home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 1, 2017

Brian Kelly

South Bend, Indiana

Q. We talked about how you made improvements, what are the little improvements and how much intention to detail do you give in the improvement that you've made on your red zone opportunities and scoring.
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I think it's been a focus kind of development in the sense that play calling and really trying to put our quarterback in a position to minimize any mistakes down there.

So high percentage running the football, going to our strengths and really, you know, formationally putting us in positions where it limits a lot of the coverages that you see down there.

So you know, we spent a lot of time in the off-season wanting to be much more efficient down there, and a lot of those things that I just mentioned have helped us improve our red zone.

Q. Further on that, with the success you've had rushing the football in the long plays that you had, a lot of credit goes to the offensive line, but you've got to be pleased with what you're getting out of your wide receivers and your tight ends down the field.
BRIAN KELLY: Absolutely. We were just talking about that as a staff this morning. The physicality does not stop at the offensive line. That physicality is all over the field. We've got guys at the wide receiver and tight end position that are sustaining blocks and are playing really physical all the way down the field and that says a lot about their commitment to what we're doing.

You know, at times, you can get frustrated that you're not getting the ball but these guys are really doing a great job.

Q. Talk about what do you like about your team so far in the first five games this year? I know last year you had a tough season. What do you like about your team so far?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think there's a lot of things. Their ability to play at a high standard that we've set. They are a group that is extremely physical. They are very intentional during the week in their preparation. They have really done everything that we've asked them to do in terms of how to play the game. We're very opportunistic in terms of what we do offensively.

Defensively we're taking the ball away. And a lot of this is the training that we had in the off-season.

I just love the way that they have been extremely coachable and you know, have shown all the traits that we've tried to build in our football team. It's a fun team to coach.

Q. Last night you were up 35 points at half-time and you kept Wimbush in until the fourth quarter. Would you ever consider bringing in the backup if you are up more than 35 to get more reps so he's ready to go in case something happens down the road?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, we think about all those things. We didn't have the ball very much, so we wanted to get at least two series with Brandon in there, and we got our second series with Brandon, and Ian got plenty of playing time. So we thought that that was the right decision in terms of playing time for Ian in that game.

Q. I thought one of the things you kind of dove into last night about self-scouting was interesting to me, I'm curious without giving away trade secrets, kind of what's involved with that. Is Bill Rees part of that process, and you know, just kind of how that comes together.
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, Jeff Quinn handles that for us. It's been something that we wanted. Bill handles the evaluation of personnel. So he breaks down all the personnel of the teams that we're playing. Does a great job with that.

But Jeff handles the self-scouting. Does an incredible job of really diving deep into all of our formations and plays and right and left and tendencies. It's just been a thorough report that's allowed us to really be very intentional in terms of play calls and setting things up. It's helped us quite a bit this year so far.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Drue Tranquill. When you look at his stat line, he fills almost everything out: Tackles for loss, sacks, pass breakups, forced fumble recoveries, quarterback hurries. What do you like about him in this rover role and where can that role maybe still evolve yet.
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think you probably hit it. You can't be involved in that many statistical categories at the safety position. You can be at the rover position. Closer to the line of scrimmage allows you to be, you know, much more involved in the entire game, whether it be a blitz or tackles for loss, pass coverages. There's just so many different areas that allow him to impact the game. So I think the answer is in that he's involved in so many statistical categories.

Where he goes from here, you know, he's a leader on our football team. I think it just continued leading, and quite frankly, you know, he's still developing even at that rover position. It's a new position for him. So just more knowledge of the position each and every week.

Q. Inaudible the most fun he had coaching was that first year because there was so much failure the year before; that there was such a joy in practices and coming out -- teach us more, teach us more. Do you sense something like that this year, given what transpired, and just a hunger aspect in galvanizing more of the team?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, there's no question that the not living up to the standards of Notre Dame football had an impetus on you know, how we trained and how we went about our business in the off-season.

So I don't disagree that there isn't that sense that they carry that with them on a day-to-day basis. So there was an eagerness from the very beginning for them to want to get out and change the score card, if you will. But I think when it comes to enjoying it, you still have to create the right atmosphere. You have to create an environment where the kids enjoy coming to play every day and enjoy coming to practice every day and that is a positive coaching environment.

