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September 9, 2012

Brian Kelly

Q.  Do you have any updates on the injured players from yesterday?
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, let me get my list here.  (Jamoris) Slaughter and (Tyler) Eifert have been cleared.  Everett Golson had a thumb; he'll be fine.  Strain on (Kapron) Lewis-Moore, he'll be moving around tomorrow, should be cleared.  Ankle sprain on (DaVaris) Daniels.  We'll progress him during the week.  He should be able to answer the bell.
What else do I have here?  I've got Manti Te'o with a bruised sternum.  So everything looks to be okay for not ruling anybody out for this game.

Q.  Going off that, did you learn something about your team that you just can't replicate through training camp, a big game like yesterday?
COACH KELLY:  I think any time you get contributions from so many different players, you know, that's what you try to prepare for.  And, you know, you build your program in terms of when you get that chance and you get that opportunity, you have high expectations.  When Sheldon Day stepped in there to play a whole game; when Troy Niklas has to take on more of a role in the passing game; John Goodman steps in late for Daniels.  Yeah, I think you're absolutely right.  Your guys are all committed to being the best they can be.

Q.¬† Yesterday in situations like Golson like yesterday, do you ever tinker with his motion‑‑ or try to get him to use the laces; has that ever been a problem with him?
COACH KELLY:  No, I thought he threw the ball very well yesterday.  He missed one pass that we thought that he should have connected on.  But no, he throws the ball well.  That's something that we really don't coach up.

Q.  Can you evaluate Prince Shembo’s play?  I thought he might have been the most impressive defender that didn't really fill the stat sheet yesterday.
COACH KELLY:  Well, he played so hard, every single play.  Of course, he's part of our pass rush package, as well as he's an anchor as one of our linebackers.  So in terms of snaps, in terms of the way he played the game, he's still valuable to the overall  success of the defense.  Yeah, I would agree with your assessment.  He's just a relentless player for us.

Q.  I think you probably had like a mixed bag of results using the nickel and dime pack that you did; was that part of the concern to keep the base linebackers in on that fourth and ten where they scored?
COACH KELLY:  No, I mean, they attacked our will linebacker.  So our will doesn't come out of the game.  And they set him up with a pretty good double move.  But no, the sam backer is out of the game, you know, so the dog's out.  But the will linebacker is a guy that we have confidence in that he can play that No. 2 receiver.

Q.  I just wanted to follow up on a couple other guys that I might have missed when you were talking earlier, Ishaq (Williams), (Nick) Tausch and (Sheldon) Day.
COACH KELLY:¬† Ishaq had‑‑ we are just going to call it an elbow contusion.¬† He'll be fine.¬† Sheldon Day was just gassed; he got some cramps.¬† He played virtually the whole game.¬† He's not used to playing ‑‑ because he played so hard for so long.¬† He's fine.¬† And I'm sorry, who was the third?

Q.  Tausch, and then you might have mentioned Kap but maybe I didn't hear you talk about Kapron.
COACH KELLY:  Yeah, Kap should be fine.  He had a calf strain and we expect him to start moving around tomorrow.  We think that's going to be a pretty quick recovery; that he'll be available for us this week.
And Tausch, we'll find out.  We'll start our special teams kicking regimen for him begins on Tuesday.  He was getter today, and then it will be a competitive situation during the week.

Q.  I was going to say Brindza misses his first one but then looked pretty smooth in the operation hitting forward, hit a big kick at the end of the game, what can you tell us about him and what have you seen from him?
COACH KELLY:  Well, we knew that he's a guy that had opportunities like this in his high school career to win games, and won a state championship by kicking a game winner.
The pressure is something that he's done quite well with.  He gets a little quick sometimes and one of the reasons why we wanted to center the ball and not take any time off the clock, we wanted to get that full opportunity to get him out and get settled under a pressure kick, and he executed it very well.
So now obviously we've got a guy that is competing for that position now with Nick (Tausch).

