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November 6, 2016

Brian Kelly

South Bend, Indiana

Q. Did you get any further clarification from the ACC about the too many men on the field?
COACH KELLY: No, not as of yet. As you know, that was the replay, the American Athletic Conference, who asked for a review of the play. So it really wasn't the ACC that we have obviously asked for further clarification, because we clearly understand what the rule is.

And you know, obviously it brings up many questions relative to, you know, replay and really a need for uniform and nationalized replay when you have different conferences with different ways of looking at specific plays.

You know, we're the only sport that doesn't have that, so I hope that affect the some form of conversation that we can get to a nationalized replay situation.

Q. I guess was it more the way that you understood it, was it more that there was a chain of command break down between the replay and the officials who told you there wasn't anything wrong with that play?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, the rule clearly states that if he is one step from the sideline, then it is not a reviewable play. Very similar to when I had asked earlier in the game for a review on a Tarean Folston run, I was told by the official on the field that it was not reviewable because his forward progress was deemed stopped, so it could not be reviewed.

This would be a similar situation where the play could not have been reviewed if he was within one step of the sideline after the ball being snapped.

Q. I guess on a larger level, though, does it concern you at all that the game in part tipped on this one officiating decision that you were not able to build up the kind of advantage to make it to the point where that play wouldn't maybe have mattered as much?
COACH KELLY: No, I mean, look, in every game we've played Navy over my seven years, they have been hard-fought games that required us to extend by a possession or two. Obviously that one possession was going to be a big possession for us.

You know, we had some opportunities to get off the field. They made some really good plays on third down. It's always a fine margin when you're playing Navy. They have played extremely well. We were pretty effective, as well. This would have been a game that was going to come down to one possession, and I thought if we get the ball back, we're going to have a chance to win the football game.

Q. Are Drue and Julian, are they going to be going through the concussion protocol this week?

Q. Why did Jarron not have a bigger role in this game? Was he injured or trying to protect him, or how did that work?
COACH KELLY: Well, it's a different -- it really is a whole different animal relative to option. He's got a job to do, and you know, he can't be the kind of force he was in a traditional offensive set because, you know, he's got to play gap and he has a responsibility; if they choose to run triple option, even if he's a force and he's destroying his guy and he's getting upfield, they are going to pull the ball and work the ball out to the perimeter. So you could take a Jarron Jones out of the game, even if he's being disruptive, and so it really neutralizes players like him and when you play a team like Navy.

Q. Aside from the way the officials handled that call with 12 men on the field, is it typical that you have somebody that's racing to get off the field, for instance, is it a matter of you tell your defense to stay on the field when you're not sure if the other team is going to be punting; is that fairly typical from time to time?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, certainly we should not have cut it that close obviously. We weren't certain obviously that they were going to punt. They are a team that obviously goes for it quite a bit on fourth down. So we had our base defense. We were in a safe punt situation.

So you're keeping your defense out there till the very last second and they raced their team out there quickly and we should have obviously not cut it as close as we did.

Q. I know you kind of went down this road after the game but in the light of day the next day, do you kind of wish you had gone for it on fourth down there the last time you had the ball, or do you kind of not second-guess yourself like that?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't think I do. Look, here is my way of thinking. I kicked into the wind in the third quarter for a reason, and that was to take the wind in the fourth quarter with a thought that the field goal would win the game in the fourth quarter.

We had many chances to get off the field. We had third and nines, third and sevens, fourth and sixth; we had our own chance to pick up a first down on the offensive side of the ball.

They are easily disputed, but I think it was the right call to make it 28-27 with a field goal and the wind to your back to win the game in the kind of game that we played.

Q. Again, this is somewhat uncharted territory for you, one year in this position, now you're 3-6, where do you draw from? Do you say, you've got to stay the course, or think of changes? Are there resources that you can go to? Does your Central Michigan one year there help you with this at all? Just kind of curious.
COACH KELLY: I think you have to look at how your team is playing and you've got to look at the kind of, overall, you know, what's your football team look like, what's their preparation like, how are they preparing, what's their attitude like.

