UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 10, 2017
Q. Can we expect to see Dexter Williams in action on Saturday after seeing no plays at all from him yesterday?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, it really depends. He's -- you know, he's a fine back, but we really have high regard for Josh Adams. Do you like Josh?
Q. I like Josh Adams, but I was just wondering, it did seem unusual to see no plays at all from him.
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I don't think it's very unusual to go with what you consider your top back. So we'll try to get him in. They're all really fine backs, but it's hard to get them all in the game. We love Dexter too. It's just really difficult to get them all in the game. Josh is a real fine pass blocker. They do a lot of confusing things with blitzes and stunts up front. So Josh is really good at that stuff.
It goes week to week, you know. We'll see what happens next week.
Q. Hey, Brian, I was watching the first play from scrimmage, you guys hit a flea-flicker. Talk about that, and how did that all come about drawing up against Georgia with that flea-flicker?
BRIAN KELLY: Oh, we dropped it, unfortunately. We got to catch it. So it wasn't such a good one. I told Coach not to run that again.
Q. And I was also thinking the offensive line -- I know Wimbush last time was holding the ball too long. That's why a couple of his fumbles. Is that something the offensive line needs to do, trying to block his back side? Because it seemed like that guy was coming around the corner and he didn't see him.
BRIAN KELLY: It's a number of different things. Sometimes we were in certain protections where the back's got to get over there. Sometimes we're fanning out with a tackle. Sometimes you're right, the quarterback held on and didn't step up in the pocket. So it's never generally one thing. It's a combination of everybody doing their job. And, again, we've got to get better at it. We've got to coach it better, and we've got to play better, and we will next week.
Q. Good luck in practice this week.
BRIAN KELLY: Thank you.
Q. Coach, following up a little bit on that, how would you assess the offensive line's play last night?
BRIAN KELLY: We're really talking about a comprehensive kind of evaluation when you say how would you assess them? I mean, they did some things well. There's some things that we have to do better. If you do a well, better, learned -- I mean, what we did well, as a group, we put up 19 points. We gave ourselves the chance to win that football game. What we have to do better is we have to sustain blocks and be more consistent in pass protection. What we learned is we've got to, obviously, go back and be better coaching the fundamentals, and we've got to be better at our techniques.
I don't -- I'd like to sit here and tell you that we've arrived, but we haven't. We've just got to keep working. Our kids are committed to it, and we'll get back at it Monday, and we'll get better because of this game.
Q. Along those same lines, Brian -- and I'll try to be a little bit more specific here. When you're looking for improvement with them moving forward -- and I know that you want to improve all areas, but specifically with the offensive line, does some of that have to do with syncing up with Brandon, with his own learning curve and theirs as well, kind of syncing those up?
BRIAN KELLY: Sure. I think it's -- you know, everybody -- look, let's also put this in, part of it is that, when we run our offense, a lot of the decisions post-snap are based upon what the quarterback is seeing. So whether he's giving it out, pulling it, checking it to the other side, sometimes those decisions are left up to post-snap reads.
So Brandon is learning those things, and going against Georgia, that's a pretty good defense to learn a lot. So a lot of that will get better from this game. So I know we immediately go to the offensive line and say they didn't do this and they didn't do that. Some of that might be true, but your assessment is that -- is correct in that they're all working together post-snap off of decisions that the quarterback is making as well.
Q. Brian, I know you went to EQ on that first play of the game, as you referenced. Was there something that Georgia did, schematically, defensively, to limit the opportunities for Brandon to look for him throughout the night?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, it just -- they were really physical with him. When they were in any kind of two-deep coverage, they had somebody over the top. Made it difficult to get him the ball. They were going to force us to throw it to somebody else.
So we needed to be better in the running game, and somebody else had to pick us up. We had that kind of emerging, where we made some catches with other receivers because they were taking a lot of their efforts towards EQ. We just weren't consistent enough. We needed to make one more or two more plays and score one more touchdown, and we just couldn't find a way to do that.
Q. Just curious how you felt like your secondary graded out, in terms of deep ball, defense, tackling, compared to where they were in week one through week two.
BRIAN KELLY: Well, it was Nick Coleman's best game since he's been here getting the ball on the ground. I thought Nick played well. Obviously, he's got a chance to make that jump ball, and he wants to come down with that ball. That's a play that he can make.
I thought Julian bounced back with a really solid game. Shaun's playing better, still coming back from that injury. I think he probably would have liked to play the post a little bit better on that time that he gave up some coverage. But all in all, I thought we tackled really solid.
Nick Coleman probably stands out to be the guy that played really well back there.
Q. What was your message to Mike McGlinchey last night? It seemed like he took it pretty hard.
BRIAN KELLY: I didn't have a specific one to Mike. You know, I've never felt like there's one play that determines a game. I think, if you look at -- there were a number of things that, if we could have made a run on third down on the series before, you know, if we don't have a late hit, if we make a play on that third down flip with Daelin Hayes, a better call here or there offensively. So the answer to your question, I've never felt like there's any one singular play.
I usually talk in terms of players have to make plays in big opportunities in the game, and when you're presented with those opportunities, you've got to have it all working together to make those plays. In that situation, he didn't. So let's go back and revisit why and work on making sure that, when we're presented with that opportunity again to make that play in a crucial moment, we make it.
Q. Off that, what went wrong with the protection on that final offensive snap?
BRIAN KELLY: It was just a one-on-one scenario. It was simply one guy against one guy, and everything else was picked up. It was just a singular, one guy coming off the edge against Mike, and Mike set, and he used a quick arm over and just flat out beating him on a pass rush.
You know, that's your best player. That's a guy that's going to be playing in the NFL. Again, their guy was better on that play. That's why, when we get in that moment, our guys have to believe that their training has put them in a position to obviously make that block and be there for him.
Q. Hi, Coach. You mentioned receivers kind of needing to step forward. It seemed in that fourth quarter Chris Finke was that kind of guy, caught a couple of 17-yard passes over the middle in heavy traffic and all. Is that somebody you see as a potential emerging, maybe a complement to Equanimeous?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, based on what happened last night, we're begging for somebody. You know, we've been roaming guys out there waiting for guys to kind of just show themselves and make some plays. Cam's made a couple of plays. We know what Cam can do. But we need other guys to step up and show some consistency.
So we're going to keep rolling them out there. I think Chris showed himself as being a guy now that has made some plays. I thought he was excellent and maybe a little bit too daring in some of his punt return fair catches or lack thereof. But I thought he showed some of those big game kind of catches that you need. So, yeah, he's definitely in the picture now.
Q. It seemed Miles Boykin had a pretty good spring. Same with Chase Claypool. What's held them back to where both Freddy and Cam have been more consistent with their snaps.
BRIAN KELLY: Just attention to detail. Assignments, you know, getting lined up, just every day in practice. They're going to get there. It's just going to take a little bit longer, but they'll be there. It's a long season. You'll see them. But it's just taken a little bit longer for them to get those traits where they need to be, but they're getting better each week.
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