Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly addressed the media following his team’s first practice in Orlando. The Irish are preparing to take on Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl on Saturday.
Brian Kelly: "Made it back from curfew. Nobody was on a Greyhound bus, so present and accounted for."
Q: On what stands out to him when it comes to Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy:
Kelly: ”I think a couple of things. One, vision. I think accuracy and competitiveness. Traits, the intangible things. You could have all the arm strength in the world, but if you're not accurate it doesn't do much for you. Then there's a real competitive fire, so you can see that he's clearly the leader on the offense."
Q: On what allows quarterback Ian Book to be good at improvising when a play breaks down:
Kelly: ”Well, he's got great escape ability, sense in the pocket. He feels things. You've seen him many times during the year where he can feel a rusher, even if he doesn't see him. You can't teach those things."
"He can throw the ball on the run ... Sometimes when you develop as a quarterback when you're not 6-foot-5, you have to be able to do some of these other things. For him to continue to excel and succeed, even as a younger quarterback, these are some of the things you kind of picked as you kind of grow."
Q: On what Lance Taylor has done over the past few weeks when it comes to having more responsibilities in the offense:
Kelly: ”I think for me this has been a great opportunity for me to insert myself in the offense on a day-to-day basis that I haven't had and really do a thorough evaluation of the strengths of my staff.
"I've loved the collaboration, guys working together without ego. I'm just trying to put together the best plan possible to defeat a really good football team. We've asked Lance to do more on a day-to-day basis as it relates to working with Coach (Jeff) Quinn in the running game. Certainly, where he has been really good all years in blitz pickup. We did a great job this year in terms of being together as one as an offensive line and running backs. I just think, more than anything else, is a louder voice in the room. I think everybody has a voice right now, but giving him that opportunity, you get to see another side that you hadn't seen."
Q: On if he knows what longterm direction he will go in yet for the offense:
Kelly: ”I really don't honestly. I think every day I probably leave [thinking], 'I'm going in this direction, I'm going in that direction,' because I think, as I said earlier, Pete, I'm getting a better chance to get to know them in terms of their strengths and what they can bring for the betterment of our football program and to take care of our offense."
Q: On if, due to the NCAA dead period, there's not a rush to get the next coach hired:
Kelly: ”I'll throw human resources on there as well. Those things all matter as well. So we're really looking at after the new year before we really get into anything relative to on campus. Certainly, preliminary discussions always take place internally, externally, but anything that will be of substance will happen sometime after [the new year]."
Q: On if Kelly has talked much with defensive coordinator Clark Lea, who was a final candidate for the Boston College head coach position:
Kelly: ”We've had great conversations about where he is right now, where he believes he needs to grow. Some of the insight that I've been able to give him as it relates to where he needs to continue to grow as it relates to head coaching. This is not about where he is right now. He's an outstanding defensive coordinator. But there are other things that you obviously have to begin to develop philosophically as a head coach. Those are off to the side, but those are exercises that he'll put together now in the offseason as he builds his resume."
Q: On if Kelly has discussions with Clark Lea about the type of schools where he would one day like to be a head coach:
Kelly: ”Those are discussions that are pertinent to who he is and where he is at Notre Dame. I think a successful defensive coordinator at Notre Dame can put himself in a position to be a power five head coach. So yeah, those are conversations that we have."
Q: On how close Kelly was to becoming the Iowa State head coach:
Kelly: ”It's hard to remember exactly. I was one of the candidates for the position. [Athletics director] Jamie [Pollard] was there … at the time. I think he's done obviously an incredible job. I was involved with a few jobs at the time and I can't remember which one was up at that time, but I saw it as a great opportunity. I was really impressed with Jamie in terms of his vision for Iowa State and it's obviously come to fruition."
Q: On how the team will celebrate Christmas while also trying to prepare for a game:
Kelly: ”Our group has been such this year that they just enjoy being together. The nice part is that we're able to have all our families here, too. It's become a tradition now that we get to have dinner together, mass and we have this bingo tournament for the kids that gets pretty intense.
"It's been fun because we can share some of the things that you don't get a chance to do as a group together on Christmas and we'll enjoy it together."
Q: On what Kelly's impressions on Bobby Elliott are:
Kelly: “Well, my first reaction is just an incredible passion for young men that play this game and in the sense that he gave his life to this vocation. Bobby Elliott loved developing young men in the game of football and what lessons it taught them. He would've been pretty excited about this matchup in this game, certainly. Great coach, great person, but just a larger than life person, too. Players loved them. Everybody that has ever been with Coach Elliott would tell you the same thing.
Q: On if Iowa State reminds Kelly schematically of any other teams they've played:
Kelly: ”They're quite different. They're quite different and we see quite a variety of defenses each year playing as an independent. This will rank as one of the more unique defenses, this 3-5-3 [inaudible] requires attention to some things that we haven't seen. They do a very good job. I think there's a lot of similarities in our offense and what Iowa State does, so we've gone against our defense quite a bit, but defensively the structure that they run is a bit different than what we normally see."
Q: On if Kelly is energized by being able to be more involved with the offense for the bowl game:
Kelly: ”No, I'd rather have an offensive coordinator there, so I can see the whole thing. But these are the requirements that the head coach has when you make these kinds of decisions. I think what energizes me is getting a chance to spend more time with my offensive staff and see how talented they are, and I'm excited about what our future looks like."
Q: On if Purdy reminds him of any other quarterbacks:
Kelly: ”He's got bits and pieces of so many guys that we've gone against before. I think probably the one thing that stands for me is he's just a great competitor. You don't want the ball in his hands with a couple of minutes left. He finds ways to make plays."