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December 28, 2017

Caleb Kelly

Pasadena, California

Q. What do you know about the Rose Bowl? Is this a game you grew up watching, do you have a favorite game or Rose Bowl moment that you can think of?
CALEB KELLY: Personally for me the Rose Bowl was kind of Luke the USC, UCLA thing. So just watching them play they both got to wear their home jerseys and I thought that was cool and I came as a recruits my sophomore year and came and watched them play. Eric Hendrickson is a guy who is in the envelope who went to UCLA and he's from Fresno where I'm from so just looking up to him too I think it was just cool for me to come to the Rose Bowl and get to check it out. They have Jackie Robinson's number up there, there's just so much stuff that goes on, I used to watch it on TV in California, I'm a California kid, so the Rose Bowl's really cool.

Q. To play in that stadium, the magnitude of that game, what does that mean to you in your career?
CALEB KELLY: It's awesome. I came as a fan, as a recruit, and now I get to be here as a player and be in there and it's funny because it's happened all year playing in Dallas Cowboy Stadium, I went there when I was in 8th grade, just going all around really to these places that you see on TV and now you're on TV doing it, it's crazy.

Q. You talk about playing in those big games and big stadiums, how much does that prepare you to play for a national title?
CALEB KELLY: We have been doing it all year, we have been in those big games, we have been in games where we were supposed to lose and games where we were supposed to win and we have kind of been through pretty much everything and I think that we have done really well and we're coming up to the end now and I think we're just going to continue to have fun and just be together for the last few games that we got.

Q. Your teammate, Emmanuel was telling us he was so excited to be it in L.A. and he wanted to see one of the Kardashians. Do you think a lot of your teammates feel that way, coming to L.A., they don't really know what to expect?
CALEB KELLY: Yeah, big time. We have those Okie kids that have no idea what it's like, they think it's all flashy all just TV and cameras the whole time and they kind of get a taste of that because the cameras are around us the whole time that we are here. I don't know, I think that they just think it's all going to be 70 and sunny the entire time and they don't think it gets cold, it snows or rains or anything, and so I don't know, it's funny to hear what they say and what they dream up, because all they have seen is what is on TV.

Q. Do you still have family in Fresno?

Q. Any family going to be here? How school is it for them to be here, local guy and to folks in Fresno?
CALEB KELLY: The last time that they have seen me play together in my whole family at the same time I was a senior in high school and so now two years removed it's going to be awesome to have them all there. I can look up in one section and see them all just siting there and just, I don't know, it's going to be crazy, I'm a kid from right up north a little ways and I drove down myself and so I have my whole family here and nobody came, went to Oklahoma with me, I went by myself, so -- my girlfriend's even here, too, because she's still in Fresno, she's going to go to Nebraska later, but just having everybody really come down at the same time is going to be awesome.

Q. Do you think that when you're first game at Oklahoma in July and August and heat waves and things humidity and that you would be bringing these guys back it a heat waive in L.A.?
CALEB KELLY: I wouldn't say last year, but I was hoping this year, because I looked right away and saw the Rose Bowl was an option for the playoff and so I said, oh, well we got to go back to California, if I get to do that, then dreams are coming true.

Q. You mentioned the guys that never thinks it rained or snowed, are they complaining to you, like, I thought you said it was going to be 70 here the whole time?
CALEB KELLY: No, because the whole time they were saying that, I'm like, it's not perfect over there, it's the United States, it's going to rain. We're not just in Hawaii the whole time. It doesn't happen.

Q. Do you know about the Beef Bowl? Has anyone told you about that?
CALEB KELLY: Oh, they just said that it was a food pretty much when I heard about it. My uncle works there and he said that whenever he said the Beef Bowl he started laughing, I said, I don't know what that means, and he said it's awesome. So I don't know, I heard it's a lot of food.

Q. A game like this, you can study all the tape that you want to, but you're going to have to make some adjustments on the fly. How much have you kind of learned about that part of this game as you got older?
CALEB KELLY: Well in high school you don't really do that too much, so coming to college I think that's something that I like doing because your coach asks you questions and he asks you what's going on and you get to tell him what you're seeing and if you say something wrong, because I said something wrong before, then you can mess up the whole defense even. So I think it's cool how a team could go in the locker room, they can change something and it will really help the outcome of the game, really change it.

Q. You guys have been good at that. You've been good against the run. You've had games this year where you've given up rushing yards early but you always kind of shut off that faucet. What is it about this team? Is it your ability to adjust is that a strength of this defense?
CALEB KELLY: Yeah, I think it is and really our defense we're a fast defense too so I think just getting to the ball and just being able to change on the fly and just make plays for each other if somebody misses a play it doesn't mean that they're going to score right away, it means that there's a bunch of other guys flying to the ball as well. So I think that helps when we know what we're supposed to do and we can think faster, we play faster.

