Following the 41-13 win over Wisconsin on Saturday at Soldier Field, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly talked about the win, his offense and defense and who the starting quarterback will be next week if all three are healthy. Here is a sampling of what Kelly said.
On the win
“It was a great victory for our guys today. I'm so proud of their resilience. We knew what this game was going to be about. It was going to be close, hard-fought, physical, whatever cliche you want to use, and it was all of that. We were going to be challenged by their front, which we were. We knew we had to go and throw the football around, which was the game plan. We tried to make some plays down the field. We were able to put enough plays together through a variety of different things on offense, special teams, and then defense. It's a complete game and we were able to win this thing going away. We played a complete football defensively, taking the football away, on special teams, and then doing enough on the offensive side of the ball to secure a really good victory. So, I’m just really proud of my guys. They prepared so well for this game. I'm not surprised by the win. The outcome was a little bit different because of the interceptions late, but I'm not surprised that they won the game.”
On Jack Coan’s injury
"We got clean x-rays. It's a soft tissue injury. It doesn't even respond like a high ankle sprain. So, we're pretty optimistic that we'll be able to see him back next week. So, good news.”
On players stepping up on offense and defense
"Everybody's trying to peg teams early on. Who are they? We're still trying to figure ourselves out, but everybody had us already figured out who we were. I just know that it's a resilient group that believes they're going to win. When you have a group of football players where there's some talent on this football team and it's young but there's such a strong commitment to their preparation, they work so hard in preparing, and then they believe they're gonna win. Man, you put those things together. You got to go make plays, but they just have a strong will. They believe they're going to win. Now somebody might come in and take that away one week, but we told them, listen, we are all in with this team in terms of preparing each week and taking our best shot.”
On offensive lineman Andrew Kristofic playing more on the offensive line
"He gives us a better matchup to the interior physicality that Wisconsin has. Zeke (Correll) is a really good football player. He doesn't match up great inside. Andrew is bigger. He's over 310 pounds. It was a better matchup for us to put Andrew in there."
On Jordan Botelho’s performance
“With their multiple tight end sets, Jordan gives us a thumper on the tight end. He’s a bigger body that we can use to match up with personnel and he did a really good job. We would have liked to play him last week, but he just wasn't physically ready to go. He had been out for a couple of weeks. He can add to our defense.”
On Chris Tyree’s 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“We went to a field return, so we were able to get him moving back to the field and caught a crease and he used his speed from there. We had been going sideline return. It just didn't have enough working room, so Brian Polian at halftime, said we're going to try to go to the field. It's going to be an all-or-nothing situation. When you go to the field, you're stretching and you're blocking out longer and that's where you tend to see a holding or something like that. But we were able to catch a crease. Obviously, he is a very fast and talented player.”
On Notre Dame’s defensive performance
"I think I alluded to this when we've had our opportunities to answer questions about our defense was that we just need to tap the brakes early on about our defense. It takes some time to get everything in and there are layers to our defense. We've played a lot of man early on. We've added some of our dime and nickel packages and quite frankly we've got some guys making plays. Cam (Hart) is a great example of it. Cam gets called for pass interference. He lets that go, which you have to at corner, and he steps underneath the same play for a pick. We're just developing and Marcus is getting his players to develop on defense and we're adding some layers to that defense.”
If Tyler Buchner was an option
“He was not an option. We were going wildcat.”
On who is the quarterback next week
“I knew we couldn't get through it without a quarterback controversy. It just attaches to my shoe like nothing else. Two things, I believe and feel really confident based upon talking to our medical people that Tyler will be a go for next week. Jack Coan is our starter and so, there's no question about it. If he's physically able, he'll be our starter against Cincinnati."
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