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October 26, 2016

Brian Kelly

Greensboro, North Carolina

COACH KELLY: You know, obviously a fine team that Mark Richt has done a great job with, playing a lot of young players, very athletic, outstanding quarterback. Probably the most veteran quarterback that we'll play all year. You know, we're looking to find a way to win.

It's been a very difficult and challenging year for us. But our kids have maintained a great attitude. Their preparation has been great. We have not been able to close games, and we've worked hard in these last few days of preparing to play a very good Miami team.

Again, we'll go back out there and battle and look to find a way to win.

Q. Just a quick review with Miami. What kinds of things do you see from them that causes you some concern for your time?
COACH KELLY: Well, the quarterback is an experienced quarterback. I think in college football today, that is a commodity. There's so many young quarterbacks playing, and you know, playing effectively.

But when you have a quarterback that's taken a lot of snaps, and obviously he's in a new system, but Mark Richt does a great job in preparing his quarterback. He's somebody that can move his offense and has done a really nice job in a new system in the first year. All-time leading receiver, you know, doesn't hurt, and a very talented running back crew.

Again, I think Manny Diaz has done a great job defensively installing a lot of athletes and athleticism to their defense, and you know, again, I think another really quality ACC opponent for us.

Q. In watching the tape of Miami over the last few weeks, what has kind of stuck out to you about some of the struggles that they have had offensively?
COACH KELLY: Again, I think you've got a new system of offense, so they are doing some things differently there. I don't think there's anything one particularly -- they played some really close ballgames and have lost some really tight, tight ballgames, just like we have. We've lost five games by eight points. I don't think there's anything glaring, when you look at them, you don't look at it and say, wow, there's a hole here or a hole there. I think they have been in some tight contests and needed to make a play or two at the end of the game, or make a stop or two.

But other than that, I think they are progressing and probably I'm sure Coach Richt wants to win more games, as well. But I think they are making pretty good progress from where they were last year.

Q. Do you know him very well? Have you encountered him a bunch on the recruiting circuit?
COACH KELLY: No, we know each other. We have a number of coaches that are that are acquaintances and we know each other through the profession over the number of years that we've been in, but him being in the SEC for as long as he has and being here at Notre Dame, we obviously haven't played, but certainly have a great deal of respect for him.

Q. You were talking about, you can't find that one thing particularly with Miami's offense. However last Thursday, they gave up eight sacks in one game, and you guys have I think six sacks for the entire season. Can you talk a little about that equation here and what it could mean for you guys?
COACH KELLY: Well, it means that we are probably not going to get eight sacks, if you go with the numbers, that's for certain (chuckles).

Yeah, I think Virginia Tech a very difficult scheme if you have some inexperienced players. They have some young, talented players that are agreeing, and Virginia Tech can be an avalanche situation where if you get one, you can get a number of them. They play a lot of man coverage, and if you don't get rid of the football, some of those sacks can be not just on the offensive line; they can be on receivers; they can be on the quarterback.

Bud Foster does a great job of doing that against everybody. So I wouldn't look at Miami in particular. He's been doing that for 30 years to everybody.

Q. Kind of a big picture question here. But a lot of the teams that have won or played in national championships the last few years have struggled, or maybe not been quite as sharp the next year. Why do you think that is?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think there's a huge commitment to college football institutionally by a number of schools. You know, it thins out the recruiting to allow prospects to choose a number of different institutions.

If you turn over a lot of players, you have to play inexperienced players, and there's going to be some growing pains. It doesn't mean you're going to be down for a long period of time. It shouldn't mean that. But there's going to be some growing pains with some teams, and I think that's probably what you're seeing a little bit.

I know from our standpoint, we're playing a lot of inexperienced players, and they are going to grow and they are going to be very successful. But there is that period of time that is a little bit rough for everybody, especially when your fan base is expecting ten to 12 wins every year.

Q. Stand out defensive players, can you speak about that in general and how important Kizer and Blanding (sic) are to your team?
COACH KELLY: Well, I mean, again, I think like anything else, we've played so many talented teams. I think Miami, what they have been able to do is sustain some pretty good play with a lot of injuries, as well. They have got very good depth. They have some talent.

And the back end of their defense, I think is as good as we've played. It's going to require our offense to do a lot better than they have over the last couple weeks. Offensive production has to go to where it was earlier in the season.

When you're playing a team with the kind of athletes that Miami has, that puts a lot more on your skill players, and you know, our quarterback, obviously, is the guy that everybody looks to. But he's got to get the surrounding support from our receiving core, offensive line and running backs, if we're going to be successful against Miami.

Q. And how important has Kizer and Blanding (sic) been to your defense? They have combined for a lot of tackles.
COACH KELLY: Well, they certainly have. But it's been a process. I think as we move forward, they have been allowed to really develop, and I think that they are playing a lot faster and freer and we've obviously done a great job of keeping the points down to the point where now our offense has to match that by getting some points on the board.

Q. I was wondering how many of your guys really know about the Notre Dame/Miami history. We only talked to a few guys yesterday. It didn't seem like they knew very much or were very interested in that. The coach said he would talk about it with the team.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, you're right. I mean, I think a lot of these kids weren't even born. They don't remember much about it. We'll bring it up in passing, but it's not a huge point of emphasis.

Both these teams are young teams that are looking to gain a foothold in consistency and performance and winning football games. And so we stay more in the present. It's nice for the fan base and to remember the classic games, but the reality of it is these are kids that don't remember much about that game and those games that were played. I certainly do; you do; the fan bases do. But these kids are really more focused about winning a football game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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