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September 2, 2017

Geoff Collins

South Bend, Indiana

Temple - 16, Notre Dame - 49

GEOFF COLLINS: This moment right now what just happened is not one of them. I thought we came out slower. I told the kids at halftime, I said I thought I did a poor job. We had a bunch of rookies playing, especially on defense. They kind of acted like rookies at times. And I told them the truth, I thought I acted like a rookie early.

So we got that fixed, we got settled in, started playing some really good football. Continued for most of the second half playing some really good football, and then kept trying to compete. We didn't come here to win a participation medal, we came to try to push it and try to go for it. A bunch of times in the fourth quarter, we gave them some big plays to close the game out.

But I thought that the offense did a really good job at times, special teams did a really good job at times. Defensively we missed a bunch of things. Led to some big plays which you can't do against really good running backs, really good quarterback that's shifty and can make plays in space. Those things have to be eliminated.

I love them, I'm proud of the way they competed, the way they fought, they never quit. But some of the misfits on some of those big plays were killers.

Q. (No microphone.)
GEOFF COLLINS: I thought he did well, I thought he threw the ball, I thought he had rhythm, I thought he had timing, I thought he had control of the offense. I know that's been a big point of discussion the entire off season, throughout the entire pre-season, and I thought Logan performed admirably. Probably was a little too much gamesmanship on my part. I probably carried it a little too far with the quarterback battle, the quarterback situation. But Logan knew he was going to be the guy, Russo knew that Logan was going to get the nod. And then Logan came in and played admirably and moved the offense really well at times, threw some really nice balls and threw some balls that not a lot of kids in the country can make. And I thought the rest of the offense kind of rallied around him. We had some uncharacteristic penalties in the first quarter, and then we settled down and eliminated those.

There were two defensive penalties that led to two touchdowns that were third down stops that we gave up, so that added 14 points that we don't want to ever have happen.

Q. (No microphone.)
GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, just the -- I knew going into it we were replacing three starting linebackers, and I thought we had some very talented kids in the game. I think we played. I think we had seven linebackers play today. So trying to replace three starters, I thought just a little bit the fit, the thing -- the unique things that they were doing, they were tempoing, some of the run game that they were doing, just in a sterile environment, is tough if you're a young linebacker. And then you add the tempo piece to it and two really good players, that adds to it as well.

But just me finding my rhythm as well. And I told them that at halftime, there was a lot of rookies out there getting a lot of shots for the first time, and I put the onus straight on myself as well. I thought once we settled into a rhythm, the entire team, me included, I thought there was some really good ball being played, especially in the second and third quarter.

The beginning was bad, the wheels fell off at the end, which is inexcusable to, the same with the misfits, but we'll get it corrected. I've got complete faith in them, the players, complete faith in our coaching staff. I'm on the headsets with them saying all the right things, teaching all the right things, the kids are dialed in. But it's still, in a unique environment, it's still tough at times.

Q. When did you know you weren't going to have Ventell Bryant and how did you adjust the game plan?
GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, we have been trying to get him ready and it just wasn't happening, so probably Friday.

Q. What adjustments were made?
GEOFF COLLINS: Well, I think you saw it. Wright got a ton of balls today. I thought he had an impact in the game. Kirkwood had some nice catches. Adonis did some really nice things. There were times this week we were worried about Marshall Ellick and then in the fourth quarter you see Marshall doing some really good things for us. So I'm excited about our receiving corp. Tight ends as well. So I think we have a complete offense, we just got to give them some better field position, some better situations.

Q. Your feeling about Wimbush, his start and what made him so difficult to defend and the running backs?
GEOFF COLLINS: Sure, the things they were doing, which were unique from what they have done in the past, they were doing a lot of things out of the pistol and he was doing some of his own stuff and keeping it. We had him hemmed up about three times. One of the touchdown passes down the red zone, we had him hemmed up, he stepped in, moved outside. Just a tremendous athlete. We knew he had a strong arm, we knew he was athletic, but then that pace of the offense and then his athletic ability, I was impressed with.

