Post-Game Quotes

Sept. 16, 2012

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MSU vs. Notre Dame - Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly

Coach Kelly's opening statement before taking questions...

Well, the game went as profiled for us in terms of what we expected. Very, very difficult opponent in Michigan State; physical on both sides of the ball. Our challenge was going to be to find some big chunk plays. We were able to get a couple. We missed a few that we're going to regret when we watch the film, but I think the most important thing is that our defense continues to be the group that we had committed to in building when we started this process, and they're starting to get to that level that can play against anybody.

I think secondly, crucial time in the game - the ball on the 4-yard line - the ability to run the football late in the game proved to probably be the deciding factor.

And I think finally, not turning the football over, which was our Achilles' heel last year. We've taken much better care of the football, and have been smart in managing offensively what we do so we can win football games.

So I'm proud of our football team.

On playing well on defense...

When you know you play really good defense, offensively you don't have to rush a freshman quarterback. And we can be patient with him and that patience is going to pay off because you saw what he's capable of. He's a very exciting player.

On Manti Te'o playing after the tragedies of this previous week...

I can tell you that the entire defense is his family because during this tough time all he wanted to do was be at practice with his teammates. So there's a lot of merit to that statement in that all those kids in there were pulling for Manti. Manti raised his level too. Given all the distractions and tragedy that he had to deal with, he went and played really good football today.

There's nobody [like Manti]. He's so strong for everybody that when he was at a time, everybody wanted to help him out, and I've never seen that dynamic amongst a team and a group of players. It's a pretty close locker room.

On containing Le'Veon Bell...

Obviously we felt like if we can get him under control and force [Michigan State] to throw the football, we would much rather have that scenario than him grinding the football at us. I think once they started to throw the football more, that was exactly where were hoping the game would kind of shift towards, and it did.

On keeping Michigan State's offense in check...

We got pressure when we needed to. We got them behind the chains. We got them throwing the football, and I think that was the key defensively.

On his team's status after this victory...

We're not even close to where we could be, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We're going through some of the growing pains that I talked about. First play we couldn't even read the wrist bands. But we settled in, and I think the maturity on the offensive side of the ball is where I think we'll be able to continue to grow.

More on Manti Te'o playing tonight...

It was big because he needed to be in this atmosphere. He needed to be on the road in this kind of great collegiate atmosphere. He needed this kind of experience, and he's going to get more of them.

On his team's performance...

This group, since January, has totally committed themselves to wanting to win each and every week. It's very, very important to them. We're so committed to the process. We're right in the thick of that process of developing our football team.

On this victory being a signature win...

It's a big leap. It's a signature win. There's no question that when you go on the road against the No. 10 ranked team in the country and you beat them, it's definitely going to build the confidence in that locker room. They believe if they do the little things the right way...this win will help in that development.

On going for it on 4th and short in Michigan State territory...

I thought we had a good play. I thought we had a play that matched what [Michigan State] was doing [defensively]. They brought in five linemen and I felt like we had a really good play. Generally, if I feel like we've got a good play call against it, I want to try to win the game there.

On Manti Te'o staying with the team or going on family leave...

He'll be with us. We're hoping that things work out so we can get it to the bye week. We'll do whatever he needs.

On his quarterback Everett Golson...

We knew what he had, obviously. He just needs a lot more seasoning. And he's going to get better. He's got a great demeanor. He gets it and he's going to continue to get better.



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