Q.¬† When you were at Cincinnati and Tony (Pike) got hurt and you re‑introduced him into the lineup after Zach (Collaros) had been doing a great job for you, how did you handle the two personalities there with playing two guys, and is there something there that's transferable to whatever you decide to do with Golson/Hendrix and Golson/Rees moving forward?
COACH KELLY:¬† Well, that situation was when a starter got hurt, he came in and had to play a couple games for him.¬† This one was a late‑in‑the‑game, two‑minute drive; so the circumstances were different.
And so you know, Everett just gets back up and just continues on his progression as our starter, and we know that Tommy and Andrew give us some really good assets at that position if they are called upon and we need them.

Q.  Following up on that, how do you handle Everett in saying, I'm pulling you from the game, because this guy gives us the best chance to win, and how did he react to that?
COACH KELLY:  Well, I think anybody that gets taken out of the game is going to react in a manner that he wants to play; and if they don't, I don't want him to be our quarterback.
I know Everett wanted to be in the game and that's a good thing.  But he's been supported by Tommy and Andrew, and now it was his chance to support Tommy in that situation.
You know, he's a young man that's understanding and growing every day, and we won't have any issues moving forward.

Q.  What are your expectations for Cierre Wood’s role this week and what you'll see from him in practice and on Saturday?
COACH KELLY:¬† Yeah, re‑integrate him.¬† He's a really good player.¬† So we like good players and so we want to get him on the field and get him involved, and obviously because the game and the way the game unfolded, George (Atkinson III) didn't get enough touches.¬† So we've got to do a good job of making sure that all those guys are re‑integrated.¬† But certainly he's a player that can help us win.

Q.  Some of Golson's sacks, is that on him maybe not getting rid of the ball, throwing it out, or do you feel like those were on the line?
COACH KELLY:  Well, I think there's one, for sure, he clearly needed to get rid of the football.  I'll take one forhim. We are running some hitch routes and they were sitting on our routes and he didn't have anything.  And then there's a couple on the offensive line.
I wouldn't pin it on one guy.¬† I think Everett knows he's got to do a better job of getting rid of the ball.¬† There's some guys up front that got beat on some one‑on‑one matchups, and I want to make sure I get some plays in there where he's not holding the ball.

Q.  Last year you had the concept of "call it and haul it," get the play and run it; is that something that you feel like Everett can do?  Or do you see him trending more towards the way you ran the offense in the second half where it's a lot of check with me on the sidelines?
COACH KELLY:¬† I think we are going through a period of time where he's learning a lot more, and there will be plays where we can just ‑‑ and they were later in the game.¬† I think we had a couple of drives in there where we were able to just call it and haul it.
But it's a process to integrate all those things as he develops as a quarterback.  Ideally, would you get up there and just call it and run it.  They presented some unique challenges to us in terms of their front looks; that we didn't want to run some certain plays because of the circumstances of the game.
So to answer the question, yeah, we want more call in and haul it, but the game and the way it was put together for us required us to help from the sideline, too.

Q.  In terms of Everett understanding protections, getting the line in the right protection scheme, how good is he at that right now, and where does he stand in that part of the game?
COACH KELLY:  He's pretty good.  I'm just pulling through my grade sheets here.  In the first half, he had one protection check that was wrong and he had one running play that he should have changed.
It was just some very subtle changes into their fronts.¬† They were in a 5‑2 and then merged to a 3‑4.¬† They looked very similar, yet they influenced the play quite a bit.¬† It required us to get within at halftime; and we made those adjustments in the second half, because they were so difficult to tell between the two fronts, that's when we started calling the plays.¬† But he did a pretty good job.¬† There were only two times where he didn't have us in the right look.

