COACH KELLY: We start Purdue week in earnest. Got a good football team to prepare for.Coach Kelly Press Conference Transcript - Purdue Week
Again, I think everybody has talked about how our team will bounce back from the trip to Ireland. We had a great shakeout yesterday. Our guys had good energy and today we'll have a full two hour practice. My own eyes, talking to our players, no excuses. We feel great. We think the plan that we have put in place over the long term has really worked out quite well, so we can focus strictly on playing the ballgame.
And as I mentioned with Purdue, a team that went to a Bowl game last year, won its Bowl game, is an opponent that obviously is an in state rival. There's a lot of bragging rights, a lot of emotion attached to it. So we know what we are going to get. Very stealth defensive line. Obviously (Kawann) Short and (Bruce) Gaston are two very, very good defensive linemen, as good as we are going to see during the year.
I think offensively, (Robert) Marve was in there, (Caleb) TerBush led their offense late in the year. I think everybody knows he was pretty efficient with the football. He's big, he's physical. They combine that with a big offensive line. Skilled receivers, like all of their receivers, they are all quality players.
So again, as it relates to our opponent, we respect Purdue. We know them as somebody that's going to play great football against us, and our attention is on ourselves. And the attention focuses squarely on the things that we have to do better. We were pleased with the win against Navy, there's no question about that. We played the game that I wanted to play. We won it up front and we took care of the football by and large.
The game plan for Navy was executed by our players and there will be a new game plan this week and there will be one for Michigan State and Oklahoma and BYU, and as we move through each week, we'll get challenged in different areas. I respect Purdue, I respect Coach Hope and the work that they have done; a Bowl team last year, a physical, Big Ten team.
But really the focus for me as the head coach at Notre Dame is on our guys this week and what we have to improve upon, and as I mentioned, there's a number of areas that we have got to do a lot of work on this week to get ready for Purdue.
With that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q. Notre Dame, IU, Purdue, Ball State, all have had player suspensions the first couple of games. Are you seeing in the first 20 years of coaching anything out of the ordinary with a growing number of suspensions? And add to that, is there something that the NCAA needs to do to allow the coaches to have more direct contact with the players in the summertime that you think might prohibit so many suspensions?
I don't know that that is an easy answer in the sense that if the NCAA gave us more time with our guys. I don't think I would be sleeping in their rooms. I think it still is incumbent upon recruiting the guys that have the character traits necessary and if they don't, to make sure that you provide them an opportunity to grow as individuals.
Q. You said there's a list of things that you've identified as areas you need to improve on. Can you elaborate specifically for us what you're targeting this week?
I think defensively, we are now going to enter into a different plan. And so prepare for options for the last two or three weeks, and now you go into your entire defensive mode and fronts and different coverages, nickel, dime, all that has to be worked through this week.
I don't know if there's an alarm that I'm trying to set off relative to, hey, keep an eye on it, we are in big trouble here, I don't believe in that. There were a lot of things we were not able to do defensively that were part of our plan that we need to get to work on.
And then offensively, again, a lot of young players playing. A lot of great film to watch, a lot of teaching. So teaching and installation, those are the big factors this week, getting ready for Purdue.
Q. Because Navy is such a unique open, are you guys maybe a little further along in the general kind of identity of your team than you might otherwise be because you spent so much time focusing on the specifics the last couple of weeks? Does that make sense?
Q. What's Everett (Golson) done through one game and where do you feel he's at?
This is a process for Everett. This will be a continuation week to week of growing as a quarterback. I guess what I like the most in the big picture sense was his comfortable place out on the field. He did not seem overwhelmed at any time. He was extremely communicative when he got to the sideline. He could tell me what was going on. Those are all big picture, good things, after game one.
Q. Can you provide an update status with (Danny) Spond, (Tate) Nichols, (Amir) Carlisle and how they are preparing for Purdue?
Tate Nichols will go through some individual work today. He will not be involved in any team. Last week he put a bar on his shoulder for the first time and he was in the weight room. So he now enters that next stage of reengaging, if you will, in football related activities. But he would not be available to us this weekend.
