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October 10, 2015

Brian Kelly


BRIAN KELLY: Well we're excited about the victory against a very good Navy football team. They challenge you for four quarters, their scheme, their players, their coaches, they make you work for everything. It's a difficult team to play. We have a ton of respect for them. Not only for what they represent as a caddie me, but as a football team. Their scheme is very difficult, I think defensively that's the best defense that I've faced since I've been here at Notre Dame and again, I think Ken does a great job with Navy.
So, we're really excited about the win. Our kids put in a lot of time and effort and our entire team, our game ball went to Rob Regan who is the quarterback of our scout team that demonstrates the option and they did a great job of preparing our defense. I thought our offense did a great job of controlling the football in the second half when we needed to really keep our defense off the field.
So a lot of positive things, things that we got to work on, we had some good things in special teams and some not so good things in special teams that we got to get better at. We had a great kick from Justin Yoon, which was a great momentum piece for us, just before the half. We had a fumble recovery on a kick off and then we let a couple out that we got to get better at.
So, some real positive things in special teams and some things that we got to work on. All in all, a good victory. So with that I'll open it up to questions.

Q. Martini seems to be built for these games. Talk about his performance.
BRIAN KELLY: He's got a really good understanding of his job and he's a disciplined player, so when we ask him to do his job, he's going to get it done. He just fits really well with the scheme that we're employing and so it's just a really good fit. Very disciplined. He trusts what we're asking him to do. Again, he's one of the 11 guys out there that makes it work for us.

Q. And Farley, you kind of plugged him in pretty early. Can you talk about why you did that and what you got out of him?
BRIAN KELLY: Well him and Max were going to be interchangeable for us. We just felt like we went with Matthias and we could have gone either way with that. And we gave Max a chance to start and we wanted to see Matthias, too. And then as the game kind of unfolded, we just stayed with Matthias. But both of them practiced hard all week, it was really just probably a little bit of a preference with a veteran player more so than anything else of the.

Q. Two part question. First half they had 97 yards rushing on 11 carries at the fullback position. Second half 37 yards on 10 carries. What was it that was giving you some issues in the first half and what was the adjustment in the second half? Execution, scheme, what was going on there?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, both. We couldn't get to the fullback. The fullback was hitting wider than ‑‑ we couldn't get our backer, we couldn't get our five technique down. So, consequently when we tried to get into our front that put our Sam and our Will on the dive, we just couldn't get there and they were not running it to Jaylon, they were running it to James Onwualu's side. They obviously checked away from Jaylon every time and James was trying to get down to tan he was getting knocked off. So we went with grace in the second half, a bigger body and he was able to get himself down on to that fullback a little bit better in the second half.
So, it was a little bit of scheme, and it was a little bit of execution. They keep prodding and looking for opportunities to run their offense and that was one of the areas where they thought that they could get the fullback through. And then did effectively and we made some adjustments.

Q. With C.J., you guys were getting the ball to him in some different ways. Is that sort of a maturation of him and the offense or was it something specific to what you saw from Navy?
BRIAN KELLY: They run a lot of two shell and it was really trying to find different ways to get him on the perimeter. And they fire a lot of their edge players. So, sometimes it's a matter of trying to build some speed and get him to the perimeter. Either by putting a tight end on the edge of your offense or by trying to get some of the hand off sweep action and get him out side of some of that edge pressure. So, again, just trying to get one of our skill players on the edge of their defense was part of our plan.

Q. Is that the reason you guys have been running a lot of the power read with the jet sweeps a little bit slower developing. Is that the reason you did that?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, because of their shell, again, we felt like we needed to get the ball out on the perimeter quicker and then we wanted Kizer's stats to look a lot better.
No, I'm just kidding about that.

Q. Their first series offensively they had success and then after that you kind of shut them down. What, how concerned were you with another first series success and then what did you do to shut them down?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, again, it goes kind of to the question that was asked earlier, their fullback was hitting wider and we knew that that was going to be the thing that we needed to stop. On that particular long run, we just over ran the play. We had our safety right there as an unblocked hat and we simply did not execute. So the long run that they had, the quarterback, we were in a position where we just did not execute on that play. And then they came back and our corner, they cracked inside, our corner's supposed to replace on the second play for a touchdown and just did not fill the way he should have. So, we weren't that concerned on those two plays, other than they scored so quickly and all right, here we go, off to a poor start. But I thought we responded very well offensively. And I think that response is scoring right away, kind of settled everybody down.

Q. With all the reviews all the long timeouts, how hard is it to get into a rhythm and stay functioning?
BRIAN KELLY: It was difficult. I don't remember as many reviews as we had today. Some of them seemed to be appropriate, I guess. It would be hard for me to really comment, I would have to go back and look at each one of them individually, but boy it just seemed lake a lot of them and of course we have got TV timeouts as well it just seemed hard to get into a rhythm.