And that's the difference between last year and this year. We've got a great environment where our kids enjoyed coming to practice every single day; coupled with the fact that they want to settle up a score and that is to bring Notre Dame football back to where it should be.

Q. Just watching the game, I'm trying to find out if there's anything more Nick Watkins could have done on those couple of touchdown passes to Gardner. It seemed the coverage was about as present as it could be. It was almost jump eyeball like situations. Is that just a reflection sometimes how defensive back or corners specifically can be at such a disadvantage?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I think there was one we would have liked. You know, the first touchdown pass, he was in off-coverage. We would have preferred that he have played over the top of the route and made a play on the ball. The second touchdown pass, he was in man coverage and there was a bit of play in both side of the ball there and it was just in a position where he couldn't get to it.

Those were the two plays in particular that we felt like on the first one, the proper technique and off coverage for him would have been to stay on the left field shoulder and make a play on the ball. The second one, just a difficult play. He played it the right way with the right technique and it was just a ball that was thrown in a location that he couldn't have got to. I think a little bit of both there, a little bit better technique on the first one. The other one -- just the world of being a corner, where teams like to throw the back shoulder; they are difficult to defend.

Q. On the topic of playing better complementary football, some of the players mentioned summer work outs and maybe the mixing and matching of work out partners. Would you attribute any of that to the better rapport up and down the roster, as opposed to just being offense/defense?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, there was no question it was intentional to move the locker room around. We went away from grouping position groups in the locker room. We have players that are from different position groups next to each other. We wanted a more cohesive locker room in the sense that we wanted linebackers with offensive linemen, and we wanted defensive tackles with wide receivers.

So creating the atmosphere of a cohesive group and team, you know, starts in the locker room and then it works its way into how Coach Balis each day changes the workout groups. They get excited about somebody different each day. That's just, you know, those are the underpinnings of how you develop the camaraderie and guys caring about, you know, pulling for each side and we're starting to see that obviously as this football team comes together.

You still have to execute, right. You've got to be able to, in practice, work on taking the football away, and be very good in the red zone. That's the execution end of things. But there's no question that there is a tighter group here because of the things that we did in the off-season.

Q. When you made those changes in the off-season, was that feedback from some of the exit interviews in December or some of your own observations? What triggered it?
BRIAN KELLY: That was more my observation about bringing a football team closer together and not be so offense and defense. We had some groups that were close, you know, but others that weren't, and actually Sam Bush and I had a conversation about reconfiguring the locker room. I actually gave Sam the assignment to in his own mind reconfigure the locker room, and then I sat down with him and we put together the locker room how we wanted it.

Q. How is it put together now? Is it just numerically or how do you have it broken down?
BRIAN KELLY: We actually broke it down, Sam and I, by personalities and different people that we wanted in areas, and then we have block captains. We have guys that are responsible for keeping the locker rooms clean. So we have guys that are in those blocks in the locker room that are responsible for their areas, but they are penalty groups that I just put together and they are not random. I thought long and hard about the personalities that I wanted in different areas of the locker room.

Q. What's the line of communication that takes place between Coach Rees in the box and the quarterback on the field during a game?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, there's really direct communication -- during the -- when the defense is on the field, Brandon will get on the headset with Coach Rees and talk through any of the things that had gone on during that series. So they are having a direct communication when the defense is on the field.

Q. Is there something specific you want him to deal with that's not overlapping with what perhaps you and Coach Long are talking to Brandon Wimbush about?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, general really he's giving him the last series and coverages, and you know, making sure that he is on his reads. So he's really kind of giving him a recap from the last series, what he was getting on first and second and third down and kind of giving him, you know, whether he was making the appropriate decisions and reads based upon coverages.

Q. Just an update on your running backs and their bumps and bruises, and if you had anybody else from yesterday?
BRIAN KELLY: No, I think we've got some bumps and bruises but nothing that would keep anybody out for next week. You know, Tony Jones had the helmet to helmet contact, but didn't even have to go through the concussion protocol. He was seen in the medical tent. They did an eye scan with him and he was cleared to go back into competition. Felt great today. Ankle looks much better.

Dexter Williams should be cleared for activity on Tuesday and Josh has a mild ankle sprain; could have went back in the game. We chose to keep him out. The running backs should be much better than they were last week in terms of availability across the board. The rest are, you know, your typical bumps and bruises, but again, nothing that would keep anybody out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297