Amir Carlisle has been cleared to practice today and so he will be part of our practice rotation.
And Danny Spond has been cleared for everything but physical contact. We believe if things go well this week, that he'll be cleared for next week, and again, it's contingent upon how he progresses through this week.
Q. You had mentioned (Ronnie) Stanley the third tackle is Nick Martin more so back at guard?
Q. The safety position seems like a logjam, so many bodies, Matthias (Farley), Jamoris (Slaughter), can you talk about that?
Nicky Baratti, (Eilar) Hardy, we had a number of guys that played limited roles in special teams, but important roles. We'll continue to do that. So each and every week, you're going to see their names popping up and as they continue to grow and develop, hopefully we get a chance to see them play more and more.
Q. And just as far as the (back-up) quarterback, is it pretty much even?
But it will be, for me, probably more about making sure that we get Tommy up to a level where he can be sharp if he's in a position where he had to go into the game, and I don't know if he's got enough work yet. He'll get work at 2 as well as Andrew and we'll see how that progresses during the week.
Q. So if Everett got hurt, you don't have a, who is the first man?
Q. Didn't face a ton of adversity; but you had to be pleased with how your team responded to its first adversity of the season?
Q. On the broadcast, one comment was that you had seen the way Stanford did things with their two tight ends and that you felt like with Alex Welch being out, you used a ton of two tight ends and you'll continue to do that. But what you saw from Stanford and how you felt like you could apply that to your style of offense.
I don't know the genesis of that was. I can tell you that the utilization of two tight ends it makes the tight ends like (Coby) Fleener from last year, guys that were targeted as first round draft picks, you have to utilize them. And so they did a great job of utilizing tight ends.
We have got some depth at that position. We had better do a good job of utilizing them as well.
Q. The comment, that Everett came to you at one point last year and said what do I have to do to get better, and you gave him a copy, must have been the spring, and you gave him a copy of Griffin's Heisman Trophy speech. Can you speak to that?
What I talked about was that playing the quarterback position at Notre Dame is more than just what you do on the field.
And I used Robert Griffin as a great example as an ambassador of college football, and I said, listen, all you have to do is take a look at his Heisman acceptance speech and how he was able to articulate his experience and how it was more than just playing the game. And so that was kind of the genesis of the conversation. We didn't come in here and throw on the Heisman acceptance speech and sit down with popcorn.
Q. Davonte' Neal, your impression of how he handled his first duty as the punt returner.
Q. The one punt that bounced and ran real hard by, do you want him to stick his nose in there and try to make that?
There are going somebody some times where it's going to take a different track, and just be smart, make sure we don't turn the ball over.
Q. What was on Stephon's (Tuitt) off season checklist to go from freshman to every day guy?
He was running with the DBs. He's been on this mission of, whatever it is, and it's not just football, it's everything in his life. It's film study, last night, he's in there film studying, taking notes, and I think just a very, very driven young man right now.
Q. He came in, what was his strength when he came in, how much was sort of natural to him and how much did you guys amplify?
And then once you see that, and sense it and feel it, then that fire is lit. And the fire is lit with him to dominate and be the best at everything he does.
Q. The media schedule, less days of player access what was the thinking behind that set up?
Q. Looked like Cam (McDaniel) got nicked up in the fourth quarter. Is he back to full health?
Q. Looked like he had a pretty solid game; that what you expected far as pro function?
Q. Wanted to also ask about Ishaq Williams, looked like he had a pretty good breakout game. Is he the type of guy that can replace the sort of speed that you lose?
I just think, again, you have a similar situation that you have with Stephon, too. Here is a young man now who is very comfortable with Notre Dame and knows what to expect on a day to day basis and now can really cut it loose on the football field, as will some of those other freshmen who are a little apprehensive now, they are going to get comfortable here. And when they do and when they can let their athletic ability speak, I think you'll see a rise in their play.
Q. We talked in the spring about Ishaq getting more comfortable. When is he ready to get past being at Notre Dame and be ready?
But there's a maturity that just comes with being here and getting older and growing up and hearing the same message. I will say this, the expectations have been high and he is starting to meet those. He is nowhere near where he needs to be. It has to be a consistent thing for him but he's making good progress.