Q. How big of a challenge is it to stop a run game that comes more at you than what you've seen during the course of the year or in the years at Oklahoma how big of a challenge is that?
CALEB KELLY: I think it's just a different game, it's just how you play, how they play, you'll change the defense a little bit, you have to have a different mentality, you're not just guessing, staying on the line the entire time, you're attacking as well and so playing differently that way I think it is fun to do that. I like playing this way for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)
CALEB KELLY: That was our workout shirt for the summer. We had ATL on the front and so we were chanting that all year. It kind of became a thing for the team where we would say that all the time whenever we were finishing our run or finishing our work out, Parnell Motley would always yell, ATL baby, just because he would always say it in his accent, so we have been thinking about it since summertime.

Q. Do you know how that came about?
CALEB KELLY: Well, it was the captains who came up with it. So I know it's Steven, Ogbo, Bake and Steven, they all just decided on it and it has the playoff logo and everything.

Q. What do you need to do in the way you guys will defend Georgia, what do you personally need to do to be effective?
CALEB KELLY: I'm going against a lot of tight ends the entire game, so I have to be able to be physical with them and I have to contain my gap, contain my responsibility. I can't be getting pushed back, even if I'm getting double teamed by both tight ends or that or if it's one-on-one, I need to control the line of scrimmage personally and I just need to continue to just stay in my gaps, continue doing my job and then when it comes to pass drops and everything it's not really crazy routes or anything like that, there's not a whole bunch of double or triple moves like in the Big-12, so I just need to do my job and play sound football.

Q. I know I've seen in pre-games some of the guys kind of bringing out those ATL shirts. Are more guys breaking those out now as a reminder?
CALEB KELLY: Oh, yeah, I know Baker will probably have something and so I don't know, I think it's just, it's our dreams come true, we're having the opportunity to play for everything that you talk about, everybody at the beginning of the year they say they want that conference championship and that National Championship and we are here actually getting the opportunity to compete for it.

Q. What's it like to finally be here?
CALEB KELLY: I'm so happy because before we even went home for Christmas I was saying I wish we could just play on Saturday. We have been preparing for them for so long, I don't want to overthink it, I don't want to be guessing, I just want to just go out and play and have fun doing it.

Q. For a defensive guy, we have heard the offensive players talk about what Baker Mayfield is like to be around and play with, from a defensive guy's standpoint, what is it like to be a teammate of Baker Mayfield?
CALEB KELLY: Oh, you're getting to go against the best player in college football every single day, so if you can think about that, you're playing a guy who is going to make all those hard throws, he's going to make plays on his feet, so going against him constantly it really makes you a better football player. It builds our defense, it makes it a better defense going against him. So just going against a guy like that, where he's also fun and he's also, he loves all his defensive players just as much as he loves his offensive players, well maybe a little less because we like to talk a lot and mess with him, but just he's a brother and he's another teammate and I think he's just a great guy off the field and on the field. So I don't know, he's one of my brothers and I love him for sure.

Q. So do you see the leadership that we all hear about all the time? How is that different than just what you've been around your whole life?
CALEB KELLY: Well, in the locker room, you hear him, he's giving speeches, he's going up to each individual person saying I need you today, I need you today, and he takes full responsibility for everything that ever happens to the team, he'll say, he'll talk for the defense, he'll talk for the offense, he's just a complete leader and a complete captain and I think that everything that he's gotten this year, he definitely deserves.

Q. Does he make it tougher on a defense by scoring too fast and you guys getting to catch your breath sometimes?
CALEB KELLY: As a defense playing in the Big-12 you're going to go out there sometimes and be out of breath because they run just such high tempo offenses. So we always got to be ready. Knowing that our team can score no matter what, no matter how fast, we just got to stay ready and sometimes we're like oh, really, they already scored, all right, let's go back out. But we get momentum whenever they score as well, so we just keep on going, keep on pushing.

Q. Coming from Atlanta all we heard about is Oklahoma offense, Oklahoma offense we never hear about Oklahoma defense. Are you guys okay with that?
CALEB KELLY: No, I mean we're out here too. The only time you pretty much do hear about our defense is how much we suck or how bad we're doing on the year and how we got to improve in this and this and this and how we're holding the team back, and so we have a lot to prove and we have these next two games to do it and I'm just hoping we come together as a defense and continue playing well like we have the past couple games that we have been playing.

Q. Can you describe your emotions once you step on the field come Rose Bowl day?
CALEB KELLY: Oh, I'll be just so excited, so happy to be there. It will be a truly a blessing. That's the one word that I can say that will describe it. I will be praying all over the place because I'll be thanking God the whole time. My whole family is going to be there. That hasn't happened since high school, so it's just going to be awesome.

Q. How will that inspire your play to perform even at a higher level?
CALEB KELLY: My mom is there, so you know I got to play for my mom and go crazy for my whole family that's there so I'm playing for the name on my back and I'm in California, and that, that's the first time it's happened since high school. So I got to ball in my own state.

Q. Where does Jake Fromm rank in the quarterbacks that you've faced this season?
CALEB KELLY: He's in the playoffs, so for sure he's doing something right. He's a freshman in the playoffs and he's played since Game One unexpectedly going in Game One and he's handled the season really well, only lost one game, and I just think he's amazing. He controls his offense really well, he has great composure and he's just, he just looks like he's having fun playing football. He's a good leader, he has to be as a freshman doing so well.

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