Q.  On your defensive line, can you evaluate what you got from Sheldon (Day) and (Tony) Springmann and also an injury update on a guy who didn't play, I'm assuming he's injured, (Chase) Hounshell; where does he stand in the mix right now?
COACH KELLY:  Chase isn't hurt.  He's just out at a position where he's behind Stephon Tuitt.  As you know, Stephon is a guy that is going to rack a lot of minutes for us.
We think Sheldon Day is an outstanding player, and he came in and did a very nice job.  Tony Springmann is a guy that we have a lot of confidence; but those are inside guys.  You talk about an outside guy with Hounshell, and he's behind a very good player.

Q.  When you get to a place like Michigan State on Saturday and you may have to help Everett from the sideline, how do you do that in a more hostile environment?  How do you make sure the communication is streamlined over the course of this week?
COACH KELLY:¬† Yeah, you know, we are really set up to be able to do‑‑ run our entire offense without any verbal communication.¬† We can put it on the center and the center can be the guy that's snapping the ball.¬† So it shouldn't be a problem at all.
When we are at home, we use a lot more of our own inflexion.  But you know, if it gets loud, then we are in pretty good shape to put it on the offensive line.  We can put it on a center or we can put it on a guard.  So we are not concerned about that.

Q.  I guess another Golson question, but the younger guy who is going through being a starter for the first time, is there anything extra you do to make sure that he's not looking over his shoulder?  Obviously you were very adamant yesterday he was the starter, you said it right away, but because he's a sophomore and going through this for the first time, he's going through extra pains to make sure he gets the dynamic you're trying to achieve there.
COACH KELLY:¬† Yeah, I think we spend so much time together that we are‑‑ he's going to know that what we tell him is what we mean.¬† We are not going to be sending mixed messages. There's got to be a trust factor there that, hey, what we tell you is what we mean; let's go back to work.¬† So I think if you only talk to him once a week, yeah, you probably would have those concerns, but we eat dinner together every day.¬† So there's constant communication where we are all on the same page.

Q.  Yesterday you would have gone to Tommy on that last drive regardless whether Everett banged up his thumb or not; correct?
COACH KELLY:¬† I had already begun the conversation with Coach Martin about installing Tommy into that situation.¬† So the knowledge of running our two‑minute trumped any kind of injury that he may have had.¬† Now, it contributed in the end to make it an easier decision for me.

Q.  Yesterday we only got to talk to Zack (Martin) and Manti (Te’o) after the game; what went into the decision to limit those guys being the spokesmen, I guess.
COACH KELLY: I had to do what I thought was in the best interests of the team.  I know at times that might put me at odds with you guys, and I understand that.  But last night I thought it was best for our team to have a couple of captains speak, and I'll just leave it at that.

Q.  Wondering what you're seeing from Louis Nix this year as opposed to last year; is it just a natural progression, a young man getting more mature or is he doing things just a little bit better than he was before?
COACH KELLY:  I think both of those.  I think he's a much more mature player, comes to work and practices hard.  He's a fierce competitor.  Loves to play the game.  And you know, he's just gettinga lot stronger.  His volume is up.  All of the things that you mentioned he is so much better in that sense this year.

Q.  Just how big is it to have a guy like that and (Stephon) Tuitt in a situation where Kap (Lewis-Moore) is out and being able to take the pressure off the rest of the defense?
COACH KELLY:  Well, I think it would be more pressure on him if he didn't have guys like (Tony) Springmann who could give him a blow, Kona Schwenke, and obviously Sheldon Day played a lot; you know, Prince (Shembo) and Ishaq (Williams).
So to have a number of guys that we can move in there takes a lot of the pressure off those guys, because they could be out there every snap, but if they can't go at 100%, then they can't help you.
So I think the depth on the defensive line, when you lose a guy like Kap, showed up big for us on Saturday.

