Nov. 1, 2015

Brian Kelly

Q. Mark May and some other people this morning were saying that they thought you owed David Grimes an apology for what you did last night. Wanted to see if you felt you owed him an apology.
Brian Kelly: They don’t know what happened. It’s typical of those that are just looking at the video without having any of the information. You know, only those that are clearly near the situation that have all the information can make those judgments. It’s an internal matter, and we’re handling it internally.

Q. You’re not going to say whether you’ve taken any action against David Grimes?
Brian Kelly: Like I said, we’re handling it just like anybody else would handle personnel matters: Internally. Those aren’t for public notice. We’ll handle those matters internally.

Q. With Alizé, Will said after the game that he has the best hands on the team or some of the best hands on the team. Is that something you’ve seen kind of show itself out in practice where he’s begun to gain a little more confidence?
Brian Kelly: Yeah, I think it’s just getting more familiar with the offense and understanding his place within the offense, routes, protections, you know, run game. It’s just a freshman that we know has got really, really a great skill set, but sometimes it just takes a little while. He’s got great hands. He’s got great athletic ability. He’s going to be a really, really fine football player for a number of years here, and he’s starting to feel more comfortable and gaining more confidence every day.

Q. The throw DeShone made before he found Will where it was like a 3rd and 5 and he just kind of side-armed flings it out to Will Fuller, what did that throw kind of show you about DeShone’s ability late in the game to make a play there?
Brian Kelly: Yeah, I think that’s a very big play that some people wouldn’t look at as — to me the mature quarterback makes that play. He stays with it, lets Will kind of find himself open, and shows great patience and changes his arm angle and makes a throw off-balance. It just says a lot about DeShone’s maturity and trust in his own ability in finding Will Fuller because that was probably in my opinion one of the best throws he made all night.

Q. Will you guys plan to appeal Elijah’s suspension for the first half of the Pitt game?
Brian Kelly: Yeah, there is no appeal process.

Q. You talked a little bit last night about sort of getting guys in better positions, and I would imagine the red zone offense is part of that. How much do you think Alizé’s growth through November can kind of be a solution there as you try to up the efficiency in that part of the offense?
Brian Kelly: You know, I think — I don’t think that there’s one thing in particular that has to increase our efficiency there. It’s a little bit of everything. You know, if you look at the two turnovers, you know, we have a missed protection. DeShone gets us in the right protection and we don’t fan out. He was expecting to have that picked up, and we hit the crossing route on that and pick up a big 1st down.

The interception, I think Will has got to be a little more friendlier on that route, so the two turnovers there, of course we go back to two weeks ago and we get a fumble down there.

So I don’t know it’s one guy. Certainly Alizé is — a big body guy like that is going to certainly help you down there; there’s no question about that. But I don’t know if it’s one guy that changes it as much as we just have to be better as an overall unit, and we just made too many mistakes down there.

Q. I was curious about the first pick. Is CJ supposed to pick that guy off the edge or is DeShone supposed to see him and then dump it off?
Brian Kelly: No, our right tackle is supposed to fan out for him, and that’s what I was referring to. DeShone had made a great check. He checked the protection, and we just didn’t fan out. So DeShone felt like he was going to be protected in that situation.

Again, it’s the whole unit; all 11 guys have got to lock in and execute a whole lot better in those circumstances.

Q. I’d imagine the next week it has to be Max and Matthias as your two starting safeties against Pittsburgh for the first half?
Brian Kelly: Yes. Yep.

Q. I wonder if you think that your team has the potential to be a top-four team, and if so, what improvements do you think they need to show to kind of get there?
Brian Kelly: Well, I think just what Pete and I just talked about: Better red zone efficiency. I think this game was a two-touchdown game against a very good Temple football team. That was the 20th, 21st ranked team in the country, playing on the largest stage that they’ve played on the road. You just look across college football, a lot of close games with a lot of really good football teams playing in them.

So you know, cleaning up obviously mistakes in the red zone, scoring opportunities, and then defensively continuing to shore up the lack of — giving up the big plays, and I thought we did a better job of that. Still compete in the back end of our defense. Last couple weeks obviously we’ve come up with two big picks late. But keep improving in the scoring zone offensively. We’re moving the ball effectively, and then just keep competing in the back end of our defense. I think those are the keys for us as we keep moving through November.

Q. It looked like both Corey and Sheldon came back in after their injuries. I’m wondering if today it looks a little bit more dire, or those guys seem good to go for practice this week?
Brian Kelly: No, it was a good report. Everything came out really good, clean, you know, from our report at 1:45 today. Good news on all fronts relative to those guys that were dinged up.

Q. And then Nick Martin had some penalties yesterday. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen offensive pass interference called on a center.
Brian Kelly: Yeah, me neither.

Q. Can you comment on that?
Brian Kelly: I can’t explain the call. It was a screen. I’d have to dig deep in the rule book to find it in my 25 years. So it was a screen pass. I don’t know how they discerned that. There were a lot of things that I can’t give you answers for from that crew that worked the game.

Q. I know earlier you were talking about Kizer’s — last night’s game. Talk about his maturity since the Virginia game when he came in to fill in for Zaire and how he’s improving each week.
Brian Kelly: Well, you know, he plays with a lot of confidence. You know, he’s a dual-threat quarterback. We saw that with his ability to run the football. He’s got great escapability. I just think he continues to just gain more confidence in his ability, you know, to take over a game and win football games. I think it’s maturity, but I would say maturity/confidence.

Q. And also talk about last night playing against Temple; how different is Temple this year than a couple years ago when you faced them in South Bend?
Brian Kelly: Well, they’ve done a great job, obviously. It’s a very good defensive football team in particular. I thought they did a nice job. They’ve got some nice players on offense. But defensively I thought they were as good as any defense that we’ve played this year, physical up front, played fast to the football, compete for the ball on the back end of the defense, well-coached, just a very, very sound and physical, fast defense.