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October 4, 2017

Brian Kelly

Greensboro, North Carolina

BRIAN KELLY: Obviously third road game in four weeks for us, and playing a talented North Carolina team. Coach Fedora has got them playing really hard. Regardless of their record, it's a dangerous football team.

Offensively I think they've done a great job bringing in the freshman quarterback, Surratt along. He's really the heartbeat of their offense. It all runs through him. 50 percent of the team's plays run through him. He's done a real nice job for them.

Ratliff-Williams, obviously he's the go-to guy now at the wide receiver position, but he's also somebody that you've got to be aware of in terms of special teams.

And defensively they blow up in the red zone. They've been really good at stopping people when they sustain drives.

Again, a talented team. They're playing gritty. They're playing tough. They've had the lead in four of their five games going into the fourth quarter, so another road test for us.

Q. You guys talk all the time about one game at a time, one week at a time, and I wanted to know, what's your secret or trick to actually getting the players to buy into that and not look ahead?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think you have to do it starting in January and build a mindset with your football team about how they do the little things on a day-to-day basis. It's coach speak if you just try to do it on Saturdays or talk about it in the locker room. You've got to do it every single day and build that mindset about how you go to class and do the little things right on a day-to-day basis and set an expectation level of how you live your life on a day-to-day basis.

It's really about how you handle yourself January through up to right now that allows you to be a consistent performer.

Q. With so many people now focused on the College Football Playoff and the end result, is that any more difficult to do, to get the kids not to be thinking about the big playoff picture and to just focus in on week to week?
BRIAN KELLY: No. Again, I think we've gotten our football team back to where they are -- 100 percent of the time, and I know you hear this all the time, on process, which are the traits necessary to be successful in football and in life. Having focus, being smart, being gritty, attention to detail, all of those traits are part of what a process is, and if they stick to the process, then all those other things kind of take care of themselves. Building that in January and February and March while everybody is worrying about March Madness, we're worrying about a process. It takes care of itself when you get into this time where people are talking about playoffs and things of that nature.

Q. As you look at your three last wins, how much of that have you seen growth in your offense versus maybe it just turned out to be the team that beat you, Georgia, wound up becoming a really, really good team?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, we knew Georgia was a good team coming in. I thought that our football team has grown, however, in many areas. I think we were certainly a team that needed to continue to find itself, and we needed to go through some adversity, which we did against Boston College on the road. It was a close game at half. We fumbled the ball in the third quarter. We hold them defensively and come back and score a few touchdowns.

Michigan State, we have to come out in the second half and prove ourselves on the road.

So it's been these challenges that our football team has undertaken that has helped it grow during these last three wins.

So yeah, Georgia certainly is a very good football team. We learned a lot about our team that we can compete with anybody that we play, but there's no question the last three weeks have been growth for our football team, as well.

Q. How much do you worry about the growth may be impeded depending on your quarterback situation this week?
BRIAN KELLY: No, it's not a one-man show here. I mean, this football team is built for the next person that steps up. It's a next-man-in philosophy here. One player is not going to change how we go about and do our work. Brandon had a good day yesterday. We expect him to continue to progress. But if he can't, Ian Book will be ready to play and run our offense, and we've got 10 other players around him that will be ready to help him, as well.

Q. How much work was Brandon able to do in practice yesterday, and was it enough that you are optimistic that he might be able to play on Saturday?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, he was fully engaged in all of our game plan, meetings. He was out on the field. We did some light throwing, some core exercises. We had him on the bike. And then he was part of the signaling of all the plays.

He's mentally ready to go. He'll move around today, and I think we've got plenty of time to get him ready. Yeah, it was a good day, and we expect more progress today.

Q. I think you mentioned yesterday that he was off crutches, and it was kind of ironic when we walked out he was walking in with crutches. What is his injury status there? Is he able to run some at all in practice?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, he's got a grade 1 strain, so he really doesn't need the crutches. I think he was using them because of the boot is a little awkward for them. I don't know if you know anything about the boot, but it rolls, and the crutches are really just that, a crutch for him. He doesn't need it because of the pain or anything like that. He felt awkward in the boot. The boot should be off today. We let him use it today to go to class because he's walking around campus, and we don't want any stress on the foot.

But again, last night our orthopedic surgeon met with him last night, showed him again the MRI, grade 1, and he's cleared to run for today.

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