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October 15, 2014

Brian Kelly

COACH KELLY:  Looking at Florida State, what a challenge it's going to be to go down there and take on the defending national champs.
Again, that's why you play these games.  You want to be part of them.  I know our guys are excited about the opportunity.  We have a ton of respect for what Coach Fisher has done.  Obviously 22 in a row.  We have to play our very best.  Should be a great environment, national TV.
Again, we have obviously a football team that has a lot of young players.  But we have some veterans that have played in the national championship game as well.  So a good blend of guys going on the road for the first time that we'll have to handle the environment as well.
With that I'll open it up to questions.

Q.  In light of the autograph signing investigations into some of college football's more prominent players, are you at the point where you might discourage your players from signing memorabilia?  How big of a concern is it for you?
COACH KELLY:  I'm not concerned about them signing when they go to practice, after a game.  We ask all of our players obviously if they're asked to sit down at an event that they do that and disclose any of the locations, obviously the surroundings.
We're pretty thorough on any individual signings.¬† But if they're going to practice or after a game, an occasional fan that comes by, we're okay with those fan‑type signings.¬† We discourage any sit‑down prearranged signing situations.

Q.¬† Looking at obviously what you've been able to do with your 6‑0 start, I wanted to look at the North Carolina game, what you took away from it.¬† Good coaches always see where they need to improve.¬† What are some of those key areas you've keyed in on?
COACH KELLY:  If we don't spot North Carolina 14 points, then another 7 points in the third quarter, we probably have a pretty good day.  We put our defense in a situation where they had to defend too many plays with a very thin defense as it is, a young, inexperienced group.
Our job this year was to really score more points and to protect our defense.  We didn't do a very good job of that against North Carolina.  We took that away from it.
Then I think we learned a lot that we're still inexperienced and young on defense.  We're still learning.  The learning curve is still there for us on defense.  We have to really protect our defense offensively and not turn the ball over.

Q.  As far as this Florida State game, when you talk about a young, inexperienced defense, what is it from your team looking at Florida State that you're looking at the most or trying to focus in on when it comes to Florida State's offense?
COACH KELLY:¬† I think they have explosive play‑makers.¬† Green and Greene, obviously the runningback situation.¬† Winston is an outstanding quarterback.¬† Nick O'Leary.¬† They just have explosive weapons with an outstanding offensive line.¬† It's a prolific offense.¬† The offense is as good as there is out there.¬† It's going against a defense that, again, we're starting a lot of young players on that defense, rebuilt, a new front seven in so many ways against a veteran team who has won 22 and are the defending national champs.
We can't just sit there and say, C'mon, bring it on.  We've got to be on top of things defensively.  Part of that means we have to do a really good job offensively and keeping the ball away from them as well.

Q.¬† Jimbo Fisher on Monday was highly critical of the media in general for the way they were covering not just the Winston situation, but how the school reacted to the whole thing.¬† As someone who is a coach in a high‑profile program, do you almost resign yourself to expect that kind of scrutiny or do you resent the negative attention that comes?
COACH KELLY:¬† Well, no, I think obviously when you're in this business and you're at the high‑profile schools, you're probably going to get way too much credit when you don't deserve it, and you're probably going to get too much criticism when you don't deserve it.¬† It's a little bit of both.¬† You have to be prepared for that.
In these times of adversity, you probably are going to get a little bit more of it than you deserve.¬† But it comes with the territory.¬† I'd say in these high‑profile institutions it comes with the territory. ¬†You just have to continue to believe in what you're doing and stay close with your principles.¬† That's how we do it.¬† That's how I've done it here because we're under the spotlight every single day.

Q.  Is your hope to play a ball control type of offense to keep the Florida State's offense off the field or the onus is on you guys to put up a lot of points to stay with them?
COACH KELLY:  I don't think I could characterize it as ball control.  We're going to have to score points as well.
One of our concerns has been giving up the ball, self‑inflicted wounds on offense.¬† We cannot have any of those self‑inflicted wounds offensively.¬† We have to run our offense within our system.¬† We've got to be balanced.¬† We've got to score points.¬† If that equals ball control, that would be great.¬† But at the end of the day we've got to score points against one of the best offenses that we're going to see.

Q.  Any update on Austin, how his MRI turned out?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, he has a slight labrum tear, very slight, some bruising, but he's not going to need surgery.  Again, I don't want to say it was good news but it was better than we thought.  It's not a surgical procedure.  We're going to have a consultation with him today, begin the rehab, see what that timetable looks like.

Q.  Do you have any rough idea of how long it would be beyond this weekend?
COACH KELLY:¬† I think our doctors are usually saying that's a four‑ to six‑week procedure.¬† Again, individually I think you get a better sense and feel for it as you go along.
How much instability do you have?  How much instability will you have when you play?  That's yet to be determined.
I think the one thing we do know, it looks like we're pretty clear it's not something that we have to have surgically repaired which at first glimpse that's a good thing.

Q.  Reading the game notes, the weather down in Florida sometimes comes from the north, there's humidity.  How do you get yourself acclimated with the humidity in Tallahassee?
COACH KELLY:  We've tried to keep our tempo up in practice.  We have to rely on the conditioning that we've done all year as a football team because there's nothing we can do up here to acclimatize ourselves to that.
We're hoping by the time we kick off at 8:23 that it cools down nicely, that there's a nice, cool breeze coming in there for us.  Other than that, we're going to try to keep our conditioning base up that we built between the season.

Q.  What do you think about the game between Florida State and Notre Dame, two powerhouses playing against each other?
COACH KELLY:  Awesome.  This is great.  We really enjoyed three years ago when we played.  To have two programs coming back together, again, obviously when we contracted this game, this is what we were hoping for, two teams that were undefeated, nationally ranked playing.  It's good for college football.

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