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September 10, 2016

Brian Polian

South Bend, Indiana

Notre Dame - 39, Nevada - 10

COACH POLIAN: They were better than us by a wide margin. Notre Dame deserves a ton of credit. You know, through the first quarter, I thought we were hanging in there pretty good. Threw a couple wrinkles out there offensively.

I do not regret going for it on the fourth and a half a yard. Field goals weren't going to keep us in this game. I knew that. The Notre Dame offense scored 47 points last week at Texas. I believe it was 47. So field goals weren't going to get it done. So I don't regret going for it. We ought to be able to find a way to get six inches. Unfortunately we didn't get it done.

Then there were just some points in the game where, frankly, I mean, they're very easy to find. We made some knuckleheaded mistakes. It's still early in the second quarter a very competitive game at that point, maybe a one-score game. We make the mistake of bringing the ball out when we should take a knee. We get a block in the back. Now we're starting with our backs up against our own goal line.

We have another one where there's confusion in the back end. It relates to communication between coming out and staying in. Frankly, that's an embarrassing play. That's a play that goes on the coaches, starting with me.

Ultimately we did some good things. There were times that we moved the ball. But we didn't sustain drives. There were some third downs that we didn't convert. We've got to come off the field.

Ultimately, the Notre Dame offense is very, very good. We couldn't keep rolling our defense out there. We had to do that because we didn't sustain drives on offense. As a result I think in the end we just got wore down.

Again, give Notre Dame all the credit. That's the 18th ranked team in the country. I wish that we played cleaner. Penalties and silly mistakes, young guy mistakes on defense cost us. But in the end, they're better than us.

Had we played really, really clean, in the end, would it have been enough? I don't know. I probably doubt it after having experienced that.

That said, for us moving forward, you play an opener against a triple option IAA opponent that everybody wants you to win it by 35, but they don't understand. The Notre Dame media will understand that playing Navy is a bear, doesn't matter who they are, what you are. Well, we did that last week. We played the Naval Academy offense.

Now we go out against the 18th ranked team in the country, rightfully so. So I don't know really what we are yet. We're a Mountain West team that I can't judge what we are quite yet. I know we got a lot of growing up to do, there's no doubt. We got a lot of things that got to get fixed. But there were some positives out there. We'll build off of it.

I thought the atmosphere was great. Our guys were not intimidated by the atmosphere. It was execution. It's that simple. I mean, was it because it was Notre Dame, 80,000? No, it didn't matter who it was. That team was better than us. Doesn't matter what logo you put on the helmet. The crowd was good, but it's not Kyle Field. The crowd wasn't the reason that we got beat. It's because we didn't execute. That's the bottom line.

I know our guys, this will be an experience they'll look back on and appreciate. Cool place to play, great place to play. If you don't play well enough, then the memories aren't fun, and they shouldn't be fun.

With that I'll take any questions.

Q. You saw some really good quarterbacks when you were here at Notre Dame that played for the Irish. Your impressions of DeShone Kizer?
COACH POLIAN: Very impressive. Bigger in person than you think off the film. Very, very athletic. Clearly Coach Denbrock, Coach Kelly and Mike have done a really good job with him because he solves a lot of problems at the line of scrimmage. He's very impressive. Very, very good football player.

I expected the Irish offense to be explosive. That was not shocking to me. What I saw from them defensively was what I would have done had I been in their shoes. There's no need to junk it up. Play base defense and make us beat you. In the end we made a couple of plays, but athletically we didn't have enough to make some of those plays over the top, some of those shots we took, so...

Q. Coach, wondering how you feel like your offensive line, James Butler, fared against that Notre Dame defense. Obviously the Irish defense is strong enough without having to do a lot of (indiscernible) stuff.
COACH POLIAN: Why would you? Man for man, that was going to be an uphill battle for us. Just size-wise alone, when you watch the Notre Dame D-line come out and warm up, it gets your attention. They're large. The front seven in general is large.

We knew we were not going to be able to just roll them off the ball, that there was going to have to be some misdirection. You saw us get into a situation where we brought our backup quarterback Ty Gangi in. We were going to have to move their eyes as best we could to slow it down a little bit. I don't know what James ran for. Not very much.

Yeah, I mean, it was an uphill battle. Again, it goes back to I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to judge our team off this because the reality of it is that's not fair to them. If we were supposed to beat Notre Dame, we wouldn't be in the Mountain West Conference. I mean, Notre Dame is not our peer. Ultimately we have to be judged against our peers.

Again, I'm not excusing the fact that we did not play well enough. There are a lot of things that we're frustrated with and have to get fixed. But in the end, I don't think it's fair, Hey, how come you couldn't run the ball against Notre Dame? Well, we don't look like they look. That's why. Sometimes it's not rocket science, so...

Q. Tyler looked a little off all game, not as accurate as typical. Can you pinpoint what was off with him?
COACH POLIAN: Honestly, I can't. I feel that way, too. I feel like part of the reason that we didn't sustain drives was, frankly, we didn't throw and catch. There were plays to be made out there. We just didn't execute.

Whatever the reason is, I'll get to the bottom of it through film, study, and conversation with the coaches. Honestly, it's not all on the quarterback. But he is part of the collective. We did not throw it and catch it well enough today.

We knew we were going to have to take some short stuff, throw some hitches, show some run-action and see if we could get the underneath coverage to jump up. We're going to have to complete some throws.

Frankly, there were some open throws out there that we didn't complete. I acknowledge that. The reason for it I can't speak to, but I can certainly tell you while the quarterback didn't play well, neither did anyone else. I'm certainly not pinning our performance on him. We all need to play better.

Q. What did you think of Ty Gangi? Is that a position you reevaluate moving forward?
COACH POLIAN: It's too early. Ty is going to play throughout the course of the year. It wasn't a package that was just for Notre Dame. It was just a package that wasn't ready yet. Ty can make plays with his feet. Overall decent. I don't give him credit for the long throw. There was a bust in coverage. There was a communication breakdown. That was a ball that you or I should complete. There's nobody around him, so... But in terms of making plays with his feet, you saw even against a very athletic defense, a BCS-level defense, he can make plays with his feet.

He will continue to play in packages as it relates to what's it look like moving forward. Tyler Stewart has played a lot of good football for us. He had a bad day. A lot of people had a bad day. I'm not throwing anybody under the bus.

Thank you very much. Best of luck, everybody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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