ injury? He’s been a key player and NBC reported that it was an ACL. COACH KELLY: They know more than I do, and I was just in the training room with our doctors. They want to get an MRI and get a good look at that.

Q. You talked earlier in the week about the two linebackers, and I don’t know how much watching the ball and calling the plays you got to see, but they had a classic battle today. Can you talk about what you saw? COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think I mentioned to Alex Flannigan before we went on NBC, both those guys are going to be all over the field tonight. I knew Kuechly would be, he went sideline to sideline and Manti played great. It was just good college throwback, gritty, tough, last position stop. It was good stuff.

Q. Brian, I guess overall your defense. Obviously with the exception of two drives

COACH KELLY: Yeah, they give up 250 yards in total offense.

I think two drives, you know, we got into two third down situations that they converted on the first score and the last score. We got into some dime where they ran the ball and had a couple of plays. But if you look at it, we kicked the ball out of play, started on the 40, got 15 yard personal foul penalty, and that put ’em in a good position.

But defense played very, very stout today, found a way to win. We had Harrison Smith in the infirmary last night, getting IVs. We had Zack Martin out, Stephon Tuitt couldn’t play because of illness. R.J. Blanton didn’t practice for two days because of illness, and I didn’t give you all the injuries, Braxston Cave, Kap Lewis.

My point is this: Those kids stepped up in November and with a lot of guys out found a way to win.

Q. 410 yards of offense obviously certainly isn’t bad, but it didn’t translate into points. Did Boston College have good

COACH KELLY: I think they are a good defensive group. Field position had a great deal to do with it, the weather, and clearly we missed a lot of opportunities, but Boston College played well.

Q. Coach, 4th and 1 at their 40. How much did the field position, the weather and everything else tie into that decision to punt?

COACH KELLY: What played into it mostly was that our defense was playing really, really well and they had been playing on a couple of short fields. I felt like we owed them the opportunity to play with a better field position situation. As you know we ended up stop og that, translated into us scoring points.

It worked out. Unlike everybody else in the stands I wanted to go for it, too. But I had to be prudent in that situation, and I felt like the best decision there was to give our defense the opportunity to go back out there on a long field.

Q. Brian, with everything that you’ve just said about all of the injuries and the bad field position, fair to say that you probably wouldn’t have won this game last year?

COACH KELLY: I really don’t know. All I can do is judge it on the way that our kids have battled since being 0 2. They started the season 0 2, won 8 out of 9 games, and winnig is hard in college football. You watch across the landscape, there is one team undefeated, maybe two. It’s hard to win.

Our guys have again, a tough game, the atmosphere was great, our fans were great, but B.C. played good football, too. You’ve got to win some of these games. I’ve been in a lot of them over 20 years, and to win a lot of games you’ve got to take a couple of these, and we’re excited about it.

Q. Brian, if something were to happen with Cierre, would George have been the next man?

COACH KELLY: George most likely, George and Cam, they share a similar knowledge base of what’s going on and they’re probably going to have to be ready to go next week against Stanford.

Q. Looked like a lot of guys came up to Jonas on the sideline. How is he taking this?

COACH KELLY: He talked to the team after. He’s a great young man, you know, it’s just it’s emotional when you don’t know if you’re going to be able to play your last game or not. It’s still uncertain until he get more medical information. There is a lot of emotions in that locker room.

Q. The scholarship and 5th year of David Ruffer paid off, he got it going.

COACH KELLY: Yeah, his perseverance, sticking with it. Kyle is going through that same mental, you know, wall, if you will, of breaking through, and David stuck with it, broke through it, and he’s been obviously great the last month.

Q. Talk about the others quickly. How important was Ben Turk in the game?

COACH KELLY: I think he did really well. As you know, the kind of game it was, I think he had 8 punts, they had 9. College football has all these things, and it’s not always about up and down the field, sometimes you got to block and tackle and grind it out and find a way to win. I just like the way our guys now understand how to win games. In November, it’s hard to win unless you’ve got a great mental outlook, and our guys do, and they have overcome so many injuries late, and they keep battling. That’s satisfying as a football coach.

An interview with: FRANK SPAZIANI

COACH SPAZIANI: First of all congratulations to Notre Dame, they have a very good football team, well coached, good players and obviously a great venue. We’re very disappointed. Questions?

Q. (Away from mic.)

COACH SPAZIANI: We had one time out left there at the end. It was a matter of where you’re going to get the ball with 10 or fifteen seconds left.

Q. What do you think your team could have done better to progress in the game and get ahead at least?

COACH SPAZIANI: What could we have done better to progress in the game to get ahead? We had chances.

We needed a couple of heroes, needed somebody to step up and make some plays. That’s the difference when you’re playing a good football team like that when they have fire power and they are well coached, you’ve got to make play’s. We had our chances.

Q. Coach, do you talk about the difference between Chase when he was gettin’ into a bit of rhythm the first half and then in the second half when he had 10 incompletions?

COACH SPAZIANI: It’s a combination of things, until I look at it on tape. We missed a couple, they put some pressure on us and the combination of those, we got ourselves off rhythm and we got into seemed to me we got into a little bit of a go back and throw game, which is not ours.

It makes it a little more difficult to complete passes under those circumstances.

Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit about your defensive game plan? You seemed to give Rees some trouble.

COACH SPAZIANI: First of all, we know who we are and what we have and how we have to play so that’s how we start every week out. We were able to do a couple of things, and I don’t know whether we gave him trouble or not, whatever, but our guys had a good game plan and we needed to make a couple of plays there.

Q. Coach, can you talk about Luke? He broke a record today, as far as tackles go.

COACH SPAZIANI: First of all, I think he’s I think he’s the best football player in the country.

Once again, I guess you’ve got to look to where I’m coming from but he’s just a great football player and there is a lot of great football players on that field. Week in, week out, play in, play out, he shows up. I know he’s up for a lot of awards, and I think he’s deserving of all of ’em. I think he should get ’em.

Q. Coach, can you talk about Tahj Kimble getting a majority of the plays today?

COACH SPAZIANI: We have always liked Tahj and the way our running game was set up. It was set up better for Tahj’s skill set, and we were trying to get the ball to the backs in certain situations, too.

It just worked out that way, and we had three good backs we like. Today was Tahj’s day to carry the ball more than usual.