Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance after it squeaked by Toledo 32-29 on Saturday. Here is a sampling of what Kelly said after the win.
On his team’s focus
“I think the biggest thing on me is that we lacked intensity coming out. This game requires a team to play with, minimally for the price of admission, you have to play this game with some intensity. I did not like the way we came out. I thought we lacked intensity and that's on me and my preparation in terms of how I prepare our football team. So, I obviously didn't do a very good job of preparing them. I thought they played with more intensity in the second half, but sometimes you don't want the circumstances to have to dictate that they have to play with more intensity.”
On freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner getting in the game. Buchner played in the first and second half and he led Notre Dame to two touchdowns.
As you know by watching the game, we were trying to find ourselves offensively in the running game. We're transitioning as we speak, right? We lost another offensive lineman early in (Michael) Carmody. We're trying to find a run game. We're backed up there. I felt like going to Tyler there. I thought he would give us the versatility in the run game that we needed at that time. It turned out that it worked out pretty good and he gave us the shot in the arm that we needed.”
On how Jack Coan responded to being replaced by Buchner
“Jack is just a great character kid. He just wants to win. He stayed ready. We told him that this is something that we're going to do to help the football team win today and he was, again, prepared and ready to get back in there and help us in that last drive. He was outstanding.”
On Coan’s winning scoring drive
“A couple of things. One is patience in the pocket. We were able to protect him. That wasn't the case most of the day. We had some issues in protection for various reasons. Not the offensive line, per se. We had some coverage sacks and we didn't pick up the corner blitz one time. We were trying to chip with the back and they were second wave blitzing the backs once we did that. There's a variety of different things. I thought he was poised in the pocket and decisive with his throws in that last drive and that's the mark of veteran quarterback.”
On the atmosphere at Notre Dame
“We had a great atmosphere. Again, I thought that they helped us a lot. The home crowd especially when you need that jolt, which we did, it helps to have that home crowd. Certainly, as you know, they had a number of false start penalties that affected their management. They had to burn a timeout or they would have had a 10 second run off. So, the home crowd definitely helps in those kinds of situations.”
On the defense giving up two big plays
“We know why it's happening. We're transitioning defenses and again, I will tell you that we have new players on the field, younger players, inexperienced players that are going through some growing pains. In the long run, we still got to get the ball on the ground. We have a chance to do things and we're making them worse by not doing some of the fundamental things in terms of returning plays that are 10, 12, 15 yards. We might have those occasionally. We're letting them turn into 60, 70 yard runs. We just got to be fundamentally better and we've got to keep repping it and commit to it."
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