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September 28, 2016

Brian Kelly

Greensboro, North Carolina

BRIAN KELLY: Well, certainly we're wanting to get back on the field. We've got some things to take care of, but our guys are certainly not happy about where they're at, and they know they've got to do something about it by playing better football, and we've got to prepare them as coaches to play better football.

Back at work, had a good practice yesterday, expect to continue to work towards that so we can start winning some football games, and that's, again, our focus right now is just to worry about what we're going to do. We're playing a very good Syracuse football team. The offense is, we all know, about what Coach Babers has been able to do in a very short period of time. Extremely explosive offense, wide receiver, quarterback, tempo. It's just a lot to prepare for, but we're up to the task.

Q. To look at the Syracuse offense, I know you described it a little bit, but Amba Etta-Tawo, what you can say about his ability coming into this game and your secondary going up against him?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I mean, obviously we've played great receivers in my time here, and he's one of the top receivers that we've gone against. You know, they all have different traits. I think his traits are his ability to go up and get the football. He's got a great catching radius. He's got outstanding speed. Another one of those great collegiate receivers that I think they do a great job at targeting him, as well, getting him the football, including him in their passing game, regardless of coverages, and does a great job reading routes on the way out there. In other words, there's a lot of route reading in his offense, and it allows him a lot of easy catches and ones that he can break open after the catch.

Q. And then as far as looking at the game coming forward, not having your defensive coordinator and elevating your analyst, just what you can say about your new defensive coordinator and your expectations moving forward, kind of why you chose him.
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think we wanted to install, or instill I guess is the better word, some energy, enthusiasm, create the kind of morale necessary to play the defense that had been lacking. Greg Hudson is a Notre Dame grad. He loves Notre Dame. He's got a lot of energy, and we felt like that was the right -- I felt like that was the right person. I still have an outstanding staff that will complement. Obviously his knowledge of our defense will continue to grow, but I've got a great staff that he'll be able to lean on.

Q. To follow up on that, when this is the very first game after making the change, what kind of immediate dividends might that be able to pay off this week as opposed to gradually as the season goes on?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, you know, we did it for a reason. We wanted to make a change because we felt like we weren't going to effect change unless change was made. We're clearly going to be a different defense right away.

Now, it's certainly, for us, a difficult offense to go against right after you make a kind of change like this, but I think our kids are going to play fast, they're going to play free, and that's what I was looking for in making this change. We expect to see it. I saw it yesterday in practice. I'm confident we'll continue to see it on Saturday.

Q. After the game Saturday you talked about looking at every player as far as starting positions and all that. After a couple days of practice, have you made any determination about any changes or anything?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I think when you're 1-3 you evaluate everything. You evaluate every position. You evaluate every coach. I made a change there that was very difficult. Yeah, there are some changes that will take place that will be pretty clear on Saturday because that's what you do when things aren't moving in the direction that you want them to.

So players are aware of that. I think one thing that is pretty clear is that you'll see a lot more players that haven't been playing involved in what we do on Saturday.

Q. Obviously a spotlight is on quarterbacking. Kizer threw for a lot of yards on Saturday but obviously made a big mistake near the end. I just wonder, can you evaluate the way he played and what he has to do going forward?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, we have a standard set of play coming into each year, and he set a pretty high bar for that standard, and he was below that standard. I made that pretty clear in my press conference after the game. So he's got to exceed that standard of play. And a lot of that has to do with taking care of the football. He dropped a snap that led to a touchdown. He threw an interception that led to three more points. Effectively we put our defense in a position where we gave them 10 points, and as you know, it was a three-point game. So that's a standard of taking care of the football that wasn't met.

But he made a lot of good plays. But he still has to live up to that standard that's been set.

Q. I was reading an article yesterday, you said your defense is going back to basics. Explain to me what that means.
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think every coach talks about fundamentals when they talk about basics. We've got to do some of the simple things better, and that is tackling, fundamentals. We've got a lot of young players playing on defense, and the attention to detail, all of those fundamentals, have to be drilled and have to be executed at a higher level. So that's coaching. That's what we do. And so when we talk about basic defense, we talk about the basic core and fundamentals of defense.

Q. Talk about your preparation for Syracuse; how is practice? I know you said you didn't practice yesterday. Are the players focused in on saying we're not going to have the worst season ever, we're going to get better as of now?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I mean, look, they're competitive kids. They come to Notre Dame expecting to win, and we're 1-3, and we're not happy about it. The great part about it is they get a chance to do something about it, and they'll get that chance on Saturday, but you've got to prepare. You're playing a good team, and we'll control what we can control. Again, from my perspective, I think we are going to put our kids in a position to compete and they're going to have to go out there and make plays.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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