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September 8, 2012

Brian Kelly

Notre Dame – 20
Purdue – 17

COACH KELLY:  Exciting ballgame.  Obviously anytime you come back and show the resolve that our team did, you can imagine, it was a pretty excited locker room.
Our players, first of all, recognized the opponent that we had today was outstanding.  My hat goes off to Purdue, the way they competed today.  They got a darn good football team.
As it relates to our team, really thought our defense played well today.  I think they limited Purdue to just over a hundred yards in the second half.  Obviously the turnover in a short field changed the complexion a bit.
But we're playing the kind of defense necessary to win each and every week.
Offensively, you know, we're evolving.  We knew we were going to be challenged to throw the football today, and we were.  Again, I think Purdue did a great job of changing things up and giving us multiple looks.
The story for me as the head coach is our mantra:  next man in.  We had seven guys go down today.  Our key players.  We had two captains go down.  A leader in the secondary in Jamoris Slaughter.  Our guys kept fighting.  The next guy came in and battled.
As you know, the story finishes with Tommy Rees coming in for Golson and leading us on a two‑minute drive to win the game.
I'm good to go.  A good day for Notre Dame football.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Was it a conscious decision to bring in Tommy?  Was Golson hurt on his last play?
COACH KELLY:  He had trouble gripping the ball.  I think he could have probably still have gone.  I just felt like two‑minute drive, the experience that he has, you know, Everett was having a hard time gripping the football.  This is not going to be an excuse for Everett that he's pulled out because of an injury.  We also made the decision with the flow of the game that Tommy could come in there and manage our two minute and he did a great job.
I will further say, there is no quarterback controversy.  Everett Golson our starter.  He will start against Michigan State.  We know we have assets at that position with Andrew Hendrix and Tommy Rees.

Q.  The decision to have Kyle kick, big field goal at the end.
COACH KELLY:  Another injury.  We had another injury at the kicking position.  Kyle was not our starter this week.  48 hours ago we had an injury to Tausch.  Kyle had to step in.  That's why I'm so proud of my guys.  Next man in.  Went in and got the job done.

Q.  Almost seemed like more than seven people.  Any of those injuries long‑term that you know of?
COACH KELLY:  No.  We don't have anything that would require surgery.  We don't have anything that we think we have a guy with an ACL or MCL.  Probably be things that we'll have to manage.  The expectation would be that most of these guys are going to clear in a very short period of time.

Q.  You were hoping the crowd would get a little more into it today, make it tougher on opposing teams.  We heard them boo your next man in at quarterback.  Is that irritating for a head coach to hear that?
COACH KELLY:  I'm so focused on what we're doing that I don't have time to deal with who's yelling my name.  They yell my name a lot, too.  I don't know if you knew that.  It usually doesn't end with a good adjective (smiling).
We're so focused on the game, calling the game, our fans can do what they want to do.  We have great fans.  Our students were great the other night at the pep rally.  I think we had 15,000.  I love our guys, how they represent us.

Q.  Can't be easy for any quarterback to kind of just come in two minutes, game's on your shoulders.  What does it say about Tommy, his ability to jump in at the end?
COACH KELLY:  That's what I knew about him and his makeup, his moxy, his mental toughness.  Does he have all of the elite skills?  No.  But he's a gamer.  He'll do anything.  Those guys in that locker room will go to the wall for him.  They'll do anything, because he's a great teammate.
He's working the whole game, talking to Everett about different looks, different coverages.  He's the consummate teammate.  That's why those guys in the locker room are pretty happy.

Q.  Hoping you would talk a little bit about the defense.  They seemed to come up with the big stops.
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, again, I would say they ran a nice route late on fourth down.  They double moved our Will.  It was a well‑designed play.  Other than that we had a couple missed tackles really that were the big plays.  We had them corralled a couple times.  We'll clean that up.
Again, a lot of guys played.  Got a lot of experience.  They'll continue to get better.

Q.  Can you give us the specific injuries or areas of injuries for Kapron, Jamoris, Tyler.
COACH KELLY:  Let's see.  Calf strain to Lewis‑Moore.  We had shoulder to Slaughter.  We had a slight concussion to Eifert.  We had ankle sprain to Daniels.  Ishaq had an elbow.  We had a groin strain on Tausch.  That's all I can really remember.  Sheldon, dehydration.

Q.  Brian, after the performance last week of George Atkinson, he didn't get a whole lot of touches today.  Was that by design?
COACH KELLY:  Let's see.  At halftime we had 16 rushes for 18 yards.  We were 13‑16 for 197.  Purdue made up their mind that they were going to have a loaded box today.  That was it.  You're not going to run the football.  We're going to make it so difficult.
So we had to manage it by throwing the football.  Again, George, very gifted, but Theo is a little bit better at that receiver position, that slot position.  He got a little bit more work than George today because of the way they decided to play the game.

