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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 9, 2014


Brian Kelly


COACH KELLY:¬† Afternoon.¬† Coming off a very good victory against Michigan, you're always on guard the next week, and we began Monday talking about the games we've had against Purdue over the last couple years have been really tough ones.¬† Last year 31‑24, and certainly two years ago here at Notre Dame leading a great come back.¬† Tommy Rees coming in and mounting a comeback to beat Purdue.¬† So we know a lot about the kind of challenge it will have from an in‑state rival in Purdue.
Made it clear to our team that it's really about our preparation again this week and how we prepare is going to be really what we focus on this week.  We know our opponent, and we know about the resolve that they'll play with.  It's an opportunity for them to play at Lucas Oil Field on national television.  They'll get a lot of enthusiasm and emotion on their side, so we know what's going to happen Saturday night from Purdue's end.
Now it's about what we do and how we respond to that.  I think it's pretty clear that our players understand what they're going to get from Purdue and that is their very, very best.  They've got some veteran players on defense that we're familiar with.  Defensive ends, Russell and Phillips, athletic players, they've got some veteran linebackers, and the secondaries are aggressive.  They like to get up and play some tight man coverage.  So guys that we recognize, guys that we've gone against, they have provided a difficult challenge for us last year in running the football, so we'll certainly have our work cut out for us there.
Offensively, they do a very good job.¬† Coach Shoop's a very good offensive coordinator.¬† He's very experienced.¬† He schemed us up last year in certain areas, specifically in some of our bracket coverages in the red zone.¬† So they do a very good job offensively with a lot of different looks, spread sets, motions.¬† So, again, well‑coached.¬† Coach Hudson does a great job defensively, an experienced coach, and last year they gave us fits defensively.
So, again, we know about Purdue and what they can bring.  We know about the enthusiasm that they're going to bring to the game.  It's really about our preparation and how we practice this week.  I know our guys are excited about their performance on Saturday, but it has no bearing on this game.  It's really about our preparation.  So with that, I'll open it up to questions.

Q.  (No audio).
COACH KELLY:¬† If you watch the film and turn it on you really see two different teams.¬† Last year they had a game that went right down to the end against Indiana State, it was 20‑17.¬† The week before they got blown out against Cincinnati, and then they play us to obviously a tight ballgame.¬† It's just in‑state rival.¬† Just throw out all of what happened before, and they just played very, very well with a great deal of enthusiasm and emotion, and we're going to have to meet and exceed that.

Q.  Is it tough to meet that enthusiasm just because you have had so many players that don't view them as much as a rival as Michigan was last week?
COACH KELLY:¬† I don't think so.¬† I think with this football team in particular, and we'll just talk about 2014, they just enjoy playing.¬† Whether it's Purdue or NorthCarolina, it's always been about preparation for this group and not about the opponent, per se.¬† So as long as we keep that as central to how we play each and every week and not rise to a particular opponent, then I feel really good about going into this week and our opponent.¬† It just seems like this group in particular has really set themselves apart in a sense that they really just love playing the game.¬† As long as we prepare properly and do the right things leading up to it, we should play the same way week‑in and week‑out.

Q.  Coach, early in the week there was a buzz on campus about the big game and all of that.  Do you sense anything like that this week?  Is there any special feeling about the game this week?
COACH KELLY:  Well, they know it's at Lucas Oil.  They know it's the Shamrock Series.  The excitement of playing in the home where two of our captains are from, that gets their attention.  So I think all of those things really lead themselves up to a special Saturday night.  Our guys like to be on national television and they're pretty excited about it.