Q. (No microphone.)
GEOFF COLLINS: It was just some of the fits. There's certain things that we do that, some of the young linebackers have to put some stunts, so we're playing tight you got to put a gain on it. A lot of time the gain weren't being put on or they were taking a yo and then rocking back and just the fits change a little bit. And then the tempo, in the first half especially, we were just, they were just almost too fast. So they were getting the read, they were getting the key, but they would go one back or one gap too far. And that running back's a really good player and he did awesome. Once you misfit something like that they're going to make you pay.

Q. When we see missed tackles is that what you're talking about?
GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, it was a lot of misfits. Just on the rock backs not fitting exactly the way we wanted to. And then against good players, it bounces out and they're able to hit the home run with it. I didn't think we tackled the way that we have all pre-season, grabbing cloth, all the things that we preach. There's some times that once the game starts slipping away, or once a big play starts happening, you start trying to make up for it by being too over aggressive and not relying on your fundamentals and techniques and I thought that happened at times today as well.

Q. Can you talk about the strengths of the Notre Dame running backs versus your defense?
GEOFF COLLINS: They're good players. They're really good players. I think the running back will probably go down as one of the great running backs of this school and that's probably saying a lot. The quarterback can run as well. And then that catch the tall No. 6 made down in the red zone, I mean that was a heck of a play against tight coverage. Got one foot in bounds, a really good play, a really good ball. So at times you got to make sure that you're in position to make those plays against really good players.

Q. (No microphone.)
GEOFF COLLINS: Logan was playing good and we kept getting in that rhythm, so we didn't talk about it. We were letting it be Logan's show today. I told Russo and Frank they were doing a great job supporting him and I think they have a special relationship, they're all pulling for each other, and I think they know that if their time comes, they will step in admirably if they need to.

Q. Is it going to be Logan next week?
GEOFF COLLINS: We'll do the same thing every single week, you guys are going to get tired of me saying it, but every single thing that we do we evaluate on a day-to-day week-to-week basis. With how you practice, how you prepare, how you perform, all your reps are determined throughout the week and there's for every single position.

Q. (No microphone.)
GEOFF COLLINS: A lot of times there were some really good -- I thought Coach Johnson at times caught some really good blitzes, exactly where it should be. The last touchdown I thought was a great call, the pressure was coming and we just misfit it. And you cannot do that against an elite running back and that's what happened.

Q. (No microphone.)
GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, a hundred percent. Yes.

Q. Did Logan throw too early? Seemed like on the third down plays they were sailing behind.
GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, the one to the field maybe once, but I thought that he was under control, he was composed, I thought he was changing the rhythm and the cadence of the offense, trying to keep them off balance, so I was happy with his performance.

Q. How much credit do you give to that Notre Dame offensive line as opposed to your linebackers?
GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, they're really good. There's two of them that were projected to be second round picks and they're really good players. They have got five players that can move people. But I think I want to say it's more about us. We got to fix what we can fix. We got we got to control what we can control. But they're really good players, I'm not going to take that away from them. It's a really good offensive line, two really good receivers, a dynamic tailback. I thought the tight ends were good. I don't think they got the ball very much, but they were good blockers, they were physical. And then Wimbush adds another dynamic as a running quarterback -- and I thought he made some nice throws too.

Q. (No microphone.)
GEOFF COLLINS: Yeah, that was tough and I hate it. I know Kenny, I mean, he's made those catches all pre-season, he's a really good player, he's going to have a huge, huge year for us. He's a huge presence for us. So I know he was tough and I credit Coach Foley and Coach Patenaude, we went for two, just two plays later, and he was the target. I think that's really good coaching. Because you got a really good player who is a freshman, that drops a pass, but we let him know right there we believe in you, we love you, we trust you, we're going to get you the ball the next time we can. And then just the little pressure and the ball sailed a little bit. But I thought it was good to show faith in Kenny.

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