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September 28, 2013

Video: Kelly talks Rees, big picture

BRIAN KELLY: Well, disappointing day, obviously. I'm proud of our guys in the second half and the way they competed and mounted a spirited second half in the way we competed and got back to doing what we needed to do. But trying to overcome those two crucial turnovers in the first half -- the three in total. Obviously the interception return and certainly the interceptions in the first half were crucial and the sack fumble.

You spot a great team like Oklahoma 14 points, you're putting yourself in a tough situation. Hat's off to Oklahoma. I thought they played extremely well. Coach Stoops and his staff, we have a lot of respect for them and the way they compete. A class organization and a team and a program that we really enjoyed competing against. It's a program that we really enjoyed the home-and-home with them.

Again, our goal here was to certainly try to find a way to run the football more effectively and we were able to do that. Again, I think I go back to the turnovers for us were too much to overcome. So with that, I'll open it up to questions.

QUESTION: Could you sort of evaluate both your rush offense today, kind of getting that on track, and what you felt like you got out of (senior quarterback) Tommy (Rees) today turnovers and completion percentage?

BK: Well, it's all part of it. It's running the football effectively, and then we don't want to put Tommy in a position where he's got to carry the whole load. We thought that the second half we were able to get into a position where we ran the football, play action pass, some quick throws. That's how we want to play.

We don't want to put this whole thing on Tommy. It's everybody. We always go back to the quarterback around here. But this is about 11 players. We don't execute on the offensive line and the first fumble. We don't run the right route. I mean, it's natural for everybody to go back to the quarterback, but there are 11 players out there. So we just have to do a better job of taking care of the football.

Q: You guys lose your second game this early in the season. The talk all off season was making it back to a BCS game. How much in jeopardy is that now with two losses?

BK: Don't really care about that stuff. That's for you guys to talk about. I've got a football team here we're trying to develop and work with. You guys can have your own comments and decide what that means and you can put us in whatever bowl you want.

We're dealing with our players. We've got to coach better, we've got to develop our players better, and we'll let you guys decide what that means.

Q: You got a zone read look from (senior quarterback) Andrew Hendrix today. What brought that package out today and how do you think he played?

BK: You know, we're just trying to diversify the offense a little bit, trying to add some more looks. He's got some work to do. We've got to continue to work with him, but I think it gives us some things that the defense has to defend as well with him in there.

Q: Last week you talked a little bit about getting off to that quick start with your team, how it's been a little bit of a problem. Is there something that you see that you diagnosed why they've had a little trouble out of the gates?

BK: Look, if I knew what that was, I would not be standing here right now. I'd be doing something else. This is my 23rd year as a head coach. You never expect to not pick up the simplest of stunts and have your quarterback get the ball stripped. You never expect not to run the right route when you're supposed to. You never expect those things, but they happen.

That's why we have ulcers in this business. So you go back, you've got to be communicating. Because, ultimately, it falls on me. We lost today, so that goes in the ledger as a loss. So we've got to go back and communicate better. We didn't do a good enough job communicating. We've got to coach better. We have to do a better job in making sure that those things don't happen again.

Q: (Junior running back) George (Atkinson), for a bright spot, had kind of a big game today. Was that how you expected him to run when he came into this season?


BK: We didn't think George ran physical enough. We told him that. We told him if he wanted to be the starter, that he can't get tackled by his ankles. He can't be the guy that goes down. He's 220 pounds and I thought he ran the ball today like I expect George Atkinson to run the ball. He's got to do that every week. He shouldn't be tackled by his ankles, and he showed that today, and I hope he brings that game with him each and every week because it was sure fun to watch George Atkinson run today. Wasn't it fun to watch him run? That's the way he should run each and every week. I think he's capable of doing that, and we just need that from him consistently.

Q: Forty-three seconds to go in the second quarter, you're down two scores, first-and-10 at the 20, you have three timeouts and the wind at your back. The decision to just go into the formation to down the ball and not try to maybe get a field goal in that situation?

BK: Forty-three seconds wasn't enough time in my estimation.

Q: How difficult was the beginning in order to follow your original offensive scheme? And in this offensive scheme, did you contemplate to use more (junior tight ends) Troy Niklas and Ben Koyack?

BK: No, we didn't abandon anything down 14 0. We stayed with our game plan. We didn't abandon anything. We stayed with it, and we moved Hendrix into the game. I thought we stayed within ourselves, got another score on the board. Didn't change much at all. Thought we stayed patient with it.

Q: You guys are going to the AT&T Stadium. Two weeks ago one team from Mexico, the Monterey Technological, they played at AT&T Stadium two weeks ago. They beat Texas A&M-Kingsville 40 37 in triple overtime. Despite the logistics, would you appreciate or would you like to have in the same weekend one type of these games of the Mexican game at the AT&T Stadium next to a Notre Dame game or in the same weekend?

BK: Sure.

Q: Whatever it means, two losses before the end of September, obviously, is probably two more than you guys hoped for. You had high expectations. What do you drill down on now to make sure they're in a good place going forward? What do you drill down on X's and O's wise going forward?

BK: I don't think there is anything really in terms of X's and O's. I think what you saw out there is we have to play better individually, collectively, unit wise across the board. I think we have to coach better. We have to communicate better. I think this is just about us and we more than it is about two losses, three losses, four losses. Just keep developing our football team to play better collectively as a unit, a group, individually. The guys that you saw out on the field are the guys that we have. We have to get them to play better consistently.

As I said, I'm really proud of the way they competed in the second half. Our defense was salty when they needed to be. I thought we gave up one play that we'd love to have back. You know, the quick slant where we let (Oklahoma receiver Sterling) Shepard inside. Just something that shouldn't happen.

Other than that, we were doing a really good job defensively against a very good offense. Again, could have, would have, should have for us. We're close, we're not there yet. We have some work we need to continue to build on.

Q: Sometimes after an emotional loss, it fuels the team to be better, and sometimes it kind of pulls at the seams. What did you see from your team after this game?


BK: Nothing of consequence other than disappointment in the loss and the recognition that as a group we all need to get better, and they're all accountable. This is a group that each one of them knows why we lost the game. Each coach, each player in that locker room. This is a transparent group. There is nobody in there that is pointing a finger. There are only thumb pointers in there. We're four years into our program. We know clearly what needs to be done. We'll get back to work on Tuesday and work to get better.

Q:You mentioned earlier that you know, it's not just the quarterback, it's everybody. What do you want to see from this offense now that the running game came through? What is the answer to get the offense going?

BK: Well, run the football and stay out of predictable situations. We're down 14 points, and I've got to go five wide receivers against a really good defense that matches up well against teams that do that. This defense was built to do the thing that's we were doing down 14 points. That's what I didn't want to. I wanted to be in two tight ends and I wanted to run the football, and I wanted to run play-action and I wanted to be able to control the game that way.

We got down. Uncharacteristically, threw the ball away, had sacks, and those aren't what we do. That's not going to be a prescription for success. So offensively, you just can't turn the football over the way we did. If you take care of the football, we might be in overtime right now. Who knows?

But the bottom line from this offense is take care of the football, play good defense, and these kids will battle their butts off and find a way to win.

Q: In regards to the Hendrix package, was there something specific you saw in Oklahoma's defense that you wanted to counter? Was there an opportunity that brought it out this week?

BK: No, there was nothing in the Oklahoma package other than we wanted to be a little bit more diversified, help our third down package. Make sure that now you have to defend the quarterback, and really just simply give us some more options in third-and-short. As you know, we struggled in some third and short situations. So that was primarily the reason.






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