Q.  Any update on the five?
COACH KELLY:  No, no, nothing, thank you.

Q.  Anything updates on Hunter, Grace, and Collinsworth as far as this week?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, Hunter will work in to some team work and see how he goes today.  Now we'll get into some full speed cutting, skelly, and seven on seven team work and see how he responds to that.  He's been working the passing tree, doing things against air.  Now we'll put some live bodies up against him and see how he goes today.
Jarrett Grace, I think it's slow progress, but it's progress each and every week.  Couldn't give you a timetable on him really.  We're dealing with body mechanics, foot strike, things of that nature.  So we're probably more at the slower progress stage for him, pain free.
Then I think the other one was Collinsworth.  He's in really week two, two and a half, so he'll begin to move this week.  But he would not be available for competition this week.

Q.¬† Is there any thought with Grace of just saying it's better this year.¬† We'll roll the dice with the sixth‑year type thing, or do you really want him this year?
COACH KELLY:  We're going to continue to press.  I think we have to keep that for him the thought of playing this year.  There has to be something there for him to keep pushing and motivating factors to play football this year.  There is still a lot of football out there.  We've got two bye weeks along the way.  So we really feel like, obviously, with after this week and with another bye week that the plan is to keep pushing him.

Q.  With such a deep group of receivers right now and a lot of success from different people, what can Torri, when he's healthy bring that's maybe unique or different?
COACH KELLY:  Well, he's first of all somebody that is explosive.  He's an explosive player.  He is somebody that yards after the catch I think will be one that we'll talk about.  He's a strong player in the sense that he can handle somebody on top of him.  It will be interesting to see.  I think we've got to get him out there and really figure out what position.  He's somebody that could really play all three.  He could be in the slot, but he could play on the perimeter.  I'm anxious to really figure out where it is.  But there is no question when we get him healthy he's going to get an opportunity to play for us.

Q.  You mentioned Saturday night the slot position has been somewhat concerning to you until Saturday.  Do you feel like Amir's over the hump?  Did you kind of know that he had this in him when you made the move there?
COACH KELLY:  We felt like he had the capability.  It was a lot of football for him to learn.  It's still a lot of football for him to continue to learn.  He plays hard.  He is a great kid.  He is a conscientious kid, but he was learning a lot of football at that position.  There is a lot going on.  I think really what put him over the top was his concentration on catching the football with his hand.  Once that really became something that he felt comfortable doing, I think it really allowed him to progress quickly.

Q.  Does it matter to you Saturday, and do you have a say in it whether the roof is open, closed at Lucas?
COACH KELLY:¬† I don't really‑‑ I would kind of defer to what they normally do there.¬† I think for us more than anything else it's kind of like when we're indoors at Loftus, it's not about hot or cold as much as ventilation.¬† So whatever gives us the best air flow, even if it's a little cooler for those that are in the stands, I really don't care.¬† It's more about ventilation for us.
Yeah, we'd want it nice and warm for you guys.  Absolutely.  I'm sure the stories would change dramatically.

Q.  The other night after the game when we were talking about the early use of the timeouts, you said the moment might have been a little bit too big.  I assume that involves effort.
COACH KELLY:  No, I meant for me.

Q.  Too big for you?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, I was having a hard time getting it.

Q.  I doubt that.  Is he a guy that you kind of have to monitor his emotions?
COACH KELLY:¬† Yeah, and to clarify, the first time out he wasn't aware that the 25‑second clock started at the ready for play.¬† He thought it was on the snap.¬† So, as you saw, he kind of walked out there after we broke, and he looked around and he was kind of taking it all in.¬† I don't know if the moment was too big, he just wasn't aware of that particular situation.¬† The second timeout that we used was not being aware of the clock.¬† The third timeout was really my fault.¬† You know, we had a particular play called down in the red zone, and on my game sheet I have a box for my concepts, pass concepts, and it wasn't on the pass concepts.¬† It was in the red zone.¬† So I was looking on the concepts for the play, and it was admitted it was in the red zone.¬† So it was a little late getting in.
So, I think it was everybody, you know what I mean?  It was just a big game.  It was a great atmosphere, and I think we're all kind of just getting into it.  But once we got our rhythm down I think it started to go smoothly.