And you know, it's hard for me to want to make any significant changes. I know we lost the football game, and the first thing is to look to make some changes.

But we've got a lot of inexperienced players that are gaining great experience. And you know, we're still growing up, and I love the way we compete and play hard. We've lost six close games that easily could have went our way, and we're going to keep battling and fighting.

It's hard for me in these circumstances to think that major changes need to be made, other than continue to do what we're doing, and we'll break through.

Q. Pass defense yesterday, looks like you did a good job controlling the pass defense after Navy gave up 255 yards against South Florida two weeks ago.
COACH KELLY: Well, it's a difficult defense. Defensively you're put in very difficult circumstances defending the triple option, and you know, obviously we need to be better on fourth down when they needed to throw. You're left to play some man-to-man coverage. Navy is a very difficult offense to defend.

Q. I know you're 3-6; when do you start evaluating for next season? Do you start doing it now or do you wait until probably the last game of the year, see who is going to be what for next year?
COACH KELLY: Well, next year is this year. We have so many guys that are going to be learning how to do the things right every single day this year. And they are doing that.

I mean, I love the way our guys compete. We need a little bit better coaching. We need a little bit better playing in certain areas. That's going to obviously prove to be very, very important for us in the next year and the next coming years.

My focus is on the present, but everything that we do is going to benefit us in the future, as well.

Q. Next week, you have Army in the dome, so how do you get ready for a dome setting, because you guys don't play a lot of dome games.
COACH KELLY: We've played a couple over the last few years, obviously in Indianapolis against Purdue, and then Dallas against Arizona State. So we've been indoors.

We're excited about the Shamrock Series. It's something that the kids look forward to with the uniforms and helmets, and obviously playing another academy, a lot of respect for Army and who Coach Monken has been doing with their program.

I know the guys are excited about the challenge, but again, we're used to playing indoors, and I don't think it's going to be an issue at all.

Q. I know everyone has been asking you about the fourth and four decision. I want to ask you about first and second down, electing to pass. You ended up passing on first, second and third down there. Obviously you had been very effective running the ball throughout the game. Any thoughts on maybe you should have elected to run the ball more on first or second down?
COACH KELLY: You know, we had 19 total possessions in the second half, and we ran the ball ten times. So it's hard to think that we were out of balance in that situation.

I thought we had some good looks in the red zone. Some of our throws are off of our RPOs which is our run play option. So there were a couple of run plays called, but because of the numbers in the box, the ball is forced to be thrown. I think our balance is pretty good. We just needed to execute a little bit better in those circumstances.

Q. Curious what your evaluation was of the offensive line after you sort of looked at the tape and talked to Harry a little bit?
COACH KELLY: Better. We changed up a couple things in terms of directional blocking schemes. We were able to I think get our left side more involved at the point of attack which was able to open up some things for us in short yardage, making us much more effective in those third-down situations.

Q. And you've sort of been asked a little bit about evaluating this year against next year, as it comes to your roster. Is there really anything that you can see in the next three games that's going to change your opinion about what does need to change in January, February and moving on into the off-season?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, again, if you look at the six games that we've played, what needs to change is a little bit better play calling here, maybe a little bit better execution there, and players just maturing.

All these guys pretty much are going to be back. And when they are put into similar situations that we have all grown from them, and we flipped six very difficult losses into six wins, and are sitting in a better position.

Look, if we're losing 31-0, you know, then changes are made or you're playing younger players, and you know, that's how you handle those situations. But when you know that your nucleus is maturing and getting better and is going to be the group that you're playing next year, you're just working on the finer details during the course of the year and during the course of your preparation.

Q. It would be fair to say that your outlook is more do what we're doing but do it better, as opposed to just doing something different?
COACH KELLY: Yes, that would be how I would put it, in those terms.

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