Q. You touched on the momentum you guys got from Justin's field goal to end the first half. What did that do going into the lock room, just the overall tenor of the team at halftime?
BRIAN KELLY: It wasn't like giddy, yeah, yeah, we got this thing, you know. I think it was just we were excited that we were able to execute our offense with 23 seconds to go. We threw a draw in there and my feeling was, let's throw a draw in here if we can pick up a first down, then let's try to run one of our standard double out cuts and see if we can get this thing close enough that we can get a kick at it.
C.J. hit a nice run in there, that gave us an opportunity to get the kick. So any time you can add some points right before the half, it gives you some momentum. But we knew we were in for two more long quarters.

Q. Navy doesn't make a ton of mistakes, but you capitalized on both the fumbles.
BRIAN KELLY: Huge, huge possessions. We were able to gain more possessions in this game than any other game that we played against Navy. I don't know exactly how many possessions we had, but I think we were close to 15 possessions. We normally average 10 possessions against them. So I think those obviously meant a lot in this game.

Q. Yoon, you mentioned the kick, how much faith did you have in him from that distance and I know it was the end of the half but also how have you seen him figure things out as he's gone on here?
BRIAN KELLY: I think there was a point of conversation here a couple of weeks ago and I was very confident that we had straightened out some of his mechanics. He had a 45 yard kick down at Clemson that was a big kick for us. This was a 52 yarder, is that correct? 52 yarder. And kicked it well. We knew what his distance was in pre‑game. We always establish what we think his max distance was going that way. We had a little bit of a breeze there and his max distance was right at that number. So, we were confident that if the mechanics were good and the snap was good and the hold was good, that he could make it.

Q. Where did you think C.J. would be in this role at this point in the season? Has he met or exceeded that so far?
BRIAN KELLY: I think he's still evolving within that role. Missed a couple protections today. But I think what I like the most about him is he is in that learning curve and he's excited about every single day working towards being a better running back. So, here's a guy that's a veteran player that is embracing his position as a freshman, really, and learning about his position every single day. I thought his run late was extraordinary in the sense that we were backed up, he was very patient, waited for his tight end on the kick out block. That just takes so much patience and trust in an offensive lineman and for him to show and exhibit that I just think speaks volumes of the kind of player he is.

Q. Now that the option's out of sight out of mind until next year at least.

Q. How would you evaluate the total work from the off season with Bob Elliott to the scout team the last couple weeks to the defense's overall response?
BRIAN KELLY: Very pleased. Very pleased. I think there's always things that we can work on to get better but I think we have established something that I wanted to establish and that is a base way of playing the option teams and something that we can carry with us and something that can be repeat able that we can work on in the spring and keep our guys familiar with our system as we defend option. I think that that's what we ‑‑ we wanted to win both games, that was first and foremost, and in whatever fashion, if we won by 1 that would have been fine with me. And then have a system in place that's repeat able and that we can come back to each and every year.

Q. Have you ever in your career given a game ball to a scout team player?
BRIAN KELLY: I can't remember one, but I was sure happy to give one to him. That's for certain.

Q. A lot of times when adversity hits on the field you guys really have a quick response. Whether it's go down early or being aggressive right before halftime. The ability to turn around things quickly with a positive response, where does that come from? Is it leadership, maturity? Where does that come from on this team because it's shown up in multiple games.
BRIAN KELLY: I would agree with the kind of personalities that we have, the leadership, they do not carry that with them very long. They have ‑‑ well they have one of two ways ‑‑ no, come in. Come in. That's Dominic, he's one of our graduate assistants. He's a heck of a guy. He'll be running the hill tomorrow, so.
They just have a resiliency to them, but I would say the answer to your question specifically, they just have a way of getting back to work quickly. They don't, every time there's been any kind of sense of adversity, they go right back to work. If somebody got hurt they get back to work. If there's, like in our loss to Clemson there was a great deal of disappointment, but they were so professional this week and in the manner that they went back to work. I think that has everything to do with the kind of leaders we have in the lock room.

Q. Building off that, coming off the loss, did you get the response you wanted from the guys, not only during the week but also today that you wanted to see?
BRIAN KELLY: We beat a very good team by 17 points. I think that's a validation. I thought we prepared ‑‑ and I was saying this to Coach Elliott prior to the game, I thought we had a great week of practice, I thought we prepared very well and we were just talking back and forth, I said I don't know what else to do. I was so pleased with the way that they were focused, during the week, preparing for Navy, not worrying about anything else. They weren't talking about last week, they weren't talking about USC, they were focused on playing this football team. And that's really all you can ask for as a coach. I thought their focus was outstanding. And it paid off.

Q. Going back to C.J., was a game like this important for him confidence‑wise after last week's struggles to bounce back and have another big game?
BRIAN KELLY: I don't know that he felt like he struggled as much as we struggled collectively at times running the football. But there was circumstances there that were difficult to run the football. We knew today was going to be a better opportunity to run the football by the way they designed their defense.

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