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Notre Dame Notebook: Brian Kelly Talks Win Over USC, Injuries

Comments from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly following the 31-16 Irish victory over USC

Comments from Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly following the 31-16 Irish victory over USC.

Brian Kelly on the win over USC

“Great victory. It means a lot. It's a rivalry game, but it's our rivalry game at Notre Dame. I know there's a lot of teams that play us and are considered a big rivalry and certainly I understand why. But this is our game and it means a lot. It means a lot to our kids, it means a lot to our university and everybody associated with it. To come out victorious feels really good. There was a lot of preparation. They are very difficult to defend, as you know, and we needed to see our offense mature, which I thought tonight was probably that first step where we felt from the start of the game to the end of the game, the offense began to come together in the manner that we wanted to.”

On going uptempo with the offense

"Certainly they weren't expecting hurry-up Jack to be out there. He's been less than that all year. It still was about matching personnel for them and so when we were in 12 and 13, they were trying to match personnel. Jack was still on the field and we were playing fast so it was certainly something that they weren't prepared for but they were prepared to move personnel in and out of the game regardless because they wanted to match our 11 personnel with their nickel personal.”

On the quarterback play overall

“Here's what we know. We've got an experienced guy that's accurate throwing the football. He's got a live arm. He can make a lot of throws. You saw the throws he makes. He's not afraid to put the ball in tight windows. He can see the field very well. What we needed to do as coaches is we needed to put him in the position that makes him feel the most comfortable and it's better that he doesn't have a structured offense that slows him down. We need to put him in shotgun. I know that sounds crazy, because he kind of grew up with much more of a direct snap, play-action, but it's not the best version, at least that's what we felt. When we self scouted and we went through the bye week, we spent most of our time putting the offense together with Jack being in much more of a tempo offensive structure and then fitting in Tyler Buchner where we felt like we would get matchups with defensive personnel. We think it's extremely sustainable based upon the body of work through four quarters. I think if we were sputtering again and maybe we would look at it and go, Okay, this is just going to be trying to put this thing together, but we feel pretty good after today.”

How much Tyler Buchner understands the offense

"Well, if you take the snippets of where we put him in the game, they were very big parts of the game. That guy is on the sideline, it's cool out, it's the 40's, and he's standing on the sideline, and we have confidence to put him in the ballgame in those crucial situations, so I think that answers where we feel like he fits and we trust him."

On the injury to Kyle Hamilton

“It was a pinched fat pad on the knee. No structural damage. The prognosis looks really good.”

On playing Isaiah Pryor at safety

"Well, we were in dime so we were playing three safeties. I don't think it's something that when we look at the depth chart, you won't see him on Monday as another safety. But in our dime package, he became the third safety.”

On getting Lorenzo Styles more involved in the offense

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”It's been gradually coming in and we felt like he's a guy that has earned his opportunities when he's in there. He's made plays for us. I think it's just been the natural evolution of his opportunities coming to him and making plays. He's got a burst. He's a guy that we really like on the field.”

On the direction of the program

“Look, you guys know that I'm not much for talking in terms of what it means other than we've been well prepared, our kids want to succeed, and look, we take this game really serious. Obviously, it starts at the top. This is an important game and we bring that importance into the building. When it's time to get ready for USC, it's really important. We take it as such."

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