Q.  Fans and media when you call early timeouts, it's like what are they doing?  How can they be confused?  But it happens frequently.  Whether it's for a delay of game or calling a timeout.  What are some of the logistics involved in that?  I would imagine TV and coming back from TV timeouts you never know exactly when the refs are going to start the clock?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, the mechanics are a little more involved.  Because when they come back, you're either getting a 30 or 15 seconds before the ball is called in, ready for play.  And you really need to be on top of it.  So there are some moving pieces.  It's not an excuse that you should have a delay.  But I just don't like taking a delay.  So I'll use a timeout.  As you saw, it really, for me we had what?  A minute and something left before the half, and we didn't need a timeout to score.
I just think it's not a big deal.  If you need to use a timeout in the first half to settle in and communicate more effectively, I'm okay with that.  I don't want to give up five yards and be behind the chains early on.  So I'm okay.  Second half, you should have it sorted out.  If you're getting delay of game penalties in the second half and you have communication issues, you probably have larger issues going on.

Q.  Getting back to the emotions when somebody said Heisman, you said why not?  Do you really want that thrown on his plate too?
COACH KELLY:  I think we're all on the same page that we know it's Game 2 and there is so much time here that he knows, we know that there is a lot of work left.  We can't control what other people are going to think.  We know internally, so we've got a lot of work to do.  If you want to put his name on the list, that's fine.  It's not going to influence, is the point, what we need to do to get better at that position, what he needs to do.  I don't believe if he's on the Heisman list that that's going to change what he does in his preparation.  So that's why I was like if you want to put him on it, that's fine.  I think he's grounded enough that he knows what he needs to do to get better.

Q.  With regard to Will Fuller who had pretty much a breakout game for him.  He's had some trouble with drops and had a little bit of that last year.  How do you deal with the receiver when drops are a big part of their game?  How do you deal with that?  Do you deal with it up front, or is there kind of the unwritten rule that you don't talk about it too much?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, his drops are specific.  Specific to wanting to turn quick, short routes where he stops his feet into bigger plays.  When he's moving his feet, he's pretty good.  His concentration, he looks at the ball into his hands, so they're specific.  We took down his drops, and they're specific to him getting the guys away from his catch.  So we can really say, look, here's what you're doing in these specific instances.
He dropped a hitch route, he dropped a quick screen into the boundary, and it was simply just pulling his eyes away from the catch, so we can work on those things.

Q.  When you started recruiting him, he was a buried diamond in the rough.  What did you see that you thought would translate?
COACH KELLY:¬† He tracked the ball as well as any guy that we recruited.¬† His ball skills were outstanding.¬† The way he tracked the ball down the field, we didn't see a kid that‑‑ first of all, his top end speed was outstanding.¬† Tracking the ball with that kind of speed is a rare commodity, and those are the two things that stood out.

Q.  Coach, in terms of Elijah Shumate, how far did he go from a concern in the Rice game to a real asset in the Michigan game?  How far did he come in that week?
COACH KELLY:  He made progress.  There is no question.  I think this was probably the best game that he's played since he's been here.  We still had 34 mental errors on defense.  So they didn't cost us, but I want to temper it by saying there is still some growth there that needs to take place.  What he did that he hasn't been doing is he communicated so much more effectively outside of what his normal comfort level is.  And I think we've talked about this a little bit.  He's not a guy that really is somebody that speaks out, and he's not a great communicator.  He keeps to himself.  He did a really good job.  But there are still things that he has to improve on there.
I really think it was he didn't want to let his teammates down.  He knew he was counted on.  When you're placed into that position, he didn't want to let his teammates down.  I think that was really the impetus that put him in the kind of role of playing the way he did on Saturday.

Q.  How does Coach VanGorder approach those 34 mental errors in terms to alleviate them?
COACH KELLY:  Well, there are a couple of things.  Obviously, one, it wasn't just one player.  Their defensive linemen, linebackers, across the board, we were able to make up for them because we have some skill players at different positions that can make up for some of those mental errors with their skill.  So we obviously have a lot that we can talk about this week in terms of getting better, and they saw the film last night and can see a shutout and know that there is a lot there that they need to clean up.
Look, you can't get a better teaching environment than that.  You've shutout an opponent, and there are all these errors that need to get cleaned up.  It's a pretty good teaching environment right now.

