Nov. 7, 2015

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Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly

Opening Comments:
“Pat Narduzzi’s team is well-coached, physical, and well-controlled. We needed to be very efficient on offense today, and we were. I think that was the difference today. We had big plays on offense. Will Fuller, DeShone Kizer, and then Josh Adams stepping in for us today. I think that was the best performance of our offensive line to date this year. Probably the most consistent performance for four quarters, and I think that was the difference today for us. That, and our offense really being able to be productive. In particular the scoring zone, where we had struggled, turning the ball over and not producing touchdowns. And we were able to do that. Again, a tough team to play, and we’re excited to win. Back to back weeks on the road is always difficult, and we get a chance now to go home for senior day, and we look forward to that.”

On the game plan against Pitt’s defense:
“We felt like the plan going into the game was to get matchups. If we could get [Will Fuller] matched up one-on-one, we wanted that. And then they give you opportunities to run the football, and we needed to do that.”

On whether this was Notre Dame’s most complete performance:
“I thought we played very well. I’m a little disappointed with some of the things that happened late in the game. We had a blown coverage, and then we were sloppy with the football. If you take those two mistakes away, I thought it was a good as we’ve played in some time.”

On attacking and exploiting the aggressiveness of the Pittsburgh defense:
“I thought early on in the game, the inside zones were important to us. I thought we handled the inside pressure well, we stayed on our blocks, we stayed on our feet and we didn’t fall off some of the fits. It was very important to have a running game. If you have a running game that can keep you away from the third and long situations where it gets a little scary against a Pat Narduzzi defense, you have a really good chance at getting some play action shots. And that’s what we were looking for, the play action shots. Against a third down dropback, it’s a hit or miss proposition. So the run game is absolutely crucial against this kind of defense, so you can get those shots down the field.”

On executing at the end of the first half:
“I thought it was really big, and Tyler Newsome really bounced back after a subpar performance against Temple. We were kind of hanging in at that 14-3, where we needed that big score. And of course we get it right before the half. It was a huge momentum lift.”

Wide Receiver Will Fuller

On his three touchdowns:
“It’s just another day at the office. I’m doing what I have to do. When the ball is in the air, it is my ball and it is my job to go get it.”

On holding record for second all-time receiving touchdowns at Notre Dame:
“I’m very humble. From being under recruited, I have to keep my mind and my head in the game in order to get the wins at the end of the day. I am going to do whatever it takes.”

On confidence before receiving the ball:
“I have a lot of confidence. DeShone [Kizer] is putting the ball out there perfectly for me. The chemistry is going to continue to get better between us.”

Quarterback DeShone Kizer

On Prosise injury:
“When we saw [CJ Prosise] go to the locker room, we knew it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight. At the same time, we knew we had two players ready to come in who had plenty of reps this season. Obviously, it goes to show when a true freshman rushes for 147 yards.”

On the offensive line’s “best game” this season:
“It was unbelievable. They executed our game plan all the way through. We knew that Narduzzi had some tricks he was going to throw at us, but we predicted them pretty well. The offensive line did a really good job executing.”

On trusting the offense for big plays:
“With [Will] Fuller, you can throw the ball up there and he always comes down with it. I happened to overthrow him a couple times, which was completely unacceptable on my part. You’ve got to get the ball into the playmaker’s hands to allow good things to happen.”

On Fuller’s record for second all-time receiving at Notre Dame:
“That’s a crazy statistic, but it doesn’t surprise me. The guy is very good. He’s fast and he runs his routes. He has a way of finding the ball and manipulating his body against a defender to get the ball in his hands.”

Defensive Lineman Romeo Okwara

On evaluation of defensive performance:
“We had a solid performance, but there is always room to grow. We have to keep getting better each and every day and keep practicing hard.”

On starting strong against a tough Pittsburgh team:
“We were very confident in our preparation. We got here on Thursday, had practice on Friday, and we were feeling pretty good after that. We knew we had to start fast in order to win the game.”

Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi Quotes:

Opening Comments:
“I’m never happy after a loss. Notre Dame is a good football team. In the three losses we’ve played this year we’ve played pretty good football teams and Notre Dame may be the best. Our kids continue to fight. I try to go around the locker room after a game and talk to every player. I tell them they’ve got to stick with it and keep fighting. Our kids are great kids and they are going to fight until the end.”

On getting behind early:
“We left a lot of plays on the field. We had too many dropped passes in the first half. I thought Nate Peterman played a good game, but we had too many dropped passes. We had too many opportunities we missed. Whether it’s falling on a fumbled ball in the first half or recovering a surprise onside kick, there were opportunities for us. We’ve just got to finish plays.”

