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December 4, 2022

Brian Kelly

Orlando, Florida, USA

Camping World Stadium

LSU Tigers

Press Conference

BRIAN KELLY: We would love to get back to winning ways. We have lost two games, obviously to the No. 1 team in the country this past weekend.

But again, you know, playing Purdue, a team that won their side of the Big Ten, have a lot of respect for Jeff. His times play with an edge. Played them when I was at Notre Dame. He's got a great, creative offense. Really good defensive structure and it will be a great match-up between two teams that want to go out on a winning note. Have had good year, but we want them to be years that finish on a positive note.

Excited about being back in Orlando, seeing some old friends. Really appreciate this opportunity to play in this game and certainly against a Big Ten team that's so well-coached by Coach Brohm.

Q. You put a big emphasis on graduating champions and academics. Some guys could be ineligible. Do you feel like you've done a good job and they have their grades in order, and in this new era of when you know who is going to play and who is not?

BRIAN KELLY: We'll have that all sorted out in the next 24, 48 hours. Certainly, you don't worry about academics just one day. We have been on it since we got here. Every single day has been working to improve who we are academically and how we do things on a day-to-day basis. It's not like, hey, the season is over; let's worry about the guys in the classroom.

I am in every meeting every week when it comes to academics. Our staff is aware of that. So could there be somebody ineligible? There might be. We have some guys that have to continue to do some things at the end here, but we have made great strides there, and I feel really good about the progress we have made academically with the guys recognizing the value of a degree from LSU.

And then there are guys that are evaluating whether they should be playing in a Bowl game or should they be working out and preparing for an All-Star Game or should they be preparing to get better for a Combine run.

Look, those are all things that we'll help and counsel our guys with, and we'll give them both sides of the story. Is it better to practice and prepare and work on your skill development as you kind of get ready for an East-West Shrine game or a Senior Bowl; is that better than trying to run a 40? We'll give them all that information. And then, ultimately, it's their choice. We'll support them in whatever choice they, in fact, make.

Q. What did you think of Garrett's performance?

BRIAN KELLY: I thought Garrett did some good things. He's a guy that has a strong arm. Sees the field well. Fit the ball into some tight windows. You know, he made some mistakes, as well, which clearly those are areas that he'll have to improve on. But I think going in and doing the things that we thought he was capable of, I hope he leaves there in this experience with a lot of confidence that he can go in and lead our football team to championships. Because that's how we felt about him.

You know, I think I was on record saying that we have got two really good quarterbacks and if Jayden couldn't play, we believed in Garrett. Please go to the audio tape; we could win with Garrett.

I think he did a really nice job. There's some things we have to clean up, but he's a good quarterback, too.

Q. Curious your thoughts and a little more detail on Jeff Brohm, from what he was at Western Kentucky to now he's put together a roster and plays offensively at Purdue?

BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, you know, listen, I think he's got a national reputation as a creative play-caller, and he is. Let's face it, he's very creative. I think he does a really good job. They are going to throw the football, and they always have a big, physical back, which they do again this year.

But they play with an edge. You talk about, we are good 'ole Purdue, we are going to rally -- listen, he coaches his guys and does a great job of getting them ready to play physical football. You know, Indiana/Midwest, toughness. He recruits those kind of guys. It's not just talk. I've gone against him, and they play physical. They play hard, and you'd better be ready to play for four quarters because they are going to come after you for four quarters. It's not just about pretty plays and creative play calling, and that happens, too. But I think what makes his team different is they play really hard and they play physical.

Q. Curious your memories of playing LSU in this bowl game, I don't have the best memory, you'll have to correct me if I'm wrong, but I think LSU got hosed on a goal-line touchdown. From the other side, your thoughts on that game?

BRIAN KELLY: That definitely was not a touchdown, no. I don't think that was. And I can only see it from one perspective. I was on the wrong sideline at that time.

But what I do remember about the game, in particular, was from an offensive standpoint, LSU struggling offensively, and you know, LSU playing really good defense and then making a play -- Notre Dame making a play down the sideline. Miles Boykin went up. The ball was, I think, deflected, and he just stayed with it, made a play down the sideline. I think that was really the difference. Both teams, you know, kind of struggled on offense, and it was kind of a defensive struggle, and made a play down the stretch and came up with the win.

And it was cold. And that never happens in Orlando. It's not supposed to, right? At least that's what Steve Hogan tells me.

Q. Has there been any timetable or news on Jayden's ankle?

BRIAN KELLY: He's probably going to need about a week to ten days. So we won't practice him this Saturday. So he'll be out this week. Probably take it into the middle of next week before we start to even think about getting him out and around.

So give him plenty of time, so he's, you know, 100 percent healthy. No sense in re-aggravating it, putting him in a situation where he gets back into an in-and-out of-the-lineup kind of situation. So Beau Lowery, our head athletic trainer, is looking for at least ten days where he can really recover and get that thing back to 100%.

Q. Everyone has the answers after the fact, obviously, but what's your opinion on when you have offensively a third and short, fourth and short? In the shotgun, does the running back get momentum running to the line, and that helps, or should you sneak it with the quarterback? Obviously, you had the fourth and one yesterday. That was kind of a tough play for you.

BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I think you have to have all of those things. I think we talked about, you know, a quarterback sneak in that situation. Just didn't feel like our quarterback had done it enough as a backup. We had not repped it enough, and we didn't feel as comfortable with it in that situation as we had with Jayden. Just didn't feel as comfortable as the play.

Yeah, we got beat off the ball, flat-out. Give Georgia credit. They were better at the line of scrimmage, and they beat us off the ball.

But I do believe you have to have a direct snap. I think you've got to get the ball out on the perimeter. I think you have to strike, not just inside, you know, all the time. You've got to have some -- look, if you're going to go for it on fourth down, you're not conservative, anyway. So you don't have to be conservative in your playcalling. You need to find a way to get a first down, and if they are pinching and they are physical, and they can knock you back, you have to think about other ways to pick up first downs, as well.

Q. So often, all coaches talk about the importance of Bowl practices, both for the game also just moving into the off-season to next year. Curious about your thoughts there as you move into year two.

BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I think there's some validity to it, especially going from year one to year two. Like we protected some guys this year, the Quincy Wiggins, Jadyn Davis, Randolph, I think there are some young guys that need some work that I think that this is going to be an effective first, you know, four, five practices where -- where we really can lean on them and get them a lot of work.

And look, they are not blessed where we have so much depth. We are still in a position where we've got to build up this program through recruiting. That's still a chief concern. But we do have some young players we are anxious to see in these first three and four practices in there are, you know, get out there and really give them a lot of work.

Q. I told you I had a terrible memory, that was the Music City Bowl, Tulsa. About the scheduling, because it's a later bowl, will that give you a chance to catch up on some of the recruiting you still need to do. How will you approach it, giving the guys time off for exams and downtime?

BRIAN KELLY: Well, it goes dead -- I think we go dead on the 19th. So it really doesn't -- the date really doesn't help us any. You know, whether we played on the 30th or the 2nd, there's no real advantages.

Our situation is we begin classes on the 17th. So when you talk about -- that means you've got to do anything early in January for visits and such.

So it's a really tight calendar. The portal opens on Monday. Decisions have to be made here quickly relative to who is going in. You're up against it with visits, the amount of visits that you have.

So this is going to be a very interesting couple of weeks here. You know, you're going to have to be very -- very calculating. You're going to have to make some really tough decisions on your roster, and they are going to be difficult ones. And I think that that's what these next couple of weeks are going to really look like.

Q. When it comes to that transfer portal being open, what are y'all going to be looking for in terms of positions when you're looking in the portal this year?

BRIAN KELLY: Well, I mean, I don't want to talk about any particular positions because I think you start -- I kind of give away some, here are our weaknesses.

But this is what I will tell you. They have got to be the right fit first. They have to recognize the value of an education from LSU. They have to have the right traits. We are not just open for business. We're not just putting a sign up saying, hey, we are going to take whoever. They have to be the right fit. I prefer that they are from the State of Louisiana if we can find them. And then we are going to address needs based upon how that freshman class marries into it by the particular needs by position class.

So we are not going to overload a particular position group. In other words, if we have got three or four wide receivers that are freshmen coming in, you may not see a heavy influence in the portal in that position.

We are going to develop based upon our freshman class, too. So we are doing this at the same time, and also allowing our program to be younger, too. We want to bring both of these along. We don't always want to be a turn-it-over program where we are bringing in transfers and turning the program over.

So we need to grow and you've got to do that by recruiting freshmen and giving them the opportunity to step on the field and develop. And you can't do that if you keep bringing in freshmen at one position and then bringing a portal guy who has got one year and putting it in front of him.

Q. The interesting thing with the portal this year is there is also the second window in the spring. How are you sort of trying to approach those two windows and do you want to be more aggressive in this window so you don't have to worry as much in the next, or are you sort of leaning on the second window as well?

BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think everybody has their own business plan. I think how we are using it is internally, the second window is much more about how our guys develop. We are giving them an opportunity to develop and do the right things. Making sure they are going to class. Making good choices. Making good decisions. Doing it the right way in the weight room. Developing in the manner that we expect them to.

And if not, then that portal opens up in May.

Q. There's a sentiment that winning a Bowl game gives you momentum into the off-season. Since the last two games didn't go your way does that put more importance on your game?

BRIAN KELLY: It does when you lose your last two games. It does. I think, you know, when you're trying to, you know, put an ending on what has been in many ways an outstanding season relative to inside-out, I know everybody judges seasons on wins from an outside perspective.

But inside out, it's been really good from my perspective as the head coach. You do want people to feel good about it from an outside-in perspective, and a win would do that. Ten wins does that. It's kind of that -- you know, that mark; that if you can get to double digits, you can kind of walk away and go, all right, everybody feels good about it. Season tickets are up. Everybody is feeling good. Everybody is patting themselves on the back.

I feel like we've done really good things internally and we have hit that mark, but definitely, a win here is really important to everybody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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