Q.  You mentioned almost weekly about avoiding noise.  Going into a game like Michigan there was a lot of talk about what a big game it was and you wanted to avoid that.  I guess Purdue there may be noise saying there shouldn't be as big a challenge as Michigan.  Is it even more important to avoid the noise in that case?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, I think in a different sense.  We have really begun this process in January, and we've talked about we don't rise to the level of our competition.  We sink to the level of our preparation.  That is really where we are.  Our players know it.  It's been on the back of our shirts and some are conditioning.  We knew what this schedule looked like.  We know what it looks like.  Each and every week it's a challenge for us, and you can't rise to the challenge if you have to rely on your preparation.
That will be the case this week.  It will be about what we do and our preparation that will determine what happens on Saturday, because we know Purdue and what they're going to do.  They're going to play their very best.

Q.  Speaking of different quarterback, your situation is not really settled at quarterback.  You have two guys that have a lot of the same type of skills when the team has two different quarterbacks.  Does that provide more preparation in that regard offensively?
COACH KELLY:  A little bit.  We've kind of vetted out both quarterbacks and got a chance to see a little bit of them later in the game against Central Michigan.  So I think we've got a decent idea.  Clearly, they're big kids.  One is 220, one is 238, so they're both physical kids that can do some things.  Neither one of them is a threat to run like the kid from Rice, but both of them are capable of running.  So we have a game plan for both of them, certainly.

Q.  Ask you about special teams, you've had one return all year for 16 yards.  The guy came out from six yards deep in the end zone.  It's been phenomenal what the kicking game has done and it's become a real weapon.
COACH KELLY:  We've got a guy with a big leg, Kyle Brindza, and when you kick him out of the back of the end zone, all those guys do is run down and avoid people.  So that's been a huge thing.  I don't want to take anything away from them, but that's been a huge piece to our obviously kickoff coverage team is that they have not had to defend but I think two plays this year.

Q.  The kick in the fourth quarter was one of his best.  Went straight up in the air and didn't allow much for return and kind of what you wanted?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, he was our special teams player of the week, and he's done everything for us.  Knocked two down inside the 10.  He changed his technique over the summer.  You see now that his ball now looks like my wedge shots on the green.  I was joking a little bit.  They stick and they hold.  Wow, tough group.
But he hit a couple good ones inside the 10.  So that flip of field position is huge.  He's doing that, extra points, field goals, he's doing it all.  So he's a huge weapon.

Q.  Coach, week two, three to four missed tackles.  Kind of remarkable.  (Indiscernible) what has been the change?  Even in your best season of 2012, week two has been rough?
COACH KELLY:  Circuit training on that every single day.  We circuit train, tackle every single day.  It's what we do in every single practice.  We teach it, and there is not a day that when we've got our pads on that we're not circuit training the tackling procedures.  It's fundamental.  It's been engrained since I've gotten here.  It's been a good tackling team.  I think we're a better tackling team.

Q.  Matthias Farley had one of his best games for sure.  Not only tackling, but really the emotion he seemed to bring.  Didn't see it much in the past, but he was definitely into it with Michigan players.  Do you see something different in him?
COACH KELLY:¬† Yeah, he was fired up.¬† He doesn't like Michigan.¬† He had been that way since Thursday.¬† So it started with him, and he played with an edge and played very well.¬† You know, the thing that we brought up is that he played 43 plays on defense, and he was on all special teams, and he was our‑‑ other than our kicker, he was our best special teams player.¬† So he sets a bar.¬† Look, if that's the effort level that we're getting from a Matthias Farley and he's played 40‑something plays on special teams, then you have to exceed his level on special teams.¬† So he has set a great bar for our special teams relative to effort.

