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November 5, 2016

Brian Kelly

Navy 28 - Notre Dame 27

THE MODERATOR: First we're going to let Coach Kelly give his comments.
COACH KELLY: Obviously very disappointing. But congratulations to Navy. They executed flawlessly. It's what we expect every time we play Navy. It's always a game where it comes down to the last quarter. You've got to make a play late. They played the plays necessary late. We forced them to throw the football to win the game.
Again, really proud of my football team, the way they competed. Fourth quarter, we had four true freshmen playing against an option team that they haven't seen before. They were figuring it out as they went.
We had six possessions the whole game. Any time you're limited to six possessions, you have to be extremely efficient. Other than the three‑and‑out where we had a receiver that we couldn't hook up with, there's not much I can really pick at from a head coach's perspective.
I love the way my team battled. Navy was just a little bit better today by one point.

Q. Fourth‑and‑four at the 14 yard line, you hadn't stopped Navy very much during the day. What were your thoughts on not going for the first down, kicking the field goal?
COACH KELLY: Well, certainly thought about going for it. Now in hindsight, it's something that we didn't get the ball back.
But 28‑27 made sense to me at the time. Even if they score a touchdown, we still have the opportunity to score and get the two‑point conversion. It made sense to me at 28‑27 was the right call at fourth and four. I think if it's fourth‑and‑one or two, maybe.
But those are the decisions you got to make. Again, I don't question the decision to go for the field goal other than the fact that we couldn't get the ball back.

Q. The too many men on the field penalty, what was your view of what happened on that?
COACH KELLY: I was standing there. They had two officials who agreed with me that he got off the field.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH KELLY: We all saw the same thing, that he took a step and stepped onto the sideline. As long as you're within a step of the sideline, which he was, felt that he was clearly getting off the field.
But it was seen otherwise. Obviously a very key play in the game.

Q. You had two officials tell you that the guy had gotten off the field in time?
COACH KELLY: Both officials confirmed that they felt he was off the field in time.

Q. Is that something that happened before, where an official will tell you that he differs from another official?
COACH KELLY: No, you're not hearing me clearly.
Both officials, and I asked them both, because clearly they didn't throw a flag. They were standing with me. I asked them both. What did you see? I saw him step off the sideline. They concurred that they felt they saw the same thing that I saw. They were clearly overruled.
Listen, Navy won the game. I'm not here to cry over that call. We had chances to get off the field and we couldn't get off the field.

Q. You allowed 14 points in each half. If somebody told you going in you would do that, you figure you would have enough possessions to win the game?
COACH KELLY: It wasn't enough. It was the 14, 14 with only two possessions in the second half. You know what I mean? That was the rub.
If we get the ball back with 1:14, I'm feeling pretty confident we're going to find a way to score. They made a couple of big plays that they needed to hold onto the football. That was the difference.

Q. This is always a game of adjustments for you and your defense. What was the give‑and‑take there? What did you adjust to? What did they adjust to you?
COACH KELLY: It was a quarterback‑driven run game. So counter option, cracking the safety, and really forcing the corners to run support. They wanted to put the pressure on the young guys on the perimeter. Thought they did a much better job of taking care of the cut block. Got cut early obviously.
We overran the big‑play run. Counter option. Got outside. Were able to pull it back up inside. We corrected that at halftime and thought we played it much better.

Q. Good to have Martini today?
COACH KELLY: Greer is a good player. Has a good sense of the triple and does a really good job. I thought by and large, though, they all had a really good sense of where they needed to be. We were a little late on the backside with our safety to the pitch. That was really the only thing we needed to get a little bit better play from. It got better late. It just took too long for them to really feel comfortable seeing it.

Q. Julian Love?
COACH KELLY: Head injury. Drue Tranquill head injury.

Q. Same injury?
COACH KELLY: Both had head injuries, yes.

Q. Tranquill's penalty early, it didn't look on replay like it was unnecessary. How do you view that?
COACH KELLY: Well, I asked the official if I could give him clips of how DeShone Kizer is treated, he would have thrown three flags.
You know, I had a conversation about it, and we moved on. I didn't feel as though it was. But, again, I had my say. We came to an agreement that we disagreed and we moved on, yeah.

Q. You look at the DeShone's game today, three touchdowns, no turnovers, also a couple throws he'd probably like to have back. How would you assess the way he played?
COACH KELLY: It was interesting. Here is DeShone. I like the fact that he finished off his runs today. There's certain parts of his game that I'm really pleased with because he's showing some of the gritty toughness that I think in that position I like to see. He's starting to show that.
I thought he was really decisive in the red zone. We ran a play that had a couple of reads to it. He didn't like it. He stayed forward in the pocket, had a nice run. I really like those.
A couple of throws... Mechanically he's always working to get better, so there's always a couple throws here and there. But I'm looking at his numbers.

Q. 19 of 27.
COACH KELLY: The numbers are pretty good. Like to get a couple throws.
But I think my answer to your question, more than anything else, is I'm seeing that toughness and gritty play that I thought at times might have been lacking in the middle of the season. That's a good sign.

Q. The throw to Hunter, overthrown or Hunter cut the route?
COACH KELLY: We were trying to run a corner route. The safety was outside leveraging it. He tried to show a back shoulder. He's trying to make a play. That's really what happened there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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