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November 15, 2014

Brian Kelly


Q.  The decision to start Drue Tranquill and Max Redfield, what you saw in practice this week?
BRIAN KELLY:  No, it's what we saw last week, couple of weeks leading up to it.  Just looking to get more, more production at that position.

Q.  Going for 2 there, what was the thought process on that?
BRIAN KELLY:  Going for 2.  At that point, it was a coin toss of 1 or 2.  So we decided to go for 2.

Q.  And injuries to Sheldon Day, Daniel Cage and the right shoulder thing for Golson?
BRIAN KELLY:  That's correct.  I don't have an update right now.  They'll be seen by doctors and then we'll follow-up with, you know, normal x-rays, MRIs, things of that nature.  We'll have more information probably tomorrow.

Q.  Did you feel at all this week there was a residual effect from the Arizona State?
BRIAN KELLY:  No, absolutely not.  Arizona State had nothing to do with the way these guys played today.

Q.  Brian, just your emotions right now.
BRIAN KELLY:  Well, I mean, you know, so many, so many things happened in that game that it's hard to put them all in perspective as I'm standing here right now.
I think the thing that stands out is we have the game pretty much in our hands and we turn the ball over.  Seems to be, you know, probably the thing that sticks out the most as well as, you know, our inability to, you know, kick the football and take care of the football, you know.  Those are the things that stand out.
You know, we've had too many opportunities to score points that, you know, fumbled it on the goal line, fumble it on the 7-yard line, turn it over when you're trying to close out the game.  Those are critical errors.  So that's what I'm feeling.

Q.  Brian, you said at the coin toss you're up 11.  What is conventional wisdom say at that point and what persuaded you to actually do what you did?
BRIAN KELLY:  Our chart tells us in that situation to go for 1 but we were up I think 11 at the time and we felt like given the circumstances, our kicking game situation, that we were going to try to extend it with a 2 point play.

Q.  You mentioned the kicking game, trouble with the first, I think it was the first field goal attempt or PAT attempt.  Hunter Smith was taking a few practice reps.
BRIAN KELLY:  He was probably just trying to stay loose.  No, I didn't --

Q.  After that PAT, were you looking to avoid kicking the ball almost?
BRIAN KELLY:  I wouldn't say I was looking to avoid but, you know, you know, I didn't like the way the mental approach, you know, of our kicker was and, you know, obviously we were going to be in a close game.  We were trying to get him to, you know, get his confidence back.  It was a rough day for the kicking game.

Q.  You mentioned Kyle's mental approach.  What did you see from him today you haven't before?  He's been doing this well.
BRIAN KELLY:  He's got a new battery in there.  Probably thinking a little too much.  Trying to get him not to think about the hold and he starts thinking about the hold and then you get into rushing your mechanics and, unfortunately, it hurt us today.

Q.  Were those questions of change and did it approach in the overtime?
BRIAN KELLY:  No.  I think it was behind him at that point.  I think he just missed it.

Q.  Coach, I know you stuck by Everett.  Is there any consideration at all this week maybe going forward to give Malik more looks in practice and consider a quarterback competition again?
BRIAN KELLY:  No.  I mean you know, obviously there's always room for improvement.  The quarterback back position, you know, look, I mean, still put up a lot of points.
If we don't turn the football over I don't think we're having this conversation right now but, you know, we turned the football over and we would have plenty of points on the board.
I think the thing for me is, you know, if we take care of the football -- you know, probably wasn't his sharpest throwing game of the year but, you know, it's not anywhere near where you think about pulling him out of the game other than his shoulder, he got banged up.  That would have been my only thought in moving him out of the game would be because of his shoulder.

Q.  Brian, when Northwestern used their final timeout, did you give consideration to taking a knee with the quarterback?
BRIAN KELLY:  No, I did not.

Q.  Did you do the math as to where that would take you with a couple knees?
BRIAN KELLY:  I did, yeah.  We have somebody upstairs that gives us that.

Q.  Brian, why didn't you stay with Tarean Folston at running back?  Is there a reason you were hesitate to keep him there in the game.  Is that why he wasn't in the game, Cam McDaniel was in the game?
BRIAN KELLY:  Cam has generally been in the game.  He's our senior.  Always been in late for us.  We counted on him to be the guy that gets us our tough yardage late in the game and sure handed and tough and physical and just didn't work out that way today.