Q.  You also moved Dan Fox to outside linebacker.  When was that decision made?
COACH KELLY:  I won't get into when it was made, other than that we wanted Ben to see the game first from the sideline.  He had not seen the game in a manner against Navy because it was a different game plan.  We wanted him to see the game from the sideline, get kind of focused on his responsibility, then move him into the game.

Q.  You were just talking about Everett needing to throw it a lot.  How do you feel he handled being in that situation, where the game was on his arm?
COACH KELLY:  He's got work to do.  He did some good things, you know.  He did some good things.  He's a young guy.  Competitive kid.  Love talking to him after the game.  He's competitive, wants to get better.
We've got great film.  Unfortunately, I couldn't do a great job with him this week because they had a new defensive coordinator.  We had no real film last week on their performance.  We were looking at Kansas State film from 2008.  It wasn't really the same.
He'll get a better look.  He'll have a lot more familiarity with the kind of looks that he saw today as we move into Michigan State.

Q.  You talked earlier in the week not really a separation between the number two.  When did you decide that Tommy was your number two?
COACH KELLY:  I didn't decide.  If we had to make a decision for three or four quarters, it might have been different.  Tommy's a guy, if you look at it in baseball terms, he's a closer.  He can close for you.  Maybe your middle relief guy is Hendrix.  But maybe next week it changes.

Q.  You didn't necessarily know until fourth quarter of this game?
COACH KELLY:  No.  We had a conversation about it, Chuck and I.  We agreed that was the right move to make with Tommy coming in.

Q.  They kind of pride themselves on their defensive backs.  You had a lot of big plays on third downs throwing the football.  What did you see that you thought you could take advantage of Johnson and Ricardo?
COACH KELLY:  We had no choice.  The ball had to be thrown because of the coverages.  They played cover one, man free, cover one, man free.  Once in a while they'd throw in a little bit of cover one and man free.
It became that kind of game.  Those guys are an on island.  If we put the ball in a good position, we were going to come up with some plays.

Q.  Looked like Golson had some success moving around.  Talk about how that helps your offense.
COACH KELLY:  Again, he has this capability, he can throw the ball, keeps his eyes downfield.  We have to work on some things.  Probably shouldn't have taken a sack, should have gotten rid of the football.
Again, get ready for it.  We're going to have some growing pains.  But we won today.  He was our starter.  He's 2‑0.  He's 1‑0 in terms of playing a Big Ten opponent that was pretty darn good.  So that's a good start for him.

Q.  On a side note, a lot more penalties today.
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, I was a little disappointed we had a couple sloppy errors.  Our communication's got to get better with our quarterback and the offensive line.  We'll make that a point of emphasis this week in making sure we're communicating on the field with some of those cadences.  We've got to do a better job there.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH KELLY:  You can ask them about it when they come in.  They're disciplined guys.  They let their emotion get in the way of genuine enthusiasm today.  Again, we were overcoming them, so that was good.

Q.  How does Purdue having to play two, maybe three quarterbacks affect the way you prepare defensively for a game like this?
COACH KELLY:  It doesn't.  I mean, our calls are pretty standard.  We're going to activate maybe some zone read calls and some things to keep an eye on the quarterback if they're going to run the quarterback quite a bit.
Marve was as elusive as TerBush today keeping plays alive.  It really didn't change much of our game plan.  We knew what we were going to get with all three.

Q.  Brian, it looked like you in the second half were making more changes from the sidelines after the offense was at the line.  Is that something you anticipated needing to do coming in?
COACH KELLY:  It's always in our system, but we did.  We wanted to make sure that our quarterback got the right look in terms of protections and plays.  You know, quite frankly, we didn't feel like the substitution patterns for us, we weren't able today in the way the game was officiated to gain any advantage.  I guess the best way I would put it is they were holding the ball to let the defense get out there.  I thought they held the ball for a long time.  That's something that I'll have a discussion with the officials relative to how long they can hold it.
My point is, we couldn't use all of our personnel groupings, so we kept the same groups out there and it was easier for us to make some calls from the sideline.

Q.  I was wondering if Everett pleaded his case at all to get in in the fourth quarter?  Do you worry about a guy's confidence state?
COACH KELLY:  I'm not.  He wouldn't have a chance to plead his case.  We made the decision.
Here is what I want.  I want a guy that's upset he wasn't in the game, but he's not selfish.  He understands that we support whoever goes in the game.  Just like Tommy and Andrew supported Everett, it's his turn now to support his teammates.  That's the way we roll.  If you don't support each other, then you won't be part of what we do.  That's what we expect from him and that's what we got.

Q.  Looked like you had a conversation with Bennett at the end of the game.  What did you tell him?
COACH KELLY:  What would you tell him?  What, are you nuts?  Get down, the game's over.
Here is a young guy who hasn't been in that situation.  He's been coached to do it.  He got away from himself a little bit.  He's got to get down.  That's silly.  He knows that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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