Q.  When Golson has missed, it's been those short, what we would call, easier passes.  It seemed to be something that played him in the spring.  Is that concentration for him?
COACH KELLY:  Well, could be.  We missed two slot routes.  One off of a corner fire, and one to Koyack that are in the corn, if you will.  Those are right in his ally.  Sometimes he opens up a little quick on those.  Of course he had three or four drops as well.  I think we had four drops.  We had two easy completions.  They're all very easily correctible.  One for him, he threw a couple away, so he's close.  He's close to being at that point where we can start to be in that 70% completion range with him.

Q.  Coach, former coworker of yours, Bill Scholl was named director of athletics at Marquette this morning.  Just your reaction to that?  What are Bill's strengths as an administrator?
COACH KELLY:¬† I'd say first and foremost what he brings and I'm sure he brought this to Ball State as well, just the great knowledge of what it takes to bring everybody together within the department.¬† Always a very good communicator, provided for me early on, he provided that opportunity to get things done in a timely fashion.¬† He has that sense of getting things accomplished I always thought of him as a go‑to guy when it came to things like that.
So great communicator, gets things done.  I think he builds a consensus.  He gets people together hoping.  Hoping that we can get them on the football schedule too.  Maybe we can pay them back for that.

Q.  You talked so much about Everett Golson and how he looked.  How much more is it behind the scenes with some of that development?
COACH KELLY:  Oh, it's been huge.  He's with him every day Everett loves to watch film.  He loves to learn about football.  He loves football.  He loves the X's and O's of it, and Matt is of the same cloth.  Those guys, if they could just watch football and film all day, they'd just close the door and that's what they would do.  They've been able to build a strong bond that way.  So their communication when it comes to technique or rhythm and drops and all the things that are central to great quarterback play, they're able to share that on a day to day basis.

Q.¬† You talked a little about this on Sunday.¬† But Brian VanGorder was obviously pretty emotional Saturday night.¬† How is that presence‑‑ I mean, is he like that every day behind the scenes too, fist pumping and doing all sorts of wild stuff?
COACH KELLY:¬† It's really one of those things that during the game he is so calm.¬† He really is.¬† I mean, he's making calls.¬† I'm able to communicate and talk to him very easily.¬† He's not up‑and‑down.¬† I think we caught him in a moment where he was pretty fired up.¬† I know how that happened.¬† You catch one blip.¬† But he is easy going on the sideline, and easy to talk to, and he manages his players.¬† He's always back on the bench, coaching his players.
So I know this has kind of taken a life of its own that he's crazy, but I'm telling you, his demeanor on the sideline is professional, and we're getting a lot done on the sideline.  But I love the fact that when his players are playing at a high level, that he shares that same emotion with his players.  I think that's really cool.

Q.  Got to ask you as a Red Sox fan, how did it feel to have Alex Rodriguez in the stands wearing a Notre Dame shirt Saturday night?
COACH KELLY:  I thought that was neat.  I really did.  I think anytime we can expose the Notre Dame brand to the professional athlete, and I got a chance to hear from him that he thought it was one of the greatest experiences that he's had in terms of the atmosphere and being here at Notre Dame.  It's just another opportunity that somebody had never had to be here.  He said it was an incredible experience.

Q.  I'm wondering if you can comment on Tony Alford, both as a member of your staff, his impact on the team, and then from a personal perspective as well.
COACH KELLY:  Well, as you know, Tony is somebody that has been here prior to me getting the job.  Just a great, great staff member, great personality, easy to get along with, has a great family.  They're always around here and having the Alford's part of the Notre Dame coaching staff and family, it's just great to have them with us.
As a coach, he's a great mentor to his players, and not just his running backs, but all players on the team.  As a recruiter, he's hard working.  He builds great relationships and connections with players throughout the country, high school players.  He has a great way about him that he's able to communicate effectively with the kids that we're recruiting.  So I think in that sense he's invaluable to what we do here at Notre Dame.

