Head coach Brian Kelly met with the media on Saturday after Notre Dame’s 27-13 victory over Purdue. Here is a sampling of what he said.
On practice this week
"I liked the way our guys prepared this week. Our level of preparation rose this week, and certainly our performance did. It wasn't flawless by any means, but we were playing a Big Ten opponent that has really good players, and a couple of guys that are gonna play on Sundays that are outstanding players. We did some really good things defensively and we did some really good things on offense. We developed some players today. With the more snaps that they get, they get a little bit grittier and start to figure things out. That's what happens when you're transitioning. Tosh Baker was thrown out there against one of the best pass rushers and obviously, they had some good plays, but we had a lot of good plays as well. You've got Cam (Hart) out there and he's playing and he gets a couple of calls that go against him. But he keeps battling and makes a big play at the end. I just like the fact that we're growing, we're getting better and we can come back now and look at the things that we obviously have to continue to improve on."
On the two-quarterback system
"It was similar to what we did in the first game. We got backed up again and (Tyler Buchner) got us out of a bit of a hole. He's kind of been that guy that we've kind of leaned on when we're backed up and maybe he gives us a boost, if you will. Then he had a tight hamstring and couldn't go again. That's why he didn't see him again. We wanted to be cautious with him. We don't think it's anything major, but we weren't gonna put him out there, especially the guy that's going to run. If he doesn't feel great, we're not going to go out there and pull it and be out for two or three weeks.
On eliminating big plays by the defense
“You saw the structure of our defense today. We added some things in there that I think will be part of what we do and I thought we executed better. I thought we tackled better, not great, but better. We still have to continue to leverage the ball a little bit better. But this was an improvement. There were going to be some growing pains and there were, but we did it through some wins. We've got an ACC win, we've got a win against a really good MAC team and we got a Big 10 win as we continue to grow and develop.”
On getting some big plays on offense
“We did and we missed some obviously as well. I thought Avery Davis was outstanding. I will add that as a captain, he led by example during the week. His standard of preparation was what everybody else needs to model after. I said that in the locker room tonight. His performance showed that. We got to get others to model that as well.”
On tying Knute Rockne’s record for wins
"I think it takes a lot of things to be in place for that to happen. Father John (Jenkins) has been with me on this journey. Jack (Swarbrick) has been on this journey. Consistency, leadership, and alignment. All those things have to come together to get to this point. Look, we're going to play our rival and they've had a number of different head coaches at their university. I'm talking about our rival on the west coast and this is not to smear them at all. I'm just saying it requires consistency to get to these marks and we have it with our leadership. We have it with our Athletic director and we've had it in the coaching, because we have alignment, and because of that, that's helped a lot in being consistent and winning football games.”
On the fourth quarter defense
"It wasn't necessarily the fourth quarter. It was more about we wanted to get guys in the game to keep them fresh. We felt like the play load was too high. You saw DJ Brown in there a lot. You saw TaRiq Bracy in there a lot. We were rotating guys in because we felt the player load was too heavy on guys. We were making some mental mistakes in the fourth quarter, so I think that rotation helped us a lot. We spent a lot of time on our third down packages, getting off the field."
On the growth of the offensive line
"You saw we had Joe Alt out there, No. 45. We're trying to really hone in on what we can do as we've been banged up a little bit along the offensive line. We really want to carve out an identity. It's been shot passes. When we get those shot passes, we got to convert. Running the football is about, when they know you're going to run it, you've got to be able to come up big (and run it) and we did that today."
On Kyle Hamilton’s performance
“There's only one guy that can make the plays that he did today. You guys watched it. That 4th down play. How good was that? That was pretty good, right? I thought it was too. I was standing right there. I'd pay to watch him play. He just missed another one late. He's a really good player, if you guys didn't know that. I know you do. I say that. He does some things that surprise me at times. He had a really good week too. He's another guy that, as a captain, he has stepped up his preparation and it showed today.”
On the injury to Cam Hart
“He landed on his hip. So, likely being examined for a hip pointer, would be my rookie medical observation there.”
On Tosh Hart’s performance
“I thought Tosh battled his butt off. So, at the end of the day he had a couple of procedure penalties, but when you look in a kid's eye and you're on the sideline or you're at a timeout and he's got that look that he's just loving it, ‘I love being out here competing.’ …I just love the fact that he got in there and battled and has some experience now that we can count on. We just added some great depth to our football team."
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