Q. A lot of freshmen in the game this week but a lot more freshmen got action this weekend. Are guys more prepared than they used to be coming in to play as 18 year olds?
I just think that certain classes have needs; that freshmen need to come in and help you with. We had some needs at those particular skill positions.
Q. Just a little tip for you, my sons are older than yours and there's never a day where you're confident about the car driving.
Q. Just in a broader area with pass rush, you were not going against a conventional offense and there was some passing. Can you evaluate the pass rush from the front seven and moving forward the potential of this group.
Q. With Tommy (Rees) just having been in the individual periods, do you even have a sense of where he is in terms of improvement from the spring?
Q. Everett and Andrew both talked about his value to them in helping them with their development, and he even went so far to say, not sure if this is the same thing or situation but was just effusive in his praise, can you talk about what you saw?
Q. You've been invested in trying to change the home atmosphere; what would you still like to see--
I think it's up to me to provide a better atmosphere in that stadium. We win games, it will be nice and loud. Thank you, nice try.
Q. Jumping to 22 in the poll this week, is that something you pay attention to, or is it white noise?
Q. Taking nothing away from your offense, but do you see any difference with what Harry (Hiestand) was able to do with them in terms of their performance this past week?
This is a collective group of guys that are physically stronger, they are more seasoned and they play very well together as a unit. It's as good as I've seen. But this is one game; we have a long way to go.
I like the way the group plays together. They are not a group that one guy is not on the same page with the others. I think that's, for me, after week one, well coached, they have got a great room in terms of that offensive line dynamic, it's outstanding with players and coaches. And then I think you've really got some veterans and a very good unit working together.
Q. Did you sense that your running backs maybe appreciated that with being able to hit the hole a little more aggressively knowing that that hole was going to be where it was designed to be?
So I would say, it starts with, we are in a lot more direct snaps, and those kids ran really, really hard and physical. And we'll continue to mix that in. Doesn't mean we are not going to run the shotgun, we are. We'll be able to feature both of those.
But it's nice to have the ability to be able to say we have backs that will run downhill and we'll run physical.
Q. Is that a comfort thing for Theo (Riddick) that he was running that the whole off season camp?
Q. You touched on the (Purdue) quarterbacks earlier; can you compare can contrast (Caleb) TerBush and (Robert) Marve a little bit?
Q. And on the other side, their cornerbacks, (Josh) Johnson and (Ricardo) Allen, very good experience, just talk about the experience they pose.
So yeah, if you look at their defense, certainly like their front four and I think the two corners have a lot of experience.
Q. With Manti (Te'o), other than surprising that it was first pick, first fumble recovery of his career, is that the next step of his game or have you guys just not really asked him to make those kind of plays in the past?
He's always been very good in pass coverage. And I think he just got his opportunity. Sometimes you're just not in the right place at the right time. We were very confident for him to be on the field this third down situations. We never take him off the field.
Yeah, I just think he got his and he's going to get more.
Q. With Ishaq (Williams), going back to high school, very reserved and quiet; he seemed like a different kid on Saturday. Can you coach on body language, or is that just how a kid is wired?
And I think Coach Diaco has done a great job of mentoring him, as well. I think there's a great relationship there of trust, and I think Coach has done a great job of bringing him up along the way. It's what you expect from young guys. You want to see them take that next step. I think we are seeing him take that next step.
Q. Lastly, you have talked about on Sunday, you probably have a better read on your secondary, but just what you saw from after a second look?
Q. The turnover margin how do you coach--
So you've got to coach it, you've got to talk about it, and then you've got to hope that your players, when presented with the situation, carry that coaching and teaching on. And then, get a couple good breaks.
Q. Week one to week two, coaching cliché is that teams make their biggest improvement. Where will yours be?
So we'll work on all of those things this week.
Q. Preparing for Navy, does that help or hurt preparing for a more traditional passing team this week?
Q. Are they behind the 8 ball because they didn't play against traditional?
And then we'll work on that more this week. But no, they are well prepared to make the transition.