Q.  He had said particularly that you went over and above in reaching out to him and supporting him a year ago in his brother's death.  I wondered if you could comment on that.
COACH KELLY:  I don't know.  Anybody on our staff that's had tough times, we've wanted to help them in any way possible, obviously.  Tony's brother had put together a high school football camp, and we just wanted to be able to see that that camp would continue to grow and develop.  So our foundation was able to come in and help to support that camp, and, again, it was very small in the sense that anytime we can help the Alford family continue a football camp, that's a pretty easy one for me.

Q.¬† With Jarron, I know we talk a lot about him being consistent.¬† But technique‑wise, is he at the point where it is just consistency and getting him the volume, or what does he need to improve?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, it's a conscious confidence level, right?  He knows what to do but it's so hard to do it because he's long.  I think we had this conversation a little while ago.  He's a little bit out of profile for that position because of his length, so he has to play with great leverage.  It's hard to do that every single down.  He did it this weekend at the best level that he's ever done it before.  Now we have to capture that at the consistent level, and he's got to be able to do that week in and week out.
So it's a focused concentration on his end of being able to play with great pad level.  Because if he does, he's very difficult to defend.
We showed a clip yesterday where he was both disruptive, and he was, I would say, disheartening to Michigan where he took the center and literally walked him all the way back into the quarterback.  That's disheartening when that happens.  People see that, the quarterback sees that, you lose a little bit of your bite when that happens.  So if he can continue to do that, that bodes well for us.

Q.  What was his volume on Saturday?
COACH KELLY:  36, 37 plays.

Q.  When you came to Max last week and posed the challenge of Austin being out and needing to step up to communicate, how did he react to that?  What was his demeanor like when you posed that challenge to him?
COACH KELLY:  Max wants to do it.  You know, Max is a smart kid, but he's, like all young players, he's still trying to figure it out.  What Max can do is he can make up for it with incredible athletic ability.  I mean, he's got the ability to stare down the quarterback, but still find the number two receiver running down the middle of the field.
We've just got to get him to continue to learn and develop at that safety position, and he will.  He will.  He wants to do it.  I think we're seeing progress in that, but we're still a ways away from being where we want to be.

Q.  How much of a jump did you see?
COACH KELLY:  I think we made progress.  I'm not ready to put a percentage of what it would be.  We need to continue to get better though.

Q.  I asked some of this earlier with the defense.  With them being so young and first time as a unit, do you feel like the message is getting home that, hey, even though you shut out Michigan you still have a lot you need to work on?
COACH KELLY:  Oh, yeah.  Look, granted, okay, we're ahead of progress.  We're ahead of where maybe you think we would be.  But here is really where we're at, so let's just focus on where we're at and what we need to do.  Regardless of what the number tells you, here's where we're at, and that's what we did yesterday.  We're pretty hard on making sure our guys focus in on those things in particular.

Q.  A few years ago Everett didn't really seem to get comfortable with his own read until he got into October and started putting up 40, 50 yards rushing.  It seemed to really help in the wins against Oklahoma.  Do you want to see him keep the football and do more of the zone read?  Are you comfortable?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, I'm comfortable.  He's a dynamic passer, but we have to be able to run him as well.  Michigan ran coming into the game they were about a 20% man coverage team.  They were about 59% man coverage against us.  So it changed a little bit of the dynamics of the game where zone read for him was more about throwing the football in that game.  So it will change from week to week.  If we get the opportunity to run Everett and it's our best looks, we'll run him, there is no question.
So I think it will be from week to week, but it's always going to be part of our offense.  If you give us the opportunity to run Everett, I'm not going to hold him back from running.

Q.  Did you have maybe a pitch count of how frequently you want him or do not want him to do it?
COACH KELLY:  I think I have in my own mind where I think enough is enough.  But if you're going to be in a situation where your ends are just crashing down and you will not let us run inside zone, then we're going to have to take it and run our quarterback a little bit more.  I can protect him a little bit with some other things, but certainly I don't think anybody is going to play us so one dimensional that they're going to allow him just to run free.