Q.  We talked late last week about the lines of communication between you and Chuck Martin on game day and how much talking is going on.  I would imagine that when you're in the situation that you're in in the second where they are getting the plays from the sideline, that the conversation between you and Chuck is pretty fast and furious, deciphering what's going on and passing that on to the field.
COACH KELLY:¬† Yeah, absolutely.¬† Any time we go into our look offense, there's some pre‑thought as to what we are looking for.¬† And those calls are even easier, Tim, because you know, if you've got this look, we want to do this.
So that actually is a lot easier in terms of a consensus on what we want to do than, say, just flowing and trying to run fast and run tempo.  Sometimes you want to let somebody get into a flow and you don't want to be interrupting or inserting because there's a flow.  But when it's done from the sideline, that's a lot easier in the process.

Q.¬† I think you called four of your time‑outs in the first and third quarter. ¬†Is that going to be just part of the process as Everett starts to learn what he's seeing out there and sometimes you're just going to have to burn him at any point during the game?
COACH KELLY:  We uncharacteristically had to use them.  And I took a bit of an issue yesterday with management relative to substitution.  I thought the way the game was managed, that they were allowed an inordinate amount of time to defensively substitute.  Therefore, it left us a short clock to try to get the right checks in and consequently forced us to use some time outs.
So we'll have to go back and look at some things in terms of how we manage that so we don't fall into this situation where we are burning time‑outs left and right.

Q.  I know last year there was an attempt made with Kona Schwenke to preserve a year which didn't work out.  Is that a possibility with (Chase) Hounshell this year?
COACH KELLY: I have not had that conversation with Coach Diaco.  We don't really get into those kind of decisions until we reach that point in the season, which is week six before we even begin to have those kinds of conversations.

Q.  And then is Justin Ferguson going to change numbers permanently here so you don't run into dual numbers on the field?
COACH KELLY:  Yes, sir.

Q.  Some of the bumps and bruises that you guys had aside yesterday, how important was it to have a game that was decidedly more physical after manhandling navy last week?
COACH KELLY:  Interesting that you bring that up, because I just finished before I came on with our physicians and our head trainer, and we were a lot more sore physically.  We were a lot more sluggish after coming into the Purdue week in terms of not injuries, as much as just being downright sore.
We did have a couple more injuries that got guys out of the game.¬† So they were pretty happy with the way the guys came in today, and the guys felt pretty good.¬† So by and large, even though the Navy game score‑wise, it was a physical game, as well.

Q.¬† You guys are now off to a 2‑0 start after starting off 0‑2 last year.¬†¬† What's different if anything about this team that has enabled you get off to a good start, and winning yesterday's game after that didn't work out so well against Michigan last year?
COACH KELLY:  We made the plays we needed to in this game.  You can go back so South Florida; we turned the ball over.  Michigan, we turned the ball over. If there's probably one common denominator, other than the late fumble that Everett had, we have taken the ball away more than we have turned it over, and I think that has a lot to do with it.

Q.  You mentioned that you're going to reintegrate Cierre into the offense this week; given how the game went yesterday and how little George had to do, do you worry that there won't be enough carries to go around?
COACH KELLY:  No, I don't think that's a concern.  But we really have to make sure we get him into the game and find ways to get those touches to him.
So I think it's something we'll have a heightened awareness in making sure that those guys get the ample touches necessary to help our offense.
So I think that falls on my shoulders and Coach Martin's shoulders to make sure that happens.

Q.  Do you have a No.1 right now at running back?
COACH KELLY:  Yes, Theo Riddick.

Q. ¬†Not to beat a dead horse too bad, do you anticipate using Tommy in situations like this down the road, in a two‑minute drill like that, is that a role for him at all?
COACH KELLY:  No, it's not a role.  I see it as if we feel like Tommy can help us win a game or he can come in in a situation where we believe it's the right fit, then he'll be prepared to do so.
But no, I don't see this as, you know, and I use this baseball analogy:  We would like our starters to finish the game.  We want them to go all nine innings.  But occasionally, you may need some help.  Maybe you need long relief and maybe you need some short relief.
I don't want to take anything off the table, but we like our starter to start and finish it.

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