Brian Kelly Transcript: Nov. 11
Q: I wondered if you can give us an update on any injuries coming out of the game last night, specifically with Drue and Julian, and I was wondering how many layers of clothes did you have on the sideline last night?
BRIAN KELLY: “We came out of it really good. Nobody will be in a position where they can't play on Saturday. So I think we're good there. “I just wore warm socks. I've learned in my 28 plus years of coaching, warm socks gets the job done.”
Q: That leads me to another question for you. The importance of having an offensive line playing this well in November, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the performance last night, the job he's done, and maybe touch real briefly on how each one of the kids played last night if you would.
KELLY: “Yeah, it was an overall unit victory in a sense that all of them played well together. We've been waiting for that kind of consistency as a group. And that includes the tight ends. They were much more effective and efficient.
“But yeah, I thought Tommy Kraemer obviously stepped in there at the guard position, played well. I think if you look at it, I think we graded it out as the five guys playing together, moving fast, being physical as a unit, not one particular guy. When you don't have one negative play against a very athletic defensive front, it's the entire group playing well together, and that's how we had it graded out.”
Q: How did Nick Coleman grade out for you, and what went into your decision to commit to him in the nickel position last night?
KELLY: “You know, interesting you bring it up. One of the guys that we highlighted in terms of who played really, really well was Nick Coleman. You know, we needed to make some more plays at that position, so we felt like sharing reps there -- with Houston, we wanted to give a veteran guy who has made played a played a lot of football the opportunity to go in there against a very talented group, and Nick was who we chose because of his experience. He lived up to it. That's the best game he's played in quite some time, and really happy for him.
“Houston came in and gave him a blow and did some good things, and I think we found out the right kind of rotation there, that Nick will get the bulk of the work, and he'll get a break when Houston comes in, and I think that's the right rotation for us at nickel.”
Q: Not to minimize Brandon's impact last night and/or your having fun with the quarterback controversy, but I'm curious what your practice plan might be with Ian this week.
KELLY: “Well, we expect him to practice on Tuesday. Ian would be our starting quarterback, and we expect him, based upon the information that we've received today, that he would be ready to practice on Tuesday.”
Q: Dexter Williams had a big game last night. I wanted to follow up on some of the discussion from the end of the news conference yesterday. What are some of the specifics he's done to work so hard to get to the point that he's at now and developing at this late stage in his career, and then secondly, you discussed he doesn't have a lot of miles on him, so where could you see his potential yet to grow even some more?
KELLY: “Yeah, his growth has certainly been one that has not been about his athleticism. He's always had that. It's been his maturity, both on and off the field, in the classroom, and that growth has allowed him to really begin to tap into his potential as a football player.
“So this is really about a story of a young man who has really embraced the traits that are necessary to be a great player. His attention to detail now is so much better. His working out, his taking care of his body, all the things that championship athletes have to do, Dexter is doing that. Now put the athleticism in front of that, and you're not surprised that he's having the kind of success that he's having.”
Q: I was going to ask about Nick Coleman, but since that was covered, just to follow up on Book, if you got information today that he'll be ready to practice Tuesday, what went into your decision last night to not dress him?
KELLY: “Well, there were stages of evaluation that he's been going through, so this was just another step in that evaluation process that needed to be clicked off, if you will, through our team doctors, for him to move through the protocol that has been established for him to be cleared to play.”
Q: And with regard to Alohi Gilman, another really active night for him, just a general summation of what you feel you've gotten from him, and did you -- when he transferred to Notre Dame, did you anticipate this was the kind of football player that you were getting? KELLY: “I was well aware of what his abilities were because we played him obviously at Navy, and we thought a guy that could run the alley and take down Josh Adams one-on-one as a tackler, that's pretty impressive. We knew we had an active, athletic, tough football player when we recruited him or when he recruited us I guess you could say, as well. And then it's just been plugging him into our system.
“He started slowly, quite frankly, in getting used to our system of defense, and once that kind of settled down, he really just has started to excel at that position, utilizing both a really good sense of playing football -- he's got great savvy, and as you can see, he's a pretty athletic kid, too.”
Q: Trevor Ruhland, I don't believe I saw him at all yesterday. What is his status, and will he still be in the rotation with Tommy at the right guard position? KELLY: “Yeah, he had strained his elbow. He had an elbow strain, and we wanted to be very careful with him because he's a guy that fills in a couple of positions for him, and that's obviously the guard position and center. So we were very conservative with him. “Our doctors feel really good that we can get him back into the rotation, so we'll see how he practices this week and kind of go from there.
Q: Just the curiosity factor, there's always so much talk about the cut blocks with Navy, and Robert Hainsey got that penalty. Was he outside the five-yard limit? I didn't really look, but did you think that was a cut because he wasn't engaged with somebody else for a chop. KELLY: “It was extremely questionable. They called it a chop block. We didn't see it that way. He was cutting the backside three technique as our guard was never engaged working up to the second level. We don't agree with the call. We have sent it in for evaluation by the ACC.
Q: Your sort of goal of winning in November, aside from the wins, what are the markers, whether it be practice performances or just sort of feedback from your trainers that you're looking for to make you feel confident that, yep, things are trending in a good way in November?
KELLY: “Well, there's a few markers. You know, obviously one is we're going to start, I think, 11 of our players that started against Michigan on defense so that the ability to keep our guys fresh and recovered and injury free. Now, you can never be through your training and through your weight training and all of your conditioning, avoid injuries, but you can mitigate in a large degree lost manhours through your training and how you practice.
“If you look at both sides of the ball, you're really talking about almost just the loss of Alex Bars, you've almost got 21 out of 22 starters playing in November for you. People can say that's luck. We would say that's a design in terms of what we're trying to accomplish of keeping these guys fresh and healthy so they can be playing on Saturdays. So that's certainly one thing.
“The numbers that we look at in the weight room, are they still explosive. GPS during the week, are they running, are they 19, 20, 21 miles an hour, meaning that their legs are fresh and they're able to really give us that speed that we need. And then the eye test, right; that's an athletic offensive group. How do our DBs look? Are we running with them? Are we breaking on the ball? So I think all those criteria together give us a better sense of where we are in November.”