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October 15, 2016

Brian Kelly

South Bend, Indiana

Stanford - 17, Notre Dame - 10

Q. Why did Malik Zaire enter the game? Was DeShone Kizer hurt?
BRIAN KELLY: No, just felt like we needed to get some momentum back. I thought he could add some momentum. That was a head coaching decision.

Q. Obviously you went back to Kizer. On the sideline what are those conversations like with both players?
BRIAN KELLY: Those are coach-player conversations. I just felt like it was important to try to get some energy back. We lost some energy, and I thought going to Malik would do that, and then just, again, with DeShone's experience, felt like giving him a shot at the end, that would give us our best chance of winning.

Q. Is DeShone Kizer your starting quarterback moving forward?
BRIAN KELLY: I don't think there's really a question about who the starting quarterback is. DeShone is the starting quarterback. Each game is treated as a game in itself. We're trying to win the game. Malik is a really good quarterback. I was looking for a little bit of energy and kind of stem the tide and the flow of the game, but DeShone Kizer is the starting quarterback.

Q. You got down to the 8, 2nd and 4, and Kizer went sack, spike, sack. Do you have an automatic? Do you have a hand signal, a fade to the corner of the end zone, or do you want him to spike it in that situation?
BRIAN KELLY: We felt like we had a play. The next play was what we wanted. We had a fade on, so we got to the play that we wanted.

Q. On 4th down?

Q. You have that first half where things really moved well for you overall. Where did this game get away from you?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, it was 17-10 final, and we had a chance to tie it. I think you guys watched the same game I did, right? You know, we made some mistakes, and we couldn't get the momentum back.

Q. You've been trying to search for buttons to push with this team; what's the next one, and do you ever get to a point where you run out of them?
BRIAN KELLY: No. I mean, this is a bitter pill to swallow, certainly. You know, losing our fifth game now by one possession, everybody is -- I love those kids in there. They had great energy. They wanted to win. They did everything that they knew in terms of what they felt like they could do to win, and they just came up a little short again.

It's one of those things where you just -- you've got to keep fighting, and we'll get out on the other end of it. It's a tough spot we're in right now, but they're committed. Coaches are committed, and we'll find a way. We'll get through this rough spot.

Q. After the game, what did the Stanford strength coach say to you that set you off?

Q. And that was it?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, bye-bye.

Q. Could you just kind of give an overall assessment how your defense played today? Statistically they did really well, only gave up eight points in this game.
BRIAN KELLY: I thought they were solid. We're playing a lot of freshmen back there, so we don't want to expose them in every scenario, so they're learning a lot as we go, right, so we want to minimize big plays, which I think we've done a really good job of keeping the points down. The thing that I wanted to do when we made the change was keep the points down and limit the big plays.

Now, you can't be everything that you want to be defensively with just those two things, but you can keep your football team in what I felt was a good position to win games, and we just haven't been able to do the things that I expected to do to win games.

They're doing what I'm asking them to do.

Q. Can you talk about Jarron Jones? He played with a ton of energy tonight. Can you talk about what you saw from him tonight and what has resulted in the surge we've seen from him the last couple weeks?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, he's committed. All these guys want to get through this really tough part of everyone's career I guess you could say, mine included. We're going through a tough spot. But they're committed to wanting to get through this together.

As I've said, for those that have been at our press conferences, their attitude is incredible, their commitment is incredible. I love coaching this group. I can coach them hard and hold them to high standards, and that's what they want. They want to be held to really high standards, even though they're going through a tough period.

They're all bought in. I guess that's the way I would put it.

Q. Stanford's last drive they were able to get a little bit of success running the ball. Did they make an adjustment? Did you guys wear down a little bit?
BRIAN KELLY: Probably wore down a little bit. Probably on the field a little bit too much there late, and they found a little bit of success on some toss sweeps that were getting outside and some C gap entries that -- again, I think we probably were on the field a little bit too long.

Q. Do you regret the decision to go to Malik Zaire?
BRIAN KELLY: No, absolutely not. I think I made it pretty clear that when you're in the throes of the game, you're trying to get the feel for the temperature of the game, and it just felt like we needed some momentum. Malik is a really good quarterback, and I just felt like at that time he would provide that for us. And it takes 11 guys, you know, to give you momentum, too, but I just thought he would be a catalyst in that situation. But in no way, shape or form would I regret ever going to Malik Zaire.

Q. You're now 2-5 going into the bye week; what did you say to the guys in the locker room?
BRIAN KELLY: That's really between us. I mean, here's what I would tell you, that when things aren't going well in the family, you keep it in the family, you know, and we're struggling. But we're going to keep our business in the family, and we're going to work on it together. There's a commitment that I love about this group that really energizes you to do everything you can to get them through this really difficult time.

Q. With DeShone, what sort of was maybe going wrong for him before you took him out? Was he pressing at all? Was he rusty? Can you put your finger on maybe what was wrong there?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, I just think we just -- I was just looking for a change up. We didn't score the week before, and of course the weather conditions were awful the week before, and that's not to put anything on DeShone Kizer, but I just was looking for maybe catch some lightning in a bottle.

Malik is a really good quarterback. We really wanted to win, and I wanted to win for our guys, and I thought maybe that change up would get us the energy back that we had lost when Stanford put some points on the board. That was the intent in that situation.

Q. Was there a moment in the game where you felt the momentum start to shift to Stanford?
BRIAN KELLY: Of course.

Q. What was that moment?
BRIAN KELLY: I don't know. Why don't you answer the question for them. Are you kidding me? Really?

Q. Was it the safety, one of DeShone's interceptions?
BRIAN KELLY: Those would be probably two key areas in the game. Certainly wasn't when we were up 10-0.

Q. The safety, second week in a row there have been snapping problems. What more can you do seven games in?
BRIAN KELLY: Just keep working on it. Listen, Sam is a great kid. He wants to do it right. He feels terrible. But we'll just keep working at it, and just an unfortunate situation. But like I said, I told the guys, this is the no-apology zone. Nobody needs to apologize to anybody because we're -- it's one of those things where everybody knows where we're at; we're 2-5, and we're going to get reminded of it by everybody in the country about a million times. We're 2-5, I'm 2-5, everybody is 2-5, so no one needs to apologize. What we need to do is coach better and execute better, and that will cure a lot of things.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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