Q.  Kolin Hill came into the forefront a lot more.  When do you determine with a freshman that okay he might be ready?  We asked about Johnny Williams last week, and you said he hit a bit of a wall in August.  What was Kolin Hill able to do to get him into the mix?  When do you generally ascertain when somebody is prepared?
COACH KELLY:¬† Retention of information.¬† When we're going through our team work and they can repeat what we're asking them to do without making the errors.¬† One missed fit, I don't know if you're watching, but they went hurry‑up and he got caught on the field with our regular calls, and it was like his hair was on fire he wanted to get off the field so fast.¬† It's that kind of, this is too much.¬† I know, third down, I know what to do in this third down package, but I don't know all the base calls.
So when they know what they know, that's when we're ready to play them.  And Kolin knows what he knows relative to our third down package.  When those freshmen get that knowledge base down, then we're ready to play him.

Q.  He doesn't have that great size, that 6'4", 6'5", what makes him so effective?
COACH KELLY:¬† He's explosive.¬† First‑step explosiveness.¬† He can come off the edge.¬† He gets there quickly.¬† He forces you to pull up in the pocket, can bend around the edge, a really, really good athlete.

Q.  Would it be fair to say that you sort of have a default with Everett, when in doubt, pivot?
COACH KELLY:  Yes, absolutely.

Q.  You have three starting running backs and one starting quarterback that is basically the math to that?
COACH KELLY:  No question.  It's got to be radical for him to pull it, that is one word, and if in doubt, give it out.  So those two words equal kind of where we are.  If it's radical, he's going to keep it or he's going to take the ball out.  So if you're radical in what you do then he'll have the ball in his hands.  If there is any doubt, we're going to give it out.

Q.  We asked about Matthias earlier, but certainly his attitude.  He played well against Rice last week.  Is it a health thing?  Is it just understanding the scheme?  Is it nickel?  What do you think has sort of helped him rejuvenate from last year?
COACH KELLY:  Matthias?  Maturity, confidence, just all the things that a football player gains by being in the program, knowledge of defensive football.  The benefit of being close to the ball, all of those things.  I think he's in a really good position where he is.  The knowledge that he gained playing up to this point, I think it's just accumulation of all of those things really coming together.  You're seeing a junior and the benefits of all that experience coming together.

Q.  You had said the 34 mental errors.  What is, I guess, an average in that department on a week to week basis?
COACH KELLY:  Well, our percentage last week was we graded out, we were at 56%, and we went up to 64%.  So we had more mental errors the week before, so we're trending up.

Q.  Are you prepared to in 2012, was that a team that was having six or seven mental errors per game?
COACH KELLY:  There were less moving parts, less pieces to it.  We were at times up in the 80s for percentages, but there is a lot more going on, a lot more pieces to what we're doing.

Q.  Just technically on red zone and short field punting, could you sort of talk about what he's doing differently there?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, we're using a new technique.  We brought Kevin Huber in from the Cincinnati Bengals who played for me at Cincinnati.  We use a new drop technique that's been very effective for us.

Q.  When you first got the job, what were your initial thoughts of the Shamrock Series, playing a home game away from home?  Has that changed or evolved?  What are your thoughts on it now?
COACH KELLY:  I think my initial impression was why would you give up a home game, but I really didn't understand the implications of the Shamrock Series and really what it meant.  I think it's been really good for us because it gets us into some geographical areas that make sense.
You may question Indianapolis as to why that makes sense for us as a geographical area, but there are other reasons to play this game in Indianapolis.  Lucas Oil Field, obviously, in Indiana, let's not forget our home base.  We have done so well recruiting in this state.  There are great players here that we want to call.  I guess it's the old adage, you've got to pull your own state.
I think not understanding at first, I have come to really appreciate it and think it's worth doing because we're playing in some great venues.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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