On playing Jordan Whitehead at tailback for the first time this season:
“Maybe we should have started using him earlier. He had four carries and two touchdowns. Sometimes he doesn’t get touched. He’s an explosive player. He can be electric on offense. We just have to keep using him, so I imagine there will be more of that. It was time to try a new package and let Jordan play. It was something we thought about and it was the right time to do it.”

On the performance of the defense:
“We lost our leverage. We lost our leverage last week. We gave them an easy post pattern for a touchdown. When you are not stopping the run, it’s going to take a little away from your coverage. They have some options. They have some monsters out there. Both of their tailbacks are good. Their quarterback DeShone Kizer is a great player.”

On the injury to wide receiver Dontez Ford:
“He’s fine. He had a cramp. He’s okay.”

On preparing for Duke, the next opponent:
“You only get 12 guaranteed opportunities to play. Our kids are fired up. If you talk to the players they’ll tell you we’ve got an opportunity to go down and play Duke. We’re playing for an ACC championship. Notre Dame was not in our way to win an ACC championship. We’ve got to take care of business and go 3-0 the rest of the season.”

Pitt Safety Jordan Whitehead Quotes
On his first running play:
“Coach was just telling me that ‘he’s going to run it.’ He was serious about it and I knew he was and when I got my chance I was just trying to make something happen.”

On Balancing Offense and Defense:
“I’m comfortable with the defense now. I still have to make sure I do a little bit of extra study work every day, making sure I know the defensive side. Offense wasn’t too much and Nate Peterman helped me out.”

On the close loss:
“We had our chances and we didn’t execute on defense as well as we wanted to. I think we were ready for a game and we can’t take it back now.”

Pitt Defensive Lineman Ejuan Price

On being unable to recover two fumbles:
“It’s frustrating because to win a game like that against a quality opponent, you’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities and we left two on the ground. I got one in the fourth, but it was already put away. The two in the beginning could have really changed the game.”

On Pitt’s run defense:
“We came in with the mindset that we were stopping the run. The past couple weeks we haven’t been up to par on that so we tried to take that away from the beginning. They capitalized on other opportunities.”

On what needs to change for Pitt to win:
“We’ve just got to execute. The game plan is there. The coaches are doing their jobs. The players have just got to put it in. We’ve got to do what we’re supposed to do, me included. There were a couple times when I was supposed to squeeze and [the play] was hitting where I would normally be.”

Pitt Wide Receiver Tyler Boyd

On how Notre Dame made things tough on him:
“They were doing the same things as any other team. There were plays where I was open, there were plays where they we’re doubling me, but we’ve got to execute no matter who is on the field. If I’m not open, another guy should be. If I’m open, it should be coming my way, but either or, I’m a team player, and we should always make plays no matter what.”

On the competitiveness of the game:
“I believe that we’re a top contender. I believe that we were playing with them the whole game. We have got to continue to play fast and not start slow. If we don’t start slow in that game, and if I make that catch in the first quarter in the red zone, it might be neck-and-neck. You might never have known who would have pulled out the win.”

On rebounding off of their second straight loss:
“We’re going to start off like last week. Once we lose the coaches push us harder and harder. They don’t let anybody slack off. We’re going to go full-tilt. [Duke] will be coming off of a loss too, so both teams have got to go hard. Whoever works the hardest is going to come out on top.”

Pitt Quarterback Nate Peterman

On the lack of production early on between himself and Tyler Boyd:
“I know that I underthrew him on a deep-ball and it was kind of a rough collision too. They were playing tight coverage, but I have got to be better with my ball placement and put it only where [Tyler Boyd] can get it. He’s a great player and I needed to let him go up and make a play.”

On handling the frustration of having his receivers drop several passes:
“I didn’t play a perfect game either. I definitely had my flaws and my bad plays that really could have helped us win the game. I know when I go into practice I’m going to be working my tail off and demanding that from everybody else too. Our goals are still in front of us, and we want to be the best team that we can be and win all the rest of our games. We’ve got to go work hard for it.”

On meeting former Pitt Quarterback Dan Marino:
“I found out that I live right across the street from where he grew up. I left my house on Friday to go to the practice facility and he waved me down. I guess he was looking at his old place, but it was pretty cool. I didn’t expect to see Dan Marino on my street, or his street I guess. It was really cool see him that way and talk to him like that.”