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November 10, 2013

Kelly Q&A: Pitt Postgame

BRIAN KELLY: All losses are disappointing losses. That was especially disappointing in the way that we played and coached. Hats off to Pittsburgh. They deserved to win.

QUESTION: What was the explanation you got for the penalty and ejection of (junior defensive end Stephon) Tuitt?

BK: Letter of the law. They were saying that the helmet-to-helmet contact, they were just reciting the strict interpretation of the rule.

Q: There's no intent factored into that?

BK: No. No.

Q: Did you get an explanation from your defense when they didn't attempt to recover the fumble on the sack?

BK: I did not after I was obviously talking to them about why they didn't. It was just a lapse of a bunch of inexperienced guys out there not seeing that they should have been on the ball.

Q: The two (senior quarterback) Tommy (Rees) interceptions, what went wrong on those throws?

BK: Poor execution.

Q: Do you think wind played a factor at all?

BK: No.

Q: When you look at the disappointment, how you started, fresh off the game, what stands out most?

BK: The execution on offense was awful. Defensively, we kept drives alive with a pass interference penalty, a personal foul. We weren't alert enough to get on the ball, a fumble. And we gave up an explosive play in the passing game.

We didn't coach well enough. It's on everybody. To single out one thing -- it was, to a large degree, very poor.

Q: What have you liked about (junior tight end) Ben Koyack over the last month or so?

BK: He's just been emerging and maturing. He's a talented young man that's been taking some time, but he's got his confidence and certainly is showing that he can be a big asset.

Q: How do you approach the bye with so many injuries? Does it change with a loss?

BK: Probably not. I'll evaluate it a little bit further over the next day or two, but we'll go in Monday and put this behind us. From a film standpoint, we'll put this behind us on Monday, and from an evaluation standpoint. We'll put it behind us in terms of the game itself.

We'll weight-train on Tuesday, and then I'll make my decision in terms of how we move forward the rest of the week.

Q: How'd you feel like (senior defensive tackle) Louis (Nix) held up tonight?

BK: He battled. I thought he battled. He was nicked up, he was banged, he was sore. He's a competitive kid. He gave us everything he had. He played a lot of football. Certainly when we lost Stephon early, it was pretty clear we were a little undermanned on the inside.

Q: Did you feel like the way you've seen your team prepare and go about its work that performances like tonight were kind of a thing of the past?

BK: We've won a lot of games over the last couple years. I've been preparing my football teams for the last 22 years. There won't be any changes relative to how we prepare.

It's execution. It's playing the game, and coaching the game. We didn't do a very good job -- we being everybody, players and coaches -- we did not do a very good job today.

Q: (Freshman running back) Tarean (Folston) has been coming along of late and tonight, four carries maybe, was that just the flow of the game where you couldn't get everybody involved as far as the different backs?

BK: Yeah. As you guys know, it changes from week to week relative to how the game is going and what is available to us. There were a couple of times where we felt like (junior running back) George (Atkinson) gave us a better opportunity in there because of the kind of runs. We were trying to get the ball on the perimeter. George is a guy that we like when the game is a perimeter game -- it fits George's skill-set, so that's why you saw him in the game more.

Q: With this loss, the BCS is probably off the table, does the process of bringing those guys back start in the locker room or do you kind of have to wait into this week?

BK: Not really concerned about that. I think what I'm most concerned about is the inability to put together a consistent effort tonight in November, 10 games into the season. There's really, for me, no reason why we can't, and I take full responsibility for it as the head coach. There's no reason why we don't execute at the level we should in November. That didn't happen tonight.

Q: Is the lack of execution something that just happened tonight or was there a sign during the week leading up to the game?

BK: No. You saw what happened. Two interceptions, a fumble, a big-play pass, missed tackle, fundamentals of the game of football. I know big picture it's not really big heady stuff. These are just fundamentals of the game of football that were not attended to in a manner that they needed to be. That's our mantra. You can't start winning until you stop losing. We did things that cause losing.

Q: Last year you guys were so strong on goal line defense. This year it hasn't been as successful. Is that the injuries stacking up?

BK: They're different players, just different personnel. You had some different players on the field, especially inside-out, looking at the defense. You had some different players. Not to take anything away from the guys that are out there battling, but it's just a different team with different players.

Q: With all the injuries, do you get a sense that guys are just trying to hold on to get to the bye instead of aggressively going into the bye?

BK: We gave them a touchdown. I think defensively, we missed some tackles. I think it just comes down to, if you look at it objectively, we didn't play well offensively. If we execute the way we're supposed to execute offensively, I think that's a moot point, really. I don't think anybody was looking to the bye week as much as we executed poorly on offense. We needed to make a tackle. We needed to be a little bit more disciplined on defense and not have a fourth-down PI. We had a personal foul penalty. You take some of those things away, it's going to come back to poor execution.

Q: Especially after Tuitt went out, how much of a scramble was it to get guys in there on the defensive line?

BK: It wasn't hard. We knew who they were. But we were, those were concerns. Stephon Tuitt not playing in the game, that's not why we lost this football game. That is not why we lost this football game. It had nothing to do with this loss tonight. That's a question and that whole rule, that's a time and place that can be handled.

This really was about our football team going on the road and executing poorly on offense and not being good enough when they needed to be on defense. Coaches are responsible for getting their players to execute. That's why we're hired. That's what we do. We didn't get that from our players tonight. I'm responsible for that. That didn't happen tonight.


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