Q.  What can you say about Folston's performance?
BRIAN KELLY:  I thought he ran well today, yeah.  He did a nice job.

Q.  Defense gave up 540 yards today.  How do you explain the decline from the start of the year till now?  Is it as simple at Joe Schmidt not being there or something else?
BRIAN KELLY:  There's a lot to it.  I mean, you know, we're obviously playing a lot of young guys that, you know, that are struggling and they're doing their best but, you know, too many young guys on the field.
That's probably the biggest issue right now that we're just trying to fight through and we can still win games if we weren't as sloppy as we are offensively.  That's my feeling.

Q.  After the loss last week, the team motivation, the emotions needed to play was there coming into this game?
BRIAN KELLY:  Yeah.  You know, look, I didn't feel like they were flat or didn't play with effort.  Again, it's the critical errors through the game.  I mean we just don't play clean enough, you know, as a football team, and those are the things that prevent us from winning.
You know, you can't start winning until you stop losing.  Two 15-yard penalties on key drives, those hurt.  Fumbling on the goal line hurts.  Fumbling it on the 7-yard line hurts.  Those things are critical errors.
We're not making small errors, we're making critical errors and on defense giving them 15 yards to hold on to drives and then, heck, one key third down we had ten guys on the field.  We had ten guys.  We have a guy that's a veteran that didn't know he was supposed to be on the field.  That's unacceptable.
So, to answer your question, you know, we got to coach better, we got to play better and we're going to look to regroup and do that on Monday.

Q.  Coach, Northwestern's run game little bit more diverse today than it has been in the past.
Trevor Siemian coming up with a couple big yards.  What's your impression of Northwestern's running ability today compared to how they've been playing this year?
BRIAN KELLY:  We didn't think we -- we were concerned about covering them so we gave them some very good looks in the box and I thought they did a good job of taking advantage of it.
We were supposed to be on the quarterback twice and our safety for some reason didn't pick up the quarterback on a couple of zone reads and then, you know, again, we were in a mixed call where we're supposed to be taking care of quarterback draw and we flush out of it.
Just a lot of misses.  No question.  They took advantage of some of the looser box looks that we gave them.  We were definitely trying to cover down and they took advantage of some of those opportunities and ran the ball effectively.

Q.  Brian, what did you feel like you got out of Nyles today, start No. 2?
BRIAN KELLY:  I didn't like the 15-yard penalty.  That stands outs.  Probably played a little bit better today than did he in the first week.  I'll have to watch the film.
But, you know, again, I think it's just -- it's a process, you know, in terms of him -- I thought he was a little bit more comfortable out there today, no question.

Q.  Some of the mistakes that you're seeing, the critical mistakes, is this the stuff you're seeing on Tuesdays and Wednesday or just popping up on Saturdays?
BRIAN KELLY:  No.  I mean Cam McDaniel doesn't fumble the football, especially when we're closing out games.  Everett on his own read play, you know, we thought we were in a good position with him with zone read that we could run it with him this week.
As you saw, he got some good looks on it so we went back to it.  We put the ball on the ground, you know.  So, some of it is we felt comfortable that we could run zone read and you know what, we put the ball on the ground.
I think I have to think about whether that's poor coaching, right, putting somebody in a position where he can't do it but when you have a guy like that that can run, how can you not run zone read with him?
I really have to do more thinking about those kinds of situations.

Q.  Will Fuller, you were publicly kind of on him on Tuesday a couple weeks ago.  He's had back to back pretty outstanding games.  What have you seen over the last 14 days or last 10 days?
BRIAN KELLY:  I wanted him to be the guy that makes the big play.  He obviously made a huge catch in the end zone when we were kind of mucking it around there.  We needed somebody to step up and make a big play and he went up in traffic and made a huge play for us.
So I wanted him to practice better, which he did, and take his craft to the next level.  I think he's done that.

Q.  Brian, you said you did not consider taking a knee.  When you do the math it looks like you would have been punting with 20 seconds left at worse.
What went into your decision to just run the ball instead of taking a knee there and playing conservatively?
BRIAN KELLY:  I don't know that I've ever in my college career taken a knee and then punted the football.  We would have run the ball once at least and then considered our options from there.  So, it just never entered into my mind to think in those terms.

Q.  And then back to the 2 point conversion, what are the advantages of going up 13 versus 12?  I know you mentioned the kicking game was an issue but to go for 13 instead of 12, in comparison, is there that much of a difference in comparison to risking a 2 point conversion by Northwestern to keep the opportunity alive to tie the game is what happened?
BRIAN KELLY:  In retrospect -- there's no advantage in retrospect.  We felt that -- we felt at the time with the struggles in the kicking game that we would have a good opportunity in the 2 point play that we picked and we felt very confident that we would be successful.
If it pans out the way it does, no, there's very little that I can use percentage-wise that it's a higher percentage.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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